Eye-level grill buying guide

So, you’re looking for a new cooker, and grilling is an important feature for you.  Let’s take a look at choice of appliances that offer a grilling function (links to information guides and supplier websites are included at the foot of this article).

  • Built in ovens – most which are electric and have a grill function.  This type of appliance has increased in popularity as kitchens have become more fitted and streamlined. 
  • Range style cookers – available as gas, electric or dual fuel and which usually offer two ovens and sometimes a separate grill compartment.  They have become popular as a focal point for the kitchen. 
  • Freestanding slot-in cookers –  available as gas or electric, in a variety of widths, with one or two ovens, and an eye level or low level grill. 
  • Counter top products – tend to be contact type grills rather than the traditional overhead type grill so will not be covered in this article.

A closer look at the appeal of built in ovens and range style cookers suggests that the main reason for their increasing popularity is that they look nice.  This is often less important for people who like to grill their food because grilling is undoubtedly compromised.     

Built in ovens may look nice and streamlined but grilling is either low level, so you have to bend down, or high level, but then grilling is behind a closed door. 

Range cookers may be extravagant focal points, but they only offer low level and closed door grilling.  Some range cookers have separate grill compartments which offer open door grilling, but it is still out of sight.

Go to any showroom or website and you will see major efforts to sell you these built in ovens or range cookers.  Slot in cookers will be out of sight somewhere round the back. 

But where are the eye level grills! 

Sales staff will tell you that no-one makes an eye level grill anymore (not true), or that no-one wants them any more (again, not true). 

They will also say that they are just simply an old fashioned and out of date appliance and that there are better modern alternatives.  Let’s put this claim to the test.

You will be told that you can easily grill in a modern oven.  Well, it won’t be easy if the oven is below counter level, and what if you need to use the oven at the same time?  Also, most modern ovens require closed door grilling so you can’t get a clear view of the cooking.  Also, grilling behind a door is a desensitised way of cooking that denies you much of the cooking experience.  With an eye-level grill, you won’t need to keep bending down, which could be difficult if you have back problems. It’s also much harder to forget you have something under the grill when it’s at eye level so you are less likely to end up burning your cheese on toast.  

So why are manufacturers, kitchen designers and appliance retailers pushing appliances that are functionally and ergonomically inferior for people who like grilling? 

The truth is that they make more money selling you a built in or range cooker appliance so will steer you into accepting a grill that is built into an oven compartment.  That’s a shame because eye-level grills have lots of advantages over grills built into an oven compartment.  

So, if you want an eye level grill, go ahead and have one and don’t be convinced otherwise.  Consider these options:

Slot-in cookers with an eye level grill

These are the traditional type of appliance that we are all familiar with.  Manufacturers offer less options nowadays with gas being the only choice.



Slot-in cooker plus a separate grill mounted at eye level

There is a larger selection of slot-in cookers available.  Why not combine this type of slot-in cooker with a separate eye-level grill.  Hi-Grill supply separate grills for the home, while Nisbets offer a range of commercial options.





Built-in ovens mounted at eye level

This solution will offer you a grill at eye-level but it will be closed door grilling.




Separate grills mounted at eye level

It is possible to fit these separate grills without any installation or modification to your kitchen.  Counter top and wall mounted versions are available.



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