Grills are the main staple of any classic American barbeque. However, no two grills are the same. There are many different sizes and types that are designed to achieve a different set of goals. Today, we will be looking closely at gas grills that are priced under $500.
Here we will provide you with a helpful guide to use when shopping for a new gas grill so that you can easily find the grill that works the best for you and your barbeque needs. The best gas grills will provide you, the griller, with years of satisfying results and dependability.
The market for grills is extremely wide which can make narrowing down your search for the best gas grills a little bit of a challenge. In this article, we want to take the guesswork out of your buying experience and give you exactly what you need to know to make a well-informed and successful purchase.
Carry on reading to explore our buyer’s guide below or jump straight to our number #1 pick.
- What Should I Look For When a Gas Grill under $500?
- Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Gas Grill under $500
- Budget Options
- Verdict: Your Best Gas Grills under $500
What Should I Look For When a Gas Grill under $500?
Before purchasing a new gas grill, it is important to consider several different facets of your new grill, how you plan to use it, and what your goals are for the device so that you can find the grill that fits your specific needs and goals the very best.
When looking to purchase a gas grill that is under $500 there are five main criteria to consider before making your purchase. We will explore each of those criteria in depth in the sections below.
First, consider the main material type that your gas grill is constructed of. This will give you an instant look into the overall quality and durability that the grill will provide in the long run. Grills mainly come constructed out of four types of metal which include aluminum, cast iron, sheet metal, and stainless steel.
It is believed that stainless steel is the preferred type of construction material for grills because of its durability and resistance against rust which will allow your gas grill to last for a significant amount of time.
Even though stainless steel is the most expensive of the metal types used for grills, the expense upfront will prove to be worth it for the longevity and durability of your grill over time. If you are unable to purchase a grill that is completely stainless steel constructed, cast aluminum is another type of less expensive material used in many grills that has comparable durability to stainless steel.
While the construction of the gas grill itself is extremely important, it is also equally important, but often overlooked, to consider the construction material of the grill’s legs and base. While these pieces will not necessarily contribute to the use of your grill, they are very important in that they provide stabilization and safety features to your grill. So it is important to make sure that the body construction of your grill is made up of high-quality materials as well as stainless steel which will give the greatest resistance against rust and corrosion caused by environmental factors.
Gas grills come with two main sources of fuel which include either propane or natural gas. Before purchasing a new gas grill it is important to determine which fuel type you will be using, because gas grills are made for either one fuel type or the other. Gas grills are not able to accommodate both kinds of fuel types.
If you are looking to choose a natural gas-fueled grill, you must make sure that you have a reliable connection to your home’s natural gas line to feed your grill. The use of natural gas for your grill will save you money in the long run compared to that of propane, however, it is important to remember that when using a natural gas connection, your grill will be primarily stationary and will not have mobility options like a propane fuel grill would.
Propane grills are the other main fuel type for gas grills. Propane gas provides the convenience of grill motility, however, the overall cost of a propane tank purchase over time will be more than that of a natural gas connection.
A propane grill works to convert liquid propane into gas which is fed through hoses located at the bottom of your grill and controlled by the burner knobs on the front of your grill. This allows you, the griller, to control the amount of gas that is fed through the grill thus impacting the level of heat provided by the grill itself.
Propane is an excellent, clean-burning fuel type for gas grills. The tanks are easy to replace and maintain, and the temperature control it provides is next to none. However, there are a couple of drawbacks to the use of a liquid propane grill. This includes the need to monitor fuel levels and have extra propane tanks for backup. Prior planning is needed when using a propane-powered grill.
Another thing to consider is taste preference when using a propane gas grill. Many users do not notice any effect on overall food taste when using propane, however, for some users, propane casts an unfamiliar taste onto certain foods. Before choosing a propane gas grill, we suggest trying out a friend’s or neighbor’s grill first so that you can have assurance before making your big purchase.
Gas grills come in a variety of sizes, however, their overall shapes tend to remain the same. Most gas grills are designed in a classic, rectangular shape. However, the size and overall square inches of cooking space differ on each grill.
Before deciding on what size of grill would fit you and your barbequing needs the best, think about what you will be using your grill for in most situations. Do you plan on hosting large barbeques with family and friends regularly in which several dozen burgers and hotdogs will need to be grilled simultaneously? If so, we suggest looking for a gas grill with a large cooking area that accommodates a large number of different types of meat.
However, if you are looking for a simple, household grill that you plan to use on occasion to cook up a few burgers or steaks, a small gas grill will suit you just fine.
It is important to keep in mind that a grill’s size also directly impacts its price. The larger the grill, the most expensive its price tag will be. So, planning out what you truly need before buying can save you money in the long run.
Look closely at the heating rating your grill is given. This rating is referred to as the BTU rating which stands for British Thermal Units rating. Most BTU ratings are given per square inch of your grill’s cooking space so the overall size of your grill will directly affect its BTU rating.
For most grills, looking for a BTU rating between 80-100 (depending on its size) can assure you that your grill will provide even heat and quality cooking. Any grill with a rating below 80 BTU will most likely result in lengthy cooking times and uneven heat distribution. While grills with ratings above 100 BTU will most likely result in overcooked and burnt food.
Ratings between 80-100 BTU are the sweet spot for most grills and are what most buyers will be happy with.
Much like when purchasing a car, purchasing a gas grill comes with the option of several different add-ons and features. The standard gas grill can come with over a dozen different add-on options for the buyer to choose from including the addition of a side burner, two folding side tables, several cooking levels, extra storage space, lights, and so much more.
Before purchasing your gas grill and before even beginning to look at grills, research the different types of add-ons that gas grills offer and determine which ones may be worth the extra money, because the more features a grill has, the higher its total price will be.
Do not buy a grill with extra features that you do not plan to use. The great thing about grills is that they are very customizable. You will be able to easily find a grill with the exact features you do and do not want on it. Just remember that the more features added to your grill, the higher the cost will be, so make sure that the features added to your grill will be worth the higher price tag in the end.
A grill’s durability and longevity are directed related to the type of material it is constructed of and the type of environment it is placed in. As we stated above, the most durable material used for gas grills is stainless steel.
However, to support the overall durability and longevity of your gas grill, proper care and maintenance is an important factor. If your grill is a stationary grill that comes in direct contact with the outside elements, investing in a protective cover for your grill can have a very positive impact on the lifespan of your grill because in certain environments even top of the line stainless steel is prone to corrosion and damage.
Now that you know exactly what to look for when purchasing a gas grill, you can properly plan for your purchase and be assured that the decision you are making is very well-informed. We will now dive into our top choices for the best gas grills. Read on to find the grill that may just be your next perfect grill for years of epic barbecues to come.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Gas Grill under $500
To create this list and pinpoint the best grills under $500, we took each of the criteria from our buyer’s guide above and applied them to several different types and brands of grills. We then looked closely at customer reviews and overall ratings to construct a list of the top five choices. Each grill we have chosen has been chosen for a specific purpose, so continue reading to find the grill that will best fit your barbecuing needs and goals.
#1: Weber Spirit II E-310 (Best Overall)
Weber is one of the world’s most premier and lead suppliers of grills and grill accessories. Since 1893, Weber has been perfecting the design and usability of the grill to create a top-of-the-line brand that leads the market in sales and quality.
The Weber Spirit II is a gas grill that comes compatible with either liquid propane or natural gas. Its 529 square inches of total cooking space makes it the perfect fit for any family looking to host the ultimate barbeque. With two side tables, six tool hooks, and an open cart design, this grill provides users with the convenience of several storage options and organizational methods to promote the best grilling experience possible.
If you’re sold on the Weber Spirit II gas grill already, we don’t blame you! But, there are even more awesome features to mention about this grill. For one, the porcelain-coated cast iron grill grates that this Weber grill comes with provides the high-quality grill’s marks sought after by every buyer, as well as easy maintenance and cleaning, including a top of the line grease management system that quickly removes grease and food residue to create a safe cooking environment. A large warming rack also provides options for food storage, reheating, or toasting.
This premium gas grill includes a lid-mounted temperature gauge with an easy-to-read thermometer for consistent heat monitoring. And for those that choose the propane-fueled model, each grill is designed with a built-in fuel gauge mounted on the side of the grill so that you will never have to worry about running out of fuel in the middle of a barbeque.
Weber is known for having complementary features that are specific to Weber brand grills. The Weber Spirit II includes one of their newest features called infinity ignition. Infinity ignition technology works to ensure that your grill is guaranteed to light on the very first try, every time. Weber stands behind this with a 10-year warranty ensuring you of instant ignition every time you grill.
Customers rave about the Weber Spirit II. Many are so thankful for the investment they made in this grill. It is important to note that this model is just a little bit above $500 however, in the long run, we believe that small extra expense is well worth it in the end for such a reliable grill, and that is why it made our top 5 list.
#2: Char-Griller Flavor Pro 4 (Best Value-All-Purpose)
The Char-Griller Flavor Pro 4 is a multi-faceted gas grill that truly gives buyers the best of both worlds. While gas grills are highly convenient with their virtually instant heat ability some say they just do not provide the same level of taste that charcoal grills do. The Char-Griller has set out to fix that problem by providing buyers with a grill that joins all of the best features of both a gas grill and charcoal grill to create an affordably priced grill that is the perfect companion to any outdoor kitchen.
Here, we are going to highlight some of the top reasons to choose the Char-Griller Flavor Pro 4, but before we get into those reasons, we also want to briefly go over the specs of this gas grill.
First, the Char-Griller provides 725 square inches of cooking space making this grill an excellent choice for both large barbeques and small family gatherings making this grill a bit larger in total cooking space than that of our #1 choice.
Four gas burners sit directly underneath porcelain-coated grates made up of cast iron for excellent heat distribution and grill marks. The included warming rack is sure to keep all of your food warm until it is time to serve.
This gas grill comes both as a liquid propane gas grill and a natural gas grill and includes an easy-to-use slide-out grease tray for hassle-less cleaning.
Reason #1 – Multiple Fuel Options
Whether you are looking to grill, smoke, or roast, the Char-Grill has got you covered with its groundbreaking Flavor Drawer which allows buyers the option of cooking their food with several different fuel sources such as, traditional gas, charcoal, wood chips, or pellets. So if you are missing your traditional charcoal grill, but still want the convenience of a gas grill, the Char-Griller is all you need for every type of outdoor cooking.
The Char-Griller’s trademark Flavor Drawer makes it simple for users to add a signature, smoky flavor to their meat by easily pulling out the drawer located under the grill grates, adding their choice of fuel, and igniting into a smoky, savory inferno.
Reason #2 – Smokestack Dampers
On top of the stainless steel lid of the Char-Griller, you will find two small smokestacks with adjustable coverings which allow users to easily monitor and adjust the flow of air throughout their grill while also providing even heat retention.
The grill temperature can be immediately controlled by these smokestack dampers and the lid-mounted temperature gauge makes temperature control and heat maintenance a breeze.
Reason #3 – Electronic Ignition System
The electronic ignition system of the Char-Griller provides virtually instant heat to the grill depending on the fuel source. When using gas as your main fuel source, this grill can reach temperatures about 400 degrees in as little as 3 minutes.
The electronic ignition system makes it easy for the user to ignite their grill and maintain and adjust its temperature throughout the cooking process. While this grill does not hold the infinity ignition guarantee that the Weber grill did, this grill is still sure to impress and has received excellent customer reviews and recommendations.
Overall, the Char-Griller is an excellent grill for anyone looking for that little bit of versatility in their outdoor cooking journey. Many recommend this grill to those that are new to smoking or who want to try smoking meats on occasion. While this grill can obviously be used primarily as a grill, it has the capabilities of smoking meats, which is a great way for new or amateur meat smokers to participate in some gentle trial and error as they learn how to smoke meat. And at just under $500 it makes the top of our list as a great all-purpose choice.
#3: NexGrill Evolution (Best with Side Burner)
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The NexGrill Evolution is a series of very affordable gas grills that provides buyers with loads of unique features all for a surprisingly reasonable price. The NexGrill Evolution has earned our #3 pick for the several features it comes with, including a top-of-the-line side burner, so that you can cook your vegetables or your rice, right alongside your meat.
This large gas grill offers plenty of cooking space with is 676 square inches of primary cooking space making it a perfect fit for both the barbeque enthusiast and family chef. Under stainless steel cooking grates lie five stainless steel burners in a cook box that provides excellent temperature control and even heat distribution throughout the entire cooking process. While we have learned that stainless steel is the most sought-after construction material for grills, it is important to note that the use of stainless steel cooking grates instead of cast iron may cause food to stick more easily.
The NexGrill Evolution gets its name from a state-of-the-art technology that NexGrill has included in many of their newer gas grills. This system, which is called Evolution Infrared Plus, makes each cooking plate within the grill fit for a specific type of cooking purpose. The infrared cooking technology works to create an even temperature throughout the entire cooking process while also providing a temperature that fits the unique structure of different types of meats and other foods. This heating process provides moisture protection to the meat creating a rich and savory meal without dryness.
Last, but certainly not least, this grill piqued our interest because of its large side burner located on the right side table of the grill itself. This burner makes it easy for the user to quickly cook up side dishes such as vegetables while the meat on the grill is still cooking. The large undercarriage of this grill also offers a great space to house tools and other accessories as well as the propane tank keeping the entire look of the grill sleek and professional.
#4: Char-Broil Performance Series 2 (Best Low Cost)
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The Char-Broil Performance Series 2 gas grill is a great grill for any family looking to grill up a few burgers or steaks every once in a while. Because this grill is significantly smaller than our other top choices, it has a smaller price tag. However, it receives our vote for best budget-friendly choice for a variety of reasons.
Reason #1 – Cooking Space
For a small grill, the Char-Broil uses its space very wisely, making it a great choice for moderately sized family gatherings as well as small family dinners. With 300 square inches of primary cooking space, this grill has the capacity of holding about 16 burgers at one time.
In addition to the primary cooking space, this grill also includes an additional 100 square inches on its swinging warming rack which positions itself above and behind the burner to provide a safe place for food to remain warm before serving.
Reason #2 – It’s a Space Saver
While it can be great to have a large grill for hosting big barbeques and parties, the fun can take a turn when it is time to cool down the grill and store it until the next barbeque. With large grills like some of the ones we mentioned above, buyers must plan to have a significant amount of space for the storage of their grill.
The Char-Broil, however, is designed with space-saving capabilities. Besides its already smaller size, it also includes two folding side tables which give users to option of being able to save space when storing their grill.
Reason #3 – Durability
This grill is made to last with its stainless steel lid making it extremely weather resistant. Its porcelain-coated, cast iron grill grates also provide a durable and non-stick cooking surface for all kinds of meats and vegetables.
Along with this grill’s durability, it also is made to be very easy to clean. Even its grease pan is porcelain coated which allows even the toughest of grease to easily be wiped away.
#5: Char-Griller Texas Trio (Best All-in-One)
Have you ever considered purchasing two different types of grills – one gas grill for convenient, fast cooking on the spot and one charcoal grill to achieve that unmistakable charcoal taste when the craving hits you? Having two separate grills, for two different purposes, sounds kind of crazy, right? Well, trust me, it is not! So many people have been wanting to achieve this barbeque dream, however, one company was able to make this exact dream (and more) come true with the Char-Griller Texas Trio.
The Texas Trio is a 3-in-1 gas grill, charcoal grill, and smoker all combined into one unit. It truly is a revolutionary feat, however, Char-Griller has done it and done it very well. Complete with three separate lids, starting at the far left side of the grill is the gas grill component with the propane tank attachments. Moving to the right, you will find the charcoal grill and then finally the firebox for smoking.
With a total cooking space of 1,389 square inches with all three units combined, this grill provides massive output for its surprisingly reasonable price. Fit with an electronic ignition system, this grill can be ignited with the simple push of a button.
Complete with two side shelves, the Char-Griller Texas Trio allows for ample storage and cooking space. One of these side shelves even converts into a side burner and can be used to start charcoal. However, when you are not using these components, a lid simply folds down over the burner unit to allow for side table cooking space and storage.
All of this in one grill? It has to be too good to be true! Well, I can assure you that it is all true, and customers are raving about it as well as its easy assembly process which is a major plus.
While all of the top choices we have mentioned in our article so far have been at or under the $500 price range, we want to include a list of even less expensive options so that we can fit everyone’s price point. Here we will explore three “best budget” options, all of which are priced below $300 yet also boast great quality and good customer reviews.
The Dyna-Glo Gas Grill is a four-burner propane gas grill complete with porcelain-coated cooking grates and 590 square inches of total cooking space. With this grill, you can easily feed any hungry crowd as it holds up to 22 burgers at one time.
Dyna-Glo added some very innovative technology to this grill which includes three of their trademark grilling features, the first one being Equiheat. Dyna-Glo’s Equiheat technology ensures users that they can count on having an even cooking temperature every time. Users can say goodbye to unpredictable hot spots with Equiheat’s temperature control technology.
Another feature unique to Dyna-Glo is their trademarked SmokeZone which allows users to insert flavored wood in small areas between the burners to create a highly unique and smoky flavor to their meat selections.
Lastly, this grill features a specially designed searing grate that includes a specific temperature and diamond-shaped grill grates so that you can achieve restaurant-quality steak each time.
#2: Cuisinart CGG
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The Cuisinart CGG is a professional-grade propane gas grill that will provide you with years of wonderful meals and memories around the dinner table.
This gas grill provides a whopping 610 square inches of cooking space and comes complete with a large warming rack to house finished meats or vegetables until serving time. The cast-iron grates found on this grill provide excellent heat distribution, and they transfer heat quickly while maintaining this heat for a significant amount of time.
A unique feature shown on the Cuisinart CGG is its ability to precisely control the temperature. With this grill, users can easily keep one side of the grill significantly cooler than the other side to accommodate different cooking styles and meat types.
It also comes with heavy-duty wheels for easy and stable transportation. Equipped with a lid-mounted temperature gauge, users can keep a close eye on the temperature of their grill before and during the cooking process. This grill also includes a bottle opener on the side which is a fun and unique feature that adds to the entire barbeque experience.
The American Gourmet Classic 360 is a compact gas grill by the Char-Broil brand of products. With 360 square inches of cooking space, this grill may be compact but it definitely provides the user with plenty of room to cook up a great meal or barbeque.
A favorite part featured on the American Gourmet is its large warming rack which measures 170 square inches. This is a lot larger than most warming racks, larger even than many of our more expensive picks listed above. So if you plan to use the warming rack feature on your grill quite frequently, this feature would be a major draw for you.
The entire inner body of this grill, including the inner lid, siding, and grill grate, are made of steel that has been coated in porcelain which makes this grill both easy to clean and rust-resistant. With only three burners though, you can expect the cooking process to take a bit longer than some of our other more expensive picks. However, the American Gourmet will definitely get the job done. You will just have to plan for a little extra cooking time.
Verdict: Your Best Gas Grills under $500
To summarize our findings we have constructed a list shown below to help you find exactly what you are looking for before you begin your grill shopping journey.
If you want the best value for your money, pick the Char-Griller Flavor Pro 4. This grill is extremely versatile, giving the user four different fuel types to choose from. With this grill, you will be able to have a little bit of everything from smoking to charcoal grilling.
If you need a grill with a great side burner, pick the NexGrill Evolution. With this grill, you will no longer have to worry about those back and forth trips from the kitchen to the outdoor grill because, with the NexGrill, you can easily cook your side dishes right alongside your meat and keep it all in the same place.
If you want to keep the spend under $300, pick any of our best budget options listed above. All of these grills are priced under $300 yet are very highly rated.
The most important part of grill purchasing happens before the actual purchase. In order to ensure that you are getting a grill with exactly what you need and desire, first, evaluate your grilling style and pinpoint exactly what features you do or do not want in a grill. When you know exactly what you want, choosing a grill will be simple so you will not have to worry about spending too much on features you will not use.
So, go out there and have fun during this process because by the end you will have made a purchase that will provide years if not decades of enjoyment.