How we tested
Lately we’ve been noticing that the replaceable steel scrubbing pads on our favorite grill brush from our 2008 testing have been fraying after a few uses, forcing us to replace them more often than we’d like. We decided to return to the backyard to test nine grill brushes in a range of styles, priced from about $8 to $41; that included our old favorite, as well as our former runner-up, which has a similar design but features a wooden handle and a pair of scrub pads rather than a single pad. After baking a messy paint job of barbecue sauce, honey, mustard, and molasses onto cooking grates, we went to work.
Here’s what we concluded: The less complicated the brush the better. Brushes fitted with multiple scrubbing mechanisms usually meant that one was in the way when we tried to employ the other. Hand position also mattered. Our tested method is to preheat the grill to loosen residue before scrubbing, and brushes with short handles got us too close to the heat. However, excessively long handles subtracted scrubbing leverage and often flexed under pressure. Brushes that wore out quickly also lost major points. We also downgraded brushes with bristles that became loose during testing. The Centers for Disease Control warns consumers to be aware that loose bristles left behind on a grill can become lodged in food and ingested, posing a health hazard.
Our former top performers were again the leaders, offering good leverage and thorough scrubbing without undue effort. Still, the scrub pads on our previous favorite, though effective when new, frayed and shredded within a few uses once again. In contrast, the pair of tightly woven steel pads on another brush—our new winner—seemed barely used by the end of testing. A pack of four replacement pads cost $16.95, but you won’t need to change them often. (They also come off for a quick cleaning.) It isn’t cheap, but our winning grill brush is an investment for the long haul.