Summer is the worldwide barbecue season. The sun is out and it is time to bust out the grill. If you’re planning to spend some quality time grilling outdoors during this summer, it might be the best time to upgrade some of your wares – or even investing in a new model altogether. You’re going to need the right grill to make cooking up your summer recipes easier and less messy.
There are plenty of types, brands, and models of grills available out there. From budget to fancy luxury models, we’ve tested a wide range of gas grills to bring you the best of the best for 2021. But why choose a gas grill? We’ve also provided a buying guide for gas grills to help you determine whether it is the right grill for your needs. We are going to outline factors you should consider when choosing a gas grill, different types, and things you should avoid. Read on to find out more!
Different Types of Gas Grills
Gas grills are often classified by size and gas source. Grill manufacturers mainly differentiate their models by how many burners it has – commonly two to six burners. However, the number of burners doesn’t necessarily tell you the overall size of the grill. Most grill experts and enthusiasts will classify a grill’s size by its usable cooking surface. Some even measure this cooking surface by how many burger patties it can grill simultaneously.
Small Grills – can cook 18 or fewer burger patties simultaneously
Small gas grills are very compact and portable. They can save plenty of space and are a great option for small cookouts and gatherings. Small gas grills can vary in size, appearance, and costs. Some use painted steel while other more high-end models use stainless steel. They can cost you between $100 up to $1,000.
Medium Sized Grills – can cook between 18 to 28 burger patties simultaneously
This category of gas grills is the most popular and most sold out of anyone. Medium size grills will vary quite a lot, from basic grills to feature-rich luxury models with LED lights, backlit knobs, and plenty of storage. These gas grills typically have burner warranties of up to 10 years or longer. They can cost you as low as $150 to $2,500 for higher-end models.
Large Grills – can cook 28 or more burger patties simultaneously
Large gas grills have the biggest cooking areas. This means you’re going to have to find a permanent location to accommodate these gas grills. High-end large gas grills boast seamless construction, high-grade stainless steel, multiple high-quality burners, and more. Most large gas grills also come with longer warranties. You can expect to pay $350 to $3,500 for these bad boys.
Another important factor to consider when choosing a gas grill is its gas source. There are two types:
Propane Tank Gas Grills – These are usually smaller and more portable compared to the other type. However, you have to change the tanks when they run out.
Natural Gas Grills – These gas grills use your home’s natural gas line for their gas source. This means that you can’t take these gas grills anywhere.
Another consideration you should take is how the grill starts. Gas grills have two ignition types, electronic and piezo.
Electronic Igniter – These types of igniters use batteries to start the gas grill. The downside of having batteries is that they will go dead after some time and thus will need to be replaced occasionally.
Piezo Igniter – These igniters produce a spark whenever you turn on the gas grill. A good piezo system will be very reliable in the long run.
Once you’ve determined what size gas grill you want and what gas source you prefer, it is time to go shopping for one.
What to Consider When Shopping for a Gas Grill
Gas grills will have different features depending mainly on their prices. Higher-end models will have more features that provide convenience such as gliding drawers for condiments. Some features make cleanup easier such as the grease tray. In this section, we’re going to list some of the key features you should consider when buying a gas grill.
For a lot of us, the price is the main priority when shopping for a new grill. There is plenty of low-cost yet decent equipment out there. However, you have to be realistic, a $200 grill won’t be the same as a $1,000 grill. If you have more wiggle room in your budget, investing in a more premium gas grill may be the best move for the long term. If you’re just looking to bring a grill for once-a-year camping trips, then the $200 grill may be more reasonable.
As stated in the previous section, gas grills come in small, medium, and large sizes depending on their cooking surface. For campers and apartment dwellers, a small portable gas grill may be more ideal. For everyone else, we recommend getting a gas grill big enough that can fit both your patio and budget. When it comes to grills, the bigger the better. Even if you don’t have a large family, you don’t want to overcrowd your grill during a cookout.
Don’t Trust BTUs
Plenty of grill manufactures still use the BTUs (British thermal units) measurement to advertise their grill’s power. This can be very misleading. The BTUs of a grill do not indicate its temperature levels or how much useful cooking heat it can produce; it only tells you how much fuel it can burn. This is why larger gas grills with multiple burners have higher BTU ratings because they burn more fuel. Instead, what you want to look out for is the maximum temperature output of the grill. This is a better measurement, albeit not perfect, for a grill’s overall power.
If the budget allows, look out for grills that feature infrared burners. Infrared burners can become much hotter than your standard gas burners. If you want to brown your steaks properly, you’re going to want extremely high heat; this is where infrared burners shine. Some companies, such as Weber, will label infrared burners with a brand name like “Sear Zone” or something like that. Make sure to keep an eye out for those.
The industry-standard materials for grates are stainless steel, cast aluminum, cast iron, enameled cast iron, nickel-plated, and more. For gas grills, we found that aluminum or stainless steel was the best for grills. Cast iron grates are heavy and are great for searing and maintaining an even temperature. However, if you want durability and long-term use, stainless is the best.
Three or More Burners
Most grillers and experts will tell you the minimum recommended burners is two or three. Most gas grills these days will have two burners minimum, however, it is still important to check before buying. The more burners a grill has, the more consistent heat it can produce. So, if you’re not specifically looking for a small portable gas grill, having more than three burners is a must.
Heat diffusers are a ceramic or metal shield that’s fixed over the burners. Covering the flames may sound counterintuitive, it provides a more even temperature at the grate level. The heat diffusers absorb and redistribute the heat from the flames. Because heat diffusers are fixed on top of flames, they also prevent grease fires or flare-ups during grilling meats.
Whatever grill you end up choosing, we recommend not paying attention to the built-in dial thermometers. Most of these are very unreliable, their readings can be off by as much as 50 Degrees Fahrenheit to 100 Degrees Fahrenheit. If you want more reliable temperature readings, we recommend getting an accurate digital thermometer and an instant-read thermometer.
Having safety features in your grill is always a plus. Not all grill owners realize they need them until it’s too late and an incident has happened. Heat shields on the grill handle are very important to protect your hands. A locking mechanism on the grill’s wheel can also help stabilize it while you cook. Considering these features will make your grilling experience a lot more convenient and safe overall.
What You Should Avoid
Now that you know what to look out for when buying gas grills, we’re going to outline some things that you should avoid.
The first thing you should do when buying a new grill, especially online, is to research the reviews of past users. Specifically, you should look out for reviews that talk about the grill’s structural integrity after a while. Pay special attention to paint peeling, metal rusting, and even control malfunctioning after just a few grilling sessions. These are big red flags that you should avoid at all costs.
Avoid gas grills that have cheap-looking wheels. The cheap plastic wheels won’t be as stable as you’d like during a cook session. Make sure that wheels can roll smoothly and are big and sturdy enough to last many years of use.
Best Gas Grills for 2021
After extensive research and testing, these are our top picks for the best gas grills for 2021. We’ve picked one model that excels in certain categories.
Best Overall Gas Grill – Weber Genesis II E-330
When it comes to gas grills, none matches the complete package of the Weber Genesis II E-330. One of the selling points of the Weber Genesis is its ability to reach over 800 degrees, which is quite rare for gas grills similar to it. This is thanks to the built-in infrared burner that doubles the potential heat output of the grill.
On top of this, it has enough cooking space and burners to serve a full party of people while also using the two-zone grilling technique. In short, the Weber Genesis II is a great option if you want a jack-of-all-trades type of grill. This is why we picked it as our best overall gas grill for 2021.
Best Affordable Gas Grill – Weber Spirit II E-210 Gas Grill
If your gas grill budget is tight, then this model will still serve you well. It is a compact, but not very portable, two-burner model. It is perfect for apartment dwellers with small spaces. Despite its size, it still offers an impressive cooking surface, approximately 360 square inches of grilling area. This affordable gas grill will easily serve a family of four or a small barbecue party. Weber also provides 10-year warranties for all their products. So, if you’re worried this affordable gas grill may not last a few years, Weber’s excellent customer service has got your back.
Best Portable Gas Grill – Weber Q2200 Gas Grill
If you’re a frequent camper and are looking for the right portable gas grill to take on your next camping trip, the Weber Q2200 Gas Grill won’t let you down. It only weighs 42.5 pounds and features two folding side tables. It maximizes portability as much as possible. The grates are made of porcelain-coated cast iron, this enables the grill to maintain an even heat while also being rust-resistant and easy to clean. Don’t make the mistake of assuming this small portable gas grill is weak; it still has enough heat output and cooking space to prepare your favorite grilled meals.
Best Luxury Gas Grill – Landmann Ardor 5-Burner Gas Grill
Finally, for our last entry, we have the Landmann Ardo 5-Burner Gas Grill. This is our top pick for the best luxury gas grill. If you’ve got the budget and space for this beast, we highly recommend checking it out. This grill is the centerpiece of the premium outdoor kitchen set from Landmann. It is designed to be modular, meaning the owner can add various extra features to enhance the overall grill. They can add another burner, a rotisserie, double door set, etc.
With this price tag, you can be sure that it is built with only the best of the best materials. This grill is heavy-duty, being made out of 304-grade stainless steel. It can do everything from low and slow cooking to high heat sears.
This concludes our buying guide and top list for the best gas grill for 2021. We hope that you’ve learned something new about shopping for your new gas grill. If any of the grills on our list doesn’t suit your needs, you can still use our list as a reference for the different types of gas grills and which one to invest in. Hope you find the best gas grill to make the most of the season.