2017 Top 10 Best Value Gas Grills
Gas Grills are the preferred choice for residential BBQ and have been for many years. A recent survey by The Hearth Patio and Barbecue Asssociation (HPBA) reveals that of the 75% of U.S. adults who own a grill or smoker, 62% own gas grills.
A dizzying array of gassers is available with prices from under $100 to over $20,000. But this is important to note: Many just don't get hot enough to do a good job searing steaks, but those with special sear burners do. Of all the accessories, that's the one we think is most important, special burners that get hot enough to brown a steak better than normal burners.
Many feature smoke boxes, and gas grills, with a little practice, can produce lovely smoked meals, but their extensive ventilation means they use a bit more wood than charcoal grills or smokers.
To grab your attention many cheap manufacturers often include bells and whistles like cut-rate sear burners, side burners, rotisseries and lights to entice you to buy their flimsy, low quality junkers built with low grade stainless steel held together with crumby fasteners that will rust and break apart after a couple seasons. So watch out!
Most people balk when prices rise above $500. Therefore, we made sure the first five picks for our 2017 Best Value Gas Grills are under $500 and number six, Weber's Spirit E310, has an MSRP, (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price), of $599, but is typically sold for $499. Aiming to include a variety of price ranges this year we added Char-Broil's Quickset 3-Burner for only $140 and the new Saber 500 Cast Black for $999, also made by Char-Broil. Canadian grill makers Onward Manufacturing own Huntington, Broil-Mate, and Broil King which occupy three of our five under $500 slots. Though they make many great mid to premium priced gas cookers that compete well with Weber, it's hard to beat their entry level lines in the low cost market. A new entry by Napoleon, another Canadian company, is their Rogue R425SIB which is a slightly scaled down, lower cost version of their excellent Prestige P500RSIBSS. Both made our 2017 picks. Love Napoleon products, but hate those model names!
If you never cook for more than 2 or 3 people, a small grill may be all you need, but the first time you have party, you'll wish you'd gone big. And remember, when you do 2-zone set-ups, you cut your cook surface in half. We recommend you go for at least three burners so you can easily cook with a hot zone and a not so hot zone. This 2-zone system allows you better temperature control and it is a necessity if you hope to do more than burn hot dogs and burgers.
And regardless of the price you pay, the dial thermometers attached to the hoods are poor quality. It is not unusual for them to be off by 50°F. We strongly recommend that your budget include a good digital thermometer with a probe that can be placed on the cooking surface.
For other things to look for when you are shopping, read our article on understanding gas grills, with an explanation of how infrared burners work, ignition systems, and how different types of gas grills cook. It also explains that you should not pay attention to BTU ratings on the specs because they can be misleading, and how you can calculate "flux", a much more useful number which we provide in our reviews. Click here for tips on setting up and using gas grills.
We love Webers because they are built so well, come with great warranties, and Weber is renowned for its tech support and huge inventory of parts going back many years. This year we decided to move their Summit 470 gas grill from our Top Ten Gas Grills list to our Top Ten Luxury list due to the price. Although Summits are familiar and readily available at big box stores, unlike our more rarefied luxury picks, we came to feel the $2,000 price tag pushed it over to the luxury category.
At a huge Equipment Reviews section with a searchable database of hundreds of reviews and ratings of smokers and grills. From it we have drawn our list of Top 10 Value Gas Grills for 2017. To say whittling this list down to 10 models was tough is an understatement. Go to any big box store and you'll trip over all the different gassers being displayed, and that's just in the parking lot. In making our selections we tried to cover a wide range of designs and prices and pick the best of breed. Globalization had a significant impact on gas grill manufacturing. Many are now made in China and even All-American companies like Weber do some manufacturing and sourcing of components outside the USA. Canadian companies are also coming on strong with great cookers that deserve consideration.we have created
How we review and rate grills and smokers
I am the only person in the world whose full time job is testing, researching, reviewing, and rating grills and smokers. Not a bad gig! I measure temperatures, slam lids, turn dials, study warranties, kick casters, and cook a lot of food, and consider look, feel, and price. I try to select devices that cover a range of prices, endeavoring to offer you a winner at whatever you can afford. We think these selections are Best Values in their price category. The thumbnail reviews in our Top 10 Lists are in order of manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), but actual prices can differ significantly, especially since many of these items can be highly customized. Please click the red links to read our complete detailed reviews and find links to suppliers, many of whom sell well below MSRP. In addition to our Top 10 Lists, we have a huge searchable Ratings & Reviews database with hundreds of smokers and grills.
It is a disappointment that so many manufacturers continue to include cheap bimetal dial heat indicators (we can't bring ourselves to call them thermometers). They are usually in the lid, far from where the cooking actually takes place and are frequently off by more than 50°F! Good cooking is all about temperature control. Without accurate thermometers you're asking for wasted money, overdone embarrassment, and food borne illness from underdone food. Please budget for a good digital oven thermometer and a separate rapid read digital food thermometer. For more info, we also have a database of reviews for more than 100 thermometers.
We like Huntington, which is owned by the Canadian Onward Manufacturing, makers of quality grill lines Broil-Mate and Broil King. The 24025 is one of their most popular grills and may be the best built gasser you'll find in this price range. The aluminum construction is an attractive feature, but it could use a bit more power and better grates. Still for just over $100, it is what it is. Many cheap gassers have a one year warranty or less. This model is warrantied for 10 years on all cast aluminum parts, 5 years on the stainless burner, and 2 years on all other parts. Click here to read our full review of the Huntington Cast Series 24025 Gas Grill.
A three burner at this price is a rarity. No frills, lightweight, easy to set up, (hence the name Quickset), and easy on the pocket book. Char-Broil manages to build in just a little better quality than many other low cost brands, their customer service is good and you can find them just about anywhere in the USA. Don't expect high power searing or longevity, but for many budget conscious buyers, Quickset suits the bill. Click here to read our complete review of the Char-Broil Quickset 3-Burner.
Broil-Mate 165154 LP Gas Grill $199 - 4th Year On Our List!
This is a basic low priced gas cooker with a design that was typical of the first gas grills made in the early 1960s: Cast aluminum body and an old style 40,000 BTU Dual-H burner. Cast aluminum holds heat well and the H-burner is actually two U-shaped burners fused together with a separate control knob for each side. You could easily walk past this plain little grill in favor of a big shiny model that was made cheap to sell cheap and carries a one year warranty, but if you're shopping in this price range you would do well to stop and take a look. Broil-Mate's aluminum housing will not rust and comes with a limited lifetime warranty on the cook box, 5 years on burners and stainless steel components, and 2 years on everything else. Broil-Mate is one of five grill brands owned by Canadian BBQ manufacturer and distributor, Onward Manufacturing. Click here to read our complete review of the Broil-Mate 165154 LP Gas Grill.
Broil King Signet 320 $399 - 4th Year On Our List!
We went looking for everyman's gas grill: One with decent size, good performance, quality construction backed up with a great warranty, and a lower MSRP, than our benchmark Weber Spirit E-310 (see below). We found Broil King's Signet 320. Patented dual-tube burners deliver even temps with a wide range and plenty of searing power. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty and it has drop down stainless steel side shelves with built-in tool hooks. This grill is a steal for the money and now that Lowe's has Broil King on their showroom floors, it's easy to find coast to coast. Click here to read our complete review of the Broil King Signet 320.
Char-Broil Commercial Stainless/Black 3-Burner Gas Grill $399 - 5th Year On Our List!
This Lowe's exclusive was previously called TRU-Infrared. Infrared heat is intense radiant heat, but Char-Broil's Commercial grills allow you to dial it back for low and slow roasting as well. The cast iron cooking grates on Char-Broil's Commercial line rest directly on top of stainless steel radiant plates that cover the entire grill area. There is almost no exposure to direct flame from the gas burners below and very little exposure to hot air convection heat that dries foods. The result is no flare-ups and juicy meats. Click here to learn more about infrared, convection heat, and the thermodynamics of grilling. Since the radiant plates are less than an inch from the cooking surface, you can do some serious searing. Cleaning the cook surface is a little different because juices and marinades don't drip down and burn up; they collect on the radiant plates in the channels between the grates. Char-Broil includes a fork like scraper to address this. An added benefit to this design is low fuel consumption. The radiant plates get mighty hot with relatively low BTU output burners. A higher quality version of this same type of grill is offered by Char-Broil's premium gas grill line named Saber. We included one of their new models below. Click here to read our complete review of the Char-Broil Commercial Stainless/Black 3-Burner Gas Grill $399.
Weber Spirit E-310 3-Burner $599 - 5th Year On Our List!
Spirit is Weber's entry level gas grill, so why does it cost so much more than the Char-Broil and Broil-King grills above? Because Weber is the gold standard for backyard grills. It's hard to beat their design, construction, warranty, and customer support. For most Weber owners, we're preaching to the choir. People are willing to spend more for the Weber name and they are rarely disappointed. In 2013 it was redesigned with significant upgrades that bring it closer in features and performance to their more sophisticated Genesis line. A big change is reconfiguration of the old fashioned burner layout. Burners used to connect from left to right with control knobs on the right side shelf. New models are brought up to date with burners that connect from front to back and control knobs on the front panel. This setup is not only better for 2-zone cooking, but frees the right side shelf for beverages, bowls and cutting boards. A nice feature is Weber's in cart LP tank fuel gauge that gives an approximate indication of fuel level by weight. Click here to read our complete review of the Weber Spirit E-310 3-Burner.
Napoleon Rogue R425SIB $899 - New!
Although Napoleon sightings are rare south of the Canadian border, they produce quality products and are essentially Canada's answer to Weber. The Rogue R425SIB is a slightly stripped down version of the more expensive Napoleon Prestige model below. One of the coolest features on both models is a very effective external infrared sear burner mounted in the left side shelf. Much more useful than a standard side burner, this "Sizzle Zone" gives you two distinct cooking environments that can be used simultaneously. Click here to read our complete review of the Napoleon Rogue R425SIB
Saber 500 Cast Black $999 - New!
This black coated steel grill with a double wall hood and cast aluminum end caps is an entry priced model for the Saber line. Saber also offers some upscale stainless steel models with seamless welds in both built-in and freestanding configurations. Saber is owned by Char-Broil and employs a similar burner design to the Char-Broil Commercial model above, but Saber is much higher quality than anything bearing the Char-Broil name. Like Char-Broil's TRU-Infrared grills, Saber eliminates flare-ups, reduces dry convection heat and offers a very forgiving cooking experience. It's hard to burn or dry out meats on a Saber unless you fall asleep at the wheel. But don't call them TRU-Infrared. Saber justifiably prefers the term "Saber Cooking System" as the design and construction are far superior to Char-Broil. All Sabers have heavy top grade 304 stainless steel grates that rest atop a separate 304 radiant emitter plate right above the burners. Like the CB Commercial grill listed above, heat energy is stored in the emitter plates less than an inch from the cooking surface. This enables Saber to produce high searing temps with low powered burners and reduce fuel consumption. Click here to read our complete review of the Saber 500 Cast Black.
Modern Home Products WNK4 $1,044 - 5th Year On Our List!
Modern Home Products pioneered the first gas grills in the early 1960s. This model harkens back to those days with a classic, super thick cast aluminum cookbox that is virtually indestructible and carries a limited lifetime warranty on just about everything. Instead of flavorizer bars over the burners to protect them and incinerate drips, it uses rust-proof, kiln fired, porcelain coated ceramic briquettes. Although the standard dual control H-shape burner has decent output, we recommend you upgrade to a hybrid model which replaces the H-burner with two cast stainless steel burners and one infrared burner for searing. The appearance may lack sizzle, but people who own these heavy aluminum grills often get hooked on the way they cook. If you could see it through their eyes, it wouldn't look like a big black box at all. Click here to read our complete review of the Modern Home Products WNK4.
Napoleon Prestige P500RSIB $1,400 - 4th Year On Our List!
Napoleon offers a great selection of beautiful gas and charcoal grills that are well made with useful features. The Prestige P500RSIB comes loaded with four 12,000 BTU main burners, an 18,000 BTU rotisserie back burner spit and kit included, and a powerful ceramic sear burner capable of hitting 1000°F on the left side shelf, a great idea. This sear burnere is the best we have seen and the fact that it can double as a sauce warmer or veggie cooker makes it especially valuable. Each burner has its own electronic ignition. Lots of high quality stainless steel all the way around including Napoleon's characteristic wavy grate rods. A cool optional cast iron charcoal tray fits inside the firebox to turn Prestige into a dual fuel grill. Click here to read our complete review of the Napoleon Prestige P500RSIB.