Best BBQ Grills Under $500 – Top Mid-Budget Picks

1. Char-Broil Signature TRU infrared 3-Burner – Perfect for Newbies

Our rating:

Cooking surface 575 square inches
Infrared grilling technology  [usr 5]
Stainless steel cooking grate  [usr 4]

Before we dig into details, let us mention that you also have a deal to purchase this model together with a cover on Amazon. It is a bit more expensive, but it’s still under the limit we set.

If you are looking for an average-sized grill, Char-Broil Signature TRU Infrared 3-Burner is there to meet all your needs for backyard grilling. It runs on gas, but there is no doubt that it can match the flavor of wood-fired or charcoal grills thanks to the TRU infrared technology. That is what puts us among the best BBQ grills under $500 available on the market. You will feel comfortable using this product and get excellent results and tasty food with minimum effort. To get everything up and running, you just need to press the switch that will ignite the fire. The automatic starting system secures that you don’t have to get your hands dirty or pray to gods that everything will fire up correctly.

The three burner tubes are designed of 443-stainless steel for their maximum durability. The control knobs for adjusting the amount of heat they deliver are on the front side. Turning those knobs is everything that you have to doto change the desired temperature inside the cook box. The cooking grates are made of cast-iron with aporcelain finish. They create a barrier between the tubes and the food which means that flare-ups are impossible to happen.

Infrared technology is used to spread the heat throughout the cook box evenly. Accompanied by the high-quality box and lid that doesn’t let the hotness through, the product secures consistent temperature during the entire cooking process. You don’t have to deal with hot or cold spots and search for perfect locations for your food on the grilling area anymore. The vaporized smoke circles throughout the cook box and gets infused back into the meat to secure its juiciness and deliciousness.

Heat control is additionally improved thanks to the temperature gauge mounted on the lid. Although it was accurate during our testing period, we don’t advise you to use it in the long run. Instead, consider purchasing meat probes to ensure that you get proper information on the heat in the cook box every time.

While there is no doubt that grilling systems are the best way to prepare meals for an entire family, it might be troublesome to make a side dish to go along with the meat. It often involves running to the kitchen to simmer some veggies or whip up a sauce. Char-Broil Signature TRU Infrared 3-Burner secures that you don’t have to go through that trouble. It offers a side burner on the right perfect for sauces and side dishes. It packs 13,000 BTUs of power,and if you are not using it, you can always pull the cover down and turn it into extra prep space.

The left side of the unit also offers a side table for extra convenience. It can be suitable for leaving your platters or any grilling tools and other essentials you might need during the process. An enclosed cabinet is a part of the cart,and that is what provides ample storage space for marinades, sauces, towels, etc.

The product weighs 147 pounds because of the thickness of the materials. However, the heaviness doesn’t affect the mobility too much as the entire construction sits on four wheels that enable moving the product around your backyard. Two of those have locking casters for added stability once your item is in position. The dimensions of the grill are 47 x 51 x 23.5 inches. It offers a total of 575 square inches of cooking surface. 480 are considered as primary, while 155 square inches are taken by a secondary rack. That part sits above the central grate,and it is perfect for keeping the food warm.

Pros

The quality of the materials you get for the price is admirable. Burners are of reasonably thick stainless steel, while the firebox and the lid have porcelain finish that makes them resistant to severe weather conditions. That means that you can use Char-Broil Signature TRU Infrared 3-Burner regardless of the weather outside.

The infrared technology does everything just as advertised. Compared to standard gas grills, it delivers tastier meals that are incredibly juicy. And the best part is that you don’t have to be a veteran griller to make exquisite food with this system. You will become an expert after using the product only once or twice.

Cons

First of all, prepare yourself for a troublesome assembly. The instructions only contain images that are probably clear only to the guy who drew them. Here is a YouTube video that shows how to assemble a similar model. However, we still advise you to hire a professional or consult a friend that already has this unit. Aside from that, there are no real flaws, except that the cleaning can be a bit bothersome because you need to remove some parts of the grill to clean the others.

2. Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill BBQ – A Bargain with Ample Cooking Surface

Our rating:

Cooking surface 590 square inches
Perfect for families  [usr 5]
Adjustable coal bed  [usr 4]

We are aware that there are different views on the fuel type that the best grilling systems use, which is why we are now moving to charcoal. While considering which of those models the best BBQ grills under $500 are, we remembered Royal Gourmet’s Charcoal Grill BBQ. You can get it at an incredibly affordable price,and it can deliver impressive results each time you use it.

The dimensions of the unit are 50 x 22 x 49 inches,and it weighs 57 pounds. Yes, it’s not the most massive unit you will find out there. That is why we need to get one thing straight – you won’t get a product that will serve you for decades here. However, if you take good care of this model, it will last for several years, which is more than enough to be an excellent value for money at this cost. As for the sturdiness, you don’t have to worry because the weight of the product is enough to resist most of the winds and other severe weather conditions. Of course, you should always make sure to keep the children farm from the unit, primarily when it’s working and hot.

Two separate cooking grates form a total of 590 square inches of grilling surface. The central area equipped with steel wiring has 380 square inches. The porcelain finish on the grates ensures that your food won’t stick to the surface, although we would have preferred if the manufacturer used cast iron. Oh, well, I guess you need to give up something to make the product friendly for every budget.

The secondary rack is of chrome steel,and it spreads across 210 square inches. It is placedon the inner grilling surface,and it is perfect to keep the burger buns or other food warm. The firebox and the lid are of steel, while the handle is of stainless steel. That way it remains cool to the touch and enables you to open the top without worrying if you will burn your hands.

The charcoal bed can be accessed by using the easy-lift system. Adjusting the position of the pan is also a piece of cake. There are multiple preset positions,and you can choose any of them by moving the crank handle. That helps you adjust the desired level of heat while the thermometer mounted on the lid helps you monitor the temperature inside the cook box.

Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill BBQ also has two side shelves, one on each of the sides. You can use them for your platters or as condiment holders. They are fixed,and you can’t fold them, which increases their sturdiness. While we are on the topic of condiments, make sure to note the bottle opener on the leg cart. That is a nice touch that delighted us since we haven’t seen it on many grilling systems.

All residue from the ashes falls into a drawer that you can slide out and clean the unit in a matter of minutes. The core components of the grill rest on a square tube cart with four legs and two wheels. There is also a steel shelf on the bottom of the stand, which you can use as storage space.

Pros

For the price, the product offers ample cooking surface and storage space. You can grill for four to six people simultaneously using this unit, which is enough for your family and inviting some people over. The assembly instructions are clear,and you won’t have any issues setting this product up correctly.

We also loved the fact that the charcoal bed is easily accessible and adjustable. Multiple available positions enable excellent heat control and ensure that the unit delivers excellent results each time you use it. The fact that a model this affordable even has an ash catcher is admirable, while the bottle opener is a bit extra so that you can see that the manufacturer tried to deliver the best product possible.

Cons

The space between the bars on the cart shelf is ample, which limits what items you can store there. For example, it’s a bit tricky to place tongs there since they can fall through the bars on the ground. The quality of materials affects the overall durability of the item, but the crucial thing to keep in mind is that this is an extremely affordable BBQ system. Even if it lasts only a couple of years, it is still a bargain deal.

3. Char-Griller AkornKamadoKooker – Kamado Grills Don’t Have to Be Expensive

Our rating:

Cooking surface 447 square inches
Broad range of cooking options  [usr 5]
Insulated design  [usr 4]

There are not many kamado BBQ units available within the restricted cash limit, but Char-Griller gave their maximum to design one in this category. In fact, they are offering it in four different colors. Aside from the default red, there is also brown, blue, and black. You can pick your favorite color while not worrying about the price – the difference is $10 max depending on the one you select.

As for the features, they are identical in all versions. For starters, you have 447 square inches of cooking surface in total. However, only 314 square inches is considered to be the central grilling area. There is another rack that can be put above the main one and it spreads across 133 square inches of space. Char-Griller AkornKamadoKooker uses charcoal as its fuel of choice.

Just like with similar models, this kamado grill delivers outstanding results thanks to the insulated design. That also secures efficiency, considering that less charcoal is needed to achieve the desired temperature and keep it at that level. The BBQ system can provide heat as low as 200F or as high as 700F. It only depends on whether you are looking to smoke or barbecue your food or you want sear marks unique to grilled meat.

The charcoal pan is located below the central cooking surface. The heat retention of the cast iron cooking grate is super,and you can use the dampers at the top and bottom to regulate the airflow and adjust the temperature. The lid has a locking feature to ensure that the heat doesn’t run away there and the interior is triple-walled to increase heat retention.

Two side shelves are foldable and come with hooks where you can hang your tools and other utensils. Their design is distinctive,and you won’t be indifferent towards it, but let’s hope that you will like it. The kamado cook box, lid, and shelves rest on three legs. The 8-inch front wheels secure increased mobility, while the rear locking caster ensures stability once your BBQ unit is in place.

The unit weighs 98 pounds. Although the quality of materials used for the Char-Griller AkornKamadoKooker isn’t as durable as premium ceramic grills, it’s still more than adequate. 22-gauge steel was used during the construction. The interior has cast iron cooking grates and porcelain coating, while the exterior has powder finish to improve rust resistance.

Pros

Not only the product has understandable instructions, but you also get it with a table that shows which food requires what temperature and damper settings. There is no need to think whether you did everything correctly. Even beginners can take a look at the manual and barbecue a perfect steak.

That being said, it is clear that versatility is one of the most significant advantages of this product. The heat amount it delivers varies from 200F to 700F, which means that you can smoke, barbecue, bake, grill, and sear by using only this unit. Thanks to the secondary warming rack, you can also experiment with indirect cooking.

Cons

If you have never used a kamado BBQ before, it might take a bit of time to figure out how to get the best results with it. But don’t worry; it will be worth it once you try the first perfectly-grilled burger. The only other complaint that we had related to this unit is that the side shelves don’t seem to fit in with the rest of the design. However, that is only our impression,and it doesn’t mean you won’t like them.

4. Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch –Is Anyone in the Mood for Cooking in a Kettle?

Our rating:

Cooking surface 363 square inches
Extreme durability  [usr 5]
Effortless cleaning process  [usr 4]

We have left kettle BBQ systems for the end. There is no doubt that Weber is the option number one in this category. Their Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch is one of the best BBQ grills under $500 available at the moment. Although we are used that this manufacturer packs all types of extra features in their units, here they focused on the fundamentals. However, they made sure to do an excellent job in every area.

Once you assemble it, the dimensions of the product are 39.5 x 27 x 22.5 inches. With 20 pounds it belongs among light BBQ units. However, its kettle design does not make it easy to transport, so we can’t say that it is portable. However, thanks to the two wheels, moving it around the backyard is possible.

If you do some math, you will find out that the cooking bowl has a 22-inch diameter. That number rounds up to about 363 square inches of available grilling surfaces, which means that you can serve four to six people at once. The model uses charcoal for fuel,and the coal bed is located under the grates. There is no trouble accessing it thanks to the cooking grate that is hinged, which also adds to the versatility of the product.

There is an aluminum damper that you can use to adjust the temperature. You can monitor the heat with the thermometer mounted on the lid. The bowl and the cover are both heavy-gauged with porcelain finish to secure extended durability. Even the damper is rust resistant, while the handle is reinforced with glass and cool to the touch.

As for the cleaning, it won’t take more for a couple of minutes for this grill to look as good as new. The catch pan is made of aluminum and will collect all ash that falls into it. After that, the only thing you need to do is pull it out and clean before returning it to place.

Pros

There is no doubt that the overall durability of the product and the quality of materials used is the most significant benefit of this product. Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch has a durable construction, which especially applies to the cooking bowl and the lid which will last for years to come. You will be satisfied with this product every step of the way, starting with clear assembly instructions.

You will have juicy and delicious food with this BBQ system, but it’s also worth mentioning that the cleaning is a piece of cake. While the whole family will enjoy the meal, there is a chance that you are the only one that will end up cleaning the grill. Fortunately, the ash catcher and the One-Touch system will enable you to do that job with minimal effort.

Cons

Unlike most of other Weber products, this one has steel cooking grate. Although it does a fine job, it doesn’t offer durability and heat retention like cast iron. Frankly, we were surprised that the manufacturer didn’t make the best choice available, especially since they dubbed this a premium product. Aside from that, there is no prep space included, which can make it tricky to prepare a lot of food.

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