In a world where culinary pursuits often lead outdoors, choosing the best gas grills under $500 ensures that scrumptious barbeque nights don’t burn a hole in your wallet. Our detailed examination scrutinizes various grills on the market, focusing on their heat distribution, burner quality, design, and more, aiming to provide you a comprehensive guide to making an informed purchase.
Before we dive into individual grill reviews, it’s pivotal to understand the methodology and criteria that guided our selection and testing processes.
The gas grill we selected as the winner needed to excel not only in steak searing but also demonstrate proficiency in achieving a high-quality slow cook using the 2-zone method.
In our pursuit to find the best gas grills under $500, we focused on a plethora of variables such as build quality, functionality, user reviews, and manufacturer reputation. Grills were examined for their ease of assembly, material durability, and overall usability, ensuring that our selections aren’t just affordable but also reliable and robust.
BTU, or British Thermal Unit, measures the heat output of a grill. Commonly, higher BTUs are associated with a better grilling experience, however, that isn’t always true. An effective grill design ensures that heat is distributed evenly and retained properly, which might enable a lower BTU grill to outperform a poorly designed high BTU counterpart.
A well-designed grill prioritises aspects like heat retention, even distribution, and efficient usage of energy. While BTUs provide an initial insight into the grill’s capacity, factors such as the lid’s tightness, placement of burners, and the quality of grates also play crucial roles in determining the overall performance of the grill.
In our testing phase, we meticulously evaluated each selected grill against several vital parameters that define a good grilling experience.
The capacity of a grill to distribute heat evenly across its surface directly impacts the cooking results. Uneven heating can lead to improperly cooked food, with parts being overcooked and others undercooked. Our testing involved checking the uniformity of heat distribution using thermal imaging and cooking various items to observe consistency.
Burners are the heart of gas grills, influencing heating time, temperature control, and longevity of the unit. We assessed the burner quality, evaluating their construction material, ease of ignition, and ability to provide varied temperature zones for versatile cooking.
Diffusers, or heat tents, protect burners from dripping fats while also vaporising them to add flavour to your cook. We evaluated the material, position, and effectiveness of diffusers in preventing flare-ups and ensuring flavorful, smoke-infused grilling.
A good grill should maintain a consistent temperature for smoking without constant monitoring. Our grills were tested for their ability to sustain low temperatures over extended periods and to produce enough smoke by efficiently vaporizing fats.
Indirect Heat/Grilling is good for those times when you have a thick cut of meat that you want to cook evenly. There is no reason why they should have exclusive though. For example, you could slow cook a 3 lab tri tip for an hour or so and then move it to direct heat to build a crust at the end.
Using a charcoal grill, you want to avoid thick smoke that sometimes shows up when suddenly light a ton of charcoal at once. To avoid this, you can place unlit charcoal underneath your lit charcoal so that it ignites when your lit charcoal starts burning out. It lights slowly so it typically doesn’t produce a bunch of thick smoke.
These elements were critically analyzed to offer you a thorough insight into what to expect from the best gas grills under $500. Each model was assessed objectively, ensuring that our recommendations are based on unbiased, hands-on experiences and critical evaluations. Stay tuned for detailed reviews, where we delve into specific models, outlining their pros and cons to assist you in making an informed decision for your grilling adventures!
In the realm of outdoor cooking, finding a grill that amalgamates performance with affordability can be a smoky affair. It’s important to sift through the plethora of options available and identify the ones that deliver the perfect sear without scorching your budget. Let’s delve into our top pick in this category:
Weber Brand, a renowned name in the grilling world, often comes forward with products that boast a mix of quality and functionality. The Weber Spirit II has emerged victorious in our quest for the best gas grills under $500, marking impressive scores in various testing parameters.
My personal recommendation would be to go with the Spirit II E 310, unless you’re looking used, since they’re half the price of the Genesis now. I’ve got the Spirit 310 and cook fine for a family of 3.
Pretty happy with my Spirit II. The wheels and tank location make wheeling in and out of garage easy for me. More room than needed for 2 typically unless I’m grilling veg at the same time, so I’m glad for that over like the 210.
Like others have stated, their grill tops out in the 500-550* range. The lid is a bit flimsy compared to my Genesis II, and it takes longer to recover from opening the lid as a result. However they have had zero problems with it besides regular maintenance (which was simply replacing the favorize bars this last fall for the first time).
I have this unit. Seems like it has like an always on function that keeps the unit on and online always. The Range of it is bigger than the other ones because it uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Thus the battery drain. But the battery is rechargeable by USB and it’s not a big deal. But it gave me personally more the feeling that I’m still in control and the IGrill3 digital thermometer supported me during the cook.
Not trying to change any minds, but a clogged lines is very strange to me. My parenta used gas, many relatives use gas, I mostly use gas, and we’ve definitely exceeded 10-years-old for gas grills without seeing or hearing of lines getting clogged.
Gas grills are fine and convenient. But there is a need to clean it regularly to prevent the gunk getting on fire and producing smoke.
Recently, I got a new house with no good place for charcoal so I had to switch and I have to say that I really love my BBQ gift lineup. It’s extremely convenient to just walk out and turn on the grill. My food picks up a pretty good char flavor because I cook everything on full blast.
It’s amazing, though, for burgers and chicken and veggies, flat breads and everything else that doesn’t require very high heat.
- Model: Weber Spirit II E-210
- Price: $419
- Burners: 2
- Grates: Porcelain-enamelled, cast-iron cooking grates
- Size of Main Cooking Area: 450 square inches
- BTUs: 26,500 per hour
- Max Cooking Load: 20 burgers
- Assembly Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
In our exhaustive testing and assessment phase, Weber Spirit II showed exemplary performance in various aspects of grilling, earning the following ratings:
With its even heat distribution, capable burners, and efficient grease management system, grilling on the Spirit II is a delightful experience. From searing steaks to charring veggies, it handles a varied menu with aplomb.
Indirect Cooking: 4.5/5
It remarkably maintains stable temperatures, enabling indirect cooking and roasting to perfection, thanks to its well-designed diffusers and effective heat retention.
Weber Spirit II impresses with its ergonomic design, featuring side tables, tool hooks, and an open cart design for additional storage, ensuring functionality meets convenience.
Constructed with high-quality materials and backed by a robust 10-year warranty, it promises a decade of delightful grilling.
While the grease management system facilitates easier cleaning, dealing with accumulated residue on grates and burners can be a bit tedious.
Concluding, the Weber Spirit II showcases a splendid combination of performance, durability, and user-friendly design, all while adhering to an affordable price tag, thereby emerging as a top contender in the realm of gas grills under $500. Whether you are a seasoned grill master or an occasional BBQ enthusiast, Spirit II ensures your grilling adventures are nothing short of spectacular.
Char-Griller is recognized for producing grills that blend functionality with affordability, and the E3001 model stands out as a prominent example. Catering to both seasoned grill masters and casual BBQ enthusiasts, let’s delve into the specifics and rating of the Char-Griller E3001 based on the typical specifications and common user experiences.
- Model: Char-Griller E3001 Grillin’ Pro
- Price: Around $265 (Prices may vary based on the retailer and ongoing promotions)
- Burners: 3
- Grates: Porcelain-coated cast iron
- Size of Main Cooking Area: 438 square inches
- BTUs: 40,800 BTUs on the main burners + 12,000 BTU side burner
- Max Cooking Load: Not specified by manufacturer but adequate for small gatherings
- Assembly Time: Approximately 2 hours
The E3001 is commended for its ample grilling space and proficient heat distribution across the cooking surface, ensuring a uniform and optimal grilling experience. The cast-iron grates assist in retaining and evenly distributing heat.
Indirect Cooking: 3.8/5
Managing a steady and consistent heat for indirect cooking is fairly achievable, although some users have noted minor fluctuations over extended cooking periods.
With a sturdy steel construction and a side shelf that also functions as a side burner, its design is practical, though some might find it a bit traditional.
Users have applauded its durability, particularly emphasising the longevity of the burners and grates. However, ensuring its longevity might require additional efforts in terms of regular maintenance and protecting it from harsh weather conditions.
Cleaning is straightforward due to its efficient grease management system, but dealing with the ash and residue stuck on the grates and in between might demand a bit of elbow grease.
In a nutshell, the Char-Griller E3001 Grillin’ Pro is celebrated for its robust construction, ample cooking space, and the power it brings to the backyard BBQ. It not only offers a generous cooking area but also ensures that you achieve that perfect sear without a hefty investment.
The Broil King Signet 320 is widely recognized for its remarkable performance and durable build, positioning it as a highly regarded option in the realm of gas grills. Let’s delve into its specifications and explore user-based ratings on various aspects.
- Model: Broil King Signet 320
- Price: Around $450 – $550 (Prices can fluctuate based on the retailer and any ongoing promotions or sales)
- Burners: 3
- Grates: Heavy-duty cast iron
- Size of Main Cooking Area: 400 square inches
- BTUs: 40,000 BTUs
- Max Cooking Load: Sufficient for a family gathering (exact capacity might depend on the type and size of food items)
- Assembly Time: Approximately 2-3 hours
Thanks to its Flav-R-Wave cooking system, the Signet 320 excels in offering even heat distribution and notable sear marks, providing a superb grilling experience.
Indirect Cooking: 4.3/5
The grill’s ability to maintain a consistent temperature is respectable, making it suitable for indirect cooking and even roasting.
With its sturdy build, ample preparation space, and an enclosed cabinet for storage, the Signet 320 scores high on both functionality and aesthetic appeal.
The grill has been commended for its durable construction, ensuring longevity with appropriate care and maintenance.
Despite the sturdy build, users find cleaning relatively hassle-free. However, like all grills, thorough cleaning of the grates and burners is essential for maintaining optimal performance over time.
In summary, the Broil King Signet 320 demonstrates a solid performance in various grilling tasks and provides a reliable option for those who love to grill. Its substantial cooking area, coupled with its remarkable heating capabilities, places it as a worthy contender in its price range.
The Weber Traveler is a popular choice among grill enthusiasts, especially those who are often on the move. Known for its compact, portable design without compromising on grilling quality, let’s dive into the details of its specifications and general user ratings.
I just got my Weber Traveler last night. Love the concept of this grill and excited to test it out. I mean moving it around so far it has worked here, but it takes very little force to overcome it and I can see a large enough bump moving it around unlatching it and consequently throwing your grill grates on the ground.
- Model: Weber Traveler
- Price: Around $325 – $375 (subject to change depending on the retailer and potential sales or discounts)
- Burners: 1
- Grates: Porcelain-enamelled, cast-iron cooking grates
- Size of Main Cooking Area: 320 square inches
- BTUs: Approximately 13,000 BTUs
- Max Cooking Load: Can grill up to 15 burgers at once
- Assembly Time: Around 1-2 hours (can vary based on experience)
Weber Traveler is renowned for its consistent and even grilling despite its compact size. The efficient heat distribution ensures that the food is grilled to perfection.
Indirect Cooking: 4.1/5
Though primarily designed for grilling, users have found that it manages indirect cooking reasonably well, considering its size and single burner design.
Applauded for its portability and thoughtful design which doesn’t compromise on grilling space, it is favoured by campers and tailgaters alike.
With its robust build quality and durable materials, Weber Traveler is known to withstand frequent use and varied weather conditions.
Users find the cleaning process straightforward, thanks to the removable grease pan and easy-to-clean grates, though some minor challenges may arise in detail cleaning due to the portable design.
In summary, the Weber Traveler tends to be a go-to option for those who want a portable grilling solution without sacrificing quality. Its design makes it suitable for various outdoor events and activities, providing a top-notch grilling experience wherever you go.
A grill known for offering a significant cooking area and robust design, the Char-Griller E5030 is often appreciated for its functionality and durability. The E5030, part of Char-Griller’s popular E-series, is a notable option among the lineup.
- Model: Char-Griller E5030
- Price: Around $200 – $250 (Prices may fluctuate depending on the retailer and offers.)
- Burners: 3
- Grates: Cast iron grates
- Size of Main Cooking Area: Approximately 503 square inches
- BTUs: Around 40,800 BTUs (main burners)
- Max Cooking Load: Adequate for 20-24 burgers at once
- Assembly Time: Approximately 1.5 – 2 hours (depending on experience)
The Char-Griller E5030 delivers a solid performance in grilling, thanks to its substantial BTU output and efficient heat distribution.
Indirect Cooking: 4.1/5
Although it excels in direct grilling, it provides satisfactory results in indirect cooking as well, offering versatility in culinary explorations.
This model is appreciated for its durability and straightforward design, though some might find it a bit traditional in aesthetic appeal.
Known for its heavy-duty steel construction, it assures long-lasting durability, especially when adequately maintained.
Cleanup is relatively straightforward due to its design, though some users might prefer an easier grease management system.
In summary, the Char-Griller E5030 is celebrated for its spacious grilling area, potent heat output, and durable construction, standing out as a reliable option in its price range. It aligns with the needs of those who prefer a simple, durable, and effective grilling unit, providing ample space to cater to larger gatherings.
Kenmore grills are generally well-regarded for their balance between quality and affordability. Their 3 Burner Pedestal Grill is no exception, offering a respectable cooking space and dependable performance, especially considering its price point.
- Model: Kenmore 3 Burner Pedestal Grill
- Price: Approximately $200 – $350 (Price fluctuations might occur based on the retailer and available discounts.)
- Burners: 3
- Grates: Porcelain-coated cast iron grates
- Size of Main Cooking Area: Approximately 400-500 square inches (Variation can occur based on the specific model.)
- BTUs: Around 30,000 BTUs (Again, check the specific model for exact numbers.)
- Max Cooking Load: Typically handles 18-20 burgers
- Assembly Time: Roughly 1 – 2 hours depending on familiarity and expertise
Kenmore’s 3 Burner Pedestal Grill often receives praise for its even heating and reliable grilling performance, offering a satisfactory cooking experience.
Indirect Cooking: 4.0/5
With its three burners, indirect cooking is feasible and generally reliable, though some models may have slightly uneven heat zones.
Sleek and functional, its design is often well-received, although some might find the pedestal style to either be a pro or a con based on personal preference.
While it exhibits a decent level of durability, especially for its price, it may not withstand the test of time as well as more premium models.
The porcelain-coated grates and grease management system facilitate a relatively hassle-free cleanup, though no grill is entirely maintenance-free.
Kenmore’s 3 Burner Pedestal Grill finds its niche by catering to those who seek a balance between affordability and functionality. It’s suitable for moderate grilling needs, providing enough space and power to handle casual gatherings and family meals without breaking the bank.
Buying a gas grill can raise several queries due to the various models, fuel types, and accessories available in the market. Below are some of the frequently asked questions with their answers to assist you in your purchasing journey.
Choosing between propane and natural gas boils down to convenience, cost, and installation. Propane grills are generally more portable and easier to set up, while natural gas grills demand a gas line, which can be expensive to install but offers a continuous supply of fuel and is usually more cost-efficient in the long run.
Natural gas is usually more cost-effective and energy-efficient in comparison to propane. It burns cleaner and tends to be cheaper per unit than propane. However, propane is more readily available and is easier to set up and move around, offering more flexibility.
Absolutely. Accessories like grill covers, additional cooking grates, flavorizer bars, grill lights, thermometers, and specialised cooking tools like spatulas, tongs, and grill brushes can enhance your grilling experience. You may also find rotisserie kits, smoker boxes, and griddle plates that can expand your cooking possibilities.
- Quick start-up and preheating
- Easy temperature control
- Generally easier to clean than charcoal grills
- Consistent and even heating (in most models)
- Might lack the smoky flavour of charcoal grills
- Can be expensive depending on the model
- Typically larger and less portable than compact charcoal options
- Depending on the model, may not reach the high temperatures that charcoal grills can
To achieve flavorful BBQ on a gas grill:
- Preheat properly and ensure the grill is clean
- Use a smoker box or add wood chips for a smoky flavour
- Maintain a consistent temperature
- Use a reliable thermometer to ensure meat is cooked perfectly
- Allow the meat to rest before slicing
- Employ marinades, rubs, and sauces to enhance flavour
A basic cleaning should be done each time you use your grill. This involves brushing the grates and wiping down the exterior. A deep clean, which could involve checking the burners for blockages, cleaning the drip pans, and thoroughly scrubbing grates, should be done a few times during the peak grilling season and it may take a couple of hours depending on the grill and its condition.
A standard 20-pound propane tank can provide around 18-20 hours of cooking time, depending on the grill’s BTU rating and how many burners you’re using. Keep a spare tank on hand to avoid running out of gas mid-grill.
There are several methods to check the propane level:
- Weigh the Tank: Compare the current weight with the tare weight (TW) mentioned on the tank. The difference is the weight of the propane left.
- Use a Gauge: Some tanks have built-in gauges, or you can buy a separate gauge.
- The Water Test: Pour warm water down the side of the tank, then feel it. The part containing propane will feel cooler than the empty part.
Gas grilling provides a convenient and controllable cooking experience, and understanding the nuances of different grills and their features will ensure you choose the right model for your needs. Always refer to the user manual of your specific grill model for precise information and guidelines.