Equipment Review: Best Gas Grills Under $500 & Our Testing Winner
- Published on: Wednesday, April 6, 2016
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We tested six gas grills priced under $500 to find the best grill:
Weber Spirit E-310 Gas Grill
Char-Broil Commercial Series 4-Burner Gas Grill
Dyna-Glo 5-Burner Propane Gas Grill with Side Burner and Rotisserie Burner
Nexgrill 4 Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill
Broil King Baron 440
KitchenAid 3 Burner Gas Grill & Side Burner
It doesn’t matter how powerful a grill is. If it can’t distribute and hold the heat where you want it, your food will suffer.
Crave charcoal? Watch our review of charcoal grills:
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WINNING TRAITS OF A GOOD GAS GRILL
- Extra flame tamer bars between burners to help spread out heat
- Cast-iron grates, which transfer heat best
- Well-built cookbox with tight-sealing lid and few vents
- Lid that shuts tightly to retain heat and opens wide so smoke isn’t directed toward your face
- Large-capacity cooking grate so food is not crowded
- Sturdy construction
WHAT WE EXAMINED
BURNERS: Gas grills heat via perforated tubes called burners that emit flames when ignited. Grills are described by their number of burners, though we found that this did not correlate with performance or capacity.
GRATES: The grill grates are made of either cast iron or stainless steel.
SIZE OF MAIN COOKING GRATE AND HEAT OUTPUT: Manufacturers typically list the combined total square inches, including warming racks and side burners. More usefully, we list the dimensions of the main cooking grate and how many 4-inch burgers each can fit. Similarly, we only list the BTU (British Thermal Units—a measure of heat output per hour) numbers of the main burner.
FEATURES: Some grills offer more extra features than others.
GRILLING: We grilled hamburgers and steaks over direct heat, looking for distinct grill marks, well-browned crusts, and moist interiors. We mapped the heat pattern of each grill by covering its preheated surface with white bread slices and examining the toast.
INDIRECT COOKING: We prepared pulled pork, keeping the grill at 300 degrees for more than 4 hours. Thermocouples confirmed whether lid thermometers were accurate. We rated the pork on smoky flavor and tender, moist texture.
DESIGN: Grills received higher marks if their designs made it easier to set them up and cook.
DURABILITY: Models that were hard to roll; lost wheels, doors, or other parts; or showed greater wear and tear received lower scores.
CLEANUP: We rated whether grates were easy to scrub clean and whether grills had secure, large grease trays and catch pans that were easy to reach.
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