Once upon a time, before the invention of built-in gas-broiler in the year 1950, charcoal grills were the sole authority centering every outdoor cooking session. As time passed by, gas grills have been developed and perfected gradually.
Nowadays, it’s difficult to find a family that doesn’t have a grill for the occasional barbecue, underlining the fact that more than 50% of those families have a gas grill.
Hello, and welcome to Healthy Kitchen 101. I’m your host – Jay Wayne, and today we’re going to do an honest review of the best gas grills on the current market, and why they’re worth buying.
It’s not much of a surprise to many that gas grills were once built and bought for the sole reason of time efficiency, to ensure a shortened prepping time.
Bursting up flames and intense heat with gas is simply… quicker – substantially quicker, that is. That was how gas models secured their first step into the market dominated by the overpowering charcoal-burning units.
Over the years, with their potentials being recognized, gas grill models have grown more and more elaborate, if not sophisticated. Models of late, including residential units, are now made not only to offer swift undertaking but also to uphold professional standards.
Are gas grills healthier?
Okay, straight off the bat: NO.
Scientifically speaking, any food that is cooked under the exposure to direct flames and/or extreme heat has higher chances of spawning carcinogens – cancer substances – than food that is handled indirectly.
That means no grills are 100% safe. Not charcoal, not electric, not anything! If a method can be categorized as ‘grilling’, it won’t be cancer-free.
But has that kept us from those wonderful weekend gatherings with friends and family, from a quick backyard escape on a hot summer day, and especially from that delicious, smoked, and seared piece of meat? Absolutely not. As the recently popular saying goes: we’re here for a good time, not a long time.
On a more serious note, for the making of a healthy community, if we’re not going to cut it out completely, the least we can do is reduce the frequency of such occasions, and ensure that those events are as risk-free as we can.
So, what are we to do? First, follow these food safety steps from the United States Department of Agriculture. They should help address more than half of the common foodborne complications. Second, get yourself the best gas grill you can afford to seize every sizzling moment of the making of heavenly treats that is grilling.
Yes, it’s still a bit risky. But what’s life without a little risk?
How to choose the perfect gas grill
Other than taking recommendations from friends and family, the best way to spot the perfect gas grill is to get well-versed with the market yourself. Of course, that will take more efforts and time.
However, perfection demands great sacrifices – or something along that line. So let’s spend sometimes learning more about the elements that are influential to the long term experience of a gas grill.
In other words: size! How big should a gas grill be? Well, that depends on the number of family and friends who will be feasting.
On one hand, a 1 or 2-burner is perfect for a family of 4 to celebrate the achievements of the little offspring backyard. But keep in mind that the limited surface might be a problem if the amounts of food to be cooked are large.
On the other hand, a 3 or 4-burner might be a better fitting if one is hosting a gathering for a big number of attendants. The extended surface area is also extremely friendly to the versatility in one’s cooking intents.
A 2-burner is about 450 square inches at the grate, while a 4-burner is about 620.
Additionally, some experienced chefs hint at the importance of adequate space in meat-smoking as the vacancy allows the smoke to swirl around the content a while before exiting through the vents. Nobody wants to miss out that exquisite smoked flavor, am I right?
Today, decent models go with stainless steel builds with a few touches of porcelain here and there to lower the manufacturing cost while keeping the durability intact. Most of us know that so we’re not going to bother with an in-depth examination. Rather, we’ll dabble in the interior of the assembly, where the magic happens.
To be more specific, the grates and the flame tamers. Those parts are the ones that affect the integrity of the food and are in contact with damaging agents regularly. They need to be durable and resistant against rust and corrosion.
Of course, stainless steel come to mind. Most popular and/or economical units have stainless steel tamers but not stainless steel rod grates. More expensive grills, however, are all about stainless steel grates. The material is immune to corrosion and rust; it is easy to clean, and it won’t bend – basically the perfect tool for the job.
In alternative to stainless steel, there’s porcelainized cast iron. Its properties are quite familiar to stainless steel. Although chipping is more of a problem to porcelainized cast iron than to stainless steel, the balance between the reasonable longevity and the cost does reel people in.
As a result, a lot of manufacturers adopt porcelainized cast iron cooking grate in pretty much all of their mid-range models, which are substantial in numbers. So, if one prefers stainless steel, and have the bucks to spare, higher tiers is where they’ll find it.
Gas grills can be categorized into two main types: traditional burners and infrared burners.
Traditional burners are what most common gas grills have as their heating element unless stated otherwise. The food cooked with this type receives the heat directly from the combusted natural gas, which are the flames themselves.
These burners are usually assisted by flame tamers. The tamers help divert and spread the heat evenly to the adjacent areas, and also protect the burners from drips. The heat from the burners is not focused. It’s rather wavy like hot air, sometimes allowing flare-ups to kiss on the food for crusts.
The infrared burner type takes heat radiation to the core of its method. Instead of flames, concentrated infrared heat rays are mined to serve the good food we await.
The heat produced is more intense, and even more equally gridded, than that of conventional burners which makes it perfect for professional cooking. Thanks to that, infrared burners are commonly geared in the grills of restaurants.
There are also hybrid grills with both conventional and infrared burners built in. Those grills offer flexibility to what one can do on only one unit but they are not as popular as people would think. Most companies do have a few options but that’s about it.
On a side note, if you’re planning on having a rotisserie kit on your grill even far in the future, do keep an eye out for rear infrared burners.
Other than the aspects mentioned ealier, there are several little conveniences that, though not likely alter the quality of a grill session to a great extent, are nice to have. Well, except for that one seemingly minor yet critical feature: the ventilation.
When we want to smoke the food for some extra flavor, we close the lid to keep the heat inside. That’s where the vents come into play. Too many of them will let the heat slip out rapidly, leading to insufficient concealed heat. Just a few would do splendidly. So, one had better check up on the ventilation before committing to a certain eye candy.
Apart from that, there are thermometers, digital or analog, to monitor the heat inside the cooking compartment which will, in time, be very much needed. Speaking of the cooking compartment, remember to also examine the lid thickness. It affects the quality of the food, especially when smoking.
Side burners are also quite handy when it comes to preparing or heating up, for example, a sauce on the spot. It certainly expands the range of possible task combinations.
Also, the fuel gauge is not a bad addition either. It’s not much of a deciding factor, but it’s definitely a plus. So is built-in lighting. If you’re a fan of late afternoon grilling, it will be of use.
Deny it one might, the price tag is always part of the pivotal factors when choosing any product. Be it the wealthy or average crowd, NO ONE likes to be cheated, as in falling for false advertisement. The bucks should always be rightfully earned.
That’s why many people feel cautious as they climb higher up the cost ladder. Afraid of grabbing on a punishing bad investment, they rather stick to what is save, which is between where they’re at and the small-risk low-buck threshold.
With that being said, the gas grill market is very fair and, for the most parts, honest. That is to say the grills are built to the money. The more expensive they are, the more the durability and reliability customers get. As the price goes up, the quality of the material, features and craftsmanship does too.
Rest assured that shopping for gas grills is pretty safe. If your pocket can handle it, there’s no need to hesitate. Just know what you’re paying for.
Review of the best gas grills 2019
Looking for the most promising picks wasn’t easy at all because there are plenty of them, and as aforesaid, most of the gas grills now are well made. It was challenging to decide which one was better. What we have here can be the very definition of close wins.
At any rates, here’s our list of 5 chosen candidates for the best gas grills so far in 2019.
- Weber Genesis II S-310 gas grill – Best gas grill so far in 2019
- Weber Summit S-670 Stainless-Steel – Best natural gas grill
- Weber Q2200 Gas Grill Stainless steel – Best small gas grill
- Cuisinart CGG-180TS Petit Gourmet – Best portable gas grill
- Char-Broil Signature 425 3-Burner – Best gas grill under $500
|MODEL||FUEL||FUELCOOKING AREA (primary)||GRATES||BURNERS||PROPANE CONSUMPTION (hours)|
|Weber Genesis II S-310||Propane/Natural gas||513 square inches||Stainless steel||3||11 (20 lb tank)|
|Weber Summit S-670||Natural gas (propane optional)||624||Stainless steel||6|
|Weber Q2200||Propane||280||Porcelainized cast iron||1||1.7 (1 lb can)|
|Cuisinart CGG-180TS||Propane||145||Porcelain enamel coated||1||3.9 (1 lb can)|
|Char-Broil Signature 425 3-Burner||Propane/Natural gas||425||Stainless steel||3||17.9 (20 lb tank)|
1. Weber Genesis II S-310 Natural Gas – Best gas grill so far in 2019
Weber, with its long history with grills, has been a trusted brand to the US residents for decades now. Its products have scarcely disappointed, and so does the Weber Genesis II S-310 Natural Gas Grill.
The whole assembly is an open cart design, measuring 31” deep, 59” wide and 62” high with the lid open. When it’s time for concealed heat, the closed lid is no higher than 47”. Compared to normal grills, counting charcoal grills, 59” wide is quite a big number, giving the owner ample space to thrive around with their cooking routine.
With such figures, the grill offers a 513 square inch cooking area and a warming rack with the surface area of 159 square inches. Technically speaking, the grilling space can accommodate more than 19 5-inch burger patties while toasting up to 10 burger puns at the same time. There’s demand, and there’s supply.
One of the reasons why this Weber Genesis II finally made the list was the stainless steel construction. Most of the unit, namely the lid, the flame tamers, and the side tables, are made from pure stainless steel – one of the safest and most appropriate material when it comes to cooking. Plus, it doesn’t corrode or rust under average conditions, making cleaning a breeze every time.
Even better, the stainless steel rod grilling grates are the cherry on top. It’s durable, more so than cast iron, and is better at searing. These grates can hold the heat comparably well and drop it pretty quick when the need for low heat tasks arises. Basically, the material is, in my opinion, superior.
The Weber Genesis II S-310 is equipped with 3 stainless steel conventional burners, vertically arranged. Together with the burners are the flame tamers or heat deflectors that prevent drips from clogging the nozzles and vaporize those drips back onto the food.
This familiar duo is adopted in most popular models of gas grills, thanks to the natural consistency of temperature it provides and the well-spread heat distribution. So far, it has disappointed few grill lovers, if any, and has been adored by many.
As for the fuel, there are two versions of the Genesis II S-310; one runs on liquid propane and the other on natural gas, which really frees up some options. With liquid propane, a typical 20 lb tank can last the 39,000 BTUs per hour of the assembly for up to 11 hours before it requires a replacement.
Let’s first observe the vent. The burners of the Weber Genesis II S-310 is perpendicular to the back of the drill so excess ventilation would compromise the heat with the lid closed.
That won’t be a problem since there is only one long and thin opening at the back of the unit – not too much that heat and smoke would slip out, and just enough for them to regulate the flavor before exiting the compartment.
As for the other conveniences, the analog thermometer on the lid is a part of the package. No need to worry about whether the food is being overcooked as we can monitor the temperature when the lid is closed.
There are also two side tables. All the prepping for the whole round of food can be performed there, with the tools hanging from the 6 hooks. A pity is that there is no side burner. Given the price, however, that’s not terribly surprising.
Weber also designs a new grease management system. The system reduces the risk of frequent flare-ups and helps with the disposal of the grease. Also, the newer models of Weber are now compatible with the iGrill 3 – a device developed to allow cooks’ supervision over the temperature of the food through their phones.
Weber Genesis II S-310 Natural Gas Grill is one exemplary assembly. The reputation of Weber aside, the grill has what it takes to be the best gas grill of this whole year, easily catching and satisfying the demands of all grill lovers.
The Weber Genesis II S-310 is covered with a 10-year warranty.
2. Weber Summit S-670 Natural Gas Grill – Best natural gas grill
If one has already decided to go full natural gas, as the grill is not going to be moved around too much, one might as well go full blown. I mean, if it’s not one of those semi-large 4 burners, like the Weber Genesis II E-440, that gives around 650 square inches of cooking area, it should be something huge like the Weber Summit S-670.
Quite bulky, the grill seemingly offers nothing but real estate. The dimensions of the entire unit with the lid open are 57.1” in height, 30” in depth and 74.1” in width. When closed, the total space occupied goes down in height and depth, which are 50.5 and 26.5 respectively.
Going with such a spacious assembly is the gorgeous 624 square inch of heating surface; and that is without counting the 145 square inch warming rack and the side burner. In burger size, more than 24 5-inch burger patties can be cooked at the same time while having much room for veggies.
As expected with any high-tier model, the materials used are high-quality metals. With the most important parts – the burners, the grates, the flame tamers, and the lid, premium stainless steel is the fabric of choice for maximum lifespan and ease in cleaning.
As for the rest of the assembly, most of it is still of stainless steel, perhaps with slightly inferior properties, including the doors, the side tables, the grease pan, and the control panel – except for the porcelainized steel cook box, the painted cast aluminum side caps, and the standard steel frame.
This section right here is why the Weber Summit S-670 is the best gas grill so far. It’s not just because of the 60,000 BTU burners, but also the assisting sear burner and low power smoker burner, which yield 10,600 and 6,800 BTUs per hour respectively.
With the support of the sear burner, the grill now has a dedicated cooking zone when the need for extra searing power arises – right in the middle where the burner runs straight.
But that’s not all. There’s the addition of a smoker box, powered by the smoker burner, to the far right where one can put the smoke wood of their own liking.
To make things even better, the grill is geared with a 10,600 BTU rear infrared burner. Normally, it’s not of much use in grilling. It will be, however, when it comes to roasting – with the tools for which being part of the package.
Basically, there are a bunch of conveniences that the unit offers, being high-tier and all. To make it short, there is one high-quality, integrated analog thermometer, 2 side tables and 1 side burner, 6 hooks for the tools, integrated rotating station for the rotisserie, lighted control knobs, and handle lights.
By any definition of a gas grill, the Weber Summit S-670 is an absolute beast. With all the elements that gas grills do and should have, the grill isn’t just a luxury model, but also a standard to measure all grills.
The gas grill is under a 10-year warranty from Weber.
3. Weber Q2200 Gas Grill – Best small gas grill
Another Weber on the list and it’s assumably a good one. If one’s yard is not as large as they’d like but their love for grilling is undying, a compact quality-built gas grill like the Weber Q2200 Gas Grill is the ultimate pick.
The whole unit is designed to have a minimum frame yet sustain sufficient cooking space for the food. It measures 15.5” in height, 19.5” in depth and 51.4” in width – that is with the table fully extended. Accommodating 280 square inches of cooking area, it won’t be as small as one might fear.
With the surface area of one 5” burger being 19.6 square inches, one can technically grill more than a dozen burger patties simultaneously while having plenty of room for vegetables on the grill.
The grate is not stainless steel, which was expected. Rather, it’s porcelain-enameled cast iron – the second best option as up to this moment. Porcelainized cast iron is fairly durable, with decent corrosion resistance that will not underperform within 5 years.
The lid and the body are both cast aluminum for that extra anti-rust property and a sleek look. Additionally, the frame is built with glass-reinforced nylon, supposedly to create a rigid-enough platform while being cost-efficient.
The Weber Q2200 Gas Grill, because of its size, has but one traditional O-burner, which is stainless steel, with the tube running along the sides for maximum coverage across the grill. It’s a pity that the burner runs solely on liquid propane, so if one wishes to use the natural gas supply of the house, this may not be the best choice.
14 or 16 oz propane canisters, powering the 18,000 BTUs/hr, can hold the grill up and running for around 1.7 hours each.
Do note that, with these smaller size grills, there is usually no flame tamer or any cover to protect the burner. Try to clean the product right after it’s done being used to prevent debris and drips from hardening and clogging the nozzles.
There’s an integrated analog thermometer on the lid for convenient heat monitoring. Even for a quick, relaxed session, everybody wants to grill their food with just the right temperature.
There are also two side tables for prepping tasks. Not only does the cleverly designed tables can be folded into the cooking box to save space, but they are also considerably sturdy, thanks to the glass-filled nylon support frame.
For a gas grill of its size, the Weber Q2200 Gas Grill is hard to beat. Offering all that is useful to mini grilling sessions, it is loved by numerous owners and their folks.
The model is covered with a 5-year warranty.
4. Cuisinart CGG-180TS Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Gas Grill – Best portable gas grill
Next, we’ve got the Cuisinart CGG-180TS Petit Gourmet, a picnic mini grill that is loved by the masses for quite some time. It has been reviewed by its users as a capable, storable and affordable unit.
First and foremost, this grill is comparably small, which is both good and bad. ‘Good’ as in it’s almost effortless to carry. Being about 18” wide, 16” deep and 12” high, the whole assembly is no bigger than a suitcase, albeit heavier.
The grill is built to be portable, so limited heat surface area is reasonable. Indeed, with no side tables, the total area that one can work on is only 145 square inches. Now for a backyard party, that’s even beneath ‘lacking.’ But for camping with 2 or 3 people, the figure is just right.
The stabilizing legs of the grill, which is foldable, are made of aluminum. The material is known for its corrosion resistance and rigidity despite the fact that it adds very little to the total weight.
Meanwhile, the metal cooking grate is porcelain enamel coated. By being so, it possesses a relatively enduring characteristic against oxidation and high temperature. There might be a problem if this was the high-heat league, but at 5500 BTUs, it won’t likely fall short.
Having to deal with only a limited heating space, the burner of the Cuisinart CGG-180TS Petit Gourmet is a simple, single-tube traditional burner. To aid with the heat coverage around the grilling area, a flat heat regulation is installed right above, protecting the burner at the same time.
Unfortunately, there is no natural gas option for the grill. It only runs on liquid propane for the sake of portability so do mind that. For every hour, the grill gives out 5,500 BTUs, which means it can run for as long as 3.9 hours on one can of 1 lb propane.
This is where it disappoints. Given that it’s a mini grill, plus the model is quite old, the fact that it doesn’t have a thermometer or any side shelf is understandable. It’s still a real shame since everything else seems to work great. That’s why it’s still selling well. “What if,” right?
All things considered, it’s safe to say that the Cuisinart CGG-180TS Petit Gourmet is not half bad. It’s cheap, it’s compact, and it’s portable. What’s not to like?
5. Char-Broil Signature 425 3-Burner Cabinet Liquid Propane Gas Grill – Best gas grill under $500
Being making grills since 1948, Char-Broil is another brand name that is considered trustworthy by grillers all around. On the current market, the company is reputed for capable products tagged with economical prices. And the Char-Broil signature 425 3-burner (no side burner) is one of such products.
The whole unit is 46.3” high, 49.8” wide and 27.6” deep, not necessarily large nor small. Such dimensions are enough to device a 425 square inch primary heated area and a 165 square inch area on the warming rack, giving a total of almost 600 square inches of cooking surface.
Granted, the 425 square inches falls a little short to general standards for 3-burner grill, but the extra burner is there to make up for the lack of space by enhancing the quality of the fire. Heat is sure to cover evenly across the cooking grates, leaving out no gaps of insufficient temperature.
At this point, it should be clear that stainless steel is the ideal material for grills, especially the grates. It almost never chips, it holds and releases heat quickly, which is fantastic for searing, and it’s easy to clean. Plus, the material is dishwasher friendly. Scrub the pieces a little with warm water before putting it in the dishwasher.
The grilling rod grids are not the only one that is stainless steel. The burners, the side shelf, and the lid – or heat tent – are all made of the stuff. Corrosion and rust resistant, the assembly is built for sanitary and for the battle against time.
Traditional gas burners are what one finds themselves with cooking on this Char-Broil signature 425 3-burner. Unlike others, Char-broil doesn’t stop at the regular flame tamers.
By adding these flame separator tents, not only does the quality of heat distribution remains unaltered, but also the cooking zone temperature can now be controlled with better precision. Users can now have 3 different heated zones for different purposes.
Regarding the types of fuel, both propane and natural gas are compatible with the grill (conversion kit sold separately). Whichever is one’s preference, the machine can handle it.
If propane gas is the choice, one might like the fact that the grill can operate for up to 17.9 hours on a 20 lb propane tank, which is about 3 to 4 sessions.
First, it is the vent. A single gap runs across the back of the lid that won’t let heat escape too fast. It’s a great start.
Next, it is the built-in analog thermometer – a necessity if the cook plans on roasting or flavor smoking. Char-Broil thermometers gauge are well-made themselves. So far so good.
The third and final feature is the side shelf. Unfortunately, there’s no side burner. Though this doesn’t affect the grilling, it does limit the options.
For a gas grill under $500, the Char-Broil signature 425 3-burner (no side burner) definitely holds its ground. Offering quality material and an upgraded thermosystem, the propane/natural gas grill deserves a spot on the list.