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The grill has become an American icon of outdoor cooking. With your handy backyard grill, you can easily add those glorious hash marks to a Porterhouse steak or give your meal that special smoky touch. It’s a portable hearth around which community members can drink lemonade and share stories of the week. This image sends up smoke signals that all is good in the neighborhood.
A true art of Americana, grilling was part of the country’s fabric long before settlers came from abroad. Native Americans grilled their food, and Spanish colonials adopted the technique, from which it took on the name barbeque from “barbacoa.” In the 1950s, the gas grill, a modern convenience, was made popular. It not only brought to market the cart-like styles still prevalent today, but it was the first to use propane as a fuel source.
Gas grills have become increasingly sophisticated in their capabilities, going far beyond merely adding that outdoorsy taste to meat, fish, poultry, or vegetables. Today’s gas grills include rotisseries, smokers, and even side burners to allow the barbecue master to cook beans in a pot while the main course sizzles on the stainless steel grates.
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If you’re ready to buy a gas grill, we invite you to examine the above matrix where we explore our top picks in more detail.
To discover additional information about gas grills, we encourage you to continue reading this shopping guide.
To bake potatoes on a grill, parboil them for 10 minutes and preheat the grill to medium-high. Put the potatoes skin-side down over indirect heat on the rack and cook them for about 15 minutes. Place the potatoes on a serving plate and sprinkle them with olive oil.
What size gas grill is right for you? Many are large, but there are also some smaller gas grills available on today’s market.
The majority of gas grills are large cooking appliances that weigh more than 100 pounds. These models are semi-portable and have an ignition knob and temperature control knobs in the front. The ignition works on a battery and creates a spark that fires the fuel, thus creating the cooking heat.
Large gas grills often sit on wheels, but they don’t have the freedom of movement that smaller charcoal grills do. They usually have fold-out trays on either side to hold cooking ingredients, condiments, and tools such as a spatula and potholder.
Gas grills should not be used in any type of contained area where fire could result. For example, you should never light your gas grill inside your house, your garage, or on a porch where nearby wood or furnishings could ignite.
In recent years, with a spike in camping and tailgating, portable grills have become popular. These models are scaled-down versions of their large-cart cousins with retractable legs and a nozzle attachment geared for smaller tanks of fuel.
These traveling gas grills also have handy trays (albeit smaller than their big brothers) to hold your supplies.
With the increased fashionability of smoking food, smaller tabletop gas grills that not only cook food but also contain a smoker box are gaining popularity.
The smoker box holds wood chips or pellets that, when burned, add a rich, smoky taste to your meat, poultry, fish, or vegetables.
A large grill can cook up to 28 burgers at one time while a portable model can cook three or four.
Gas grills can have anywhere from one burner to five or more sources of heat. Grills with multiple burners are ideal if you’re feeding a large crowd or plan on cooking something like a giant roast or whole hog.
In nearly all cases, gas grills get their heat from either propane or natural gas. Propane is a refined byproduct of natural gas which comes in tanks that are attached to a grill through a hose and nozzle.
Always make sure the nozzle is tightly secured to the receptacle on the grill to avoid fuel leakage and harmful emissions.
Use caution when storing propane gas containers. Always keep the propane tanks upright. Never keep your a spare gas containers near the grill.
People who live in homes that use natural gas can add a line (generally in the backyard) through which natural gas flows directly to the grill through a control valve.
This connection forgoes the inconvenience of needing to purchase a propane fuel tank, as the supply of fuel is uninterrupted.
Many gas grills have conversion kits in which a unit can quickly be switched from natural gas to propane.
New to the market are gas grills that have an infrared heat source. Along with a small motor, the infrared source powers a rotisserie that can spit-cook meat and poultry.
Cooking on your gas grill sounds simple – turn it on, turn up the heat, put your food on the grates, and you are good to go. But it’s not quite that simple.
To get the most out of your gas grill – and draw rave reviews from those who bite into your burgers or happily feast on your medium-rare steak – here are some tips.
Most gas grills work by turning on one burner to start the gas and then hitting the ignition button to create a flame. Once the heater is on, turn on the other burners as needed. Preheat for about 10 minutes or until the grill reaches 500°F, or 350°F for indirect cooking.
To grill a pineapple, put the fruit in a resealable plastic bag and add honey, butter, salt, and seasonings to taste. Shake the bag to coat the pineapple, and marinate it for at least 30 minutes. Preheat your gas grill to high heat and lightly oil the grate. Grill the pineapple for two to three minutes per side.
Once you’ve preheated the grill, use a wire brush to scrape off the leftover goo from previous cooking. Lightly oil the grates to prevent the food from sticking to the surface.
Use an oil with a high smoke point such as canola or peanut oil.
To avoid losing excess juices from your food, turn it over with tongs; using a fork will cause fluids to flow out of your meat. Also, never press down on your food; that too will cause juices (and flavor) to come out of the food. Limit your flipping to once per cooking session; too many flips will result in uneven cooking.
You can turn your gas grill into a pizza oven by buying an oven box. The box sits on top of the grates and uses the high heat to make authentic pizza.
With larger cuts of meat such as a rib roast, it’s smart to use the indirect method of grilling. You can do this by placing your food over a burner that is either off or on low.
For those who like to peek under the hood, remember that when you lift the lid, you add five to 10 minutes to the overall cooking time.
After cooking, allow your food to rest before serving it. Meat, fish, and poultry will continue to cook even after you take it off the grill.
Resting allows the cooking to finish and distribute the flavor evenly.
The vast majority of gas grills have stainless steel grates upon which the food rests while it cooks. There are some models (more common in commercial settings) that use a flat top as a cooking surface. These are more like griddles but provide even heat and the ability to cook a lot of food quickly.
At the end of every outdoor grilling season, when it’s too cold to stand outside in the backyard as the snow falls, you can see the impact of a spring and summer’s worth of cooking on your grill. One way to avoid the need to call for refurbishing help is to keep your grill clean along the way.
Here are some tips on how to clean your gas grill:
Make sure your grill is completely cool and the valve to the propane tank or natural gas line is off. Fill a few buckets with warm water and dish detergent.
Remove and set aside the drip pan and heat shields. Also remove the cooking the grates and soak them in water.
Loosen debris and gunk from the inside of the grill with a clean rag. Tackle any tough, burnt-on material with a wire brush.
After soaking the grates, use a rag to remove any particles that did not come off during the soak. Place the grates aside to dry.
Once everything has dried, put the pieces back together And remember, the more often you clean your gas grill, the longer it will last.
As of October 1995, all grills must include at least three safety features to help prevent gas leaks.
Gas grills in this price range are tabletop models that operate on small propane canisters and have one or two burners. These are ideal for infrequent backyard grillers and those who like to cook while camping or tailgating.
Moving up in the price range a bit, you will begin to find larger cart-sized gas grills with one or two burners at most. Portable gas grills in this price range most likely have two burners and are more sophisticated. You can find some small flat-top grills in this price range, too.
Moving up to the premium class of gas grills, you’ll find larger units with three, four, or even five burners. Some have infrared heat that allows you to cook food on a motorized spit and/or side trays to hold tools and ingredients. Larger grills in this price range put off a tremendous amount of heat – up to 32,000 BTUs per hour, which is four times the amount of cheaper and portable models.
Gas grills that hover close to the $500 mark usually have some cool features, such as smoker trays and flavor bars that allow you to soak herbs and add them to the cooking process.
Q. How far should my gas grill be from the house?
A. The grill should be placed a minimum of 10 feet from the home. It should be stationed away from deck railing and overhanging branches.
Q. When lighting a gas grill, should the lid be open or closed?
A. Be certain your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
Q. What do I do if the flame on my gas grill goes out?
A. When the flame goes out, turn off grill and the fuel source and wait at least five minutes before re-lighting it.
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