testing the best grill brush

Grilling season is a time of joy for many outdoor cooking enthusiasts. There's nothing quite like the aroma of flame-kissed meat and the sound of a sizzle when your food hits the grill grates. However, with great grilling comes great responsibility, and one of the most important tasks is keeping your grill grates clean. A clean grill not only ensures better-tasting food but also prolongs the life of your grill. To accomplish this essential task, you need the right tool - a quality grill brush.

In this article, we'll explore the importance of maintaining clean grill grates and dive into the world of grill brushes to help you find the best one for your needs. Whether you're a seasoned grill master or a novice griller, we've got you covered with our top recommendations and expert tips.

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Winners

Product Information

BEST OVERALL GRILL BRUSH

Rescue Brush was our pick for best overall grill brush

Grill Rescue Brush 

  • Long lasting, with replaceable head to extend its life even longer
  • Bristle free makes it a safe clean grill brush
  • Utilizes the power of steam cleaning to get rid of built up gunk on your grates

BEST COLD CLEANER

Scrubit is great for a quick and easy clean of a cold grill

Scrubit Grill Cleaning Brush

  • Super Easy to use
  • Bristle free makes it a safe clean grill brush
  • Comfortable design to hold and use

BEST DEEP CLEANER

GrillFloss scraper tool

GrillFloss Grill Cleaning and Scraper Tool

  • Bristle free makes it a safe clean grill brush
  • Incredibly thorough for detailed cleaning of grates
  • Dual sized cleaning head will fit any size of round grates

The Importance of Clean Grill Grates

Before we dive into the world of grill brushes, let's take a moment to understand why it's crucial to keep your grill grates clean.

Steak cooking on stainless steel grates in a hot grill

1. Better Flavor

One of the primary reasons to clean your grill's grates is flavor. When food particles and grease build up on the grates, they can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. These contaminants can impart off-flavors to your food, ruining the taste of your grilled creations. A clean grill surface means a cleaner, more delicious flavor profile.

flames flaring up through a grill's grates

2. Prevents Flare-Ups

A dirty grill can lead to flare-ups, which can be dangerous and result in unevenly cooked food. Grease and residue on the grates can ignite and cause unexpected flames, potentially burning your food and even yourself. Clean grates reduce the risk of flare-ups, making your grilling experience safer.

cleaning a dirty grill with a grill brush

3. Extends Grill Lifespan

Regular cleaning not only keeps your food tasting great but also extends the life of your grill. Built-up grease and residue can corrode the grates and other parts of your grill, leading to rust and deterioration. By maintaining clean grates, you're protecting your investment and ensuring that your grill lasts for years to come.

pork chops cooking evenly on the Grilla Grills Silverbac

4. Even Cooking

Clean grates provide a smooth surface for cooking, ensuring that your food cooks evenly. Food residue can create hot spots on the grates, leading to uneven cooking and potentially burnt or undercooked portions. Clean grates promote consistent and precise cooking, helping you achieve the perfect grill marks and doneness every time.

Now that we've established why clean grill grates are essential, let's explore the key tool you need to achieve this: the grill brush.

Choosing the Right Grill Brush

When it comes to selecting the best grill brush, you'll find a wide range of options on the market. To make an informed choice, consider the following factors:

1. What grill grates will you be cleaning?

Grill grates come in all shapes and materials and not every grill brush will work for every grate design.

straight line enamel coated grates

Standard straight line grates

Often times stainless steel grates and porcelain grates have the same design of perpendicular, round bars running front to back. As this is probably the most common design, it is also the most versatile when it comes to grill brushes. Most grill brushes can work with this style of grates.

triangle shaped cast iron grates

Triangle reversible grates

Many of the cast iron grates we have seen come through the lab are triangular-shaped and reversible depending on if you're grilling or smoking. Often times the wider surface of the triangle even has a channel that collects juices from the cooking meat. Many grill scraper tools are designed to fit round grates and the triangle grates, particularly with the channel, just don't clean as effectively with that style of tool.

expanded metal grates on CharGriller offset smoker

Expanded metal grates

Many grills and smokers come with expanded metal grates that use a diamond pattern. While that might lend itself to some fun grill sear marks, these types of grill grates can be very hard on grill brushes, and really limit the styles that will work effectively.

wooden scraper formed to ARG gas grill square grates

Multiple grills to clean

Do you have more than 1 grill or smoker that will need grates cleaned? If you don't want to have the same number of grill brushes, it will be important to choose a grill brush that can be used on both, or all, styles of grates you will be cleaning. For instance, a wooden scraper custom forms to a specific set of grill grates and can not be used interchangeably between grills unless each grill has the exact same size and width grates.

using a hand-held grill grate cleaner over a cool grill

2. Cleaning a hot grill or cold grill?

Many grill brushes are intended to be used as soon as you've finished cooking while the grill is still nice and hot. Other brushes are meant to be used once the grill has cooled down. While you may not have a strong preference of one way over the other, it is important to at least know and understand the correct method for the grill brush you purchase. Cleaning a hot grill with a brush that wasn't meant to be used hot could cause damage to the brush head as well as your grill.

steam cleaning dirty grill grates

3. Cleaning wet or dry?

It seems like a growing trend with grill brushes is incorporating steam cleaning into the process. Some manufacturers, like the Grill Rescue Brush make it 100% obvious and clear that their product is meant to be used with water. While others, particularly some of those with stainless steel coils like the Grill Art bristle free grill brush, don't seem as obvious but actually recommend dipping them in water before using them on the instructions. Steam can be a pretty powerful cleaning agent, so it's good to at least know whether your chosen grill brush is to be used with or without water.

4. Are you concerned with safety?

By now I think we've all been made aware of the dangers associated with wire grill brushes. As affordable and efficient as they are, we have to decide if they're worth the risk of someone accidentally ingesting a rouge wire bristle and winding up in the hospital.

There are so many other materials being used now that we have plenty of other options to choose from that work just as well as the old standard wire grill brush. We have found plenty of nylon bristle brushes that perform very similarly to the wire brushes but use brightly colored bristles that can be easily detected if one falls off. 

disposable grill cleaner

5. How long will your grill brush last?

We've used a wide variety of grill grate cleaning tools here at the Lab, and some definitely last longer than others. Products like grill cleaning bricks are essentially disposable and only last through a few uses before they literally turn to dust. Others, like the Grill Rescue Brush are not only dishwasher safe, but also offer a replaceable head so you don't have to replace the entire brush. The later is considerably more expensive than the first, but will last 10+ times longer.

Now that you know what to look for in a grill brush, let's dive into our top recommendations for the best grill brushes on the market.

Our Top Grill Brush Recommendations

We've scoured the market to bring you the top grill brushes for keeping your grill grates clean. These recommendations are based on factors like effectiveness, safety, durability, and user reviews.

1. Grill Rescue Brush

our top pick for the best grill brush with replaceable brush head

Our top pick out of the grill brushes we tested is the Grill Rescue Brush. It consists of a red plastic handle approximately 16.5" long with a detachable and replaceable head made of heat retardant foam wrapped in high-temp kevlar. The replaceable heads are available both with a metal scraper and without, and they've actually recently released a new design of the head that has grooves built into the sponge and scraper that can get in between grill grates.

This bristle free grill brush is heat resistant and is actually designed to be used on a grill that is running at least 400°. You dunk the sponge end of the brush into a small bucket of water and then run the soaking wet brush head back and forth on the grates, letting the hot water steam clean the gunk away.

What we like:

  • Can be used with pretty much any style or pattern of grill grates.
  • Can also be used to clean your flat top griddle.
  • The brush heads are dishwasher safe.

What we don't like:

  • It's the most expensive option that we tested.
  • It does not come with a way to hang this tool, though there is an add-on product available that can help accomplish this. 

2. Grill Floss

Grill Floss grill scraper tool

Grill Floss is another bristle free grill scraper option to consider. Its dual-sized cleaning head will fit any size of round grates. With this simple design, the grill floss can clean only one bar of the grate at a time.

I originally assumed that would mean the Grill floss would take longer to clean an entire grill than the others, but it's so effective at what it does that it really only needs 1 or 2 passes per bar to knock everything off of the top, bottom and sides of the grate. In the end, it typically achieved cleaner grates in about the same amount of time as many of the other brushes we tested.

What we like:

  • This tool gave us the most thorough cleaning of all the 8 grill brushes we tested.
  • The durable stainless steel construction means that this tool should last a very long time without needing to be replaced.
  • It includes 4 different sizes to accommodate virtually any side of round grates.
  • This tool can be used on either a hot or a cold grill.

What we don't like:

  • Grill Floss can only be used with round grates that follow a straight line pattern.
  • You can only clean one bar at a time.

3. Scrubit Grill Cleaning Brush

Scrubit grill brush

The Scrubit Grill brush is a hand-held sponge with a synthetic abrasive fiber on the bottom. While we couldn't find any instructions regarding whether it should be used wet or dry, on a hot grill or cold grill, we found that using it dry on a cool grill was surprisingly effective for a $6 product. We have found ourselves frequently grabbing this little sponge-tool to wipe down cool grates even when all these other options are equally accessible. 

What we like:

  • Not only can the Scrubit be used to clean any style of grate, it can also be used to clean your stainless steel flat top and cast iron pans.
  • It is a bristle free grill brush and safer to use than those with metal bristles.

What we don't like:

  • While we have yet to fully wear out our first Scrubit brush, we know that time is coming. This is not a long-lasting tool and will need to be replaced more often than most of the others. I suppose that's probably why it comes in a 2-pack. Or perhaps it comes in a 2-pack because it's so versatile. Keep one in the kitchen for cast iron, and one outside for the grills.

4. GrillArt Grill Brush and Scraper Bristle free

GrillArt grill brush

The GrillArt grill brush and scraper was our favorite of the 3 grill brushes we tested with stainless steel coils. The rigid triple helix design does a decent job of working into the spaces between the grates. The scraper tool not only works well to glide over the tops of the grates, but it has rounded grooves that fit snuggly around rounded grates to take care of the build up on the sides.

GrillArt recommends dipping your grill brush into water before using it on a hot grill and let the hot water steam clean the grates while scraping. We found this to be a little bit helpful, but this style of scraper doesn't hold nearly the amount of water the Rescue Brush does so it's not as effective with this task.

What we like:

  • The rounded grooves on the scraper were helpful for knocking build-up off of round grates and the straight edge was helpful when scraping off the top.
  • No wire bristles means this is a safe clean grill brush.
  • We have used this grill brush on hot grates as well as cool grates.

What we don't like:

  • This style of grill brush does not work for every style of grate. It's best designed for grates that run straight front to back.
  • In our experience, this grill brush will likely need to be replaced every year. Granted, we clean a lot of grills around here so I suppose our use might be higher than others, but we found that our metal coils began to unravel after about a year of regular use.

5. Char-Broil SAFER Replaceable Head Nylon Bristle Grill Brush

Char-Broil nylon bristles brush with replaceable brush head

This grill brush from Char-Broil features brightly colored nylon bristles and a metal scraper. It should always be used on a cold grill. This nylon brush is much safer to use than metal bristle brushes.

What we like:

  • The nylon bristles are brightly colored and can be easily seen in case one does fall off the brush.
  • The flexible bristles can reach into a lot of tight spaces that the helix design brushes seem to miss.
  • The nylon bristles are much safer to use than metal bristles.
  • This Char-Broil grill brush has a removable head that can easily be cleaned or replaced extending the life of this tool.
  • The Char-Broil nylon bristle brush will work on pretty much any style of grates.

What we don't like:

  • You can only use this tool on a cool grill.
  • The flexible nylon bristles might be a little too flexible, and aren't as effective as I wish at cleaning off some of the tough build-up.

6. BBQ-Aid Grill Brush and Scraper

The only real difference between the BBQ Aid Grill brush and the two others of this style grill brush is the wooden handle.

What we like:

  • The rounded grooves on the scraper did a nice job of scraping build-up off the sides of the grates.
  • No wire bristles means this is a safe clean grill brush.

What we don't like:

  • This style of grill brush does not work for every pattern of grill or smoker grates. Certain styles, particularly those with a diamond shape will damage this grill brush more quickly while not receiving a very thorough clean.
  • I didn't feel like the scraper made very even contact with my grates when I was using it.

7. Kawoche Grill Brush and Scraper Bristle Free

Keep your grill clean with the Kawoche grill brush

The Kawoche grill brush and scraper is basically the same design as the GrillArt grill brush mentioned above, only not quite as effective. Like the GrillArt, this grill brush can be used to clean both a cool and a hot surface. While cleaning a hot grill, dip it in water and let the hot water steam clean your messy grates.

What we like:

  • It's very affordable.
  • No wire bristles means this is a safe clean grill brush.

What we don't like:

  • This grill brush can only be used on grates that follow a straight line pattern.
  • The grooves on the scraper seemed to leave a lot of build-up behind.

8. AWEASROY Grill Cleaning Bricks

AWEASROY Grill Cleaning Bricks

The AWEASROY grill cleaning bricks offer another bristle free option for cleaning your cold grill.

What we like:

  • It does a decent job of cleaning built up food particles and grease off of dirty grates.

What we don't like:

  • I would be cautious to use this on delicate surfaces.
  • It leaves a gritty residue behind that you would want to clean off the grill before putting food down.
  • They need to be replaced frequently. One brick will only last through 3-4 cleans.
  • This type of grill cleaner won't work for any style of grill grate.
  • Overall, we won't be purchasing these cleaning bricks again because we didn't think they were a good value for the way they performed.

Tips for Using Your Grill Brush Effectively

Now that you've chosen the best grill brush for your needs, here are some tips to ensure you use it effectively and keep your grill grates in top condition:

Preheat Your Grill

Before cleaning, preheat your grill for about 10-15 minutes on high heat. This will help loosen and burn off any leftover food residue, making it easier to clean.

Use Long, Firm Strokes

When cleaning your grill grates, use long and firm strokes with your brush. Apply consistent pressure to remove residue effectively. For wire bristle brushes, be careful not to press too hard, as excessive force can cause bristle shedding.

Clean While Hot

It's best to clean your grill while it's still hot if your grill brush can do so safely. The heat helps to loosen stuck-on food particles and makes the cleaning process more efficient.

Scrape Stubborn Residue

For particularly stubborn residue, make use of the built-in scraper on your grill brush. Apply extra pressure and use the scraper to dislodge and remove the grime. Many scrapers come with little grooves on the corners that can be used to "hug" round grates as they scrape.

Regular Maintenance

After each use, give your grill brush a good rinse to remove any food particles and grease. Periodically, clean the brush itself to prevent the buildup of grime on the bristles.

Replace When Necessary

Keep an eye on the condition of your grill brush. If the bristles are worn, bent, or broken, it's time for a replacement to ensure effective cleaning and safety.

Conclusion

A clean grill is essential for achieving the best flavor, safety, and longevity of your grill. With the right grill brush, you can keep your grill grates in pristine condition and enjoy perfect grilling sessions every time.

Remember to follow our tips for effective grill cleaning, and you'll be well on your way to becoming a grill master with perfectly maintained grates. Happy grilling!