The best gas grills are those that meet your needs and deliver a perfect meal each time you fire them up. Here’s a walk through the options for fuel types, sizes, cooking power, and the gas grill features that can give your next barbecue an extra kick. Check out our top tips for buying a gas grill:
Gas Grill Fuel Types
When you’re considering buying a gas grill, or questioning if you should buy a gas or charcoal grill, the obvious advantage of a gas grill is the ease of push-button ignition. To fuel this convenience for grilling on demand, gas grills are available in three different types: propane, natural gas, and a gas/charcoal combination that blends the ease of propane with the rustic tradition of charcoal. With so many available features, be sure to find your favorites as you determine the gas grill that best matches your lifestyle.
Propane gas grills rely on a standard-sized propane tank to produce a flame. These liquid propane, or LP, grills are connected to the fuel tank via a short gas line for easy replacement when the fuel depletes. Propane tanks are easy to exchange for full tanks at most gas stations and convenience stores.
Natural gas grills don’t require an external tank and can save you from the hassle of exchanging empty propane tanks. However, these grills do require an initial professional installation, as they rely on a natural gas pipeline running from your home to the grill for fuel. The best natural gas grills have a higher up-front cost, but they’re often worth it due to their ease of use.
Charcoal combination grills offer a dual-fuel scenario with both a propane tank and a separate or interchangeable charcoal grill. For charcoal enthusiasts, this hybrid fuel setup can offer the best of both worlds with a quick gas option as well as a slow-cooking charcoal option that gives food a smokier flavor.
For a gourmet griller, building a gas grill into an outdoor kitchen can bring professional cooking results. Built-in grills offer a range of burner choices, from one large gas burner to eight or more burners, often with rotisserie or infrared accessories included. These grills often run on gas.
Gas Grill Cooking Power and BTUs
You’ll often see the cooking power of a gas grill measured in BTUs, or British Thermal Units. This number is representative of how much fuel the grill can burn in an hour, with larger grills producing higher BTU values. You can expect single-burner grills to fall into the range of 10,000 to 20,000 BTUs, with some eight-burner grills topping out at 80,000 BTU. A typical grill puts out about 85 BTUs per square inch.
This measurement won’t tell you everything, though. The heat generated by the burners is also affected by the size of the grill. Grilling aficionados therefore look for an additional measurement, the BTUs per square inch or “heat flux”, to identify the most powerful gas grills.
Gas Grill Burners
When you’re cooking with gas, having more burners can be better, since they can be controlled individually. Mastering the art of indirect grilling requires at least two burners: one turned “on” to heat and one turned “off” as a place for the meat to rest. Additional burners can allow you to precisely control the temperature of each food or section of the grill to produce the perfect meal with thick meats, delicate veggies, or even desserts all at the same time.
Gas Grill Features
Add a little spice to your gas grill experience with one or more functional features. Popular gas grill features include a warming rack, thermometer, and push-button ignition as well as the following options:
Infrared grills heat a solid surface below the food, which then radiates heat directly to the food. This process results in less dry air motion, which can produce moister food with faster cooking.
Integrated or add-on rotisserie kits can provide motorized spinning to produce beautifully cooked poultry. Some grills offer the option of an additional rotisserie burner, which you can control independently to achieve optimal temperatures.
Many grills offer a built-in side burner or as an option on larger grill styles. This extra cooking area is a great way to warm side dishes or cook sauces while the meat is searing.
Convection heated grills heat food primarily through hot air, which is distributed and circulated by the gas burners below.
Protecting Your Grill
Like many outdoor investments, you can keep your grill covered to protect it from the elements. When thinking about grill cover sizing, the measurements are based on the size and shape of your grill.
Use a measuring tape to measure from the highest point of your grill to the ground. Then, measure the full width of the grill, including any add-on accessories like shelves or side burners. Add an inch or two to these numbers, and choose a cover that measures at least these length and width measurements, paying attention to the grill shape listed. Read our Outdoor Furniture Cover Buying Guide for more tips on how to choose the right covers.
Ready to get grilling? Choosing a gas grill that meets your needs for size and grilling power can provide many years of outdoor enjoyment and delicious dining. Take the time to decide which grill features are on your must-have list, and how each gas grill type would work for your needs. With so many styles and options, you’re sure to find the perfect gas grill for your backyard.
Read More Grilling Guides & Ideas:
- Want more options? See all of the different grill types in our Grill Buying Guide
- Keep your new purchase clean with tips on How to Clean a Grill
- Shop top-rated customer favorites in this roundup of our Top 7 Outdoor Grills
- Ready to try smoking meats? Read the Meat Smoking Guide for Beginners