A gas grill is essential to complete any outdoor living space, but these outdoor cooking appliances don’t come cheap. A good gas grill can approach $1,000 or more, making adding one to the patio or deck a considerable investment. Luckily, there are plenty of quality gas grills for under $300. And while they may lack the aesthetics and the bells and whistles of higher-end models, they offer surprisingly similar performance. Grills at this price point range from large four-burner models to small portable gas grills for tailgating and camping. Ahead, learn about what factors one should consider when shopping for the best gas grills under $300 and find out why the models below are some of the best options on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Cuisinart CGG-7400 Four-Burner Gas Grill
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Char-Broil 3-Burner Charcoal and Gas Combo Grill
- BEST MIDSIZE: American Gourmet 463773717 Char-Broil Classic
- BEST PORTABLE: Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill
- BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: Char-Broil 463673519 Performance Series 2-Burner
- ALSO CONSIDER: Weber Q-1200 Portable Gas Grill
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Gas Grills Under $300
While size is crucial when choosing the right gas grill for a living space, it’s just as vital to make sure the grill produces enough heat to support the area of its cooking surface. Ahead, learn why heat flux is such a crucial factor when shopping for a gas grill along with other important factors.
One of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a gas grill is its heat output as it pertains to the size of the grill’s cooking surface. This is known as heat flux. To calculate heat flux, divide the total amount of the grill’s BTUs (British Thermal Units), a measurement of heat output, by its square inches of cooking surface. For example, a grill with 450 square inches of cooking surface heated by four 10,000-BTU burners (40,000 BTUs total) will have a heat flux of 89. As a rule of thumb, a grill should have a heat flux between 80 and 100 to provide enough output to evenly cook food.
Number of Burners and Cooking Area
The number of burners a grill has determines how versatile it is. More burners allow the chef to create different cooking zones, making it easier to grill different types of foods at one time. For example, a grill with four burners might allow the chef to sear steaks at a high temperature on one part of the grill while roasting vegetables at a medium temperature in another zone. The more cooking area a grill has, the more burners it can support, giving the chef the ability to create more cooking zones.
The vast majority of gas grill grates consist of porcelain-coated iron. Iron retains heat better than other metals, such as stainless steel, allowing the grill to more easily maintain a constant temperature. The porcelain coating protects the iron from water and air that would cause rust to form on the iron. While porcelain-coated iron is one of the best performing materials, the coating does eventually wear off, causing the grates to rust and deteriorate, which is why there are some gas grills that opt for stainless steel.
Most gas grills have shields that cover the gas burners which serve two purposes. The shields prevent drips from hitting the open flame, causing flare-ups, while also creating smoke that instills flavor into the food above.
Given that portable gas grills are less expensive than most full-size grills, there are many to choose from at the under $300 price point. Portable gas grills typically weigh between 30 and 40 pounds, which is manageable enough for one or two people to carry. They are typically compact enough to load into a trunk with some larger models having wheels that make them easier to transport from vehicle to cooking site. A good portable gas grill should be durably made with steel or iron construction that can endure the rigors of tailgating, camping, and being transported in a car trunk or the bed of a truck.
Gas grills come with numerous additional features designed to make them easier to use. While grills at the $300 level don’t have as many features as higher-end grills, they still offer some nice extras, including side burners for cooking sauces, warming racks for rolls and cooked food, hooks and storage cabinets for grill tools, side shelves for prepping food, and electronic ignitions that make the grill easier to light.
Our Top Picks
The list below takes into account the above considerations to narrow the field to some of the top cheap grills on the market. Our picks for the best grills to buy feature large four burner grills, small portable models, and everything in between.
While the stainless steel finish on the top of this grill certainly makes it a handsome addition to any outdoor living space, what’s really to like about this gas grill is what’s under the lid. It’s equipped with four 11,000-BTU burners for its 443 square inches of cooking surface, giving it a heat flux of close to 100. That’s more than enough heat to sear steaks and burgers.
There’s more to like, too, including its cast-iron cooking grates, large side tables for prepping food, and handy bottle opener mounted next to the control panel. There is one significant trade-off. Cuisinart equips this grill with a piezo ignition as opposed to an electronic one, which can make it frustrating to start. It also lacks some extras that other models at this price point offer, such as a side burner.
- Cooking surface: 443 square inches
- Burners: 4
- BTUs: 44,000
- Impressive heat output
- Stainless steel hood and control panel
- Convenient bottle opener
- No electronic ignition
- No side burner
With the ability to cook with gas and charcoal simultaneously, this grill offers exceptional value for its price. It consists of two separate fireboxes. Both sides boast nearly 800 square inches of combined cooking space, making this grill ideal for large backyard barbecues. Just keep in mind that it takes up a chunk of real estate at nearly 6 feet long.
In addition to the massive cooking surface, this combo grill also comes with some useful extras, including porcelain-coated cast-iron cooking grates that provide excellent heat transfer and durability, a 12,000-BTU side burner, temperature gauges on each side, and a crank that allows the user to change the height of the charcoal grate while grilling. Features such as a grease catcher and slide-out ash pan make post-grilling cleanup easier, while large casters allow the user to maneuver this beast in and out of position.
- Cooking surface: 780 square inches
- Burners: 3 plus charcoal
- BTUs: 30,000 (gas side)
- Massive cooking surface
- Can grill with gas and charcoal simultaneously
- Side burner
- Adjustable charcoal rack
- Takes up a lot of space
- Gas side has a low heat flux
While this grill’s painted black exterior and unassuming appearance may not be much for looks, it’s what’s under the hood that counts. Despite its modest 360 square inches of cooking space, it boasts three 10,000-BTU burners that provide ample heat for its cooking space. And though it may lack the stainless steel looks of other grills, it makes up for it in durability. In short, it’s built like a tank, thanks to its porcelain-coated steel lid, firebox and side shelves, and stainless steel burner.
At 51 inches wide, it has a smaller footprint than other gas grills, making it ideal for smaller patios and decks. Large wheels on the side make it easy to move into position and back into storage when the day’s barbecuing is over.
- Cooking surface: 360 square inches
- Burners: 3
- BTUs: 30,000
- Ample heat output
- Its smaller profile takes up less space
- Durable steel construction
- Not as attractive as other grills
- No under-grill storage
There are plenty of portable grills to choose from at the sub-$300 price point, but few rival the design and performance of the RoadTrip. That makes sense, given that Coleman is one of the best-known names in camping gear. The RoadTrip hits all the right points for a portable grill. It consists of durable steel construction, making it a tad heavy for a portable grill at just over 46 pounds, but ensuring it will hold up to the abuse of bumping along in a trunk or a pickup truck bed. Its grilling area, which is supported by three burners, is among the largest for portable gas grills at 285 square inches.
It’s versatile, too, with interchangeable grate and griddle-style cook plates that the chef can trade out. And while most portable gas grills require a tabletop, the RoadTrip is attached to a set of legs that conveniently fold up. Two large wheels allow the user to transport it like a wheeled suitcase.
- Cooking surface: 285 square inches
- Burners: 3
- BTUs: 20,000
- Solid steel and cast-iron construction
- Grate and griddle cooking plates
- Collapsible legs
- Fold-out side tables
- A little on the heavy side for a portable grill
With a streamlined design that gives it a small footprint, this member of Char-Broil’s Performance Series line of grills is a great option for those with limited outdoor living space. The grill measures just 24 inches wide when its side tables are folded down, allowing one to slide it into a corner when not in use. Despite its small size, it still provides 300 square inches of cooking space, which are heated by two 12,000 BTU burners.
Its large casters make it easy to wheel into place when it’s time to barbecue, and two large side tables, which extend 1 foot from either side, provide ample prep space for uncooked food waiting on deck as well as entrees and sides coming off the grill. Useful additional features include a thermometer integrated into the lid and an electric ignition.
- Cooking surface: 300 square inches
- Burners: 2
- BTUs: 24,000
- Compact size takes up less space
- Stainless steel lid
- Large fold-up side tables
- Attractive look
This grill from one of the best grill brands in the business is one of the best portable gas grills on the market. It boasts 189 square inches of cooking space, which is enough to grill half a dozen hamburgers or a few steaks. With its porcelain-coated cast-iron construction, one can expect this portable grill to handle the rigors of trips to the campsite or the stadium parking lot. While this construction does make it heavier, it weighs a manageable 30 pounds.
Two side tables fold out from the body, providing useful space for prepping food or as a landing spot for food coming off the grill. A handy vent beneath the grill catches drippings, making it easier to clean when the barbecue is over. Its electric ignition is a nice touch, making it easier to start than the piezo lighter most portable gas grills have. The Q 1200 comes in a variety of color options and runs off of a 1-pound propane canister.
- Cooking surface: 189 square inches
- Burners: 1
- BTUs: 8,500 BTUs
- Durable cast-iron construction
- Electronic ignition
- Foldout side shelves
- A little heavy for a portable grill
With its stainless steel finish, ample cooking surface, and powerful set of four burners, it’s hard to top the Cuisinart Four-Burner Gas Grill for cheap barbecue grills under $300. If you have limited space for a gas grill, consider the Char-Broil Performance Series 2-Burner Gas Grill, which measures just 24 inches long.
How We Chose the Best Gas Grills Under $300
Since a grill must endure the weather, extreme temperatures, and greasy food, build quality is important when considering any gas grill. Despite their low price point, many of the grills under $300 use similar materials as higher-priced grills. We only chose grills with porcelain-coated iron or stainless steel construction. Since aesthetics are important when it comes to gas grills, models with stainless steel lids and bodies ranked higher than those with painted cast iron. We also limited our selections mainly to grills with cast-iron grates, which offer the best cooking performance.
Since heat flux is part and parcel to a gas grill’s ability to cook food evenly, we chose mainly grills with heat flux ratings between 80 and 100. We also favored grills with additional features, such as electronic ignitions, side burners, grill tool storage, and integrated thermometers.
If you’re wondering what the most durable brand of gas grill is or how to maintain your new gas grill, then read on for answers to these and other questions.
Q. What gas grill lasts the longest?
While durability varies from grill to grill, Weber has the best reputation for producing the most durable grills on the market. This is due to the excellent construction of such models as its Weber Q-1200.
Q. Do I need to clean a gas grill?
You should clean a gas grill periodically. Never hose off a gas grill, which could cause it to rust. Instead, use a scraper and wire brush to clean residue and char from the grates and the inside of the hood and firebox. Then, wipe it down with a damp cloth.
Q. Can I turn on all burners at the same time on a gas grill?
Yes. In fact, you should turn all of the grill’s burners to high in order to preheat the grill before cooking.