A top-of-the-line gas grill can cost thousands of dollars, but if you're looking to spend less than that, there are certainly options for you. While you won't be getting a professional-grade product that lasts forever, a budget-friendly version should get you through years of barbecuing hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, and more—as long as you take the proper steps to clean and maintain it. Because there are so many options on the market today (some of which are significantly better than others), we tested and researched top-rated brands to help find the best option for you.
Here, the best gas grills under $250.
American Gourmet Char-Broil 463773717 Classic Series 3-Burner Gas Grill
Easy to move around
Even flame and independent temperature control
Not very sturdy
No drip pan on the right side
Food can stick to grill grates
One of the best gas grills you can score for under $200 is the Char-Broil Classic 3-Burner Propane Grill. This freestanding model has all the features you need to host an epic backyard cookout, and you can’t beat its affordable price. While it may not have the bells and whistles of fancier models, our tester called its performance "impressive" and found it to be a particularly good option for small spaces.
This grill runs on propane and has 360 square inches of primary cooking space—enough to fit up to 15 burgers at a time—as well as a 170-square-inch swing-away warming rack. There are three burners that you can control individually, and the grill’s total heat output is 30,000 BTU. The grill features electronic ignition, porcelain-coated grates, and stainless steel burners, as well as two durable side shelves for food prep. The grill is mounted on 6-inch wheels for increased mobility.
Price at time of publish: $230
Dimensions: 24.1 x 43.5 x 51.2 inches | Total Cooking Area: 530 square inches | BTUs: 30,000
"The flame was even and responded well to temperature adjustments, which translated to even cooking and food that came out exactly as expected." — Lindsay Boyers, Product Tester
Cuisinart CGG-180 Petite Gourmet Gas Grill With VersaStand
Decent size surface area
Transitions from tabletop to ground use
Nice grill lines
A little wobbly
No temperature gauge
Lid kept latching
Only one burner
Not a lot of space for your grill? Then the Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Portable Gas Grill, which can be used freestanding or as a tabletop model thanks to its VersaStand, is perfect for your needs. The whole unit is only around 16 x 32-inches, but it has a 145-square-inch grilling surface and a 5,500-BTU burner that lets you cook for four to six people at a time.
This gas grill runs on liquid propane, and the whole unit weighs just 17 pounds, making it a good choice to bring camping or tailgating. It includes a twist-start electronic ignition and a temperature gauge, but what makes this grill unique is its telescoping stand, which sets up and breaks down in seconds. You can’t beat the compact size and versatility of this gas grill, and reviewers say it’s sturdy, easy to use, and the perfect size for a small group of people.
Price at time of publish: $200
Dimensions: 28 x 17.5 x 32.5 inches | Total Cooking Area: 145 square inches | BTUs: 5,500
"The burgers and chicken thighs had beautiful grill lines, and the veggies were perfectly charred on the outside. Thanks to the porcelain-coated grill grates, the food came right off without any sticking (and minimal to no oiling)." — Lindsay Boyers, Product Tester
Char-Broil Classic 2-Burner Propane Gas Grill
Good value for its size
Two prep tables
Complicated to assemble
If you don’t need quite as much cooking area, you can save a few bucks by getting the next model down from our top pick: the Char-Broil Classic 280 2-Burner Gas Grill. This propane-fueled grill has many of the same features as our top pick, but it’s a bit smaller with just two burners and 280 square inches of cooking space.
This two-burner grill has porcelain-coated grates, 13 x 12-inch side shelves, and an electronic ignition system. It gives off 20,000 BTUs of heat across its cooking surface, and the two stainless steel burners deliver even cooking performance. The grill has wheels on one side so you can move it around easily, and reviewers say that while it’s a little complicated to set up, you won’t be disappointed with the performance of this affordable little grill.
Price at time of publish: $180
Dimensions: 24.1 x 41.9 x 45.6 inches | Total Cooking Area: 280 square inches | BTUs: 20,000
Nexgrill 2-Burner Portable Propane Gas Table Top Grill
Connects to large propane tank
Lightweight with folding legs
Sometimes drips grease
Heat deflectors can rust
If you want to be able to cook outside on a picnic table or other surface, you’ll need a gas grill like the Nexgrill Portable Gas Tabletop Grill. This sleek stainless steel grill may look simple, but it has two burners to deliver a total of 16,000 BTUs of heat. The steel-wrapped grate measures 184 square inches, which is large enough to accommodate up to nine burgers at once.
This unit connects to a 20-pound liquid propane tank, and it has a push-and-turn ignition for easy start-up. It weighs just 20 pounds and has a locking lid and foldable legs, making it easy to put into storage when you’re done cooking. Many reviewers use this grill on boats or while camping, and several others mention that it’s easy to use and extremely portable thanks to its lightweight and locking lid.
Price at time of publish: $180
Dimensions: 22.05 x 19.57 x 15.59 inches | Total Cooking Area: 184 square inches | BTUs: 16,000
Weber Q 1000 1-Burner Portable Propane Gas Grill
Compact and portable
Impressive heat for one burner
Fits up to 9 burgers at a time
Expensive for its size
No matter where you plan to take your gas grill, you won’t be disappointed in the Weber Q1000 Propane Gas Grill, a compact portable model with a large cooking area and unbeatable heat output. This propane grill has a 189-square-inch cast iron cooking grate—big enough for around nine burgers at a time—and delivers an impressive 8,500 BTUs when connected to a liquid propane cylinder.
The Weber grill includes a push-button starter and removable catch pan, and its cast aluminum lid and body are augmented with nylon for durability during transport. Plus, for those that like whipping up breakfast while camping or tailgating, this portable grill is also compatible with the 1000-series Weber griddle (sold separately). Reviewers say this propane grill is the best option you’ll find today at such a low price, as it’s reliable, well-built, and delivers an impressive amount of heat.
Price at time of publish: $229
Dimensions: 14.5 x 27 x 16.5 inches | Total Cooking Area: 189 square inches | BTUs: 8,500
Nexgrill 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill
Four burners deliver 40,000 BTU
Tricky to assemble
The Nexgrill 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill is an unbeatable deal—not only does it provide four stainless burners that deliver 40,000 BTUs for all your grilling needs, but it also has a 12,000-BTU side burner where you can cook side dishes simultaneously. All for less than $250!
This affordable gas grill has a total cooking area of 562 square inches across its porcelain-coated cast-iron cooking grates, and its angled flame tamers help to distribute heat more consistently across the grilling surface while minimizing flare-ups. The grill has two side shelves where you can prep your meals, and it's mounted on two wheels for better mobility. While this grill might lack the bells and whistles of more expensive four-burner models, you can't beat the affordable price for a consistent, well-built product.
Price at time of publish: $299
Dimensions: 49.02 x 24.72 x 46.54 inches | Total Cooking Area: 562 square inches | BTUs: 52,000
Cuisinart All-Foods Roll-Away Portable Grill
Large cooking area
Two fold-out shelves
Wobbles a little
Igniter isn't always reliable
If you don't have dedicated room to keep a grill set up on your patio, the Cuisinart All-Foods Roll-Away Portable Grill has a handy collapsible design that makes it easy to store in your garage or shed. The grill is powered by a single stainless steel loop burner, which provides 15,000 BTUs of heat across its 240-square-inch porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grate.
The Cuisinart All-Foods Grill is mounted on a collapsible stand, and it has two convenient fold-out side shelves. The twist-to-start ignition makes it easy to fire up, and a built-in hood thermometer allows you to monitor the grill's inner temperature at a glance.
Price at time of publish: $261
Dimensions: 42.8 x 21 x 36 inches | Total Cooking Area: 240 square inches | BTUs: 15,000
Royal Gourmet PD1301S Portable 24-Inch 3-Burner Table Top Gas Grill Griddle
Flat cooking area
Griddle top detaches for cleaning
Prone to hot spots
Griddles offer plenty of cooking space for breakfast favorites, such as bacon and eggs, or dinner dishes, such as salmon and shrimp kebabs. This three-burner unit delivers 25,500 BTUs on three separate burners. The cooking surface is 316 square inches, which is plenty for tailgating or picnicking with three or four people. Reviewers say its flat surface makes it easy to clean, though they suggest making sure it’s on a level surface to prevent grease drips.
Price at time of publish: $140
Dimensions: 25 x 16.3 x 7.9 inches | Total Cooking Area: 316 square inches | BTUs: 25,500
The Char-Broil Classic Series 3-Burner Gas Grill is an extremely well-priced option, as it features three burners, 360 square inches of cooking space, and total heat output of 30,000 BTUs. However, if you're looking for a more compact option, check out the Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Portable Gas Grill, which can be used as a tabletop or freestanding model and performed well in our testing.
What to Look for in a Gas Grill
If you grill occasionally and don’t have a lot of yard or deck space for a more permanent grill, a tabletop model might be the perfect fit for you. If you have the room and plan on cooking outdoors often, a larger, more permanent grill might be a better option.
Will you leave your grill outdoors year-round, or will it have sheltered storage space? Will you cook on it every single day? Are you planning on upgrading in a year or so? Is this your only grill or a spare? Consider how durable you want your grill to be given your needs.
If you never cook for more than two people, you don’t need a grill with a large cooking surface. If you entertain often, have a large family, or like to cook large quantities in advance, it’ll be faster and easier to have a grill with a large cooking area.
How do you use a kamado grill?
There’s a bit of a learning curve, but you’ll quickly discover how stable the temperature inside a kamado grill is. For starters, you must use natural lump charcoal, which burns more efficiently. Fill the grill box with charcoal chunks, putting the biggest pieces on the bottom. Get the fir going by tucking a fire starter brick or two into the charcoal, sort of nestled in, but not all the way to the bottom. Or you can use an electric starter to ignite the charcoal quickly. Never, ever use lighter fluid to start a kamado grill, which will penetrate the ceramic and cause a funky odor.
Make sure the bottom intake and top vents are open all the way. Now let the grill come to your desired temperature. Use a combination of the top and bottom vents to control the amount of air that flows through the grill. The more air allowed in, the hotter the grill will get. To cook at a lower temperature, limit the airflow that comes in the bottom and escapes from the top. Don’t let the grill get above your desired temperature because it’s difficult to lower because of how ceramic holds the heat. Once you reach temperature, start cooking!
Why are kamado grills so expensive?
They’re pricey because they’re made from thick, heat-resistant ceramic, rather than lightweight, relatively inexpensive metal. However, because of their solid construction, they typically last many more years than a traditional grill.
What can you cook on a kamado grill?
Pretty much anything! Beyond hotdogs and hamburgers, try sides such as French fries and sweet potatoes, veggies such as peppers, portabella mushrooms, and broccoli, vegan black bean burgers, pork tenderloin, or even desserts such as grilled cinnamon apples or honey grilled apricots.
Can you use briquettes, wood or wood pellets in a kamado grill?
Read your manufacturer’s instructions for fuel recommendations (search your model number online if you don’t have the manual). Generally, natural lump charcoal is the recommended fuel because it’s natural and burns hotter and more efficiently than briquettes. You also can use hardwood chunks such as oak, pecan or hickory to boost the smokey flavors in your food. Most kamado grills can use wood pellets, too, but read the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure. If so, use wood pellets marked for outdoor cooking, not the ones manufactured for heating.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, who has written close to a dozen pieces on all styles of grills for The Spruce Eats. She's also done firsthand testing of multiple grills and smokers.
Arricca SanSone, who updated this article, is a health and lifestyle writer for Prevention, Good Housekeeping, Cooking Light, CountryLiving.com, Oprahmag.com, Martha Stewart.com, PureWow, and many others. She’s lived and traveled in Asia and Europe but is happiest at home baking, making pasta by hand, growing heirloom vegetables, and preserving the bounty of her garden.