Backyard chefs shouldn’t be limited to cooking in daylight. When the sun goes down, get a grill light. These outdoor kitchen add-ons attach to a grill and direct a beam of bright light directly onto the cooking surface to offer the necessary task lighting. A grill light can keep you from overcooking your steak when you just wanted to give it a nice, crusty sear, a nuance you might miss if you’re working by the weak illumination of porch light. A grill light can also help you see what you’re doing so you don’t burn yourself, adding not just convenience but safety.
Most grill lights operate on battery power, so you don’t have to fuss with cords or worry about having an outdoor electrical outlet near the grill. Since they attach to the grill, they’re a huge improvement over juggling a flashlight with your barbecue tongs and spatula.
Grill lights offer a bright light that will shine for hours on a single charge. Some go beyond basics with features like variable brightness settings or a clamp designed to work with a specific brand of grill. Before you buy, read on to learn about the best grill light features and check out this selection of high-quality models.
- BEST OVERALL: KOSIN Barbecue Grill Light
- RUNNER-UP: Weber 7661 Handle Grill ’N Go Light
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Char-Broil LED Grill Handle Light
- BEST MAGNETIC: IMAGE Magnetic Ultra-Bright Barbecue Grill Light
- BEST RECHARGEABLE: 2Pack COB LED Work Light
- BEST LED: FIREOR Barbecue Grill Light Magnetic Base
- BEST ALL-WEATHER: Energizer VISION LED Headlamp
What to Consider When Buying a Grill Light
There are lots of options to consider when picking the best grill light for you, but the most important factor is its brightness. Other considerations are how the grill light is powered, its cost, and how it attaches to a grill.
Lumens vs. Watts
Lumens measure a light bulb’s brightness. More lumens means it gives off a brighter light, and fewer lumens means it’s a dimmer light. Most grill lights produce 50 to 120 lumens.
Wattage, on the other hand, measures the amount of electricity the bulb uses per hour. Higher wattage does not necessarily equal a brighter light. For instance, a 6.5-watt LED bulb produces the same number of lumens as a 50-watt halogen bulb.
For this reason, measure a grill light’s brightness by its lumens. Measure its efficiency and energy use by figuring out how many lumens it produces per watt. The higher the number of lumens the bulb produces per watt, the longer it will run on a charge, and the less it will cost you to operate the light.
The color of light produced by bulbs ranges from chilly white to warm yellow. That light color is measured on a Kelvin scale that runs from 2,000 to 8,000 Kelvins (indicated by a K after the rating number). Bulbs with lower numbers on the Kelvin scale have yellow-toned light, while bulbs with higher numbers on the Kelvin are cool white or blue.
Generally, cooler light will make objects appear brighter, so it’s the best choice for task lighting. Look for grill lights in the 3,500K to 4,000K range. These lights emit a clean, focused, white-hued light that most clearly shows the color of the food you’re cooking.
Some grill lights feature changeable hues like red, blue, or green. These options are for creating a mood, not precisely lighting your work space. Colorful lights won’t help you see the difference between a rib-eye that’s medium and one that’s done medium-well.
Most grill lights use LED bulbs, with a light typically having three to seven bulbs per fixture. LEDs use little power while producing a bright, white light. They also last a long time on a charge, with some LED bulbs rated for up to 10 hours of use.
It’s important to look for a light that’s adjustable so you can direct light precisely where you need it. Some grill lights provide a flood-type beam that illuminates the entire cooking surface. These lights can be adjusted by tilting them up or down to center the beam.
Other grill lights have a gooseneck that allows you to point the light from a variety of angles. These super-adjustable lights work well with deep grills.
There are two basic ways to attach a grill light: magnets and clamps.
- Magnetic lights attach the light to the grill via a magnetized base. They’re easy to use and work well as long as your grill isn’t made of aluminum or any other nonferrous metal, and as long as you have a flat surface to attach it. It’s a good idea to test your grill to see how magnetic its surface is before buying a magnetic light. Magnets do not stick to some stainless-steel grills.
- Clamp-on lights attach to the grill with a screw-tight clamp. They’re usually padded so they won’t scratch your grill.
Some grill lights have both magnets and clamps, making them functional with a wider variety of grills.
While some grill lights plug into an outlet, most use either AA or AAA batteries. Battery-powered lights are more portable, and many can use rechargeable batteries. Some feature fixed battery packs that are rechargeable via a USB port.
Rechargeable batteries use either lithium-ion or nickel metal hydride (NiMH) technology. NiMH is less expensive up front but produces less power, and output tends to fade as the charge drains. Lithium-ion batteries provide full power until they are drained, and they hold their charge longer. A grill light that runs on lithium-ion batteries will give brighter light and longer battery life.
Grill lights won’t break the bank. The best grill lights cost less than $50, and good ones cost less than $20. Good-quality LED technology is available at different price points, so there’s no sacrifice of light brightness by going with the value option. Higher-end models offer a few more bells and whistles, like more bulbs inside the light, variable brightness settings, or different color settings.
Our Top Picks
This guide showcases recommendations for some of the best grill lights available.
Talk about lots of light! The KOSIN Grill Light comes in a pack of two. Each one features LED bulbs that provide a bright, wide beam with three levels of brightness controlled with a single waterproof button: 100 percent, 50 percent, and flashlight. Its magnetic base mounts easily to the grill hood or frame, no tools needed.
The KOSIN’s 5-inch gooseneck flexes 360 degrees, so you can point the beam of light exactly where you need it. The water-resistant aluminum alloy housing can withstand grill heat and wet weather. Each light will run for up to 48 hours and is powered by three AAA batteries that are included.
The Weber 7661 Handle Grill ’N Go Light has a low-profile design that’s made to fit Weber’s Spirit, Genesis, and Summit series grills, plus many other grill brands. One of its best features is a motion sensor that turns on the light when the grill hood is opened, preserving battery power by running only when you need it. Powered by three AAA batteries, the grill light has a 20-hour run time and plenty of power for consistently bright LED light. This light is bright, weatherproof, easy to install, and heat resistant.
The Char-Broil LED Grill Handle Light is a floodlight style that clamps onto the handle of your grill with the turn of a bolt you can tighten by hand, no tools needed. It has a swivel that lets you adjust it up or down so you can point the beam of light where you need it. It’s powered by two AA batteries (not included), and has 10 LED bulbs that provide ample light for cooking after dark. Its plastic housing isn’t waterproof, so this may not be the one for anyone looking for a light that can be left outdoors on the grill when it’s not in use.
The Image Magnetic Ultra-Bright Barbecue Grill Light will stay put while you adjust it mid-cooking, thanks to its strong magnetic base. This model comes in a pack of two, so you can use them to illuminate a large grill surface. The light is on a 5-inch gooseneck that allows you to adjust the beam to many positions. The light has two brightness modes, offering flood- or spot-lighting. The housing is made of durable aluminum alloy that can withstand high temperatures without cracking or warping. Three AAA batteries power each light for up to 48 hours of run time. These lights come with a storage case, too, so you can take them inside and put them away when you’re done cooking.
The 2-Pack COB LED Work Light will run up to 4 hours with no fading thanks to its built-in, rechargeable lithium-ion battery. With five light settings, this model can be used for a variety of tasks around the home. It recharges with a USB adapter that’s included. The light uses chip technology to increase the lumens for bright floodlight illumination that’s more energy-efficient than standard LEDs. Its head rotates 360 degrees to illuminate the grill surface from your preferred angle. There are two ways to attach it to the grill: a magnetic base or a swivel hook that hangs from the grill handle.
The FIREOR Barbecue Grill Light comes in a pack of two. Each light has nine LED bulbs that shine 75 lumens on the grill surface. The lights attach to grill hoods or frames with magnetic bases, and the adjustable heads can be positioned in many directions with their 4.3-inch goosenecks. They provide a wide, glare-free beam. The grill light’s housing is made of heat- and weather-resistant aluminum alloy that can stand up to the heat of the grill. Each is powered by three AAA batteries (included).
Sometimes the best grill light for the job is a headlamp. The Energizer VISION LED Headlamp resists water and can stand up to use in bad weather. So if you’re barbecuing in a downpour, this light will power through the damp and dark. The headlamp shines up to 400 lumens of bright LED light and includes a wide-focus mode that lights up an entire grill surface. It’s adjustable: your neck is its gooseneck because it shines wherever you look. And since it attaches to your head, there’s no worry about finding a light that’s compatible with your grill design. Choose from the USB rechargeable or alkaline battery model. It runs up to 4 hours on a charge.
FAQs About Your New Grill Light
After choosing a new grill light, you may still have questions. Read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked grill light questions.
Q. Do aluminum grill lights get hot?
Grill lights that are attached to the handle or hood of a grill get hot. Adjust them for proper focus before turning on the grill, not after, to avoid injury.
Q. Should I get AA- or AAA-battery-powered grill lights?
AA batteries provide the same voltage and more current than AAA batteries. That means AA batteries have about three times the capacity of AAA batteries, so a light powered by AA batteries will last longer and give brighter light than one powered by AAA batteries.
Q. When should I use a grill light?
Use a grill light to illuminate the grill’s cooking surface whenever the ambient light is not enough.