Grilling meat and other ingredients add another layer of flavor that cannot be replicated by other food preparation. Moreover, it’s has become a tradition to hold backyard cookouts when you have an unplanned get together with some buddies. To help you get started here are some of the best gas grills under $500.
It might take some time to turn into a proper grill master, but once you learn your way around the equipment, everything should flow smoothly thereafter. So, crack open a cold one, and read up to learn more and find out what fits your needs.
Why Get a Gas Grill?
When it comes to grilling, several methods are available as long as you’re determined to get the perfect char or grill marks on whatever is on the menu. Traditionalists will swear that using charcoal, wood, or other types of material such as briquettes will get the job done. However, there are downsides to these such as waiting for it to light up, managing temperature, and the cleanup the follows.
Gas grills, on the other hand, are practically effortless and just require a reliable supply of natural gas or propane and you’re good to go. Unlike the materials used for fuel detailed above, there is no residue, and the heat is distributed more evenly around the cooking surface. The only caveat we can think of is the absence of that distinct smoky aroma and flavor. Nevertheless, there are other ways to get this done, which we will touch upon later.
On top of convenience, for some of you who love to cook and eat, certain recipes will require the use of a grill. On the other hand, it’s also a good way to encourage you to hang out in the backyard, or other similar spaces in your home.
What To Look For When Choosing One?
Since most people normally keep their equipment outdoors, it ends up exposed to elements such as rain, snow, and heat from sunlight. Therefore, the material it is crafted out of really matters if you hope to keep it in optimum condition in case the need arises. A gas grill can be a pricey investment, so might as well choose the one that will endure all types of weather and the occasional abuse.
Experts recommend models that are fashioned from stainless steel due to its superior durability and resistance to wear and corrosion. Likewise, some brands may sometimes use ceramics for superior heat retention and distribution. These are some essential qualities that one should look for in a gas grill.
Now. we’ve already given you an overview of how to pick one out from the huge selection of models offered by retailers. Therefore, it’s time to go into more detail of what features you should consider before you plunk down some cash for your future food preparation tool.
Before you head out and grab your next gas grill, you must give this some thought. How many people do you regularly cook for? What are the types of food that you might want to grill most of the time? A big grill might seem like a great idea at first, but it might take up a lot of space at the same time. On the other hand, the larger grilling area allows you to cook more food in batches, which is terrific when hosting a lot of people.
A medium to smaller size model is excellent for those who prepare meals for groups of about three to five people. However, a caveat that you need to remember is the reduced cooking areas. Conventionally, bigger models have their fair share of advantages that we will discuss in a separate buyer’s guide later on.
If you have taken the time to compare some of the gas grills on show in retailers, you’ll notice that the cooking grids or grill grates as some call it are not built equally. Those in the budget range commonly feature thin pieces of metal that conduct and retain heat poorly. This often leads to uneven cooking or searing.
Since this is a part of a gas grill that undergoes a lot of abuse, it will be prone to wear. Nevertheless, if the quality of the metal and thickness are top-notch, this should last you for a long time. Not a lot of consumers think about it, but the spacing also matters.
Be on the lookout for cooking girds with tighter spacing. This helps give your meat and vegetables more surface contact and thus better caramelization. Furthermore, it also keeps smaller food items from falling into the burners below.
This is another feature often overlooked by consumers who are relatively new to the art of grilling. If you have a gas grill near you or looking at one right now, take the time to lift the grill grates and look inside. Top-quality models have a flame tamers that sit between the burners and the cooking surface on top.
These keep dripping and other smaller debris from falling into the space below, which could end up being a nightmare to clean later on. Moreover, the surface area that catches the juices can vaporize these liquids to add a smoky flavor to your food.
Overall, these are traditionally fashioned out of heavy-gauge stainless steel, but some types occasionally use ceramics as well. Additionally, grill grates can diffuse the rising heat, which helps distribute temperature more evenly across the cooking grids.
A grill can look fancy with all the bells and whistles packaged to entice an unwary buyer, but it all boils down the quality of the burners. Cheaper models usually equip their gas grills with thin tube-style stainless-steel sections that will perform adequately but are prone to wear and corrosion.
What to look for are thick cast stainless-steel burners that are less likely to deform and will withstand prolonged usage. Since this is usually the component that will require replacement over time. A heavy-duty option should keep costs down with its lasting performance for many years to come.
Construction Quality Over BTU Rating
Another common mistake that buyers make when choosing their next gas grill is the BTU rating, which equates to how much heat the grill can generate. Keep in mind that a higher BTU rating does not immediately equate to better performance.
You must refer to some of the important factors we pointed out above to get started. Since we’re talking about a price range of not more than $500, don’t expect your gas grill to pack premium features found on more expensive types.
What matters the most is the top-grade construction, with heavy-duty materials and components. This will keep you grilling and enjoying the unparalleled taste it offers for longer.
Reviews of the 5 Best Gas Grills Under $500
1. Weber Spirit II E-310
- 10-year warranty on all parts
- Porcelain-coated cooking elements
- Tool hooks
- Grease management system
- Fuel Gauge
- Multiple color options
- The integrated thermometer on the lid
- Open cart design
- Two wheels might make it difficult to transport
- No extra burner on the side shelf
- Small flame tamers
Weber is a renowned brand when it comes to outdoor cooking equipment and the Spirit II E-310 is a dependable option for the grilling enthusiast. This is a three-burner model that promises up to 30,000 BTU performance. It measures 44.5 inches high, 52 inches wide, and 27 inches thick. The cooking surface is listed as 424 square inches with an additional 105 square inches for the warming rack. Fully assembled without the propane tank, it weighs around 114 pounds.
The electronic Infinity Ignition system is powered by an AA battery and backed by an outstanding 10-year warranty. This gives buyers an added peace of mind that Weber will service and replace the component if it fails to function properly.
The three burners are crafted out of stainless steel and feature porcelain-coated flavorizer bars. The latter is specifically angled to protect the burners and quickly vaporize liquids that fall down from the cooking grids. Likewise, extra drippings that flow down are immediately collected by the built-in grease management system (the drip pans are replaceable).
The grill grates are cast iron with a layer of porcelain to protect it from heat and corrosion. The lid also sports a layer of porcelain and comes with an integrated thermometer. This freestanding gas grill features two all-weather wheels to help owners move it around easily.
The left side table is foldable, while the right side includes a mount for Weber’s iGrill 3 smart thermometer. Both have integrated hooks that can hold various grilling tools. The bottom shelf can be used as another surface to hold other cooking equipment.
Unfortunately, the open cart design leaves the propane tank exposed, which might be a dealbreaker for some interested buyers. However, it’s great that Weber added a fuel gauge to give users an idea if the tank needs to be replaced soon. The Spirit II E-310 is available in four colorways: black, ivory, red, and blue.
2. Fuego Professional F24C
- Takes up a smaller space than other traditional gas grills in the same range
- Unique form factor makes it look stylish
- Well-designed propane tank storage area
- Lid-mounted thermometer
- Removable residue tray for easy cleaning
- Electronic ignition
- Cooking grids are made of cast iron which will rust without proper maintenance
- No flame tamers which makes it prone to flare-ups
- No side shelves
If you find conventional gas grill designs boring then you might want to check out the Professional F24C from Fuego. A quick look at its aesthetics shows a matte black tower with a round cooking surface and lid on top. Don’t let the quirky form factor fool you because as the name suggests, this is one serious cooking equipment.
You’re getting 415 square inches of grilling space plus a 110 square inch warming rack for that much-needed versatility when entertaining guests. It stands 56 inches high with a 24-inch width and depth. It takes up a smaller space than traditional models offered by other brands.
It features a dual burner system controlled by a single knob with an electronic ignition for added convenience. The unique shape means that the burner setup is adjusted as concentric dual ring installations. This ensures that heat is distributed evenly while the domed lid regulates the temperature within the enclosure when closed.
Fuego gives you a 9-inch clearance from the grill grates to the top of the cover, which can accommodate up to three beer can chickens. The hinge mechanism opens at a 45-degree angle so you don’t have to reach over the hot surface to grab the handle.
The cooking grids are made of cast iron for remarkable heat retention and pronounced grill marks. Sadly, the illustrations reveal that there are no flame tamers included, which means flare-ups are likely to happen. Nevertheless, with proper maintenance and cleaning after use, likely, this won’t become a problem. The product page notes that it rated at 26,500 BTU and can reach 500F in just 5 minutes.
Upon closer inspection, the cylindrical stand is not only for show. It is a hinged storage area for the propane tank with a secure clasp door lock latch, which adds to the overall stylish presentation of this gas grill. Meanwhile, the stainless-steel handles and four industrial-grade casters keep it mobile, while the locking mechanism holds it in place when you’re working the grill.
3. Kenmore PG-40406SOL
- Four temperature zones courtesy of four burners
- 13,000 BTU side burner
- Stainless steel warming rack
- Side shelves for meal prep
- Porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grids
- Electronic Ignition
- Steel components might not withstand exposure to the elements
- Grill grates are thinner with wide spacing in between
- Open cart design exposes propane tank
- Small flame tamers
What we like about the PG-40406SOL is the fact that it comes with four burners under the main grilling area plus a side burner on the right. These features are often found on more expensive gas grills but having it on one that sits just below $500 seems like a great deal in our opinion. However, we want our readers to have a comprehensive overview. Therefore, let’s go into detail as to what Kenmore has to offer.
First of all, this gas grill is about 46.4 inches high, 54.1 inches wide, and 23.3 inches thick with a weight o 105.8 lbs without the propane tank. This is a freestanding model with two casters on the right side to make it easy to move around. There are no locking mechanisms on the wheels but the legs on the other end should keep it steady.
We mostly see stainless steel mixed with powder-coated sections distributed throughout the frame. Although Kenmore notes that it can withstand exposure to the elements, we believe owners should consider covering it up when not in use. It’s likely some components will eventually corrode over time if it is consistently left under the mercy of moisture and direct sunlight.
Each burner is rated at 10,000 BTU, which gives users a total of 40,000 BTU to work with. Moreover, the 13,000 BTU side burner will prove useful for preparing sauces and searing steaks over a frying pan. On the other hand, if you’re not planning to use the side burner, a quick flip of the cover gives you more space along with the other side shelf for prepping your food.
The cast iron grill grates are porcelain-coated for added durability, while the warming rack is built out of stainless steel. The lid itself is also made of stainless steel with an integrated temperature gauge on the angled section of the cover. There are flame tamers included but are just wide enough to protect the burners and vaporize the drippings that come into contact with the surface.
4. Char-Broil Signature Series Tru-Infrared
- Integrated temperature-gauge on the lid
- Porcelain-enameled cooking grids
- Extra side-mounted burner
- Warming rack
- Electronic ignition
- Casters with locking mechanism
- Some components are not stainless steel
- Assembly instructions are somewhat unclear
- Natural gas conversion kit sold separately
Here is the first gas grill that sits just under $500 and offers great value and quality. It measures 48 inches high with a width of 51 inches and a depth of 24 inches. Fully assembled, the entire thing weighs an estimated 147 lbs. This model features three burners with individual controls so you can carefully curate the temperature zones and cook various meals.
The porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grids retain flaunt superior heat retention and easy cleanup. Moreover, the coating protects the metal from wear and corrosion and produces pronounced grill marks, which adds to the meal’s presentation.
Char-Broil’s Tru-Infrared technology uses robust stainless-steel flame tamers to radiate heat evenly up to the grill grates. Additionally, these patented components prevent flare-ups that can quickly burn food if left unattended. These keep unwanted debris and drippings from falling into the top-ported 443 stainless steel burners. Therefore, owners get outstanding durability and quality each time they fire it up.
For added versatility, the 155 square-inch warming rack keeps cooked food in ideal serving temperature. Furthermore, the lid-mounted temperature gauge helps you manage the overall heat of the grill. The electronic ignition makes startup virtually effortless. Flanking the gas grill are two side shelves with enough space to hold utensils and other gear for grilling.
When you need an extra burner for preparing sauces and other dishes, just flip open the lid of the right side shelf to find a 13,000 BTU burner ready for action. Just below the burners is an enclosed storage cabinet that holds the propane tank. There’s even enough space to keep your grilling essentials within arm’s reach.
Moving the Char-Broil Signature Series Tru-Infrared around is easy. It sits on four casters, two of which have locking mechanisms to keep the assembly in place. Finally, the optional natural gas conversion kit allows owners to connect the grill to their home’s gas line when needed.
5. Monument Grills 35633
- LED-backlit control knobs add functionality and style
- ClearView tempered glass window on the lid
- Ceramic infrared searing burner on the side shelf
- Huge grilling area and warming rack
- Industrial-grade nylon wheels for mobility
- Great pricing relative to the features
- 72,000 BTU total cooking power from all burners combined
- Tool hooks on each side
- Extra burner on right side shelf
- Grill grate spacing could have been closer
- Small flame tamers
Earlier we pointed out that great gas grill is not determined by the brand name and BTU rating of its burners. What consumers are looking for are those that offer outstanding features and reliable performance. In other words, what truly matters is that you get more bang for the buck. With this in mind, take a look at the model 35633 from the fellows at Monument Grills.
First of all, the host of features that comes with this model is insane. Most of these functionalities are generally included with more expensive gas grills that would cost an average user a pretty penny. It sound’s too good to be true but, it seems that this product is exceeding our expectations.
There is a total of four burners in the main grilling area, a ceramic sear burner on the left side shelf, and a stainless-steel side burner on the right side shelf. Both shelves have tool hooks for added convenience when in use.
While all of the other grills we’ve listed have the standard features you would find on a gas grill under $500, Monument Grills opted to add a little wow factor. It boasts blue LED lighting for each of the control knobs, which is powered by an AA battery that likewise activates the electronic ignition. This makes it handy for cooking in low-light situations.
You’re looking at 513 square inches of grilling space with 210 square inch warming rack, which equates to 723 square inches of cooking space. The porcelain-coated cast-iron cooking grids provide excellent caramelization for great grill marks on your food. Meanwhile, the 304 stainless steel burners sit under flame tamers for added protection from drippings and debris.
Another highlight of this gas grill is the ClearView lid which comes with a tempered glass window. This allows users to visually check their good without flipping the cover open. This freestanding stainless-steel gas grill is supported by four heavy-duty nylon casters with integrated locks. It stands 46.3 inches tall with a 54.1-inch width and measures 22.5 inches deep.
Each of the products we’ve listed feature nuances of their own. Nevertheless, we have to pick one that offers excellent performance, outstanding quality, impressive features, and value for your money. Given these criteria, we have selected the Weber Spirit II E-310 as the best among the bunch. What we loved about this gas grill is the sheer number of features and functionality it provides for its price point.
For example, the slick control knobs and the burners, with four dedicated to the primary grilling area. Along with the informative Fuel Gauge and Webers awesome grease management system, you simply cannot go wrong with a Weber.