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Grilling can be a great way to bring loved ones together and enjoy the hotter months in your backyard. There are several types of grills out there — including gas, pellet and charcoal — and each has its own unique benefits when it comes to cooking speed and flavor. Gas grills in particular fire up the fastest and typically feature multiple burners that’ll cook anything from hamburgers to grilled veggies. They’re a popular option for outdoor spaces: An estimated 61 percent of grill owners have a grill that’s fueled by propane gas, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association.
If you’re planning on upgrading your gas grill or investing in a new model for the summer, we spoke to experts on what to look for when shopping for a gas grill and rounded up their recommended picks for the best ones to buy.
What are the benefits of a gas grill?
Gas grills dominate the backyard barbecue game because they can be portable and easier to operate with the click of a switch. “Gas grills are convenient — they’re quick to start and stop with just a turn of a knob,” said Thinh Phan, the chief editor of BBQInProgress.com. While gas grills may not provide that same outdoor smoky flavor that you can typically get by using charcoal or pellets, “other grills do require more time to start and get to the desired temperature,” Phan added.
You also don’t have to worry about playing a temperature guessing game when grilling with propane — it’s a constant heat source. “I would say precise temperature control is a major benefit because it's just as simple as moving a dial,” said Matt Moore, author of “Serial Griller.” “You can cook all day at the temperature that you want.”
Considering their popularity in the grilling space, Moore added that it can be easier to find replacement parts for gas grills when you need them, especially at local stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s.
The best gas grills in 2022
From your basic backyard gas grills to the high-end models worthy of the pros, our experts recommended each of the following gas grills across various sizes and price points for both amateur and experienced pitmasters. In line with expert guidance, all of these options feature lids and heat-resistant handles for safety.
Best gas grill overall: Weber
With four stainless steel burners along with a side burner and searing station burner totaling 994 square inches of total cooking area, the Weber Genesis S-435 Gas Grill gives you room to cook a serious spread of foods. “With quality, heavy-duty construction from one of the most trusted names in grilling, this is a decade-plus quality grill, when cared for appropriately,” said Moore. As with most Weber models, the Weber Genesis S-435 equips a battery-powered igniter. You can also choose between natural or propane gas depending on your fuel preference.
Best affordable gas grill: Char-Broil
Sonny’s BBQ pitmaster Shannon Snell recommended this five-burner propane gas grill with 645 square inches of total cooking space, including a side burner. “It runs at about $300, which is a great price, and it is very durable,” he said. “I’ve only had to replace a few parts over time, and I’ve never had any mechanical problems with it.” It features porcelain-coated cast iron grates that the brand says helps with heat retention and rust resistance and a cart design for portability.
Best basic gas grill: Weber
This propane grill from Weber — which can also be purchased as a natural gas option — features wheels to help you move it around during backyard barbecues. With three main burners and a smaller side burner that total 529 square feet of cooking area, you can accomplish your culinary work in multiple heat zones. “When it comes to grills, Weber has proven to be one of the best, and [this one] will last you a long time,” said Snell.
Best portable gas grill: Weber
Another option from Weber, a favorite brand among the experts we spoke to, this portable grill weighs in at 42.5 pounds and sports two folding side tables. Due to its compact size, it can be easy to take on camping trips or tailgating adventures, but still has enough cooking space and power to prepare a meal for four with a total cooking area of 280 square inches, according to the brand. It features one steel burner and uses liquid propane cylinders that you’ll need to purchase separately.
Best high-end gas grill: Hestan
For those who want to invest in a luxury grill, this Hestan model features motion-activated lighting under the hood and a ceramic infrared sear burner for perfecting thick cuts of meat, according to the brand. “It’s cooler than cool with signature Hestan design and colors,” said Moore. “It has tons of workspace and halogen lighting to make cooking in the dark fully transparent — and the built-in rotisserie makes this an all-encompassing beauty that never stops working.”
The Hestan grill can be fueled with your choice of propane or natural gas and features 774 square inches of total cooking area. It also equips a hot surface ignition system, which means it has an igniter rod that glows hot enough to light the gas in the burners and provides consistent lighting whenever you turn your grill on.
Best all-in-one gas grill: Blackstone
Snell called this propane grill “beyond amazing” thanks to its large 768-square-inch cooking space and 36-inch steel griddle station, which lets you “cook more cool items that you couldn’t on a traditional grill, including Hibachi and breakfast items,” Snell said. The grill features four independently controlled cooking zones, a cart-style with side shelves to store condiments and accessories and an integrated front accessory tray for additional storage space.
Best smart gas grill: Weber
For a smart grill option, Moore recommended this one from Weber that can send alerts to your phone about the temperature of food and when your meats are done to your taste, according to the brand. It offers 669 square inches of total cooking area — which Weber says can fit up to 20 hamburgers — along with back-lit control knobs and an LED handle light that can make it easier to grill at night. Weber also offers this model with a natural gas fuel type.
How to shop for the best gas grills
Before setting out to buy a gas grill, experts recommended knowing the two main types of gas grills:
- Propane tank gas grills are usually smaller and portable — but the tanks need to be replaced.
- Natural gas grills use a dedicated line that you can connect to your home’s natural gas line.
Our experts also recommended looking at various other components of gas grills, including the number of burners, ignition types, grill grates and accessories.
Grill burners and cooking area
Most shoppers want at least two burners so they can set up different heat zones — this way, meat can be cooked on the highest heat and veggies can cook on a medium heat simultaneously. But the number of burners a grill has isn’t the only consideration — it’s just as important to be aware of the distance between the burners.
“The closer [the burners] are, the more even the heat is, eliminating any cold or hot spots,” Phan explained.
Gas grill ignition types
Another consideration, Phan noted, is how a gas grill starts. There are two types of ignition used in gas grills: electronic and piezo.
- A battery-powered igniter requires a battery to fuel the supply source. “About 90 percet of gas grills are equipped with battery powered starters — they generally work efficiently and start easily,” said Snell.
- A piezo igniter will supply a spark continuously based on the ignition of the reaction — “[this] is usually good for 10 or so years,” said Moore.
If either version is “low-quality” or slow to produce a spark, it can be potentially dangerous. Pushing the ignition button pumps gas into the burners until a spark ignites — the longer this takes, the more gas that's released. “Once the spark hits, all the gas buildup can explode into a fireball,” said Phan.
Total cooking area
Although the size of the grill (and how much room it takes up) should be taken into consideration, it’s also important to think about how many people you’d typically be cooking for. Look at the number of burners, total cooking area in square inches or square feet and the serving size to gauge how much you can cook at once.
“Bigger gas grills can have as many as six burners, while the smaller ones can have as few as two,” said Snell. “I have a family of six, and I prefer a four-burner gas grill — it has plenty of surface to cook food for all of them.”
Unless you’re opting for a portable grill that’ll naturally have a smaller cooking area, Moore recommended looking for at least 500 square feet of cooking space. And if you’re in between sizes, our experts recommended going up a size “for that once-a-year larger cookout,” Moore said.
Grill grates, lids and other accessories
The two most common materials used for grill grates are stainless steel and cast iron. Although stainless steel is rust-resistant (which means the grates are easier to clean), they don’t conduct heat as well as cast iron.
“You can sear steak better on a cast iron grate, but one caveat is that you have to spend more time caring for it or else it will rust,” Phan said. “If you cook a lot of steaks, go with cast iron, but if you cook a lot of burgers, brats and seafood, stainless steel is a better choice.”
“Cast iron, if taken care of, will last you a very long time,” added Snell. “Not to mention, it is encouraged not to clean cast iron as it helps develop flavor — stainless steel over high heat for long periods of time can break down and [will] need to be replaced.”
Though not all gas grills come with lids, Phan emphasized that it’s important to buy one that does. “With a lid, you can turn your grill into an oven, meaning that you can cook food with convection heat,” he said. “It will cook your food more evenly than conduction and radiant heat.”
If you’re investing in higher-end grills, Moore recommended looking for added accessories like rotisseries — which can be great for grilled chicken that cooks the meat in its own juices — built-in lights for night cooking, side burners, ceramic infrared burners, warming doors for finished foods, searing stations, smart connectivity and easy-packing features.
Before buying a new gas grill (or anything, for that matter), research how past users feel about it. Snell recommended checking for reviews noting a grill’s structural integrity, and especially over time. “Grills are normally stored outside, and depending on the region of the country you live in, that will alter the condition of your grill,” he said. Pay attention to reviews about metal rusting, paint peeling or controls malfunctioning after only a few uses. This is a big red flag — that the grill may not last very long after purchase.”
Grill safety and cleaning
There are some safety features grill owners don’t realize they’ll need until it’s too late. Here are a few safety features experts told us to keep in mind during your search:
- Does the grill handle have any heat shields to protect your hand?
- Can you lock the wheels if you want to, limiting the grill’s potential movement while you cook?
- How does the ignition system work and can you turn it off easily?
Since there’s no ash to remove from gas grills, cleaning them is much easier. But if you’re looking for a grill that equips an efficient system to make cleaning even easier, Phan recommended looking for accessories like V-shaped flavorizer bars, which “will protect the burners from fat dripping down from the food above.” He also suggested looking for a grease tray for quicker cleanup.