Outdoor Grill Buying Guide: How To Buy The Best Grill?

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Getting your family or friends out to the yard for a barbecue session can be super exciting and fun.

Whether it’s a summer evening or the biggest game night of the year, grilling is a great way to spend time with your loved ones while making some delectable dishes. But when buying one, there are a lot of things to look out for. 

There are different types of grills and so many options to choose from. Choosing the one that will work best for you can be difficult.

Even though there is no way to tell which one would be best for you, there is a way to figure out which grill will best meet your requirements.

So let’s check out this outdoor grill buying guide to know exactly what you should be looking for.

outdoor grill buying guide logo

Types Of Outdoor Grills

First and foremost, let’s go over the different grill types you can choose from. Grills are usually categorized according to the fuel they burn.

There are three main fuel types or types of grills. These are gas grills, pellet grills, and charcoal grills. As the names suggest, each of these burns a different kind of fuel. 

Gas Grills

Gas grills are top -rated due to their convenience. They are widespread, and you will usually find these grills built into a cart.

You can generally connect the gas grill with your home’s natural gas line or use a liquid propane tank that you can attach to the grill. These grills burn this gas to produce heat to cook your meat. 

Most gas grills can work, so you don’t necessarily have to choose one type of gas. But many folks prefer the liquid propane tanks over the natural gas line as this makes the grilling station portable. You can take the grill out in the yard or even carry it on picnics. 

With a natural gas grill, however, you’ll need to connect it to the main gas supply of your home, so it needs to be relatively close to the house, if not on the porch.

It depends on how far you can extend your gas line. Natural gas is cheaper and burns cleaner, so it is better for the environment. There’s no refilling involved.

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10/02/2023 01:42 am GMT

Pellet Grills

Pellet grills are a relatively new addition to the grill family. They produce fire and heat by burning wood pellets, giving your food a smoky flavor.

They come in both barrel styles and carts. There’s a computer that can heat the grill to specific temperatures and control the heat within the grill.

These grills work by moving the wood pellets to a burning pot and burning that wood to produce heat. A hopper on the side holds your wood pellets, and a rotating auger connected to the hopper moves the wood into the burning pot.

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10/01/2023 06:08 pm GMT

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills are perhaps the most traditional form of grilling. They also offer that smoky flavor in your meat from burning fires.

Since they have been around for so long, you can find charcoal grills in any shape or size.

These grills work by burning charcoal briquettes or lumps. You need to light these briquettes with time and patience.

As the charcoal burns, it turns into ash, and there’s usually a lot of smoke. You need to clean this ash once you’re done with grilling and keep your grill neat.

However, there’s not much control over the temperature, but it gets the job done.

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09/30/2023 08:15 pm GMT

How Do You Know What Grill To Buy?

What kind of grill you should buy depends on what type of meat you usually grill and, of course, your budget and needs. If you want a cheap grill, then charcoal grills are the way to go.

However, if you are willing to spend a little bit more money for a more customized experience, then pellet grills are a great option as you can precisely control the temperature.

On the other hand, gas grills produce less smoke while still giving you control over the heat. You can switch between high heat to sear your meat and low heat to cook it evenly.

It’s better for the environment if you use natural gas grills versus the other options.

But if you usually cook entire chickens or racks of ribs and need to use your grill for long periods, then something like a charcoal or pellet grill will work better for you.

Charcoal grills give you a fantastic flavor , but the only problem is that it takes a lot of work to get the fire going.

These grills need a lot of maintenance and proper cleaning, and it takes a lot of effort to light the charcoal and preheat the grill before you can even start grilling. But due to its flavor and price, it’s still a fan favorite.

For a completely customized and high-end experience, however, a pellet grill is the way to go. They come in cart and barrel styles and can cost anywhere from 350 USD to 1300 USD.

While this grill is more on the expensive side, it gives you the flavor component of charcoal grills while also providing you with the control of a gas grill.

So it’s like the best of both worlds. However, food-grade wood pellets can be difficult to source, and you might have to pre-order them online and plan accordingly.

Once you have decided on what type of grill you want to buy, next comes choosing a good brand. Let’s check out what to look for when buying a grill.

What Should You Look For In A Gas Grill?

The temperature range is the first thing to look for if you have decided to get a gas grill. The higher the temperature range score, usually, the better the grill.

The burners should also be good. Try to look for one with a ten-year warranty. You’ll also want to look for a sturdy and safe grill. Extra features are also a great perk.

Keep these factors in mind before buying a gas grill.

Size

The size will probably be the first deciding factor in which gas grill you get. There are usually four kinds: portable ones, small ones, medium ones, and large ones. Portable gas grills are great for small decks or to take along on trips.

Smaller gas grills are great for space-saving solutions if you don’t plan to take your grill out on trips. They can usually grill about 18 burgers or less.

On the other hand, if you plan on hosting large parties to cook for a lot of people, go for a larger grill that can hold 28 burgers or more. These usually come with features like gliding drawers, thicker grates, etc.

You can also go to the middle range and get the medium-sized ones, which usually hold about 18-28 burgers at a time.

These are the most popular and will probably be the best choice for most people.

Construction

When choosing a gas grill, be very careful about the construction of the grill.

You want the grill to be sturdy and safe so that it doesn’t topple over and cause any accidents, if it is in front of you test the grill with your hands and look for solid handles and sturdy wheels.

Try to go for stainless steel cards with seamless construction and welded joints. Also, look out for wheels with a full axle.

Regarding grates, look for ones with stainless steel or coated cast iron. These are fantastic long-term and can maintain even temperatures for grilling.

Temperature Range

If you do not plan on just grilling burgers and want to use your grill to sear fish and make excellent steaks with those scrumptious sear marks, be on the lookout for the temperature range score.

A good grill will give you a good range and proper control over the temperature. The higher the score, the better.

The amount of time it takes to preheat is also an essential factor. Try to read up on reviews and compare the heating times.

Contrary to popular belief, a higher BTU/hour does not necessarily mean a better model. So don’t worry too much about how much gas your grill uses and how hot it can get.

Burner

The burner is the part of your grill that you will need to replace the most often.

While it’s relatively cheap and doesn’t require much time to change, getting a grill with a burner warranty is still a good idea. The ones with a warranty will usually last you much longer than those without.

Having a side burner is also an excellent plus-point for any grill. While it isn’t necessary, having one can allow you to cook some corn on the side or keep any side dishes warm while you cook your meat.

Conversion Kits

When buying a gas grill, look for a grill with a dual fuel valve. These grills will allow you to use both natural gas and propane tanks and having a natural gas conversion kit on the grill is also a must.

Without it, you can’t use natural gas and must stick to propane. You can always buy a conversion kit for less than 100 USD if your grill doesn’t have one.

The great thing about having both options is that you can use the natural gas when your propane tank runs out.

If you want to move your grill to a specific location away from the natural gas source, you can use the propane tank and vice versa.

What Should You Look For In A Pellet Grill?

Since the best part about getting a pellet grill is the computer-monitored temperature control, look for a pellet grill with a broad temperature range.

A large hopper is also an excellent perk, as your grill will cook longer with a single load. Make sure to look for a grill that has a dedicated searing zone, as pellet grills are not that great at searing.

Let’s go a little deeper into each of these factors. 

Temperature Range

 When buying a Pellet Grill, you should get one with the best possible temperature range possible. Some grills go from 160 Fahrenheit to 600 Fahrenheit! Look for something with a similar range. 

While you can regulate the temperature to some extent on these grills, you cannot fully utilize the temperature range with gas or charcoal grills. 

Dedicated Searing Zones

Try to go for a grill that has a dedicated searing zone. This is because, in pellet grills, you will find heat deflectors all across the cooking surface that help prevent flare-ups and burning.

But this makes it harder for you to sear food as you won’t get a lot of concentrated heat to produce those beautiful sear marks.

So a dedicated searing zone can help you avoid the heat deflectors and get more concentrated heat to cook things like steak from a direct flame. 

Hopper Size

All pellet grills come with a hopper to hold the pellets that the grill will use for burning. If you want to avoid the hassle of refilling the hopper, again and again, try to buy a grill with a large hopper. 

This way, your hopper can hold more pellets each session and run for as long as the pellets last. The bigger your hopper, the longer the load will last. 

What Should You Look For In A Charcoal Grill?

If you want a charcoal grill, then your coal rack is the most important thing. Look for a grill with an adjustable coal bed.

It’s also essential that you can easily access the coal bed to add coal without harming yourself. Good airflow is another crucial factor in charcoal grills. 

Let’s learn a little more about how these factors affect your grill. 

Coal Bed

With charcoal grills, there’s no way for you to control the temperature on the grill as the charcoal itself reaches its peak heat at about 20 minutes, and that’s it.

So it’s vital that you can move the coal bed higher or lower to cook your food correctly. If you place your food close to the hot coal, the outside will burn, but the insides will remain raw.

So to get a well-cooked item, get a grill with adjustable height cooking grates or a charcoal bed. This way, you can control the heat better and get an even cook throughout the meat without burning the skin.

You should also have easy access to the coal to add more coal as it burns off. 

Air Flow

Airflow is essential in a charcoal grill as this is what regulates the heat. For a hotter fire, more air needs to flow over the coal, whereas if you want a slow-cook with a lower temperature, you should keep the airflow restricted. 

So get a grill with a tight-fitting lid and suitable dampers or vents to control the airflow better. Look for grills with at least two vents or more. 

Shape and Material

The shape of your grill, especially charcoal grills, can affect your cooking.

As charcoal will all burn at the same temperature , you can control the heat’s concentration with the grill’s shape. If you want to cook burgers or bratwurst, use a wide grill with a thin coal bed. 

If you want more concentrated heat, opt for a kettle or kamado grill with a deeper coal bed. As more coal is concentrated in one area, you can sear your meat or slow cook it by closing the dampers. 

You can also find ceramic and non-ceramic grills for kamado charcoal grills. Ceramic grills will be heavier and more airtight, allowing you to control the temperature better with dampers. They are great for holding in the heat for a long time.

On the other hand, non-ceramic grills have less temperature control as they are less insulated. They are usually cheaper, easy to move, and much lighter than ceramic grills. 

What Are the Benefits of Having an Outdoor Kitchen for Grilling?

Many people enjoy exploring the beauty of outdoor kitchens while grilling. It not only enhances the cooking experience but also offers several benefits. Outdoor kitchens provide a refreshing change of scenery , allowing you to cook and dine al fresco. Additionally, they keep the indoor area clean, prevent lingering smells, and provide ample space for entertaining guests. With outdoor kitchens, you can enjoy the flavorful grilling experience while being surrounded by nature’s beauty.

What Time Of Year Do Grills Go On Sale?

Since grills can be expensive, especially if you want a good quality grill, it’s a great idea to buy them in the fall or in September as this is when grills usually go on sale.

Most grilling seasons start after the Fourth of July, so you can expect to see good deals during this time. But for the best prices, fall is the way to go.

There are other sales and discounts throughout the year as well. March is when new models come out, and from April to July is when demand is the highest.

So you can keep a lookout for discounts on the model you want on websites. There are also some apps that will notify you of any deals on specific products you might like. 

What Type of Outdoor Grill Is Best for a Backyard Setup?

When choosing the perfect backyard grill setup, consider factors like cooking style, fuel type, and size. Gas grills are convenient and easy to use, while charcoal grills offer a smoky flavor. For larger gatherings, a spacious grill with multiple burners may be ideal. Consider your grilling preferences and space availability.

Conclusion

No matter what type of grill you buy, use this outdoor grill buying guide to make an informed decision and choose one that works best for you.

A sturdy grill with solid construction and a good temperature range is one option that you can’t go wrong with. 

Look out for cool extra features and a reasonable price, and you will get your hands on a grill that will last for years!