The Best List

The Best Gas Grills, According to the Best Experts

published May 10, 2019
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If you’re at all familiar with our Kitchn Best Lists, you know that we usually call out the suggestions from other top publications. We list out each site, highlight the winner, talk about the features that make each product worth the recommendation, and then add our own two cents. This Kitchn Best List looks different than the others, though, because almost every single site picked the same grill: the Weber Spirit II E-310.

That’s pretty impressive, when you stop to think about just how many grills are on the market. Weber alone makes five different series of grills with various models of each. So for a bunch of experts to all agree on THE SAME grill, that speaks volumes. Keep reading to find out what’s so great about it — and to get a few other suggestions.

Why Choose a Gas Grill Over a Charcoal Grill?

There is no wrong answer when it comes to picking a gas grill or a charcoal grill, as it’s totally a matter of preference and there are pros and cons to each. Gas grills are easier to light — you don’t have to worry about charcoal or learn how to use a chimney starter. You just turn some knobs and you’re done. The biggest con is that some people complain that you don’t get the same flavor with gas as you do with charcoal.

Let’s say you’ve made up your mind and decided on a gas grill — you’ve come to the right place. While looking in stores or online you may find yourself distracted by all the claims and touts for each grill. We’re especially talking about the number of BTUs (British thermal units), which can be very misleading. This number doesn’t tell you how hot the grill gets — just how much fuel it burns. Clearly, the bigger the grill, the more fuel it burns, so that doesn’t really tell you much. Something you should look at: the number of burners. In our opinion, you want at least two burners (but ideally three) so that you can set up a direct and an indirect zone. If you want to keep things easy, that’s really the best thing to look for. Or you can make things really easy on yourself and stick to the suggestions on this list.

The Best Gas Grills

The Best Gas Grill, According to Most Experts

Wirecutter, Cook’s Illustrated, and Serious Eats all picked this grill as one of the best. It’s also a bestseller on Amazon. And, for what it’s worth, Consumer Reports picked a different (more expensive) Weber grill: the Weber Genesis II E-310. In fact, after Consumer Reports’ top pick, the next 11 best picks were all from Weber (the Spirit did make the cut!), so that should tell you something about the brand.

What’s so great about this grill? For starters, it has those three burners we mentioned. It has a compact size that’ll fit on small patios, but still has plenty of cooking space (it can hold a dozen burgers!). Burgers in various tests came out the best on this grill — perfectly seared and evenly cooked. (It also excelled at chicken, fish, and veggies.) The design channels smoke away from the griller and grease drippings into the center. It’s easy to move around and stow away when not in use, it’s durable, and it comes with a guarantee for 10 years. And the propane tank is a cinch to replace. Also, it’s less than $500! If you’re looking for a high-quality gas grill that will last you year after year, but don’t want to spend more than $500, this is the grill for you.

The Best Gas Grill for More than $500

Consumer Reports picked this model and Wirecutter names it as an upgraded pick for those who want something a step above the Spirt. It has 20 percent more grilling space compared to the Spirit. And despite also having the same number of burners, Consumer Reports says this guy stands out when it comes to indirect cooking. (Indirect heat is what you’d use for larger, tougher foods like roasts, ribs, and whole chickens.) Lots of the smart features from this model have been worked into the Spirit, though, so if you’re looking to save a bit of money, go with the first option. If you’re a frequent griller and want to experiment even more than you have in the past, go with this one.

The Best Griddle

Blackstone 36-Inch Griddle Cooking Station, $300 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Obviously, this is not grill grill (there’s no open flame), but we know lots of people — especially tailgaters — love griddles. And the folks at Serious Eats love this as the best griddle. It can hold about 37 burgers, cooks incredibly evenly, and the removable cooking surface has a lip around the sides and back to keep food in place as you pile it on. The whole thing folds up (when you remove the bottom storage shelf), which really does make it a tailgater’s dream.