The 10 Minute Guide to Buying a Gas Grill
Grilling is fun and exciting. But finding the best gas grill can be too stressful to bother, especially when you’re a first-time buyer.
How does the grill work? Is this the best grill size for me? And does the grill’s surface area matter? Then, of course, you heard the salesperson talk about infrared burners, side burners, and rotisserie burners, and a dozen other complicated things.
It’s a lot to take in when you’re a clueless buyer. New things can leave you super excited, confused, and dead worried at the same time — and that’s expected.
But fret not. You’ve already chosen to go with a gas grill as opposed to the other types of grills. This guide will provide you friendly advice to help you avoid getting burned when shopping for your next gas grill. You’ll soon secure the right grill at the best price, leaving you free to sizzle those beef steaks by yourself.
What's The Anatomy of a Gas Grill?
So you want to buy a gas grill and make sizzling barbecues or some of the tastiest vegetables of all time, but how well do you know the critical components of a gas grill?
Did you know you need to empty the grease tray regularly? What’s the work of heat plates that sit just above the burners? And the carryover tubes, what do they exactly do?
I bet you didn’t answer those questions. Understanding each part in a gas grill, including its overall functions, helps you to better care for your investment.
Here are ten main gas grill parts:
1. Cooking Grates
The cooking grate does most of the work in your gas grill. It also wears off fast, and for a good reason. That said, it requires regular care and maintenance. Simple cleaning will do.
2. Warming Rack
No better way to warm food in a gas grill than placing it on the warming rack. The rack frees up space for extra food to be cooked. Need to
warm those buns? Place them on this rack.
Burners are the essential components in a gas grill as they provide heat for grilling food. If left unclean, burners collect food particles and grease over time — causing temperature inconsistencies and uneven flames.
4. Carryover Tubes
Think of these tubes as bridges that connect the burners. So when you turn on your gas grill, they “carryover” the hot flames to
all the burners, creating a fire for grilling.
5. Control Knobs
The work of the control knobs is straightforward: To control the flow of gas from the burners. In short, the knobs determine a flame’s
height and your overall grills cooking temperature.
Your gas grill won’t ignite without the help of an igniter. So make sure it functions correctly and that all the electrodes are
well-connected and singularly free from any damage.
7. Temperature Gauge
The temperature inside your gas grill needs to be controlled if you want to cook well and precisely. And that’s the primary job of a
temperature gauge — to regulate your grill’s temperature.
8. Heat Plates
Grease often accumulates when cooking food. The work of the heat plates is to channel away excess grease from the burners and incinerate drippings.
That extends your grill’s lifespan.
9. Grease Tray
All excess drippings or grease from cooking collects in a grease tray. It’s advisable always to empty your grill’s tray, at least regularly,
to avert any damaging overflows.
10. Side Burner
If you look at the side shelves of your gas grill, you’ll notice the side burners. They’re meant for preparing sauces and side dishes. In
short, you can make a whole meal on your gas grill.
You now know the main gas grill parts and their primary functions. What next?
The Different Types of Gas Grills
Don’t let the shiny, new display of grills in a shop get into your head. Remember, the quality of grills vary, and so does prices and features. So to find the right grill, for your budget, you need to know the benefits and drawbacks of each type of gas grill — and the materials used to craft them.
Ready? Let’s begin.
Propane Gas Grills
These grills run on propane gas, which boasts two times more energy than natural gas — allowing you to cook food and grill barbecues faster since propane heats up quicker and emits more power.
Propane gas grills are best for indirect grilling and multi-zone cooking. And they’re so user-friendly since all it takes to start them up is a simple turn of a dial. The only drawback of using these grills is the high cost of propane gas. But even so, propane gas is more readily available in stores compared to naturally-sourced gas — so no need to worry when you run out of propane.
And when it comes to cleaning, propane gas grills are easy to clean compared to other grills available in the market. (We see you, Charcoal Grill).
Price range? The average propane gas grill costs approximately $100 to $400. But it depends on the make and model of the gas grill on display — never mind the number of burners, grill size, and quality (is it thick or thin?). Always look at the grill’s material quality before buying. It’s important.
Natural Gas Grills
Compared to propane grills, this is perhaps the most expensive grill option. Because you have first to install natural gas in your home to have it working, and not everyone can afford such a luxury. But the few who do enjoy numerous benefits.
Of course, at first glance, these grills are costly. But have you considered that sourcing natural gas is way cheaper than refilling or buying propane gas regularly? I bet you didn’t know that.
Then again, natural gas grills are eco-friendly. You efficiently reduce carbon emissions in the environment when you use a natural gas grill for cooking your food. Plus, natural grills are super easy to clean and maintain over time. (Best value for money).
Drawbacks? It takes more time to set a natural gas grill, especially if you live in an area without a gas line that can stretch nearer to your porch or deck. But that’s no cause to worry because, nowadays, natural gas grills come with a conversion kit that smoothens the whole process.
A natural gas grill, as earlier mentioned, costs an arm. Prices can range between $99 and $700, and then some — with an average of $250 for installation alone.
Portable Gas Grills
These grills are easy to transport from one place to another and can conveniently run on charcoal and propane gas. So if you fancy an outdoor family cookout or camping, this gas grill is for you.
Different styles of portable gas grills exist for picnics and other outdoor activities. For example, you’ll find small propane grills and miniature charcoal grills on the market as well. Portable grills are best for people who participate in a tailgate picnic.
The only drawback of a portable gas grill is the size. It’s too small to cook say 50 hamburgers at the same time for everyone you tagged along in your picnic. So don’t even think of cooking for a large crowd using this grill. Your body will take a beating for being on grill duty all day long.
Always look for a portable grill that’s lightweight but durable enough to last you a lifetime. Also, consider the grill’s surface area if you plan to cook meals for more than four to six people at once. You don’t want a grill that’ll fail in the first outing after cooking so much meat at once. As for price, a portable grill can cost between $30 and $200.
So you’ve just bought a new gas grill. How to care and maintain it?
Gas Grill Maintenance Practices
Nothing keeps your gas grill in tip-top shape and functioning for years on end than regular maintenance. And maintaining a gas grill is super easy.
- Check for leaks regularly.
- Always cover your grill to protect it from rust and other elements.
- Clean it every few weeks or, better yet, light it up for close to 15 minutes every week to incinerate excess grime, and voilà.
Here’s how to properly clean your gas grill:
Step 1. Scrub the cooking grate well.
Use a brush with extra force to get rid of chunks, including charred meat flesh and stubborn grime on the top side of the grates. If possible, use a metal grill scraper to complete the job.
Step 2. Remove the burner protectors and wash them clean.
Burners often need protection from excess grease and spilling. That’s where burner protectors come in. As you can imagine, these protectors get very dirty. So remove them and wash off the filth stuck on them until they sparkle.
Step 3. Wipe off the grime from the burners with a damp cloth.
That is, if your grill’s burners are non-removable. But if your burners can be removed, the better as you can rinse them off with soapy water and place them back when clean.
Step 4. Remove grime at the bottom.
Use a grill brush to remove the grime underneath your gas grill heat plates easily. Most grime ends up at the bottom of the plates and for a good reason. So, remove the grease tray (slide it out) and then wipe clean the tray with a sponge.
Step 5. Put back your grill together.
You’ll enjoy cooking on your grill when all the burners are cleaned up real good, with little to no grime at the bottom of your heat plates.
Oiling Your Gas Grill
Before you can oil your grill grates, remove the burned food particles all over it. Use a brush to scrub off the particles and, if possible, turn on the grill to make the cleaning process a lot easier. Next, move on to oil your grill.
Why is oiling your gas grill so important? Because it keeps the food from sticking on the grates the next time you cook. And when’s the best time to oil your grill? After a few cookouts, at least.
Here’s how to properly oil your gas grill:
When your grill is hot
- First, coat the grill grate with enough high-heat cooking oil (such as peanut oil for olive oil). Then dip a paper towel into the oil but don’t saturate the entire paper.
- Using long-handled tongs, carefully wipe the soaked paper towel on your hot grill grates until they’re entirely clean.
When your grill is cold
- Use the same high-heat oil (olive oil or peanut oil) and apply it on your cold grill grates. Next, turn on your gas grill and let it burn off the oil completely — until it starts to smoke.
Seasoning Your Gas Grill
Your grill will rust after some time. And when this happens, food will stick on your grill grates. Did you know food loses its flavor when you remove it from a sticky grill grate?
That’s why seasoning your grill often is recommended. Because not only will it make your food tastier, but it also makes cleaning your grill less stressful — even increase its life cycle.
To season your grill means coating your grill in oil (preferably in a high-heat oil) then burning it off to eliminate harmful substances left on your new grill after manufacturing.
Side note: Refer to the pointer “Oiling Your Gas Grill” for details on how to season (or oil) your grill.
Storing Your Gas Grill (During Winter)
Grilling brings people together, but the grilling season doesn’t last long — and that’s fine. What’s not okay is when you don’t winterize your gas grill during the cold season. You have two options when the cold season beckons: Either you continue grilling barbecues or store your grill altogether.
If you fancy the latter option, here’s how to properly winterize your gas grill:
- Unfasten the grill burner and turn off the propane tank. Then remove the gas lines and lift off the entire gas unit.
- To ensure your grill burners and other metal parts of your grill don’t attract moisture and rust, coat them with cooking oil.
- Spiders and insects can crawl and nest in the gas tubes of your gas grill during the cold season. To ward them off, cover and wrap the whole burner unit in a plastic bag.
- If you’re storing your gas grill outdoors, make sure to shut off the propane tank but keep it connected to the grill. Then clean and cover the gas grill with protective material.
- Are you storing your grill indoors? Keep the propane tank outdoors in an upright position and far away from the furnace vents. And don’t forget to disconnect it. Tape a plastic bag over the gas line to keep away insects from nesting inside. You can also use a grill cover to protect it from the elements.
What To Consider When Choosing a Gas Grill?
As a first-time buyer, it’s overwhelming to choose the right grill — and that’s okay. The good news is: we’ll make your buying experience more pleasurable by delving deep into the factors you need to consider before you buy a gas grill. Well, here you go:
Have an idea of how much you want to spend on a gas grill before you step into your local store. Doing so helps you limit your search to only gas grills you can afford.
Some grills have a price tag of around $150 to $300. Others cost an arm ($10,000 or more). It’s up to you to choose what you need. Then find out what’s included in the gas grill price.
Does the propane tank come separately? Or do you need to add $30 to $50 to the total cost for it? Remember, you get what you pay for. So compare prices to make an informed decision.
Secondly, consider fuel. What do you want to use: propane or natural gas? If you opt for the natural gas grill, you’ll need to have a gas line that extends to your home or porch (to be precise). That’s expensive.
Then again, most low-priced propane gas grills hardly run on natural gas. Many do these days. But you still have to pay for a natural gas conversion kit ranging from $50 to $100.
If you consider buying a propane gas grill, it means you’ll be making several visits to the store each time you deplete your propane tank. Natural gas will cost you less in the long run.
Pay close attention to the grill’s body material, too. What is it made out of — Stainless steel? Cast-iron? Sheet metal? Cast aluminum?
A durable gas grill is crafted from quality stainless steel material. But not all stainless steel is created equally as some do rust eventually. (Most grill frames rust because there made out of different stainless steel material from the body).
So check the grill’s body material as well as the frame’s before you choose a grill. If possible, use a magnet to confirm if the grill you want to buy is all stainless steel. Some manufacturers are keen to cut corners with metal, watch out. For the record, cast aluminum makes ideal gas grill materials.
Once you’ve considered the above factors, select the ideal size of the gas grill you want. That should be simple. Just think about everything you want to cook in your gas grill. And the number of people you intend to cook meals. For example, you might want to choose a larger gas grill if you need to cook a whole turkey or say 50 hamburgers at a time.
But if all you want to use a grill for is to cook a few beef steaks, then opt for a smaller grill. Then consider its surface area and whether it takes up a lot of storage space. In short, buy a gas grill that conveniently suits your needs.
So what features do you need in your gas grill? What exactly do you want — a smoker box? A side burner? Lights? Or maybe, a rotisserie burner?
Remember, features cost money. And fitting your gas grill with every new and fresh feature can cripple your wallet over time. An ordinary grill, with basic features, can still do the job.
If you didn’t know, some of these extra features would add little to no functional effects on your grill. So only spend money on extra features you know are useful and convenient for you.
There’s no best gas grill for you in the market. There are all unique with a set of different benefits and drawbacks. To make the right choice and save money while at it, it’s essential to understand what you’re getting into, though.
Digest all the main components that make up a gas grill, for starters. Which parts are a must-have in a gas grill? Then go ahead and choose a type of gas grill that suits you — do you want one you can carry around wherever you go? Or a simple, low-priced propane grill?
Consider maintenance practices, too. How often will you clean and maintain your grill? If you can answer these questions and consider a few factors before choosing a grill, then you’re on the right track to shopping for the right grill that meets all your grilling needs. You can find some of the best gas grills under $500 here.