A gas BBQ wins over a traditional charcoal grill in several areas. It is healthier for you and the environment, it is easier to control temperature and it is easier to use.
Additionally, the flavour difference between a gas and charcoal BBQ is not as significant as most people presume. Unless you are slow-roasting meat, foods cooked over a gas BBQ and a charcoal BBQ taste about the same.
If you want to save time setting up your grill and waiting for it to reach the right temperature, invest in a good quality gas BBQ.
I’ve reviewed five top picks to help you find the right one for your needs and budget.
But first, some tips on how to shop for the right gas BBQ and how to get the best out of it.
What To Consider When Choosing a Gas BBQ
a) Size of Cooking Area
A larger gas grill provides a wider cooking surface, allowing you to grill more foods at the same time.
The best size depends on your needs. If you mostly grill hamburgers and sausages, a small grilling area (under 1000 square cm) is plenty enough.
For the average size family that loves their grilled ribs, steaks and chicken, a larger grill area between 1,800 and 2,300 square cm will do.
If you often play party host, consider a large grill with a cooking area of at least 3,000 square cm to keep up with demand.
Consider the available space when choosing grill size. If you have a large backyard, any gas BBQ will fit. If the only outdoor space you have is a balcony, you’ll have to settle for a smaller grill.
b) Number of Burners
The number of burners goes up proportionally with the size of the grill. A small portable grill will typically have a single burner while a large party gas grill can have as many as seven.
A higher number of burners allows you to cook more foods at the same time. A grill with more burners is also more versatile. In addition to the usual direct heat grilling, you can also smoke meat and cook slow indirect heat recipes.
But don’t get too carried away by the number of burners.
A well-designed gas BBQ with good heat and smoke distribution and excellent heat retention will grill your foods perfectly well even with just two or three burners.
c) Side Burner
Some gas BBQs come with an additional burner on one side. The side burner extends your cooking area and makes your grill more versatile.
As you grill your meats on the main grid, you can stir-fry some veggies on the side burner or simmer a pot of soup. You can also place a griddle or pan on the side burner and prepare some pancakes, Welsh cakes or tortillas.
d) Grilling Grid
Check what kind of grilling grid the BBQ comes with. A stainless steel grid is the best. It retains a lot of heat, making for a good sear on meats, and is very resistant to rust.
Avoid BBQs with porcelain and metal grilling grates. The porcelain tends to crack after some time because of the heating and cooling, exposing the metal underneath to corrosion.
e) Flame Tamers
If you want perfectly seared steaks and evenly roasted meats, look for a gas grill with flame tamers.
Flame tamers, also called flavorizer bars, go over the burners but under the grid. They come in different designs. Most have an A-like shape with several of them spread over the burners.
Others consist of a single perforated sheet of metal. There are also ceramic flame tamers, some in a grid shape and others designed as bars.
Flame tamers do several things.
- They provide even heat distribution. Instead of the heat going directly upwards from the burners, it heats the flame tamers and spread out. This prevents hot spots that burn your food and cold spots that leave it undercooked.
- They protect the burners from fat and food drippings. This ensures the burners don’t get clogged.
- They enhance your food’s flavour. Drippings from your food fall on the flavorizers. They evaporate and the flavourful smoke rises back up and infuses into the food.
f) Lid Thermometer
Check that the BBQ comes with a thermometer on the lid. It allows you to monitor grill temperature when the grill cover is down.
Most lid thermometers are analogue though some modern BBQs have a digital thermometer.
g) Build Quality
Avoid cheap BBQs that are made with thin sheets of metal. For something that you plan to use outdoors and might move around a lot, you need a well-built grill that won’t dent and warp.
Good build quality also affects cooking performance.
A BBQ with thick sides and a thick lid retains more heat, allowing foods to cook faster and more evenly.
A backyard gas BBQ can weigh as much as 40kg. Look for a gas BBQ that has wheels to make it easier to move the grill around.
If you are looking for a grill you can take with you when camping, you’ll need a much smaller single-burner BBQ. Ideally, it should be foldable for easy portability.
i) Extra Features
Here are some bonus features to look for.
- Side table. Some grills have a side burner on one side and a small table on the other. The table is handy for food preparation.
- Storage space. In addition to the main cylinder storage area, having extra storage space is useful for storing spices, utensils and other things. Some grills even have shelves for better storage organization.
- Lid with window. Makes it easy to check on the food without opening the lid and letting the heat escape.
- Warming rack. Perfect for keeping food warm before you serve it.
How to Use a Gas BBQ
- Check your fuel system. Make sure the cylinder has enough gas left in it and that the regulator and hose are in a good condition.
- If the grill is dirty, clean it using a coarse grill brush and soapy water. Alternatively, check the cleaning instructions in the manual.
- Prepare your foods. This may involve marinating, preparing ingredients or bringing meats to room temperature.
- Pre-heat the grill to the required temperature. Unless you want indirect heat, you should light all the burners to get good heat distribution. Apply some oil on the grid and close the lid.
- Once the grill reaches your desired temperature, start grilling. Once you’ve placed the food on the grid, close the hood to trap heat and cook the food faster. Only open the hood when turning or removing the food.
- If you need to keep the food warm, turn off burners but keep the hood closed until it’s time to serve. An adequately thick hood should keep the food warm for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
The Best Gas BBQ Reviews
1. CosmoGrill 4+1 Gas Burner Garden Grill
For most families, we recommend the CosmoGrill 4+1 burner grill. The cooking area is quite large (61 x 32cm), enough to cook a large family’s meal and grill different foods at once.
There are a total of five burner, four under the main grill area and one side burner.
You can ignite and control each burner separately, which allows you to set up different grilling zones. You can have some areas warm for delicate vegetables and others hot for searing steak.
You can also completely turn off some burners for indirect heat cooking, perfect for slow-roasted recipes.
The grill hood is double-walled to retain as much heat as possible within the grill. You can track temperature on the analogue lid thermometer.
A-shaped flame tamers distribute heat within the grill and protect the burners from clogging up.
The only bit we don’t like so much about the CosmoGrill is the assembly process. It comes flat-packed and takes two people and about an hour to put it together.
The instructions are not very clear but most people were finally able to figure out what part goes where.
What I like about it:
- Even heat distribution.
- Thick hood cooks food fast and evenly.
- Large grilling area.
- Side burner and side table.
2. Charles Bentley 7 Ignitable Burner Premium Gas BBQ
For large families and frequent party hosts, we recommend this extra-large 7-burner gas BBQ. It is surprisingly affordable for its size.
Six burners are set under the main grill area while the seventh is a side burner where you can do some extra roasting, frying or boiling as you grill.
A thick double-layer hood provides excellent insulation, providing fast and even cooking. A built-in warming rack keeps food warm for about 30 minutes after you turn off the burners.
In terms of storage, the Charles Bentley BBQ is one of the most practical gas grills we’ve seen.
There’s a side table for food preparation, a cupboard under the grill, hooks for hanging grilling utensils and a dedicated sauce rack.
Like the CosmoGrill, the Charles Bentley BBQ comes as a flat pack. Assembly takes 1-2 hours and you may need an extra pair of hands to help you.
Once you assemble it, you can easily move it where you want using the four castor wheels.
What I like about it:
- Extra-large grilling area.
- Plenty of storage.
- Double-walled lid with thermometer.
- Castor wheels make it easy to move around the garden or patio.
3. Campingaz Party Grill 200 Camping Stove
If you want a grill you can use for picnics and on camping trips, we recommend the Campingaz Camping Stove.
Weighing just 2.8kg, it’s easy to add it to your camping luggage. You can even fold it away for a more compact fit.
This is a 2-in-1 grill and stove.
For grilling, it comes with an enamel non-stick grilling grid that fits over the burner and provides a sizable area for grilling meats and other foods.
For normal cooking, use the pan support grate instead.
The grill is compatible with the Campingaz CV 470 Plus or CV300+ gas cartridges. Just connect the cartridges at the bottom then use piezo ignition to get the burner going.
The 2,000-watt flame is hot enough to grill burgers, sausages, bacon and chicken.
A CV300+ cartridge lasts for about 2.5 hours of continuous cooking while the CV 470 is good for about 3 hours.
If you are going on a multi-day camping trip, you’ll need to carry several cartridges.
What I like about it:
- Compact, foldable and lightweight – perfect for camping.
- 2-in-1 grill plus stove functionality.
- Includes a drip tray.
- Non-stick grid – no oil needed and easy to clean.
4. BROILUCK Garden Outdoor Gas BBQ
The BROILUCK 5-burner gas BBQ is the perfect size for most families; large enough to hold several foods but not too large that it can’t fit in a patio or a small garden.
Four burners power the main grill area, providing plenty of heat to roast and sear foods. Tent style flame tamers help distribute the heat to ensure even grilling.
The last burner is set on a side platform. Here you can prepare other foods as you grill.
Each burner has its own dial, meaning you can create varying heat zones to suit your cooking needs. If you have a recipe that requires indirect heat, you can do it with the BROILUCK grill.
A large steel handle makes it easy to raise and lower the thick heat-retaining hood. The hood has an integrated analogue thermometer that’s easy to read when the hood is closed.
Like other backyard BBQs, the BROILUCK grill requires some assembly, which takes about an hour. It comes with two wheels to make it easy to move from spot to spot.
What I like about it:
- Fast and even heating.
- Side burner + side table.
- Coaster wheels.
5. Landmann Grill Chef 2 Burner Gas Barbecue
If you are looking for a small gas BBQ you can use in your balcony or patio, this one from Landmann is the perfect size. It’s also great if you are on a budget.
The Landman grill has just two burners. As you’d expected, there’s no side burner. Both are under the main grill.
By varying the flame on each or turning one off, you can still create heat zones for cooking different kinds of foods as well as indirect heat grilling.
The small hood is fairly thick. It retains plenty of heat underneath. The hood has a small built-in window you can use to quickly check on the food without letting the heat out.
The only storage, other than the cylinder cupboard underneath, is a pair of small tables, one on each side of the grill.
Overall, the Landmann grill is great bargain. It fits perfectly in a small backyard or a corner of your porch and it’s fun to grill on.
What’s not so fun is assembling it. It comes with a gazillion small pieces that take about an hour to put together. Thankfully, the instructions are detailed and clear.
What I like about it:
- Perfect for small spaces.
- Comes with flame tamers or even heat distribution and better flavouring.
- Comes with wheels for easy portability.