"Size definitely matters!" says Jason Day, coauthor of BBQ Makes Everything Better. People often underestimate the amount of grill they'll need and run into trouble later. "If you're regularly throwing parties and cooking for large crowds, then you don't want to limit yourself by purchasing a small tailgaters' grill," he says. "Think realistically about the amount of people you'll be feeding most often, and then buy a grill that's slightly larger."
Karmel agrees with Day's assessment, saying that looks can initially deceive: "The grill always looks bigger in the store before you fill it with food to cook."
"Always buy more grill than you need now," advises Raichlen. "You'll grow into it, and as you do, it will stretch your creativity and grilling ability."
So what size works for most families? Raichlen says, "If it's you and a spouse plus a couple of kids, a 22-inch charcoal kettle grill or three-burner gas grill will be fine."
To buy: Cadac 22-inch Neoway Deluxe Kettle Grill, $199 at Wayfair.com