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When it comes to home cooking, a gas grill can serve several purposes. They are the best tools to make a meal, enjoy the outdoors, and avoid turning the inside of your home into a sweat lodge all at once. And, although there are some who swear by the earthen, charred flavor of cooking over charcoal, gas grills offer you the chance to cook with less sooty mess and even keep dangerous carcinogens at bay. The best gas grills help you make the most out of these benefits while also offering other distinct advantages.
If you don't often find yourself telling bad jokes, tucking in your shirt, sporting basic white tennis shoes, or wearing a cheesy "Kiss the Chef" apron, then the world of gas grilling might seem like a foreign place. For starters, it's important to know how a gas grill is powered. Rather than cooking your food over burning hot coals, gas grills utilize either propane or natural gas as fuel. Natural gas needs to be hooked up to a gas line, while propane requires the propane tanks you can get at gas stations or grocery stores. They will typically be smokeless, and households of any size can benefit from the variety of grill sizes that are available on the market. Plus, the number of foods that can be grilled using this appliance is endless -- from burgers and hot dogs to veggie kabobs, corn, or even peaches -- a gas grill will satisfy vegans, carnivores, and eaters in between.
Whether you're experienced in gas cooking or beginning to search for your first grill, it's important to know exactly what to look for in these appliances. In addition to having two different types of fuel (natural gas or propane), gas grills have an array of different qualities that separate one model from another. The cooking surface type, heat distribution, and burner material (the part which generates the heat) will all make a difference in how your food cooks. And, a variety of auxiliary features can make a difference in personal convenience when cooking.
Types of Gas Grills
Other than the sort of fuel used, the biggest difference between types of gas grills -- and the factors that will help you find the right one for you -- is the cooking surface, burner material, and the size of both. Gas grills will have two main types of surface: either a flat, smooth top or an array of grates. With the latter style, the grates might be made of iron, steel, or even porcelain. Flat tops are similar to hibachi grills, and allow cooking to be done without a lid covering the surface to retain heat. Both distribute heat differently and will cook meals in different ways based on the food's contact to surface material and direct heat.
From there, the material of the burner is the next thing you should consider. A burner is a piece of equipment which sits overtop the flame, increasing in temperature and pushing heat up towards your food. They may be made from steel, aluminum, iron, or even brass -- and each material has a different capacity for retaining and distributing heat. Some, like iron, even require you to consider whether corrosion or rust might be a future problem for your grill.
Beyond these standard components, there are numerous other attributes to consider when buying a gas grill. Does your grill have a gauge to help you measure fuel usage? How about a drip pan or flame tamer to catch grease and reduce the risk of flare-ups? A rotisserie attachment, side burner, or warmer can help you prepare different types of food at different speeds and times. Finally, you'll want to look for whether your grill is light via an ignition switch, or whether it will require the manual method: a lit match. With this in mind, here are our suggestions for the best gas grills around.
Best Gas Grill Value Options
Weber Genesis Liquid Propane Gas Grill - Amazon, $999
There are very few gas grills on the market with as much space as the Weber Genesis, which is amazingly handy when cooking a mix of meats and vegetables on the same appliance. The extra-long side table will help you stage or prep ingredients with short cooking times while the longer items cook over three of Weber's proprietary PureBlu Burners. The Genesis features a cooking area at 18.95'' x 26.86'', with part of that space featuring a special sear zone to add the perfect finishing touch to your steaks. While the Genesis is already loaded full of special features like a side burner, electric ignition switch, expandable cooking grate, and gas gauge, you can add even more upgrades to the grill through Weber's Crafter Outdoor Kitchen Collection. Does the future smell like a rotisserie chicken to anyone else?
Royal Gourmet 6-Burner Propane Grill - Amazon, $430.00
Some gas grills are star-studded when it comes to extra features, but the Royal Gourmet takes it one step further: 625 square inches of porcelain-enamel-covered cast-iron grates sit atop not two, not four, but six burners. The auxiliary cooking area adds an extra 200 sq. inches of room, and when the warming rack and side burner are taken into account, it equals enough space to prepare an entire meal in one place, at one time. The stainless steel body and burners are a long-lasting, durable asset for your new grill. Not only does the material make the grill extra strong, but the lid is built in a domed, double-layer form that captures and retains heat to make the most of your precious fuel. In today's economy, considering the gas mileage of your grill is a must. This grill can also travel; Lockable caster wheels allow you to station the grill in place, or put it on the move.
Best Flat Top Gas Grill
Nexgrill Daytona 4-Burner Propane Gas Griddle - The Home Depot, $399.99
The motto at Nexgrill is "Everyone's Invited," but when you add this appliance to your backyard options, you won't actually have to invite anyone at all. Friends, family, and that random neighbor from down the street will all be attracted by the smells and sounds emanating from this sizzling flat top. At 756 square inches of space, there is certainly enough room to fit everyone -- Nexgrill boasts that 37 standard burgers can fit on their grill at once, with two removable grease cups to capture the delicious run-off. This grill does operate with liquid gas propane only, but four burners are enough to stretch each tank while keeping things steaming hot. Flat top grills are often sold without a lid, but the Daytona has improved heat retention thanks to Nexgrill's decision to include a steel top. 60,000 total BTUs of cooking power will get your meal done fast, no matter if you're using the flat top for fried eggs and pancakes or searing pork chops.
Best Budget Option for Gas Grills
Day Glo 3-Burner Open Cart Propane Gas Grill - The Home Depot, $140
Let's say you have a smaller family, don't necessarily need a super large or powerful appliance, or you're just the occasional griller. In that case, the Dyna-Glo offers everything your need in a gas grill, and at an exceptionally great price. A respectable 449 square inches of grilling space is plenty of room to complete the main course of your meal, while a raised warming rack can give you just enough extra area to add a second course to the mix. Both grates are stainless steel wrapped in porcelain, which maintains heat and reduces the risk of food sticking to the metal. It also makes for a very easy clean-up, which becomes even simpler thanks to the built-in grease trap. With the Dyna-Glow, the name of the game is convenience, as this grill is light enough (approximately 47 pounds) to move around with ease.
Best Option For Small Spaces & Apartments
Expert Grill 2-Burner Tabletop Gas Grill - Walmart, $117
Speaking of convenience, if you live in an apartment, without a backyard, or just in a general situation of limited space, it's reasonable to think a gas grill would be out of the question. Expert Grill asks you to think again. This two-burner tabletop option prioritizes gas grilling no matter where you are stationed. It's easy to take on the road during summer camping trips, portable enough to move quickly under an awning should a storm arrive, yet large enough to grill eight burgers at once.
Everything on this Expert Grill, from the body to the burners, is made from long-lasting stainless steel because even at this low price, purchasing a gas grill is an investment. The Expert Grill features a total of 273 square inches of cooking space, burns at 16,000 BTUs -- hot enough to cook anything you can think to grill, and is totally collapsable. This tabletop choice allows you to honor all of the punny, Hall & Oates loving grill dads out there: "Every time you go away, take a piece of meat with you" (or veggie patties, if that's your preference).