The process of researching and choosing the best gas grill for your needs can be a challenge. There are so many options and different variables to look into. You may find yourself asking questions like “Which stainless steel is the best? Do I need an infrared burner? What about the warranty?” That’s why we’ve put together this buying guide to help you find the gas grill of your dreams. Keep these factors in mind during your search and you’ll be confident about your final decision!
The buying guide below, along with Grill Master Randy's video, will take you through the process we use at BBQGuys when evaluating a grill.
Things to Consider When Buying a Gas Grill:
One of the first things to consider when choosing a gas grill is the size of the grilling surface. When it comes down to it, the larger the grilling surface, the easier it is to knock out large batches of food. Think about how many people you typically cook for, and go from there. We’ve found that the most common size our customers choose is somewhere around the 32-inch mark. This size provides enough space for cooking versatility and will look sharp above the width of most access doors if you build your grill into an outdoor kitchen.
The larger your grill is, the more cooking versatility you’ll have. Wider grills provide more temperature zone cooking options. For example, you can sear a steak on one side over high heat, and cook some vegetables over a lower heat on the other side. If you’d like to use your gas grill to smoke foods, it’s important to have enough room to cook with indirect heat.
Cooking Grid Material & Thickness
Top quality grills use stainless steel for the cooking grids. While it’s important to examine the material of the grill, the thickness is equally as significant. Naturally, the cooking grids will receive a lot of wear over time. The thicker the grids, the longer they’ll last. Thicker grids also provide better heat retention – giving you those bold grill marks.
Flame tamers, or flavorizing plates/bars, are situated between the cooking grids and the burner. They protect the burners from drippings and grease, reducing flare ups. They also cause the grease and drippings to vaporize, creating a smoky flavor and making your food taste that much better.
More flame tamer coverage means more heat gets diffused and rises up from the burner towards to cooking surface. A grill with full coverage flame tamers provide a more evenly heated cooking surface.
The best flame tamers are usually constructed from either heavy gauge stainless steel or high-quality ceramic. It’s important for the flame tamer materials to resist corrosion, since this area of the grill receives a lot of wear.
Burner design and construction are crucial to the overall quality of a gas grill. This is the most frequently replaced part of a gas grill, so you want to be sure to buy high quality now to avoid bumps in the road later on.
More burners equal more control of your cooking environment. This goes back to having cooking “zones” and can be achieved with the use of multiple burners on different heat levels.
Most premium grills will include an infrared burner along with the conventional burners. Infrared burners provide exceptionally high heat to get those killer sear marks on your food. This type of burner is what most steakhouses will use to achieve perfectly cooked steaks. Infrared burners are also ideal for quick preheat times, faster cooking, and juicier food overall. A rear infrared burner is also useful if you’re interested in cooking rotisserie style.
Grill Body & Hood Construction
You can tell a grill is high quality when it has fully welded, high polished seams and a double lined commercial grade 304 stainless steel hood. A double lined hood is great for heat retention and it’ll prevent the exterior of the hood from yellowing.
Interior & Exterior Lighting
If you’re a fan of nighttime grilling, you should definitely consider a gas grill with integrated internal lighting. Interior lights make it so much easier to see what you’re grilling when it’s dark out – there’s no need for a flashlight or headlight.
Some grills also have accent lighting on the control panel, illuminating the knobs for easier use at night.
Fuel Type Conversion Kits
Fuel type conversion kits will allow you to easily switch from one fuel type to another. For example, if your current outdoor space is better suited for a freestanding propane gas grill, you’d want to buy propane. If you decide to build the grill in to your outdoor kitchen later down the road, you'd be able to with a fuel type conversion kit. Not all grills can convert the fuel type, so if this is important to you, be sure to check whether it’s eligible!
A good warranty will keep you from having to spend more money on parts that should have never broken in the fist place. You’ll want to have a warranty that covers the gas grill’s burners for around 10 years. Some brands even offer lifetime warranties – covering the parts and the replacement labor. We’ve made it easy for you to compare warranties from the top brands with our Gas Grill Warranty Comparison Chart.
It's important to consider the compatible accessories that are offered with a gas grill. There are many options - everything from griddles to smoker boxes and pizza stones, you'll want to make sure your grill is compatible with the accessories you'll be using most often.
Although you shouldn't expect your primary ignition method to fail often, it's a good idea to shop for a grill with a solid plan for backup ignition just in case. Flash tube backup ignition makes it easy to ignite your burners with a lighter from the cooking grid surface.