Best Small Propane Grills for the Money
What if I tell you that you can buy a single grilling unit now and not think about making another investment in that area for years? If that sounds good, let me tell you about the most reputable company on the BBQ market. They are called Weber, and their Spirit E210 Liquid Propane Gas Grill is one of the best small propane grills for the money you will find today.
The Spirit series is also known as Weber’s effort to provide their high-quality product at a price affordable for everyone. Don’t be in any dilemma – you will be getting a top quality item for your backyard grilling. The total cooking area is massive 450 square inches. However, the primary cooking grate offers 360 square inches of grilling surface, while the rest is reserved for the warming rack set above it.
The unit is powered by two burners that are made of stainless steel for increased durability. Together, they can provide over 25,000 BTUs of heat per hour, which is more than enough for the given cooking surface. Starting the unit is effortless thanks to the electronic ignition system, while the thermometer that monitors the temperature is located at the center of the lid.
The grates are made of cast iron, which also confirms that Weber only used materials of the highest quality when designing Spirit E210. The grease management system regarding a catch pan and an angled tray for grease is also a feature of this unit. And let me tell you about the flavorizer bars. Their task is to catch any dripping that falls through the grates. But aside from protecting the burners that way, they also vaporize most of these drippings so that the smoke is infused back into the food. That enables the burgers and steaks prepared on Spirit E210 to be as tasty as when you are cooking on a charcoal grill.
Perhaps the only downside of this model is that it’s not portable. It weighs over 100 pounds and its measurements of 32 x 50 x 63 inches are why we need to put this grill into the fixed grilling systems category. However, it still finds its place among the small propane BBQs, and it is quite possibly the best one you will find on the market today.
Top Rated Small Propane Grills
Customer reviews are an excellent addition to online stores. If you don’t know whether the product is worthy of your investment, you take a look at the impressions of those who bought it before you. If they are satisfied, that considerable increases the chance that you will be, too. The same rule applies to the barbecuing world. If you take a look at Amazon and other stores, you will find out that Napoleon TQ285X-BL Portable Propane Grill with Cart is among the top rated small propane grills.
Once you check out its characteristics, you start to see why. First of all, you have two options of using it – as a tabletop model or on the cart. The cart itself is incredibly sturdy and, which is far more critical, collapsible. It will only take seconds to pack it when you are not using it. Once you do that, you just need to set the Napoleon TQ285X-BL on it and utilize the handle and two huge wheels to move it around. Although the grill itself is not that lightweight (approximately 50 pounds total), this feature makes the transport effortless. And thanks to the compact size of the unit, you can pack it in the trunk of your car, and you are ready to go.
As for the cooking surface, it measures 285 square inches in total. There are two burners made of stainless steel that can provide up to 12,000 BTUs of heat per hour. You can adjust each of them with a separate knob to get just the right amount of temperature inside your cook box. That means that you can utilize both direct and indirect heat. Once you learn your way around this unit, you can use a portion of the cooking surface for grilling burgers, while you are simmering vegetables on the other part of the grates.
The quality of the construction that Napoleon TQ285X-BL provides is also impressive. The cast iron grates are even wavy to ensure that the heat retention is the best possible. I also liked the fact that the lid is durable and resistant to wind. It doesn’t lose heat, which is mainly vital in windy conditions.
Best Portable Small Propane Grills
Two conditions that a grilling system needs to fulfill to become portable are to be compact in both size and weight. Aside from charcoal, liquid propane is a fuel of choice for mobile BBQ systems. That makes it hard to find the best portable small propane grill out there. If you are not an expert, you might choose the wrong one. Let me present you the Smoke Hollow 205 Stainless Steel Tabletop Propane Gas Grill, an ideal product for all your outdoor grilling endeavors.
The moment you see the unit, you will notice its traditional tabletop design. Once you take a closer look at the components, you will discover that you’ve encountered a real barbecuing gem. The Smoke Hollow Unit weighs around 20 pounds and measures 26.5 x 12 x 16.5 inches. That makes it suitable for transport. The critical thing to remember is that you can fold away the legs in seconds. The lid gets locked into place and turns into a carrying handle so that you can take it to the car effortlessly.
The cooking surface offers 205 inches of primary cooking surface on the stainless steel grates. The warming rack on top of them provides extra 105 square inches of space ideal for keeping your food warm. The power comes from a single burner that packs 10,000 BTUs per hour. The manufacturer applied a trick to secure even distribution of heat across the entire grilling surface. Smoke Hollow 205 Stainless Steel Tabletop Propane Grill packs a U-shaped burner. Thanks to that fact, it equally distributes the heat and prevents hot or cold spots from appearing.
Although it is not usually the case with portable grills, this one even has a tray that collects dripping. The unit utilizes 1-pound liquid propane tanks, which should be enough to cook for an hour or two. You can also purchase an adapter to be able to use 20-pound tanks. Overall, there is a good reason why this unit is considered to be one of the essential camping accessories across the world.
Best Small Propane Grills Under $200
You might have chosen to buy a compact grilling unit for financial reasons. If that is the case, you shouldn’t worry. The fact that you invested less money than others won’t affect the performance of your grill. In fact, if you choose correctly, it will deliver as phenomenal results as the premium units out there. The only thing that you need to be willing to sacrifice is duration. If we are going to talk openly, we should mention that affordable units don’t tend to last long.
Regardless, they can provide at least a year or two of finely grilled food, maybe even more if you take care of the product correctly. For example, one of the best small propane grills under $200 is Char-Broil Portable 240 Liquid Propane Gas Grill. Char-Broil is known as a reputable manufacturer who knows how to make reliable products at a budget-friendly price. That is precisely what they did with this model that packs 240 square inches of the surface. That should be enough to serve four people at once. Thanks to its rectangular design, the most of the grilling area can be utilized.
The entire cooking surface is heated by a 9,500 BTUs burner fueled by a 1-pound liquid propane tank. The container can easily be connected to the side of the unit, and you will be ready to start grilling in seconds. You can start the product by utilizing the automatic ignition system. The precise temperature gauge located on the lid will give you the idea of the amount of heat inside the cook box at any moment. The body and the porcelain are enameled with porcelain to improve durability.
The overall construction of the unit is more than adequate, especially if you keep in mind the low price. The legs are incredibly sturdy when placed on flat surfaces, although the model only weighs 28 pounds. The lid handles double as a carrying briefcase-like handle and keeps the cover locked into place at all times. The overall measurements of the unit are 16 x 25 x 13 inches.
Advantages of Propane Grills
The next thing that we will discuss is the benefits that come with using liquid propane grills. Before we start, I have one important note to make. Keep in mind that we will compare propane to other types of fuels, including natural gas.
They Are Easy to Start
In most cases, you just need to turn the knob to get the fire going inside the cook box of your propane grill. If you have ever used a charcoal BBQ, you know that you need to arrange coals, light a fire and be patient. And even then you can’t be sure that it will be a success because the wind can put out the fire. Unlike that, gas grills have an automatic ignition system with 100% success rate. That means that you can get the unit to work without any hassle.
They Are Easy to Control
Just like it is a piece of cake to start a gas BBQ system, it is simple as ABC to control it. Most of the units come with a temperature gauge to help you monitor the current level of heat inside the cook box. The heat that comes from the burner will be automatically regulated so that it maintains your desired level of heat at any point. There is no need to worry about flare-ups as you do with charcoal grills. Instead, you just need to adjust the settings and watch the magic happening.
They Are Environmentally Friendly
Believe it or not, gas grills emit fewer CO2 emissions into the atmosphere than wood or charcoal-fueled units. It might not sound right at first, but the experts all agree on that. The reason is that propane doesn’t contain any lead. So, if you are worried about the environment or you don’t want those gathered around the barbecue to breathe hazardous elements, you can’t go wrong with choosing a propane BBQ.
Propane VS Natural Gas
If you are into barbecuing, you probably know that there are two options when it comes to gas fuels for grilling systems – propane and natural gas. Since this is often a confusing issue, let’s take a look at some advantages that propane has over its alternative:
- It provides higher heat – propane can provide about 2,500 BTUs of heat per each cubic feet. That makes it more than two times stronger than natural gas, which can produce only about 1,000 BTUs.
- It is portable –we have to admit that natural gas is a cheaper variant than propane. However, the fact that you need to utilize the direct gas line makes its usage limiting. If you are looking for grilling units that you can take on a trip, which might be the reason why you are on the hunt for a small grill, then liquid propane is the best choice you can make.
- No installation process – you will need an existing natural gas line and a hose to connect the grill to it directly. This might be a tricky process, especially if the line is far away from your desired location of the BBQ. On the other hand, you can place propane grilling systems anywhere. The only thing you need to ensure is that you have an LP tank. You can set it in its location in a matter of seconds, and you will be ready to start grilling immediately.
The Difference between Small and Big Grills
Not everyone fancies making BBQ parties for the entire neighborhoods. Those people are inclined to choosing a small grill for their and the needs of their family. Here are some other advantages that come with selecting a compact-sized grilling system:
It Is Portable
If you have a unit that weighs a lot and is massive in size, it will be incredibly hard to move it around. In fact, you need to choose a single spot for it and keep it there as long as you want to be its owner. However, if you’re going to use your grill both in your backyard and while traveling, you should choose a small unit. In that case, you can quickly pack it inside your trunk and take it camping or to a tailgating party.
Another thing you can do is change its location while keeping it in your backyard area. Perhaps you want to make some changes and make your yard look different. And maybe you just realized that the grill fits much better in the other part of the patio. Either way, the beauty of small BBQ systems is that they are suitable for moving around. Even those units that are not small enough to take them traveling are usually equipped with wheels that make it a piece of cake to switch their locations in your backyard.
It Is a Space Saver
We mean this regarding both using and storing the unit. If you are dealing with a large barbecue, you need an entire section of the backyard to accommodate it. There is a good chance that it will be the focal point of anyone who enters your yard. You might not want that since you’ve also built a beautiful fountain and just bought those fantastic chairs.
That is why your choice should be a small grilling system. Wherever you place it, it won’t take away attention from the other elements in the area, and it won’t affect the aesthetics. Once you are done with using it, you can pack it in a matter of seconds and store it out of sight.
They Tend to Be Cheap
Let’s not lie – there is a good chance that a smaller product will come at a lower price than a large one. Of course, that doesn’t have to be the case always, especially when it comes to grilling systems. You will need to be willing to invest in high-quality products, but the good news is that they will last for years. But if you are not willing to spend a lot of money, there is a broad range of units available, which is why I believe that compact-sized grills are suitable for everyone.
Safety Tips for Grilling with Gas
I want to assure you that small propane grills are entirely safe. However, you need to know and apply these precautions to make sure you avoid any issues:
Follow the Manual Carefully
This goes both for installing and using your grilling unit. Small BBQ systems might not require a lot of hassle during installation. However, you should still make sure to do everything according to instructions. The other important thing to keep in mind is that you need to check the grill for possible gas leaks and blockages occasionally. This is also something you MUST do if you haven’t used the unit in a long time (for example, it’s the first time you want to grill this season). In general, grease can cause blockages, as well as insects or spiders that somehow made their way to burner tubes.
Choose the Location Wisely
This is especially important if you are taking the unit on a camping trip or a day at the beach. First of all, you want to ensure that you place the product on a flat and stable surface. You don’t want to risk accidentally tipping it over. Also, make sure to avoid putting it under the branches that are hanging low above it. That is a potential fire hazard, and you need to be very careful.
While we are on the topic, let’s mention that you shouldn’t use a propane grill indoors or in an enclosed area.
Propane Tank Safety
You also need to be careful in dealing with tanks, especially if we are talking about large 20-lb containers. For starters, never use a tank that is damaged in any way. That may include dents, rust, or any other type of damage. When you are transporting propane containers in your vehicle, keep them in a tight and upright position. You don’t want to risk them tipping over. Also, it is desirable to open the windows of your vehicle.
Finally, once you attach the tank to your grill, you shouldn’t allow children or pets near it. Also, you shouldn’t smoke while you are anywhere close to a propane container and you should avoid leaving it unattended.