Weber barbecues are built to last, so they'll be good for more than one summer of alfresco cooking. This is a gas model, preferred to charcoal by some people because they heat up more quickly and are easier to clean. This highly portable item has push-button ignition and a big cooking space despite its compact dimensions.

(01756 692 600;

2. Darwin Party Kettle £79.98

It takes longer to get charcoal going, but for some people it's the only way to grill: they insist that the food tastes better. They don't even mind the fact that there's cleaning and ash disposal to be done afterwards. This model, available from B&Q, is simple but effective, with adjustable charcoal tray, a lid to hold heat and wheels to make it easy to manoeuvre.


3. Q-Grill £100

This is a pleasingly portable gas-fired design - the steel frame folds up flat, with a carry-handle on the top. It heats up very quickly, and the handles are heat-resistant, so you don't have to wait for it to cool down before you put it away. There's also a light to make cooking in the dusk or dark easier.

(0870 745 2000;

4. Outback Elite £299.99

Outback barbecues aren't cheap, but you get what you pay for - in this case, a sturdy gas barbecue that can be left outside all year. Outback originated in (guess) Australia, but now has a global following. This hooded two-burner, solid and neat, has a porcelain-coated hood and warming rack to keep freshly grilled food hot while you wait for the rain to stop.

(01622 671 771;

5. Focus Canberra £79.99

For outdoor chefs looking for something different, why not invest in a firepit? These barbecue alternatives look dramatic and provide a good amount of heat to warm any patio-goers. Made from cast iron with a removable grill, the firepit will make an eye-catching addition to the garden. Although this is a safety firepit, it's probably best to avoid this type of barbecue if you have small children.

(; 0800 652 1028)

6. Homebase Mirano £79.99

A kettle design means a round shape, known for its efficiency and heat distribution. This charcoal model has a good-sized cooking area. A pull-out ash collector and chrome plated cooking grid make it easy to clean, and the distinctive lid allows you to roast and grill.

(0845 077 8888;

7. Weber Performer £329.99

Although this model uses charcoal, it has a gas ignition system, so it's easy to light the coals. There's a dual-purpose thermometer to measure temperature inside the grill and to probe the food for what Weber calls "doneness". There's ash to dispose of, but the Weber system is as painless as possible. Excellent.

(01756 692 600;

8. George Foreman Double Champion £79.99

The former world heavyweight champ's grills offer an easy and healthy way to cook meat and vegetables. This electric grill works indoors and out and has a large cooking area - there's a grill pressing down on top as well as underneath, so it cooks speedily, and the hinge moves up to accommodate larger cuts of meat.

(0870 600 3030;

9. Alabama 4-burner £399.98

If you've got the space, this stainless-steel gas machine is grand. It has a porcelain enamelled cooking grill (easy to clean) and castor wheels, which make it easy to move around despite its size. There's plenty of storage space for the food you're about to cook, plus rails for tools and a side burner too. Available from B&Q.


10. Hot Spot electric £99.99

The Hot Spot works indoors and out, and if you've started cooking before a deluge, it's easy to remove the grill from the stand to bring it indoors. The easily adjustable thermostat allows heat up to 400F.

(0870 241 1066;