Gas Grill
Buying Guide

Picture of someone grilling lots of veggies and meat.
Gas Grill Buying Guide

Answers to Searing Grill Questions

The backyard barbecue is an essential part of the American landscape. And while you may take great care in selecting and preparing the foods you serve, the success of your meal often comes down to the quality of your gas grill.

Whether you are a first-time buyer, or a seasoned grill master looking to replace your current grill, there’s a gas grill to fit every cooking style and budget: From portable models you can take camping, to larger grills designed to feed the extended family. The former can be inexpensive, but the latter can cost more than $3,000 – no small investment.

So here's the lowdown on high heat. Consumer Reports tested more than 100 gas grills to find the best and worst. In addition to selecting a grill based on budget and size, here’s what you need to know.

1

FAQ on the BBQ

The average price paid for a gas grill is $365, according to the latest survey from the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association. An earlier survey from 2013 found that most gas grills sold cost less than $300, on average, and were used for about three years. 

When shopping, you’ll want to carefully check the construction of the grill. Look at—even jostle—the assembled grill from several points to test sturdiness; the more stable, the better. Check the cart, wheels, lid, and firebox. Stainless-steel carts with seamless construction and welded joints are usually sturdier than painted-steel carts assembled with nuts and bolts. Wheels or casters at all four corners make a grill easier to maneuver. And wheels with a full axle are better than those bolted to the frame.

Check the gas grill brand reliability information in our Ratings too. We surveyed nearly 16,000 subscribers to learn what they had to say about the brand they bought.

Recipe for Safety
Many construction considerations also address safety concerns. Again, grill stability is important as it can prevent tipping. Avoid grills with sharp metal corners and edges. Test the handle: Your knuckles or fingers shouldn't be too close to the hot lid. And while some flame flare is normal, the greater the distance between the grates and burners or flavorizer bars, the fewer the sustained flare-ups.

Beyond Burgers
A basic grill is fine for cooking burgers and hot dogs, but if you also enjoy delicate fish and sizzling steaks with sear marks, look at the temperature range scores in our Ratings. They indicate just how versatile the grill is. The higher the score the better the grill is at cooking a variety of foods. If ribs or a roast are on the menu, you'll want a grill that did well in our indirect cooking tests. Indirect cooking is a great way to slow-cook large or tough cuts by placing the meat next to the fire, not over it, with the lid closed to retain heat. Check how the grills did in our indirect cooking tests.

About Burners
Keep in mind that burners are the grill's most replaced part. Burners with a warranty of 10 years should last longer than basic steel burners. A note on infrared burner claims: Infrared burners typically emit intense heat to sear and cook food, though designs differ by manufacturer. So far, no infrared burner design has stood out as better than others, or than standard burners.

Bringing the Heat
BTUs/hr (British thermal units per hour) tells you how much gas a grill uses and the heat it can create. However, our tests found that more BTUs doesn't guarantee faster preheating or better cooking.

A Side of Accessories
A number of accessories enhance the thrill of the grill. If you want to expand your menu and have some fun, consider a pizza oven, griddle, wok, and grilling basket.  

2

Shopping Grills by Size and Sizzle

We measure each grill's main cooking space so you can match it to the number of people gathered around your table. We use this technique because some manufacturers include racks and searing burners when tallying their measurements. Larger grills with more convenience features often come with more stainless steel styling and perhaps better construction, but not necessarily better performance.

When you're considering the cooking size of your grill, remember to factor in how much space the grill will eat up on your patio or deck. Some grills we tested measured six feet in length. Exterior grill dimensions are highlighted in the specs section of each grill's profile page in our Ratings.

Picture of a portable gas grill.

Portable Grills

A perfect bring-along for camping trips and tailgate parties. Portable grills are also a suitable option for smaller decks and patios. Literally, a moveable feast.
Cost: $170-250.

Check Our Gas Grill Ratings for More
Picture of a small gas grill.

Small Grills (18 burgers max)

Compact, non-portable grills save space and can be less expensive. They're a good option for a small cookout. Most small grills have fold-down shelves to decrease the grill's footprint, so side burners are out. Small grills range widely in price and appearance, from painted steel carts to stylish stainless steel.
Cost: $140-1,250. 

For Top-Rated Small Grills See Our Ratings
Picture of a mid-sized gas grill.

Mid-Sized Grills (28 burgers max)

This is the most popular sized grill. You'll see basic grills and souped-up models with plenty of storage and LED lights and backlit knobs for cooking after dusk. Many mid- to higher-priced gas grills have burner warranties of 10 years or more.
Cost: $150-1,800.

For the Best Mid-Sized Grills Visit Our Ratings
Picture of a large gas grill.

Large Grills (more than 28 burgers)

Large grills usually have the biggest cooking areas. The higher-end models boast the highest grade stainless steel, have seamless construction, thicker grates, gliding drawers, extra storage space, and more burners of better quality and longer warranty. 
Cost: $350-3,000.

For the Best Large Grills Visit Our Ratings
3

Gas Grill Features

Some important features may help you decide which gas grill is best suited to your needs. High-end grill features offer convenience, such as gliding drawers for storing utensils and condiments. Other features make grilling and cleanup easier, such as a pull-out grease tray. Here are other features to consider.

4

Grill Brands: What Readers Are Saying

Before you buy a grill you’ll want to know what other consumers have to say about the brand they bought. We surveyed nearly 7,000 subscribers in Fall 2015 and asked how satisfied they were with the brand’s grilling performance, durability, ease of use, ease of cleaning, and appearance, after about a year of use.

Backyard Grill gas grills are exclusive to Walmart and sell for $200 or less. Readers were lukewarm about grilling performance, ease of use, ease of cleaning, and appearance, and disappointed in durability. Backyard Grill fell behind the other 13 brands in overall consumer satisfaction.
The Broil King lineup includes portables all the way up to large grills with the styling of pro-style ranges. The grills are in the upper-mid to high priced range, from $300 to $2,200. Readers gave top marks for appearance, and high marks for grilling performance, durability, ease of use, and ease of cleaning.
Broilmaster gas grills are sold at specialty stores for $800 and up, with the Super Premium Series around $1,500. Readers gave high marks for ease of use and appearance but were lukewarm about grilling performance, durability, and ease of cleaning.
Char-Broil is one of the top-selling brands, and has a wide product range that includes innovative features and a hybrid grill that allows you to cook with charcoal and gas. We tested it and you’ll see it in our gas grill Ratings. Sold at retailers nationwide, Chair-Broil gas grills are $100 to $600. Readers gave high marks for grilling performance, ease of use, and appearance, but were lukewarm about durability and ease of cleaning.
Char-Griller’s gas grill lineup is narrow. They’re under $200 and sold at Lowe’s, Walmart, and online. Readers gave high marks for grilling performance, ease of use, and appearance, but were lukewarm about durability and ease of cleaning.
Coleman conjures up images of camping, but they also make gas grills for the patio for $400 to $600. Readers gave high marks for grilling performance, durability, ease of use, and appearance, but were lukewarm when it came to ease of cleaning.
Dyna-Glo gas grills are widely available and cost around $200 to $600. A dual-fuel grill that allows you to grill with charcoal and gas has been added to the lineup. We tested it and it appears in our gas grill Ratings. Readers gave high marks for Dyna-Glo’s ease of use and appearance, but were lukewarm about grilling performance and ease of cleaning.
Kenmore gas grills cover a wide range of prices, from $200 to $2,000. A number of companies manufacture the grills for the Kenmore brand and they’re sold at Sears. Readers gave high marks for ease of use and appearance, but were lukewarm about grilling performance, durability, and ease of cleaning. Note that our Brand Reliability survey found that Kenmore gas grills were among the more repair-prone, and we cannot recommend them at this time. You’ll see brand reliability information in our Gas Grill Ratings.
KitchenAid is a well-known name in cooking appliances and extends the brand name to cooking outdoors. KitchenAid gas grills cost between $400 and $1,500. Readers gave top marks for appearance and high marks for grilling performance, durability, ease of use, and ease of cleaning.
Master Forge gas grills are $150 to $1,500 and sold exclusively at Lowe’s. Readers gave high marks for ease of use and appearance, but were lukewarm about grilling performance, durability, and ease of cleaning.
Member’s Mark grills are sold at Sam’s Club and are manufactured by a number of companies. The grills usually cost between $200 and $500. Readers gave high marks for ease of use and appearance, but were lukewarm on grilling performance, durability, and ease of cleaning. Note that our Brand Reliability survey found they were among the more repair-prone, and we cannot recommend them at this time. You’ll see brand reliability information in our gas grill Ratings.
Excluding portable models, Napoleon gas grills boast stylish stainless steel at higher prices—$700 to over $2,000. Readers gave Napoleon grills top marks for appearance and ease of use, and high marks for grilling performance, durability, and ease of cleaning.
Nexgrill gas grills typically cost $200 to $400 and are widely available. Readers gave Nexgrill grills high marks for ease of use and appearance, but were lukewarm about grilling performance, durability, and ease of cleaning.
Weber Kettle charcoal grills have long dotted suburbia, but Weber is also known for gas grills in the upper-mid and higher price range—$400 to $2,500. Weber grills are widely available, making the brand one of the top sellers. Readers gave Weber gas grills top marks for grilling performance, durability, ease of use, and appearance, and high marks for ease of cleaning. Weber came out ahead of the other 13 brands for overall consumer satisfaction.
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