Best Propane Grills Under $500
1. Dyna-Glo DGE Series 5-Burner Propane Grill – A Powerful Giant
|Cooking surface||708 square inches|
|Heat Tents||[usr 5]|
|High heat levels||[usr 4]|
Dyna-Glo DGE is an entire series of propane BBQs ideal for backyard grilling. We will focus on the 5-burner, which you can purchase in bronze, as well as stainless steel and gunmetal. We particularly like how the last one looks and it seems that the manufacturer agrees with us, considering that it’s the most expensive model of all three. The good news is that you can get a bundle with a premium cover on Amazon and still be over $100 under your budget.
The essential information about this grill states that its dimensions are 22.5 x 51 x 47 inches, while it weighs 96 pounds. The weight is a good indicator of the quality of materials used when designing this unit. The manufacturer went with a smart approach and selected durable stainless steel, which is why this is a pretty robust model.
When you take a look at it, you notice a traditional-looking BBQ system. The core components are on top, while the entire grill sits on a cart that has wheels on the bottom. These wheels are there to make it possible to move the unit from one point to the other, although its weight is something that should prevent you from doing that often. You will also notice that the cart packs an enclosed cabinet with two doors and generous storage space.
Dyna-Glo DGE Series 5-Burner comes in a colossal packaging, and you need to be careful when assembling it. Fortunately, the instruction manual is as explicit as it can be and that should make your job more manageable. Once you finish setting it up, you can take a look at the sleek stainless steel design. When you are done with admiring the looks, turn your attention to the ample cooking space, which spreads to 708 square inches in total.
There are five burners made of stainless steel that provide heat to the central grilling area. Each of them delivers 10,000 BTUs of heat, and they are protected with heat tents. These tents are an excellent feature because they also catch the drippings from the food and help vaporize them into fantastic smoke. That ensures equal distribution of heat and incredibly delicious food that can compare to that cooked on a charcoal grill.
Aside from the central heaters, there is also a side burner with 12,000 BTUs, which brings the combined strength of the unit to enormous 62,000 BTUs per hour. It’s only natural that you are wondering how you will control so much heat. Fortunately, there are separate knobs for each of the burner. They have infinite settings and are plated with chrome so that they stay cool to the touch. The thermometer that is mounted on the cover monitors the temperatures in the cook box. The lid itself has a double-wall liner, which improves the efficiency of the unit and secures better heat retention. The side burner doesn’t retain temperature as good, but you will probably use it for side dishes and sauces anyway.
There is a working table on the right, while the side burner on the left can be converted into extra prep area by just pulling down the cover. You can safely place all the plates, seasonings, and tools there because the stainless steel is resistant to heat. The location of the propane tank is in the enclosed cabinet below the central unit. While it diminishes the available storage space, we have to praise the idea to insert a sliding tray to fit a fuel tank.
If you think that this model is too big for you, there is an alternative 4-Burner which is somewhat smaller. The difference in price is unnoticeable, especially with all the Amazon discounts, so we see no reason not to go for the bigger unit.
Dyna-Glo DGE Series 5-Burner is a large BBQ system. You would expect that a unit with five burners and over 700 square inches of cooking space will cost more, but you can get it at an affordable price. In fact, it is one of the best propane grills under $500 available on the market. If you consider its size and performance, this product is a pure bargain.
The unit can achieve high levels of heat in no time thanks to the capable commercial-grade burners. If you need extra cooking space or you want to prepare a sauce or side dish, you can use a side burner. When you are not using it, convert it to additional prep area and make another table out of it. Aside from two tables in total, you will have extra storage space in the cabinet.
The users also praised the heat tents that both protect the burners and help vaporize all the residue and drippings from the food. That way the burgers, steaks, or whatever you are cooking will be juicier and tastier. Although the grill is gigantic, even the newbies can easily control it thanks to the infinite settings for adjusting the heat.
Although they did an excellent job with all the other components, it’s a shame that the company didn’t choose cast iron cooking grates, but opted for the stainless steel alternative instead. They do a good job, and the food doesn’t stick to the surface, but they are not as good in retaining heat as the cast iron alternative.
That being said, you should also now that not the entire grill is made of stainless steel. In fact, the bottom part, the cabinet, and its doors are of painted steel. That means that they are more prone to rust, which is why you need to take care of the unit carefully.
2. Weber Spirit E210 – Genesis for Smaller Parties
|Cooking surface||450 square inches|
|Durable construction||[usr 5]|
|Utility and performance over power||[usr 4]|
If you check out the current prices on Amazon, you will discover that you can save incredible 30% on the black model of the Weber Spirit E210, which now costs only $349. If you prefer the classic stainless steel look, it will cost you an extra $50, but you will still save some cash thanks to the discount. Whichever unit you purchase, we suggest buying the Spirit grill cover, too. The grilling systems designed by this manufacturer are made to last, but there is no reason not to extend their lifespan even more by taking proper care of the unit.
If you are familiar with the Weber Genesis series of premium grills, we would say that Spirit models are their counterparts in the category of entry-level BBQ systems. Unlike their more expensive units, this model uses the 430 stainless steel. That’s lower quality than the 304 steel that the company uses for their premium products. However, it is still a much better alternative than the cheaper material that most of other manufacturers use for their grills.
The product doesn’t come entirely packaged because of its size, but you have to do the assembling. Fortunately, the instructions are clear, and it won’t take a minute longer than needed to set everything up correctly. The dimensions of the product are 50 x 32 x 63 inches, but it weighs over 100 pounds. That is the best indicator of the thickness of the stainless steel used for the elements. The product has caster wheels on the bottom of the cart that is used as a stand. If you found a better spot for it in your backyard, you can move it over there, but don’t expect it to be easy because of the unit’s mass.
The total cooking surface is 450 square inches, but 360 is the central grilling area. The remaining 90 is a secondary warming space that you can use as a warming rack or even simmer some vegetables. The grill packs two burner tubes of stainless steel. Together they can deliver up to 26,500 BTUs, which enables satisfactory temperature output. Cast iron cooking grates do a remarkable job in retaining the heat, which along with the stainless steel lid makes up for the lack of strength.
There is a thermometer mounted in the center of the lid. Spirit E210 underwent a redesign in 2013 when the manufacturer moved the control knobs to the front (they were previously on the right side). The side tables that offer extra prep space are foldable, while the enclosed cabinet does provide an additional area, but the LP tank consumes a significant portion of it.
Weber Spirit E210 also provides all the perks specifically related to the products from this manufacturer. For starters, the flavorizer bars located beneath the grilling grate are there to enhance the flavor of the food. They do this by collecting the drippings and vaporizing them to make the burgers or steaks juicier. The grease that doesn’t evaporate goes into the removable catch pan at the bottom of the unit.
There is one apparent advantage that every product from Weber has over the competition and Spirit E210 is no different. We are talking about the quality of the construction and the durability of the unit. If you are looking for a grill that you will purchase now and not buy another one for years and maybe even decades, this model is perfect for you.
There is no doubt that it’s the features unique for Weber units that make this model one of the best propane grills under $500. The users that already tried the product praise the flavorizer system, as well as the grease management which makes cleaning the BBQ a piece of cake. The fuel gauge is also a useful addition as you don’t have to open the cabinet to know the current level of propane available.
There is not much to say against E210. While it packs a bit less power than we expected for the price, it’s still an incredibly reliable product. The only area that the limited strength of burners affects is how much time the unit takes to preheat. Aside from that, you should know that this is not a massive grill, which means that it might not be appropriate for you if you often host big parties for a BBQ afternoon.
3. Char-Broil Performance 650 6-Burner – Would You Like to Feed an Entire Football Team?
|Cooking surface||930 square inches|
|Side burner and searing station||[usr 5]|
|Cast iron cooking grates||[usr 4]|
There is a terrible joke going around that Char-Broil is Weber for poor people. We are only mentioning it so that we can settle the issue once and for all. Char-Broil does tend to use some components of lower quality, but it also makes up by offering a more affordable price. The results that the BBQ systems from this manufacturer can deliver shouldn’t come into question. The only difference is that they are somewhat less durable (although that depends on how well you are taking care of it).
As for Char-Broil Performance 650 6-Burner, if you are in the market looking for a massive grill that can serve an entire soccer team at once, this is the model for you. As soon as you assemble it, you will notice its size. The dimensions are 45 x 62 x 25 inches, which means that it will occupy a significant portion of space in your backyard. The good news is that it has four wheels, which make the moving around more accessible despite the fact that the product weighs over 140 pounds.
There is a large cabinet beneath the grilling unit with abundant storage space. Although the LP tank also goes into the cupboard, there is still a bunch of room for all your grilling tools and other essentials. The depository has two doors for the more convenient opening. Aside from that, two side tables can serve as a prep area. When you get closer to the shelf on the left, you notice that there is a lid that you can lift. Once you do that, a side burner with 10,000 BTUs opens. As usual, it’s appropriate for making side dishes, gravies, and sauces.
Stainless steel was used as the primary element in constructing the fascia and the cover, which makes them resistant to harsh weather conditions. The cooking grates are made of cast-iron that can do a remarkable job in retaining the heat. However, that hotness needs to come from somewhere, and the leading stainless steel burner tubes are there to provide just that.
There are six burners in total, but only five of them are considered to be primary. The remaining one acts like a sear station if you are looking for direct heat, which adds to the versatility of the unit. There is a catch pan that is removable and simplifies the cleaning process. The entire cooking surface is majestic 930 square inches. 650 of them are the central grilling area, while the rest (280) is the secondary warming rack.
It’s nice to see that Char-Broil tried to be creative and offer as many features as possible in their Performance 6-Burner Cabinet Gas Grill. The fact that you have five primary burners, a searing station and a side heater in one is admirable. The versatility that you get with all these means that you can cook virtually any food on this unit.
It sounds incredible that you get 930 square inches of cooking space with this unit. That surface is enough to feed an entire football squad. That is why it is vital that the cleaning is simplified thanks to the dripping pan that collects all the grease. The heat tents beneath the cooking grates are another excellent addition since they help some of the drippings to vaporize and infuse more flavors to food.
The lid handle is not cool to the touch, which can be gruesome for your hands if you forget to use a glove. We believe that the majority of the users would agree for the price to be increased for the handle to be resistant to heat. If only they asked us…otherwise, there are no real downsides to this model except that it’s quite tricky to convert it to natural gas.
4. Broil King Signet 320 3-Burner – An Excellent Power + Features Combo
|Cooking surface||650 square inches|
|10-year burner warranty||[usr 5]|
|Rotisserie burner included||[usr 4]|
Don’t you just love a BBQ system that comes with a rotisserie burner? It’s not the only reason why we listed it among the best propane grills under $500, but it’s worth mentioning. Broil King Signet 320 is packed with these and other sweet features, including the side shelves that are foldable to save space when you are not using them. There is also a side burner that delivers 10,000 BTU per hour and is suitable for cooking soups, making gravies, and preparing side dishes.
As for the central grilling area, it has 400 square inches, while the total cooking surface is 635 sq.in. The product comes with three dual-tube burners. They are made of durable stainless steel of the highest quality, and they come with a 10-year warranty. The dual-tube feature enables improved distribution of the heat thanks to the fact that it delivers two rows of fire per each heater.
Another quirk that is unique for the Signet 320 is Flav-R-Wave, which enables the grease that drips from the meal to be quickly vaporized and infused back into the food. That gives that distinctive BBQ flavor to your meals, and there are not many products that can match the taste of burgers prepared on this unit.
Broil King chose cast iron cooking grids and designed the cook box out of cast aluminum to ensure the best possible heat retention. Controlling the heat is a piece of cake thanks to the control knobs that you can turn for 180 degrees. If you need extra storage space, you can also use the enclosed cabinet beneath the grilling unit.
Signet 320 offers a fabulous combination of reliable performance with extra features that users will enjoy. The 15,000 BTUs rotisserie burner is a brilliant touch, but the product also has an ample cooking surface, warming rack, and a side burner. The construction is durable, and the materials used are of fair quality. Users loved the fact that the product is assembled in North America.
The 10-year warranty you receive for the dual-tube burners is an excellent indicator of trust that the manufacturer has in their model. It’s nice to see such an extensive guarantee for such an integral component of the grill. Previous customers also praised the flavor of the meals prepared on this unit and emphasized the importance of the vaporizing system that infuses the juices back into the food.
When this grill arrives, make sure to have an entire afternoon to spend assembling it. The instructions are not that clear, which can be solved by searching the internet, but it will take about two hours to set it up completely. Some users also complained that the BBQ quickly gets heated up, so make sure to monitor the grilling process closely.