If you have a natural gas supply to your home, you can't beat the convenience of a natural gas grill. Natural gas costs less than propane, and there's no chance it will run out halfway through your meal prep. With a huge number of models available, it can be confusing trying to find the perfect solution for your family, so we put together this concise report.
Read on to learn the key aspects you should consider when shopping for a natural gas grill. We also provide information about a few of our favorites, including the stainless steel Weber Summit, which stands out for its tremendous capacity and great flexibility.
Considerations when choosing natural gas grills
The two most important aspects to consider are the grill's cooking area, which is usually given in square inches (sq. in.), and the amount of heat it can produce, which is rated in British thermal units per hour (BTU).
Experts provide all kinds of estimates as to how many square inches of grilling space you need per person, and of course, it depends the food you're grilling. Here's a starting point: a 500 sq. in. grill holds about two dozen burgers. Based on the type of food you're preparing, you can eyeball it from there.
When it comes to the amount of power in a natural gas grill, an output of 75 to 100 BTU per square inch is considered optimal. Modern grills tend to retain heat very well.
Number of burners
The number of burners a grill has makes a difference. It isn't just about heat generated; it's also about the ability to create different cooking zones across the grill surface. On a larger grill, there may be side burners that provide additional cooking area for sauces and what have you. There may be a warming rack, a smoker, or a rotisserie. Of course, these additional features add to the price.
A wheeled grill is more mobile, but the length of connecting pipe may be restrictive, so be sure to check it out first if this matters to you. Built-in natural gas grills are popular; many keen cooks prefer to furnish their outdoor kitchen space with a built-in grill. These models often offer a larger capacity for the money, but there is the cost of other materials to consider.
Other notable features
Electric start: An electric start is common on today's natural gas grills. If you want fuss-free ignition, consider this option.
Thermostat: On today's natural gas grills, a thermostat is almost always included.
Stainless steel: Stainless steel is a preferred grill material, as it transfers heat efficiently and is easy to clean.
If you want a basic natural gas grill for a low price, expect to spend around $400. Some two-burner models sell for this amount. Add another burner, and you'll pay closer to $600. Grills with four or five burners typically run from $1,100 to $1,800, and large built-in models with rotisseries can top $4,000.
Q. Is a natural gas grill better than a propane grill?
A. If a grill has sufficient output, there's no noticeable difference in quality. The appeal of natural gas is that it's cheaper than propane, and since it's most likely supplied to your home already, you don't have to keep going out for refills.
A. Ideally, you'd want it to have a smoker box. If there isn't one available, try wrapping damp wood chips in foil. Pierce a few holes in the parcel and place the parcel on the grill with the lid closed.
Our take: A high-capacity model from a market leader that is big enough to feed the neighborhood.
What we like: Main cooking area offers 693 sq. in., and warming rack adds another 145 sq. in. Six burners deliver 60,000 BTU. Has side burner, searing burner, and smoker. Long hose (10 feet) affords unrestricted movement.
What we dislike: Expensive. Stainless steel could be more robust on hood and doors.
Our take: A high-quality grill of medium size; ideal for many families.
What we like: Over 500 sq. in. cooking area, plus 156 sq. in. warming rack. Three burners provide up to 39,000 BTU. Convenient grease management, side tables, and tool hooks. Generous 10-year warranty.
What we dislike: No enclosed storage. Owners are critical of customer service.
Our take: Beautifully made stainless steel grill with smoker head and rotisserie included.
What we like: 830 sq. in. cooking area. Maximum 75,000 BTU. Excellent quality throughout. Stainless steel grates. Cast stainless steel burners have lifetime warranty. Adjustable rack. Two useful interior lights.
What we dislike: Not much. Needs to be built in, which won't suit everyone.
Bob Beacham is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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