Gas Grill Comparison
|Ignition Type||Electrical||Electrical||Piezo w/ |
(1) Main Burner
& (1) Side Burner
|Electronic||Surefire w/ |
|Piezo||Piezo w/ |
Area (Sq Inch)
Area (Sq Inch)
Area (Sq Inch)
Gas Grill Buying Guide
What is a Gas Grill?
Gas grills can add a lot of versatility to your family’s meals. They have so many different varieties and styles of grills that you can now cook a full meal on one including the side dishes. The grills on the market today have many features that can make them even more enjoyable to use. When you’re in the market for a new gas grill, it may be difficult to choose among all the ones available. This buyer’s guide can help you learn a lot about them so you can find that perfect grill for your needs and preferences.
Gas Grills are Better than Charcoal Grills
There are some grill lovers that say the only way to truly grill food properly is with a charcoal grill but gas grilling has grown in popularity due to many factors. Charcoal grills do produce a certain flavor in the food that is cooked over it, but the temperature of a charcoal grill is impossible to regulate which makes grilling certain foods a bit more challenging.
Gas grills are adjustable so you can alter the flame to fit what you need to grill. In addition to regulating the temperature, gas is also much cleaner to cook with than charcoal and doesn’t involve having to scoop out mounds of ashes. Some gas grills offer different grilling zones where you can cook different kinds of meat at the same time, all at different temperatures. You can’t get this kind of specific grilling capabilities with a charcoal grill.
Another big plus with a gas grill is that they are a cinch to get started. Instead of briquettes to get lit which as we all know, can be really challenging sometimes, starting a gas grill is literally done with the push of a button. In addition, the cost of running a gas grill, in the long term, comes out to be less expensive due to the rising cost of charcoal briquettes. The bags are getting smaller and the cost is getting larger, so grilling regularly can add quite a bit of cost to the situation.
Types of Gas Grills
There are two types of gas that a gas grill can use: propane and natural gas. The majority of grills sold in department stores are propane, although not all come with their own tank initially, when you are looking at different models, you will need to see if the grill you want can be both or if it designed as one type of gas grill. Propane gas grills are not able to be run off of natural gas and the same applies to natural gas grills.If a grill is a natural gas grill, an adapter can be purchased that will enable it to be used with propane.
Propane Gas – Propane tanks are the big white canisters that you see attached to the gas grill. They attach by means of a connector and hose and the grill usually has a rack of some kind underneath for the canister to sit. These canisters need to be switched out and there are several places that this can be done including grocery stores and gas stations. The way the exchange works is that you bring your empty canister to them and replace it with a full one for a specified price. Propane gas grills are more portable than natural gas grills and that makes them more popular.
Natural Gas – Natural gas grills are great but a lot less simple than propane gas grills. One of the biggest drawbacks to a natural gas grill is that it requires a permanent, in ground natural gas line. This means the grill can’t be moved once it is set up. This is a great choice for permanent outdoor kitchens where you won’t be moving anything or changing the location of the outdoor cooking area. Natural gas grills are cheaper to operate than propane because there are no tanks to keep having refilled. While you’ll have a bill, it is more expensive to replace propane tanks.
Price Point Categories for Grills
There are three basic price points that gas grills can fall into: Budget grills, Mid-Range and High End. Great grills can fall into all three categories but for the most part, you will find the better grills in the mid to high end categories.
Budget Grills – Unless you have uncovered a major deal, for the most part, budget grills are the smallest grill that you can get and are most often portable as well. The cooking space is usually good for one or two people and the cooking grates are thinner and smaller than on the higher grade grills. They are not bad grills at all. For one person or a couple who likes to grill out, they are a great choice.
Mid Range Grills – Most gas grills fall into the mid-range category. They accommodate a large grate to cook more food and larger cuts as well. They also offer more features including side burners or tables, grill tool kits and more. Mid-range grills are good for medium sized families and can be good for gatherings if they are not too large.
High-End Grills –High end grills are like mid range but they are usually bigger, grander and have a lot more cooking space, features and higher end materials that they are made of. They also have more storage space typically as well. High end grills are perfect for large families and frequent entertainers who have groups of people over on a regular basis.
Common Gas Grill Features
Most gas grills that are on the market offer features of some kind. Higher end grills will offer many more features on average. When you’re shopping for the right gas grill for you, be sure to take these features into consideration and look for grills that have the features you want and will use.
Burners – Many grills offer side burners on the wings of the grill. These burners are great for cooking things like baked beans, chili for hot dogs, and other things that are normally cooked in pots. Buns can also be heated on the side burners.They definitely come in handy and make a great additional feature.
Grill Materials – Pay attention to what materials your grill was made of. Stainless steel is one of the most popular and durable materials, much better than aluminum which can be quite flimsy. It also looks really good too. The better the materials are that are used to construct your grill, the longer it will last and stronger it will be.
Wheels for mobility –Most grills have wheels on at least one side so it can be maneuvered to other spots easily. Some newer models have casters on the bottom of the grill so it rolls easily on all four wheels. Wheels make moving the grill out from under the overhang of a house or if you are taking to the grill somewhere else much easier.
Ignition –Some of the older style grills need open flame such as a lighter or match to light the burners once the gas is turned on. Others have an ignition switch that is extremely convenient and much safer than using open flame.
Shelves – Some mid range and high end gas grills can have storage shelves on the bottom of the grill. Many even have a cabinet style set up. These shelves are perfect for storing grill tools and other supplies. Just don’t put anything flammable under there.
Fuel Gauge – Fuel gauges are very helpful when it comes to knowing how much propane you have in your tank. This gauge prevents you from accidental run outs in the middle of a cookout. If your grill doesn’t automatically have a gauge, you can buy one separately.
Pull Out Tray for Tank–No more tank struggles with this handy pull out tray. Turning the tank on or off and changing it becomes easy to do when the tank is within reach. Very convenient when it’s time to change the propane tank.
Gas Grill Cover –Having a nice grill cover protects your grill from the elements and helps it last longer. Some gas grills may come with covers included or they offer covers you can purchase separately. Make sure your cover has ventilation of some kind to prevent moisture build up.
Try Before You Buy
You can get some incredible deals for gas grills online, but you aren’t able to really get your hands on a grill. If there are places close by that sell grills, take a trip there to look at some of the models that you’re interested in online. There are a few things that you want to look at when the grill is put together that you can’t answer from just the description. Keep in mind that you will almost always get a better price online but this will give you a great idea of what your gas grill will actually look like. Make sure that you visit somewhere they actually put the floor models together properly or this won’t be a very reliable test.
Stability –Stability in a gas grill is important for safety reasons. Push the grill from several angles to see if it is top heavy and easy to tip.
Sharp Edges – check the grill cart, firebox, lid and shelves for sharp corners and edges that can cause injuries.
Handle Location –Grip the handle the way you would if you were using it. Pay close attention to where your knuckles and fingers are in relation to the lid. Do they brush the lid? Are they super close to it? You want there to be space between your fingers and the lid so you don’t accidentally get burned. If the handle is too close, you could find yourself getting burned often.
Closeness of grates and burners – Flare ups are a normal part of grilling; one of the things that can minimize it is having a good bit of distance between the grates and burners or flavorizer bars.
Make notes of the models you look at in person that do well on this checklist above and that gives you a great working list to shop online with.
Proper Cooking Times and Temperatures for Meats
One of the great things about gas grills is the adjustable temperature capability. Most meats need to be cooked at different temperatures and a gas grill is very conducive to that. Below is a chart with the most common grilled foods and the recommended temperature settings and cooking times. Generally a low setting on a gas grill will be about 300 degrees; Medium is about 50 degrees and high is about 650 degrees. Most foods do not need to be cooked on high.
- Hamburgers (1” thick) – medium setting for 7-10 minutes
- Steak (1” thick) – Medium-hot setting – rare : 3- minutes, medium: 6 to 9 minutes, well done: 9 to 12 minutes
- Pork Chops (1/2-inch thick) – Medium – 15-20 minutes
- Ribs (about 5 lbs) – Low Medium – 90 Minutes
- Chicken (halved or quartered) – Low – 40-60 minutes
- Fish Fillet (6 oz. to 8 oz.) Medium-Hot 8-12 minutes
To be considered safe to eat, the food you’re grilling should reach a certain internal temperature. This will vary according to what you are grilling. You will need a meat thermometer to check the temperatures of your foods. We have listed these core temperatures below.
Beef – 130 degrees
Pork – 160 Degrees
Lamb – 135 Degrees
Chicken – 165 Degrees
Popular Grilling Tools
Grill accessories are a necessity when it comes to cooking the food safely and getting it off the grill safely and easily as well. Below are the common grilling accessories that many grillers get. Some of these may be offered with the gas grill you purchase or you might need to get them separately.
- Grill Brush –To prevent old food particles from getting on fresh meats you’re grilling, use a grill brush to clean the grill either after grilling so it’s ready for the next time and/or right before adding fresh food to the grill. The best way to use a grill brush is to preheat the rack and burners for about 10-15 minutes on high. After it’s preheated, turn it off and then using the grill brush, scrub the racks and burners until they are smooth and clean.Brass bristles are less damaging to surfaces than steel are and do just as good a job of cleaning.
- Long Handled, Large Spatula – This is a necessary tool for flipping burgers and removing fish fillets from the grill. The flat part of the spatula should be very large to get under the food with ease. Silicone and metal are the best materials to use. Don’t ever use plastic spatulas as they will melt.
- Long Handled Tongs –tongs are one of the most used grilling tools there are. You can remove foods such as hot dogs and chicken and corn on the cob and it allows you to do it without ever coming into contact with the hot food. Because piercing the food can release its juices, tongs are much better than a grilling fork.
- Long HandledBasting Brush – Basting brushes are great for putting barbecue sauce on chicken or ribs, butter on corn on the cob and other things. Most basting brushes are not dishwasher safe and should not be cleaning in the dishwasher at all. Because they require hand washing, you need to take care to wash them properly or risk having bacteria present in the bristles. One way to prevent this is to periodically dip the brush in bleach and rinse thoroughly. A newer and more popular choice is the new silicone basting brush that IS dishwasher safe, heat safe and super easy to clean. They don’t hold as much liquid as the classic brushes do so you will need to dip it in the sauce more often.
- Thermometer – This is a necessity to ensure that the meat you’re grilling is at the right serving temperature. There are many different styles of meat thermometers from analog to digital. Some even have wireless displays. To check the meat, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat away from the bone to see if it has reached the desired temperature.
Gas Grill Safety Tips
These tips below will help keep your grilling safe and enjoyable and reduce the chance of accidents or injuries.
- Propane cylinder should never be kept indoors or put in the garage. Keep them outside where plenty of air gets to them.
- Never smoke while handling the propane cylinder or while grilling on the grill.
- Never use matches or lighters to check for gas leaks. The results can be disastrous.
- Don’t leave propane tanks in the trunk of the car
- Children should never play with the propane tank or the gas grill at all.
- Gas grill burner controls should be monitored to be turned off when not in use.
- The gas grill needs to be shut off AND cooled down completely before covering it.
With all of the Information you have learned here about gas grills, you can narrow down your choices and decide on which one is the right one for your needs and preferences. There are many styles and types o gas grills on the market and it can look extremely difficult to find ONE that you will love.
Taking what you learned in this article and guide and using it to compare the models you’re interested in, you find a grill that will be a terrific addition to your cooking appliances.