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Published Aug. 13, 2021

Modern gas grills are the most efficient and useful addition to any backyard. Today’s gas grills are as effortless to use as your kitchen stove. They are designed to cook a lot of food quickly, and grill cleaning and maintenance has never been easier. Plus, they are highly controllable. From cooking burgers and chicken to making perfectly seared restaurant-quality steaks, the best gas grill gives you a wide variety of grilling options. If it’s time to upgrade your current rig, or you’re new to the gas grilling game, an affordable and powerful gas grill may become the new centerpiece of your patio—and personal food pyramid. 

What to consider when shopping for the best gas grill

Nothing beats backyard burgers and hotdogs, but there is more to modern gas grills than a tank of fuel. Learn how a gas grill works and understand the latest features to control the heat and ensure your burgers don’t turn into bricks.

Why use gas grills over charcoal, electric and wood pellet grills?

Of the main types of backyard grills—gas, charcoal, electric, and wood pellets—gas is the most popular, and with good reason. Gas grills are the easiest grill to start, control, and clean. Even if you’ve never grilled so much as a cheese sandwich, you can quickly become a gas-grilling master. 

Another big benefit of a gas grill is the size. You can cook a whole chicken or rack of ribs easily and efficiently on most gas grills. You can find small gas grills for camping and tailgating, but most backyard gas grills will have a nice big surface that can handle two dozen burger patties or more. 

Gas grills can be more expensive than charcoal grills, but you’re paying for convenience. Charcoal grills require more setup and monitoring, plus there’s the ash you have to deal with after cooking. Gas grills need a tank of fuel, but that’s about it. Touch the electric ignition and within a few minutes the gas grill is ready to cook. 

Find a gas grill with great grates

Besides the temperature, grill grates are the most important part of any outdoor cooker. Gas grill grates can be stainless steel, cast iron, or enamel-coated. Cast-iron grates are better for searing and maintaining high temperatures, and they add the iconic grill marks better than stainless steel. But cast iron can be a pain to maintain and clean. Stainless-steel grates will last longer, plus they’re lighter and they’re easier to clean. 

Enamel-coated grill grates provide an excellent non-stick surface, but if that coating is chipped or damaged, the grate loses all of its magic and becomes difficult to clean. And don’t stick to just grilling grates. Add a griddle pan for easy outdoor frying.

BTUs and temperature control

Don’t get hung up on BTU (British thermal units) rating. While the BTU will tell you how much fuel the grill is guzzling, a higher BTU does not directly relate to higher heat. 

Preheat time does matter. It can take some gas grills fifteen minutes or more to get up to the right cooking temperature, and every minute waiting to cook feels like an hour. 

An infrared gas grill is designed to sear steak and chicken. It’s a popular feature of some of the best gas grills. But a lack of infrared burners shouldn’t be a total deal breaker as there are other ways to achieve similar searing effects. 

The burners on any gas grill will be the part of the grill most often replaced. A burner can last between two and 10 years, and some gas grills offer a 10-year warranty for the burners. Replacing the burners is not a hard task; most grill burners can be replaced in less than 10 minutes.

Can the grill hold up against a shake test?

Gas grills need to be sturdy. A gas grill that tips over is a serious safety concern. If possible, give the grill a shake before buying. If you feel too much wobble and rattling, the grill could fall apart after one season of use. Welded stainless-steel gas grills tend to hold up better. If the grill is built with nuts and bolts, make sure everything is tight and all joints are as seamless as possible. The lid should lift easily yet feel secure when closed. If you assemble the grill yourself, read the instructions carefully. Many grill manufacturers also provide easy-to-follow online videos and tutorials to make sure you’re grilling safely. 

The best gas grill should also have wheels or casters for easy mobility. Gas grills can be heavy, so if you plan on moving the grill make sure the wheels are up to the challenge and not cheap, hollow plastic. And always keep your gas grill covered when not in use. Rain is the obvious enemy of grills, but lawn chemicals and pesticides can also seep into the grill and cause damage. 

How to avoid flare ups

No matter how careful you are, flare-ups will happen. When the fat hits the heat source, the result is a blast of flame. While this is most common with charcoal grills, it will happen with gas grills too. Most gas grills have a drip pan that channels and collects the grease away from the heat. These drip pans work well, and they are an improvement over older gas grills. But the grease can still build up and collect, which can create a dangerous situation if it ignites. 

If you experience a flare-up, keep calm. Move the food to another part of the grill. Most flare-ups only last a few seconds and you won’t need to do much to fight the flame. But if the fire continues past the flare-up phase, you may need to take action. Snuff out the fire by closing the grill, shutting off the fuel, and denying it oxygen. Do not use water. This is a grease fire and water only makes things worse. A fire extinguisher or box of baking soda should be standing by to prevent an annoyance from turning into a disaster. 

Related: These are the accessories you need to become an outdoor grill master.

The best gas grill

Ready to become a grill master? Shop for a gas grill that does what you need it to do. The grill should be big enough to handle your household, yet secure and safe too. Perhaps most importantly, it should fit your budget.  Once you know what you’re looking for , you can easily find the best gas grill for your yard. 

The best gas grill for everyday grillers: Char-Broil 463377319 Performance 4-Burner Gas Grill

Easy Ignition

A great grill for family dinners and backyard parties. Char-Broil

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The Char-Broil gas grill is big enough for a large family, but it’s not an oversized backyard behemoth. The stainless steel gas grill is easy to control and it heats quickly. Four burners provide perfect heat across the 425-square-inch cooking surface. The drip tray is easy to remove and clean. And the design is compact and stylish, perfect for any suburban backyard. It’s not as sturdy as other gas grills on the list, so if you live in an area with high winds or have small kids or a dog, make sure you add some extra support to prevent spills.

The best gas grill for natural gas homes: Weber 66015001 Genesis II E-315 3-Burner Natural Gas Grill

Best Tasting Burgers

A classic grill brand gets a natural-gas upgrade. Weber

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Natural-gas grills are different from traditional propane grills. They are fueled by your natural gas utility line. Why use natural gas? Food tastes better when cooked with natural gas, and the grills are more efficient. Plus, you won’t need to lug heavy propane tanks for refills. The Weber natural gas grill is the best cooker of its kind. You get all the features of a Weber Genesis II grill, with the added convenience and flavor of natural gas. That said, this only runs on natural gas. While there are propane grills that come with natural gas options and hookups, this is strictly natural gas. Weber also makes a propane model of the Genesis II grill.

The best gas grill for grillers who want it all: BLOSSOMZ Dual Fuel Combination Charcoal/Gas Grill

Two Great Functions

Part gas grill, part charcoal grill, this is an entire outdoor kitchen in one machine. BLOSSOMZ

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Can’t pick between gas and charcoal? With the BLOSSOMZ combination grill you get it all. A gas grill with three burners on one side. A charcoal grill on the other. The gas side is slightly larger, with 295 square inches of space, compared to the 262 square inches of the charcoal side. That means this is a standard-sized charcoal grill with a smaller sized gas grill. (Not great gas grilling for big parties.) Both sides are easy to control and manage simultaneously. If you want to experiment with flavor and dinner menu options, this fantastic food laboratory is a unique combination of gas and charcoal grill.

The best gas grill for first-time homeowners: Weber 44010001 Spirit II E-210 2-Burner Liquid Propane Grill

Safe and Small

A powerful and sturdy gas grill perfect for families. Weber

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This Weber gas grill is ideal for families of four, with 360 square inches of grilling space. The Weber grill is well-built and feels strong even on windy days. If you have young children racing around the yard, the lightweight Weber grill is pretty good at staying upright even when slightly pushed. Ignition is simple and dependable, and the grill heats up quickly. Food tastes particularly great thanks to the Weber grill flavorizer bars that help turn drippings into smoky flavor. For new homes and new families, this is a fantastic entry-level gas grill from a high-quality brand.  

The portable best gas grill: Char-Broil Portable 240 Liquid Propane Gas Grill

Cheap and Portable

An affordable, portable gas grill perfect for tailgating. Char-Broil

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You won’t find a better portable grill for less than $100. The Char-Broil gas grill is designed for camping and tailgating. This tabletop gas grill is sturdy and dependable. Hook it up to a one-pound propane tank and you’ll be making dogs and brats in no time. It can easily cook five burgers at a time. While not a super lightweight grill (it weighs slightly more than 20 pounds, not including fuel), it is easy to carry thanks to the thick, comfortable handle. And it’s faster and easier than portable charcoal grills. Even if you only use it on a backyard table, this is a handy and affordable grill for any occasion.   

FAQs

Q: How long do gas grills last?

A gas grill can last ten years or longer, depending on how you take care of it. The burners will be the first things to go and will need replacement, but they are easy to remove and install and aren’t too expensive. Keep the grill covered and protected from rain and lawn chemicals when not in use. Rust can sneak in just about anywhere, so the dryer your grill is, the longer it will last. Some so-called stainless-steel grills may show discoloration over time. This won’t affect the grilling process or the flavor, but it can be aesthetically unpleasing—especially when trying to impress the neighbors. And most importantly, always clean the grill grates after use. A good wooden scraper can get the job done without running the risk of adding metal bristles to your food.

Q: Can gas grills use charcoal?

No, gas grills cannot use charcoal. Propane and natural gas grills are designed with specific burners to channel the fuel and heat. Putting charcoal into these boxes will result in a mess of ash, since gas grills are not made with ash bins. If you want the power of a gas grill and the flavor of a charcoal grill, consider buying a combination grill. While they’re not for every outdoor chef, a charcoal/gas grill combo can be a fun way to try new ways to cook. The two sides of these cookers have independent grilling surfaces and lids. It’s the safest and easiest way to bring charcoal to a gas grill party.

Q: Are gas grills better than charcoal grills?

Gas grills are better than charcoal grills with regard to prep time, heat control, and cleanup. While charcoal grills give food a distinct smoky, backyard flavor, they can be difficult to set up and getting the coals to the right temperature takes a while. Gas grills have push-button operation, with easy knobs and dials to find the right temperature quickly. Gas grills will be more expensive. They are also larger and heavier. But the extra size means they can grill 30 or more burgers easily. Which is better? It depends what you want. Gas grills are faster and easier. Charcoal grills make food taste better but need more care. The choice is yours. 

Related: You’ve got the best gas grill, now continue the backyard party with the best outdoor fire pit.

The final word on the best gas grill

Gas grills might be the very best way to cook outside. They are fast and efficient, with easy temperature control. They also excel at cooking large amounts of food for parties and events. Find a gas grill big enough for the family, yet small enough so it won’t look out of place in the backyard. Trusted brands like Weber and Char-Broil have a proven track record of grills. And always make sure the grill is sturdy and won’t topple over when hit with a mild breeze. For backyard BBQs, it’s tough to beat the classic and convenient gas grill.

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