According to the Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) 75% of adults in the US own a grill or smoker and 63% of them are gas grills. Almost half of all adults . Indeed using something other than gas is relatively rare in this day and age – folks want simplicity and a gas or propane grill is very easy to use. So, what’s the best gas grill under $200? Are any of the worth buying? The answer may surprise you.
Is gas or charcoal better?
Before you read on, just re-think that charcoal is not an option for you. Whether you’re thinking about charcoal vs. gas or propane health issues, cost, hassle, or taste, make sure you really don’t want charcoal. Why? Because charcoal produces better tasting food – period. And at this price point for a gas grill, you are not going to get much for your money. You’ll probably be replacing it in a few short years due to rust, ineffectiveness, or general decline – in other words it’ll be falling apart! Many folks purchase a gas grill without really considering charcoal instead. And with a budget of just $200, you can get a fantastic, high-quality built to last classic Weber kettle charcoal grill and all the accessories you’ll need and still be under budget. Check the best price for Weber kettle grills here. If you’re certain gas is better than charcoal for you, then it’s time to consider whether investing $200 is the smart thing to do.
Buying gas grills on clearance?
The biggest problem finding the best gas grill under $200 is that the best isn’t very good. Never mind accessories manufacturers typically include to give you a false sense of better value. Things like side burners, rotisseries, cheap sear burners, and lights may seem enticing, but most gas grills under $200 are junk built with lousy stainless steel and held together with garbage fasteners that will rust and fall apart after a couple of seasons. Finding a quality grill on clearance can be a good way to get decent gas grill for under $200. Here’s a link you can check for gas grills on clearance.
Top 5 gas grills under $200
When it comes to choosing a gas grill, there are hundreds of choices on the market ranging from under $100 to well over $10,000. In terms of regular pricing and total budget, this Char-Griller makes the grade – check the best price now. Regardless of how much you plan to spend, there are some key features on any gas grill you want to ensure you keep in mind apart from the obvious things like whether it’s big and powerful enough to do the job. Hey, if that’s all you are looking to get out of your gas grill, so be it – but before you run out and marry the first gas grill you find, see Lazy-Q Life’s recommendations below for a few choices that are quality built, well reviewed by owners and won’t disappoint you.
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All things considered
You should consider just a few key things before making your purchase. Finding the best gas or propane grill for less than $200 isn’t that hard to do. Perhaps the most important thing to consider is total cost. If your budget is only $200, you can’t spend it all on the propane grill. You’ll need a full propane tank, some proper grilling tools, and a cleaning brush. In addition to that , you hopefully have an instant read thermometer, and ideally a thermometer for the grill box as well. So, if your total budget for this is $200, you have a quite a bit less than that to spend on the grill.
Things you really need to use a gas grill
- Gas grill – $? We think this is the best gas grill for under $200
- Full propane tank ~ $45 – Big box hardware, Wal-Mart, etc.
- Digital thermometer(s) – one for the food and one for the grill – This one is awesome.
- Grill utensils – long-handled spatula & tongs – These are fantastic!
- Grill brush – high quality construction and super durable. Here’s the one you’ll love.
Does size matter?
Of course it does! Even if you never cook for more than 2 or 3 people remember these things:
- In order to perfectly grill a steak or tri-tip, you’re going to use an indirect cooking method and then a reverse sear method to get that fantastic outer crust. When you use a 2-zone set-up on the grill you effectively cut your grill size in half so you need one that’s big enough to handle a 2-zone setup. You effectively lose half the primary cooking area resulting much smaller usable cook area that’s only half the size you thought.
- Minimum of 400 sq. inches of primary cooking area is the minimum you should expect. It’s easily enough room to cook for 4 people using a 2-zone setup.
- Burner power is the other element of “size matters” at play here – how much fuel can they burn (measured in BTUs) relative to the size of the primary cooking area (don’t count the warming shelf, etc.)? Call it whatever you like – it’s really BTUs per square inch of primary cooking area. Heat flux is what some folks call it so well use that term as well. Averages are about 85. Anything over 90 is great.
- BTUs vs. BTUs per square inch. The BTU/hour rating is not indicative of the heat your grill can generate. It simply measures how much fuel the burners can use in an hour. Obviously the same BTU/hr. rating applied to a grill with a cooking surface twice the size would result in less heat per sq./in. of cooking surface. To calculate heat delivery, or how “hot” a grill will get, divide BTUs by square inches of primary cooking surface (don’t include and warming racks). So a 40,000 BTU grill with 450 square inches of cooking surface would generate 89 BTU per square inch. Typical “flux” is somewhere around 85. Make sure your grill has sufficient power!
Key features of the best propane grills under $200
You want at least three burners so you can manage 2 zone cooking – four burners is even better. The 2-zone cooking method (also known as reverse-sear) enables you to control temps and finish things off with a nice sear. Some burners run side-to-side, others run front-to-back. Most of the gas grills out there are front-to-back models anyway – but have a look under the hood. If the controls are on the front you should see a burner for each running front to back.
If possible, you want a sear burner. Regardless of BTU-rating, most grills don’t get hot enough to properly sear. To get a proper sear you need a burner that puts out very high heat. None of the grills in this price range have one, but there is one recommendation below that has one. So, if properly searing meat is important to you, make sure you check out the Charbroil Performance series. Perhaps you can swing the extra $100 or find it on sale.
But in this price range, extras are a luxury you can’t really afford.
Best gas grill accessories
Rotisserie kits may be important to you. It’s a great way of cooking poultry. Some grills come with the motor and accessories, but none in this price range. If you’re thinking about accessories beyond the list of things you need to really use a grill (above), you should increase your budget and look for the best gas grill under $300 or $500. Investing more money can get you a better performing and higher quality grill. If you think you can bump up the budget a bit, check out these top gas grill under $300 and more.
In the end
In the end, when looking for the best propane or gas grill under $200 the best you can do is find something with decent power of sufficient size that gives you 3 good years. Any of the grills above will serve you well. Enjoy!