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. To grab your attention, manufacturers of cheap grills 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 to kick off our 2018 Pitmaster Awards for Best Value Gas Grills with three models under $500 and number four, Weber's new Spirit II E310, has an MSRP, (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price), of $599, but is typically sold for $499.
Regardless of the price you pay, the dial thermometers attached to the hoods are of 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. To find a few other important furetures to look for when shopping, read our article on understanding gas grills.
Broil-Mate 165154 LP Gas Grill $199 - 5th Year On Our List!
This is a basic low priced gas cooker with a design that was typical of the very first gas grills made in the early 1960s: Cast aluminum body and an old style 40,000 BTU Dual H shaped 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 cookbox, 5 years on the 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.
Broil King Signet 320 $399 - 5th Year On Our List!
We went looking for everyman's gas grill: One that boasted a 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). Well, we found it in Broil King's Signet 320. Patented dual-tube burners deliver a wide range of even temperatures 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 from coast to coast.
Char-Broil Commercial Stainless/Black 3-Burner Gas Grill $399 - 6th Year On Our List!
This Lowe's exclusive gasser 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 can dry out 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 on this unit. 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 provide a fork like scraper for cleaning. An added benefit of this design is low fuel consumption. The radiant plates get mighty hot with relatively low BTU output burners that save on fuel. A higher quality version of this grill is offered by Char-Broil's premium gas grill line called Saber. We included one of their new models below.
Weber Spirit II E-310 Gas Grill $599 - 6th Year On Our List!
Weber sticks to the basics with a revamped version of their popular, full-size, entry-level Spirit gas grill line. Like its predecessor, Spirit II is a workhorse that delivers solid performance and is easy to use, easy to clean and available in two and three burner configurations. Spirit II continues to be a solid, dependable tool for aspiring backyard pitmasters and pitmistresses. With the multitude of $300 gas grills invading the BBQ market every year, Weber's biggest challenge has always faces been price. Although Spirit II is Weber's entry level full-sized gas grill line, it is still more expensive than many popular low cost brands. However, most Spirit owners feel that Weber’s quality, durability, performance, and customer service are worth it.
Napoleon Rogue R425SIB $899 - 2nd Year On Our List!
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.
Modern Home Products WNK4 $1,044 - 6th 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 pizazz, 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.
Saber 500 Cast Black $1,100 - 2nd Year On Our List!
This black coated steel grill with a double wall hood and cast aluminum end caps is Saber's entry priced model. 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 that of 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 Char-Broil 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, which reduces overall fuel consumption.
Napoleon Prestige P500RSIB $1,400 - 5th 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 back burner and rotisserie kit, and a powerful ceramic sear burner capable of hitting 1000°F on the left side shelf, a great idea. This sear burner 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. This grill features lots of high quality stainless steel all around it, including Napoleon's trademark wavy shaped grill grates. You can also turn the Prestige into a dual fuel grill with a cool optional cast iron charcoal tray that fits inside the firebox.