Which Gas Grill Class is Right for You?
Buying a gas grill is a huge decision, much like picking a name for your firstborn or choosing a career path. OK, it’s not all that serious, but you should consider the vast differences in quality, performance, and features across gas grills when it comes time to purchase one. To help you better understand what separates certain models from others, we’ve split our selection of gas grills into four distinct classes — Luxury, Premium, Practical, and Entry-Level.
Though gas grills look similar and are built for the same task, their quality varies greatly. Some manufacturers construct their grills with nothing but commercial-grade stainless steel, whereas others are content using lower-quality steel to meet more accessible price points. Features are just as wide-ranging among grills, with some sporting LED stadium lighting and chain-driven rotisseries while certain models keep things simple. And while they all get hot, grills in higher classes tend to be more versatile and sport top-level performance.
Each of the four classes fall somewhere along these spectrums, giving you a clear starting point on your shopping journey.
Luxury Gas Grills
- Highest possible quality of parts and materials means these grills can last decades*
- Expertly and beautifully designed to make a striking impression
- Brands offer full lines of matching outdoor kitchen equipment for a cohesive aesthetic
- Lifetime warranties are the norm, and some include the benefit of labor coverage
- Top-of-the-line features provide a luxury experience for you and your guests
- The most reliable ignitions and cooking systems along with innovate technologies
- Most cooking versatility and widest temperature ranges of any grills
Luxury grills should last a lifetime* and serve as a truly worthwhile investment that’ll yield years of enjoyment for you and your guests. They’re built entirely with high-quality materials like commercial-grade, 304 stainless steel that can stand up to repeated cooks and the test of time. In addition to their durable construction, Luxury grills boast superior craftsmanship and attention to detail in the form of fully welded seams, sleek lines, and hand-polished edges. With such strong aesthetics, these high-end models are designed to be the eye-catching centerpiece of just about any outdoor kitchen setup.
The cooking systems of Luxury grills are generally quite forgiving, meaning you can briefly step away from the pit to socialize with guests without worrying if your food will burn. They’re known especially for creating even heat that minimizes hot/cold spots, allowing food to cook uniformly and at the same speed. Flare-ups are just as rare, but when they do occur, they result in the flame-kissed food that every home cook desires instead of a runaway fire. Additionally, Luxury grills can reach ultra-high temperatures for restaurant-quality sear marks and sink to the low end for more delicate items.
From hood lift assist functions to heat zones separators, Luxury grills turn cooking into an effortless experience. They remove the guesswork of grilling with front-facing viewing windows and extremely accurate analog thermometers, not to mention the built-in grease management systems that make cleanup a breeze. Integrated rotisseries are common in this grill class, which is also notable for its wide range of possible accessories such as smoker boxes, pizza stones, and steamer trays. Throw in built-in safety systems and hood lights for nighttime grilling, and you’ve got a group of grills that leave nothing to be desired.
Top Luxury Grill Brands
Practical Gas Grills
- Manufactured with a mix of various grades of stainless steel, painted steel, and coated steel
- Built to last up to 10 years*
- Warranties up to 10 years in addition to longer-term customer support
- Wallet-friendly with moderate reliability and quality
- Fewer size options and features can limit cooking versatility
- Decent heat retention and evenness, though very high heat is sometimes hard to achieve
- Narrower temperature ranges and greater difficulty maintaining high-end heat
Practical grills are exactly what they sound like — functional, respectably built grills designed to meet basic cooking needs. While some of these models include painted or powder-coated steel in their internal parts, most use stainless steel in the grill head, burners, or exterior. Warranties really start to slim down in this class, with most topping out at 10 years of coverage. The majority of Practical gas grills are either freestanding or portable, though limited built-in options are available.
You may have to spend a bit more time tending to one of these grills than those in higher classes, but it'll likely get the job done without too much hassle. They’re decent at retaining reasonably high levels of heat, giving you nice searing potential for steaks and chicken. Hot/cold spots and flare-ups can be an occasional issue for Practical grills, though not nearly enough to ruin your cookouts. Because of their restricted capabilities, these grills are best suited to cook standard BBQ items for smaller groups of family and friends.
Though these grills might not offer much versatility, they usually incorporate side burners or sear stations that expand and simplify your cooking experience. LED-lit control knobs also make using the grill easier and add an aesthetic touch, while drip trays are useful for speedy cleanup. If you choose propane your grill cart may even have a dedicated spot to store tanks. Just keep in mind that Practical grills aren’t compatible with most of the fun and easy accessories that make cooking on grills in higher classes quicker and more enjoyable.
Top Practical Grill Brands
Entry-Level Gas Grills
Thanks to their accessibility and relative affordability, Entry-Level models are popular among beginners buying their first grill (typically in hardware and home-improvement stores) or those who want to try a new brand without breaking the bank. These grills tend to be simply made with straightforward functionality and features, which newcomers may find less intimidating than grills in higher classes. While their low price points are equally enticing, keep in mind that lower prices can sometimes lead to sacrifices for brands, whether that means choosing thinner materials or facing tough decisions about which features make the cut. It’s also worth noting that Entry-Level is the widest grill class, ranging from value-packed to questionable in all facets. That’s why we’ve singled out a clear winner in the Entry-Level Class: the Victory gas grill. Engineered to exceed in this class, Victory results from the feedback from tens of thousands of similar gas grill purchases. It’s the grill we recommend because it’s the grill that gets everything right — without compromise.
- Often favored by beginners for their affordability and accessibility
- May compromise on quality, performance, and features to meet low price points
- Overall quality varies more widely among these grills than those in any other class
- Introduces grillers to major brands without requiring a huge investment
- Mostly painted and porcelain-coated steel, though some grills use durable stainless steel
- Short and limited warranties are the norm, but certain brands provide excellent coverage
- Simple construction and low max temperatures may be less intimidating for newcomers
For this class of grill, “affordable and accessible” becomes the name of the game. Painted or porcelain-coated steel is the norm, and while those materials are more likely to quickly corrode, a few models from the most trustworthy brands buck that trend by using stainless steel throughout the grill body. Warranties generally leave something to be desired as well, with most offering just a few years of protection. With that said, these rules aren’t without their exceptions. Higher-quality grills (the Victory gas grill comes to mind) can surprise grillers with warranties spanning 10 years or even the lifetime of the purchaser.
Simple construction and fewer bells and whistles usually lead to a more straightforward grilling experience, another reason those new to grilling often start their search at Entry-Level. Generally lower max temperatures can also lessen the intimidation factor for beginners, though that may end up as a trade-off for lower overall performance. Whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned pro, the best indicator of performance in this class is a well-designed flame-tamer — it evenly distributes heat across the grill grates, keeps flare-ups in check for worry-free grilling, and protects the burners from food drippings.
Most Entry-Level gas grills are short on features, and the common add-ons are more sensible than entertaining; tool hooks, side shelves, and cart storage don’t exactly scream sexy, but each touch is helpful in some aspect of grilling. A select few Entry-Level brands strive to provide a more versatile and enjoyable experience with infrared side sear burners, steakhouse-level cooking stations that pump out ultra-high heat while also freeing up valuable space on the main grilling surface. And in terms of convenience, higher-end models in this class have full-width, pull-out drip trays designed to simplify cleanup.
Top Entry-Level Grill Brands
*with proper care, use, cleaning, and maintenance
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