7 Things to Consider When Buying Outdoor Gas Grills

tip on buying gas grill

If you’ve a novice when it comes to buying a gas grill then there are a number of important factors that you might want to consider if you’re buying experience is going to be a pleasurable one.

Understanding the Cost

best gas grill

As with all purchases, it is wise to have an awareness of the price tag attached to the item in question and how that relates to your budget. Outdoor gas grills can vary a great deal in price, ranging from less than $100 at the lowest end of the scale to well over $2000 at the top.

However, if you’re budget will only stretch to the price of an outdoor grill at the bottom end then you are probably better of considering a quality charcoal grill instead, as they tend to retail for less. If this is the route that you choose, you also need to be aware that a typical charcoal grill will cost more to run and will not last as long as a gas grill.

A good quality gas grill could last you as long as 10 years although you are unlikely to find anyone offering a warranty for this long but the warranty is often a good indication of quality and build. In the same way, it is good to remember that inexpensive is usually a sign of inferior quality.

Tip #1. A Good Indication of Quality is the Manufacturers Warranty

Construction and Durability

Construction is very important if you want your outdoor gas grill to last and one of the key elements is that the grill comes pre-assembled and welded together. The fewer the parts and the less assembly you have to do, the better, as this will help reduce the chances of rust and problems in the years ahead.

Stainless steel and cast aluminum are the most durable materials and so it is good to aim for a grill made from high grade steel with a “baked-on” porcelain-enamel coating. This also aids the heat distribution and therefore ensures an even cooking temperature across the grilling grate.

Also be aware of grills with an inferior frame; painted steel frames will rust over time. Finally, perhaps the most important factor as far as durability is concerned is the care of your gas grill. An outdoor gas grill is generally kept outside in all kinds of weather. If you want your grill to last it is essential that it is kept clean and that it is kept covered when not in use.

Tip #2. To Keep it Longer, Keep it Clean and Keep it Covered

Types of Fuel

Gas grills are designed to run off two different types of gas, natural gas and propane gas. Natural gas requires a line where will be cooking and is the cheaper option in the long run whereas Propane gas comes in a cylinder which means you carry your fuel with you and therefore enables your grill to be portable.

It is important to note that you cannot interchange between the two fuel sources, so if you purchase a propane gas grill it cannot operate on natural gas; unless it is designed as a dual fuel grill in which case you will also need to purchase a separate conversion kit which retails for around $50.

Tip #3. If you’re looking for Portable choose Propane

The Basic Features

I have read reports that state that your outdoor gas grill should ideally have a minimum of 3 independent burners. While there is an element of truth in this, it will obviously depend a great deal upon the overall size of the grill and of course the important thing isn’t really how many burners are there but is the cooking area heated uniformly?

A system that provides uniform heat to the grill grate will avoid the issue of hot-spots and will also mean that the whole cooking area can be utilized. As previously mentioned the cooking grate should be made from stainless steel or ideally have a baked-on porcelain-enamel coating as they distribute the heat more readily.

Avoid grills that use lava rocks or ceramic briquettes because they tend to catch the grease and can then cause a flare up, spoiling your food. Finally, your outdoor grill will either be fully portable or will come with a wheeled stand for easy maneuverability.

Tip #4. Think of Basic as No Frills and Work Upwards

Size Matters

It is worth thinking where you will store your grill before you purchase it as this may have a bearing on how big your grill can be. The other aspect of size has to do with the number of people you are typically going to be catering for and of course, the food that you are likely to be cooking.

A small portable grill may only provide you with around 200 square inches but for a large family you will need a grilling area that is 300 to 400 square inches. According to Weber, the new Q320 gas grill has a cooking area of a little over 460 square inches and is room enough to prepare 26 hot-dogs, 18 burgers or even two whole chickens!

Tip #5. If you want to Cook a Cow then buy a Cow Sized Grill

The Heating Element

For the most part, the heat output for your outdoor gas grill is recorded as British Thermal Units per hour or BTU’s which, although a standard unit for describing the heat value of fuels, is a meaningless measurement for the majority of us; especially considering the fact that it really doesn’t tell you how well your grill will cook but is simply an indication of the volume of gas it can burn.

At the end of the day a well engineered gas grill may cook more efficiently and therefore consume less gas in the process; which means fewer BTUs. So, the BTU rating is a good comparison between similar models but nothing more. It is also worth considering how variable the temperature settings are on your gas grill.

Some higher end grills allow total flexibility with the heating control whilst others offer a degree of variance perhaps restricting this between high, medium and low. The more control you have over the temperature settings the more readily you will be able to cook your food to perfection; just how you like it!

Tip #6. Better Control means Better Results

Additional Features are Optional

It’s always nice to have a lot of additional features but you need to bear in mind that the add-ons are just an excuse for a price increase. So it’s my advice to you, that you decide what you need and what you can do without. Don’t be wowed by the additional features unless you know that you are going to use them.

For instance the vertical rotisserie, smoker box or even simple side burner all sound wonderful but carefully consider how much use they will get. If you already have an outdoor gas grill without any of these features then the chances are that you won’t use them.

Tip #7. Consider What you will Use and Shelf the Rest

If you are looking to purchase a gas grill at sometime in the near future then make sure you check out my reviews here.