Best Small Gas Grills for the Money
I envisioned this category as recommending the product that is considered a premium one among compact BBQ units. Then I remembered that you can’t even think top-quality products without turning to grilling systems made by Weber. That is why I chose the Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill as one of the best small gas grills for the money.
The Q series is extremely popular for a reason. As for the Q1200, it comes in nine different colors, and you will surely be able to find a favorite. You can choose between classic black or titanium colors, as well as exotic ones, such as purple or orange. Regardless of the color, you select, you will get a high-quality and durable item.
Let’s start with the grilling grate since they are probably what BBQ enthusiasts care about the most. Weber wasn’t stingy here, and they included grates made of cast iron. These are known to be extremely durable, and they also do an excellent job in heat retention. The grates are also enameled with porcelain to secure that the food won’t stick to the surface.
The cooking area is heated by only one burner. However, that tube provides 8,500 BTUs, which is more than enough for a grilling surface that has 189 square inches in total. If you are wondering how much is that let me tell you that it should be enough for cooking for up to four people at once.
Even newbies can use Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill. That is because you can get it going by merely pressing the switch. After that, the thermometer mounted on the lid will show you the temperature in the cook box. Unlike other gauges, this one is extremely accurate, which reduces chances of burning your food to slim to none. In case you need to adjust the heat, just use the control knob.
Q1200 weighs only 30 pounds, which makes it suitable for carrying around. Its measurements are 20.5 x 41 x 24.5 inches. It has a classic tabletop design with foldable side shelves. In case you need a cart, keep in mind that you will have to buy it separately.
Top Rated Small Gas Grills
It is always a pleasure to mention the Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Grill LXE. It is one of the grilling products that sold the most units ever, which is the crucial reason everyone puts it among the top-rated small gas grills.
The first thing you notice about this unit is its collapsible design. By default, it comes with a cart, but that doesn’t prevent it from being portable. You can collapse the stand in a matter of seconds and turn it into a carrier for the grill. The handle and two wheels make the perfect transport combo across any surface. Although it takes a bit more room in the trunk, it still has more than a compact size. The dimensions are 34 x 13.5 x 19 inches with the weight of the product being 47 pounds. Keep in mind that the measurements tend to be a bit bigger if you utilize the side tables. Fortunately, they are foldable which adds another reason in favor of portability of this product.
Let’s move to the performance now. Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Grill LXE has 285 square inches of the grilling surface. What particularly impressed is the cooktops that are interchangeable. You can change the default grates with a stove grate or a griddle. That significantly increases the options for cooking on this unit. However, keep in mind that these accessories are bought separately.
Coleman Road Trip LXE is equipped with two burners that come with separate control knobs. Thanks to the automatic ignition you don’t need a lighter or a match to light the fire. The burners deliver up to 20,000 BTUs of heat to the cast-iron cooking grates that have a porcelain finish to prevent food sticking. The unit also packs a grease management system in the form of a tray that collects dripping.
The durability of this product is impressive. Thanks to its sturdy constructions, there is a good chance that it will last you for years to come.
Best Portable Small Gas Grills
Do you want to buy a grilling system that will be perfect to take camping or on any other trip? If that is the case, why not consider making a long-term investment and buying a product that will last you for years and maybe even decades to come. That is what you will get with the Solaire Anywhere Portable Infrared Propane Gas Grill, one of the best portable small gas grills available today.
Although its design is tabletop and compact, there is no doubt that Solaire made a premium BBQ. Just start from the construction. It is made of the 304 stainless steel that has a 20-gauge thickness. In other words, this is a commercial quality material that is incredibly durable to both severe weather conditions and rust. Despite that, the product still weighs only 20 pounds. Combined with its compact measurements of 31 x 12 x 13 inches it makes it perfect for transport.
In fact, the cook box comes completely assembled, and you only need to set up the regulator and handles, which won’t take more than a couple of minutes. The latches can keep the lid lock during transport. Once you open the cover, you will notice a grilling surface that has 140 square inches in total. That is not a lot, but the product compensates that by quickly cooking the food.
The reason why Solaire Anywhere Portable Infrared Grill achieves that is thanks to the fact that it utilizes infrared technology. The burner delivers 14,000 BTUs of heat to the primary grilling area which is V-shaped to reduce the possibility of flare-ups. Infrared cooking secures that the temperature is evenly spread across the entire grilling surface. In other words, there are no hot or cold spots and your steaks or burgers will be perfectly grilled every time.
Another critical thing to mention is that this product is made in the United States of America. By default, it utilizes 1-pound LP bottles. The product comes with a carrying bag that can accommodate three of these tanks. You also have the option of buying an adapter for 20-pound containers, as well as purchasing a conversion kit to utilize natural gas.
Best Small Gas Grills Under $200
If you are not up for giving a lot of money on a barbecue system, there is a solution for you. The only thing you should do is turn your attention to the best small gas grills under $200. One of them is Cuisinart CGG-200B Portable Outdoor Tabletop Propane Gas Grill. Cuisinart is a reputable brand in the world of kitchen appliances, and their endeavor into grilling has also been deemed as a huge success.
The unit packs 200 square inches of cooking surface. However, thanks to its rectangular design, you can make the most of this area, which means you can cook for four or persons at once without any issues. Starting the product doesn’t require a lighter or match. All that is needed to do is to turn the knob on the bottom right of the unit in the right direction.
After careful analysis of the unit, I found that it is run by a single burner that packs up to 12,000 BTUs of heat. It utilizes propane bottles, but it can also be used with a 20-lb tank if you purchase an adapter. Aside from the primary cooking surface, you will even notice the foldable side shelves. They are made of stainless steel to resist heat, and they are 10 inches long. That makes them perfect to hold both your plates and drinks. The cooking grates are made of cast iron, and they are incredibly durable.
As for the overall construction, Cuisinart CGG-200B is incredibly sturdy. It weighs just offer 36 pounds which contribute to its stability. The legs located at the bottom are stable, and that makes this tabletop product pretty resistant to tipping over. Its measurements are 42 x 15 x 18.5 inches, which all speak in favor of portability. Thanks to this compact size, the grilling unit is perfect for any event happening outdoors. That includes a tailgating party, camping, and even a trip with your RV trailer. However, keep in mind that both stand and cover for the grill are sold separately.
Pros and Cons of Gas Grills
I was always in favor of objectivity. Although this article will recommend you gas grills, we will first carefully analyze the usage of this fuel. That way you can see for yourself whether you want to choose a unit that uses this fueling method.
Advantages of Gas Grills
- It is quick – the fact is that you can spend an entire afternoon grilling with a charcoal grill. More important than that, it’s a lot of time wasted on getting it started. Your nerves also go into keeping the fire going, and I shouldn’t even mention that hassle the hassle that cleaning requires. But with a gas grilling system, everything goes smoothly. For starters, most of them are equipped with an automatic ignition system. That means you can get everything started in a matter of seconds. The fact that it burns gas implies the fuel doesn’t leave any ashes or residue, which will significantly decrease the amount of time required for cleaning.
- It is suitable for newbies – if you have never grilled before, I am sure that you are afraid whether you will be able to maintain the right temperature required for finely cooking your food. After all, you don’t want to serve your friends and family with food that is burned or not done. Fortunately, controlling a gas grill is effortless. The only thing you need to do to add or remove some heat is to turn the knob that controls the burner(s). In a matter of seconds, you will notice that the temperature is changing the way you want it. Simple, isn’t it?
- The environment will appreciate it – there is no lead in gas, which makes it more environmentally friendly than wood or charcoal. In other words, gas-fueled barbecues offer clean burning that won’t affect the environment. That also makes them suitable for people who have asthma or other issues with breathing. Hazardous emissions from wood or charcoal-burning might cause them trouble, but they can sit around a gas BBQ without any risk of breathing damaging elements.
- It Is Affordable – the truth is that charcoal and wood are expensive. If you are grilling on a regular basis, your budget will definitely feel that expense. But you can decrease these costs by using gas-fueled units. Although propane is also affordable, natural gas is the cheapest option you can get.
Drawbacks of Gas Grills
- Not ideal for searing – although there are some mighty gas burners out there, the truth is that small gas grills might not be suitable if you are looking to sear your steak. In fact, most of the gas-fueled units can only provide up to 450F of heat, which is not enough for searing.
- The thermometer can get inaccurate – you can monitor the temperature inside the cook box thanks to the thermostat mounted on the lid of the gas unit. However, the problem is that this gauge might not be accurate at all times. You should be prepared that it’s off for 5-10F. While that is more than tolerable, the problem occurs once you encounter the units that miss showing the right temperature for 50F or more. Although that is not the case often, it might lead to issues with burning your food.
How to Choose between Propane and Natural Gas?
The good news is that some BBQ systems can use both of these options. However, if you need to pick just one of them, here are some observations that might help you:
Propane Pros and Cons
The primary advantage of this type of fuel is that it is portable. Propane-fueled units use tanks that pack one or 20 pounds of propane. They can easily get connected to the product, and you can put them to work in a matter of seconds. Also, if you compare the volume of heat, propane is more potent than natural gas. It packs around 2,500 BTUs of heat, which is approximately 2.5 times more than the alternative.
On the downside, propane costs somewhat more than natural gas. The reason is that you need to buy it separately in tanks and you can’t connect it directly to your home gas line.
Natural Gas Pros and Cons
As we mentioned, the price is a very significant advantage. Considering that utilizes the direct gas line of your home, natural gas is cheaper than propane. However, that is only the case if you already have a gas line installed. Otherwise, upfront fees for establishing this line are something you need to consider. On the plus side, we also have to mention the fact that you don’t need to worry about the amount of fuel left. The reason is simple – you can’t run out of gas because you utilize the direct home line. That is a considerable advantage compared to propane where you need to monitor and buy extra propane once you are out of fuel.
However, natural gas also has a problem we need to keep in mind. Since you need to utilize a home gas line, these grills are not portable. They directly depend on the length of the hose you use, and you can’t take them anywhere outside your yard. If you are looking for a unit to take camping or to a beach, you will need to go with propane.
Things to Consider When Buying a Small Gas Grill
If you are only entering the world of gas barbecuing, you might be confused by some of the things mentioned in this product. So, let’s take a look at the features that you might want to consider when selecting a small gas grill.
How Much Cooking Surface Do I Need?
Keep in mind that we are focusing on compact units in this article. That means you can’t expect a grilling area big enough for hosting the entire neighborhood. The focus of small gas grills is on delivering tasty food for you in your family. In other words, you should expect anywhere between 150 and 300 square inches of cooking spaces.
Of course, the rule is probably the more, the better. However, the crucial thing to keep in mind is that you need about 60 square inches of room to place an average-sized burger that will be enough for one person. In other words, you need about 180 square inches of space to serve three people and about 240 for four.
What Are BTUs and How Many Do I Need?
BTU is an abbreviation for British Thermal Units. In short, they inform you about the amount of heat that a grill can produce per hour. However, since we are discussing small products with a compact grilling surface, this is not something you should worry about. Even burners with modest BTU power should be more than enough to secure simple cooking on small gas grills.
Do I Need Side Shelves?
The truth is that this only depends on your preference. We can’t deny that side shelves offer extra working space which may come in handy, especially when you are juggling multiple platters and grilling tools. However, you should have in mind that this also means a couple of extra pounds regarding the weight of the product. If compactness and the product being lightweight is your primary concern, perhaps you can go without side tables or shelves.
Do I Need a Stand?
Once again, this comes down to taste. We can’t neglect that a stand or cart comes with multiple benefits. First of all, it will elevate the grilling unit to a bigger height. That means you can cook while you are standing, which may be more suitable for some of you. On top of that, you don’t have to look for a perfect position to place the tabletop model. It’s more than enough to unpack a stand and enjoy the benefits of grilling on almost any surface.
The drawbacks of using a stand are that it increases dimensions of the unit. Fortunately, most small gas grill carts are collapsible, and you can even look for those that are removable. However, that still means you need to take the stand with you if you want to use it and that means freeing extra space for it in the trunk.
You Need a Digital Meat Thermometer
Gas-fueled BBQ systems are by default equipped with heat gauges. These are usually located on the lid of the unit, and they monitor the temperature in the cook box. The trouble is that they can provide inaccurate information. That is why we suggest purchasing a meat thermometer that will show you correct data. It is the best way to avoid burning your food or not cooking it correctly.