A key Consumer Reports’ test is for evenness of heating. Tester uses sensors to measure the temperature at various points on a grill’s cooking surface. That data is then used to create temperature maps. What you really want is a grill with a nice, uniform surface temperature.
Consumer Reports found several grills to recommend.
For large grills, the Kenmore 16156 is a great choice. It earned high scores for evenness and a separate side burner is a nice feature. It’s sold at Sears for $700. Most people opt for a mid-size grill. The highly-rated Weber Spirit E320 for $550 is widely available. It heats quite evenly and has cast iron grates.
For a smaller grill, the Broil-Mate 165154 for $200, available at Home Depot. It’s still a decent size and also delivers very even heating.
If you already have a grill and wonder if it is good for another season be aware that yellow or uneven flames can mean it’s time to clean the burner ports. A toothpick can help clear them. If that doesn’t solve the problem, or you spot corrosion, it could be time for new burners. They are the most frequently replaced grill part and can be under warranty from the manufacturer for 10 years or longer –– which means replacing them could be free! Consumer Reports has more advice on how to assess if your grill itself is a goner.