If you’re going to get serious about having the ultimate entertaining backyard, one of the first items you should put on your “to buy” list is a high quality gas barbecue. Ok, before we get into a debate over charcoal vs. gas grilling, I’ll be the first to say that grilling with the smoky goodness of a Weber charcoal grill is tough to beat, but if you plan on doing any real barbecuing this season, an outdoor gas grill is hands down the best way to go.
Just a few of the benefits of gas grills over charcoal grills include the ability to control cook temperatures when grilling delicate foods or multiple kinds of food. Plus, you can get a lot more steaks on a full size gas bbq than on most traditional charcoal grills. Gas grills heat up quicker and are generally easier to maintain.
With that said, I decided to put some of the most popular grills to the test and see which one’s made the cut. Below you’ll find my top 5 picks for best freestanding gas grills that will transform you into a backyard barbecuing superstar. I just want to add that I understand that many of the higher end grills can get quite expensive. So I’ve tried to include bbq’s that not only perform amazingly and are high quality, but also cover a few price points that any homeowner can afford.
Please note, these grills require natural gas be plumbed to your deck or patio area. If you do not have access to natural gas, please check out some of the best propane grills here.
|Grill Name||BTU/hr||Burners||Cooking Area||Side Burner|
|Napoleon Prestige 500 |
|48,000||4||780 sq/inch||Yes||Check Pricing|
|Weber Spirit E310||32,000||3||500 sq/in||No||Check Pricing|
|Weber Summit S-470||48,800||4||580 sq/in||Yes||Check Pricing|
|Dyna-Glo||60,000||4||667 sq/in||No||Check Pricing|
|Broil King Monarch 390||12,000||3||520 sq/in||Yes||Check Pricing|
After testing nearly a dozen different stand alone gas grilles from several different manufacturers, the Napoleon 500 stainless steel grill takes the top spot as my #1 gas grill. Napoleon grills aren’t exceptionally well know in the U.S., but if you want a quality barbecue that’s made from the best materials and outperforms grills twice the price, I suggest you track down a Napoleon Prestige 500 and check it out personally.
This grill is built to last. All of the external components are stainless steel as well as the basin, sear plates, burners and cooking grids. Most stainless barbecues are only stainless on the outside and the internal components are the first to break down and wear out. But with all internal stainless guts, the Napoleon will resist corrosion and rust damage for years.
The capacity of this grill is just amazing. With 780 sq/inches of grill space, you can get 30 hamburgers over the main burner area and another 8 on the side burner. Speaking of the side burner, it will heat to 1800°F in less than a minute so you have the perfect temperature for searing steaks & fish.
With this grill, you can easily prepare an entire meal . Prepare you steaks, chicken, roasts and meats on the main burners, while using the side burner for grilling veggies, heating sauces and other dishes. This baby cranks out 48,000 BTU’s of pure heat and you can easily enjoy the flavors of charcoal grilling by using the Charcoal Smoker Tray. Fill this with your charcoal and the gas burners will quickly light it, so you can get all the smoky goodness of your old Weber bbq. This is one of the best 4 burner grills on the market today.
If you’re slightly handy, there’s no reason you can have this grill assembled and burning steaks in under 2 hours.
- Stainless steel external & internal components
- 780 sq/inch cooking area
- Infrared side burner
- 48,000 BTU / hr
- Stainless steel sear plates
- Rotisserie kit included
- Large, folding side shelves
- Charcoal smoker tray
- Lifetime warranty + 10 year warranty on burners
- No smoker function
- Slightly higher price point
Of all the grills I had an opportunity to test, the Napoleon 500 really impressed me the most. All stainless construction, huge cooking capacity, tons of heat from the gas & infrared burners add up to a high quality cooking machine that anyone would be proud to use. If you’re concerned about the $1500 price tag, consider that you won’t likely need to buy another grill for a TON of years. The Napoleon 500 is well worth the investment.
There’s no way I could not include a Weber bbq in my best gas grill list, because they have made some of the best quality charcoal grills for decades and their selection of gas and propane grills are equally as impressive.
The Spirit E310 was redesigned in 2013 and doesn’t look as fancy as some of the other grills in it’s class. However this “simple but stylish” unit really took me by surprise and turned out to be one of my favorite grills of the test. This is an entry level Weber to be sure, but the price tag definitely doesn’t reflect this. Expect to pay around $500 for this particular model and don’t expect to find it on sale any time soon.
The construction is high quality and this grill just feels sturdy and solid, as you would expect from a Weber product. You get over 500 sq/inches of grilling space on the main grill plus warming rack with 32,000 BTU/hour heat output. The max temp at full throttle is about 500 degrees F, so searing steaks isn’t quite as good as the other grills that can achieve higher cooking temperatures.
One of the best features is the stainless steel burner tubes which resist burn through and rust that can be caused from the water found in natural gas & propane. The cooking grates come pre-seasoned are very easy to clean.
A pretty slick feature that you don’t find on other grills is the Weber Flavorizer Bar system. The bars vaporize drippings from the food which adds smoke and flavor back into whatever you’re grilling. Any drippings that don’t get vaporized are channeled away from the burner to keep flare up’s to a minimum.
- 3 burners / 32,000 BTU
- 500 sq/in cooking space
- Easy to clean porcelain cooking grates
- Natural gas
- 124 llbs
- Stainless steel burner tubes
- Flavorizer bars
- Stainless steel work surfaces
- Side shelves don’t fold
- No side burner option
- ~ 500 °F max heat temp
This entry level Weber doesn’t have a ton of features like many of it’s more expensive competitors. But it cooks nicely with a small, stylish package that will run you about $500. It’s 100% Weber quality, so you know it’s built to last. The total weight is under 125 lbs, which makes moving it a breeze. If you want a solid grill that performs great and costs, I highly recommend the Sprit E310.
Continuing on the Weber theme, my #3 pick is the Weber Summit S-470 stainless. This unit is a serious grilling machine. Let me say that when you have this beast in your backyard, you’ve made the move from amateur barbecuist to full-on BBQ MASTER.
The Summit series by Weber is their fully loaded line of professional series grills that take your backyard cooking to a whole new level. The S-470 has 4 burners at a whopping 48,800 BTU’s, along with a side burner, sear station, smoker burner, plus the rear infrared rotisserie burner.
A massive 650 sq/inch combined cook space with the lower and upper racks means tons of space for burgers, steaks plus extras. Porcelain-enameled cooking grates that get hot fast, retain heat extremely well and are super easy to clean up.
One of my favorite features is the side sear station that cranks out the heat for doing a quick sear on steaks before you put them on the main grill. This saves time and burner space for other items.
There’s really nothing bad I can say about this bbq. It’s got all the features you could want, with heat for days and a ton of nice extras like tool hooks, heavy duty locking casters, stainless enclosure etc. If I had criticize one thing it would be that this grill can actually get too hot. It took me a couple meals to dial in the heat properly, but after I figured it out, it was amazing to use.
- 580 sq/in cooking surface
- 48,800 BTU
- Enclosed stainless steel cart
- Fast assembly time
- 4 stainless burners
- Stainless Flavorizer bars
- Smoker burner + sear station
- Fast heat time
- High temps
- No folding side shelves
- On the pricier side
- Learning curve for heat control at first
The Weber Summit S-470 makes the jump to Big Boy grills. This beast cooks at high heat, like the professionals, but also has the convenient features like the searing burner and smoker that really make it fun. Like all Weber bbq’s, is well built and will last for years. The price tag is a bit steep, but this is an investment in a long term grill, not just a Home Depot throw away. I would definitely spend the extra on this grill and be completely happy for the next 10+ years.
Next up is the Dyna-Glo Black & Stainless 4 burner gas grill. Don’t let the sub $400 price tag of this grill fool you. It’s packed with great features and has some real cooking power that you would expect from grills twice it’s price.
Besides looking really nice with the black and stainless combo, it has a solid stainless steel side burner that is perfect for foods that need low or higher temps. Throw on a pot of water for steaming veggies or even some crab.
The heart of this bbq is the commercial grade, stainless 4 burner setup that cranks out 60,000 total BTU’s of heat. Heavy gauge steel burner tents protect the burners from drips and vaporize juices to add natural flavor back into your meats. You can also control the temps on this grill very easily and cook in the 225 degree range with ease.
The lid is double walled, which goes a long way in keeping the heat inside the bbq, where it does the most good. The entire frame and surfaces are well constructed and don’t feel cheap or flimsy. At only 126 pounds, you’ll have no problems moving this grill around your patio or deck.
Speaking of the lid, another thing I liked about this unit is the height of the interior space. There’s plenty of room if you want to put a medium sized cast iron pot or cook a whole chicken. Some grills can have shallower lid space, but the Dyna-Glo has ample space for larger items, which is definitely a bonus.
- Commercial grade stainless steel 4 burner
- 60,000 total BTU’s for excellent heat output
- Enameled cast iron cooking grates + warming rack
- 12,000 BTU side burner
- Double wall lid
- Solid base and surface construction
- Thermometer is not that great
- Knobs are cheap
- Grill lower case is not double walled
I’m extremely impressed with this little grill. There’s some mixed reviews on other websites, but most of that was people having issues with damage during shipping or missing an item in the box. Not actual grill performance problems. This Dyna-Glo isn’t at the level of the Weber or Napoleon I reviewed, but at a $400 price tag, it cranks out consistent heat and has some really nice features. It’s well built and MUCH better than most of the lower end bbq’s you’ll find at the big box stores.
The Broil King Monarch 390 is a no-nonsense bbq that is strongly built, has nice features and just plain grills stuff really well. I tested out everything from spicy sausages to a big tri-tip roast and the Monarch got plenty hot to sear a big piece of meat quickly, but the temperature was easy to control for more delicate food.
This grill can be put together relatively fast and cooks great from the get go. The side burner is very powerful at 12,000 BTU’s and the main 3 stainless tube burners bring 30,000 BTU’s, which heat up the cast iron cooking grates very fast. Personally, I absolutely hate waiting for the grill to warm up. This Broil King got really hot, really fast.
Most of the other grills in this class didn’t have folding side shelves, but this model does, which was a nice surprise. Even the burner shelf folds down, which makes it a nice size to keep out of the way when not in use.
This unit also has a resin base which will stand up to the elements much better than metal.
- Powerful 30,000 BTU, 3 burner grill
- 10,000 BTU side burner / 12,000 BTU rear burner
- Rotisserie kit included
- Reversible cast iron cooking grates
- Stainless drop-down side shelves
- 10 year warranty
- Easy assembly
- Stylish looks
- Only 350 sq/in cooking surface
- Not full stainless construction
The Broil King Monarch 390 is a solid player in the $500 grill range. You get plenty of heat from the main 3 burners to sear steaks & roasts, but you have full temperature control for more sensitive foods. The side burner is also powerful and folds away along with the other shelf. Construction is solid and it comes with the rotisserie set up as well. At only 124 pounds, it moves around easy and has features that any experienced griller is going to love.
Gas Grill Buyers Guide
As you’re probably figured out after reading my best gas grill reviews, all grills are definitely not created equal. Yes, most share a lot of common features, but when you’re getting ready to drop $500 to $2000 on a new barbecue, there are some things you’ll want to look for and some things to avoid. Here are a few of my personal grill buying tips to help you get the most grill for your buck.
The best of the best grills will almost always feature 100% stainless steel body and internal parts construction. Basic steel parts will not hold up as long as stainless, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting a grill with stainless burner tubes and stainless grill body construction if possible You will pay more for grills with these features, but it’s worth the cost in the long run with years of problem free use.
Also, for freestanding grills, be sure the check the stability of the legs and casters. You don’t want a grill that isn’t supported well and sways. Not only can it be a safety issue, it’s a recipe for a poorly constructed bbq that probably won’t last very long.
If You Can’t Stand The Heat….
The almighty BTU, British thermal unit. This is the measurement of how much heat your new grill is going to crank out and generally the more cash spend, the more BTU’s you’re going to get. This means higher available cooking temps, which give you more grilling flexibility. You’re going to find ranges from 15,000 to 80,000 BTU’s. It’s not the only factor you should consider when buying a new grill, but a grill in the 30K BTU range will do a very nice job and won’t blow your budget.
Also, more burners are a good thing. With 4 burners you’ll have individual controls for each, which means you can cook at different temperatures at the same time. 3-4 burners is the norm these days. Some higher end models may have 5+ burners.
Natural Gas vs. Propane
The grills I reviewed in this article are all natural gas powered. Meaning, you need to have a line run from your gas meter to the area you’re going to be grilling, so you can hook directly into the natural gas line of your home. I grilled on propane bbq’s for years and I like propane. Propane actually burns a bit hotter than natural gas, however I didn’t enjoy running to fill tanks every few weeks or running out of propane mid cook.
Natural gas grills are much more convenient once you get the line run to your patio or deck area, but this is entirely up to personal preference.
If you only grill for your family on a regular basis, you probably won’t need a grill with 700 sq/in of cooking real estate. But if you like to party, and need to cook 30 hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob and other veggies to serve large groups, you’ll want to make sure you get a grill big enough for entertaining. Most medium priced grills, in the $300-$$450 range will have around 350-450 sq/ft of grill space. More expensive models will upward of 700 sq/in. Make sure to take this into consideration when choosing a new grill.