Natural gas grills are becoming increasingly popular, and slowly taking over from their propane counterparts.
But what is a natural gas grill?
A natural gas grill is a grill that is connected directly to the natural gas system of the home.
This style of grill has many benefits, but one of the most appealing is there is no need to restock or swap propane tanks.
Nowadays most of the big brands (and a few smaller brands too) have made their versions of a grill that is fuelled by natural gas, so we have created a comprehensive guide to help grillers find the best natural gas grill.
In this buying guide, you will find everything you need to know about natural gas grills, including their benefits, what you need to look for when buying and the differences & similarities between them and propane grills. We will also be looking into how you can convert a propane grill over to natural gas.
I will jump straight into the best natural gas grill reviews to start with, followed by the natural gas grill buying guide and frequently asked questions at the bottom, if you want to read m gas grills buying guide or frequently asked questions section please jump straight to them below.
Charlies Reviews and Ratings of The Best Natural Gas Grills
Weber Genesis II E-410 Natural Gas Grill
The Overall Best Natural Gas Grill
Our pick for the best natural gas grill is the Weber Genesis II E-410 grill.
It has all the features you would expect from a top-quality grill. But before we tell you all about it, let’s have a look at its specifications.
Specifications of the Weber Genesis II E-410
Weight: 190 pounds
Dimensions: 33 x 39 x 26 inches
Primary Cooking Space: 646 square inches
Total Cooking Space: 844 square inches
BTU Output: 48,000
Wheels: 2 wheels and 2 casters
Why You Should Consider the Weber Genesis II E-410
The Genesis II E-410 grill is perfect for families and professionals. This unit can last for decades, and Weber products, like this grill, have developed a reputation for their durability. It is the perfect combination of quality, functionality, and versatility.
The Genesis II E-410 has an impressive 844 square inch cooking space that is generous enough for cooking many servings at once. It is a perfect unit for anyone who likes entertaining in the back yard on a regular basis for 6+ people.
It has an excellent ignition system for each burner that you can use to control the cooking style and heat. Throughout my testing I have had no issues with the unit firing up whatsoever.
One of the major appeals of buying a Weber is the peace of mind you get back up by Webers famous warranty on this grill’s systems.
There is a lot to admire in this grill’s excellent design. The grates are porcelain-coated and give one of the evenest distributions of heat to food.
There are very few grills that can offer a larger cooking space like this product from Weber. It has two large wheels and two other caster wheels, which makes it easy to move around. You may not find standard wheels in other grills of this size. The lid is quite thick, so much of the heat generated from the burners are retained.
The Genesis II-E410 grill is tall enough to cook beer butt chicken and every other huge meal. It is built like a tank and has perfectly steep drip guards that catch grease quickly.
Its burners are slid into place rather than screwed, so rusting is minimal. What is there not to like in this grill?
Pros of the Weber Genesis II E-410
- Sturdy construction: The Genesis Ii E- 410 is one massive grill. This unit will not topple over but is movable at the same time.
- Available in many colors: You are not compelled to choose a boring, dull color. There are so many options to select from.
- Even distribution of heat: The heat produced from the burners heat the food evenly, so there is no scare of having an undercooked meal with this grill.
- Easy to use and start: The ignition system of the GS4 (as it is popularly called) is one of its best features. Weber-Stephen calls it the infinity ignition, and it works pretty well.
- Open cart design: The sleek design offers a generous room for grilling tools.
Cons of the Weber Genesis II E-410
- Side burners are not included: Its disappointing that this grill does not have side burners. Its four burners are just enough, but one of two side burners with them would have been preferable.
- Very heavy: At 190 pounds, the GS4 is difficult to move alone, even with its wheels.
- The open cart design: Functional and is great, but could be a home for insects. It also could accumulate dust over time.
Overall Thoughts on the Weber Genesis II E-410
The Genesis II E-410 is every griller’s dream unit as it has all the features you would expect from a top-quality grill. It comes with a 10-year warranty, which is just too impressive for a grill. A beginner griller would find it a bit difficult to use but will catch up quite well.
The four burners in this grill heat food well, and gives it a crunchy crust but juicy and tender inside. Its integrated hooks make grabbing tools hung on them very easy. The casters on the GS4 can also be locked if you want to keep the grill stationary.
But the best thing about this grill is how it combines these impressive features with its size. This is why we picked the Genesis II E-410 as our overall best natural gas grill.
Weber Spirit II E-310 Natural Gas Outdoor Grill
The Overall Best Natural Gas Grill – Runner Up
The Weber Spirit II E-310 comes in as our best overall runner up. It is much like the GS4 grill with only a few differences.
Let’s have a look at the specifications for this unit.
Specifications of the Weber Genesis II E-310
Weight: 110 pounds
Dimensions: 5 x 52x 27 inches
Primary Cooking Space: 424 square inches
Total Cooking Space: 529 square inches
BTU Output: 30,000
Why You Should Consider the Weber Genesis II E-310
This compact and versatile unit is the ideal type of natural grills for families. The three burners in the grill are more than enough to make delicious meals through indirect cooking.
Its temperature gauge and quality grates will give you the best sear, and the porcelain material is easy to maintain and clean.
There are three colors of this grill to select that can match the environment it is placed in. The Genesis E-310 has six large hooks for you to keep your cooking tools easily. It also comes with two side shelves, if you prepare this storage medium.
All these parts have a 10-year warranty.
The Genesis E-310 goes for a little above $500 and is the cheaper version of the Genesis E-410. However, it has an advantage over the GS4. Its ignition system has been worked on and is almost perfect.
The foldable side tables save more space and give you extra room to work with. Like most grills made by Weber, the E-310 has reversible cooking grates for cooking delicate meals like fish and for searing food like meat.
This unit is also easier to assemble, but you might need some assistance to lift it up. It comes with an improved 10-foot hose.
Pros of the Weber Genesis II E-310
- Excellent distribution of heat: The three burners allow you to cook food evenly and indirectly.
- Available in four colors: You get to pick from white, black, red, or blue to suit the color of your environment.
- Flawless ignition system: The ignition works perfectly every time it is started.
- Reversible grill plates: This grill has two-sided grill plates that provide cooking options for you.
- Easy assemble: All the parts are easy to fix together, even for beginners. It should take about one and a half hour to assemble.
Cons of the Weber Genesis II E-310
- Thin lid: The lid just doesn’t meet the requirement to retain enough heat like grillers would have expected.
- No side handles: Even though this grill has wheels, it is quite difficult to move around. You would have to push it from its body.
- Small BTU output: The power output is just okay but could be improved on to heat food faster.
Overall Thoughts on the Weber Genesis II E-310
The Weber Spirit E-310 may be the perfect match if you are looking for a compact family grill.
It is made from the most durable materials and designed to last for several years. The infinity ignition is perfect and would ignite every time you light it.
The porcelain-coated grill offers a 10-year warranty on all the parts. The cooking space is enough to cook for up to six people, which is one of its best features.
The E-310 is excellently designed and is very easy to clean and maintain. Even though the lid is too thin, it evenly distributes heat to the grill.
Weber Q3200 Natural Gas Grill
The Best Natural Gas Grill Under $500
The Weber Q3200 is our top pick for natural gas grills under $500. So, why did we pick this Weber grill as our best in this category?
Let’s have a look at its specifications.
Specifications of the Weber Q3200 Natural Gas Grill
Weight: 85 pounds
Dimensions: 30 x 50,2 x 55.5 inches
Primary Cooking Space: 380 square inches
Total Cooking Space: 494 square inches
BTU Output: 21,700
Why You Should Consider the Weber Q3200 Natural Gas Grill
The Weber Q3200 is perfect for small apartments and balconies. It is great for personal use, even though it has two excellent burners. The burners supply a decent amount of food to make a meal quickly. It has removable and foldable shelves, so you can fit it in the smallest of rooms.
The Q3200 has a generous amount of cooking space for its size. However, the most noticeable thing about this grill is the handle light that makes it suitable for night use. If you intend to grill for parties, then this grill might just be the one for you.
The two burners in this grill are made from the best quality of stainless-steel you can get. Also, the cooking grates in this grill are made from top-quality cast iron and are porcelain-enamel coated. The lid is made from cast iron, just like the grates.
The Q3200 grill’s ignition system is so good and easy to use. Weber calls it the infinite burner valve settings, and it sure does an excellent job in heating the grill. The frame of the grill is made from glass-reinforced nylon, a material you would not see in many grills of this price. The hooks and side shelves are a nice addition to this grill.
Pros of the Weber Q3200
- Side burner: You can grill on the grates while warming or cooking on the side warmer of this grill.
- Easy to start: The Q3200 grill has an easy to use electronic ignition system.
- Fast and even heat distribution: Heat is evenly distributed on foods cooked with this grill.
- Easy assembly: The grill is quite easy to put together, and should take only a few minutes.
- Compact size: The Q3200 grill is compact and can fit in tight corners.
Cons of the Weber Q3200
- The plastic shelves: Even though they do not char quickly, we do not like that the shelves are made from plastic.
- Short gas line: The gas line in this grill does not meet the 10 feet requirement that most grillers need.
- The LED light’s battery runs down quickly.
Overall Thoughts on the Weber Q3200 Natural Gas Grill
This unit from Weber is best suited for a beginner griller because it is effortless to assemble and use. Food cooked on this grill are delicious and very tasty. The fact that his grill can be used during the day or night is just too impressive for a unit its price.
A few things need to be urgently worked on, like the battery of the LED light, the BTU output, and the plastic shelves that can cause a fire.
However, we think the Weber Q3200 grill has a lot of impressive features to earn it its spot as our best grill under $500.
Weber Spirit II E-210 Grill
The Best Budget Natural Gas Grill
Our pick for the best budget grill category goes to another Weber product. It is the Weber Spirit E-210: the baby of the Weber grill family.
Let’s have a look at its features and why we have chosen it.
Specifications of the Weber Spirit II E-210 Grill
Weight: 100 pounds
Dimensions: 48 x 26 x 57 inches
Primary Cooking Space: 360 square inches
Total Cooking Space: 450 square inches
BTU Output: 26,500
Why You Should Consider the Weber Spirit II E-210 Grill
The Weber E-210 is the perfect grill for very small patios and balconies. It has two burners, which is what you would expect from a burner its size. There is also a warming rack where you can warm and cook food, and this adds to the total cooking space of the grill.
This grill is best suited for grillers who like to make quick meals, and don’t mind waiting for a few minutes for their food. The unit is quite easy to clean, but the wheels in this one constrain it as a stationary grill only. The shelf is at the left side of the grill, so if you are left-handed, you may just consider getting this grill.
The grill boasts of the same grilling system as the GS4 and many other grills in the Weber E series. The flavorizer bars are porcelain-enameled, which is great for a grill of this price. It also has the signature Weber open cart design with hooks for you to hang your grilling tools.
Surprisingly, the infinity ignition of this grill is better than that of other grills in the E series. What is more impressive is the perfectly steeped grease management system (drip pans) that catches fat and grease easily. Weber lets you choose different colors of the E-210 grill to match your patios or balconies.
Pros of the Weber Spirit II E-210
- The Six hanging tool spaces.
- You get to select from black, red blue, and grey.
- This grill has a 10-year warranty for all its parts.
- A rotisserie kit may be added to the grill.
- The E-210 grill has a large warming rack that expands the already sufficient cooking space.
Cons of the Weber Spirit II E-210
- It is difficult to move around with only 2 wheels on the grill.
- The drip pan is too exposed.
- Assembling the parts takes too long.
Overall Thoughts on the Weber Spirit II E-210 Natural Gas Grill
If you need a grill for that casual grilling experience, then this may just be the one. The grill has two efficient burners, and a built-in temperature gauge so you can monitor your food while it cooks. A decent amount of BTU is supplied by the grills to cook and grill food.
With the porcelain-coated flavorizer bars, you would expect that the food made from this grill will be delicious and have crunchy crusts. The mobility of the grill needs to be reviewed, but for a grill of its price, it surely meets our requirements to tag it the best budget grill.
Weber Summit S-470
The Best High End Natural Gas Grill
Our best high-end grill spot goes to another Weber product. This time, it is the Summit S-470 stainless steel grill. This grill packs all the versatility and functionality of almost every grill within its price range.
Here are its specifications.
Specifications of the Weber Summit S-470
Weight: 235 pounds
Dimensions: 38.6 x 30.5 x 52 inches
Primary Cooking Space: 468 square inches
Total Cooking Space: 580 square inches
Burners: 4 primary
BTU Output: 48,400
Why You Should Consider the Weber Summit S-470
This grill is for the high-spending professional who wants one of the best grills they can get in the market. The grill can be used during the day and night because it has a cool lighting system, so is also a night-party grill. If you care a lot about the flavor of your food, then you should have a look at this grill.
The metallic smoker box has its own burner and is suitable for wood chips. You can cook up to 20 burgers convenient on its generous cooking space. The Weber Summit S-470 has convenient accessories that provide different cooking options to the griller.
The food cooked with this grill is very delicious.
This grill is sophisticated and well-designed to meet the needs of users. It has individual ignition systems, a side and sear station burner. The smoker box gives the Weber Summit S-470 a professional touch that you wouldn’t see in most high-end grills.
You don’t see the sharp angles of the grill’s flavorizer bars often in grills of the Weber’s S series. They channel grease away from the burners, eliminating flare-ups completely. For a grill with so many parts and accessories, its assembly was fairly quick. You can include a rotisserie kit, and the grill gets to 600 degrees with ease.
Pros of the Weber Summit S-470
- Excellent infrared technology feature.
- Great searing of meat with extra thick grates.
- Lighting system for use in the night.
- Smokebox for flavourful food.
- 5-year warranty on all the parts.
Cons of the Weber Summit S-470
- The LED light can be flickery.
- Venting holes are too large and can overflow the grease tray.
- yThe grill is heavy.
Overall Thoughts on the Weber Summit S-470
I am impressed by this grill’s features. Most of its parts, like the cooking grates, burners, and flavorizer bars, are made from quality stainless steel.
Only the cookbox is made from cast iron, and it has 112 square inches of cooking area. The Summit S-470 uses a snap-jet battery ignition that makes it easy to heat food on the grates, side burner, or infrared burner. The smoker box is one of the best features as it gives food a flavourful and delicious taste.
It definitely fits all the criteria a professional would look for in a grill, even though it is not mobile.
Weber Genesis S-670
The Best High End Runner Up
The runner up of the Best-High End grill category is the Weber S-670 grill. Although it is one of the most recent grills from Weber, its features fall short slightly from the Weber Summit S-470’s.
Its specifications are listed below.
Specifications of the Weber S-670
Weight: 170 pounds
Dimensions: 30 x 74.1 x 57.1 inches
Primary Cooking Space: 693 square inches
Total Cooking Space: 838 square inches
BTU Output: 60,800 BTU
Wheels: 4 casters
Why You Should Consider the Weber S-670
There is no doubt that this grill is for large family meals, professional use, and entertainers. It has a mind-blowing 60,000 BTU from its six primary, side, sear and smoker burner. The grill cranks up very fast, so you definitely wouldn’t have to wait for long for your food to get cooked.
The Weber S-670 is a massive grill, designed specifically for outdoor use. There is no way its 30 x 74.1 x 57.1-inch size can fit any room or kitchen. You could even use this grill to make seasoned blush. What more can you ask for in a grill?
Unlike other grills, the cooking box of this beast houses all other cooking components of the S-670. They are made from cast-iron and can withstand the heat needed to grill. The burners are made from a single piece of steel, without welds. It has innovative flavorizer bars that add flavor to food by catching grease on it.
The built-in thermometer and fuel gauge are nice additions to the already awesome grill. Like the S-470, this grill has two handle lights for cooking in the night-time. It also has the standard six hooks that you expect from a Weber grill.
Pros of the Weber S-670
- Large BTU output to cook several meals quickly
- Water and dust-resistant components
- Large total cooking space
- Smoker box to make food colorful
- Infrared technology
Cons of the Weber S-670
- It is very heavy
- Converting this grill takes a long time
- The S-670 grill is not movable
Overall Thoughts on the Weber S-670 Natural Gas Grill
The S-670 leaves little to the imagination of a griller. Beginners would find it difficult to use at first, but it is definitely a handy grill for professionals and restaurant owners. The smoker box adds a flavourful taste to food cooked on the grill.
The S-670 is a great grill, but its lid needs to be worked on. Nevertheless, it has earned its spot as the runner up of our High-end category of gas grills with its amazing features.
Napoleon Grills Prestige 500 NG Grill
The Best Built in Natural Gas Grill
If you are a master griller, then check out this Napoleon Prestige 500 NG grill. It comes in as our best-built grill.
Let us have a closer look at it.
Specifications of the Prestige 500
Dimensions: 20 x 64 x 50 inches
Total Cooking Area: 760 inches square
BTU output: 48,000
Build Material: Stainless steel
Wheels: 4 casters
- Burners: 4
Why You Should Consider the Prestige 500
If you are a master griller or an owner of a restaurant, then this grill is ideal for you. It has the best design, incorporating the most attractive features in the market.
It heats quite well with its four primary burners with a BTU output of 48,000. The side burner is not just for boiling or warming food. It can get up to 1,800 Fahrenheit in only a few seconds.
The Napoleon 500 grill has a Jetfire ignition system, so cranking up the heat is no problem at all. The total cooking area is quite large at 760 square inches, which includes the space for the side burners, infrared burners, and warming rack.
The Napoleon grill has a 5- year warranty for some of the parts in it.
The two-door cabinet and towel bar provide convenient storage space for the natural gas tank and drinks.
Pros of the Prestige 500
- The well-shaped wave rod cooking grates
- Towel bar for holding drinks
- The 10- foot long hose and a brass connector
- The grill is durable and quite easy to clean
- The inclusion of infrared technology to the grill
Cons of the Prestige 500
- It is heavy
- It heats up too quickly for a beginner to catch up on
Overall Thoughts on the Napoleon Prestige 500 natural Gas Grill
This Napoleon Prestige grill model is by far the best-built grill that we have tried out. The inclusion of infrared technology is a plus, and the primary burners heat up really fast as well.
However, for a grill that produces so much heat quickly, a smoker function should have been included. Nevertheless, it functions excellently and provides versatile grilling options. The food cooked with this grill is very delicious.
Beginners would find it very difficult to use, so its best left for professionals and restaurant owners.
Weber Genesis II S-310
Our last grill on this list is another member of Weber’s S series. It is the Genesis II S310 grill. It looks a lot like the S-470 and S-670 and even has similar specifications.
Here are the most important ones.
Specifications of the Weber Genesis II S-310
Weight: 186 pounds
Dimensions: 30 x 60 x 64.29 inches
Primary Cooking Space: 507 square inches
Total Cooking Space: 637 square inches
BTU Output: 38000 BTU
Wheels: 4 casters
Why You Should Consider the Genesis II S-310
This powerful grill cranks up the BTUs and turns heads with its sleek design. The Genesis S-310 is one of the elite grills for professionals, families, and entertainers. It has too much space to be used by a single person.
With one look at this grill, you would know that it is made to last for many years. The double slide doors, cook box and handles are all made from stainless steel. If you need to cook a lot of meals at a time, then this may just be the grill you need.
As we mentioned earlier, almost all its parts are made from the best quality of stainless steel. The functional side shelves are very easy to clean, just like in other Genesis grills. The burners are correctly spaced to create ample space for cooking and grilling. It has an excellent warming rack and porcelain-enameled shroud that both have a mind-blowing 25-year warranty.
Weber also has warranties for the flavorizer bars, infrared rotisseries burners, cooking grates and cookbox of this grill.
Pros of the Genesis II S-310
- Large cooking space
- Infrared technology
- Flavorizer bars that make food cooked on the grill tasty
- Lock for the casters
- Individual ignition system for each burner
Cons of the Genesis II S-310
- It is very heavy
- The caster wheels are too small to move the grill properly
- The lid is difficult to lift up
Overall Thoughts on the Weber Genesis II S-310 Natural Gas Grill
There are few grills with larger cooking areas, BTUs, and better functionality than what the Genesis S-310 has to offer. It is one heavy grill that will cook up to 30 meals at the same time. It is also convertible if you want to use propane instead of natural gas.
This Genesis grill is a good investment and would last for decades. This is why it has made our list.
What is Natural Gas?
Natural gas is the result of several years of decomposed animals and plants when exposed to pressure and intense heat under the earth’s surface.
This gas is a rare, odourless, non-toxic substance containing high proportions of methane. Propane, electricity, and charcoal are conventional grilling alternatives to natural gas.
Are There any Benefits to Cooking with Natural Gas?
Natural gas is the perfect choice for energy cooking. The most significant advantage of using natural gas is that it ignites, burns, and reaches the desired temperature quickly, making cooking time very short.
Some other benefits of natural gas include;
No More Worrying About Gas Bottle Levels!
This is one of the most amazing benefits of cooking with natural gas. A hose connects the grill to the gas system of your house.
Unlike propane and charcoal grills that use up fuel quickly, you do not have to refill or watch the bottle level continually. Just plug the line to the grill, ignite it and start cooking.
You will never run out of gas while cooking with natural gas grills.
Natural gas grills save a lot of money for you in the long run. The only significant cost you may have to incur is in installing a gas line, if you do not already have one.
If you cook a lot, you will be please to learn that cooking with natural gas is much cheaper than using propane tanks. This is because you do not have to take trips to swap empty tanks.
The cost of refilling a natural gas tank is much cheaper than for propane gas or charcoal grill. In some areas, the difference between the refilling price of natural and propane gas grills can even be as high as 20 to 30%.
Natural Gas is Better For the Environment
Using a natural gas grill to cook reduces environmental pollution, something all other types of grills cannot achieve.
It is the cleanest grilling gas and when burned, releases only a small amount of oxides, and almost no ash or smoke (which would have ended up on your food).
Can You Use Propane in a Natural Gas Grill?
Using propane in a natural gas grill is like putting a square peg in a round hole. It doesn’t work!
The energy and oxygen ratio needed for combustion in these two grilling gases are very distinct, making either unsuitable as replacements.
A few accessories like hoses and regulators of each of these gas grills do not fit in the other. Also, natural gas orifices are enormous, unlike small propane orifices. You will have to change the parts of your natural gas grill to be able to use propane in it.
It is dangerous to use propane in a natural gas grill because it can flare up and burn you. Instead, convert the natural gas grill to a propane grill.
A natural gas grill needs to be connected to the main gas supply in your house, so a line must be installed. The upside here is that the process is easy and quick.
Lots of companies that supply gas grills install them for free, if you do not have a main line connected to your gas system already. If your main supply is not located close to your house, it is safer to have a professional install it for you.
It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
Warning: if you are not familiar with gas do not attempt to do this yourself. I repeat DO NOT DO THIS YOURSELF. You are always best to have a certified gas technician do this for you. Gas can be very dangerous.
The carbon emissions to the environment are also significantly lower in natural gas grills than others. Natural gas is an eco-friendly grilling fuel that leaves our environment very clean.
Quick Overview: Converting from a Propane Grill to a Natural Gas Grill
Converting from a propane grill to natural gas grill would ensure that you never run out of fuel, even when preparing food for big cookouts.
However, not all gas grills can be converted to natural gas. Check the grill’s manual for a dual fuel logo or any similar sign that will indicate that the grill is convertible.
You will need a natural gas conversion kit. Again, not all grills use the same kit, so make sure you get the right one.
Follow these general steps when converting your grill.
- Turn all knobs and regulators to the ‘Off’ position and cut off the propane gas tank’s supply. Then, remove the tank from its regulator.
- Next, remove the warming wraps, cooking grates, and panels. Then, remove the hitch pins and carryover tubes. Do not forget to remove these pins from the back as well.
- Disengage the burners from the valves by sliding them over carefully. Use the orifice removal tool to unscrew the orifices from the grill.
- Pull out the burner control knobs from their stands and unscrew the washers and screws that secure the knob to the grill’s body.
- Put the new bezels on the control knob stand and fix the knobs back to the bezels.
- Reinstall all tube burners, panels, and tanks. Finally, put the natural gas tank and orifice in place for grilling.
Note: These instructions are intended to be an overview to show you the steps. Not as a step by step guide to follow yourself. Making the conversion yourself is only recommended if you are confident and have worked with natural gas before. If in doubt please do not attempt yourself. Consult a professional.
How to Choose the Best Natural Gas Grill
There are many manufacturers of natural gas grills that selecting one can pose quite a challenge. Here are some of the things to look out for and questions to ask yourself before you choose one.
The BTU Rating
The BTU of a grill represents the maximum power output that it can provide. The size, cooking surface, number, and power of the burners will help you decide how powerful your natural gas grill needs to be.
The Size of Gas Grill
Think of the number of people you will be cooking for. Do you intend to use the grill for big cookouts, family dinners, competitions or lunch?
The size of the grill you need should be large enough to cater for your guests (or family).
You will have to keep people waiting for their food while cooking many portions if you buy a smaller grill than what is required. Also, it would be a total waste to get a larger one when you do not need it.
Cooking Surface Area
Another thing to keep in mind when determining the size of the grill is the cooking surface area.
A grill can look big but have a small cooking area. The area is measured in square inches, and 450 to 500 square inches should be sufficient for small family meals.
For a family of around 5 or 6 you should be looking at 550 to 650 square inch grills.
The cooking space or area is divided into two: primary cooking space and secondary cooking space.
The area just above the grates and burner is called the primary cooking space, and this is where most of the cooking or grilling is done. The grills burners are concentrated on this place, so a large primary cooking space should match a large grill.
The secondary space includes all the side burners and racks that you could open up to allow more space for cooking. If you intend to use your grill to cook for several people at a time, then a sizeable secondary space is necessary.
The more burners you have on a grill, allows you to cook different foods at different temperatures, all at the same time. Two burners can be used to cook food for no more than four people, and four burners should be able to feed up to twelve people.
A lot of natural gas grills have three burners with individual ignition systems that allow you to cook for two people at a time while boiling, searing or warming in the third.
Having more burners increase your cooking space and technique, which is why natural gas grills with 6 to 8 burners are usually preferable. However, you need to be cautious of one thing. Burners require a lot of maintenance to live their useful life. You will find yourself spending so much money on repairing each one if you do not take care of them.
Using the right burner, with the correct technique, can give your food crispy crusts and tender insides.
How Much Space Do You Have Available
How much room do you have for your grill setup?
Do you intend to use it in your porch, balcony, or backyard? Natural gas grills usually have rectangular configurations and are quite large. Most of them have shelves and drip trays that could add to the space you need to cook a good meal. But your grill should not be the same size as the available room.
The best natural gas grill should have enough space for you to move around it. However, it’s an utter waste if it is located right in the middle of a spacious place. The sides of a room or outdoor area are the ideal place to keep a grill.
Also, it is a good idea to keep the shelves folded up if you do not have enough space. The rooms you are considering to use should not have flammable objects around it as well. Crowding a grill is one mistake you would not want to make.
Burners are vital components of any grill, and natural gas grills can have up to 8 burners, although this is very rare. They are the heating element in the grill, and so determine how hot the grill gets when food is being cooked.
Burners have different configurations that allow for versatile cooking. They could be made from materials like brass and aluminum, and supply various temperatures. Here is everything there is to know about burners.
There are many materials used to make burners. The general property that all of them have is the ability to withstand intense heat and pressure for an extended period. Four common materials used in making burners are brass, cast iron, stainless steel, and aluminum, with stainless steel burners being the most popular.
304 stainless is the best grade of stainless steel used in making these components. It contains about 18% of chromium and 10% of nickel but is not the most used grade in grills. A lot of average-priced grills are made from 430 stainless steel, which would corrode faster than the 304 grade. A magnetic test is a good indicator of the burner’s quality, with 304 stainless steel burners being almost non-magnetic.
The second material that burners are made from is cast iron. Cast iron burners are more expensive than their stainless-steel counterparts and need to be adequately maintained. The usual maintenance practice is to wire brush cast iron burners to remove rust, debris, and flakes. Then you should lightly coat them with vegetable oil.
Aluminum and brass are two rare materials used to make burners in natural gas grills. The former is cost-effective, but brass has the upper hand. It has a high melting point and is resistant to corrosion, stain, and dirt, which are ideal properties of a burner.
The possibility of cooking food in half the time is mind-blowing, and this is exactly what this new type of burner does. Infrared burners reach well above 700 degrees F quickly, that charring steak on the outside with a nice raw middle is now possible. But how does it work?
Infrared burners focus flame on the ceramic tiles with microscopic holes. This, in turn, converts the flame’s heat to infrared energy, which is the same as what the sun emits on a cold, windy day. The heat from these burners is higher and more persistent than in standard burners so that you can cook almost twice the quantity of food in a shorter time.
Conventional grills work by heating the air around the food. But in these burners, metal screens are used to get infrared energy from convectional heat. The flow of air is stopped by the metal screen or ceramic diffuser, which radiates infrared heat instead.
This new technology cooks food evenly and makes grilling more enjoyable. It is particularly good at searing meat and reducing the flare-ups you would get from a conventional burner, but for a high price. You would consume less gas while supplying high-intensity heat with infrared burners.
Side burners are one of the most underused cooking parts of a grill. This is probably because many grillers do not know what it is used for or whether they need one. A lot of grills have this burner at the side of the main chamber, as its name implies.
A side burner gives extra cooking space and allows for additional types of cooking apart from grilling. You don’t have to go inside to warm or cook another meal. It is right there for you to use to do that. They are useful for cooking vegetables, especially when the normal grill is being used for cooking meat. You can get yourself a cast iron cooking wok, that will serve you for a very long time. But do not forget to season it first.
A side burner can also be used for frying foods. The odor from fried foods cooked in the kitchen are trapped indoors even with good ventilation systems, and this can be a serious problem to tackle. Luckily, you can use side burners to fry catfish, French fries, hushpuppies without leaving odors in your indoor kitchen.
Some side burners come with covers that you can use as a shelf, and they’ll reduce the stress of nipping in and out of the kitchen.
Materials, Quality and Durability
The materials a grill is made from will determine the overall quality, craftsmanship and price of the unit you choose.
A stable and strong set up is ideal, but you still have to play your role in maintaining it. If you are in doubt of the material your grill should be made of, then perform a magnetic test. An excellent grill will be almost non-metallic.
When natural gas grills were first introduced, they were messy and used lava rocks that were prone to flare-ups.
Nowadays, almost every natural gas grill uses flavorizer bars to direct drippings and grease away from the tubes of the burner. The grease from food fall on the bar, are vaporized and finally circulated back to the food to give an extra flavor.
The roof-shaped bars are placed under the grates and just above the burners to protect them from grease and prevent flareups. Flavorizer bars are made from different quality of materials, but they all need to be washed with soap and water regularly.
Even if they have holes and cracks in them, these bars should still work well for a long time.
Grates are the cooking surface and one of the most important parts of your grill. It should be made from a strong, resilient, and durable material that can easily transfer heat. They don’t necessarily have to be non-stick, but food shouldn’t be hard to remove off them either.
The most common grate materials are cast-iron, stainless steel, porcelain-coated steel, or just plain steel. Intense heat from the grill can wear these metals if they are of poor quality or too thin. The thickness and material used in making the grates will determine how quickly they cook food.
Let’s take a closer look at each type:
Grates made from plain stainless steel are the most affordable kind available. However, these grates come with a number of setbacks.
When used repeatedly, chips can be formed on them. Stainless steel units also lose most of their non-stick features, although not as quickly as plain steel grates.
If cleaned properly and regularly, stainless-steel units should last for a long time. Avoid plain, rod-type steel grates. They would develop rough and uneven surfaces quickly.
Cast Iron Grates
Experienced grillers usually go for cast iron grates, even though they are heavier.
Although cast iron grates take a little longer to heat up they can handle extreme heat and retain it for a long time. Cast iron grates are more expensive than all other types and can be used for years on end. However, one drawback is that they need to be maintained regularly.
A cast iron grate contradiction to always keep in mind is that grease builds up on their surface, but are vaporized when exposed to intense heat.
You can get tow different types of porcelain grates: porcelain-coated steel and porcelain-coated cast iron.
Porcelain grates are a good choice because they combine the positives of a bad metal with the features of its coating. They are cheap are high-maintenance.
One bad thing about porcelain-coated grates is that they can peel off, causing the surface to be exposed to moisture. Never use hard scrapers on this surface. A metal brush will do the job instead.
When you’ve got everything set to grill, nothing could be as frustrating as the grill not starting. The ignition system is usually where the fault is, and a quality one will save you from embarrassments.
Almost all grill ignition systems use a spark to ignite the gas from the burner. The components of this system include a spark generator, wirings, and an electrode.
The generator creates the spark; the wiring carries the spark to the burner, and the electrode allows it to move to a ground point.
Long-lasting ignition systems use the best grade of these components to ignite the gas from the burner.
Hot Surface Ignitor
Hot surface ignitors are ignition systems that must be connected to an electricity source to operate. Some of these ignitors light the main burner without requiring a pilot light, although this is not always the case. They have few parts, which means fewer things can go wrong with them.
Host surface ignitors are found in very expensive and fancy grills.
Battery-powered ignition systems produce repeated, reliable, and hot sparks.
They have little step-up transformers in them to increase the voltage. Two of the most common types are the AA and AAA batteries.
Battery-powered ignition systems are the easiest to fix. Just remove and replace the batteries when they get bad.
Piezo electronic ignitors were one of the first attempts to make a fully automatic system.
They come in two types: the pushbutton type and rotary unit.
The former has a wire terminal that connects it to the electrode, while the rotary unit can have up to four wires.
This system will get your grill started in no time, and is recognized by its clicking sound.
The warranty on a product will depend on the type of material it is made from. Warranty times differ from manufacturer to manufacturer however it is common to see warranty periods for the firebox, burner, and grates are usually given a one-year to a lifetime warranty and other parts given longer warranty periods.
Check the manufacturer’s guide to see all the parts and cases that are covered by the warranty.
The shipping and transportation fee for damaged parts are usually free.
Ease of Cleaning
Natural gas grills come with maintenance tools to keep them clean.
When choosing a grill, prioritize the units that have removable parts over the others. They will make cleaning and keeping on top on maintenance a whole lot easier.
The burner, flavorizer, cover, and grate materials would determine how often your grill needs to be cleaned.
Grilling tools are necessary for cooking. You should have tongs, spatulas, brushes, and drip trays that can easily be put in a dishwasher for the easiest cleaning.
Pellet Smoker Covers
A grill cover protects the cooking surface and grill from rusting, corrosion, and dust. It is a good investment if you do not use your grill all the time.
For each of the unit that I have reviewed below I have also included a link through to a suitable cover.