Grills Buyer’s Guide
Buying any kind of grill can be tricky. Whether it’s barbecue grills, natural gas grills for camping, special designs used for indirect cooking, or even niche charcoal grills that are meant to emulate classic oven designs, there’ll always be multiple to choose from and each has their own good and bad points. Finding the best grills for your needs isn’t easy, but it’s definitely possible: you just have to look carefully and get a general idea of what your needs are so that you can narrow down the market a little bit.
There are various types of grill, but not all of them are suitable for every situation. In fact, some are specifically meant for one particular kind of food preparation, whereas others can only be used safely in certain environments. The biggest difference here is in the fuel: liquid propane and charcoal grills might look different, but it’s not the shape that matters, it’s what’s inside them. Fuels aren’t interchangeable (excluding coal and charcoal, which are essentially the same on most levels), so you’re often stuck with one type and have to make do with any drawbacks that brings.
Here’s a brief overview of all the main grill types, what they offer, and what their bad points can be. This should always be the first thing you take into consideration since it completely changes what kind of products you should be looking at in the future.
Gas grills are fuelled by gas: this can include being fueled by a liquid propane tank, canisters of natural gas or even a mains supply of gas: no matter how they get it, they rely on some form of artificial or natural gas to operate, and don’t usually use physical fuel. This is the same concept as many modern ovens and similar appliances, but that doesn’t always mean that it’s the best option to choose. That being said, gas grills have plenty of advantages.
First of all, gas grill designs are extremely easy to light, since the gas itself is flammable: this means that many of them can have a one-button ignition system that doesn’t rely on matches or some other source of flame, making it a lot easier to safely turn on the grill. They can also include things like fuel gauges, alternate side burners, and the ability to hook up to a mains supply anyway, all of which use the nature of that natural gas to its advantage. Some designs have their gas tanks built in while others are separate, but they’re usually easy enough to swap out, and refilling the grill doesn’t cost as much as a charcoal grill would.
The only problem with gas grills is that they still need gas: the moment the gas is cut or runs out, the grill stops working correctly. Charcoal can keep burning for a long time, and electric grills only need electricity to work, meaning that a gas grill is the most likely to suddenly refuse to keep working if something goes wrong.
An electric grill uses electricity as its power source, but needs an actual electricity supply to run. If you have one, it can often be the cleanest way to grill, and can even let you cook indoors (since, unlike gas and other grilling methods, there’s no smoke). This also gives you the advantage of being able to quickly shut off the electricity whenever you need to without fear of something continuing to burn: unlike charcoal, the grill will start to cool down immediately, meaning that you don’t have to do any special cleaning to make sure that it’s safe to touch.
Since there’s no physical fuel, it’s also a much cleaner way to handle grilling in general: if you cook the right food, there’ll barely even be any scraps leftover, making your cleaning task much easier. Infrared options are even better since they heat the food directly and prevent burned food, dripping fat, or other problems that can happen during regular grilling.
As a downside, they obviously need electricity to run. That means that using one for camping requires a generator, and even using one around your garden can force you to buy an extension cord. Electricity and water also don’t mix well, so you’ll want to be careful if you’re using it around wet weather, ponds, or other water sources that could be a problem if something slips into it.
Charcoal and Coal Grills
Grills that use any kind of charcoal or coal are meant to add more flavor to the food, using the grilling time to make the smoke add some extra smokiness to your meal. These are usually seen as the “classic” option, using materials like stainless steel, ceramic, and other strong types of metal to provide extra durability for rugged ground and long-term use. They’re mostly meant for camping, but there are nearly limitless designs, and they can turn up almost anywhere if you look hard enough.
The main advantage of grills like this, aside from the taste, is the fact that they’re often the most pleasing to use. It feels like you’re really grilling food rather than just using a fuel that’s been given to you, especially since charcoal can take more time to grill with. The end result is a meal that feels more satisfying and fulfilling even if it’s more or less the same as one made with gas grills.
As a downside, remember that you have to carry charcoal with you. You’ll also be creating a real fire with real coals, which can be dangerous if you don’t take things seriously. A grill is still a fire, and you need to see it like one if you want to avoid causing any damage to the objects or people around you.
What is the Best Grill to Buy?
It’s easy to get bogged down by brand names rather than looking at the models of the grills themselves, which is something that can throw many people off. For example, the Weber Spirit II E-310 is a gas grill that boasts three burners. However, if you only need two burners, you might want something from the Char-Broil Commercial line instead. Even if the Weber Spirit II E-310 appears to be higher-quality, that doesn’t mean that you have to go for the Weber Spirit II E-310, especially since there’s no guarantee that the extra burner you paid for will be any use. In the same way, if you want a Weber Spirit II E-310 but feel like they won’t be the best BBQs grills for you, then looking at products from Broil King can help you pick a new option.
Brand loyalty isn’t a bad thing, but it needs to be used carefully. Char-Broil Commercial, Broil King, and every other brand of grill on the planet are competing for your time and money, so you don’t want to make a random choice and assume that they’ll be the best. If you find a Char-Broil Commercial grill with two burners that you like more than the Spirit II e-310, even if the Spirit II e-310 is superior in almost every way except the one that matters most to you, then it’s fine to say that the ‘worse’ option is actually the best gas grill for you.
Which Gas Grill is the Best for the Money?
Again, the best option comes down to your needs. You could look at every barbeque Home Depot has to offer and still struggle to find the best grill option, so identifying your needs ahead of time matters a lot. Do you want a grill that reduces your grilling time? Do you want a side burner? Should that side burner be another grill or a generic heating element? Is stainless steel a material you’re happy to use? Finding the best gas grill – or any other types of grill – requires a lot of patience and careful thought.
This is the exact reason that you can’t point at a single product like the Spirit II and call it the best gas grill on the market. The Spirit II has a side burner, but that’s not always something you’ll want, and it’s also not exactly portable. If that doesn’t matter to you, then the Spirit II can be a good option, but it’s hardly the best if you’re feeling pressured to buy a side burner that you won’t use. Grills are more than just interchangeable grilling surfaces, and buying the wrong one can make even the best meals far less enjoyable.
Remember to check reviews of every grill before you buy it. You might be able to see how certain features have tested with other people grilling particular foods: for example, chicken might turn out well, but burgers might stick more often than they should.
Did You Know?
The grills you use can change the flavor of whatever you make. It doesn’t just happen with charcoal ones: every small detail or adjustments, especially things like seasoning pre-applied to the grates, can result in a slightly new taste.
Looking for the best grills for your next barbeque, or just interested in buying one of the best grills on the market to get that authentic grill taste? Don’t be intimidated by how many “best” options there are to choose from: all grills have their own purposes, designs, and tweaks, so the best option could always be the next one you look at! When all is said and done, the best grill choice is the one that you feel most comfortable using and can get the best results out of, so there’s no limit to how niche you can make your searches!