At $1,000 or more, a high-end gas grill is a pricey enhancement to your outdoor living space, but it doesn’t have to be. You can find quality gas grills with durable construction in a wide range of sizes at or below $500, from portable models suitable for a balcony to six-burner monsters that can feed a crowd. Affordable gas grills come in attractive painted or stainless steel finishes, and many models boast additional bells and whistles, such as side burners, integrated meat thermometers, and electronic ignitions. Keep reading to discover which features may be available in a gas grill at this price point, and learn why the picks described here are among the best on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Weber Spirit II E-210 2-Burner Propane Grill
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Nexgrill Deluxe 2-Burner Propane Gas Grill
- BEST MIDSIZE: Kenmore 3-Burner Propane Gas Grill
- BEST MULTI-FUEL: Char-Griller Flavor Pro 4-Burner Gas Grill
- BEST PORTABLE: Weber Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill
- BEST INFRARED: Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared 3-Burner Grill
- ST 2-BURNER: Cuisinart CGG-306 Chef’s Style Portable Gas Grill
- BEST LARGE: Monument Grills Larger 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill
- BEST COMPACT: Fuego Element Hinged Propane Gas Grill
How We Chose the Best Gas Grills Under $500
We considered a few important factors when compiling this review of the best gas grills under $500. As an outdoor appliance, a gas grill is subject to some pretty harsh conditions, so build quality is critical. We only chose grills made with cast aluminum or stainless steel, both of which create a sturdy structure that won’t wobble while also resisting rust and corrosion. We also limited our search to gas grills with porcelain-coated grates, which, although not indestructible, offer the best cooking performance for gas grills.
A grill’s heat output as related to the size of the cooking surface is a key performance factor. We only chose grills that produce at least 80 British thermal units (BTUs) per square inch of cooking surface, which is the minimum amount needed to evenly heat food. (For more information on BTUs, read the section Burner Number and BTUs that appears after our product reviews.) Additional important features include side burners, prep areas, and advanced technology such as built-in meat thermometers. Finally, we took aesthetics into account, leaning toward grills that hid their gas tanks and had stainless steel finishes versus those with exposed tanks and enamel paint coatings.
Our Top Picks
The gas grills in this list, which include smaller grills for those with space limitations, large models with numerous burners, and lightweight portable options for camping and tailgating, come from some of the top brands. All the grills feature quality build and ample heat output.
Weber’s Spirit—the kid brother of the brand’s higher-end Genesis line—benefits from the durable design and advanced technology features of its pricier sibling. While the Spirit II may lack a stainless steel finish and concealed tank, its cooking parts, which include a porcelain-enameled cooking grate and stainless steel heat deflector, make it one of the more durable grills available for under $500.
This model also features “flavorizer” bars under the cooking surface that reduce flare-ups while creating smoke to add flavor. It also boasts iGrill 3 wireless, which enables the chef to monitor temperatures for up to four items via a smart device (with the purchase of a compatible meat thermometer).
- Number of burners: 2
- Cooking space: 450 square inches
- BTUs: 26,500
- High-quality, powerful, and spacious gas grill from a leading grill brand
- Flavorizer bars reduce flare-ups and enhance flavor, and there’s a wireless temperature-control option
- Includes fuel gauge for gas bottle, folding side tables, and integrated tool hooks
- Comes at a premium price, and while faults are few, assembly can occasionally be awkward
Get the Weber Spirit II gas grill at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.
This quality Nexgrill model features two burners that put out a combined 28,000 BTUs, which is plenty of heat for its 385.16 square inches of cooking space (including the warming rack). The Nexgrill also comes with convenient features, including all-weather wheels that let the chef maneuver the grill into place, a removable grease tray for drippings, and hooks that hold three grill tools.
In addition to its bold fire-engine red color, the Nexgrill boasts an aesthetically pleasing streamlined design that becomes even sleeker when the side shelves are folded down. A covered cabinet hides the propane tank from view.
- Number of burners: 2
- Cooking space: 385.16 square inches
- BTUs: 28,000
- An attractive grill that offers high performance for its size at a budget-friendly price
- Electronic ignition, cast-iron grills, and “flame tamers” help reduce dripping and flare-ups
- Dual energy valves make converting to natural gas quick and easy
- The primary cooking surface may not be large enough for some
Get the Nexgrill gas grill at Amazon or The Home Depot (red model).
This Kenmore grill presents a step up from the smaller models that dominate the under-$500 price range. With three stainless steel burners and a 30,000-BTU output, it’s versatile, allowing the grill master to create three separate cooking zones. Its more than 512 square inches of cooking space can handle a few dozen burgers or a couple of steaks and multiple sides. Two side tables provide prep space.
The Kenmore is also one of the more stylish grills going, thanks to the streamlined look of its pedestal base. The three-burner grill is unusual in that it comes in seven color options, so you can coordinate it to suit the style of your outdoor living space.
- Number of burners: 3
- Cooking space: 512 square inches
- BTUs: 30,000
- 3 heat zones provide the cook with versatile grilling options
- 4 casters make it easy to move around; folding side tables allow compact storage
- Comes in 7 powder-coated color options to match almost any garden decor
- Some users found that the electronic ignition and thermometer can be problematic to use, and assembly is time-consuming
Get the Kenmore gas grill at Wayfair or The Home Depot.
Its ability to use gas, wood, and/or charcoal from its innovative flavor drawer makes this Char-Griller model an attractive option for those who like the convenience of gas but miss the flavor of charcoal. Its unique design consists of four 10,000-BTU burners set below a drawer that houses charcoal, wood, or pellets at the same time. The gas burners ignite these materials, creating smoke that infuses food with flavor.
In addition to the four burners, heat can be managed through two smokestack dampers that control airflow to the wood and charcoal. A slide-out tray makes it easier to clean up ashes after grilling. The Flavor Pro comes equipped with two large side tables for prep work and hooks for grill tools.
- Number of burners: 4
- Cooking space: 725 square inches
- BTUs: 40,000
- Combines the ease of gas cooking with the flavor enhancement of wood, charcoal, or pellets
- Unique Flavor Drawer and adjustable smokestack dampers for precise temperature control
- Stainless steel for durability with slide-out ashtray for easy cleanup
- Some users find temperature control challenging
Get the Char-Griller gas grill at The Home Depot.
With a compact size and the ability to fold, Weber’s Q2200 gas grill is ideal for tailgating, camping trips, and other excursions. It boasts 280 square inches of cooking area, which is fairly large for a portable grill. Side tables fold out on either side, adding prep space.
Its single stainless steel burner puts out 12,000 BTUs, which is plenty of heat for the size of the cooking area. An electronic ignition makes the grill easy to start, while a large knob provides flame control. With a rugged cast-aluminum lid and stainless steel burners, the Q2200 is one of the more durable portable gas grills on the market. The grill can run off standard 20-pound propane tanks or smaller 1-pound cylinders.
- Number of burners: 1
- Cooking space: 280 square inches
- BTUs: 12,000
- Compact when folded for easy portability, yet surprisingly spacious in use
- Rugged construction suitable for camping, RVing, or at home
- Can run off 1-pound propane canisters or a 20-pound tank (adapter hose required)
- Expensive for a single burner grill, and not light at 43.5 pounds
Get the Weber Q2200 gas grill at Amazon or The Home Depot.
Those who like the perfect sear will want to consider this Char-Broil model. Its three burners create even heat and a sear on steaks and other meats. A 450-square-inch cooking surface provides ample space for food. And while its three burners emit just 24,000 BTUs, significantly less than other three-burner grills, its infrared technology makes up for that, efficiently directing heat toward the cooking surface.
Like other Char-Broil Performance Series grills, this model is one of the more affordable stainless steel options on the market. Other nice features include two large side tables, a 10,000-BTU side burner, and a swing-away warming rack.
- Number of burners: 3 plus side
- Cooking space: 450 square inches
- BTUs: 34,000 (primary plus side)
- Infrared power reduces flare-ups and provides even temperature across the grill
- Wide cooking range with push button starting and built-in temperature gauge
- Powerful extra side burner with fold-down lid for extra prep space
- The 3 main burners are not as powerful as similar-size models from competitors
Get the Char-Broil gas grill at Amazon.
The Cuisinart two-burner gas grill offers the cooking ability of a freestanding grill, but in portable form. In many ways, it does this successfully. There is 275 square inches of grilling area with an output of up to 20,000 BTUs. A built-in handle makes it easy to carry, and it weighs under 30 pounds. There are clips to make sure it stays closed when being carried.
High-quality components are used throughout. There’s a useful temperature gauge in the lid, twist-start electronic ignition, and two dials for independent heating zones. The Cuisinart gas grill is very popular, though some feel it is a little awkward to clean. In standard form, it uses a 20-pound gas bottle. According to buyers, adapters are available for 1-pound disposable bottles, but these cost extra.
- Number of burners: 2
- Cooking space: 275 square inches
- BTUs: 20,000
- Combines competitive performance with easy portability and weighs under 30 pounds
- Independently-controlled burners allow for 2 cooking zones at different temperatures
- Built-in gauge lets cooks monitor temperature without lifting the lid
- An adapter is required for 1-pound gas bottles but is not included
Get the Cuisinart gas grill at Amazon, The Home Depot, or BBQ Guys.
With a budget of only $500, it can be a challenge to find a gas grill big enough to feed a large family or group of friends at a backyard cookout. This model from Monument Grills is a very affordable solution. There are four main burners, plus a useful side burner, providing a total of 723 square inches of cooking area. With 60,000 BTUs available, there’s plenty of heating power, too.
Included in the impressive feature set are a powered rotisserie kit and porcelain-coated cast-iron grates. Flame tamers reduce flare-ups and direct the heat where it’s most needed, and cool-blue LED control knobs offer clear visibility as it gets dark. Given the size and performance, the Monument gas grill offers great value for money.
- Number of burners: 4 plus side
- Cooking space: 723 square inches
- BTUs: 60,000
- Delivers exceptional performance and cooking space with 4 main burners plus a side burner
- A powered rotisserie kit is included, providing outstanding value for money
- Includes electronic ignition, “flame tamers,” and LED controls for nighttime visibility
- Some users reported that the grill is tricky to assemble
Get the Monument Grills gas grill at The Home Depot.
Many types of grills, even portable models, take up considerable space. Yards and gardens in modern urban homes can often be small, so finding a grill that will fit and still offers enough space to cook for all the family can be difficult. The award-winning design of the Fuego gas grill overcomes this problem. With the lid closed it has a footprint of only 21 inches square. Yet it still offers 346 square inches of cooking area and 22,000 BTU of heat. Maximum heat of 650 degrees Fahrenheit provides excellent searing. Grease drops straight through to a residue tray for easy cleaning.
The propane gas bottle is neatly hidden within the body. Where space allows, a side table can be fitted for extra preparation space. The compact Fuego gas grill also has an optional griddle plate and pizza stone for added cooking versatility.
- Number of burners: 2
- Cooking space: 346 square inches
- BTUs: 22,000
- Compact 21-inch by 21-inch footprint makes it ideal for small spaces, even balconies
- Dual-zone grilling delivers balanced heat, and heavy-duty grate provides high temperature searing
- Optional griddle and pizza stone kit offer excellent cooking versatility
- Assembly can be frustrating and takes at least 30 minutes
Get the Fuego gas grill at Amazon or The Home Depot.
What to Consider When Choosing a Gas Grill Under $500
When selecting a gas grill, consider several factors, including size, build quality, and heat output. Ahead, learn more about these and other gas grill characteristics.
Size and Cooking Area
When shopping for a grill, the first consideration is usually its size. While a large grill can cook a lot of food at one time and provide prep space on its side tables, it also occupies a good deal of space on a deck, balcony, or patio. Size, of course, also determines a grill’s portability.
Grill size is generally described in terms of the cooking surface, which is usually provided in square inches. Grills at the under-$500 level come in a range of sizes, from portable models with about 250 square inches of cooking surface to large flat-top grills with more than 700 square inches of cooking space. A mid-tier grill with approximately 400 square inches of cooking area measures around 4 feet long, while 600-square-inch models are closer to 5 feet long.
Build quality determines how long a grill will last, and the $500 models are at the low- to mid-tier level. A grill at this price point typically has a body made of folded sheet metal with some plastic parts. Though not as durable as the solid all-metal materials used in more expensive grills, it’s still fairly high-quality. Most grills at this price point have enamel coatings versus fancier all-stainless steel finishes, although a few stainless steel models can be found for under $500.
Since the grate on any grill typically wears out before the rest of the appliance and can be costly to replace, the grill’s grate material is an important consideration. On the best gas grills under $500, the grate material is porcelain-coated iron, which does an excellent job of retaining heat while resisting rust. However, porcelain-coated grates eventually rust as the protective coating wears off and the iron core is exposed to air and moisture. Most grills also have warming grates, which consist of stainless steel.
Burner Number and BTUs
A gas grill’s ability to reach temperatures high enough to sear that perfect char on steaks and burgers is directly related to how much heat it can put out. Like gas heaters, the heat output for gas grills is measured in the BTUs each of its burners produces. A gas grill with four 10,000-BTU burners produces a total of 40,000 BTUs.
The larger the grill cooking surface, the more BTUs it needs to evenly heat the surface. As a rule of thumb, a good gas grill should produce between 80 and 100 BTUs per square inch. For example, a grill with 450 square inches of cooking surface should have enough burners to produce 36,000 to 40,000 BTUs of heat. Some gas grills include a sear burner, which emits 15,000 BTUs, to produce the high temperature required to achieve a brown crust on meat.
Gas grills use either propane or natural gas for fuel. Very few pure natural gas grills are at the $500 price point, as the grills that typically use this fuel type are high-end built-in grills. Most gas grills under $500 use liquid propane, which comes in 20-pound fuel tanks or 1-pound canisters for small, portable models. Some propane gas grills under $500 can be converted to a natural gas grill with an extra conversion kit. Some dual-fuel propane gas grills also burn wood or charcoal.
Many gas grills come with additional features designed to make grilling easier, such as electronic ignition systems that eliminate the need to use a lighter or match, fuel gauges that allow the chef to monitor the amount of gas left in the tank, and side burners for cooking sauces and side dishes. Some grills even come with a wireless meat thermometer system that can let the cook monitor food temperature from a smartphone. “Flavorizer” bars vaporize meat juices to create smoke to flavor the food.
The Advantages of Owning One of the Best Gas Grills Under $500
While high-end grills have attractive features, there’s much to be said for the performance of grills under $500. In addition to costing less, they feature ample BTU outputs for the size of their grilling surfaces and come in a surprisingly wide range of size choices. Grills in this price range include portable models as well as large six-burner units. A quality grill at this price range generally offers excellent bang for its buck because its lifespan is similar to a high-end grill.
- Ample BTU output for cooking
- Similar lifespan as more expensive grills
- Wide range of size options
If you’re wondering how to maintain your new gas grill or how long you can expect it to last, then read below to find answers to these and other burning questions about these outdoor cooking appliances.
Q. How do I clean my gas grill?
Good scrapers can do much of the work, ideally when the grill is still hot. Use one to remove buildup from the grates as well as the inside of the lid. Next, move on to the heating elements, using a plastic scraper to free any debris from the burners or heat deflectors and a wire brush to scrape the burners. After scraping, brush all the debris into the grease trap below to dispose of it. Finish by wiping out the grill with a damp rag or paper towel.
Q. How many BTUs should a gas grill have?
Experts recommend that a gas grill should have between 80 and 100 BTUs per square inch of cooking surface in order for it to be able to produce evenly cooked meat, regardless of the type or the cut. For searing meat to enhance the rich flavors, shoppers may want to look for a grill with a sear burner that can produce 15,000 BTUs. This may be the function of one of the existing burners, but it is often a separate side burner.
Q. How do you start a gas grill?
First, you should always read the instructions that come with the gas grill. While most are similar, there may be individual features that are different, and you’ll want to know how to use them to your best advantage. Generally speaking, in order to start a gas grill, you need to open the valve on the relevant burner and press the electric ignition button. This creates a spark that will ignite the gas. Turn the control knob to regulate the amount of heat and flame provided.
Q. Can I convert a propane grill to a natural gas grill?
Whether you can convert a propane grill to a gas grill will depend on the device itself. Manufacturers of some propane grills do supply a natural gas conversion kit, and these are often marked as dual-fuel models. Sometimes the relevant kit is included in the price, but often it costs extra. Many propane gas grills do not come with a kit, and in this case, a DIY conversion should not be attempted. It is not only dangerous but will usually void the warranty.
Q. How long will my gas grill last?
The life of a gas grill varies considerably, and it’s difficult to make generalizations. The quality of the product, how often it is used, how well it is cleaned, and where it is stored all have an impact. This is another case where reading the manufacturer’s instructions is important to understand maintenance requirements, and to make sure the grill lasts as long as possible. A well-cared-for gas grill should last a minimum of 5 years, but it could last as long as 15 years.
Q. What temperature do you cook steaks on a gas grill?
Most professional cooks recommend that the best temperature for cooking steaks is between 450 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Coincidentally, this is usually the max temp range of most gas grills. Cooking steak at these temperatures allows you to create that sought-after sear (or brown crust) that locks in the meat juices, retaining maximum flavor. Of course, cooking great steaks is just one function of a good gas grill, so being able to use lower temperatures is equally important.
Q. How do you use a smoker box on a gas grill?
While it’s a good idea to read the maker’s instructions, we can make some suggestions that will suit most models. Turn on all the burners to preheat the grill and load the smoker box with wood chips. Place the smoker box over the burner you plan to leave on; then turn off all the other burners. Place the meat over the unlit burners and adjust the level of the still-lit burners until the grill reaches an internal temperature of 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Check how long the smoker box should be left for maximum flavor enhancement.
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