Flat top grills have been rising in popularity among outdoor cooks, and Blackstone is a market leader in outdoor gas griddles.
Blackstone is an excellent griddle choice, but you may be torn between which model to purchase. Though they have a handful of various options available, two of the most popular griddles made by Blackstone are the 28-inch and 36-inch models.
In this article, we will make an in-depth comparison of the two. We will weigh the similarities and differences of the Blackstone 28″ and 36″ griddles and give you the info you need to decide which size option best meets your needs.
The truth is that the differences between these two go beyond their sizes. They have different designs, and understanding these differences is crucial if you want to make the correct choice.
The 36-inch griddle, for example, has four burners, while the 28-inch one has two.
These two griddles have different price points, so you want to weigh the value that each one provides to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth.
What are the Design Similarities Between the Two?
Before we consider the design of these two griddles, the first thing to note is that they both use liquid propane. The same fuel source that you use for existing gas grills will work for both Blackstone griddles.
Both the 28-inch and 36-inch models offer the rear grease trap making it easy to push food scraps and oil off the cooking surface.
Each of these models is very durable and has thick steel frames that making them quite sturdy.
The 28 and 36-inch Blackstones have powder coating, which helps protect the steel from rust and scratches.
The cooking surface itself is cold-rolled. The cold-rolling makes for efficient heat distribution on the cooking surface and retains more heat for fast and even cooking.
In other words, your food cooks faster and stays warm for longer when left on the griddle, even though the burners might be off.
What Are The Design Differences Between The Two?
The most obvious difference is size. The 28-inch is smaller, measuring 44.5 inches by 19.5 inches by 33.5 inches. It weighs 75 pounds.
The 36-inch unit, on the other hand, measures 40 inches by 25 inches by 14.5 inches and weighs 134 pounds.
The 28-inch griddle also has fewer side shelves than the 36-inch griddle. The 28 has just two shelves. Meanwhile, the 36 has three: one at the bottom, one on the right, and one on the left.
As a result, you get a lot more working space with the 36-inch griddle. One of the 36-inch griddle’s best practical features is that the shelf on the right side comes with a garbage bag hook and a removable cutting board. It also has a paper towel holder right beneath the side shelf.
If you’re looking for more versatility, both models are offered with a built-in air fryer. The 36-inch air fryer model was the first version of this, but Blackstone recently released a 28-inch air fryer model.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Between the Two
Now that we have a clear idea of the similarities and differences between the two, let’s look at the various factors we can use to compare them.
The cooktop size is important when you’re holding large get-togethers. Larger is not always better, but if you’re having frequent gatherings, it certainly is worthwhile to go as big as you can.
How big is big enough? If you are a frequent host, and you need to have the capacity to serve between six and 10 people at a moment’s notice, then the 36-inch option is the obvious choice.
With this model, you can cook everything you need without having to hurry or rush. The higher price tag will seem worthwhile because the size makes hosting a large group less stressful.
If large gatherings are not on the menu, a smaller griddle could work. Sometimes you’re alone or with a few friends or family members. Perhaps you usually have laid-back get-togethers where people aren’t too concerned about eating quickly.
For these events, you will want a grill that is versatile enough to serve your group but not so big and expensive that it feels like you spent too much and got more than you need. For these more-relaxed, smaller get-togethers, the Blackstone 28-inch is more than enough.
Both the 36-inch and 28-inch griddles are portable, but not necessarily to the same degree. The 28-inch comes with a pair of caster wheels on two of its four legs. The non-wheeled legs are foldable, and there is a handle on the right side that you can use to maneuver the unit as you move it.
You can then pull it like a wheeled suitcase. It makes it very easy to move and even easier to store. It also makes it an excellent choice for when you’re camping or tailgating.
The 36 inch unit, on the other hand, has two pairs of caster wheels, which translates to a caster wheel for each of its legs. All you have to do is push it around without having to fold up any of the legs.
The four-wheel design makes the 36-inch unit very easy to move, even when you’re going camping. Even with this feature, the Blackstone 36-inch is not nearly as travel-friendly as the 28-inch griddle.
First of all, it takes up more space, and it’s also heavier. That said, the legs are foldable, so you can choose to either push it around or fold the legs up for more stable transportation.
At the very least, both griddles have very secure footing for their wheels and legs, making them stable when stationary. If you don’t plan to transport your griddle, the wheels and foldable legs are not an issue.
When it comes to burners, the Blackstone 36-inch griddle has the advantage. It has four burners, while the 28-inch unit has only two burners.
The four stainless steel burners on the 36-inch griddle can be individually controlled, with each of them delivering up to 15,000 BTU (British Thermal Units) of heat. Since there are four of them, the 36-inch griddle can deliver a total of 60,000 BTU.
The 28-inch griddle also delivers 15,000 BTU per burner. However, since it has only two units, that translates to 30,000 BTU in total.
It also limits you to just two cooking zones, which can be quite the issue when you’re trying to feed many people with different items requiring different cooking temperatures.
The 36-inch griddle, on the other hand, has four cooking zones, allowing you to cook more foods at different temperatures at the same time.
The 36-inch griddle takes up 720 square inches, compared to the 470 square inches occupied by the 28-inch model. The use of space is the cost of having so much cooking space.
The larger griddle will take up more storage space in your home, which is something you should consider.
The 36-inch griddle allows you to cook lots of food, while the 28-inch griddle is better suited to cooking for about four people.
The 36-inch griddle also minimizes the problem of grease spreading on the cooking surface. It uses a rear grease management system, which, while not complicated, is very useful.
The grease management system consists of a hole at the side of the cooking surface that drains away excess grease, so you don’t have to worry about frequently wiping away oil.
The 28-inch griddle offers a similar cooking experience to the 36-inch but with less cooktop space to work with. The food quality should be identical otherwise, and this model also utilizes the rear grease management system found on the 36-inch model.
If you have a storage or space problem at your house, you can go for the 28-inch griddle, which still offers excellent quality.
So which is better? After looking at the numerous similarities and differences, an important question remains: do the design differences between the two griddles justify the approximate $100 difference in price?
They’re both relatively easy to assemble, they both have a quick start button, and both have a removable griddle on top held securely by a steel frame. Both come with a 90-day warranty that covers parts, work quality, and finishings.
On the surface, it seems like you would have nothing to lose if you opted for the cheaper 28-inch griddle over the 36-inch griddle; however, the main advantages of the 36-inch griddle may justify the higher price tag.
It has a larger cooking surface area and doubles the cooking zones over the 28-inch model. If you have more than four people gatherings regularly and better portability isn’t a priority, then investing in the Blackstone 36” griddle is likely the way to go.
The only real downsides of the 36-inch griddle are the higher price tag and larger/heavier than the 28-inch version.
If you won’t cook for large groups, have space restrictions, or look for a lower price tag, then the 28-inch model is a better choice. Many people may find that this smaller option fits better on a patio or deck with limited space and find it easier to transport when needed.
Regardless of your choice, you can be sure that you are getting one of the best flat top grill products on the market from Blackstone.