Blackstone Vs Camp Chef: A Comparison of The Leading Grill Brands

November 14, 2022

The two most notable differences between Camp Chef and Blackstone grills are the grease management system and the griddle size. Camp Chef has a grease trap at the front and a smaller cooking surfer area while Blackstone has a grease cup at the back and a larger griddle surface. The Blackstone griddle is especially handy if you have large gatherings often but it will be easier to manage the grease on a Camp Chef grill.

I have had my Camp Chef unit for at least a decade and when I came across a Blackstone griddle at my brother’s cookout I was intrigued and got myself one. Since then I have been asked so many times which of the two grills is the superior product.

Instead, I have decided to do a thorough review of both griddles. This article highlights everything you need to know about Blackstone and Camp Chef grills. Let’s get started.

Blackstone vs Camp Chef

Blackstone Vs Camp Chef: Which is Better and Why?

Blackstone vs Camp Chef is no easy undertaking. Both Blackstone and Camp Chef are solid brands with reliable grills which means most of the characteristics of both grills will overlap. There is also a massive overlap between different models produced by the same company.

In my experience, each model is optimized for specific experiences such as portability or maximum heat distribution. So, in my view, the better question is which brand or model would be the ideal choice for you. 

To answer this effectively, I will compare the two models I own which are Blackstone 36 and Camp Chef Flat Top 600. These models have similar specs and features.

Specifications Table: Blackstone 36 Vs Camp Chef 600

Preview
Blackstone Flat Top Gas Grill Griddle
Blackstone 36 inch Outdoor Flat Top Gas Grill...
Camp Chef Flat Top Grill
Camp Chef Flat Top Grill, True Seasoned...
Griddle size
720 square inches
604 square inches
Total Heat Output
60,000 BTUs
48,000 BTUs
Grease Management
Grease cup at the back
Front grease trough
Fuel Source
Propane gas tank
Propane gas tank
Weight
120 lbs
140 lbs
Ignition
Matchless ignition
Matchless ignition
Build
Steel frame & 4 wheels
Steel frame & 2 wheels
Versatility
Griddle only option
Griddle & Grill grate
Blackstone Flat Top Gas Grill Griddle
Preview
Blackstone 36 inch Outdoor Flat Top Gas Grill...
Griddle size
720 square inches
Total Heat Output
60,000 BTUs
Grease Management
Grease cup at the back
Fuel Source
Propane gas tank
Weight
120 lbs
Ignition
Matchless ignition
Build
Steel frame & 4 wheels
Versatility
Griddle only option
Camp Chef Flat Top Grill
Preview
Camp Chef Flat Top Grill, True Seasoned...
Griddle size
604 square inches
Total Heat Output
48,000 BTUs
Grease Management
Front grease trough
Fuel Source
Propane gas tank
Weight
140 lbs
Ignition
Matchless ignition
Build
Steel frame & 2 wheels
Versatility
Griddle & Grill grate

Camp Chef Flat Top 600 Vs Blackstone 36: A Side-By-Side Comparison

Now that you have the grill features, let’s do a deep dive into Camp Chef vs Blackstone on the most important aspects of grilling and griddling.

Cooking Surface

The cooking surface is a major point of consideration since it is the component that’s most impacted by both heat and the cooking activity involved in grilling. 

The best outdoor griddle should have a cooking surface that can withstand a flurry of cooking activity, high heat, cleaning, and possibly long periods of storage.

Material Of The Griddle Surface

Both Blackstone and Camp Chef flat-top griddles come with cold rolled steel griddle surfaces which is a strong metal. Cold rolled steel is not only a durable material but it has superior heat conductivity and retention, unlike stainless steel. 

Winner: Tie

Griddle Size

Grilling for the family can comfortably be done on smaller models but my guess is that you are looking for a griddle that offers a large cooking area to make a feast if and when you decide to do so. 

Outdoor cooking is an activity that can be relished with friends and family alike, so you want a large cooking surface to accommodate lots of food.

Get the Blackstone if this is your need. 720 square inches is a sufficient cooking area for at least 16 steaks or 72 hot dogs.

Camp Chef flat top grill has a smaller cooking area so it does not perform too badly in this department either with a 604 square inch griddle area.

Winner: Blackstone 36

Even Heat Distribution

Camp Chef flat-top grill may have the upper hand as far as heat distribution is concerned. The griddle has a heat plate attached beneath it that absorbs heat retaining it and consequently spreading it across the griddle above it evenly.

I discovered this when I used the Blackstone on a windy day. I had never experienced cool spots or uneven heat distribution when using the Camp Chef griddle which got me wondering what was happening to my Blackstone griddle.

Since there is room between the burners and the griddle surface, external factors such as strong winds or cold days mean that the heat from the burners can be lost which is not very efficient.

The heat plate attached to the Camp Chef griddle solves this problem by creating a channeling effect for the heat. The heat plate is very close to the burners which means that it absorbs heat and it remains hot all through. 

The fact that it’s attached to the griddle means that the flat-top grill gets to have an even amount of heat running throughout the grilling surface as you cook. 

In fact, the cool spots on the Camp Chef are on the far ends of the griddle top while the Blackstone griddle does have a cooking heat spot that concentrates around the middle area of the griddle and a larger surface area of the griddle margins remains cooler. 

This may mean that some heat is lost on the Blackstone model. The extra cooking area and heat output of the Blackstone griddle may make up for the uneven heat distribution but all things considered, on colder windier weekends, the Camp Chef is the better option here.

Winner: Camp Chef 600

Camp Chef FLAT TOP 600 Grill

Grill Plus Griddle

This grill plus griddle top combo is unique to the Camp Chef flat top grill. You can switch out the flat top griddle for the traditional grill grate if you so wish, which I realized is pretty amazing when you want a traditional style grill and massive direct heat applied to your food.

The Blackstone only has the flat-top grill so if you want to have both, Camp Chef is the griddle for you.

Winner: Camp Chef 600

Ignition System

The ignition systems on both models are automatic matchless systems which make them easy to use. However, the burners on the Blackstone can only be ignited sequentially, which means you cannot use any single burner or two burners independent of the others.

While this may not be an issue when you are cooking for large groups, you may not want to fire up the entire griddle to make a family dinner.

The Camp Chef ignition system allows you to fire up any burner you would like and use it independently of the others. Perhaps you just want the front burners to make some hash browns. On the Camp Chef model, you can.

If it comes down to Camp Chef vs Blackstone, Camp Chef takes the cake on this one.

Winner: Camp Chef 600

Heat Output

BTU, which stands for British Thermal Unit, is a measure of heat output. The Blackstone has four stainless steel burners have an output of 60,000 BTUs which is significantly higher than the 48,000 BTUs that the Camp Chef flat-top grill produces.

This one is a tough comparison because the larger size of the Blackstone cooking surface combined with more heat should ultimately make it the better griddle but Camp Chef performs just as well, despite the lower heat output.

The Camp Chef also has four stainless steel burners. The overall heat output of the Camp Chef griddle is lower but outstanding in terms of heat distribution and regulation.

The temperature of the cooking area may be able to hold a significant amount of heat without overheating because of the griddle and heat plate combo.

That said, if you need to adjust the heat, you can do so with the four temperature control knobs. This means you will certainly not burn your food on either one of these flat-top grill surfaces, and the temperature will not go out of control.

Both of these models come with a propane tank and holder.

Winner: Camp Chef 600

Grease Management System

The Blackstone flat-top grill has a rear grease management system meaning the grease cup is attached at the back of the flat-top grill while the Camp Chef grease disposal trough is at the front of the cooking surface. 

The Camp Chef grease trough empties through a grease drain hole into a collection cup attached to the left foldable shelf. This cup can simply be detached when you need to get rid of the grease and food debris.

I find that it comes naturally to me to pull the grease and food debris towards myself which is why I prefer the Camp Chef grease management system. 

This is not a major problem for me but I often forget to push grease away from me and end up pulling it toward myself when I use the Blackstone. 

Since the Blackstone is the recent addition I am still unconscious of the different placement of the grease cup. It is simply a habit I will have to rewire as I get used to using the Blackstone griddle. 

In my opinion, the grease management system comes down to preference or simple habit. It will not affect how you use the griddle overall but this seems to be an important factor for many people.

Winner: Tie

Blackstone Grill in the Grass Ground

Preseasoned Vs Unseasoned

Camp Chef griddles come preseasoned and are advertised as ready-to-cook surfaces while the Blackstone griddles are not. Blackstone griddles should be seasoned for the first time immediately after they are unwrapped to prevent any danger of rusting or corroding.

That being said, I would advise seasoning your new Camp Chef griddle as soon as you get it to avoid any danger of corrosion, rusting, or lasting heat damage from your first round of cooking.

It may appear redundant or tiresome to season the griddle if you are not using it immediately. It is safe to assume that you cannot be 100 percent certain that the elements will not impact the griddle surface if it is unseasoned.

The preseasoned surfaces on a Camp Chef grill are only completely safe because they are sealed and stored in warehouses whose conditions are controlled. Your porch or backyard may expose your griddle to the elements and you shouldn’t take such a risk.

Winner: Tie

Maintenance and Cleaning

Cold-rolled steel is easy to clean and keep clean. The cooking surfaces will last long if you keep them clean and free of any stuck foods or moisture that might encourage the formation of rust.

Winner: Tie

Hood or No Hood

Some models come with a cover and a hood which is a metal lid but these two models don’t. While a well-seasoned griddle surface is sufficient protection, a hood or a cover will be an added layer of protection and you want as much protection as possible.

A hood has an added advantage. When cooking, a hood can create a heat dome that will concentrate the heat on the food from above creating a nice crunchy top layer without having to flip every single bun you have on the griddle.

If you pick either of these models, you will have to buy a hood separately. Fortunately, the Blackstone 5004 Hard Top Lid is compatible with both the Camp Chef Flat Top 600 and Blackstone 36 flat top grills.

Winner: Blackstone 36

Portability

Grill lovers are always one step away from becoming campers. The lure of the outdoor experience is always calling so a griddle that you can just fold up and pack into the back of the truck is an appealing choice.

Either Camp Chef or Blackstone would be a great choice for camping and they both meet the threshold for portability in my book.

The Blackstone is the better choice if you go on a camping trip simply because it is twenty pounds lighter and folds up much faster. 

The fact that it has four wheels also means it is easier to push around compared to the Camp Chef which is not ideal for such maneuverability. Camp Chef griddles have two wheels which means that once you have set it up for cooking, moving it from one spot to the other is not an option.

Lifting and loading both of these Blackstone and Camp Chef models is a two-man job but there are better grill models suited for quick packing and easy carrying compared to these two so the options are available if portability is high on your priority list.

Some grills use electricity and some are gas-powered. When choosing one for portability, always remember that electricity is limiting since it demands that the grill is placed at a power output. 

A gas griddle can be set up anywhere. Camping is also an endeavor to unplug so a gas griddle will allow you to retreat away from civilization to enjoy a more natural setting. They are a world of fun.

Winner: Blackstone 36

Meat and Veggies to Grill on Blackstone Grill

Ease of Assembly

Either model is an easy-to-assemble griddle but the Blackstone is so straightforward. Camp Chef may take time to put together but this will not matter in the long run. Once assembled, you are good to go.

Winner: Blackstone 36

Price

In general, both Camp Chef and Blackstone griddles can be considered pricey but in my view, the models also have a superior quality build and impressive longevity which is worth every penny.

Despite this, the Blackstone 36 is relatively cheaper compared to the Camp Chef 600 and this is true for most models in the same rank in terms of features.

If your grill budget is a point of consideration, then a Blackstone is the friendlier option here. Camp Chef is more expensive.

Winner: Blackstone 36

Customer Support

Making such an investment in large mechanical appliances is difficult enough but without sufficient support, especially in the early months of use, the learning curve can be frustrating. Novices are particularly vulnerable since simple issues can cause panic if they cannot fix them on their own.

In my experience, instruction manuals are notoriously inefficient, which is why I would consider customer support integral when buying any large appliance.

Camp Chef is hands down the winner as far as customer support is concerned. This may be due to the fact that it is an older company and they have had more experience cataloging and attending to consumer issues.

Blackstone still has room for improvement here and they are going to catch up.

Winner: Camp Chef 600

Warranty

For such impressive companies, their warranties truly fall short. Both companies offer a meager 1-year of coverage which is barely sufficient. If faults show up past the one-year mark they will not cover them. 

A year may not be enough time for most people who buy these appliances to work out if it has kinks. The upside is that both Camp Chef and Blackstone grills have stellar reputations as far as the workmanship is concerned which means you may never need to use the warranty.

Blackstone has a slightly better warranty since it covers the paint and finishes in the one-year period while Camp Chef grill warranties exclude damage to the paint and finishes.

Winner: Blackstone 36

An Overview of Blackstone Grills

Blackstone is a relatively new American company that specializes in the manufacture of flat-top grills and griddles. Founded in 2008, Blackstone makes an array of outdoor cooking equipment and accessories including griddling kits, apparel, and seasonings.

Though they may make these extra products, it is essential to note that their mission is to make the best outdoor cooking and grilling equipment. So, you will not find any other equipment in their catalog but griddles and associated items.

Blackstone 36-inch Outdoor Flat Top Gas Grill

An Overview of Camp Chef Flat Top Grills

Camp Chef is also an American brand but unlike Blackstone. They have been in this market since 1990. This means Camp Chef has had a three-decade-long stint in this niche making them one of the most reliable companies to buy from.

The current president of the company Ty Measom founded Camp Chef after realizing that there were no optimal cooking appliances for outdoor cooking and grilling.

Camp Chef successfully filled this gap with their sturdy dependable flat-top grills and griddles and the company is trusted for its consistent use of the best materials and workmanship.

In recent years, Camp Chef has diversified its portfolio to include other cooking appliances such as cast iron pans and grilling apparel.

Why Should You Get An Outdoor Griddle?

If you’re wondering whether getting an outdoor griddle is a worthy investment, the answer is YES! Get one.

A regular grill is great but you will be missing out on the versatility that outdoor griddles provide. Imagine having to cook for twenty or thirty people a menu that includes steaks, burgers, sausages, buns, pancakes, eggs bacon, and cheese. 

You will only be able to cook a few of these items on a regular grill. Pancakes, bacon, and cheese are just a few of the things you will have to cook in the kitchen on a different appliance. 

Outdoor griddles have enough cooking space and you can cook all these dishes comfortably in one place and in one go.

Cooking also becomes a great experience if the whole party can enjoy the outdoors around the grill, while the top chef churns out one delicacy after another. No one gets to be in the kitchen isolated from the fun outside.

An outdoor griddle is just the best.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Gas Griddle

Overall Griddle Size and Heat Output

The griddle size dictates the number of meals you will be able to make at a go, which means a small cooking space could become tiresome if you have to repeat the pancake rounds four or five times. 

Griddle size is also related to the number of burners and consequently, the heat output that you will be working with. 

If your griddle is only for family and a few friends, then a two-burner may be sufficient. However, if you are like me and like throwing barbecue lunches for friends, family and neighbors, then the four or six-burner griddle is the better choice. 

Consider the cooking space carefully before picking any model.

Griddle Surface Material

As it is, the models available provide two good choices which are cold-rolled steel and ceramic-coated griddle surfaces. Both these surfaces are a great choice, and with the right care and maintenance, they will outlive you.

These surfaces hold up well against corrosion but manual abrasion from metal spatulas can damage both surfaces. Ensure that your outdoor griddle surface material is completely groove-free before buying it.

Portability

If you have a penchant for camping and travel, consider the portability of your griddle. 

Choose a griddle station that is small enough to ferry around but large enough to cook a variety of dishes in comfortably. The bulk of your griddle will affect your camping experience.

Barbecue Outdoor Grill

Fuel Source

Electric griddles restrict the movement and placement of the griddle station, so a backyard experience may be limited if your griddle is powered by electricity. A propane tank is more convenient.

A propane gas griddle provides greater mobility and you can move your outdoor cooking equipment around on the porch as you cook. You can even use gas griddles on the grass as you enjoy some much-needed sunshine.

Price

The cost of different models and brands is different, with some models going for a tidy sum. That said, reputable brands known for superior performance don’t come cheap and more than make up for the extra dollar in longevity and stellar functionality.

Don’t get shy about spending on a good outdoor griddle.

What Shouldn’t Concern You When Buying an Outdoor Gas Griddle

Extra Features and Accessories

In my experience, grilling is a fairly carefree relaxed activity compared to many other forms of cooking such as gourmet cooking. It is an easy-going activity and the fun lies in the simplicity. 

Extra features and accessories often justify an extra buck but end up being underutilized or unused altogether.

Grill box attachments may also get in the way of moving the griddle from place to place since the griddle now has a bunch of items all over it. Camp Chef’s flat-top grill has a very simplistic build.

A good example of this is the air fryers that come with the Blackstone 36” 1868 flat-top grill unit. Everywhere I have seen this model, the air fryers are not utilized. Partly because the griddling is the fun part and also because the air fryers need to be plugged in. 

They run on electricity confining the entire griddle to the porch. This means that they tend to be underused which is not great value for money. While some accessories may come in handy, they are not necessary or crucial to the griddling activity. 

Other griddle accessories that may be included are:

  • Trash bag holders
  • Hooks
  • Bottle openers
  • Paper towel holder
  • Side shelves
  • Storage cabinets

Is A Blackstone Griddle Better Than Other Brands?

Blackstone stands out because it is a relatively new entrant in the outdoor grill market but has managed to secure the trust and approval of many griddling lovers. Blackstone griddles have proven over and over that the manufacturer knows their craft.

What Grill Is Comparable To Blackstone?

I would place Camp Chef right up there alongside Blackstone. Blackstone vs Camp Chef is a fair tussle since these two brands make the best outdoor griddles and can go head-to-head in terms of quality and performance.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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