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Stainless Steel Vs Cast Iron Grill Grates

Stainless Steel Vs Cast Iron Grill Grates: Which Is Better?

When you’re grilling food, it’s important to have the right surface that will allow for even cooking and easy clean up. Stainless steel grill grates are a great option because they can be used with any type of heat source and won’t rust like cast iron. The only downside is stainless steel doesn’t conduct heat as well as cast iron does, so if you want your barbecue to get really hot, then cast iron might be better for you.

Keep reading to learn more about the difference between stainless steel and cast iron grill grates!

Stainless Steel Grill Grates

Stainless steel grill grates are specially designed for grilling at home. They offer a durable and rust resistant cooking surface that can hold up to high heat, while also being able to easily clean the surfaces afterwards.

Much like cast iron grill grates, stainless steel is a very popular material to use in outdoor cooking equipment because of its durability and how well it holds heat. Stainless steel grate bars are typically rectangularly shaped with small holes thats help add more flavor to your food when you cook on them.

These types of grill grates are often used in gas powered appliances because they provide even heating thats capable of reaching very high temperatures.


  • Stainless steel grill grates are much easier to maintain than cast iron, and they will never rust.
  • They can also be put in the dishwasher making them very convenient for home cooks that don’t have a ton of time to clean after using their grill.
  • Another benefit is that stainless steel has an almost nonstick surface.
  • For people who want a smoky flavor this might not be the best choice because it doesn’t really retain any residual food flavors like cast iron does so if you’re cooking over high heat all of the meat flavor will cook off.
  • If you do prefer stainless steel try to get rid of as much excess grease beforehand since it doesn’t hold onto it like cast iron does, which could help prevent flare ups.


  • Stainless steel is worth investing in for people who use their grill frequently and want a long lasting product but if you only use your grill a few times a year the slightly higher maintenance requirements probably aren’t worth it – so consider how often you actually intend to use your grill before investing just on the basis of its material.
  • Stainless steel does not tend to hold onto flavors like some other materials do, such as cast iron, meaning that if you just want something super quick on the grill this might not be ideal.
  • Another downside is that if you don’t keep it clean and dry after each use then rust spots are a real possibility.

Cast Iron Grill Grates

Cast iron has been used to make cookware for thousands of years, and it is still widely popular today. Cast iron grill grates are made from cast iron bars that have been riveted together with a steel rod or bar through the middle.

The metal may be enamel coated and then sealed in at high temperatures, rendering them non-porous and rust resistant.

Many cooks prefer this type of grill grate because it is one of the only materials that retains heat evenly throughout its surface, which gives you more precise temperature control on your cooking surface.

Additionally, these sturdy grids work well over both gas and charcoal grills.


  • Cast iron is a lot less expensive than a lot of stainless steel options, and it takes on flavors very well making it ideal for high heat searing.
  • Food sticks to it a whole lot less which makes for easier flipping and turning on the grill.
  • Cast iron will also retain its nonstick surface longer than some other materials because of its low maintenance requirements as well as durability.
  • Another benefit of cast iron is that it can be seasoned just like you would any other cast iron cookware meaning that if cared for properly you have little to no chance of getting rust spots from exposure to water over time, plus those small spots won’t affect the flavor as much as they would with stainless steel.
  • Just be sure to avoid soap when washing since any residue will cause rust spots.


  • The main downside to cast iron, as mentioned previously, is that it can rust if left wet or washed with soap which isn’t ideal for people who want to sear meat properly on their grill – but this issue can be solved by using a cast iron grate cleaner after every use.
  • The seasoning process for cast-iron requires a lot of effort up front but yields great benefits down the line in terms of flavor retention and nonstick properties.
  • As far as maintenance goes if not cared for properly cast iron will rust more quickly, especially when exposed to the elements, but if you are careful about turning it over during storage and wiping it dry after each use then rust shouldn’t be a problem.

Which Is Easier To Maintain?

After reading about the pro’s and con’s of each type of grate , which would you say is easier to maintain?

Stainless steel grill grates are definitely easier to clean out after each use. They do not rust and will not catch fire, unlike the cast iron grate.

On the other hand, since stainless steel is a newer material than cast iron, it can be less durable . The downside of using a stainless steel grate is that they can catch fire easily and rust.

So before going out to buy your grill grates, consider how often you’ll use them along with any storage capacity you may need as well as how much money you’re able to spend.

Stainless Steel Vs Cast Iron Grill Grates Comparison Table

  Stainless Steel Grill Grates Cast Iron Grill Grates
Heat Heats rapidly and quickly loses heat Heat retention/transfer performance is excellent
Sear Marks Sear marks are less distinct The finest sear marks
Looks After usage, develops a yellow, orange, or purple patina Sleek and black, yet prone to rust stains
Durability Extremely robust Maintenance is required to keep the product durable.
Maintenance Exceptionally minimal maintenance High maintenance

Stainless Steel Grill Grates Vs Cast Iron: Which Is Better?

Ultimately, the choice of material is really up to you. If you’re an adventurer who likes to travel with their grill, stainless steel grate bars are easy to clean and maintain so they would be your best bet. Cast iron grates can create beautiful grill marks on food, but also retain more heat than stainless steel. This means that they will cook faster under direct high-heat conditions, so it might be better for someone who isn’t in a rush when cooking all the parts of their meal . Consider these differences before buying next time!

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