Grill mats are a relatively new concept in the realm of BBQ, so, to help those unfamiliar with it get started, I put five different products to the test and found that overall, the Kona Grill Mat to be the best BBQ grill mat for your grilling and smoking needs.
Just to be clear, we are reviewing cooking grilling mats that go on the grill, not grill floor mats.
Barbecue grill mats are essentially a substitute for traditional griddles, butcher paper, or parchment paper in the sense that you place your food on them when grilling. However, they are far superior in terms of convenience and can really work wonders for the flavor and texture of the end result, as well as your overall BBQ experience.
Being a fairly recent development in the industry, BBQ grill mats are a less popular choice than their traditional counterparts. However, using our years of expertise in the field of smoking and grilling, we decided to take an unbiased look at what some of the top grill mats have to offer. We ran the products through several tests to check their quality, performance, and various other aspects and to determine whether or not they are a tool worth having in your BBQ arsenal.
at a Glance…
|Kona Grill Mat||CHECK PRICE|
|Grillaholics Grill Mat||CHECK PRICE|
|Renook Grill Mat||CHECK PRICE|
|Yoshi Copper Grill Mat||CHECK PRICE|
|Aoocan Grill Mat||CHECK PRICE|
We found the Kona Grill Mat to be the perfect blend of quality and convenience. When put to the test, it stood up exceptionally well to temperatures significantly higher than what its competitors could endure. It is sturdily built with quality PTFE material and offers as many as 1000 uses on each side.
The versatility of grill mats make them perfect for cooking small or thin cuts of meat, fish, eggs, cheese, and chopped vegetables, foods that run the risk of slipping through the cooking grates or sticking to them, can be safely cooked using a barbecue grill mat. Food items that are prone to excessive dripping are also best cooked on a grill mat.
Top BBQ Grill Mats
Best Overall – Kona Grill Mat
What we like…
- Textured surface for better grip
- Thick and durable, rated for 600F
- 16″ x 13″ mat area
- 7-year warranty
what makes us angry…
- Takes a while to heat up
The popular Kona grill mat is an excellent choice if you are looking to keep things clean on the grill while enjoying a little more cooking surface area. Many struggle with thin grill mats made of poor quality materials that cannot withstand the heat or get damaged after a couple of uses. The Kona grill mat is the exact opposite—made from extremely strong and sturdy PTFE material and capable of withstanding up to a whopping 600F on the grill.
One of the main selling points of the Kona grill mat is its extreme thickness. At 0.39mm, this is almost twice as thick as most competing products and ideal for high-temperature use, something that can be an ideal use case scenario for a grill mat. Apart from the sturdiness, this keeps sauces and basting liquids from dripping into the grill and can help prevent flare-ups. It retains heat like a champion and the surface is textured to ensure the food stays firmly in place.
One great aspect of the Kona grill mat is the fact that it is rated for a minimum of 1000 uses per side. To back this up, it also comes with a generous 7-year warranty, something that most competitors do not offer. Cleaning is also a breeze as the Kona grill mat is perfectly safe to put in a dishwasher. Considering the quality, durability, and ease of use and you definitely have a winner in your hands.
Runner-up – Grillaholics
What we like…
- Gets up to temperature fast
- Competitive price and good value
What makes us angry…
- 500F max temperature rating
If you are looking for good value and functionality, the Grillaholics grill mat can provide both. This mat is a perfect fit for users looking to keep their temperatures low and expecting great results. While the Grillaholics grill mat is rated for up to 500F, it heats up very fast and provides good heat transfer and retention, and can also be used as a baking mat without issue.
The Grillaholics grill mat comes crafted from high-quality material, using a PFOA-free composite and a rugged PTFE fiberglass coating. This provides a smooth, non-stick surface that is a pleasure to grill on. The thickness of the mat is optimum at 0.25mm. Overall size is 15.75″ x 13″ which makes it marginally smaller than the Kona grill mat.
The Grillaholics grill mat, in use, seems a good fit for foods that have a habit of sticking to the grill or recipes that involve sauces. The size fits most grills and you can also cut them to a custom size if you need. Cleaning is easy as the mat is safe to put in a dishwasher.
Best Affordable Grill Mat – Renook
What we Like…
- Excellent value for money
- FDA-approved materials
- Comes in a pack of six
What Makes us Angry…
- Very thin
- Only rated up to 260F for longer cooks (over 30 min)
- Only about 100 uses per mat
If you are looking for a grill mat on a budget, the Renook grill mat set provides good value and comes cheap. In the package, you get a total of six grill mats that are made with FDA-approved materials that ensure that, in spite of the cheap price, you do not have to worry about food safety issues. Each mat can be reused up to 100 times and you can use them on your grill and also in the oven.
For the price, the Renook grill mat set displays good quality and provides a completely non-stick surface for you to work with. However, these appear to be the thinnest mats in this review. This means that you need to be a little careful while using them. For short burst cooking, these mats are rated for safe use up to 500F but if you are planning a cook time in excess of 30 minutes, these mats are only rated to perform safely up to 260F.
The standard size (15.75″ x 13″) can fit most grills and you can cut your custom shape if you want. Since you get a pack of six, you can also use multiple mats if you are working with a large grill. The mats are entirely safe to put in the dishwasher so cleanup is also a breeze.
Best Copper Grill Mat – Yoshi Copper Grill Mat
What we like…
- Made with real copper and BPA-free materials
- Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
- Heats up fast and distributes heat evenly
What makes us angry…
- No warranty
- Not rated for cooks over 500F
If you are looking for a copper grill mat, this offering from Yoshi can be a great deal. While the benefits of using a grill mat have already been discussed, a copper grill mat brings some more benefits to the table. Copper is an excellent conductor of heat. This means that a copper grill mat can not only do a great job of transferring the heat from your grill to your food but also facilitate to even out the heat, resulting in a consistent cook across the entire surface with no hot spots.
The Yoshi copper mats can be used on the grill and also the oven for baking. It uses BPA-free material, being made out of real copper sheeting and a top coat of PTFE, making the surface non-stick and easy to use. There are no harmful chemicals to cause food safety issues and the unit is safe to put in a dishwasher.
In use, the Yoshi copper grill mat performs well, especially when you are looking for a low and slow cook. Vegetables and delicate proteins like fish and chicken really shine when cooked on this mat. The thickness falls short of the optimum 0.25mm mark but the mat is thick enough for repeated use.
The copper core gives it strength and you can reliably use it for heavy-duty cooking. One important provision is that the mat is rated for up to 500F and you might want to be lower if you are looking for sustained heat. On the plus side, the copper conducts the heat well and presents a cooking surface with consistent heat.
Worth Mentioning – Aoocan
What We Like…
- Excellent value for money, low price
- Rated for use up to 500F
What Makes Us Angry…
- Each mat rated for 100 uses
- Some customers face quality issues
If you are looking for an all-rounder grilling mat that does everything well and fits your budget, the Aoocan grill mat becomes an automatic choice. For casual grilling, a set of these mats can last a long time with each mat rated for about 100 uses. However, a little careful use can get you much more. The standard pack contains five pats at an attractive price and thus provides great value.
The Aoocan grill mats come at an optimum thickness of 0.25mm. The standard size fits most grills and you can cut your own custom size. The materials used in the mat are approved by the FDA and the LFGB, mitigating any worries you might have about food safety. The mats are rated to function temperatures reaching up to 500F, excellent quality for grill mats in this price range.
Due to its superior quality and rated heat, the Aoocan grill pads can be used on the grill, in the oven for baking, and even in the microwave. Since they are the optimum thickness, you might still be able to achieve some grill marks on your meat using these.
BBQ Grill Mat Buying Guide
What is a Grill Mat?
A grill mat is a thin grill sheet generally made of a flexible material such as woven copper, silicone, or fiberglass. They offer a non-stick, non-absorbent cooking surface while being completely free from toxic PFOAs. Grill mats are coated with a layer of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) that makes them heat resistant, allowing them to stand up very well to high temperatures. PTFE is FDA-approved and completely safe for temperatures as high as 500F.
Why Use a Grill Mat?
A grill mat is a cheap alternative to purchasing a griddle and also gives you the non-stick benefit. While cooking large cuts of meat directly on the grates can be done without causing too much of a mess, the same cannot be said about cooking thin and delicate cuts of meat and fish, shrimp, eggs, pancakes, or chopped veggies.
Foods on the smaller and more delicate side frequently fall through the spacing between the cooking grates and go to waste. Using a barbeque grill mat offers a large and uniform cooking surface that prevents food from falling into the flames.
Another reason why non-stick grill mats are a must-have is that they can make post-grilling clean extremely easy and far less time-consuming. If you use a grill mat, you will no longer have to worry about having to scrape your grates clean before or after every BBQ session. The mats themselves are also very easy to clean as most of them are dishwasher-proof and can be wiped clean.
The uniform surface of grill mats further facilitates an even distribution of heat that ensures that food is cooked evenly all the way through. Your grill mat can come in handy if you want to whip up scrambled eggs, omelets, pancakes, taco meat, or fajitas on your grill—things you cannot prepare directly on the grill grates. Most of the top grill mats can be safely used in all types of grills as well as in the oven, making it a truly versatile and reliable option.
Does a Grill Mat Replace a Griddle?
While griddles are the standard grill utensil of choice, grill mats, in many regards, can be a great alternative. Cast-iron griddles are bulky, heavy, and all in all unwieldy, making them a hassle to move about during the cooking process. If you are grilling outdoors or away from home, carrying a griddle along can also be an inconvenience. A grill mat, on the other hand, can be rolled up and tucked away. It is light and easy to maneuver, so portability is certainly not an issue.
Griddles also need to be heavily seasoned with oil so that your food is essentially sitting in a pool of oil throughout the grilling process. With a grill mat, a very tiny amount of oil is more than sufficient to season the surface and flavor your food.
How to Use a Grill Mat?
Using a grill mat is as easy and straightforward as it gets. After purchasing your grill mat, give it a thorough wash with warm water and soap to get rid of manufacturing debris and dirt. Avoid subjecting your grill mat to temperatures greater than 500F; even the top grill mats may start to disintegrate around the 570F mark. The majority of grill mats are supposed to be used in temperatures no higher than 450F.
To prevent the wearing off of the PTFE layer (non-stick layer) on your grill mat, avoid touching or maneuvering it with sharp objects. Ideally, you should manage your grill mat with plastic or silicone-tipped grill tongs. In addition, while many barbecue grill mats are dishwasher-proof, putting them in the dishwasher may expedite the wearing off of the PTFE layer. Simply clean it with mild soap and water to steer clear of any such risks.
What are Copper Grill Mats?
Copper grill mats are a variety of grill mats made of PTFE fiberglass cloth and threaded through with strands of copper. The surface is given a layer of non-stick coating and the mat is ultra-thin, allowing for the much-desired grill marks to form on the food. The copper also allows for better conductivity of heat.
How are Copper Grill Mats Different?
The only primary point of difference between copper grill mats and the other kinds of grill mats is that copper is one of the best conductors of heat and also stands up extremely well to high temperatures. Hence, with copper grill mats, you can expect a quicker and more even distribution of heat than say, a standard grill mat.
Which One Should You Choose?
In theory the copper grill mat should provide you better conductivity of heat and provide better grill marks on your food, however the real world difference is negligible. The Kona PTFE material based grill mat works great but I believe the copper based mats keep a slightly more even heat. I suggest buying what is within your budget because the differences in performance are minimal.
What Makes a Good Grill Mat?
When trying to choose the best BBQ grill mat, you should consider all possible aspects of the product. Here are the main factors you need to take into account when choosing from among different grill sheets:
Grill Mat Material:
The material of your grill mat determines how uniform the heat distribution will be, how well your food will cook, and also how durable your mat is. Copper (being one of the greatest conductors of heat and electricity) grill mats are great in this regard as the woven copper will ensure that the mat heats up at the right pace and cooks your food thoroughly.
The thickness of your grill mat is also a key factor. Ensure that the mat you purchase is not so thin that it disintegrates after one or two uses but not so thick that it does not heat up properly. The 0.25mm thickness is the sweet spot for even spreading of heat and durability of the mat.
Grill Mat Size:
It is crucial to measure the cooking area of your grill before buying a BBQ grill mat. While you can easily cut the mat to the exact size and shape, it is recommended that you purchase a mat as close in size to your grill surface as possible or buy a multi pack.
The more uniform, non-stick, and non-absorbent the grill mat surface is, the more effortlessly you can wipe it down after each use.
This is one of the most important factors when buying the best BBQ grill mat for your needs. Choose a mat that is not vulnerable to burning up when subjected to high temperatures. A mat with a rating of 500F minimum should suffice for most use case scenarios.
Grill Mat Warranty:
Since they are typically quite inexpensive, most grill mats come with a short warranty period if at all. Look for as long a warranty as you can get so that you do not have to worry about damaging your grill mat.
The Kona Grill Comes Through
After testing some of the top grill mats currently available, the Kona Grill Mat, in our opinion, reigns supreme as the best BBQ grill mat. This mat is extremely durable and really does its job of cooking your food to perfection while keeping the grill clean and practically maintenance-free.
The greater thickness of the grill does not get in the way of its ability to heat up uniformly. In fact, the thickness provides for fantastic heat retention, something that the thinner grill mats cannot compete with. The 7-year warranty period is the cherry on top, making the Kona Grill Mat’s higher price point well worth it.