Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Let’s face it: Gas grills are less messy than charcoal grills and let you start cooking in just a few minutes, compared to the long time required when using charcoal or wood-fired grills. Gas grills can be as easy to use as your home stove, while still offering smoky flavor from vaporized drippings. From small to large, there are plenty of choices available at a reasonable price point.
Here, the best gas grills under $500.
Best Overall: Weber Spirit II E-310 3-Burner Propane Gas Grill
Even heating surface
Grease management system
Price tag is steep for three burners
Hood isn’t as deep as other models
Weber has a great reputation for grills, and this attractive Spirit grill is a perfect example of why. The design is attractive, the cart is sturdy, and it performs well with its three burners providing a total of 30,000 BTUs of power. Our tester found that the burners are indeed "high performance," as the company describes them: the grill heated up to 500 degrees in only a few minutes, and heated evenly across the board.
The two side tables give plenty of space for condiments and tools, while the open cart offers handy storage space for extras. To save space, the left-hand table can flip down when not in use.
Six tool hooks offer plenty of space for grill brushes, spatulas, and tongs, keeping them easily reachable yet out of the way. With 529 square inches of grilling space, there’s plenty of room to grill a whole meal for the family. This has porcelain-enameled cast iron grill grates for great grill marks and no need for seasoning. The built-in thermometer in the lid makes it easy to monitor the internal temperature while the grease management system makes it easy to clean up after all the cooking is done, saving more time for relaxing after dinner.
"There wasn’t much of a learning curve. And whether it was burgers, hot dogs, or veggies, just about everything we threw on this grill came out as desired." — Angelica Leicht, Product Tester
Best Budget: Char-Broil Classic Series 3-Burner Gas Grill
Easy to move around
Even flame and independent temperature control
No drip pan on the right side
Not very sturdy
Food can stick to grill grates
Gas grills tend to be more expensive than their charcoal counterparts, but this one won’t break the budget. It doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles you’ll find on more expensive models, but it still does a great job grilling steaks and burgers, with plenty of space for more. Because it's not large, many reviewers who live in smaller spaces love that it's easy to move, but still offers enough space to prep and cook food for a small gathering. It offers 360 square inches of primary grilling space on the porcelain-coated grates along with 170 square inches on the handy swing-away warming rack that can keep finished foods at serving temperature.
This grill has three burners that provide a total of 30,000 BTUs of cooking power for great searing or low-and-slow cooking for perfect barbecue ribs. Two metal side shelves are handy for holding sauces and plates, while the two wheels make it easy to move the grill into the perfect place for grilling.
"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
Best Design: Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill
Inexpensive for a gas/charcoal combo
Holds heat in well
More parts to maintain than typical grill
Gas grills are convenient to use, but sometimes the flavor of smoke and charcoal is what’s needed. This grill can do both, with one side fired by gas and the other ready to be filled with charcoal. The gas side has three burners that provide a total of 40,800 BTUs of cooking power for excellent searing of steaks, sausages, and burgers. There’s also a 12,000 BTU side burner that our tester found is powerful enough to heat a sizable pot. This side burner is also great for simmering sauces or boiling water for steaming corn on the cob if it’s not going to be grilled. When not in use, the side burner has a cover that converts it to a handy side table.
On the charcoal side, the fire grate is adjustable for perfect cooking, and there’s an easy-dump ash pan to make cleanup simple. Two chimney-style vents let the cook adjust smoke and temperature. This has porcelain-coated cast iron grates for perfect sear marks on steaks and easy cleaning when grilling is done. Each side has 438 square inches of primary cooking space, along with a 384 square inch warming rack, so there’s plenty of room for cooking no matter which fuel is used. Each side also has its own temperature gauge in the lid for easy monitoring of the internal temperature. For even more versatility, a side smoker box is available for separate purchase.
"Its flexibility is a benefit. Need to grill something quickly? Use the gas setting. In the mood for real barbecue? Use the charcoal side." — Derrick Riches, Product Tester
Best Multi-Fuel: Char-Griller Flavor Pro 4-Burner Gas Grill
Flavor drawer for wood or charcoal flavor
Heats up quickly
Multiple fuel options
Flavor drawer can be tricky to clean
Gas grills are great because all you need to do is turn them on to start grilling in minutes, but many people miss the flavor of wood or charcoal. This gas grill solves that problem with its flexibility, many reviewers say. First, it has a unique flavor drawer that can be used for charcoal, lump charcoal, wood chunks, logs, chips, or even wood pellets. Even better, the griller can choose gas-only, charcoal, or wood-only, or a combination of gas and the alternative fuel at the same time. When using a combination, the rapid ignition system has the fuel lit and ready to use in 10 minutes or less, so there’s much less waiting time than with a traditional charcoal or wood-fired grill.
This has four gas burners that provide 40,000 BTUs of cooking power on 725 square inches of cooking space on porcelain-coated cast-iron grates, so there’s plenty of room for entire family meals. The two smokestacks on top regulate heat and smoke for perfect flavor every time, while cleanup is easy with a slide-out tray in the front that helps with the process of ash and grease disposal.
Best Tabletop: Char-Broil Portable Gas Grill
Considerable cooking space for its size
Needs to be propped up to make room for gas cylinder
Small enough to fit on a table for grilling or in the trunk of the car for easy transportation, this portable gas grill is great for anyone who doesn’t have space for a full-size grill or wants to take their grill on the road. Reviewers who go camping frequently give the grill high marks for its compact profile and how quickly and evenly it cooks. Even with the small profile, this has 190 square inches of cooking space on the porcelain-coated wire grill rack, and 11,000 BTUs of cooking power, so it’s got space and power for cooking steaks or burgers for dinner.
When it’s time to travel, the legs fold up and hold the lid in place, so it won’t accidentally open and spill its contents. This grill is designed to work with the small 1-pound propane canisters that are perfect for travel. However, for home use, a hose and adapter are available that can convert it for use with the larger 20-pound propane tanks.
Best Super-Sized: Royal Gourmet GB8000 8-Burner Liquid Propane Event Gas Grill
Comes with a windscreen
Easy to assemble
Large cooking area
This huge grill has eight burners that produce 13,000 BTUs each, for a whopping total of 104,000 BTUs of cooking power on 950 square inches of cooking space. The grates are 1/4-inch porcelain-coated wire for great grill marks. This grill is lidless, but the grill has an integrated folding windscreen to protect the grill from breezes during cooking. Two folding side tables provide space for sauces and condiments, while the two-level bottom shelves give plenty of space for plates, pots, tools, extra propane tanks, and grilling supplies. Overall, many reviewers are happy with how well the grill performs whenever they have to prep and cook food for large events.
Locking caster wheels make this easy to move despite its size, and two large grease cups and the oil catch pan make it easy to clean this after cooking. While it might be a bit large for singles or couples, it’s ideal for big families and folks who love grilling large quantities of burgers, brats, and chicken outdoors.
Best Natural Gas: Weber Q3200 Liquid Propane Grill
Fold-down side tables
Heats up quickly
Natural gas typically burns faster than propane
For those with natural gas already in their homes, you may be looking for a grill that runs on natural gas instead of liquid propane. Natural gas grills tend to be a little more expensive, but the Weber Q 3200 2-Burner Natural Gas Grill is a top-quality option that costs under $500. This grill comes from one of the most trusted brands in the industry, and it boasts 468 square inches of cooking space and two stainless steel burners that deliver 21,700 BTU per hour.
This Weber grill has a small footprint, making it perfect for a deck or patio, and it includes two fold-down side tables and durable all-weather wheels. The primary cooking area is 462 square inches, with an additional 75-square-inch warming rack. The grill also has an electronic ignition, infinite control burner valve settings, a built-in thermometer, and a removable catch pan. However, the most compelling aspect of this product has to be the glowing reviews from happy buyers who say it’s stylish, heats up quickly, and is easy to use and clean.
"This grill will give you authentic grilling right down to the warming rack in a unit that is easily stored and doesn't take up a lot of space." — Derrick Riches, Product Tester
Best with Side Burner: Nexgrill 5-Burner Propane Gas Grill
Five burners, plus a side burner
Spacious cooking area
Extremely affordable for its size
Material quality isn't the best
Doesn't perform well in windy conditions
Believe it or not, this 5-burner propane grill from Nexgrill comes in at well under $500, making it a great value for a versatile cooking tool. The grill has five burners that deliver a total of 55,000 BTU, and it even has a convenient side burner where you can cook a side dish as you grill. The grill is equipped with porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grids, and you can fit plenty of food across its 618 square inches of cooking area.
Despite its reasonable price, this grill still offers plenty of features, including stainless steel side shelves, a battery-operated electronic igniter system, and a convenient front condiment tray where you can stash BBQ essentials. It's mounted on two wheels that make it easy to move around your patio, and its burners are protected by a 5-year warranty.
The top spot goes to the Weber Spirit II E-310 3-Burner Propane Gas Grill, because of its winning combination of attractive design, durable construction, and "high-performance" burners that live up to their name. If you want both the convenience of a gas grill and the smoky flavor a charcoal grill provides, look no further than the Char-Griller Duo Black Dual-Function Combo Grill (view at Lowe's). Not only can this grill do both, but it's also affordable.
What to Look for in a Gas Grill Under $500
A grill with at least two burners offers more flexibility and temperature control. Surface area, which is measured in square inches, is the most important measurement when evaluating size. A 450- to 500-square-inch grill is sufficient for most—these models can cook up to 24 burgers at a time.
BTU indicates gas output and how much heat a grill can generate, but it isn’t a great measurement of efficacy. Look for a grill with a large temperature range instead—premium models may have infrared burners that can climb as high as 700 degrees or more.
Choose a gas grill that has an automatic starter and a removable upper cooking grate for indirect cooking (ideal for buns, veggies, and large cuts of meat). A propane gauge is a huge advantage. A side burner is also nice to have but often underutilized. Premium features include built-in LED lights and wireless temperature monitors.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
While she got her grilling start on a charcoal grill, Donna Currie fell in love with the convenience of gas grill cooking when she realized she could grill any night of the week, without having to wait for charcoal to burn down. When she needed a new gas grill, she spent a lot of time shopping, researching, and comparing, so she knows exactly what to look for in a grill.