The Best Natural Gas Grills for Backyard Barbecues

Because you won’t have to hassle with propane tanks, natural gas grills offer convenience and capability in one package.

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The Best Natural Gas Grills Option

Photo: homedepot.com

Picture the scene: It’s a party in your backyard, with friends, neighbors, and family. Kids are splashing in the pool. Cold drinks are chilling in every hand. Everyone’s looking forward to burgers, dogs, and chicken fresh off the grill. You turn the valve to open your propane tank, but the grill won’t light. You’re out of gas.

The best natural gas grills won’t leave you hanging with no fuel. These grills tie directly into your home’s natural gas supply, offering a constant source of fuel to prevent last-minute trips to the local propane swap. They’re clean, convenient, and easy to use. One just might be the best grill for your backyard cookout.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Weber Genesis II E-315 3-Burner Natural Gas Grill
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Weber Spirit II E-310 3-Burner Natural Gas Grill
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Weber Genesis II S-435 4-Burner Natural Gas Grill
The Best Natural Gas Grills Option

Photo: homedepot.com

What to Consider When Choosing Among the Best Natural Gas Grills

The best natural gas grills aren’t so different from traditional gas grills. They light in a similar manner and are just as easy to maintain and use. But there are few points to understand before cooking with them.

Freestanding vs. Built-In

There are two main types of natural gas grills: freestanding and built-in. Which of the two will work best is largely a personal preference.

As the name suggests, freestanding natural gas grills stand on their own, similar to a basic gas or charcoal grill. Some have cabinets underneath for storing items or hiding the natural gas line. You can put a freestanding grill anywhere a natural gas line will reach. They are typically less expensive than a built-in grill and are easy to store away in the winter.

Built-in natural gas grills are designed to slide into a nook meant specifically for a grill. They’re the best choice for an outdoor kitchen where you build the appliances into place as part of the outdoor room’s design. While they don’t have legs, the cooking area is not necessarily smaller than a freestanding grill. Built-in grills create a more seamless look than a freestanding grill.

Material and Construction

The bodies, legs, and lids of grills are usually made of either stainless steel or standard painted steel.

  • Stainless steel is the most durable material. It’s corrosion resistant, long-lasting, and easy to clean, but it’s also expensive and heavy.
  • Painted steel is less expensive and lighter, but might not last as long due to corrosion.

Grill grates are usually made of stainless steel, porcelain- or ceramic-coated cast iron, or cast iron.

  • Stainless steel grates are easier to clean and lighter than cast iron. They heat up faster but don’t retain heat as well.
    Cast-iron grill grates retain heat well, offering a cooking surface with a consistent temperature, but they are more likely to corrode.
    Coated cast-iron grates offer the best of both worlds, but the ceramic or porcelain coating can chip, resulting in rusting.

Size and Weight

Size and weight aren’t much of a concern for built-in grills, but those factors do matter for freestanding models you’ll be moving around. Striking the right balance between work surface size and portability is key.

A compact natural gas grill may weigh 80 or 90 pounds, while a larger stainless steel grill can weigh more than 250 pounds. Most freestanding grills have wheels built in to make it fairly easy to move them around the patio or into the garage for winter storage.

Many manufacturers use the number of burgers that will fit on the grill at one time as a measurement of its size. A larger grill might fit 30 or more burgers and measure more than 5 feet across (including the side wings). A compact grill might fit 18 or 20 burgers and measure less than 3 feet across.

Cooking Surface

There’s more to a grill’s cooking surface than the amount of burgers it can hold. You should also consider the number of burners it has and whether it has side-burners, warming racks, and more.

A compact or smaller grill will usually have enough room to cook a handful of burgers and hot dogs as well as a rack for warming buns. These grills generally offer around 400 square inches of cooking surface, two burners, and a small prep surface on either side of the grill.

Large grills can offer 700 to 900 square inches of cooking surface and hold enough burgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, and steak for a crowd. Since not all of those meats cook at the same temperature, large grills usually have several adjustable burners. These grills often have additional cooking surfaces like side burners for pans.

Heating Output

Natural gas does not provide as high of a temperature as propane does, so it’s important to keep an eye on heat output. When a manufacturer designs a natural gas grill, they’ll use larger jets (or gas nozzles) to allow more natural gas to flow through than would be typical for a propane grill. This increased volume compensates for the lower-burning temperature.

Manufacturers describe the heat output of their grills with British Thermal Units (BTUs). The higher the BTUs, the greater the heat output. Proper heat output is relative to the size of the grill. A smaller grill will have fewer burners, producing (but also requiring) less heat. A larger grill with 45,000 or more BTUs will heat quickly while also providing an even heat across its entire cooking surface. A smaller grill with 20,000 to 30,000 BTUs will do the same.

Additional Features

For convenience, the best natural gas grills include features like electronic igniter switches and thermometers for monitoring the grill temperature. Some even feature built-in Bluetooth compatibility and can accept digital meat thermometers that transmit the internal temperature of a piece of meat directly to your mobile device.

Additional work space and extra burners are also worth noting. Some of the best natural gas grills have folding side wings that offer a wide surface for placing platters while cooking but then drop down for easy storage. They also have burners for heating sauerkraut, pan-frying onions and peppers, and other food-prep related activities.

Ease of Cleaning

Natural gas grills are just as easy to clean as propane-burning models. They have built-in grease catchers underneath for food drippings to minimize messes. Stainless steel is by far the easiest material to clean and maintain, with porcelain- or ceramic-coated cast iron coming in second place. Cast iron is a little more difficult to clean and requires a coat of oil to stay rust-free. Soap and water are suitable for cleaning any of these materials, but a grill cleaner might do a better job. You can also crank up the burners to heat them, and then brush them clean in between regular cleanings.

Our Top Picks

Keeping all of the top considerations in mind, here are some of the best natural gas grills on the market.

Best Overall

The Best Natural Gas Grills Option: Weber Genesis II E-315 3-Burner Natural Gas Grill
Photo: amazon.com

When it comes to an all-around capable grill, would-be grillmasters should check out this 3-burner natural gas grill from Weber. This freestanding grill features a porcelain-enameled stainless steel lid and grill grates, offering durability and easy cleaning. It has three burners and produces 39,000 BTUs, providing plenty of output for grilling up to 20 burgers at once.

The Weber has some desirable built-in features as well. It has Bluetooth capability, tying in with the iGrill 3 thermometer to send meat temperatures directly to a mobile device. It also has an electronic ignition for easy starts. While it does weigh 194 pounds, the large wheels make scooting it around the patio a bit easier.

Pros

  • Porcelain-enameled stainless steel construction
  • 39,000 BTU output
  • Bluetooth capability for temperature control
  • Electronic ignition

Cons

  • Assembly required
  • Heavy
  • Cover not included


Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Natural Gas Grills Option: Weber Spirit II E-310 3-Burner Natural Gas Grill
Photo: amazon.com

Grilling a delicious meal doesn’t always require the most expensive tools. This budget-friendly model has features similar to grills twice the price. The Weber features three stainless steel burners, porcelain-enameled (and reversible) cast-iron grills, and folding side shelves.

The grill’s lid and body are painted steel; though not the most durable material, it does keep the price and weight down. This model has room for 21 burgers and produces 30,000 BTUs. If corrosion is a concern, rolling the 114-pound grill inside for winter storage is easy, thanks to its large wheels.

Pros

  • Stainless steel and porcelain-enameled cast-iron construction
  • 30,000 BTU output
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Built-in folding side shelves

Cons

  • Assembly required
  • Cover not included
  • Limited corrosion resistance


Upgrade Pick

The Best Natural Gas Grills Option: Weber Genesis II S-435 4-Burner Natural Gas Grill
Photo: amazon.com

Serious backyard chefs should check out this generously sized freestanding grill, which offers enough room for 32 burgers at once. There are four burners, as well as an additional “sear station” for steaks. There’s even a side burner for cooking with pots or pans.

Indeed, the Weber has all the features one would expect from a premium grill. The stainless steel body and grates are easy to clean and maintain. An electronic ignition lights the grill quickly and easily, and Bluetooth compatibility means users know exactly how their food is cooking. While the grill weighs 215 pounds, attached wheels help lessen the load while moving.

Pros

  • Stainless steel construction
  • Five burners plus side burner included
  • 48,000 BTU output
  • Bluetooth connectivity

Cons

  • Cover not included
  • Heavy
  • Expensive


Our Verdict

Selected for its durable porcelain-enameled stainless steel construction, high 39,000 BTU output, and easy-to-use electric ignition, the Weber Genesis II E-315 3-Burner Natural Gas Grill is our top pick for the best natural gas grill. With Bluetooth connectivity for the perfect cooking temperature, this grill also includes convenient storage, hooks, and wheels.

Alternatively, for larger cooking needs, the 48,000 BTU, 84-inch cooking surface of the Weber Genesis II S-435 4-Burner Natural Gas Grill comes with five burners and an additional side burner for ample cooking space. Though it comes with a higher price tag, this grill has a sturdy, stainless steel construction and comes with electric ignition and Bluetooth connectivity.

How We Chose the Best Natural Gas Grills

Natural gas grills make cooking outdoors easy and with no chance of running out of gas midway through your food prep. Selections for the best natural gas grill depended upon the materials used, heat output and cooking space, ease of use, and added special features.

The above options have durable constructions with stainless steel and cast iron for anti-corrosion and weather resistance. These choices also have ample heat output and cooking space and are capable of cooking 20 to 30 burgers at once with their 30,000 to 48,000 BTUs. The products on our list also come with electric ignition for safety and ease of use.

These top picks include side shelves and burners, storage cabinets, hanging hooks for tools, and wheels for portability. But, for added luxury, these picks also come with Bluetooth capability through the iGrill 3 app, allowing the user to closely monitor cooking temperature for the perfect burger or steak every time.

FAQs

If you’re new to grilling with natural gas, you might still have some questions about the best grills. Here is more information about natural gas grills.

Q. Is it safe to grill with natural gas?

Yes, it’s just as safe as grilling with propane. Do not use propane in a natural gas grill. The valves and nozzles in natural gas grills are larger, and they can emit too much propane to be used safely.

Q: How do I choose a natural gas grill?

You’ll want to consider the features you want and compare size and mobility. The Weber Genesis II E-315 3-Burner Natural Gas Grill is a good overall choice that will meet most people’s needs because it has a wide range of features.

Q: Can any gas grill be converted to natural gas?

No. Propane grills have smaller valves and orifices, so they won’t emit enough natural gas to reach proper cooking temperatures.

Q: How long do natural gas grills last?

The outdoor environment takes a toll on any grill. In general, a gas grill will last four to six years, depending on its quality and materials. Bringing a grill into a garage or shed in the winter might extend its usable life.