Since their invention in the 1950s, propane grills have been preferred over charcoal and electric models. Nowadays, you can easily spot a propane grill sizzling anywhere: from home meals to beachside cookouts.
But with different factors to consider, finding the best propane grill isn’t always as simple as you might think. Don’t worry: our buying guide and reviews can help you make the most informed purchase.
Propane Vs. Natural Gas: What’s the Difference?
Many people can’t distinguish between propane and natural gas or mistake one for the other. To set things straight, here are the differences.
Liquid propane (LP) is pressurized inside canisters or tanks for easy storage. When the container runs low on fuel, you can buy or refill one at any gas station or convenience store. On top of that, you can bring it along wherever you go, which is useful for traveling or camping.
Meanwhile, natural gas (NG) follows the complex underground pipeline system from the manufacturing plant to your residence. Its availability isn’t something that everyone always has access to because it depends on the location of your area. Plus, limited mobility is a deal-breaker for many people.
In short, a natural gas grill is more appropriate for backyard grilling with a designated fuel supply at home. Meanwhile, a propane grill makes a versatile outdoor BBQ option with intense heating capacity and less hassle.
In the end, the choice is entirely yours to make. But if you’ve decided on a propane grill, our buying guide can help.
How to Find the Best Propane Grills
Before heading into the detailed review section, there are some key pointers you need to remember.
Which Is the Right Size?
Determining the right grill size is critical when considering whether or not to buy a propane grill.
Small units offer 150 to 250 square inches of usable area, equipping one to two burners. Even with limited heating capacity, these models should suffice for a couple or a small family of five people.
Despite the minimal cooking surface, you can diversify your menu options if you’re creative enough. These grills can handle small items like skewers, shish kebabs, ham and cheese, pork rolls, and the like.
Any typical mid-sized grill has three to five burners to upgrade its overall heating. Some models may also add secondary heating options like a side burner, an infrared heater, or a roasting spit.
Furthermore, the grate area provides 300 to 500 square inches, enough space to cook for five to ten adults. With bigger grates, these grills can whip up staples such as burgers, hotdogs, steaks, and fish.
These grills can up the ante with their tremendous cooking areas, measuring 550 to 900 square inches. There are models whose interior can provide as much as 1,000 square inches, but those are rare to find.
With five to seven burners at your disposal, these grills are appropriate for large crowds with 15 to 20 people. Their heating intensity can penetrate thick-skinned items like briskets, ribs, poultry, and prime cuts.
Types of Propane Grills
Propane grills come in various styles or designs: there are tabletop, freestanding, and built-in models to choose from.
These compact grills are small enough to sit on the countertop, table, or pack into a car trunk. Certain collapsible grills can also fold themselves down to shed off a few pounds for easier portability.
Travel-size propane grills are suitable for frequent campers who want to fire up tailgate parties on road trips or picnics. Providing that you can come up with a simple menu with small items, these grills are good enough.
However, they are less durable than you’d expect: when one part malfunctions, the whole thing is as good as damaged.
Functioning as a self-reliant kitchen on a cart, freestanding models have plenty to bring to the feast. With ample cooking areas and extra burners, these grills should do for a family, maybe with some friends coming over.
People with a lawn or patio are more likely to choose a freestanding model. However, these grills can take up a considerable corner of your garden or backyard, if not the whole thing.
The craftsmanship and quality are under an extensive warranty spanning a few years to a decade.
When renovating or refurbishing the backyard, you might as well complement it with a built-in grill while you’re at it. The custom-made grill is tailor-fitted into a BBQ island or station, functioning as a luxurious outdoor kitchen.
For avid grillers aspiring to master the arts of barbecuing, there’s nothing better than a built-in model. It would make for a serious and long-term investment if you plan on improving your skills further beyond casual grilling.
To be upfront: a built-in grill doesn’t come cheap. But in return, it’s something you only need to build once and own for the rest of your life.
If you have a tough time following us, check out the specs of each model in the following summary table.
|Tabletop Models||Freestanding Models||Built-in Models|
|Number of burners||One to three||Three to nine||Three to seven|
|Cooking area (square inches)||150 to 300||350 to 900||600 to 900|
|Serving capacity||Two to five people||10 to 20 people||10 to 15 people|
|Accessories||Few or none||Moderate to multiple||Few to moderate|
|Price||$200 to $450||$500 to $2,200||$900 to $2,000|
Since propane grills are available at different prices, buyers need to establish a clear budget plan and stick with it.
Low Tier: From $200 to $400
If you don’t intend to cook often, a budget-saving grill with up to three burners makes for a great choice. Its heating output (5,000 to 15,000 BTUs) is good enough to whip up a good meal just fine.
Save for the burners, there are very few stainless-steel components or add-ons, if any at all.
Middle Tier: From $450 to $900
At this price range, a grill typically equips up to six burners (20,000 to 40,000 BTUs). Some models may also come with secondary heating options and other useful extra features that a griller might need.
For casual grillers throwing parties on weekends, this is as much as you should consider paying.
Top Tier: From $900 to $1,500
As an upgrade over commercial models, a premium grill boasts a tremendous cooking area and impressive heating efficacy. With up to eight burners and heat-dispersing plates, the burn rate ranges from 40,000 to 90,0000 BTUs.
Unless you’re running a BBQ restaurant, don’t bother with models over $2,000. If anything, they’re better in the hands of committed pitmasters with years of expertise.
Among the materials, stainless steel and cast iron are the most popular. Both materials transfer heat with high efficiency, although the former proves far more durable and easier to clean up.
Since cast iron is prone to oxidation, its surface is often treated with porcelain enamel or a layer of oil. Other alternatives are coated steel and ceramic, whose heating properties are relatively decent at the expense of longevity.
These accessories don’t affect how the food turns out, but at some point, you’ll want them at your disposal:
- Side tables with tool hooks
- Shelves or cabinets
- Wheels or casters
- Grill light
Reviews of the Best Propane Grills in 2021:
1. Weber Spirit II E-310 Propane Grill — Best to Buy in 2021
To start things off, the well-rounded Weber Spirit II E-310 qualifies as our first pick. Since Weber has been a reliable brand name for decades, you can tell this model has plenty to offer.
- Fast and uniform heating
- Sizeable cooking area
- Compatible with iGrill thermometer
- Side table with hooks
- Cart with shelf and casters
- Free assembly (terms applied)
- Expensive for its features
Sizeable Cooking Area
Let’s talk numbers and specifics. The grate comes in at 424 square inches, plus another 105 square inches of warming rack. That gives you a total of 529 square inches, translating to 15 burger patties.
Once the grill is up and running, it stands at 44 inches tall or about waist high.
Well Built From Top to Bottom
This grill comes with three stainless-steel burners and porcelain-enameled cast-iron grates. Although stainless steel grates are preferable, that doesn’t make cast iron ones any less effective in terms of heat retention.
To minimize flare-ups, the heat deflectors and flavorizer bars vaporize the dripping before it can catch fire. Weber places the whole thing under warranty for ten years.
Fast & Reliable Heating
Thanks to the 30,000-BTUs output, the robust burner triplets work wonders on all ingredients with reliable heating.
That said, it’s okay if you don’t want to fire up all three burners at the same time. Each burner is quick to start with a battery-powered sparker and potent enough to function alone.
Easy to Move
On the whole, the 114-pound body is less bulky compared to many other Weber models. Resting on two all-terrain wheels and two legs, the grill is easy to move around albeit without any casters.
Plenty of Additional Features
Two side tables provide space for spices and dressings on top, while some hooks keep utensils within arm’s reach. Plus, the bottom shelf provides a secure place for the propane tank.
Similar to other Weber grills, the lid-mounted thermometer is a nice way to read the interior ambiance. But if you want to check specific items, an iGrill smart thermometer is a better choice.
The all-around Weber Spirit II E-310 can deal with anything from all-time classic cheeseburgers to gourmet-quality rib-eye steaks. Whether you’re new to barbecuing or have been grilling for years, this grill won’t disappoint.
2. Char-Griller E3001 Grillin’ Pro 40,800-BTU Gas Grill1 — Best Value Propane Grill
The Char-Griller Grillin’ Pro E3001 is a solid starting point for first-time grillers with no prior experience. Beginners can use this budget-saving grill to practice the fundamentals and improve their techniques.
- Reasonable cost
- Ample cooking surface
- Side burner and smokestacks
- Side table with tool hooks
- Time-consuming assembly
With a grate measuring 438 square inches, the grill is big enough for a family and two extra people. Plus, the warming rack provides 192 square inches for reheating, increasing the total cooking area to 630 square inches.
Standing at 48 inches tall, the grill is comfortable to cook on without tiring your arm.
Major parts include the stainless-steel burners, a porcelain-enameled cast-iron grate, and chrome-plated steel warming rack. The burners are under a five-year warranty.
Meanwhile, the body and lid come from tubular steel with a rust-proof coating. As effective as that protective layer may be, it won’t hold up well after years of exposure to the elements.
Despite the manual instruction, it can take you over an hour to put the components together into one coherent piece.
At the maximum setting, the burner trios yield 40,800 BTUs. If that isn’t enough firepower, how about an extra 12,000-BTU side burner to boot?
Each burner has an ignition system and heat tent to prevent flare-ups. In addition, the two smokestacks keep the interior air well ventilated.
The 92-pound unit is light enough for one person to shift around on its pair of rugged all-terrain wheels. It can cross different rough surfaces strewn with rocks/pebbles but be careful when turning sharp corners or going sideways.
Other utilities include a thermometer and a side table with tool hooks. When you aren’t using the side burner: close the lid, and you’ll have another side table for condiments and sauces.
For grillers on a tight budget, the Char-Griller Grillin’ Pro E3001 is your safest bet. It’s a good choice for casual barbecuing on weekends.
3. Char-Broil 463673519 Performance Series 2-Burner Propane Gas Gril — Best Small Propane Grill
A typical propane grill can take up a massive chunk of your backyard, but not the Char-Broil Performance 2-Burner. If you don’t have a big garden or patio, it might just be the right thing for you.
- Swivelable casters with locks
- Side tables with thermometer
- Built-in cabinet for propane tank
- Sleek-looking and compact design
- No multiple heat zone
Underneath the hood is a 300-square inch grate and a 100-square inch warming rack. Granted that it isn’t much, it is still ample for a small family with another adult or two.
Standing at 44 inches tall, this grill is slim enough to fit on the balcony of an apartment or studio.
The two stainless-steel burners are under a five-year warranty while the porcelain-enameled cast-iron grate comes with a one-year warranty. Other parts are painted steel, whose weatherproof properties are bound to diminish with routine wear and tear.
There’s only so much the two burners can do. At the highest settings, they can yield up to 24,000 BTUs, just hot enough for searing steak and salmon.
With four casters, the 82-pound grill can glide smoothly like a shopping cart. Each caster has a lock to keep the grill stationary, preventing it from rolling off a slanted surface.
The Little Things
Like any typical model, this grill features a pair of fold-down side tables and a thermometer. There’s also a built-in cabinet to house the propane tank, so it wouldn’t displace when you move the grill.
Granted the straightforward Char-Broil Performance 2-Burner doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but at least it gets the job done. If you aren’t planning anything too big or complicated, this small propane grill should be okay.
4. Napoleon P500RSIBPSS-3 Prestige 500 RSIB Propane Gas Grill — Best Freestanding Propane Grill
From the first look, you can already tell the Napoleon Prestige 500 RSIB means serious business. It’s a deluxe freestanding propane grill for a massive BBQ fest with lots of people and food.
- Universal stainless-steel assembly
- Multiple powerful heating options
- LED-lit temperature knobs
- Side table, tool hooks, thermometer
- Built-in cabinet
- Swivelable casters
- Expert installation needed
The cooking grate measures 17.75 by 28 inches, translating to 497 square inches with a warming rack to boot. Napoleon claims it can handle 30 burgers, with plenty of room left to spare for side dishes and veggies.
Given the grill’s size and complexity, you need professional installation from qualified gas fitters or technicians rather than meddling yourself.
Universal Stainless-Steel Assembly
All the grill’s heating components are made of premium-grade stainless steel. Moreover, the whole thing is under a limited lifetime warranty.
To prevent heat loss, the roll-top lid functions like an oven hood. With the coverage of the heat tents, the burners can operate at their optimal level without clogging or flare-ups.
Measuring 7.5 millimeters thick, the grate comes in several wavy patterns to intensify the sear marks on the food.
Tremendous Heating Prowess
The four burners can achieve a blazing output of 80,000 BTUs combined. With multiple secondary heating options available, there’s plenty more to explore.
The grill features two infrared burners (side and rear) and a rotisserie system with a rotating spit. The latter is great for slow roasting turkeys or chicken on low heat.
Other small accessories include a temperature probe, double door cabinet, lockable casters, and two side tables. When you’re cooking at night, the glowing temperature knobs make themselves easier to monitor and fine-tune.
Gleaming with potential, the high-end Napoleon Prestige 500 RSIB is designed for huge gatherings like family reunions or neighborhood parties.
5. Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill — Best Propane Charcoal Grill Combo
Why choose between a charcoal or propane grill when the Char-Griller 5050 makes for a good compromise? As a combination of two different barbecuing methods, this grill blends all the best qualities into one unit.
- Large cooking chambers
- Side burner
- Separate thermometers
- Extra-large cart storage
- Two-in-one design
- Bulky and space-taking design
Double Cooking Areas
There are two distinct chambers: one running on propane and the other on charcoal. The grates combine for 876 square inches, not to mention 384 square inches from the warming racks.
With 1,260 square inches altogether, this grill can fit several rib racks, briskets, and poultry of all sorts. Standing at 49 inches tall, this grill is bulky and it requires expert assembling.
While the propane-fueled chamber features three stainless-steel burners, the charcoal-fed chamber has a height-adjustable fire grate. Both sides use porcelain-coated cast-iron grates for optimal heat retention properties.
However, the exterior parts are bound to oxidize as the paint flakes off or chips away after a few years. To prevent that, a breathable tarp can cover the grill and protect it against moisture from rain or snow.
Three burners handle half of the cooking tasks, providing an output of 40,800 BTUs. Moreover, an extra side burner can chip in another 12,000 BTUs just for good measure.
Meanwhile, the charcoal side can turn into an offset smoker box with the right adjustments using the smokestack.
Difficult to Move Around
Even with two people, the 170-pound assembly is difficult to move around. Instead of using swivelable casters, the all-terrain wheels make it tough to steer the grill around corners.
To compensate for the lack of a side table, the bottom cart provides ample storage room. Plus, each chamber has a thermometer on top.
Not many people can afford to purchase two different grills, so the Char-Griller 5050 is the best of both worlds. As a versatile hybrid of a gas and charcoal grill, it can further diversify your menu options.
6. Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill — Best Outdoor Propane Grill
Barbecuing on the road would be a whole lot better with the Coleman RoadTrip 285 at your disposal. For frequent campers, this suitcase-shaped propane grill can provide you with reliable heating.
- Collapsible design
- Decent heating
- Interchangeable cooking surfaces
- Retractable side tables
- Weak side tables
- No heat tent
Average Cooking Area
Although 285 square inches of surface area may not seem like much, this grill can serve up to four adults. Given the grill’s height and design, a warming rack is understandably out of the question.
Three stainless steel burners output a reasonable rate of 20,000 BTUs. Though the intensity is only just enough for searing, many campers don’t mind that at all.
However, the lack of heat tents subjects the burners to all sorts of drippings and flare-ups. Sooner or later, the orifices will get clogged up with charred bits or grease droplets.
You can exchange the grate with other cooktops like a griddle or stove to diversify the menu. However, you will have to cough up extra for these since they aren’t part of the package.
The whole grill can fold into a suitcase-shaped body that packs inside the car. Once you’ve arrived at the camping ground, you can pull the 50-pound grill alongside like a carry-on item.
The Little Things
When propping the grill up, two side tables will extend outward. But these flimsy tables can only hold up so much weight before snapping or breaking in half.
Although this grill runs on one-pound canisters, campers can attach it to an onboard RV tank with a high-pressure hose. Plus, the thermometer is a nice touch.
The space-saving Coleman RoadTrip 285 should be a strong consideration when you’re planning the next outdoor trip. It can whip up a decent meal in minutes with minimal effort.
7. Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Propane Gas Grill — Best Portable Propane Grill
If your backyard isn’t big enough for a full-size propane grill, then the Cuisinart CGG-180T should make a decent substitute.
- Compact design
- Sufficient cooking area
- Height-adjustable base
- Weak heating
- A struggle to clean
Admittedly the 145-square inch grate doesn’t provide enough room to work with large items. However, it can handle as many as eight burger patties or ten chicken breasts.
The lone stainless-steel burner registers 5,000 BTUs, which is nowhere near hot enough for searing. That said, it should suffice for simple and small items like drumsticks or patties.
Weighing 20 pounds, the grill can fold into a briefcase. The whole thing is light to pick up and carry around without taking up too much room.
Plus, the extendable aluminum legs can stand firmly on the ground with their end caps. That way, you can adjust the grill’s height as needed.
Although the porcelain-enameled grate retains heat well, it doesn’t spare you from cleaning and maintenance. Seasoning with oil and keeping the grate dry are the secrets to keeping it in pristine condition.
Without protection, the burner can flare up and clog from residue. Moreover, the grease tray tends to spill all over the place, creating a huge mess.
Save for some inconveniences, the Cuisinart CGG-180T nonetheless is a good choice for those who don’t grill often. You can easily bring it along with you anywhere you go.
8. Pit Boss Stainless Steel Portable LP 2-Burner Gas Grill — Best Tabletop Propane Grill
The Pit Boss 75275 doesn’t stand out at first, but its heating prowess is impressive for such a small grill. It’s a great choice for a small barbecue cookout.
- Decent heating
- Stainless-steel assembly
- Foldable design
- Lacks multiple heat zones
The surface provides 269 square inches, more than adequate for small families of four people.
The universal stainless-steel assembly is a pleasant surprise for many people, given the material’s properties and price. Moreover, the two small burners can provide a respectable output of 20,000 BTUs, just hot enough for cooking.
The Little Extras
A thermometer lets you keep tabs on the interior. In addition, the two legs at the base can fold inward for convenient movement and storage.
The Pit Boss 75275 is a solid model that simplifies barbecuing for everyone. It can sit on any table or fit inside car trunks without gobbling up too much space.
Top-rated Propane Grills Comparison Chart
|Number of Burners||BTU (in total)||Warranty|
|Weber Spirit II E-310||529||3||30,000||10 years limited|
|Char-Griller Grillin’ Pro E3001||630||4||40,800||5 years|
|Char-Broil Performance 2-Burner||400||2||24,000||Limited warranty|
|Napoleon Prestige 500 RSIB||497||6||80,000||Limited warranty|
|Char-Griller 5050||1,260||4||40,800||5 years|
|Coleman RoadTrip 285||285||3||20,000||3 years limited|
|Cuisinart CGG-180T||145||1||5,550||3 years|
|Pit Boss 75275||269||2||20,000||Limited warranty|
Propane Grill FAQs
Below are a few of the common questions people have when it comes to getting the most out of their propane grill.
How to Grill Burgers on a Propane Grill
Burgers are an all-time classic cookout treat, since they’re tasty and easy to make in large quantities. Few people will say no to a nicely-grilled patty of ground beef on a sesame bun, and fewer still if you have the right extras to add to it. Here’s how to grill burgers using a propane grill, from preparation to serving:
- Spice the ground meat however you deem fit. Try combinations of salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic powder, and paprika, just to name a few.
- Shape the patties to your favorite size and thickness, though we recommend ¾ inch around the rim and ½ inch in the middle.
- Spray a layer of non-stick cooking spray on the grill surface before turning it on, and let it preheat thoroughly (10 to 15 minutes on high heat). If you can hover your hand five inches above the surface for only one second, the grill is ready. Safety note: don’t use cooking spray when the burners are lit.
- Put the patties on the grate.
- Flip the patties only once: 5-6 minutes on the first side, and when it starts sizzling, turn them and do the other side for another 3-4 minutes. You don’t want to flip too often.
- Have all your veggies and condiments ready to go before the burgers are done. Your burgers are best when they’re still piping hot and dripping with juice
Tip: don’t press or squish the patties down, as this will cause the juice inside the meat to drip out or burn off.
To get the most out of your buns, place both halves on the grill or warmer rack for a few minutes to toast them just a bit.
How to Grill Ribs on a Propane Grill
A challenging fan-favorite is the rack of ribs. Everyone has different tastes, so the ideal temperature and cooking time may vary from person to person.
Since there’s no universal recipe for grilled ribs, here is a basic one that we think is a great place to start. You can make adjustments as you see fit based on your desires.
- Season the ribs with dry rub or spice paste, and let the flavors soak in for about 10 to 20 minutes before grilling. You can also let them marinate in the fridge overnight, provided you plastic-wrap everything completely.
- Turn on the grill, and let it preheat thoroughly. The temperature should be in the 300-375°F range.
- Wrap the ribs in aluminum foil and put them on the grill. Close the lid and let them cook from 30 to 40 minutes.
- It’s ok to occasionally open the lid to check on things, but try not to do it too often.
- After 30 minutes, remove the ribs from the grill, and let them rest for about 10 minutes.
- Open the aluminum foil to brush the ribs with your favorite sauce, wrap them back up, and put them back on the grill for a final few more minutes before serving.
Related post: How to Convert a Propane Grill to Natural Gas
How to Use a Propane Grill
Starting the grill:
- Connect the propane tank to the grill, and remember to check for leakage on the hose and the tank itself using the soap test.
- Always open the lid before opening the gas valve.
- Start the burners — depending on the model of grill, this may be done with a turning knob or a push-button igniter.
If the igniter doesn’t work, you’ll have to manually start the flame: open the lid, turn the knob to “High,” and use a match to ignite the flame. Some grills have a convenient hole low down near the burners where you can insert a match; with others, you may just need to drop the match in.
Safety note: if both the tank valve and the burner knobs have been on for a while but the flame has failed to ignite, turn everything off and leave the lid open for a few minutes to air out before trying the match method. A dangerous fireball can spark if too much propane has built up in a small area.
Once the grill is lit, you can get down to business. Below are some tips when using your propane grill:
- Preheat the grill and let it warm up thoroughly by setting the heat on “High” and closing the lid.
- Wait 10 to 15 minutes before recalibrating the temperature to your liking. If the weather is particularly cold, you’ll probably need to let it preheat longer.
- Try not to open the lid too often, either while preheating or cooking, since the heat will escape.
What’s the Best Way to Clean a Propane Grill?
- Dial all the knobs to “Off” and disconnect the gas tank.
- Take out the removable parts— namely the grates, flavorizer bars, and grease tray— and soak them in warm water mixed with dish soap. Scrub these parts using a brush, and let them air-dry.
- Cover the burners with aluminum foil to keep the soap off them, and scrub the residue under the lid and the inside walls using a brush.
- Wipe down the burners and the exterior with a clean rag. Reassemble the grill once everything’s dry, and cover it with a tarp to protect it against the elements.