Whether you want to start grilling or add to your collection of grills, finding a new gas grill is exciting and with the amount of options available today, it can be a daunting task. Grilling is a great way to explore new flavors and aromas in your very own back yard. There is no reason to take out a loan or break the bank for quality gas grill. We are thrilled to help you know exactly what to look out for when shopping for the best gas grill under $500.
|Weber Spirit II E-310||CHECK PRICE|
|Broil King Monarch 340||CHECK PRICE|
|Char Broil TRU Infrared||CHECK PRICE|
|Royal Gourmet Classic||CHECK PRICE|
|Napoleon Rogue 365||CHECK PRICE|
How to Choose a Great Grill
Finding a great grill on a budget of $500 or less still leaves a lot of good options on the table. We will go over the key features to focus on to ensure you are getting a quality product for your money. Understanding what to look for and how different accessories add and take away from a gas grill is key.
Here we will go over the most important construction items that sets good grills apart: Burners, Flavor Bars, Grill Grates, Infrared and more.
Maximizing Versatility with Burners
Many people have the misconception that having more burners is only for larger grilling areas. That is true but also somewhat false. It is important to consider the number of burners for how versatile your grilling needs are. If you plan on only grilling one type of food on your grill at a time or only grill for small groups of people, a grill with two burners would probably suffice. On the other hand, if you enjoy grilled vegetables, meat, and fish all at once, then you might want to consider finding a gas grill with more than two burners. Even if you enjoy cooking multiple different types of meat, having more burners provide you the ability to have different heat zones or even allow indirect heating. Indirect heating works great for cooking low and slow where you want more of a convection cook vs a direct cook. Think of a rotisserie grilled chicken, you do not want the chicken close to the ignited burners to cook evenly.
The amount of burners also aids in how well the grill will keep even heat across the grilling space. Higher quality grills will also use burners that burn evenly and will not fail after years of use. In this review we look at the burners each grill uses in detail.
The main stage of the grill is the grids. The grids are the interface where your meat meets heat. They are exposed to tremendous amounts of heat and need to me manufactured out of reliable materials. They also need to be made of a material that can be easily cleaned and ready for the next use. The two popular grid materials used today are Stainless Steel and Cast Iron. Here we will explain the pros and cons of each.
Stainless Steel Grates
Stainless steel is a very common grid metal and is found in several different types of gas grills. Stainless steel is a proven material in the grilling world and used in a lot of grills today. They conduct heat quickly and are quite easy to clean. Some of the drawbacks to stainless steel grates are a lower life expectancy vs cast iron and they eventually lose their non-stick ability.
Cast Iron Grates
Cast iron grates have been used for decades and have proven to be a great option on the grill. They take longer to heat up but when they are hot they retain their heat very well. They tend to create the best grill marks in your steaks as well. When properly maintained they can last longer than you. The only downside is their weight and they need more TLC when cleaning vs stainless steel grates.
One of the most important parts of a gas grill is the flavor bars. A high quality and well thought out gas grill will have flavor bars that will spread the heat evenly and keep flame ups to a minimum. These flavor bars are important in helping the grill give off an authentic charcoal smoky taste. When searching for your new grill, it is important to look for grills that have these flavor bars and that they are made of quality materials. Generally, the more flavor bars the better. This is a feature that sets good grills apart.
Infrared burners vs. Conventional
A feature that is gaining traction in the market is the side burner options available on gas grill models. Some will come with the conventional gas burner and some are now offering infrared burners.
Infrared burners use a unique design that still uses the propane or natural gas fed to the grill. The infrared burner will subject the gas flame to a ceramic tile that contains microscopic holes. This method converts the flame into infrared energy. The benefit is the intense heat this burner creates. Some of these burners can hit temps of over 700F which create a great heat source for searing meat. Conventional burners do not reach these high temps that infrared creates. Something to consider.
Why Choose A Gas Grill Over A Charcoal Grill
This is a hot topic of debate in the grilling world. There are many benefits to choosing a gas grill over a charcoal grill. The obvious benefits to gas grills is the easy ignition and startup of gas. A charcoal grill requires a more time consuming procedure of igniting the charcoal such as a charcoal chimney, electric charcoal torch or single use fire starters. We recently outlined the best ways to light your charcoal grill. If you’re going to be grilling with charcoal, you need to allow yourself more time for the cooking process. Lighting charcoal will take about 15-20 minutes total before you can add meat to your grill. Gas heat is instant and you can be grilling in a couple minutes.
That being said, charcoal has one solid advantage and that is the flavor it adds to your meat. It provides a slight smoky flavor that gas cannot replicate. Personally, if I have more time to grill, I’ll use my Weber Kettle and a chimney full of lump charcoal and I know I’m going to enjoy my meal. If time it tight or I’m grilling steak and I need a high searing heat asap, I’ll use my gas grill. Personally I own a Broil King Regal S590 Pro.
One other advantage to propane or natural gas grills is the constant heat source. You can really regulate your heat easily on a gas grill. Charcoal heat can fluctuate especially after the charcoal starts to burn down and you need to add some fresh charcoal. If you know how to manage your vents properly, you can keep an even heat but a gas grill is still much easier.
A Pellet Grill is another possible option that can be considered, especially at this price point. Recently we reviewed the top pellet grills under $500. Pellet grills can offer more versatility than a gas grill with the ability to smoke and sear, though searing temps can be a struggle on a pellet grill, some do it better than others.
Our Top Picks of Gas Grills Under $500
Weber Spirit II E-310
What We Like…
- Spacious Grilling Area
- Porcelain Enameled, Cast Iron Cooking Grates
- Infinity Ignition (push-start)
- Weber Reliability
What Makes Us Angry…
- iGrill 3 Sold Separately
- No Side Burner
Weber is undoubtedly one of the best brands known to mean business when it comes to their appliances. The Weber Spirit II E-310 is the upgraded version of the Weber Spirit, with marked changes.
Design and Build
To begin with, the Weber Spirit II E-310 has an elegantly designed body that is compact and easy to store. This three burner grill is designed with a spacious grilling area equipped with side tables for holding serving trays, and tool hooks for hanging your tongs and spatula.
The body of the grill is a heavy-duty porcelain-enameled stainless steel unit with ample space to store grilling accessories. Other components like the grates and flavor bars are made of cast iron coated with enamel.
The Weber Spirit II E-310 comes with 4 solid casters that help hold the unit in place and can be easily navigated. It features 3 burners that are spaced evenly to distribute heat across the grates.
The cast iron in the grates that help heat retention coupled with the porcelain, are a griller’s dream come true. There are angled flavorizer bars positioned below the gates to cover the burner to protect them from spills. These are designed to vaporize the dripping juices to create the much loved BBQ taste by wafting it back to the meat cooking above.
This version of the Spirit series uses an effective grease management system that prevents flare-ups and excessive smoking. Using infinity ignition, the front knobs that control the burner is controlled by a push-button that helps control all knobs easily.
In short, Weber Spirit II-310 is everything you could be looking for if you’re planning to up your grilling game. With it’s compact body, user friendly systems and great cooking efficiency, this could just as well be your next buy.
Broil King Monarch 340
What We Like…
- 3 Dual Tube Stainless Steel Burners
- Therma Cast Cook Box
- Infinite Heat Control
- Great Warranty
What Makes Us Angry…
- Difficult Assembly
- Aesthetics Not as pleasing
We are now going to turn over to the Broil King Monarch 340 Liquid Propane Grill to see what it’s all about.
Design and Build
Out in 2018, this grill is an upgrade to its earlier versions on many levels. With a 520 sq. ft. total cooking surface, it includes 3 dual-tube stainless steel burners with heavy-duty cast-iron cooking grills. A side burner on either side works great to cook a fuller meal. It also works well as an independent unit for when you wish to cook outside the house.
This unit also comes with linear-flow valves with 180 degrees control knobs that help you set your grill to a perfect temperature giving you infinite heat control. It also comes with a thermometer that clearly reads the temperature inside the oven.
The ovens themselves (Therma-Cast Cook Box) are extremely durable and rust-free, they are designed from die-cast aluminum for maximum heat retention. What’s more, these are covered by a lifetime warranty, 10- year burner warranty, and 2- year parts and paint warranty.
The stainless steel side shelves easily fold and are a snug fit into the unit, making this grill easy to store in small spaces. These also work great to store your grilling accessories. The Broil King Monarch 340 Grill comes with extra-large locking swivel casters that keep the grill in place.
Broil King’s porcelain-coated cast iron grids are reversible, they help catch the even grill marks and collect the barbeque juices at the same time. This means it’s easier for you to clean up and in fact – this grill can prevent a mess from occurring in the first place.
Working on a Flav-R-Wave cooking system has its upside – it makes sure that heat is evenly distributed and does a great job protecting the burner and vaporizing the sauces that create that amazing barbeque flavor. It comes with a standard QCC propane hose and regulator.
Broil King Monarch Liquid Propane Grill is something to try out. You’d see that this little makeover could take barbecuing to a whole new level.
Char Broil Performance Tru Infrared 4-Burner
What We Like…
- 4-Burner Control
- Push to Start Electronic Ignition
- TRU Infrared Side Burner
What Makes Us Angry…
- Not as Easy to Clean as Competitors
- Some Complaints of Paint Failing
It is known among grillers that infrared grills are a better deal than gas grills as they heat more uniformly and prevent flare-ups. With the addition of the infrared element, these grills are more efficient and work quicker than conventional grills. Let’s have a look at the Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared 4-Burner Cabinet Style Gas Grill.
If you’re working on a tight budget and are looking to invest on a grill, Char-Broil is the product you want even when costs are increasing on energy and food because of new policies. With that said, everyone has to eat and you may as well have a better experience and result when cooking a meal. It’s good to note that while their grills are good, it’s hard to get something very durable in their price range.
Build and Design
This Char-Broil commercial series product features TRU-Infrared technology that provides even heat distribution and prevents flare-ups. The result- An “Oh, so juicy!” meal. Of a sleek stainless steel build, the body is a sprawling 525 sq. ft. cooking space with four main burners and a side burner. This works especially great for large gatherings. A push-to-start electronic ignition assures quick start-ups every time. The Char-Broil comes with a 1-year limited grill guarantee and a 10-year burner guarantee.
A side shelf attached to the body is handy to keep your grilling tools close by, they also give you space to prepare your meal. This unit is equipped with a warming rack that helps maintain your food at serving temperature till it is served. The porcelain-coated, cast iron grates are rust-resistant, easy to clean, and surprisingly durable.
A temperature gauge mounted on the lid provides an accurate reading on the temperature inside without drying out your food. This grill comes with a dual-fuel conversion kit (that is sold separately), that helps in easy conversion from propane to natural gas. This gives you the freedom to choose your mode of cooking.
Royal Gourmet Classic
What We Like…
- Large Cooking Area
- 6 Burner Control
- Swing Away Warming Rack
What Makes Us Angry…
- Thin Gauge Metal Construction
- Cleaning Grease Trap Problematic
Let’s take a look at the Royal Gourmet Cabinet Propane Gas 6-Burner Grill to see how it fares among others of its kind.
Build and Design
True to its name, this grill is all about recreating the gourmet experience – right in your backyard. It is one of the best grills out there for its price, whether you are looking at conventional gas grills or infrared. It comes with a rich, glossy stainless steel exterior, and a double layered lid that guarantees maximum heat retention. The body of the grill provides for primary cooking space of 598 sq. inches supported by a rust-resistant swing-away warming rack. The entire unit measures up to 797 sq. in., supporting a secondary cooking area of 199 sq. in.
It features 5 individually controlled stainless steel tube burners, a U-shaped searing burner and a lidded side burner. While the searing burner efficiently locks in the juices to create the barbeque flavor, the lidded side burner is perfect for preparing sauces and side dishes which can even make a vegetarian switch sides.
The porcelain coated cast iron grates evenly distribute heat and help give a wonderful finish to the food. Fitted with an electronic ignition system, this grill starts with an easy-breezy push of a button. On top of this, it employs an efficient oil management system that helps manage spills and eliminate grease, making it easier to clean.
A built in thermometer accurately reads temperature fluctuations inside the unit. What’s more, a grill cabinet designed to hold your grilling necessities makes working on this grill more fun. The Royal Gourmet 6-Burner grill comes with 4 lockable casters that helps move it smoothly around.
The Royal Gourmet Cabinet Propane Gas 6-Burner Grill fits in perfectly with any occasion, be it a small family dinner or large gathering. It is highly efficient and meets your needs of a comfortable and convenient barbeque experience without having to compromise of the flavor of your food.
Napoleon Rogue 365
What We Like…
- Instant Jetfire Ignition
- Iconic Wave Cooking Grids
- Dual Level Stainless Steel Searing Plates
- Napoleon Quality
- 15-year Warranty
What Makes Us Angry…
- Only 2 Burner Control
- Price for Minimal Features
Let’s check out the Napoleon Rogue 365 Gas Grill and see what this grill brings to your grilling experience. This grill is a part of the Napoleon Rogue series, and is a perfect choice for both novice and seasoned grillers who are looking for something that would up their ante without taking up much space.
Design and Build
A freestanding liquid propane grill, this one comes with 2 stainless steel tube burners that takes up over 365 sq. in. of the primary cooking area. An additional 95 sq. in. is covered by an extra deep, chrome plated warming rack. This ensures a satisfying cooking experience, with everything you need at your fingertips.
It comes in an enclosed cart design, with a black porcelain enameled lid that lifts easily and helps retain heat for excellent grilling results. In addition to a neat exterior, it also has built-in side shelves that are beautifully designed to make the best use of compact spaces, and may be folded away when not in use. Integrated hooks fixed on the side of the shelves work great to get your accessories ‘hang out’ with you as you cook.
The Napoleon Rogue uses an easy to use instant jetfire ignition system that ensures individually controlled, quick start-ups every time. A dual-level stainless steel sear plates ensures even heat distribution; it helps vaporize drippings to create that iconic barbeque flavor, and keeps your burners clean without drying your food out.
The Accu-probe -resistant and temperature gauge fitted in the grill helps monitor and control temperature easily. This grill uses reversible, porcelain coated cast iron Iconic Wave cooking grids. Which sounds like something out of a Michael Bay Transformers movie! Moreover, these grids resist rust and are designed in the form of waves to provide even heat distribution. Also, a rust-resistant, cast aluminum fire box is virtually indestructible and backed by a 15 year warranty.
A built-in propane tank ring holds the propane tank within the cabinet. All this, on easy roll locking casters help get a smooth grip on the entire experience.
The Napoleon Rouge is all about premium quality at affordable prices. A versatile option, to cook your food in style.
Gas grills are convenient, easy to maintain, and can change the way you feel about grilling. In a moment’s notice, they can heat to searing temperatures and get you grilling quickly. The clear winner for the round-up is the Weber Spirit II E-310, because of the quality components used throughout the construction. It has the space, cast iron cooking grates, reliable ignition system and that Weber reputation that few companies have. The simple grease trap design makes it painless to clean out without getting yourself or the grill filthy. All this for just under $500 makes this a great value buy.