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Top10 Best Gas Grills Under $500 in 2019-2020-Ultimate Buying Guide

 Best Gas Grills Under $500 2019-Under $300-$200

Best Gas Grills Under $500-$300 in 2019-2020 -Grills are great for entertaining. Often the gathering place for great conversation, a grill can be a point of pride for the man wielding the tongs. And it doesn’t hurt that women love a man who knows what he’s doing on the grill! Best Gas Grills Under $300 in 2018-2019,Best Gas Grills Under $200 2019

Best Selling Gas Grills 2019-Not only that, but they’re extremely useful. I have a friend who cooked for his family on their grill for days after a bad storm caused the power to go out.Keep in mind:Best Gas Grills Under $300 in 2019-2020 Grills are a major purchase, so you want to get it right. But what if you know nothing about gas grills?How do you pick the best grill for your money?I’ve put together an in depth guide to help you choose the best gas grill under $500. Follow the guide and you’ll have no problem picking the best gas grill.There are plenty of solid, durable gas grills on the market to fit your needs with very competitive budget. Some people are looking for a portable grill they can take with them camping or tailgating, while others are looking for a solid grill to keep on their patio or deck.Best Gas Grills Under $1000 -2019

Depending on the person, what you need in a grill can vary drastically. Fortunately for you, we have you covered no matter what those needs may be. The following five product reviews focus on gas grills on the market currently available for under $500.

10 Best Gas Grills Under $500 2019

The 10 Best Gas Grills Under $500 (+ How to Pick the Right Grill for You)

Best Gas Grills Under $500 in 2019 -Considering the price point and all of the different grill features (sometimes called “grill frills”) means that buying a grill can be a bit overwhelming.

To help you out with this process, I’ve included a list of grill lingo definitions, a grill buying guide, and a compilation of the 10 best gas grill 2019

Although I highly recommend you read my guide first, if you already have an extensive knowledge of grills, you can use the table of contents bellow to quickly see which grill we ranked as the best grill under $500

All of the grills featured on our list contain an electric ignition switch. An electric switch is best because it means you won’t have light the grill manually with a match.

Best Gas Grills Under $500-Chart

The 10 Best Gas Grills Under $500 Reviews.

Now that you know the three rules to follow when purchasing a gas grill, you’re ready to start shopping.

Don’t forget to consider special features, cooking area, and size.

One more pro tip: Check out grills in different colors. Certain colors are sometimes cheaper than others of the same model.

BEST GAS GRILL LIST

Best Gas Grills Under $200 2019

10. Best Char-Broil Classic Gas Grill

  Price: $169 @ Amazon.com

Cooking Area:

480 square inches (14.5 burgers)

BTU/HR:

40,000

Burners:

4 (+1 side burner)

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Even though this is the least expensive Char-Broil on the list, it doesn’t sacrifice anything in build quality or features.

For starters, the Char-Broil Classic is made almost entirely from stainless steel, which, at this price, is impressive. A friend of mine has had this exact same model for 5 years, and only had to replace the starter ignition (which is common on most grills).

It’s also one of the biggest grills on our list, capable of cooking up to 14 burgers at once. The cooking area, mixed with the grill’s infinite control valve adjustability, makes this a good grill for cooking many different types of meat at once.

This grill is also versatile for its price range. It comes with a side burner, warming rack, side shelves, and porcelain coated cast iron cooking grates.

At $169, you’ll get a truly highly quality grill from a well-respected brand.

Special Features

  • Side burner
  • Warming rack
  • Porcelain coated cast iron cooking grates
  • Electronic ignition
  • Stainless steel control valves
  • Stainless steel hood
  • Side shelves
 
9

9. Best Dyna Glo Black and Stainless Grill

best-gas-grill-under-500-dyna-glow-black

Price:$369 @ Amazon.com

Cooking Area:

350 square inches (10.5 burgers)

BTU/HR:

60,000

Burners:

4

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

One of the Dyna Glo’s best features is a double-walled stainless steel lid.

Not only does the stainless steel resist rust and keep your grill looking good, but the double wall creates optimal insulation above the grill surface, which puts the BTUs to work and saves on fuel consumption.

This Dyna Glo also comes with features normally only found on larger grills, such as side shelves and a warming rack. This grill’s side shelves fold down to increase it’s portability and decrease the storage space it takes up while not in use.

This grill is also pretty compact. At only 350 square inches of cooking space, you won’t be able to feed the masses, but you can cook for a family or small gathering with no problem.

Finally, this grill is made almost entirely of stainless steel, so it’s sure to stand up to years of use.

If you want a reliable brand name grill with sturdy construction and essential features, the Dyna Glo Black and Stainless Premium is a great choice.

Special Features

  • Porcelain coated cast iron cooking grates
  • Stainless steel burners
  • Double wall stainless steel lid
  • Warming rack
  • Electronic ignition
  • Foldable Side shelves.
 
8

Best Gas Grills Under $120 2019

8. Best Cuisinart CGG-200 Tabletop Grill

best-gas-grill-under-500-cuisinart-cgg

Price:$157 @ Amazon.com

Cooking Area:

240 square inches (7 burgers)

BTU/HR:

12,000

Burners:

1

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

The design and portability of the Cuisinart CGG-200 make this one of the best gas grills under $500.

The CGG-200 is so small and lightweight that you can literally pick it up and walk away with it.

Now:

Even with one burner, the excellent stainless steel construction provides great insulation to the cooking surface. Though it only sports 12,000 BTUs, it gets hot enough to sear steaks and burgers easily.

Cuisinart didn’t give up function in their small portable design. The CGG-200 comes equipped with high quality features like foldable side shelves and porcelain coated cast iron cooking grates.

The most unique feature of this grill is its modular cooking surface. Like the double-sided grates on the Grillin’ Pro ranked above, you can remove the cooking grates on the Cuisinart. Instead of just flipping them over, you can swap them with different cooking surfaces…like the all-purpose veggie panel that comes included.

The bottom line:

This grill offers the exact same features as other higher-ranking grills, with the only drawback being the smaller cooking surface.

If you want something portable or are tight on space, the Cuisinart CGG-200 is a great grill.

Special Features

  • Porcelain coated cast iron cooking grates
  • Twist start ignition
  • Foldable side shelves
  • Modular surface
  • Removable veggie panel
  • Temperature gauge
  • Double-walled grill hood
 
7

7. Best Char-Broil TRU Infrared Gas Grill

best-gas-grill-under-500-tru-infared-urban

Price:$248 @ Amazon.com

Cooking Area:

340 square inches (10.5 burgers)

BTU/HR:

20,000

Burners:

2

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

The Char-Broil Urban Gas Grill is an excellent mid sized grill with a unique cooking system and several useful features.

This is a great grill for smaller patios or apartments. It offers big cooking area with side tables that fold down, so you don’t need a lot of space to store it. Though it requires little storage space, it doesn’t compromise on lack of features. You still get the benefit of a warming rack and folding side shelves, along with quality stainless steel construction

The most unique feature of the Char-Broil Urban model is its TRU infrared coking system. Unlike the other grills on our list that use convection cooking (where the flame heats the grates) the infrared system uses flames to heat an infrared element, creating radiant heat that locks in juices and flavor. The infrared system also helps reduce fuel consumption, maintains even cooking temperatures across all cooking grates, and eliminates hot spots and flare-ups common on traditional grills.

Most grills offer temperature gauges in the hood, away from the cooking surface. This can lead to inaccurate temperature readings and overcooked food. As an added bonus, the Char-Broil Urban contains surface level temperature gauges that let you monitor the temperature on the burners, where the food actually cooks.

If you want a mid sized grill with infrared cooking technology and plenty of features, the Char-Broil Urban is an excellent choice.

Special Features

  • TRU infrared cooking system
  • Porcelain covered warming rack
  • Porcelain covered cast iron cooking grates
  • Stainless steel burners
  • Fold away side shelves
  • Surface level temperature gauges
  
7

Best Gas Grills Under $300 2019

6. Best Char-Griller 3001 Grillin’ Pro

best-gas-grill-under-500-char-griller-3001

Price:$184 @ Amazon.com

Cooking Area:

438 square inches (13 burgers)

BTU/HR:

40,8000

Burners:

3 (+1 side burner)

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

At only $185.00, the Char-Griller 3001 Grillin’ Pro is one of the most affordable and versatile grills in the ranking.

Despite its price tag, this grill comes with the second highest BTU rating on our list. A high BTU rating and good insulation lets it heat up quickly (500 degrees in 5 minutes). While other grills on our list can heat more quickly, none can match the price tag of the Grillin’ Pro.

The Grillin’ Pro also come with three solid additional attachments:

  1. Warming rack
  2. Side burner
  3. Smoker attachment

Another great feature of the Grillin’ Pro is its porcelain coated cast iron grates, which are difficult to find on a grill in the sub $200 range. The Grillin’ Pro grates are also double-sided (with one side for searing and one for grilling). Just flip the grates over and you have an entirely new cooking surface.

For example:

You could flip half the grates and sear a tuna steak on one side of the cook surface, half while grilling burgers on the other.

The one fault of this grill is that it isn’t made of stainless steel. While this isn’t a problem if you get a cover, a stainless steel grill is usually the way to go (since it resists rust). Even so, unique features like double sided grates, a smoker, and a high BTU rating make this grill deserving of the #6 spot.

If you’re new to grilling and want an affordable grill with similar features as the more expensive options, this is a great grill for you.

Special Features

  • 40,800 BTU rating
  • Side shelves
  • Porcelain coated cast iron grates
  • Side burner
  • Warming rack
  • Electronic ignition
  • Smoker attachment
  
7

5. Best Fuego FELG21C Element Grill

best-gas-grill-under-500-fuego

Price: $299 @ Amazon.com

Cooking Area:

346 square inches (10.5 burgers)

BTU/HR: 21,000

Burners:1

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

The Fuego FELG21C Element is a unique looking grill with a unique cooking system.

Despite it’s size, the FELG21Cup can heat up to 500 degrees in just 5 minutes, and up to 700 degrees if necessary. The single burner conserves fuel without sacrificing cooking temperature, meaning you can get up to 20 hours of cooking time from just one 20 lb. LP tank. In comparison, larger grills will run through one tank in 10-18 hours.

Its unique “dual zone” burner gives you two cooking areas. The outer area provides slow, constant heat for convection cooking (great for roasts and BBQ), while the inner ring provides quick, intense heat for searing (great for steaks and burgers). The Fuego element accomplishes this feat by giving you the option to target each burner zone separately using the control valve.

This grill is also one of the most compact and mobile grills in the ranking. It’s circular design and tilt lock wheels make it easy to move and store.

Even though this grill lacks features like a warming rack and side shelves, its quick pre-heat time, high temperature design, and compact size and portability make it one of the most efficient and powerful grills on our list.

If you want a powerful grill that you can transport with ease, the Fuego Element is a great option.

Special Features

  • Single 15 pound porcelain coated cast iron grate
  • Dual Zone Burner
  • Propane tank storage
  • Unique circular design
  • Tilt locking wheels
  • Electronic ignition
  • Easy to clean residue tray
 
 
7

4. Best Dyna Glo DGE Gas Grill

best-gas-grill-under-500-dyna-glow-dge

Price: $396 @ Amazon.com

Cooking Area:708 square inches (21 burgers)

BTU/HR:62,000

Burners:5 (+1 side burner)

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Without a doubt the best feature of the Dyna Glo DGE is its size.

There’s virtually no limit to what you can cook with 708 total square inches of cooking space and infinite control valve adjustability. In addition, at 62,000 BTUs, this is the most powerful grill on our list. The high BTUs, mixed with its cooking area, make this perhaps the best grill on our list for feeding large groups.

Plus, the Dyna Glo DGE features stainless steel cooking grates. You won’t have to worry about rust or mess on these grates, which is awesome after using all 708 inches of cooking space.

This grill has a side burner rated at 12,000 BTUs…better than any on our list. With that many BTUs at your disposal, the side burner is not only good for heating up sauces, but it also doubles as an effective extra cooking space.

For example:

You can use the side burner on the Dyna Glo DGE to cook with a frying pan, allowing you to grill and sauté/sear at the same time.

Besides its power and size, the Dyna Glo DGE is also durable. It’s made entirely of stainless steel, so you can store it outside in any climate at any time of year.

If you’re looking for a large, versatile grill made with quality construction, the Dyna Glo DGE is a great choice.

Special Features

  • Stainless steel heat tents
  • Stainless steel warming rack
  • Stainless steel side shelves
  • Stainless steel cooking grates
  • 12,000 BTU side burner
  • Hood mounted thermometer
  • Infinite control valve adjustability.
 
 
7

3. Best Budget Weber Q3200 Gas Grill

best-gas-grill-under-500-weber-q3200

Price: $396 @ Amazon.com

Cooking Area:393 square inches (12 burgers)

BTU/HR:21,700

Burners:2

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

The Weber Q3200 is the perfect option for someone who wants the famous Weber brand but doesn’t need a huge grill.

The most unique feature of the Q3200 (and one reason it’s ranked #3) is the split cooking grate design. You can remove and replace the cooking grates with a flat griddle attachment, allowing you to cook things like bacon and even pancakes. You also can purchase additional attachments like a grill pan and vegetable basket.

Another unique feature of this grill is the “Grill Out” handle light. It illuminates the space around you, making it easier to cook at night. In addition to the handle light, the Q3200 gives you the same high quality porcelain coated cast iron cooking grates, stainless steel burners, and warming rack, all for $100 less than other comparable Weber models

The Q3200 features infinite control valve adjustability that locks in the cooking temperature no matter how high or low. This means you can cook meat at a set temperature in any spot on the cook grates.

As an added bonus, the Q3200 comes with plenty of storage. There’s a bracket for the 20 lb. LP tank, 3 tool hooks, and a storage slot for the warming rack so you can store it while it’s not in use.

The bottom line:

This is simply a great compact grill with excellent build quality and features. If you want the Weber brand but don’t need a huge grill, this one is the way to go.

Special Features

  • Porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates
  • Grill Out handle light (for low light conditions)
  • Infinite control valve adjustability
  • Split grates
  • Battery powered push button starter
  • Side shelves
  • Warming rack
  • 3 tool hooks
  
7

2. Best Char-Broil Infrared 480 Gas Grill

Price:$293 @ Amazon.com

Cooking Area:480 square inches (14.5 burgers)

BTU/HR:30,000

Burners:3 (+1 side burner)

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

The Char-Broil Performance mixes features, unique technology, and cooking area into an excellent jack-of-all-trades grill, earning it the number 2 spot in the ranking.

For starters, it’s big. The 480 square inches of cooking space allows you cook close to 15 full sized burgers at once.

Another great aspect of this grill is its high quality construction. Almost all of its parts are made from stainless steel, including the burners (a feature normally found on more expensive grills), so they won’t rust and erode over time.

Like the other Char-Broil ranked above, the Char-Broil Performance features a special “TRU infrared” cooking system. The radiant heat from the infrared technology allows you to add wood chips directly to the cooking grates for more flavorful grilling and smoking…something you can’t do with grills that cook with traditional convection cooking (they would just catch on fire instead of smoke).

The Char-Broil Performance also features stainless steel cooking grates that are different from any other grill in the ranking. Not only are they stainless steel, but they are also porcelain coated. Unlike enamel cast iron, these grates won’t rust as easily, and are a breeze to clean. Their porcelain coating also allows them to heat up faster than plain stainless steel, which creates great searing marks.

And finally, features are the name of the game. The Char-Broil Performance has the features you need to cook a variety of food, including a porcelain-coated warming rack, 10,000 BTU rated side burner, and side shelves.

Such a large grill with a unique cooking system for only $369.00 is a steal. If you want a unique grill capable of cooking for the masses, the Char-Broil Performance is a great option.

Special Features

  • TRU Infrared Cooking System
  • Stainless steel construction throughout
  • Porcelain coated stainless steel cooking grates.
  • Porcelain coated warming racks
  • 10,000 BTU side burner.
  • Warming rack
  • Side shelves
 
 
7

1. Best Overall Weber Spirit E310 Gas Grill

best-gas-grill-under-500-weber-spirit

Price: $499 @ Amazon.com

Cooking Area:424 square inches (12 burgers)

BTU/HR:32,000

Burners:3

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Coming in at just under the $500 cutoff, The Weber Spirit E310 is the best gas grill under $500.

Not only does it rival more expensive “professional” grills in quality, it has several unique features that separate it from other grills in the ranking.

Two components that helped earn the Spirit E310 the number one spot are the flavorizer bar and grease management system, which combine to make this grill special. As you grill, the flavorizer bar catches and sizzles juices from your food to further smoke and flavor the meat. Any juices the flavor bar misses are funneled down towards the grease management system to prevent grill flare-ups. Once you’re done grilling, just empty the tray from the grease management system and you’re good to grill again.

This Weber is also perfect for entertaining. The 424 inches of primary cooking space means that you have plenty of room to cook multiple types of meat at once. When you’re done, the cooking grates are easy to clean because of the porcelain coating.

The cooking grates maintain heat well since they’re made of cast iron. Like cast iron skillets, these grates retain seasoning the more you cook with them, leading to more flavorful food.

Weber engineers designed the angles on the Spirit e310’s double walled hood to push hot air back down on the cook surface to evenly cook meat, even when the meat isn’t on direct heat. With three burners, this grill also gets HOT (up to 700 degrees in around 5 minutes), something that many other grills in this price range can’t do.

The little details are important too. The Spirit E310 features a fuel gauge so you’ll never run out of propane mid-cook. This grill also has the more reliable battery powered push starter. Like everything else on the Spirit E310, it will hold up to years of constant use.

Finally, this grill boasts a classy and modern stainless steel design, which adds to its durability. It’s common for Weber grills like this to last for 8 years or more, while needing only a few repairs.

The plain and simple truth:

If you’re looking for the best grill under $500, even the best grill under $1,000, the Weber Spirit 310 is the way to go.

Special Features

  • Porcelain- enameled cast iron cooking grates & warmer.
  • Battery-powered push button starter
  • Infinite control valve adjustability
  • Easy-read fuel gage
  • Warming rack
  • Flavorizer bar
  • Grease management system
  • Specially engineered cook box hood.
  • 6 tool hooks.

he backyard barbecue is an essential part of the American landscape. And though you may take great care in selecting and preparing the foods you serve, the success of your meal often comes down to the quality of your gas grill.

Whether you are a first-time buyer or a seasoned grill master looking to replace your current grill, there’s a gas grill to fit every cooking style and budget: from portable models you can take camping to larger grills designed to feed the extended family. The former can be inexpensive, but the latter can cost more than $3,000—no small investment.

We have the lowdown on high heat. Consumer Reports tested more than 100 gas grills to find the best and worst. In addition to selecting a grill based on budget and size, here’s what you need to know:

FAQ on the BBQ

When shopping, you’ll want to carefully check the construction of the grill. Look at—even jostle—the assembled grill from several points to test sturdiness; the more stable, the better. Check the cart, wheels, lid, and firebox. Stainless steel carts with seamless construction and welded joints are usually sturdier than painted steel carts assembled with nuts and bolts. Wheels or casters at all four corners make a grill easier to maneuver. And wheels with a full axle are better than those bolted to the frame.

Check the gas grill brand reliability information in our ratings, too. We surveyed almost 16,000 subscribers to learn what they had to say about the brand they bought.

Recipe for Safety
Many construction considerations also address safety concerns. Again, grill stability is important because it can prevent tipping. Avoid grills with sharp metal corners and edges. Test the handle: Your knuckles or fingers shouldn’t be too close to the hot lid. And though some flame flare is normal, the greater the distance between the grates and burners or flavorizer bars, the fewer the sustained flare-ups.

Beyond Burgers
A basic grill is fine for cooking burgers and hot dogs, but if you also enjoy delicate fish and sizzling steaks with sear marks, look at the temperature-range scores in our ratings. They indicate just how versatile the grill is. The higher the score the better the grill is at cooking a variety of foods. If ribs or a roast are on the menu, you’ll want a grill that did well in our indirect cooking tests. Indirect cooking is a great way to slow-cook large or tough cuts by placing the meat next to the fire, not over it, with the lid closed to retain heat. Check how the grills did in our indirect cooking tests.

About Burners
Keep in mind that burners are the grill’s most replaced part. Burners with a warranty of 10 years should last longer than basic steel burners. A note on infrared burner claims: Infrared burners typically emit intense heat to sear and cook food, though designs differ by manufacturer. So far, no infrared burner design has stood out as better than others or better than standard burners.

Bringing the Heat
Btu/hr. (British thermal units per hour) tells you how much gas a grill uses and the heat it can create. But our tests found that more Btu doesn’t guarantee faster preheating or better cooking.

A Side of Accessories
A number of accessories enhance the thrill of the grill. If you want to expand your menu and have some fun, consider a pizza oven, griddle, wok, and grilling basket.

Additional Gas Grill Articles
Take a look at these reports to help you find the best grill for your budget:
Best Gas Grills for $400 or Less
Best Gas Grills for $400 to $700
Best Gas Grills $700 to $1,000
Best Gas Grills for $1,000 and Up
The Best Gas Grills You’ll Find at Home Depot
The Best Gas Grills You’ll Find at Lowe’s
The Best Gas Grills You’ll Find at Walmart
The Worst Gas Grills Fizzle More Than Sizzle in Consumer Reports’ Tests
Weber Rolls Out New Genesis II Gas Grills

Shopping Grills by Size and Sizzle

We measure each grill’s main cooking space, so you have an idea of how much food you can grill in one batch. We use this technique because some manufacturers include racks and searing burners when tallying their measurements.

When you’re considering the cooking size of your grill, remember to factor in how much space the grill will eat up on your patio or deck. Some grills we tested measured 6 feet in length. Exterior grill dimensions are highlighted in the specs section of each grill’s profile page in our ratings.

Portable Grills

A perfect bring-along for camping trips and tailgate parties. Portable grills are also a suitable option for smaller decks and patios. Literally a moveable feast.
Cost: $170-$250

Picture of a small gas grill.

Small Grills (18 Burgers Maximum)

Compact, nonportable grills save space and are a good option for a small cookout. Most small grills have fold-down shelves to decrease the grill’s footprint, so side burners are out. Small grills vary widely in price and appearance, from painted steel carts to stylish stainless steel.
Cost: $100-$2,000

For Top-Rated Small Grills See Our Ratings

Picture of a mid-sized gas grill.

Midsized Grills (28 Burgers Maximum)

This is the most popular sized grill. You’ll see basic grills and souped-up models with plenty of storage and LED lights and backlit knobs for cooking after dusk. Many mid- to higher-priced gas grills have burner warranties of 10 years or longer.
Cost: $150-$2,500

For the Best Midsized Grills Go to Our Ratings

Picture of a large gas grill.

Large Grills (More Than 28 Burgers)

Large grills usually have the biggest cooking areas. The higher-end models boast the highest-grade stainless steel and have seamless construction, thicker grates, gliding drawers, extra storage space, and more burners of better quality and longer warranty.
Cost: $350-$3,200

For the Best Large Grills Go to Our Ratings

Interactive Video Buying Guide

For more, watch our interactive buying guide below. You can skip to chapters based on your interests, such as gas grill basics; accessories; charcoal, electric, and other types; and other topics.

Best Gas Grills Under $500 2020

Grill Brands: What Readers Are Saying

Before you buy a grill you’ll want to know what other consumers have to say about the brand they bought. We surveyed almost 7,000 subscribers in fall 2015 and asked how satisfied they were with the brand’s grilling performance, durability, ease of use, ease of cleaning, and appearance, after about a year of use.

Backyard Grill gas grills are exclusive to Walmart and sell for $200 or less. Readers were lukewarm about grilling performance, ease of use, ease of cleaning, and appearance, and disappointed in durability. Backyard Grill fell behind the other 13 brands in overall consumer satisfaction.

How to pick the right gas grill (3 important rules to follow)

There’s no such thing as a perfect grill for everyone. The perfect grill for you will depend on:

  1. The special features
  2. The cooking area
  3. How much space you have

To ensure that you buy your best gas grill, follow the 3 rules below:

1. Consider the special features

Grills are like Swiss Army Knives. Some only fulfill basic needs, while others come with tons of extra features.

Consider what you want to do with your grill when looking at the special features.

Ask yourself this two-part question:

What do I want to cook and how do I want to cook it?

If you want the ability to cook different types of meat at once, then you might want a grill with infinite control valve adjustability.

If you like to slow cook and BBQ, then you’ll want a grill with a warming rack.

If you want a compact kitchen at your side while you grill, consider a model with a side burner and side shelves.

If you’re only going to cook burgers and brats once a week, then save a few bucks and buy a simpler grill.

You get the idea. Pick a grill that suits your needs.

To help you out, I’ve included the special features of each featured grill in our list of best grills under 500.

2. Pay attention to cooking area

One of the most important features of any grill is the cooking area it offers. This measurement is always given in square inches, and refers to how much space you have to cook with.

But why is cooking space important?

It lets you know how many burgers, hotdogs, slabs of ribs, etc. you can cook at once. To help you visualize the how much food can fit on a grill… you can fit 3 average-sized burgers per 100 square inches.

You should also consider cooking area when thinking about how many people you’ll cook for on a regular basis.

If you know you’ll often cook for parties, it’s a good idea to buy a grill with a lot of cooking space. If you know you’ll only use your grill to cook for you and your girlfriend, then you may not need to purchase a huge grill.

Important note: Although some grill manufacturers include the cooking area of warming racks in their total, I’ve left that out of our ranking of the 10 best grills under $500. This is because warming racks are different than the cooking grates, since you don’t use them to cook on full heat.

3. Consider how much space you have

This is an important rule that many guys forget when purchasing a grill.

Grills come in many different sizes.

Usually, size correlates with the cooking area the grill offers. A grill with 700 + inches of cooking space and side tables that don’t fold down, like the Dyna Glo DGE, will take up more space than a grill without side tables and less cooking space, like the Fuego Element.

Compact grills like the Cuisinart CGG-200 are also easier to transport to parties. If this is something you want to do with your grill, consider buying one of the smaller grills ranked below.

Gas grill buying lingo (10 key terms)

Like any serious hobby, grilling has its own set of specialized lingo. If you don’t have a basic working knowledge of these terms, it’s easy to get confused when reading through descriptions of different grills.

But don’t worry:

I’ve defined the 10 most common gas grill terms for you. These 10 terms show up all the time in the grill descriptions in the ranking. Read and understand them so you know exactly what each grill offers, and how each grill may fit your needs.

1. BTU

BTU stands for “British Thermal Unit.” Grill manufacturers use this measurement to rate the heating capabilities and fuel consumption of their grill.

A BTU rating is similar to the horsepower output on a car.

Read More

2. Burners + Side burners

Burners are the components of your grill that provide heat and fire.

Read More

3. Cooking Grates

Cooking grates are the actual surface on which your food cooks.

Read More

4. Natural Gas Vs. Propane

Propane tanks are easier to set up than natural gas. All you need to do is buy a tank and attach it to your grill.

They are also the most popular fuel source for grills, so more manufacturers offer grills that use propane.

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5. Liquid Propane

Liquid propane (LP) is the most common form of propane used to power grills.

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6. Warming Rack

Warming racks allow you to raise food off the surface of the grill’s grates, which creates more cooking space.

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7. Side Shelves

These are the shelves on either side of the grill. Some models come with shelves that fold down, while others are fixed.

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8. Control Valves

Control valves are the knobs you turn to adjust the heat of your grill. There is usually one control valve for each burner.

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9. Hood

The hood is basically the lid for the grill. Sometimes, you will see it referred to as the “cook box.”

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Surprisingly, a grill’s hood can play just as important a role in how fast and how well food cooks as the burnersgrates, and BTU rating.

The hood provides insulation that helps the heat spread evenly. Many grills offer tight fitting or double-walled hoods that prevent heat from leaving the cooking surface.

All of the grills featured on our list have great insulation. Most have hoods made from either stainless steel or cast aluminum.

Pro Tip: Always look for stainless steel or aluminum components. These resist rust much better than regular steel or other metals.

Gas Grill Features

Some important features may help you decide which gas grill is best suited to your needs. High-end grill features offer convenience, such as gliding drawers for storing utensils and condiments. Other features make grilling and cleanup easier, such as a pullout grease tray. Here are other features to consider:

Why A Gas Grill Under $200 Is A Great Investment

The classic American image of a grill master faithfully flipping burgers at his or her grill usually contains one of two grill types. In the first image, we see the kind of behemoth gas grills that can cook a dozen steaks with room for a complement of corncobs and a grill basket full of veggies. In the second image is a smaller, charcoal grill in the traditional shape, not quite big enough to hold all that food, but certainly capable of cooking for a large family.

But what if you want to cook for a small number of people, and you prefer the ease and safety of gas grilling over the tedium and fire risk associated with charcoal? You could still invest in an enormous gas grill and keep only one or two burners lit, but if you’re using indirect heat to cook anything in there with the lid closed, there’s going to be a lot of wasted energy radiating in empty space. What’s more, those giant grills may be too big for your space or too expensive for your budget.

In cases like these, smart customers turn to less expensive gas grills. These units offer all of the amenities of their bigger cousins, but they tend to come in sizes that can cook less food at once. That’s really the only major sacrifice. In some cases you’ll see models without the external temperature gauges common on more expensive grills, and these smaller models usually don’t have additional implements like large side shelves for prep or burners to fry alongside your grilled meals.

While we’ve mostly focused on the image of the grill in a backyard, one of the benefits of a smaller, less expensive grill is the potential for portability, meaning that these units can come on the road with you. If you’re a regular camper with a taste for grilled cuisine and a favorite camping spot that prohibits fire building, you may be allowed to take your grill to the site and use it to cook. You can also easily bring many of these models to a friend’s house to help feed small parties.

The best part about these grills, however, is the savings. If you’re a simple griller with only a few mouths to feed, there’s next to no need for you to spend all that extra money on a grill you might not use to its full potential. These smaller, more affordable options will provide you with just enough grilling power to satisfy a few hungry customers, and they’ll do so while burning less fuel.

How To Choose The Right Grill For Your Needs

The options among gas grills at a price no higher than $200 aren’t quite as limited as you might have thought. There are models out there that rival the sizes of some much more impressive units, which might make some of you wonder what people are really paying for at the higher end.

One of the things that higher-end grills boast, which we discussed above, is the area of the grilling surface. More money usually buys you more square inches, but that doesn’t mean that you’re terribly limited in this category. Still, surface area is probably the most important variable you can take into account. The easiest thing to do is ask yourself how many people you usually cook for, and how much space their foods will occupy. Make sure you get a grill with a little bit of extra space, in case you have a guest or you just want to make a backup burger.

The next consideration will be between cabinet and tabletop grills. Cabinet grills have cabinet-style storage for a full-size propane tank beneath the grilling unit. These are generally the largest gas grills in the price range, and many offer compelling features like smokestacks or thermometers. These units also usually have some form of side shelving for plates and tools.

Tabletop grills generally have less surface area, and few can cook effectively with their lids closed, making slow cooking and the use of indirect heat much more difficult. They usually don’t have any shelving because it’s assumed you can use the tables on which they sit. The primary advantages of tabletop units are their small footprint and portability. These options are easy to pack up and take with you to a campsite or vacation home, and they fit much more comfortably on a small deck or patio.

A Brief History Of Grilling

Grilling is one of those things that reaches back well beyond the beginning of recorded history, as you could essentially consider anything cooked over an open flame to be grilled. Some archeologists and primatologists are pretty confident that humans harnessed fire for cooking as many as one million years ago, and that the introduction of cooked meats into our diet allowed us to radically advance as a species.

Fires in the wilderness provided the vast majority of grilling sites for the better part of human history. That changed after WWII, when the growth of the middle class led to an increase in various backyard leisure activities, including grilling. The grills of the early 1950s provided too little access to the flame, however, and weren’t shaped in such a way to facilitate the fastest, most even cooking.

A man named George Stephen would change all that, however. He inherited a metal spinning company known primarily as a maker of harbor buoys. Stephen cut one of these buoys in half, added a grate to the center portion, and gave birth to the Weber grill.

Early gas grills arrived on the scene not long after this. These units, first marketed under the moniker Lazy-Man, burned gas to heat up lava rocks as an intermediary to the heat of the flame, allowing for a process much akin to that of charcoal grilling, but without the difficulty in setup and maintenance.

FAQ on the BBQ

When shopping, you’ll want to carefully check the construction of the grill. Look at—even jostle—the assembled grill from several points to test sturdiness; the more stable, the better. Check the cart, wheels, lid, and firebox. Stainless steel carts with seamless construction and welded joints are usually sturdier than painted steel carts assembled with nuts and bolts. Wheels or casters at all four corners make a grill easier to maneuver. And wheels with a full axle are better than those bolted to the frame.

Check the gas grill brand reliability information in our ratings, too. We surveyed almost 16,000 subscribers to learn what they had to say about the brand they bought.

Recipe for Safety
Many construction considerations also address safety concerns. Again, grill stability is important because it can prevent tipping. Avoid grills with sharp metal corners and edges. Test the handle: Your knuckles or fingers shouldn’t be too close to the hot lid. And though some flame flare is normal, the greater the distance between the grates and burners or flavorizer bars, the fewer the sustained flare-ups.

Beyond Burgers
A basic grill is fine for cooking burgers and hot dogs, but if you also enjoy delicate fish and sizzling steaks with sear marks, look at the temperature-range scores in our ratings. They indicate just how versatile the grill is. The higher the score the better the grill is at cooking a variety of foods. If ribs or a roast are on the menu, you’ll want a grill that did well in our indirect cooking tests. Indirect cooking is a great way to slow-cook large or tough cuts by placing the meat next to the fire, not over it, with the lid closed to retain heat. Check how the grills did in our indirect cooking tests.

About Burners
Keep in mind that burners are the grill’s most replaced part. Burners with a warranty of 10 years should last longer than basic steel burners. A note on infrared burner claims: Infrared burners typically emit intense heat to sear and cook food, though designs differ by manufacturer. So far, no infrared burner design has stood out as better than others or better than standard burners.

Bringing the Heat
Btu/hr. (British thermal units per hour) tells you how much gas a grill uses and the heat it can create. But our tests found that more Btu doesn’t guarantee faster preheating or better cooking.

A Side of Accessories
A number of accessories enhance the thrill of the grill. If you want to expand your menu and have some fun, consider a pizza oven, griddle, wok, and grilling basket.

Additional Gas Grill Articles
Take a look at these reports to help you find the best grill for your budget:
Best Gas Grills for $400 or Less
Best Gas Grills for $400 to $700
Best Gas Grills $700 to $1,000
Best Gas Grills for $1,000 and Up
The Best Gas Grills You’ll Find at Home Depot
The Best Gas Grills You’ll Find at Lowe’s
The Best Gas Grills You’ll Find at Walmart
The Worst Gas Grills Fizzle More Than Sizzle in Consumer Reports’ Tests
Weber Rolls Out New Genesis II Gas Grills

Top Gas Grills in Consumer Reports Ratings

Shopping Grills by Size and Sizzle

We measure each grill’s main cooking space, so you have an idea of how much food you can grill in one batch. We use this technique because some manufacturers include racks and searing burners when tallying their measurements.

When you’re considering the cooking size of your grill, remember to factor in how much space the grill will eat up on your patio or deck. Some grills we tested measured 6 feet in length. Exterior grill dimensions are highlighted in the specs section of each grill’s profile page in our ratings.

Picture of a portable gas grill.

Portable Grills

A perfect bring-along for camping trips and tailgate parties. Portable grills are also a suitable option for smaller decks and patios. Literally a moveable feast.
Cost: $170-$250

Check Our Gas Grill Ratings for More

Picture of a small gas grill.

Small Grills (18 Burgers Maximum)

Compact, nonportable grills save space and are a good option for a small cookout. Most small grills have fold-down shelves to decrease the grill’s footprint, so side burners are out. Small grills vary widely in price and appearance, from painted steel carts to stylish stainless steel.
Cost: $100-$2,000

For Top-Rated Small Grills See Our Ratings

Picture of a mid-sized gas grill.

Midsized Grills (28 Burgers Maximum)

This is the most popular sized grill. You’ll see basic grills and souped-up models with plenty of storage and LED lights and backlit knobs for cooking after dusk. Many mid- to higher-priced gas grills have burner warranties of 10 years or longer.
Cost: $150-$2,500

For the Best Midsized Grills Go to Our Ratings

Picture of a large gas grill.

Large Grills (More Than 28 Burgers)

Large grills usually have the biggest cooking areas. The higher-end models boast the highest-grade stainless steel and have seamless construction, thicker grates, gliding drawers, extra storage space, and more burners of better quality and longer warranty.
Cost: $350-$3,200

For the Best Large Grills Go to Our Ratings

Interactive Video Buying Guide

For more, watch our interactive buying guide below. You can skip to chapters based on your interests, such as gas grill basics; accessories; charcoal, electric, and other types; and other topics.

Gas Grill Ratings by Consumer Reports

Gas Grill Features

Some important features may help you decide which gas grill is best suited to your needs. High-end grill features offer convenience, such as gliding drawers for storing utensils and condiments. Other features make grilling and cleanup easier, such as a pullout grease tray. Here are other features to consider

Heavy-Duty Grates

Stainless steel and coated cast-iron grates tend to be better for searing and maintaining even grilling temperatures. For the long haul, stainless is more durable.

Grill Brands: What Readers Are Saying

Before you buy a grill you’ll want to know what other consumers have to say about the brand they bought. We surveyed almost 7,000 subscribers in fall 2015 and asked how satisfied they were with the brand’s grilling performance, durability, ease of use, ease of cleaning, and appearance, after about a year of use.

In Conclusion

Don’t forget:

Buying a grill is an important decision…a decision you want to get right.

Without knowledge of grill lingo and a guide for picking the right grill, you might make the wrong choice. Follow this guide and you’ll have no problem choosing the perfect grill for your needs.


Also Read:

 

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Best Gas Grills Under $500 in 2018-2019
Author Rating
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