Grilling and boating are two of the best ways to pass the time on a hot summer day. If you own a pontoon boat, you can experience both of these joys simultaneously. There aren't many things in life that top grilling on the open water. If you are looking to add a grill to your pontoon boat, this guide can help you get the most bang for your buck.
Can You Grill on a Pontoon Boat?
In case you’re wondering if it’s possible to grill on a pontoon boat, the answer is yes. Just like with any type of grill, a good pontoon boat grill should be able to keep a fire running and distribute heat evenly. Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing the best pontoon boat grill:
- Does it have extra protection against rust and corrosion?
- Can it keep a fire in windy conditions or when the boat is moving?
- Will it work on the boat and on land?
- How easily does it attach to the pontoon boat?
Aside from these four factors, choosing the best pontoon boat grill depends largely on your preferences. You can buy a gas or a charcoal grill for your boat, as well as choose between a flat top or kettle grill.
Pontoon Boat Grill Reviews
1. The Deluxe Propane Grill by Springfield
If you’re looking for versatility and optimal grilling space, then the Springfield Deluxe Grill is right for you. It offers nearly 190 square inches of cooking space, making it perfect for the large cookouts on the water. The lid of the grill doubles as a 130 square inch griddle that is perfect for cooking breakfast foods like bacon and eggs, as well as restaurant-quality hamburgers cooked on a flatiron grill.
The Springfield Deluxe Propane Grill is designed to be compact and efficient, allowing you to get the most out of your cooking space without taking up unnecessary room on the boat. It also doubles as a table-top grill that can easily be removed and transported. This makes it easy to take your grill home with you as you leave the marina.
The benefit of using this grill is that it’s easy to set up and comes with a pedestal mount, which you can install anywhere on your deck. This lets you safely install the grill in a location that’s convenient for you. The downside of this grill is that it takes a while to heat up and doesn’t distribute heat evenly. This creates various hot and cool spots on the grill that you’ll need to find before grilling your steak or hamburgers.
- Doubles as a tabletop grill.
- Compact and easy to move around.
- Has a lot of cooking surface for its small size.
- Takes a while to heat up.
- Prone to rust.
- May be difficult to use in windy situations.
2. The Magma Marine Kettle Charcoal Grill
If you're a barbecue purist who refuses to cook with anything that doesn't burn wood or coal, this Magma grill is perfect for you. This stainless steel grill is sleek and stylish, and praised for being able to evenly distribute heat across 133 square inches of cooking surface.
The Magma Marine Kettle Grill is easy to clean and designed to be rust resistant. It comes with a draft door that gives you the opportunity to control how hot or cool you want the coals to be. In terms of performance, this grill is second to none. Its only downside is that it doesn’t come with any attachment features; official rail mounts are sold separately and cost nearly a quarter of the grill’s suggested retail price.
The Magma Marine Kettle Grill is the best coal-burning pontoon you can get for small family cookouts. It looks nice, cleans easily, and performs perfectly. Its only drawback is the expensive price for the grill and mounting feature.
- Easy to clean.
- Resistant to rust.
- Distributes heat evenly.
- Small cooking surface.
- Rail mounts sold separately and are not cheap.
3. The Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Grill
Are you looking for a propane grill that is durable and reliable, and guaranteed to perform in a number of situations? Look of further than the Cuisinart CGG-180T. This is arguably the most popular gas grill for pontoon boat on the market. It has received a lot of praise for being able to evenly distribute heat across its 145 square inch grilling surface while being able to withstand strong winds.
This grill is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast who’s interested in versatility and quality. The CGG-180T sits easily on tabletops and other even surfaces. If you want to attach it to the rails of your pontoon boat, there are a number of bracket sets available that are cheap and easy to install. The versatility of the CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Grill makes it perfect to use for marine cookouts, tailgating, and camping.
The CGG-180T is small and compact, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t outperform its competition. It’s praised for cooking as effectively as full-size grills, and can handle anything from hamburgers and hotdogs to steaks and large fillets of fish.
Cuisinart has had a longstanding reputation for being one of the top manufacturers of portable grills and cooking accessories. The CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Grill is no exception, and is probably the best grill of pontoon boats overall.
- Very durable.
- Cooks evenly and effectively.
- Heats up quickly.
- Great for all types of outdoor cooking.
- Can be difficult to ignite with button - bring matches as a backup.
What to Know When Choosing a Pontoon Boat Grill
Having the ability to grill on your pontoon boat is a wonderful experience. Choosing the right grill depends largely on your own preferences, but the most important thing to consider is size. You want a grill that will fit comfortably on your boat, but will also be large enough to cook enough food for you and your companions.
There are a variety of portable grills that work well on a pontoon boat. Some have the ability to mount to the boat, while others are designed just for tabletop usage. The type you choose depends on your preferences. However, mounted grills are less likely to be knocked over or set against flammable material, which can provide an extra layer of safety.
The Size of Your Grill
Choosing the right grill size is important. You want to have a grill that is large enough to cook most of your food in one batch, but that’s not so large that it gets in the way. A grill that is too small is frustrating and difficult to work with, and an overly large grill can take up a lot of space and become a fire hazard.
Before you buy a grill for your pontoon boat, have a look at your boat and determine where you would put it. Make sure that it won’t be in a place that is close to other items, as that could start a fire.
Is Versatility Important to You?
Most grills that are made specifically for pontoon boats are meant to be attached to the boat. Some of them need to be permanently mounted, meaning that they can only be used on the pontoon boat. The benefit of these grills is that they are attached in a fixed spot, making them more secure.
Some of the more popular grills are portable table grills that have been converted to pontoon boat grills. They have the ability to be attached to the boat’s railing, and can be easily removed and carried on land. These grills are much more versatile, and can be used in a number of different situations.
While portable grills are much more versatile than their permanent counterparts, it’s important that you buy a mounting kit from a reputable source. You can find durable mounts from any store that specializes in pontoon boat accessories. Unreliable mounts can weaken over time, sending your grill crashing to the floor of your boat – or worse, the bottom of the lake.
Here are some recommended mounts:
- Arnall's Grill Bracket Set for Pontoons (can be used with most grill brands, is strong and durable, however the bottom may require some drilling work to be mounted)
- Magma Square Rail - Vertical Surface Mount (perfect for the Magma Kettle Grill and easy to use)
- Magma A10 184 Double Lock Pedestal (good alternative if you don't want to attach to the railings on the boat)
Make Sure Your Grill’s Covered by Warranty
Do some research before you buy a grill for your pontoon boat. Every grill on the market has its own strengths and weaknesses, but some of the cheaper models are built with poor quality. You don’t want to be in the middle of the water only to find that your grill doesn’t operate in windy scenarios.
Another thing to consider is rust. Constant exposure to water, especially salt water, can wreak havoc on a grill. It’s important that you choose a grill that is built to withstand the elements and is backed by a warranty. Some of the top-of-the-line portable grills have a guarantee of ten or more years against weathering.
If you want something that’s out of the way and easy to use for light cooking, go with the Springfield Deluxe Propane Grill. The Magma Marine Charcoal Grill is perfect for the boating enthusiast who wants their meat to have a smoky flavor that comes from wood and charcoal. People who’re looking for more temperature control with their cooking should consider the Cuisinart Petit Tabletop Grill.
The best pontoon boat grill is one that fits comfortably on your boat, is safe, and provides years of good use. The three covered in this review are some of the best on the market. Just like with any grill, the three grills covered in this review have their own unique benefits and drawbacks.