Would you like to try out some grilling recipes on a flat-top grill? If the answer is yes, then you might be wondering which brand of equipment to buy. In this context, our team has come up with detailed reviews of two of the leading flat-top grill units.
To assist you in your decision, the information consists of an in-depth description of each product, pros, and cons, among other important details. In the end, you’ll come out more knowledgeable and ready to carry out grilling like a professional, using the equipment you deem most suitable.
A Few Words about Blackstone
Blackstone brand aims at creating enjoyable and comfortable outdoors-cooking sessions. It has models for every occasion and needs, but their flat-top grill carries the day in this case.
In 2005, the company released the 36″ Blackstone Griddle as a flagship offering. Following its specifications, pros, and cons, you’ll get a clearer comparison between this grill and its close rival, the Camp Chef grill.
- A large grilling space of 720 sq. inches.
- Dimensions of 36 inches in height, 22 inches in width, and 62.5 inches in length.
- 120 lbs in weight.
- It has a shelf on each side.
- 60,000 total BTU output.
- A spacious cooking area- suitable to cook for large groups.
- Made from quality materials for durability.
- Ease of assembly.
- Quick, efficient, and friendly service from the company’s customer care department.
- Poor at managing grease.
- Lengthy seasoning process.
A Few Words about Camp Chef
Ty Meason is the entrepreneur behind the founding of Camp Chef’s cooking supplies. It first came out in 1990 when there were limited brands suitable for outdoor cookouts. To seal the big gap in that sector, Meason invented his first cooking system well suited for camping. It was a 2-burner cooker called Camp Chef Pro60.
As time went by, the manufacturer came up with modern designs that cater to the different needs of camping enthusiasts. Most units under the Camp Chef brand range include gas and pellet-fuelled grills.
In this context, we shall focus on Camp Chef flat-top grill for easier comparison with the 36″ Blackstone Griddle. Our discussion rotates around the 4-burner models of the two brands.
- It comes with shelves- 1 for each side
- It has a 48,000 BTU output when fully powered.
- 501 sq. and 604 sq. cooking surfaces on the grill and griddle, respectively.
- Weighs 144 lbs
- It measures 37″ H by 62.5″ W by 22″ L.
- Vast space for storage and preparation.
- Sturdy legs for maximum stability.
- It can function as a griddle or a grill.
- Appealing and well-crafted design.
- Smaller cooking surface compared to Blackstone grill.
- Minimal portability due to its heavyweight.
Blackstone Vs. Camp Chef
The amazing thing about the two brands is that their average price is almost similar. The difference margin is dependent on your shopping location and other additional factors.
In most cases, you’ll realize that the price of Blackstone is a bit lower compared to that of Camp Chef. Despite the negligible difference, the former is still considered more affordable than the latter.
Nevertheless, these pieces of equipment are not cheap but weighing in on their quality and features, they are both worth the bargain.
Looking at the two grills for the first time, you’d be convinced that they have a similar design. But on a second glance, you’ll note their distinct features and draw the differences.
All the legs of the Blackstone model are attached to wheels for portability. Looking closely, you’ll notice the lockable system on two of the wheels. This prevents your grill from rolling or wheeling away when unguarded.
Another distinct feature of the Blackstone is its cart-like design. There’s a spacious shelf under its cooking area and two others on the sides. However, they are not as big as those present in the rival brand.
On the other hand, the Camp Chef grill is also designed to resemble a cart unit. It has two spacious shelves under the grilling surface. On the edges, both of them have handles that are designed like bars for comfort.
The grill has red control knobs that are appealing and easy to touch and identify when grilling at night. It’s also fitted with two wheels on some of its legs while the rest remain plain to prevent accidental rolling.
Weighing the points, it’s clear that Camp Chef’s design is more user-friendly than Blackstone’s.
Blackstone is designed using steel material in most parts, including the four burners and frames. Its make depicts great and lengthy performance, not forgetting the outward appeal.
The equipment’s griddle area is also likable. Constructed using cold, thick, and rolled steel, the manufacturer quickened its heating period. The material is also responsible for the even spreading of heat in the grilling surface. Blackstone’s burners are effective and efficient enough to distribute heat in all zones uniformly.
Like Blackstone, Camp Chef is constructed using a similar set of materials. Its griddle is a result of rolled cold steel. One downside is that it takes a while to heat up before the beginning of the grilling process.
Camp Chef’s main advantage over the Blackstone brand is that it comes in its ready form hence, does not require seasoning before commencing the cooking process.
The build quality category is a close call for both brands. But, grilling enthusiasts reap extra benefits from Camp Chef’s double cooking spaces. Once you finish making your sausages, bacon, or other soft breakfast meals, you can start using the grilling grates to replace the griddle. Dishes like hot dogs and burgers require a sturdy cooking area that creates enough time for them to get fully cooked.
For build quality, Camp Chef has it.
Size ranks among the most important features in cooking equipment. It determines the amount of food you can grill at a go and offers you an estimate of the number of people you can feed after one round of cooking.
Both models have four burners, but the size of their cooking space differs.
Blackstone’s grilling area has a capacity of 720 sq. inches, while Camp Chef boasts 501 sq. inches of traditional grilling surface and an additional 604 sq. inches on the griddle.
With Blackstone, you can cook for a sizable crowd as a result of its large grilling space. Despite its massive surface area, the grill is lighter and easier to transport than the Camp Chef brand, an added advantage for you.
On the fair edge, Camp Chef grill is more versatile than its rival brand. It offers you more choices of the types of foods you can grill on its two cooking spaces.
However, as long as we’re talking about the size, the trophy still goes to Blackstone.
When grilling, you need enough storage space to secure your ingredients, sauces, and utensils. Camp Chef model is your go-to equipment for that. The model comes with large side shelves and other flat surfaces below its firebox. With the support of the propane tank, both storage spaces can hold your cooking supplies with ease.
In comparison, the Blackstone unit comes with a pair of shelves. They are lowlily attached on each side. For that reason, setting up your utensils and other condiments may be awkward to fit. The grill also has additional storage from another shelf that’s also lower than those of Camp Chef grill.
Comparing the odds, it’s fair to say that Camp Chef has better storage space than Blackstone. You can hang your tools on the handles attached to the edge of the side shelves. Other supplies also fit well in the remaining spaces. It is undoubtedly the winner of this section.
As mentioned earlier, both units have four burners. Each of them is made of stainless steel that is cold-rolled to enhance durability.
Even in harsh outdoor weather conditions, you remain assured that your burners are strong enough to sail through it all. It also helps them withstand strong heat waves from prolonged cooking sessions.
The material used on the burners is easily cleanable. To prevent damage from food and grease droplets, you have to wash them regularly.
When combined, all the burners of the Camp Chef grill give out 48,000 BTU. Each has an output of 12,000 BTUs. On the other hand, Blackstone powers up to 60,000 BTUs, with 15,000 BTUs from each burner. These units do not necessarily mean that Blackstone is stronger than the Camp Chef. BTU output is a unit that describes how much energy the burners release. A grill that heats unevenly gives out ineffective cooking results despite having many BTUs. The same applies to a cooking surface with poor heat retention.
For a fair comparison, it’s advisable to divide the BTUs with the grill’s total cooking surface. The Blackstone unit has a larger space than the Camp Chef, hence needing a greater BTU output. Blackstone releases 83 BTUs for every sq. inch while Camp Chef has 80 BTUs/ sq. inch. Viewing it from that angle, you can note the difference more precisely, and you’ll see how small it is.
That said, the Blackstone Griddle is notably more effective and convenient. The Camp Chef has the downside of slow heating, making it take longer to distribute heat across the four heating zones.
The steel used in making Blackstone Griddle is first cold rolled to enhance its effectiveness in retaining heat. The burners are controlled independently, and you can dictate the amount of heat you want each of them to release. Increasing or reducing each burner’s temperature determines the temperature in each zone of the cooking surface, and it can vary depending on your grilling requirements.
With similar features, the Camp Chef is also capable of good heat retention. Despite its slow heating system, the grill maintains the set temperature once it’s fully powered. It can go for hours on end without stalling or creating varied heat waves.
Therefore, on heat retention, Camp Chef takes the trophy.
Temperature Control and Ignition System
In Camp Chef grill, each burner has an independent ignition switch. You can ignite any of them immediately after turning on the propane. You’ll only have to press the ignition button and tune the burner’s knob to your desired temperature configuration.
Unlike its competitor, the Blackstone Griddle has a slightly complex ignition system. You can only light the burners sequentially.
This means that after setting up the propane, you must turn one burner’s knob to the highest possible point. At the same time, press the ignition switch and hold it down until the fire lights up on the burner.
Repeat the process with the other burners, starting with the one nearest to the lit burner. Depending on the amount of heat you need on the grilling surface, you don’t have to turn on all of them but ensure that the temperature configuration gives you the correct range.
Ease of Assembly
For both units, you must take your time to assemble some pieces after unpacking them. Camp Chef grill requires about 20 minutes of your time to come together. Unlike the flat-top grill, you don’t have to season it before use. The manufacturer caters for that under their “True Seasoned” mantra, which comes with nonstick features straight out of the package.
The Blackstone unit takes a similar period to assemble, but you’ll need additional minutes for seasoning.
If you want to save your time and start grilling immediately after getting your order, the Camp Chef grill is the ideal equipment, and that’s what makes it the winner here.
Maintenance and Cleaning
The main demerit of Blackstone Griddle is its unreliable system when it comes to managing grease. The unit is designed with a small space that ends in a drip cup hanging below the grilling area. After cleaning, the grease is supposed to flow in the hole, directed to the cup.
That sounds workable in theory, but in reality, the drippings often miss the destination and flow onto the floor or ground. The flaw complicates the cleaning process.
Related: How to Clean a Blackstone Griddle
Camp Chef’s system is not only user-friendly but also reliable. The grill has a sizable trough at the front. It easily collects the extra grease dripping off the cooking surface, directed through a hole. It’s also unlikely to clog despite the hole is small.
Both products are easy to clean, leading to a tie in that section. The cold-rolled steel rarely holds on to dirt particles, easing the process of seasoning and tidying up. However, the winner remains Camp Chef.
Related: How to Clean a Flat Top Grill – Best Practices & Tips
After purchasing your Camp Chef grill, you are allowed a warranty of one year from the purchase date. It guarantees you a cover for defective parts as a result of faulty manufacturing. Damages from regular usage, paint jobs, and finishes are not part of the warranty.
Blackstone’s warranty also lasts for a year, offering you a cover for finishes, workmanship, and different parts.
Despite the short warranties, both units are engineered from high-quality materials, and defects are rare.
Blackstone Vs. Camp Chef: Leading Features
Reviewing two models over each other leads to the assumption that one may have features that are absent in their rival. To understand the validity of that point, let’s take a look at the leading features of Blackstone and Camp Chef grills.
- A rear system that manages grease drippings, preventing you from contacting the dirty mess.
- Easy to clean cooking surface made using 7-gauge steel and rolled carbon.
- Independent and adjustable burners, creating multiple temperature zones for different food types.
- Wheelers are attached to two of its legs to increase portability and sturdiness.
- It has a large grilling space of 501 sq. inches.
- Leg levelers that are easy to adjust for stability in rough and uneven surfaces.
- Griddle levers offer you maximum control as you cook.
- Extra storage on two lower shelves.
Drawing closer to the end of this review, you must have captured enough information to help you with your purchase choice.
Here are more pointers for further clarification;
Go for Blackstone if:
- You are interested in a grill whose grease management structure faces its rear side. As earlier mentioned, this keeps the dirt as far away from you as possible when cooking.
- You prefer a griddle that’s easily portable for outdoor cookouts.
- You like making multiple recipes at the same time using different ingredients.
- You host large crowds or have to cook a lot of food.
Go for Camp Chef if:
- You need a convertible flat-top griddle that offers the grill option on demand.
- The terrain on which you’re cooking is uneven.
- You like grilling during night hours.
- You would like a cooking space that is pre-seasoned on delivery.
- You are looking for equipment that is easy to assemble.