The summer BBQ season is fast approaching and people are starting to think about replacing their old ugly briquet BBQ with a sweet new gas BBQ grill. The thought of those ribs is already making my mouth water.
However, how do you know you are getting the right gas grill for you? What things do you look for in your new grill? What are things unnecessary for you?
We at Home and Garden Central have done hours of extensive research on the latest gas grills and have put our knowledge to use by writing this exhaustive gas grill buying guide to help you decide on which one is best for you.
Please let us know if you find this helpful to you by commenting in the comment section at the end of the article.
Our Gas Grill Buying Guide
For those of you that are not interested in all the details and what a short synopsis of what to look for here are some gas grill BBQ basics for you to look for in your next grill.
- Construction: Take a look at how well the grill is constructed and what materials are used. Grills that are made out of stainless steel and that have welded seams are better than grills with painted or porcelain enameled steel and are put together with nuts and bolts or rivets.
- Maneuverability: Grills with four wheels or casters are more maneuverable than those with 2 or even none. Take a look at how they are attached to the grill. Grills with axles that connect the wheels are better than those that mount the wheels directly to the chassis.
- Safety: Check and make sure that the grill doesn’t have any sharp edges that can get caught on clothing or cause cuts and scrapes. Make sure that the handles are mounted far enough away from the lid, so there is no risk of burns from accidentally touching the top or other hot parts of the grill. Make sure that the grate is far enough away from the burners or flavorizer bars so that it does not have extreme flare-ups that could burn you.
- Burner Basics: The most replaced part in a gas grill is the burner. The burner is the part that is subjected to the most stress because of the temperature changes it experiences. A burner with an extended warranty will typically last a lot longer than a basic steel burner.
- Beyond Hamburgers and Hot Dogs: If you are going to be cooking things like ribs, tri-tip, and T-bones, then you need to take a look at the grills temperature range. If you want those delectable sear marks on your food, then you are going to need a grill that will get a lot hotter than just what is required for your typical burgers and dogs.
If you are ready to start looking at gas grills, then we suggest you take a look at our list of the best gas grills for any budget. If you want to learn more, then continue reading.
What Is Your Grilling Style?
The first thing you need to think about is how you like to cook on a gas grill. Are you a person that loves to put the meat on the BBQ and leave it until it is done? Are you a person that likes it to cook quick and fast? Do you like your food cooked over the flame or indirectly? Do you like your meat charred or seared? All of these things will affect what type of grill will be best for you. So spend a moment thinking about your grilling style.
Grill Size And Sizzle
Probably the most critical factor you need to consider when looking for a new gas grill is how large of a grill you need. How many people are you going to feed? Are you going to be grilling meat or are you going to grill veggies as well? These questions will determine how large of a grill and how hot your grill needs to be to meet your needs.
These are the perfect carry-along for outdoor camping trips and sports tailgate parties. Portable grills are also an excellent option for smaller decks and patios especially for those that live in apartments. With a portable gas grill, you get a moveable feast.
Small, compact, non-portable gas grills are a great option for a someone with a small patio and do not need to feed an army. Most small grills have shelves that fold down to make the size smaller, so they do not come with side burners. Small grills vary in price and construction, from painted steel carts to stylish stainless steel.
This size of the gas grill is the most popular. You will see them vary from basic grills to souped-up models with lots of storage and LED lights and back-lit dials for cooking in low light. Many of the mid- to higher-priced gas BBQ grills have manufacturer burner warranties of 10 years or longer.
Large gas BBQ grills usually have the largest cooking area. The higher-end grills have the highest-grade stainless steel and have seamless welded construction, thicker cooking grates, gliding utensil drawers, extra storage cabinets, and higher quantity and higher quality burners with a more extended warranty.
Essential Components Of A Gas Grill
There are some essential features and components of a gas BBQ grill that will help you decide which gas grill is best suited to meet your needs. The higher end grills will offer features that you may find convenient, such as gliding utensil drawers for storing instruments and condiments. Other gas grills have some standard features that make grilling and cleaning more natural, such as a pullout grease tray. Here are other elements to consider:
The grill hood keeps heat from escaping the BBQ and ensures a more even cooking process. It also keeps your food from any airborne insects that may want to land on your food.
The Cooking Components
Housed inside the cooking box are three necessary cooking components they are…..
- The Grate: The grate is the metal component that your food rests upon while cooking. It allows the grease and other natural juices to seep down into the heat dispersion area of the cooking box, eventually ending up in the grease disposal area.
- Heat Dispersion Area: Depending on the gas grill you purchase, you will find that it uses either ceramic briquettes, metal bars, or lava rock to disperse the heat from the heating tubes evenly.
- Burners: Gas grills use burners or heating tubes to produce a consistent flame. The heat consistency varies depending on the style and quality of materials used in the burner.
The grease disposal system directs the grease and traps it in a grease holding pan. This system makes it easy for you to clean and replace after cooking your meal.
Gas Grill Features
Here is where you now tie the questions you asked earlier about your grilling style, space, and types of food you want to grill with the available features of a gas grill. Remember, you do not need to buy a gas grill with all the bells and whistles. Just buy one that will be the best for you and your needs.
Do you want to be able to cook a ham, leg of lamb, or even a turkey? If so, make there is at least 12″ of head space between the cooking grate that we talked about above and the inside top of the lid. If the gas grill comes with a warming rack, make sure it is removable.
Stainless steel and ceramic coated cast-iron grates tend to be better for searing meat and for maintaining an even grilling temperature. Stainless steel will last longer but can be more expensive.
Gas BBQ grills need a starter or igniter. Some are electric and require a battery. Others use a button or dial to generate a spark. An electronic igniter or ignition system is usually easier and more reliable than a rotary or push-button igniter.
Some gas grills have crossover ignitions that work by lighting one burner first, and the flame crosses over to other burners.
On gas grills, you want to stay away from aluminum burners that burn out and from cast iron burners that rust. You want stainless steel or brass burners.
Pay close attention to the direction that the burners run, whether left to right, or front to back. I prefer burners that run from front to back because it is simpler to set up multiple heating areas for cooking different foods at once or for indirect cooking.
A side burner is a helpful, but not a necessary feature. They’re great for making side dishes or warming sauces. With a side burner, you can cook a kettle of corn on the cob or keep those baked beans warm while barbecuing your meat or fish. Some side burners are also searing burners.
Most gas grills come with turn knob style burner controls allowing you to adjust the flame and temperature with a twist of the knob. For barbecuing after sundown, some gas grills come with LED lights to illuminate the grilling surface and illuminate the control panel or knobs.
If you like your meat seared, then you will need a gas grill that has a high heat capacity. Make sure that you check out its heat capacity before you buy. If seared meat that is crispy on the outside but red on the inside is not your style, then you can go with a gas grill with lower heat capacity.
Some grills come with a thermometer. However, you need to understand that the thermometer is registering the temperature at the top of the hood which is not the same temperature as where your food is. You might want to invest in a digital thermometer for barbecuing if you need accurate temperature readings.
Some gas grills come with a gauge that indicates how much propane you have left in your propane tank; This helps to keep the flames flaring rather than the tempers. If the gas grill doesn’t come with a fuel gauge, it is no biggie. You can buy one separately.
Propane Tank Storage
Take a look at where the propane tank is stored. Some gas grills come with a slide out tray that makes changing propane tanks a breeze. Make sure that the gas grill you choose makes it easy to swap out propane tanks.
Cart Construction And Mobility
Many gas BBQ grills come on carts. They need to be well built, with quality welds and bolts. Some carts are have enclosed areas for storage. You want rugged, well-built shelves and doors.
Natural Gas Conversion
If you are thinking about buying propane (LP) gas grill, you might want to see if it can be adapted to household natural gas if you’re going to do this. How much does the adapter kit cost?
Materials And Workmanship
The best grills are made out of cast aluminum, cast iron, enamel bonded steel, and stainless steel. The best gas grills are made out of stainless steel.
Quality stainless steel and aluminum will not rust, but they do discolor with use and age. Your shiny new stainless grill will never look as good as the day you bought it.
Cast iron will rust especially in wet or coastal climates if it is not painted correctly. Enamel will not rust unless you chip it. How well is it painted? How heavy is the metal?
Manufacturer’s Grill Warranty
What kind of warranty does the gas gill have? Make sure to check the warranty on the burners; sometimes they have a separate warranty than the rest of the grill. You want five to ten years with a gas grill for the burners. What is the brand’s reputation? Is there a phone number and email for tech support? What do the buyer reviews say about their support?
Further Gas Grill Considerations
Is there a manual? Was it translated from Chinese by someone who does not speak English very well? Is it bilingual if you need it in another language rather than English?
Assembly Time And Difficulty
Most gas grills come unassembled, and they can be tricky to assemble. If you don’t feel like you have the time or the tools, or you know you are not Tim, the tool man, Taylor, many companies will assemble for you. For a fee of course.
Some grills come with an excellent shiny cookbook, but in all honesty, they leave a lot to be desired. It is best you invest in a good grilling cookbook on your own.
Is it child and pet safe? Are you able store it away from them if it is not? Are electrical parts safe from rain and snow? Does it have sharp edges that may injure someone if they bump into it?
Does it have a grill cover? What about a natural gas adapter? Don’t forget the propane fuel gauge? Will you be able to see without night lights? Will you be preparing food with a cutting board? What about that storage? Do you need a griddle for pancakes? How about a wok, or a steamer? How about those all-important drink holders? Moreover, you know you are going to need a bottle and can opener, right?
Moreover, don’t forget the surround sound speakers for your digital music system.
Moreover, the list of accessories goes on.
Recommended Gas Grill Brands
At Taber’s Best Reviews we only recommend the best brands of gas grills. Here is a list of the brands we have confidence in their product.
- Smoke Hollow
What To Look For When Buying A Gas Grill
Now that we have listed all the features that gas grills can come with, it is time to put it all together so you can make a great decision on which is the best grill for you.
Make Sure The Burners Will Heat The Grill Evenly
Some grill manufacturers make a sizeable impressive grill and then fit it will small unimpressive burners. This practice will cause hot and cold spots on your grill. Make sure that your new grill has excellent heat distribution and that the burners are the right size and that they are placed evenly across your grill.
Check The Grates And The Materials They Are Made Of
Most cooking grates are made of either stainless steel, porcelain coated steel or cast iron. Although these three types will usually cook your meat thoroughly, they do not all last the same. Stainless steel is the best. Most manufacturers recommend that you clean your grates while they are hot. However, porcelain coated grates are the most fragile while hot, and it is easy to chip them when you wash them while warm. After that happens, rust will destroy them quickly.
Check The Protection Used For The Burners
The thing that will damage your burners the most is the salt and grease drippings from your food. Make sure your burners are well protected. Steel covers are the best, and lava rocks are the worst. Make sure your burners are not directly exposed to the food but are covered. This added step will also prevent flame up problems.
Check The Temperature Range For The Grill
If you like barbecuing steaks, the gas grill you purchase needs to be able to reach at least 600 degrees. A high-quality gas grill will reach very high temperatures, but will also grill delicate items at low temperatures- with minimum flare-ups.
Check Buyer Reviews For Comments About Customer Service
With every grill we review, we provide a link so you can read what real people say about the grills they have purchased. Make sure you understand those reviews. You will be able to tell how well a manufacturer takes care of their customers when they have a problem and how well people like or dislike a grill.
Read Our Recommendations On Gas Grills
Ok, so now you have made it through our gas grill buying guide. Now you should have all the information you need to make a quality decision on the best gas grill for you. Now you can take a look at our list of the best gas grills for any budget. In that list, we have grills from under $200.00 all the way up to almost $1,000.00. I am sure you will be able to find the right grill for you on our list.