Gas grills are becoming quite popular for cooking and barbecuing among homeowners. There are many reasons why these grills are in high demand. For a start, they are quick and efficient to operate. An outdoor gas grill can be set up much more easily than a charcoal grill. They are also much easier to clean and don’t do quite as much damage to the environment as a charcoal grill.
Gas grills cost less than electric or charcoal grills because they use natural gas as fuel. They are far more economical than grills that use coal or wood pellets as fuel.
We will go over some of the features of cooking grills and review the top 5 gas grills under $500 so that you can find the right grill for you.
Types of Outdoor Grills
Before we begin, let’s get some clarity on the cooking grill options available to buyers. There are many kinds of outdoor cooking grills available for buyers and it is easy to get confused when you are looking for a grill that works best for you.
The main types of cooking grills you can find in the market include the following.
Natural Gas Grills
These have quickly become the most popular and preferred choice for homeowners. These grills are easy to operate and clean. Gas grills consume natural gas which can be easily connected to the grill from your gas pipes. Setting up a gas grill takes 10 – 15 minutes and you can be barbecuing your favorite food in no time.
The flavor is also quite good and much better than food cooked on electric grills. However, it misses that smoky coal flavor that some people prefer.
If you want to settle for a good compromise between taste and the ease of setting up the grill and costs, then the gas grill is the perfect choice for you.
This grill is the preferred choice of food connoisseurs and traditionalists who want the perfect smoky, char-grilled flavor. The taste of barbecued foods cooked on charcoal grills can’t be matched; the only exception to this is cooking done on a wood pellet grill which brings out a distinctly different but wonderful taste.
However, the problem with charcoal grills is that they are quite messy and hard to set up compared to gas or electric grills. You also need to have a good level of cooking skill to operate charcoal grills.
These grills are by far the safest, easiest, and least messy grills for a barbecue. Cooking is done through the heating elements and there is no fire or smoke, making it easier to clean the grill after use.
The downside is that these grills are probably the most expensive to operate in fuel costs. Food cooked on an electric grill doesn’t taste anywhere as good as a barbecue on gas or charcoal grill. People who want to have an easy cooking experience without the use of fire or smoke prefer electric grills.
Propane grills operate through a propane tank. These grills are preferred for outdoor or picnic barbecue where you may not have natural gas available but can use a propane tank for cooking. This would also be the option for people who don’t have natural gas at their home.
Food cooked on propane tanks tastes good and they are easy to operate. Propane costs less than electricity or wood pellets as fuel but is more expensive than natural gas. These grills are relatively easy to clean but propane is likely to leave strong soot marks on the grill.
Pellet grills are similar to charcoal ones. They use grain-sized wooden pellets that are used as fuel to cook food. You can easily buy a bag of these pellets in the market.
Some users consider it the best kind of fuel for getting that extra-rich flavor and pellets are considered even better than a charcoal grill.
Wooden pellets leave ash similar to charcoal and you can clean your grill easily after cooking. They are quite expensive though.
This variety of small, movable grills can be used with a variety of fuel types including propane, charcoal, and wood pellets. The main benefit is that you can take these grills on outdoor picnics, beach parties, and anywhere else with you. These grills are generally small and foldable and can be moved in a car.
5 Things to Consider When Buying a Gas Grill
Summer is here! That means it is time for great outdoor parties and roadside barbecue. If you are looking to buy a gas grill for the first time or simply want to replace your old grill with a better model in the market, there are some important things that you should consider before setting out to buy a grill.
Here are some of the important features that you should look at when buying a grill.
Fuel should be the first thing to consider. Some types of fuels are expensive and others are cheaper. There are fuels that will make it easier for you to operate your grill while others will be difficult to use and clean. Some fuels give a rich flavor to meat, others don’t.
Gas grills lie in the middle in terms of fuel costs, flavor, and ease of using. You can operate these grills on natural gas or propane. You can even get hybrid gas grills that offer gas-charcoal or gas-electricity combination of fuels for users.
The second important thing to consider is price. Gas grills are generally more expensive than charcoal ones but cheaper than electric grills.
A typical outdoor gas grill costs anywhere between $150 to $1,500. Expensive models that cost higher also give you more features. You can distribute gas evenly on the cooking surface while getting more burners, multiple fuel inputs, flavorizing bars, and grease management system.
The more basic models are cheaper but lack many of these features. The perfect grill is one that is inexpensive but includes some of the useful features that you might need.
Gas grills come in a variety of materials which determine the grill quality. You should consider where you will be storing the grill, how often it will be used, and where to determine which grill you should get. The body of most gas grills is built with stainless steel, cast aluminum, cast iron or some other type of sheet metal these days.
Aluminum grills can be a good choice since the metal is highly resistant to rain, rust, and erosion. It is also not as heavy as iron and steel. If you will store your grill in a shed, it may be susceptible to damage from rainwater or moisture.
Stainless steel is also a good choice when it comes to durability and strength. Steel grills can handle rough usage and don’t rust easily due to weather. You should be aware that there are different grades of steel and you should get a grill that is of a good steel grade quality.
Ask yourself how big your parties are going to be. If you are planning to have barbecues only for your family, then a small grill would do. If you will be hosting bigger parties with dozens of guests at a time, then you will need something bigger that can cook dozens of burgers at once.
The place of your barbecues is also relevant to the size you need. For barbecues at home, you can buy a big grill without worries. If you want to take the grill with you for road trips or beach parties, then you will need a smaller portable grill.
A single large grill will allow you to spit roast turkeys, beef, and pork at once. You can also cook half a dozen sausages and burgers on a big grill to serve everyone quickly. However, big grills tend to be more expensive. You will also find it more difficult to move them around or store in your garage.
Outdoor gas grills need to be robust so that they can resist damage from extreme temperatures and moisture. If you are going to be doing heavy cooking, then the grill also needs to be sturdy enough for that. The grill’s material, metal sheet thickness, build quality, and usage determines how long it can last.
Make sure to ask the grill manufacturer whether a warranty is provided and which parts or components are covered by it. If you have the choice, pick a grill that includes a warranty rather than one that is sold without a warranty.
The 5 Best Gas Grills Under $500 (propane)
We have reviewed some of the best gas grills available in the market right now and each of their reviews is presented below.
1. Weber Spirit II E-210 Propane Grill
Weber is a reliable and trusted brand name in cooking and grilling equipment. The company manufactures high-quality cooking grills. The Weber 44010001 is an excellent new addition to their extensive range of quality products in gas grills.
This gas grill comes with two stainless steel burners on the surface. It generates a high cooking temperature that will grill your food thoroughly. The 44010001 also includes a compartment at the bottom where you can put your equipment. It has six hooks for hanging tools as well.
The model has a lid at the top that can be closed for flavoring the meat with smoke. There are two, foldable preparation counters at the sides.
This cooking grill is made with cast iron and grill bars are porcelain enameled, making it very easy to clean after use.
This model comes with a 10-year 100% warranty from Weber and is available for purchase for less than $500.
2. Weber Spirit II E-310 Propane Grill
The number one best seller from Weber on Amazon is also one of the cheaper models that you can purchase for less than $500. It includes the high-performance GS4 grilling system with infinity ignition that turns on every time you turn the knob.
The GS4 system is the accumulation of thirty years of research by the company on grilling and cooking systems. It has 30,000 BTU-per-hour input burners that can grill all kinds of food effectively. It has an open design that is popular with users and six hooks for hanging tools.
The cooking grates are made from high-quality porcelain enameled cast iron. It has 3 burners and the total cooking area is 529 square inches, offering plenty of space for grilling burgers and sausages. It also includes flavorizing bars, a grease management system and a lid at the top for excellent smoky-flavored cooking.
The grill comes in 4 varieties with the higher tiered models including stainless steel bars and grills.
The 45010001 is available for purchase at the Amazon store and costs less than $500.
3. Char-Broil Performance 475 Propane Grill
This is an excellent 4-burner gas grill offered by Char-Broil. It is advertised as their main outdoor gas grill in the low priced range. The Char-Broil 475 comes in a beautiful cast-iron and stainless-steel design. It has porcelain coated black iron-cast burners that are easy to clean. The grill comes with 475 square inches of cooking space and an additional 175 square inches of secondary space.
It includes a removable grease pan that allows quick and simple cooking, a cover lid, side counters, and open storage space at the bottom. The grill includes quick electronic ignition for a reliable and easy start.
The grill has received high ratings at the Amazon store where it is available to purchase for under $500.
4. Master Cook Outdoor 3-Burner Propane Grill
Master Cook is another trusted manufacturer for outdoor grills. Their new 4-burner outdoor barbecue grill is quite impressive and offers excellent heating power, cooking space and awesome features that people will enjoy.
It has 4 main burners that can generate up to 36,000 BTU power. The model also includes a side burner of 12,000 BTU that will be useful for warming up food. It has roughly 400 square inches of primary cooking area and an additional 118 square inches of space for secondary cooking which makes it reasonably big.
The cooking grill is made with high quality cast iron grates that are covered by porcelain coating that are sure to improve your cooking. It also includes a cover lid, a quick ignition system, and cooking grates are easy to clean post-barbecue.
The Master Cook 4-Gas with side burners costs less than $500 and it can be purchased at the Amazon store.
5. Thermos 265 2-Burner Cabinet Liquid Propane Gas Grill
Finally, we have the Thermos 265. Thermos is known for making luxury gas grills only so this low-priced model is a surprise.
This outdoor gas grill offers an excellent option for occasional barbecues and outdoor cooking. It is a small gas grill with 2 stainless steel burners.
The model can generate up to 26,500 BTU per hour and has a cooking area of 265 square inches.
It comes with a cover lid at the top and two side tables for preparing and serving food. The grill includes a signature Piezo ignition system.
This grill is quite sturdy and reliable. It a lot of good ratings at Amazon store where you can get it for less than $500. The model lacks some advanced grilling features but still offers a good capacity for cooking. It’s simple but elegant.
Decision Time: Which Gas Grill Will You Get?
If you’re looking for a gas grill that costs under $500, any of these choices will work for you. They’re all great options in their own right.
Our favorites are the Weber E-310 and E-210 models. They both have great reviews from a lot of people and they also come with nice warranties. Oh, and you really can’t go wrong with a Weber grill.