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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 wood-fired or charcoal grills. They 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.
After extensive testing by our experts, the overall winner is the Weber Spirit II E-310 3-Burner Propane Gas Grill for its high-level heat performance, quality construction, and extra space and time-saving features. If you're looking for a budget pick, the Char-Broil Classic Series 3-Burner Gas Grill is a great option that boasts an above-average grilling performance.
We took a thorough look at the market, identifying the top options available, and tasked our expert testers with assembling and using them. Along with evaluative data, each grill was also rated on its usability, performance, ease of cleaning, features, and overall value.
Here, the best gas grills that won't break the bank, based on our research and testing.
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 appealing, the cart is sturdy, and it performs well with its three burners providing a total of 30,000 BTUs of power. Although it comes in just above $500 (but check for sales!), we decided it earned our top spot. 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 grilling 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 room 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. It features porcelain-enameled cast iron grill grates that are perfect for making grill marks. Plus, there's no need for seasoning. The built-in thermometer in the lid makes it easy to monitor the internal temperature, and the grease management system makes it easy to clean up after all the cooking is done, saving more time for relaxing after dinner.
Wonder what the difference is between the Spirit II E-310 and the Spirit II E-210? The two models are similar in terms of design, but the E-210 only has two burners. It also costs $100 less, making it a worthwhile contender for small households.
Dimensions: 44.5 x 52 x 27 inches | Total Cooking Area: 529 square inches | BTUs: 30,000 per hour
"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: AMERICAN GOURMET Char-Broil Classic Series 3-Burner Gas Grill
Easy to move around
Even flame and independent temperature control
Not very sturdy
Food can stick to grill grates
No drip pan on the right side
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.
It offers 360 square inches of primary grilling space on the porcelain-coated grates, along with a handy 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. Our reviewer was impressed with its even temperature: "The flame was even and responded well to temperature adjustments, which translated to even cooking and food that came out exactly as expected."
Two metal side shelves are handy for holding sauces and plates, while the two wheels make it easy to move the grill as needed. Our reviewer found the grill to be a little shaky when she tried to cut meat on the side shelf, but overall, she thought it was sturdy and convenient.
Dimensions: 24.1 x 43.5 x 51.2 inches | Total Cooking Area: 360 square inches | BTUs: 30,000 per hour
"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 Tabletop: Weber Q 2200 Gas Grill
Extremely easy to set up and operate
Spacious cooking area
Heavy-duty cast-iron grates
Large folding side tables
Somewhat heavy for a portable grill
Catch pan didn’t fit properly
Despite being a tabletop model, the Weber Q 2200 Gas Grill is every bit as powerful as a full-size model. This sturdy little grill boasts 280 square inches of cooking space across its cast-iron grates, and its single burner delivers up to 12,000 BTUs per hour—more than enough for cooking hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, veggies, and more. Plus, it starts up quickly and easily, thanks to its ignition button.
One of our tester's favorite aspects of this grill is the folding side tables; they're spacious enough to hold a plate stacked high with food. We were impressed with how quickly the grill heats up—easily reaching 400 degrees in 5 minutes—and its durable construction is ideal for both taking on the road and whipping up dinner in your backyard.
If the Q 2200 doesn't fit your needs (or your budget), there are several other models in the Weber Q Series that you might want to consider. For instance, the Weber Q 2000 is very similar, offering the same cooking area and side tables. However, its dome is slightly shorter, and it lacks certain features, such as the built-in lid thermometer.
Dimensions: 15.5 x 51.4 x 19.5 inches | Total Cooking Area: 280 square inches | BTUs: 12,000 per hour
"The grill was incredibly easy to use—with a push of the ignition button, a blue flame quickly shot up all around the stainless steel burner, which circles the bottom of the grill body." — Camryn Rabideau, 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 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 67,000 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 618.84 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.
Dimensions: 51.06 x 24.29 x 46.58 inches | Total Cooking Area: 618.84 square inches | BTUs: 67,000 per hour
"I recommend getting a gas grill with at least three burners so you can set up an indirect heat zone for smoking and baking. Make sure you pay attention to the fuel source, too. If you have a natural gas connection on your patio, you can get the natural gas grill. If you don’t, you’ll need a propane grill with a propane tank." — Christie Vanover, Owner and Pitmaster of GirlsCanGrill.com
Best Portable: nomadiQ Portable Propane Gas Grill
Intuitive, sleek design
Large grilling surface
Dual temperature control
Lightweight and compact
A bit pricey
The burners can get messy
There's no cover
Portable gas grills need to have a few important aspects. They need to be lightweight and easy to pack, while also having a large enough surface area for making dinner on the road. And an easy-to-find, easy-to-store fuel source doesn't hurt. The nomadiQ Portable Propane Grill ticks all the boxes, as well as being powerful enough for delicious burgers and hot dogs.
This 12-pound grill, which is only 14 inches in height when closed, opens up to reveal nonstick grates covering 226 square inches of cooking space. Once you hook in a 1-pound canister of propane, the electric ignition system lights two individually-controlled burners, each with 4,600 BTUs. When you're done, removable drip trays make cleanup easy.
Our home tester raved about how easy to set up and user-friendly this portable grill is, as she essentially was able to connect it to the propane and begin using it out of the box. "Within three minutes, I was heating up the grill, ready to throw on some burgers and see how this compact grill could perform for a hungry group of four," she says. Those burgers cooked up almost perfectly, with just a tiny bit sticking (she advises greasing the grates a little before cooking), and everything was easy to clean. Our tester did find one important limitation. The lack of a lid means you can contain the grill's heat and it was difficult to do things like melt cheese on top of a burger.
Dimensions: 25.6 x 16 x 7.5 inches | Total Cooking Area: 225 square inches | BTUs: 9,200 per hour
"It may be smaller than most, but you don’t have to sacrifice performance for size." — Lindsey Boyers, Product Tester
Best Multi-Fuel: Char-Griller Texas Trio 3-Burner Dual Fuel Grill with Smoker
Three ways to cook in one grill
Extra-large cooking space
Independently controlled cooking areas
Bottom storage shelf
Can't convert to natural gas
Can't adjust the height of the grates
If you're in need of a grill that can do it all with both gas and charcoal, why not add in a side fire box for when you want to cook up an all-day smoker recipe. Char-Griller's Texas Trio grill lets you do all three, making it the only grill you'll need in the backyard.
The main cooking area on this grill is split evenly between gas and charcoal. Each side boasts 569 square inches of cooking space with porcelain-coated grates, removable warming racks, and separate built-in temperature gauges for complete control over the heat. On the gas side, you'll find 3 burners capable of 40,800 BTUs, with two dampers for even heat. Next to that is the 12,000-BTU side burner, perfect for cooking everything at once.
On the charcoal side, you'll find a smokestack and side damper for controlling airflow all day long. The side fire box, where you can cook with wood, adds 250 square inches to the cooking space and comes with removable grates so it's easy to get the fire started. Once you're done smoking, a removable ash drawer makes it super simple to dispose of the debris.
Dimensions: 75.6 x 32 x 49.1 inches | Total Cooking Area: 1,389 square inches | BTUs: 40,800 per hour
Best Design: Monument Grills 35633 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill with Clear View Lid
Glass viewing window in lid
LED-lit control knobs
Two powerful side burners
Fire box may rust after a few years
Let's face it, grills tend to have similar designs, especially when grouped by fuel type. And you typically need to shell out the big bucks to get a grill with fancy bells and whistles. Not with this Monument Grills grill! It's a great gas grill with a few extra touches, like a glass viewing window so you can see what's cooking without opening the lid.
The main cooking area on this has 513 square inches of space with porcelain-coated cast-iron grates and stainless steel flame tamers. On the sides, you'll find a stainless-steel side burner and a ceramic sear burner, each of which provides 12,000 BTUs of power. A built-in mounted thermometer, removable catch pan, and enclosed storage space round out the other main features. But what we like most of all here is the glass window and LED lights for those post-dusk grill sessions.
If you want a powerful grill with beautiful accents, but you aren't keen on the window, Monument does have a similar grill for you. Our home tester stands behind Monument's slightly cheaper regular 4-burner gas grill. Reviewers do point out that the stainless steel fire box can begin to develop rust after a while if you don't take proper care of it.
Dimensions: 54.1 x 22.5 x 46.3 inches | Total Cooking Area: 723 square inches | BTUs: 48,000 per hour
The top spot goes to the Weber Spirit II E-310 3-Burner Propane Gas Grill due to its winning combination of attractive design, durable construction, and high-performance burners. If you want a budget-friendly option that's ideal for small spaces, we love the Char-Broil Classic Series 3-Burner Gas Grill, which performed well in our tests.
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 is measured in square inches and 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 stands for British Thermal Unit and it measures the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. In terms of gas grills, the number of BTUs indicates gas output and how much heat a grill can generate. However, 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 is often underutilized. Premium features include built-in LED lights and wireless temperature monitors.
How do you clean a gas grill?
Every time you use your gas grill, you'll want to clean off the grates using a grill brush or other tool. This is easiest to do while the grill is still warm, as food particles and grease haven't hardened yet. If you have cast iron grates, you'll also want to brush some oil onto the grates after cleaning. You should also brush off the sides and lid of your grill after each use.
Periodically, you'll also want to deep clean your grill. Every month or so, it's important to clean off the barrier above the burners, and once a year, take your grill apart to inspect the burners and clean the grilling chamber thoroughly with soap and water.
How many BTUs should a gas grill have?
A general rule of thumb is that a gas grill should produce 80 to 100 BTUs per square inch of cooking area. By that math, a 200-square-inch grill should produce between 16,000 and 20,000 BTUs per hour. However, don't base your decision on BTUs alone—you'll also want to look at the grill's max temperature, as well as the quality of its build, both of which will affect its performance.
How do you start a gas grill?
To start cooking on a gas grill, open the valve of the propane tank all the way, and open the lid of the grill. Most modern gas grills have an igniter button, in which case, you'll simply turn the first burner on high and push the button. For grills without an igniter button, use a long match or lighter wand to light the initial burner. From here, you can turn the other burners to high, then close the lid to let it pre-heat.
What temperature do you cook steaks on a gas grill?
When grilling steaks, you'll want the grill temperature to be between 450 and 500 degrees. Keep in mind that the grates themselves need to be at least 500 degrees to create sear marks, which is why it's important to let your grill pre-heat for 10 to 15 minutes before you start cooking.
How do you convert a propane grill to natural gas?
Not all propane grills can be converted to natural gas. Always consult your owner's manual to see if your grill can safely be converted to natural gas, and if it can, it's important to purchase a conversion kit directly from the manufacturer. (In particular, Char-Broil grills can often use both fuel types, and the company sells its own conversion kit.) There are sometimes third-party conversion kits sold online, but keep in mind they are not always safe and will likely void your grill's warranty.
How do you use a smoker box on a gas grill?
If your grill has a smoker box, you can cook delicious, flavorful food quite easily. Start by soaking wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes, which will prevent them from catching on fire. Pre-heat your grill for 10 to 15 minutes, then place the wood chips into the smoker box using tongs. Close the lid of the box, as well as the grill's lid, and wait for it to start producing smoke. From here, you can lower the grill temperature and arrange your food on the grates over the unlit burners.
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 to know exactly what to look for in a grill.
This roundup was updated by Camryn Rabideau, product tester and grill expert for The Spruce Eats. She's done firsthand testing of the Weber Q2200—a top-rated gas grill—as well as the Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker and more.