Compbrella Guide for Choosing The Best Outdoor Gas Grills
The grill is the heart of the backyard experience. There is nothing more American than firing up that backyard grill and barbecuing. Charcoal grills used to be standard everywhere but nowadays you’re just as likely to find gas grills that are easier to use and produce even better results!
What is the difference between gas grilling and charcoal grilling?
When you get down to eating, there isn’t much difference between food made on gas or charcoal. The difference between the grills comes down to your own preference and comfort.
- Gas grills require connecting the grill to propane tanks or a main gas line. This is connected to burners that work similarly to the burners on your stove so you can set how high the flame is easily to better control how your food cooks. Another similarity to your stove is the option to use attachments easily that can vary how you cook food. You don’t only have to simply grill food, you can use rotisserie attachments, sear plates, and even separate burners so you can grill two things separately using different heat levels. The greatest advantage to gas grills is the simplicity of use. Starting the fire is as simple as pressing a button or turning a gas switch and lighting a match.
- Charcoal grills are the classic grills we grew up with, and if your home was anything like mine, you remember your Dad slaving over the coals trying to get them to ignite with lighter fluid, matches, and crumpled up newspaper. Coal may be cheaper to use than gas, but it’s more labor-intensive. The heat on the grill comes from how hot the coals are so compared to the gas grill they’re a bit more cumbersome to use. All your coals will be the same temperature so you can’t grill items separately and you can’t quickly lower or raise the flame as needed. Charcoal grill’s greatest advantage is the classic smokey flavor they produce. The smoke infuses with the food giving it that memorable barbecue flavor.
What types of fuel do gas grills use?
Gas grills can use two types of fuel: liquid propane and natural gas. Some grills may allow you to switch out fuel supplies, between propane and gas, but most grills don’t have this feature. so before making your purchase, consider the advantages and disadvantages.
- Liquid propane comes in external tanks you need to purchase and attach to the grill. When the tank runs empty, you simply exchange it for a new one. Propane tanks have the advantage of allowing you to easily move your grill anywhere you want to go. You don’t have to consider attaching them to any main lines, and they tend to be cheaper than natural gas supply.
- Natural gas comes from a mainline in your home that is constantly supplying gas to your grill so you never have to worry about running out and replacing the tank. This huge advantage over propane tanks is countered by the fact that natural gas consumption can be more expensive than propane tanks.
What to look for when shopping for gas grills?
There are several features you need to examine before purchasing the best gas grill:
- Material: Since your grill will probably be outdoors most of the time you need to consider how the weather will affect it. Cast aluminum is a great material for grills. It’s rust-resistant and will also stand discoloration and structural dents better. It’s also lightweight so it will be easy to move around. Stainless steel is also a great material for grills but it can be much heavier. Whichever you choose, a cover for your grill is a useful purchase that will prolong the grill’s life.
- Size: Nothing is worse than having a grill that is too small for the meal you’ve planned. Think ahead for how many people you’ll usually be grilling for. Standard cooking space is 72 square inches per person, so if you’re usually cooking for four people 300 square inches of cooking space is the minimum you should buy. And don’t forget the headspace. Headspace is the space under the lid of the grill. It needs to be big enough that it can close properly and not smother or crush your food because it’s too shallow.
- Burners: The burners are where your heat comes from and there needs to be enough of them to make your food evenly cooked. The larger the grill is, the more burners there need to be.
- Accessories: Many grills come with a variety of accessories you might want that enhance the grilling experience and allow you greater freedom to use the grill differently. These can include things like rotisserie motors, sear plates, smoking boxes, and even separate side burner (for when you really want to turn up the heat!). Consider what kind of food you like and shop accordingly.
- Warranty: Seems like a no brainer, but not all warranties are equal so make sure the grill you’re purchasing is covered for likely damages and for long periods.
Best overall: Weber 45010001 Spirit II E-310 3-Burner Liquid Propane Grill
Boasting its GS4 grilling system with 529 square inches of cooking space, three burners, and state of the art grease management system, this gas grill is top of the line and perfect for those lazy summer nights when you just want to sit outside and grill up some burgers. It even comes in both liquid propane and natural gas models so you can purchase what’s right for your needs.
Best design: Char-Broil Performance 300 2-Burner Cabinet Liquid Propane Gas Grill- Stainless steel
Sleek and durable, this grill is great for smaller families that love to cook up some hot dogs! 300 square inches, with 2 burners, this grill features porcelain-coated cast-iron grates and a stainless steel lid that guarantee many years of use and admiration from your neighbors.
Best value: Megamaster 720-0982 Propane Gas Grill
No grill on the market today gives you more grill for your buck than the Megamaster. Featuring five burners, electronic ignition and nearly 500 square inches of cooking area, this grill will allow you to cook a variety of foods at different heat levels for a meal that is filling, varied, and served just as you like.
Why you should trust us
Compbrella was founded by a group of entrepreneurs with over twenty years experience working in retail, electronics, and e-commerce. Over the years, we have spent endless hours writing and revising consumer guides, interviewing customers about the products they enjoyed using, and talking to an untold number of technicians about why some products fail and others don’t. We draw from our own experiences about what products a household needs and what we use in our everyday lives. If we’re reviewing a product, it means we one of us has it in their home and thinks it, or a different version, would be a great addition to your homes. We stand by our recommendations because we make them to each other first.