Don’t try to have a conversation when the robot is running
Published: April 30, 2014 01:00 PM
To get great tasting grilled food you should start with clean grates. That’s why the Grillbot, with its promise to clean grimy gates and eliminate scrubbing with the push of a button, is so alluring and why the grill pros at Consumer Reports couldn’t wait to get our hands on it.
We bought it online for $130. A rechargeable battery powers the Grillbot, which can be used with gas or charcoal grills, and on already cold grates or grates that have been allowed to cool for 5 minutes for a gas grill and at least 20 minutes for a charcoal grill. Set the timer for a scrub that’s 10, 20, or 30 minutes and close the lid. You’ll hear it banging into the lid. One tester described it as sounding like a deranged squirrel trying to escape.
We tried the Grillbot on stainless-steel and coated cast-iron grates covered in burnt-on food. After 10 minutes the grates were cleaner, and after an additional 20 minutes of cleaning the grates were much cleaner although not spotless. The Grillbot didn’t reach the grime between grates, but preheating on high heat turned what was left into ash. We used a grill brush to wipe it away.
Our biggest beef is the racket it makes when working as it bounces off the inside of the grill’s cover—the directions say the lid should be closed. When we left the lid open to shoot a video the Grillbot almost ran off the edge. Removing the Grillbot’s dishwasher-safe bristles is a bit tricky, but when we washed them, they came out of the dishwasher clean and intact. That’s important because loose bristles—from any grill brush—that get left behind after cleaning could make their way into grilled food. If swallowed the bristles can puncture your digestive tract or stomach.
The Grillbot beats scrubbing, but a regular grill brush and some elbow grease on a warm grill is faster, more through, cheaper, and quieter. For best results and maximum safety, Grillbot recommends new brushes every grilling season or after 100 uses. The 180-day warranty doesn’t cover brushes, batteries, or the charging cord.