Can I Leave My Grill Outside in the Rain?

Rain is pouring down and you’re cozied up inside—but your barbecue is sitting outdoors, unable to escape the downpour. So how much rain is too much rain for your grill?

Barbecue grills live outside most of the time and are typically built to withstand some weather-related wear and tear, but they are not indestructible. Moisture can damage even treated metal over time, so if your gas grill was left out in the rain or your charcoal grill got rained on, you may be wondering what exactly your grill can tolerate when it comes to wet weather conditions.

If you have a tendency to forget to cover your grill after it cools or you simply can’t be bothered to head back out there once the rain has started, you’ll likely want to know if it is ok to leave your grill outside in the rain.

The short answer is that you can leave your grill outside in the rain for a short time, as long as you plan to dry it soon after. The long answer is a bit more complicated, but we’ve got the key information you need.

In this post we will explore:

  • Can I leave my grill outside in the rain?
  • What to do if it starts raining while you are grilling
  • What to do if you left your grill out in the rain

Let’s get started.

Can I Leave My Grill Outside In The Rain?

Whether or not you can leave your grill outside on the rain depends on whether it is covered:

If your grill is covered: As a general rule, you can leave your grill outside if you keep it covered to prevent rust, mildew, and debris from ruining it.

If your grill is uncovered: If your grill does not have a cover and is not protected by some type of overhang, you really shouldn’t leave it out in the rain. If you do leave it in the rain for any reason, dry it thoroughly afterwards and clean it to prevent rust and mildew from forming.

Don’t have a cover for your grill? Find the right fit:

What To Do If It Starts Raining While You Are Grilling

If it starts raining while you are grilling, it’s okay to finish cooking so long as it is a light rain. If it starts thundering and lightning out (or worse), turn off your grill and go inside immediately—for your own safety more than your grill’s. It’s okay to leave your grill uncovered in the rain until it stops raining.

Otherwise, if you have an umbrella handy, try to keep your grill out of the rain as much as possible while you are grilling, especially when you have the lid open. This is less about protecting your barbecue and more about protecting whatever you’re cooking.

What To Do If You Left Your Grill Out In The Rain

By now you know it’s best to cover a grill before it rains, but that isn’t always an option if the weather comes on suddenly. If your grill gets caught in an unexpected deluge, wait till after it stops raining and your grill has cooled, then dry it with towels before you cover it up to protect it from rust and corrosion.

  • If your gas grill was left out in the rain, dry and cover it as soon as you can.
  • If your charcoal grill got rained on, you’ll have to check if the charcoal got wet. If the lid was on it might be salvageable, but if the briquettes got really wet you may need to replace them.

If your barbecue has been outside uncovered for multiple days after getting wet, you should clean your grill before covering it and also inspect your grill for any signs of rust or damage:

  1. Disassemble the grill to access any rusty components that need cleaning.
  2. Spray the rust with your cleaner of choice and then let it sit for a few minutes—longer if it is very rusty.
  3. Scrub away the rust with a brush.
  4. Clean the area or component with soapy water to remove residue.
  5. Rinse.
  6. Dry it with a towel and let it sit to air dry completely.
  7. Treat with an appropriate BBQ grill seasoning oil or stainless steel polish, depending on the type of metal and part location—use stainless steel polish for exterior stainless steel components, such as the grill hood, side shelves, and cabinet, and use seasoning oil for cast iron parts. There is no need to season stainless steel burners or heat plates.
  8. Reassemble any components you have removed.

Read our troubleshooting guides to find out what to do with rusty components:


While durable by design, grills really shouldn’t be left out in the rain unprotected for extended periods of time.