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Outdoor Kitchen Kits: A Deep Dive on The 4 Types, Plus Pros & Cons

By James King

June 27, 2023

Want to spend more time outdoors this summer?

If so, you may be considering an outdoor kitchen.

This will certainly encourage you to get outside more! 

And with outdoor kitchen kits… It’s now easier than ever to get a backyard grill station up and running.

But before you start planning, there’s still much to know.

In this article, we’ll provide you with all the necessary info on outdoor kitchen kits.

Let’s dive in! 

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Couple plating food next to outdoor kitchen

What Is An Outdoor Kitchen Kit?

pro installer header

You may be under the impression that building an outdoor kitchen is a super involved home improvement project.

While this can be the case… It doesn’t have to be.

As little as a decade ago, options for building outdoor kitchens were limited.

But in recent years, this has changed.

Outdoor kitchen kits are a simplified approach to traditional built-from-scratch grill islands.

And in most cases, they’re feasible DIY projects.

They (usually) eliminate the need to hire an expensive contractor to do the work for you!

That said, the amount of work required to install varies depending on the type of kit you opt for.

So, what different types are available?

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Types of Outdoor Kitchen Kits

There are four types of outdoor kitchen kits available… Modular, prefab, ready to finish, and ready to assemble.

Let’s discuss each

Prefab Outdoor Kitchen Kits

Prefab kitchen kits are off-the-rack BBQ islands.

These typically feature a completed metal frame, already finished for you (often with a masonry or stucco veneer).

Appliance cutouts will also already be accounted for.

Most of the time, prefab kitchens will arrive at your home fully assembled. Though, certain prefab kits do require minimal assembly (you may have to drop in appliances or place a countertop).

So, a prefab outdoor BBQ kit certainly sounds convenient!

But before you make any decisions, let’s cover some advantages and disadvantages.

Pro: Prefab Outdoor Kitchen Sets are a Simple Solution

prefab outdoor kitchen with bar seating and built in grilll

Prefab outdoor kitchen kits are an easy solution to add a grill station to your backyard!

There’s no intensive planning required on your part. Essentially all of the work is already done for you. 

You won’t have to spend time agonizing over which appliances to choose… What layout you’d like… Or how to finish your island.

Simply browse online for the kitchen kit that piques your interest, place your order, and it’ll arrive at your doorstep, ready (or nearly ready) to start grilling!

Pro: Prefab Tends to Be Cost Effective

budgeting to save money on outdoor kitchen

If you don’t have an endless budget… A prefab outdoor kitchen may be worth considering.

Depending on size, appliances, and quality… Prefab outdoor kitchens usually cost anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000.

For some perspective, the average cost of an outdoor kitchen is typically in the $13,000 range… So prefab certainly provides a more affordable alternative.

Now, you may be wondering how prefab outdoor kitchen kits are so cheap…

It comes down to quality. 

Con: Prefab Kitchens Can Be Low Quality

outdoor kitchen tile countertop falling apart

There’s a reason why prefab outdoor kitchen kits tend to be inexpensive… And that’s because quality is often far from ideal.

While this may be fine in the short-term… If you want a kitchen that’ll last for decades, prefab won’t cut it.

Most prefab outdoor kitchens are made using the frame method.

They’ll have multiple layers of material… Including the internal metal frame, a cement board and cladding material, and the exterior finish.

This is where the issue lies.

Especially if you live in an area prone to frequent freeze/thaw cycles, the kitchen will settle over time, causing pieces of the exterior finish to fall off… And ultimately leaving the interior metal frame exposed. 

And if the metal isn’t high quality (like 304 stainless steel), it’ll rust, corrode, and crumble… Which doesn’t bode well for the outdoor kitchen structure.

For many, this headache isn’t worth it!

Con: Prefab May Pose a Challenge to Transport

If you don’t have a clear path to your backyard, it’ll be tough to get a fully assembled outdoor kitchen island where it needs to be.

This means you’ll need access to heavy machinery to get it on your back deck or patio… As well as a professional who can operate that heavy machinery.

Not only will this elevate the total cost of your kitchen project… It also means you may have to wait longer than expected to start enjoying your new outdoor kitchen!

Alright. You’ve seen the pros and cons…

If you want to research some specific options… Tytus, BBQGuys, ProFit, and Bull offer prefab outdoor kitchens (to name a few brands).

Now, let’s move onto the next type of outdoor kitchen kit!

Modular Outdoor Kitchen Kits

Like prefab outdoor kitchens… Modular outdoor kitchen kits come fully (or almost fully) assembled for you, with little additional work required to install.

The main difference here? Modular outdoor kitchens are made of smaller, pre-built outdoor kitchen units that you simply place together in your yard to form a cohesive BBQ island.

So, what’re the ups and downs when you take this route?

Pro: Modular Is Easy to Set Up

stainless steel modular outdoor kitchen

You should be able to get a modular grill island up and running in no time!

Unlike certain prefab kitchens… You won’t need heavy machinery to install a modular kitchen in your backyard.

Some cabinets will come completely pre-built, which means you’ll only be responsible for arranging them in your backyard.

Others will require light assembly… But this should be simple enough. You don’t need a high skill cap to get a modular cabinet put together.

And since they’re so easy to set up… Disassembly will be straightforward, too. 

If you have an impermanent living situation, it would be easy to take down, pack up, and bring a modular kitchen setup with you to your next home.

Pro: Modular Is Inexpensive

Like prefab kitchens… Modular kits are a more affordable solution for adding a grill station to your outdoor living space.

Again, total cost will be determined by quality, included appliances, and how many modules you need to create your grill station.

But to give you an idea… Even the largest modular outdoor kitchens don’t often exceed $5,000.00.

If you have a smaller budget and want a short term, cheap outdoor kitchen kit solution… Modular may be the way to go.

Now, let’s look at the flip side. What are the disadvantages of modular?

Con: There Are Limited Finish Options

Modular outdoor kitchens may give you a bit more creative control… But even so, you’ll still be quite limited.

Especially when considering aesthetics… There isn’t a lot of variety here.

Most modular cabinets will have a simple, unembellished metal or plastic exterior, which may not necessarily mesh with your desired backyard style.

If you want a kitchen that’ll visually complement your space… Modular probably isn’t for you.

Con: Modular Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets Are Often Low Quality

As with prefab, most modular outdoor kitchens are admittedly not high quality.

They’re typically made of powder-coated aluminum or a low grade of stainless steel… Both of which will quickly rust or corrode.

Not only will this leave your kitchen looking unsightly, it will also jeopardize its structural integrity.

You may also find plastic or polymer kitchen modules. While these won’t rust or corrode, they instead run the risk of cracking or fading.

And as well as low quality materials, many modular islands will be backed by short warranties, which further speaks to their lack of longevity.

Truthfully, most modular outdoor kitchens simply aren’t long term solutions. 

 At most, you’ll get a few years of use out of one!

So, that wraps up our discussion of modular kitchen kits.

If you want to look more into specific brands… Char-Broil, Ikea, Mont Alpi, Napoleon, Challenger, NewAge, KitchenAid, Weber, and Thor are a few well-known names offering modular outdoor kitchens. 

Otherwise, let’s move onto another method.

Ready To Finish Outdoor Kitchen Kits

Looking for a more involved DIY project? Ready to finish (or RTF) kitchen kits may pique your interest.

Like prefab kitchens, RTF outdoor BBQ kitchen kits usually feature a metal frame wrapped in cement board.

But with this method, it’s up to you to add the exterior finish (whether it be masonry, tile, stucco, or otherwise).

To give you a better idea of what to expect from an RTF kitchen, let’s take a closer look at a few pros and cons.

Pro: You Have More Aesthetic Freedom

Unlike modular and prefab kitchen kits… Ready to finish gives you more room for creative freedom.

You’ll have complete control over the exterior finish… Which means there’s no aesthetic limitations with this method!

You can choose whatever finishing material you’d like, to perfectly match your outdoor space.

Pro: You Can Feel Accomplished

If you finish your RTF kitchen kit on your own, you can enjoy a rewarding sense of accomplishment once the project is complete.

This is no small thing… It’ll certainly add a personal element to your outdoor kitchen project, and give you something to be proud of.

Not to mention, you’ll be fully entitled to bragging rights at your next BBQ party!

A Simple outdoor kitchen solution

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Con: RTF Requires a Higher Skill Cap

To make things clear… It’s certainly possible to complete a RTF kitchen on your own.

That said, you may still have to vet and hire a contractor in order to finish the job.

Especially if you don’t have relevant experience… Finishing your island may be tougher than you’d expect.

And in some cases… RTF islands require a lot more than just a finish.

Depending on the RTF kitchen kit you choose, appliance cutouts may already be done for you… But this isn’t guaranteed.

If the cutouts aren’t done, you’ll be responsible for those, as well.

Point is, RTF kitchen kits may require more work than you’re willing to take on!

And if you hire a contractor to complete the job (which we’d strongly suggest doing), the total cost of your project may quickly increase.

Con: You’ll Have to Find Appliances and Countertops

man applying a food safe concrete finish to concrete countertop

RTF outdoor kitchen frame kits may include appliances and countertops… But oftentimes, these necessary components aren’t part of the package.

Instead, a ready to finish kit usually includes just a bare-bones frame.

If this is the case… It’ll fall on your shoulders to source appliances, as well as hire a professional to install a countertop (or you could build your own, if you’re feeling ambitious).

The good news is, there’ll be no limits on what appliances you include in your outdoor kitchen design.

But since you won’t be paying for everything up front, you’ll want to make sure you keep a close tab on expenses… Which may quickly start to add up!

Con: RTF May Not Hold Up To The Elements

a metal frame outdoor kitchen falling apart after a few winters

Once you’ve put in all that work, you’ll want your RTF kitchen kit to hold up.

Unfortunately, though, your hard work may not withstand the test of time.

RTF kitchens are made with multiple layers of material (the metal frame, cement board, and exterior finish).

This means they won’t be the best at holding up to the elements long term.

As with prefab kitchens, there’s always a risk that your kitchen will settle and delaminate, leaving the inner frame susceptible to rust and corrosion.

We don’t have to tell you that this wouldn’t be ideal!

Alright. That concludes our discussion of RTF kitchen kits.

If you’re interested… Some specific brands include Uniframe Systems, Lynx, Grillnetics, and RTF Systems.

But if you’re not sold on this idea… There’s yet another option to consider.

Ready To Assemble Outdoor Kitchen Kits

Here at RTA, we offer Ready To Assemble kitchen kits.

Our complete outdoor kitchen kits come pre-finished, with appliance cutouts already factored in.

As you can infer from the name... These kits arrive in panels that require light assembly. 

To better see what an RTA kitchen entails, let’s take a closer look at some specific advantages and disadvantages.

Pro: RTA Offers Convenient Assembly in Just a Couple Hours

Let’s kick off with the upsides.

We want to make your outdoor kitchen experience convenient as can be… With kitchens that are straightforward and easy to assemble!

They’ll arrive at your home 95% complete… With no need for heavy equipment to transport them to your backyard.

RTA is unique because everything is provided… The panels, countertop, and appliances come in one cohesive package.

This means it’ll be just a few short hours before your kitchen is up and running… And there’s no need to hire a contractor to do the work for you. (Though if you’d prefer, we do have an extensive contractor network to do the installation for you!)

Simply bolt the panels together, slide the appliances into pre-cut openings, and place the countertop… And voila! Your kitchen is fully installed.

Pro: You Can Be Confident that an RTA Kitchen Will Last a Lifetime

Unlike the other kitchen kits on our list… We can confidently say that every element of an RTA kitchen is built to withstand the test of time.

Our kitchen panels are made of high performance concrete… Which is not only rated for 100 years… It’s also backed by a limited lifetime structural warranty!

These structural panels also prevent the need for an interior frame. 

There’s no risk of rust, corrosion, or delamination here.

The same is true for the countertops, as well!

We offer concrete and granite countertops… Both of which have superior durability.

No matter which you go for… You can be confident that it’ll last for decades.

And not only will the countertops and panels hold up… Your cooking appliances will, too!

We’ve partnered with Coyote Outdoor Living… A company that offers a full suite of premium-grade outdoor appliances.

Like RTA islands, all Coyote products are made to perform outdoors… Featuring 304 stainless steel construction, which’ll hold up to rust and corrosion, rain or shine. 

For even more peace of mind, all Coyote appliances are also backed by a lifetime warranty! 

Pro: There’s No Limit on Customization

With an RTA kitchen, you’ll be able to take the lead on customization, right from the start.

Our online design tool makes this simple… In just a few minutes, you’ll be able to design a full 3D rendering of your custom outdoor BBQ island.

So whether you’re looking for a kitchen for a small space…

Or you need a large island, complete with space for food prep

We’ve got you covered!

With RTA, it’s easy as can be to make sure that your BBQ grill island is the correct size and shape for your space (whether it be L-Shaped, U-shaped, linear, or otherwise).

And to match your specific aesthetic… You can choose from a variety of finishes, handmade and integrated right onto the kitchen panels for you.

These include stacked stone graphite, chalk, and terra, weathered wood ash or umber, reclaimed white brick, modern concrete industrial or bright, as well as modern stone bright and charcoal! 

Our standard offerings include finishes in stacked stone, weathered wood, modern concrete, and reclaimed brick.

But the customization doesn’t end there!

You’ll also have your choice of any premium appliances and accessories from Coyote.

This includes built-in propane or natural gas grills, charcoal grills, kamado smokers, and pellet grills..

Sinks, faucets, side burners, and outdoor refrigerators… And much more. (We also work with Alfa for outdoor pizza ovens!)

So… You get the point. Every facet of your RTA kitchen is entirely up to you! You can easily take the lead to make your grill station as functional as your indoor kitchen.

But if you prefer something simpler… We also offer pre-designed kits! These allow you to bypass the planning process altogether, and still end up with a convenient, long-lasting outdoor kitchen.

Pro: RTA Kitchens are Designed with Safety in Mind

an rta outdoor kitchen showing the ventilation and non combustible concrete panels

With RTA, we prioritize your safety when designing our kitchen kits. 

There’s no need to worry about inviting potential hazards to your backyard… Because we go above and beyond standard safety regulations to ensure the wellbeing of you and your family. 

So, how do we prioritize safety, exactly? 

For starters, our concrete grill islands are non-combustible… Effectively eliminating the risk of fire spread. 

We also take our kitchens’ ventilation over and above requirements, with built-in, uncovered vents on the top, bottom, left, right, and back sides of all of our islands. 

And since our kitchens are frameless… The open interior allows for totally uninhibited airflow! 

We want you to have confidence in every aspect of your kitchen… And to us, the first step of earning that confidence is ensuring your safety. 

Con: RTA May Be a Larger Investment Up Front

Now, onto the downsides.

RTA may be less expensive than a built-from-scratch, custom outdoor kitchen… But honestly, it’ll likely have a higher initial price (around 20-30% more) than most modular, prefab, or RTF options.

As with any outdoor kitchen kit, the total price will fluctuate depending on dimensions and included appliances.

On average, RTA falls in the mid-range price point for outdoor grill islands.

But  honestly, this higher price comes down to our use of better quality materials.

Your kitchen island and appliances will last a lifetime… So you’ll never have to spend more to replace it! This equates to a low ownership cost over time.

So you may spend more up front, but you’ll also get more out of your investment!

Con: There Are Appliance Limitations

Finally, as with prefab or modular outdoor kitchens… There will be appliance limitations with an RTA kitchen kit.

Though Coyote’s appliances are high quality… The truth is, you may already have your sights set on a built-in grill (or other accessory) from a different brand.

Luckily, Coyote does offer an impressive variety to boost your outdoor cooking and entertainment endeavors.

But still, we understand that Coyote may not be your first choice! 

And though we may be able to accommodate other appliance brands, it’s unfortunately not a guarantee. 

Alright. We’ve covered a lot of info on the different types of outdoor kitchen kits.

Now, what’s the verdict here? What type of backyard kitchen kit is best?

The All-Around Best Outdoor Kitchen Kit Solution

mike pyle modern large u shaped outdoor kitchen with pizza oven and bar seating

After going through the different types of outdoor kitchen kits… Which would be best for your space?

Well, if you want an option that you can design in minutes, assemble in hours, and enjoy for a lifetime… An RTA outdoor kitchen is the clear winner! 

We offer a permanent, worry-free solution that you can be confident will last you a lifetime. 

It may be a higher upfront cost… But you’re also investing in undeniable convenience, as well as peace of mind. 

Once your kitchen is set up, you won’t have to stress about additional maintenance or replacement expenses down the road!

Of course, if you are looking for a short term solution… A modular or prefab kitchen setup may be better for the time being.

But the truth is, most homeowners are looking for a kitchen that’ll last for decades.

And RTA offers the most convenient, most customizable, and most reliable solution to make that happen!

Get Started on Your RTA Outdoor Kitchen Kit

linear island under roof next to pool

Has an RTA outdoor kitchen kit caught your interest?

If so, we have plenty of resources to help you get started.

Our Learning Hub is a wealth of information. Here, you can learn more about our products, Coyote appliances, design help, and more.

And when you’re ready to get started on your outside kitchen kit… Test out our free online design tool!

In just a few clicks, you’ll have a 3D model of your custom kitchen ready to go.

From there, one of our Design Experts will reach out directly to get the ball rolling.

From the start through installation, we’ll be with you every step of the way. 

So, what are you waiting for?

Let’s create your outdoor kitchen!

Need Help With Your Plans?

Talk to one of our expert designers and they will guide you from planning to installation. Schedule a call today.


The average cost of an outdoor kitchen project is around $13,000… But the average cost of an outdoor kitchen kit varies widely around this number.

Depending on the scope of your project, the method you choose, and the overall quality of the product… Prices will fluctuate!

RTA offers one of the most convenient, most customizable, and longest lasting outdoor kitchen BBQ kit solutions on the market!

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