Summer feasts mean gathering around the grill. Whether you’re a sear-ious (ha!) outdoor chef or a casual cook, you’ll want to get the best quality and functionality for your dollars. If you select a grill solely by the lowest price, you may find that you have to repair or replace it more often, and that doesn’t save you any money in the long run. But the most expensive grill may be loaded with features that you will never use, and wouldn’t it be nice to have some $$$ leftover to buy some New York Strips and fresh veggies to slap on that baby?
Some features to think about:
Cooking grate (size, durability, ease of cleaning)
Evenness of cooking
Number and type of burners (side burner, searing burner, smoker, rotisserie)
Lighted controls and cooking area
Ease of assembly (if you’re doing it yourself)
Which features are most important to you? Enough bells and whistles? Too many? All personal decisions that only you can make. Informed decisions are the best, so, in that spirit, here is a selection of convenient gas grills (from budget-friendly to extravagant) that offer a good balance of price and performance.
The Char-Broil Performance 650 generates 60,000 BTUs with a budget-friendly price tag. The six burners include a searing burner. The primary cooking surface is 650 square inches, plus there is a 10,000 BTU side burner with a lid that provides extra work space. There is an additional side shelf for even more work space. The 280 square inch warming rack swings out of the way when you don’t need it. The cooking grates are porcelain-coated cast iron, which resist rust and are easy to clean. The six burners and heat tents are durable stainless steel. Electronic ignition is operated with the push of a button. The two-door cabinet provides additional tool storage and keeps the propane tank out of sight. A porcelain-coated grease pan contains drips and eases cleanup.
You have a smartphone. Why not a smart grill? The Char-Broil SmartChef 420 is wifi-connected and syncs to compatible devices to update you on grill and food temperatures, fuel levels and burner status while you enjoy a beverage with your guests. The 420 square inch porcelain-coated cast iron grates heat evenly and clean easily. The 155 square inch warming rack swings out of the way when it’s not needed. The three stainless steel burners with infrared technology cook food evenly and use less fuel. There is a food temperature probe included to help you cook foods to the proper internal temperatures. Easy to start with electronic ignition. The lidded 13,000 BTU side burner is there when you need it, and with its cover functions as an extra prep and work surface when not in use. The LED-illuminated control panel is handy for grilling after dark, and the gas tank and accessories are stored out of sight behind two cabinet doors.
The Napoleon Rogue 425 is a stainless steel gas grill with 425 square inches of cooking space on the main cooking surface. Three stainless steel burners pump 45,000 BTUs and grill food directly or indirectly on unique wave-shaped stainless steel cooking grids. Two levels of sear plates vaporize drips and reduce flare-ups. The infrared Sizzle Zone side burner doubles as a searing station. To save space, you can fold away or remove the side shelves. Electronic ignition (Napoleon calls it Jetfire) makes for quick and efficient starts so you can get down to business and feed those people on your patio!
Bells and whistles? Right here. With four main stainless steel burners, one rear infrared burner and a side infrared burner, you have tons of options. Sear (the side burner heats in seconds to nearly 1,800°F), grill, sauté and prepare sauces. Try spit grilling with the included heavy duty rotisserie kit. Add a smoker tube or charcoal tray for wood chip or charcoal cooking. Monitor internal food temperatures with the probe temperature gauge that comes with the grill. The unique wavy design of the stainless steel cooking grids provides even heating and prevents smaller foods from slipping between the cracks. Staggered stainless steel sear plates vaporize drippings and prevent flare ups. Side shelves add more work surface. Jetfire electronic ignition will get you going fast!
The economical Spirit line of gas grills from popular Weber includes the E-330 with many sought-after features. Three stainless steel burners produce 32,000 BTUs under a 424 square inch porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking area. There is a handy 105 square inch warming rack. The side burner cranks out 12,000 BTUs for cooking side dishes, and a 7,500 BTU sear station burner heats quickly to sear foods, then turns off for regular grilling. Convenient push-button electronic ignition.
This is a “does-it-all” grill. The 468 square inch stainless steel primary cooking grid sits over four seamless stainless steel burners that put out 48,800 BTUs. In addition, there is a 112 square inch warming rack. The Flavorizer bars, a Weber innovation, are also stainless steel and turn drippings into distinctive smoky flavor. Drippings that are not vaporized are collected in the grease management system, which is easy to maintain with a disposable drip pan. The grill provides a 12,000 BTU side burner, a 10,600 BTU Sear Station burner, a 6,800 BTU smoker burner, and a 10,600 BTU rear-mounted infrared rotisserie burner. The included rotisserie system features a convenient flip-up motor and storage for the spit and forks. The lighted control panel is handy for those late-night parties. And there is individual electronic ignition for the burners. A warning light lets you know if the grill goes out (did you forget to fill the tank?) and the fuel gauge lets you know where you stand (so you won’t forget to fill the tank.) Extra hidden storage is behind the cabinet doors.
The Broil King Signet 90 boasts lots of grilling features for the price. Three stainless steel burners deliver 40,000 BTUs of even heat to the 401 square inch primary cooking surface. Heavy-duty reversible cast iron cooking grids sear quickly and retain heat well. (Think of the cast iron pots in your kitchen.) Wave-shaped vaporizers return the flavor from drippings to your food. There’s a 15,000 BTU stainless steel rear burner for cooking with the included rotisserie kit, and the 10,000 BTU side burner is just right for sauces, sautés and side dishes. The porcelain coated warming rack maintains food at serving temperature. With the Signet 90’s large oven capacity, you can even cook large roasts or turkeys. Side shelves that fold down and out of the way have hooks and condiment bins. Electronic ignition makes for fast starts.
The Imperial series boasts performance and convenience. The 500 square inch primary cooking surface is cast stainless steel and is reversible to enhance searing or basting up to 50,000 BTUs, heating quickly and evenly. Wave-shaped vaporizers transform drippings into infused flavor. Four stainless steel burners power the main cooking grid, while a 10,000 BTU side burner gives you a place to prepare side dishes. Included are a 15,000 BTU rear rotisserie burner and rotisserie kit. Stainless steel side shelves with storage are a plus, as are the two utility drawers in the cabinet. Tank changing is made simpler with a slide-out shelf that brings the connections out to you. In addition to built-in lights on the control knobs, the cook box also has built-in lights for grilling after dark.