If you’re in the market for a new grill, our reviews of the best charcoal and gas grills will help you make the best-informed purchasing decision possible.
In this guide, we’ll discuss our top picks as well as everything you need to know about purchasing a gas or charcoal grill.
Spoiler alert: Our top pick is the Weber Original Kettle Grill. It is a classic charcoal-type grill made with high-end materials and components and has all the right specs for family-sized grilling.
Want more quick answers rather than a full buyers guide? No problem, simply skip down to the bottom of the page.
Backyard Boss Top 6 Charcoal and Gas Grill for 2021
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Best for Charcoal Grilling
The Weber Original Kettle Grill has an easy-to-use setup, including a built-in thermometer in the lid and damper for superior heat control. It also features an aluminum one-touch cleaning system which helps you quickly and effortlessly remove leftover bits of charcoal and ash.
The porcelain-enameled lid and bowl of the grill retain almost 100-percent of the heat created by the charcoal. It is also resistant to rusting and peeling as well. In addition, the grill features a lid hook that lets you hang the lid rather than sitting it on the ground or on nearby surfaces.
When you need to add more charcoal, it is easy to do by simply lifting up on one side of the hinged grate. This can even be done while in the middle of cooking. What’s more, the grill includes 3D interactive instructions for assembly via the BILT app.
Best for Propane Grilling
If you’re after a more “advanced” charcoal grill than our number one pick, why not have a look at the Weber Performer Platinum series? These bad boys are some of the very best charcoal grills on the market. For example, the grill comes with the same high-quality porcelain-enameled lid and bowl as the first grill on our list, as well as the 22.5-inch hinged grate that holds up to 13 burgers at a time. But this version of the grill comes with an Electric Touch-N-Go ignition that consists of an electric starter and a propane tank that attaches to the grill. Few charcoal grills are so quick and easy to start, it only takes five minutes.
The grill also includes the same sort of convenient built-in thermometer on the lid – except this one can be removed if you wish – and the quick-cleaning system for ash and leftover charcoal. However, another additional feature that it has that other charcoal grills don’t is the weather-resistant charcoal bag that it comes with. A feature that makes for extremely convenient charcoal storage.
Perhaps the most notable changes on the Performer Platinum series compared to other Weber models is the upgraded wheels and structural stability in general. If you are looking for an easy to use grill, but prefer the flavor of charcoal cooked food over propane grilled food, this may be the perfect grill for you.
Best for Family-Sized Grilling
The next item on our list is one of the most preferred natural gas grills out there. The grill is equipped with an easy-to-lift roll-top lid and interior LED Spectrum night lights and backlit control knobs. It also features an infrared “sizzle zone” on the side of the cooking surface as well as an infrared rotisserie burner.
The downside to this grill, or upside depending on your home, is that it runs on natural gas and you must have the proper hookups available on your deck, patio, or wherever you plan to do your grilling. Don’t fret though. If you don’t have natural gas lines outside, but still want a gas grill, scroll on down to our next item on the list.
Best for Couples Grilling
Another great grill from Weber is the liquid propane Spirit E310 gas grill. This one is perhaps the most popular propane grill around, period – not just from Weber.
This grill comes with enough cooking space to grill everything from fifteen burgers at a time to full turkeys. The unit consists of high-quality components and requires very little maintenance or upkeep. The burner tubes are rust-resistant stainless steel and therefore less likely to burn through like other grills.
The grill also features a convenient grease management system that allows you to control whether grease drops are transferred to the garbage disposal or the flavorizer bars. This not only improves the taste of your food but also helps to prevent flare-ups while cooking. There are also six hooks for tools, two full-use tables, a thermometer in the center, and a fuel gauge that monitors your propane use.
Best for Heavy-Duty Grilling
The S-330 is the best of the best of the Genesis series from Weber grills. Packed with great features, this grill comes with a warming rack area for anything you want to cook gently or keep warm. And, with a stainless steel shroud mounted thermometer, it will help you know the exact temperatures inside as well.
The S-330 features all the same great features that come with E310 and introduces the side burner which is perfect for searing the meat or cooking some bacon. It also comes with many grilling modes that allow the heat in the cook box to be distributed any way you want. All in all, it is one of the best propane grills – especially for the money compared to the most expensive grills on the market that are basically the same thing.
Best for Propane & Charcoal Grilling
The last grill on our list is one of the heaviest-duty units we reviewed. At 900 square inches of total cooking area, the grill can serve parties quickly and efficiently.
The grill comes already assembled and ready to use. The superior range of features makes grilling all the more enjoyable as well as more efficient in general. A rear infrared rotisserie burner allows your meat to be processed perfectly, and a smoker box allows you to achieve whatever type of smoky flavor you love the most. An integrated ice bucket gives you ample place for all your beverages as well.
Even more, the grill’s sear plates are replaceable with a charcoal plate that transforms the gas grill into a charcoal grill at will. All the materials within the main grilling area consist of stainless steel, making the grill rust proof and easy to maintain. Grease drippings are managed with a special sear plate design and drip tray with disposable inserts.
Charcoal Grills vs. Gas Grills
Now that we’ve gone over our top picks, let’s take a closer look at the differences between charcoal and gas grills below.
Advantages of Charcoal Grills
Charcoal grills are normally much cheaper than propane and natural gas grills. In addition, the charcoal that fuels the grills is also more affordable than either natural gas or propane.
As far as temperatures go, charcoal grills are capable of reaching temperatures as high as 900 °F. These high temperatures make for superior searing of meats – which is incredibly important in the world of grilling.
Another advantage of charcoal grills, and definitely one of our favorites, is the unique charcoal flavor that meats are infused with while cooking on these types of grills. That said, the longer it cooks, the smokier the food tastes.
Disadvantages of Charcoal Grills
The major downside of the charcoal grill is that it is much messier to operate and clean than propane and natural gas grills. They are also harder to master heat control. In other words, you will need a bit of experience to get things just right – unlike gas grills that are adjustable with the turn of a dial.
Advantages of Gas Grills
Gas grills on the other hand are much easier to learn how to operate as they are much more similar to the stovetop in your kitchen than charcoal grills are. Also, many gas grills include various heat plates with different temperature ranges for easier cooking.
These grills are also easier to clean and maintain than charcoal types. Most of the time there is nothing more to clean than the actual cooking grates, other than a good wiping a few times a year.
A huge advantage that gas grills have over charcoal grills is the wide variety of accessories that are available. Gas grill accessories include everything from smoke boxes and extra burners to advanced grilling and rotisserie kits.
Disadvantages of Gas Grills
Gas grills, of course, do have downsides. Perhaps the biggest drawback to gas grills is that they are more dangerous to operate than charcoal grills. This is mainly due to the fact they rely on flammable gasses which, if improperly handled, can explode and cause serious damage.
Another downside is that they are typically a lot more expensive than charcoal grills. That said, gas grills are more complex and, well, you get what you pay for and all that jazz.
What to Look for in the Best Grill for You
Before putting that grill into your shopping cart and checking out, consider these factors:
The way a grill is put together, as well as the quality of its parts, is one of the biggest factors to consider when shopping for one. The build quality, as well as how well you maintenance the grill, determines the length of its lifespan. That said, well-made grills can last you an entire lifetime.
In the same breath however, the very same grill may only last a few short years if it is not cleaned, maintained, or protected from the elements. Again, the quality of components plays a role as well. That is why you should look for a grill with stainless steel parts.
When shopping for a grill, take into consideration how many people you want to feed. If you have a big family, you will need a grill with more cooking surface. Likewise, if you plan on cooking for large parties, you will need an even bigger cooking space.
On the other hand, if it is just you and the missus that you are grilling for, a small to mid-sized grill is more than adequate.
Ease of Use
How easy or hard a grill is to use makes a significant difference in how often you will use it, and how well it will work for you. You should therefore look for a grill that makes sense to you. Take a sneak peek at the features, as well as the instructions if possible, before making up your mind.
You’ll thank yourself later when you are enjoying cooking on your grill rather than fighting with the frustrations of burned and undercooked food.
The amount of heat that a grill is capable of is another incredibly important factor to consider. The heat factor of grills is shown in the BTU rating of the unit. The higher the BTUs a grill is capable of, the more heat it produces and maintains.
That said, you also have to look at the size and layout of a grill as well. A high BTU does not necessarily mean that the heat is evenly distributed along the cooking surface or retained in general.
If you are opting to purchase a natural gas or propane grill, you will be interested to know about all the great features they come with. In comparison to charcoal grills, many gas grills might as well be spaceships with all the bells and whistles that they have.
Better temperatures, heat plates, smoke boxes, rotisserie burners, and numerous other useful add-ons are available for gas grills. Just keep in mind, you will be paying the price for those features – they do not come for free.
The maintenance required to keep a grill fully functional is crucial to consider before making a purchase. Believe it or not, in this area, the gas grills are typically much less demanding than charcoal ones.
With charcoal grills, there is ash, burnt charcoal, soot, and carbon to clean after just about every use. Gas grills, on the other hand, can be brushed down and wiped off in a couple of minutes or less most times.
Depending on your budget, there is an affordable grill for you and your family. But you get what you pay for – so keep that in mind. A charcoal grill can be purchased for $100 or even less, and be of high quality. Gas grills on the other hand will run you up to $1,000 (or more).
Make sure that you shop around and take into account the quality of parts, BTUs, ease of use, and other important factors when comparing prices.
Any good grill comes with a warranty – regardless of whether they are charcoal, propane, or natural gas. If you are considering purchasing a grill without a warranty of at least a year or two we highly suggest having a further look.
All of the grills on our list include warranties. In fact, Weber grills come with an impressive ten year warranty.
FAQs About Gas and Charcoal Grills
Choosing the best grill doesn’t need to cause you a brain hemorrhage. That’s why we’ve added so much valuable information in our guide. But in case you are still looking for answers, here are the most frequently asked questions that people have about gas and charcoal grills.
What Is the Best Grill for the Money?
Weber Spirit II E-210, E-310, and other Weber Liquid Propane series grills are widely considered the best grill for the money. That said, the answer to this question really depends on how much money you are willing to spend.
What Is the Most Popular Grill?
The Weber Liquid Propane grills currently hold the title of the most popular grill (surprise, surprise!). They come with all the bells and whistles, have additional accessories available, run on affordable gas, and all at a fair price. The grill also has a 10-year warranty.
What Makes Weber Grills Better?
Weber grills are made from only the highest quality materials including 304 stainless steel and 430-grade steel parts and components. They offer high durability and ease of use as well as outstanding performance and value for the money. Plus, they are produced by a manufacturer well-known for their superior grills.
Is Weber BBQ Worth the Money?
If what you want is a simple three burner gas grill then the least expensive of all of the three burner grills, the Weber Spirit E310, is perfect – so, yes, it is worth the money if you want a good grill.
What Is the Best Gas Grill Under $500?
In our humble opinion, we find the following three choices to be the best gas grills under $500:
- Weber Spirit II E-310
- Weber Spirit II E-210
- Weber Q 1200.
What Grill Is Comparable to Weber?
Few grill manufacturers stack up to Weber. That said, Napoleon and Broil King are two such companies. The price, quality, and functionality of both brands are very much comparable to Weber. If you aren’t a Weber fan, we suggest considering one of these two.
Why Is a Weber Grill so Expensive?
A trusted and iconic grill maker, Weber produces the best affordable grills on the market. They are one of the few premium grill brands that make grills for less than a thousand dollars. But the best models cost close to, if not higher than, a thousand dollars.
All things considered, it is surprising they don’t cost more considering their high-end cast iron cooking grates, powerful burners, and stainless steel construction.
When’s the Best Time to Buy a Grill?
To get a deep discount on a gas grill or charcoal grill, the best time to buy is in September and the Fall. You will begin to see deals after the fourth of July, the pinnacle of the grilling season. But there are still weeks of good grilling weather ahead, so the best prices are yet to come.
How Long Should a BBQ Grill Last?
A good BBQ grill can last a lifetime. That said, most models are made to last anywhere from five to fifteen years. Of course, how often you clean your grill and how well you protect it from the weather is a huge factor as well.
For this reason, you should consider a good grill cover, which can dramatically increase the life of your grill by protecting it from the elements. In addition, using the best cleaners when you perform maintenance also prevents the deterioration of your grill.
What Warranty Does a BBQ Grill Come With?
Most BBQ grills come with a money-back guarantee that lasts for several weeks or months. In addition, they tend to include at least a one year warranty on the grill itself.
The best grills, such as Weber units, come with a genuinely top-notch ten year warranty from the manufacturer. The warranty typically covers all components, aside from regular wear and tear.
Choosing the Best Grill for You
Picking out a new grill for you and your family isn’t so hard. But it does require a bit of determination and patience to find the very best one. We prefer the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill because it’s compact and efficient.
Do you have a favorite gas or charcoal grill? If so, is it one from our list or something altogether different? Either way, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!