Propane gas grills are a great place to start for outdoor cooking newcomers who want the beauty of grilling without the difficult learning curve. If you’re on a budget, this is the place to start your search for your next patio cooker.
Here’s our list of the best gas and propane grills under $500 to prove that there’s still plenty of power to be had when you’re under a budget.
Monument Grills 4-Burner
First up on our list is the Monument Grills 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill and Rotisserie Kit. It comes in a sleek design and is a guaranteed powerhouse.
With its relatively larger cooking surface compared to other brands in its category this grill sure stands out. It lights up quickly and it cooks really fast and efficient.
It’s quite durable to boot!
Char-Griller Texas Trio 3-Burner
The Char-Griller Texas Trio 3-Burner promises the ultimate three in one grilling experience. Whether you prefer charcoal, propane gas, or the good old fashioned classic style smoking this grill can deliver.
It’s made with heavy-duty steel, porcelain-coated cast-iron grates, got a side firebox, and can grill dozens of hamburgers at once! The super large cooking area is a winner.
It’s a great all-around and heavy duty grill for all of your needs. You can’t go wrong with this investment at all.
Weber Spirit II E-310
The Weber Spirit II E-310 3-Burner Propane Gas Grill in Black boasts innovation and boy have they delivered. Riding the smart home wave this grill can be monitored on an application for precision cooking.
As a proud brand and at the forefront of this industry the grill runs on the Weber GS4 engine to make sure it gives you enough power to enable you to cook your favorite meals. It’s got a grease management system and has porcelain enameled cast iron grates that surely stands out.
It has a guaranteed ignite system which makes it super convenient, easy, and efficient to use. Plus all your tools will be in your reach because of its design. This here is a high performance burner and you should get great value for your money.
Nexgrill Deluxe 6-Burner
Nexgrill enters the fray with the Nexgrill Deluxe 6-Burner Propane Gas Grill in Slate with Ceramic Searing Side Burner. Like any other Nexgrill products this stands out above its competition with larger cooking area, more burner and of course with raw cooking power.
The LED lights are neat for night cooking plus it’s compatible with NG (Natural Gas) conversion kits. It’s got its unique even heat system and a temperature gauge for precision cooking.
People might say that Nexgrill goes overboard with features but is low in quality but hey it delivers really well.
Weber Spirit E-215
The Weber Spirit E-215 2-Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill is another great product from Weber that is part of their Smart Grill innovation.
It’s neatly designed and is second to none in terms of quality. I mean this grill based on actual user reviews is super durable. Its porcelain enameled coating prevents rusting thus it will last for a very long time and won’t degrade in terms of cooking power.
Grease is also easily managed as it is funneled away from the burners with an easy drip tray within the catch pan right under the cook box.
It’s economical, it’s easy, and convenient to use and it’s a surefire way to cook up your favorite delicacies. Go order one now!
Features to look out for in a gas grill
As you go about shopping for your new grill, there are certain features that you will need to ensure are on the grill, regardless of whether you will be buying the grill online or from a shop. Having this information on hand will help you avoid buyer’s remorse. Let’s take a look at some of those important features.
It is essential to make sure that you get a gas grill with even heat distribution across the entire surface. Otherwise, it becomes futile to have a large cooking surface. For this, you may need more than one gas burner. In most cases, gas burners run from front to back. However, you need to know the direction in which they run. You may find it easier to use grills that have burners that run from front to back.
You need to know how the heat will be distributed so that you can know how to arrange your food, according to which food needs direct heat and which one doesn’t. If a gas grill has a heat diffuser, it will distribute the heat more evenly. So this will be a handy feature to be on the lookout for.
Number of burners & BTUs
BTU ratings, also known as British thermal units, vary greatly across the divide. BTU refers to the amount of thermal heat that a burner puts out. Its rating refers to the maximum heat produced by the burner. One BTU can be described as the amount of power needed to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
Try to avoid grills that have very high BTUs. Gone are the days when this was the first thing to look for in a grill. In most cases, if a grill has a high BTU, then it is possible that it is just a front to keep you from noticing shoddy craftsmanship. Durability in construction is essential, from the grates to the lid.
Manufacturers will usually disclose how many BTU’s the grill has, but these can be deceptive. So you must know how to check yourself. The heavier the grill, the longer it will take to preheat, and hence it may have low BTUs. Don’t be quick to run for those with BTUs. It may simply mean they are made of cheap material that heats up quickly.
A gas grill with BTUs of between 80 and 100 per square inch should be sufficient for good grilling. Cooking at anything lower than 70 BTUs per square inch could result in slower cooking and more time.
When it comes to the number of burners needed, two burners are sufficient, but having three of four burners means that you can also have four heat levels and hence disperse the heat differently.
Diffusers are a good way to control and disperse heat on a cooking surface. While the burners in the grill may produce the flame, but the diffuser will radiate and distribute the heat. This way you get more even cooking. An effective diffuser can ensure that you get heat to every square inch of the cooking surface.
Sometimes, the burner’s flame cannot reach every corner, and as such, the food cannot cook evenly. They can also be called heat deflectors, heat distributors, or sometimes they are called flame tamers. They can also be used to protect the burners from dripping grease. This will make cleaning easier.
By catching the grease that drops onto them, heat diffusers also help create a smoky flavor for the food. They can act as a flavor vaporizer. Different materials do a great job of diffusing. You can take your pick from lava rocks, ceramic diffusers, or metal diffusers. Lava rocks disperse heat efficiently, and they are affordable.
Ceramic diffusers also help retain heat. They are often used in pizza ovens, and this is also because they help disperse heat. Metal diffusers are usually coated in porcelain and are commonly used in a lot of grills today. The advantage of this diffuser is that the metal quickly heats up, which reduces the amount of cooking time. On the downside, it is said that this will reduce the amount of flavor that goes up to the meat.
Cooking area size
In most cases, the ideal cooking area size is between 400 and 500 square inches. This should fit an average family. However, if you will be cooking for more people, then you may want to go for more surface areas such as 600 square inches. This size grill will accommodate about six burners.
Propane or natural gas?
Propane grills use a propane gas tank for the production of flames. The gas is usually housed in a tank and connected using a short pipeline. They are common in most households because refilling them is affordable and also readily available at most outlets and gas stations.
Natural gas, on the other hand, does not need you to have an external tank. They, however, do need a professional to install them. This is because natural gas grills are usually connected to the gas in your home, leading to the grill. While the initial setup may seem tedious, they are easy to use.
In comparison, propane has twice the amount of energy as natural gas. Also, natural gas grills tend to be pricier than propane gas grills. The other difference is that propane uses a shorter hose than what is required to connect natural gas.
Stainless steel or cast iron grill grates?
Cast iron is extremely durable, but this can also make it more brittle. It also retains heat well, transfers flavors, and soaks them in as the food cooks, and you are guaranteed that it will last a long time. On the downside, cast iron rusts quickly, and it is heavy to carry.
Stainless steel heats up very quickly, and unlike cast iron, it does not rust easily. You will find it much easier to clean up after use, unlike the cast iron grates, which will give you some homework. On the downside, stainless steel does not retain heat well. Its construction is not as sturdy as cast iron, and as such, you will find it may begin to warp or lose shape.
We recommend using cast-iron grates to retain heat well and disperse it evenly if you are looking for something that will retain heat. Even though it is slow to heat up, you will be a happy camper when it does.