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Consumer Reports: Save money by outsmarting a smart grill

(Photo credit: szpadi)

There's an app for almost everything, including some new grills. New high-tech gadgets claim to take the guesswork out of grilling. But, are they worth the price? Consumer Reports reveals whether or not smart grills are a smart choice.

Weber's iGrill 3 is a $100 add-on feature that works with any Weber Genesis II grill. It uses Bluetooth technology to send alerts and updates to your smartphone or tablet. CR's testers said the iGrill 3 could be installed in about 10-15 minutes and was very straightforward.

If installation isn't your thing, the $800 Char-Broil SmartChef comes ready to go and uses a WiFi signal to send alerts to your device. However, our testers found the signal needs to be strong, and to use the main grill at all, it needs to be plugged in.

Both grills use apps that ask similar questions like "What are you cooking? How do you like it cooked?" For this test, it was steak, medium rare. Both grills use preset temperatures to determine when the food is finished. Testers used temperature probes to check how accurate the grills were at alerting when the food was ready. In the end, both grills did really well in our tests, and we found their temperature probes were accurate.

But Consumer Reports says you can create your own "smart grill" with a good wireless meat thermometer. Consumer Reports recommends the $40 Oregon Scientific meat thermometer. It's easy to read, has a timer and also comes with preset meat temperatures. If you want to skip all the bells and whistles, just buy a regular meat thermometer. The ThermoWorks for $20 was very accurate in Consumer Reports tests.

If you're in the market for a grill, Consumer Reports says the $270 Nexgrill from Home Depot is a great choice for the money. It's big enough to cook for a crowd and excels at keeping temperatures even across the cooking surface.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.

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