Gas Grill Buying Tips

There are literally hundreds of gas grills on the market today including weber charcoal grills, built in gas grills, lynx gas grills, DCS gas grills and many more. Although many website and retail locations specialize in selling a limited quantity, there are many to choose from, all with a few unique features and designs that set them apart from the rest. If you have an idea of how much you want to spend before you begin the buying process that will help narrow your search and eliminate confusion.
Another thing you need to consider is if you want to cook with Propane or Natural Gas. For a Natural Gas grill you will need a gas line at the location of your grill, which is typically stubbed from your house out to your patio. If the Natural Gas line isn't already there, you may incur an even greater expense to have a plumber come out and put it in the line for you. Many of the entry level gas grills will only come with a Propane option so keep that in mind while you are shopping.
 
Once you have decided on a price and fuel preference, there are a few other things you need to consider while making your gas grill purchase:
  • Burners: Typically gas grills have between two and six burners. The key is to make sure the burners have separate controls, this will help you easily control the temperature of your grill. Side burners are also nice for heating sauces or side dishes in a pot or pan. And, a Rotisserie Burner is nice for that perfectly cooked item.
     
  • BTU: The grills heat output is measured in BTU's (British Thermal Units), which is very similar to your indoor range. This measurement is related to the size of your burners; however, it can be difficult to compare because a grill with smaller BTU's can get just as hot as one with larger BTU's. So, you should be looking for the grills ability to reach and sustain its cooking temperature, rather than how hot it can get.
     
  • Heat Distribution: There are many different ways in which a gas grill distributes heat. Lava Rocks heat very quickly and disperse the heat to the interior of the grill. Pumice Stone operates like Lava Rock but accumulates less residue. Ceramic Briquettes stay clean in the same matter as a self-cleaning oven, the residue is baked off. Ceramic is more expensive than lava rock, but lasts much longer. Heat Plates, or bars, are made of metal and allow heat to rise. The dripping juices and grease dissipate as they fall on the hot metal.
     
  • Ignitors: These are always a problem no matter if you buy a $100 grill or a $5,000 grill so here are a few things to look for. Push-Button ignitors typically make one spark with each push, while Knob ignitors give two or three sparks per turn. Electronic ignitors, powered by a 9-Volt battery, are the preferred choice. If the ignitor fails, you will be left with lighting the grill with a match, which is not difficult in any case, but some manufacturers make it easier to do than others.
     
  • Construction: Grills that are made primarily of stainless steel will last the longest, but there are also cast materials that stand up nicely.
     
  • Cooking Grills: The best cooking grills are made of stainless steel; however, some are porcelain coated for a more non-stick surface. Cast-iron grills are also available on some units.
     
  • Thermometers: Many grills come equipped with a thermometer to gauge the heat when the lid is closed. This can be an extremely helpful tool if you plan on smoking or slow cooking some foods rather than just grilling. Please be aware that the hood thermometer measures the temperature of the air inside the grill and not the actual cooking surface, which is hotter.
     
  • Size: You need to decide how many people you will be cooking for. The general rule of thumb is that 400 square inches of primary grilling surface is adequate for the average cook. This will allow you plenty of room when you are cooking for a crowd, yet not overwhelming when you are simply cooking for your family. Look for extra shelves, warming racks, and side burners to make your cooking even more convenient.