Are you considering buying a grill for your home? I was in the same position not too long ago, and let me tell you, it can be a bit overwhelming to make a decision with so many options out there. However, most homeowners, including myself, tend to choose gas grills because of the convenience and ease of use they offer.
Gas grills are typically powered by either liquid propane (LP) or natural gas (NG). Although both types of fuel will give you a deliciously grilled meal, there are some differences you should consider before making your decision. As someone who has done the research and made the choice, I want to share with you what I’ve learned about the pros and cons of each option.
So, if you’re unsure about whether to opt for propane or natural gas, keep reading. I’ll walk you through some of the key factors to consider so you can make an informed decision and find the perfect grill for you and your family.
Why Choose a Gas Grill?
When it comes to grilling, there are several types of grills to choose from, each with their own unique features and benefits. As a self-proclaimed grill enthusiast, I’ve tried them all, and I’d love to share my insights with you.
Let’s start with the classic charcoal grill. There’s nothing quite like that smoky, char-grilled flavor that you can achieve with a charcoal grill. However, I have to admit, starting a charcoal grill can be a bit of a challenge. And let’s not forget about the clean-up – it can be a bit of a hassle.
Next up are electric grills. I appreciate that they are environmentally friendly, but they don’t have the same heating power as other types of grills. If you’re looking for a quick and easy grilling experience, electric grills might not be the best option.
Moving on to gas grills – these are the most popular for a reason. They’re generally easy to start, heat up quickly, and can provide consistent heat throughout the grilling process. As someone who loves to experiment with different cooking temperatures, I appreciate the ability to control the heat and use different temperatures on various parts of the grill at the same time. Plus, cleaning a gas grill is relatively easy.
Propane vs. Natural Gas Grills
I’ve been asked many times about whether propane or natural gas is the better option for grilling. Honestly, both options work great once they’re up and running. The primary distinctions between the two are related to grill setup and maintenance requirements.
When it comes to set-up, propane grills require a propane tank, which needs to be refilled or replaced periodically. On the other hand, natural gas grills require a direct natural gas line hookup, which can be a bit more involved. However, once set up, you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel with a natural gas grill.
Maintenance is another factor to consider. Propane grills typically require a bit more maintenance, as the propane tank and gas lines need to be checked for leaks and other issues. Natural gas grills, on the other hand, require less maintenance since they’re connected to a fixed natural gas line.
- Portability — The biggest advantage of a propane grill is the portability factor. Because the grill is powered by a propane tank, you can move the grill and the tank anywhere you like, whether it’s to a new location in your yard or into the car or truck for a trip up to the cabin.
- No Installation Costs — With a propane grill there’s no need to run gas lines, so you don’t have to pay for installation costs. All you need to do is buy a propane tank, hose, and regulator. Hook them up to your grill and you’re ready to go.
- Power — Propane contains more energy and burns hotter than natural gas, so it is technically more powerful. With propane you get about 2,500 BTUs per cubic foot, while natural gas gives you about 1,000 BTUs. That’s not to say that natural gas grills offer less heat. It all depends on the configuration of the grill.
- Propane Runs Out — Eventually your propane tank will run out, which means you will have to refill the tank or exchange it for a new one. This can be time-consuming and a bit of an annoyance, especially if the propane runs out in the middle of a grilling session.
- More Expensive — Although the costs of propane and natural gas vary in different places and fluctuate sporadically, propane is typically more expensive than natural gas. The difference in costs isn’t astronomical, but it can add up over time.
- Propane is Heavier — Unlike natural gas, propane is heavier than air, so it tends to hover low to the ground for longer periods of time. This can be dangerous if there is a gas leak and sparks fly or a fire breaks out.
- Unlimited Fuel Supply — Natural gas grills get their fuel from pipelines that are connected to a main source, so you’ll always have a consistent supply of gas flowing. This means you’ll never run out of fuel in the middle of cooking, and you won’t have to make trips to the store to refill or exchange tanks.
- Cheaper — In general, natural gas is cheaper than propane, so it can save you money in the long run. Keep in mind though that you will need to install a gas line if you don’t already have one, and that can be expensive.
- Burns Cleaner and Lighter — Both propane and natural gas are considered clean burning because they produce few carbon emissions. However, natural gas is slightly cleaner than propane. It’s also lighter than air, so it will dissipate quickly if there is a leak.
- Need to Install a Gas Line — If you’re considering a natural gas grill, keep in mind that it requires a gas line hookup. This means that you may need to hire a professional fitter to install a gas line in your yard, which can be quite costly, especially if you live far away from the gas main.
- Less Mobility — Another thing to consider is mobility. Given that a natural gas grill connects to a gas line, it’s important to position the grill in close proximity to the line. This can limit your ability to move the grill around, as you can only go as far as the gas hose allows. Additionally, a natural gas grill isn’t ideal for camping or situations where there’s no gas line available.
Gas Grills That Can Convert to Propane or Natural Gas
Are you having trouble deciding between a propane or natural gas grill? As someone who’s been in the same position, let me offer you a solution – consider purchasing a gas grill that can be converted to either propane or natural gas. This way, you can keep your options open in case you change your mind in the future.
While you may need to purchase a conversion kit to make the switch, it’s a small price to pay compared to buying a whole new grill. I’ve personally converted my gas grill from propane to natural gas and vice versa, and it was a fairly simple process.
By choosing a gas grill that can be converted, you’re giving yourself the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the hassle of selling or disposing of an old grill and purchasing a new one.
Char-Broil Commercial Series Tru-Infrared 4-Burner Gas Grill
Dimensions: 45 x 50.4 x 24.5 inches
Weight: 92.8 lbs
Warranty: 10 years for the burners, 1 year for the other parts
Made of sleek stainless steel, the Char-Broil Commercial Series Tru-infrared 4-burner gas grill is ultra-durable and offers tons of great features to make your cooking experience enjoyable. The porcelain-enamel grates prevent food from sticking and are easy to clean, plus they won’t rust no matter how many sauces are slathered across them. The electronic ignition makes it easy to start with just the push of a button, and the LED lights mean you can grill at night. And with four burners and 525 square inches of cooking surface, grilling for BBQ parties is a breeze.
Napoleon Rogue XT 525 Gas Grill
Dimensions: 48.5 x 60.5 x 25 inches
Weight: 152 lbs
Warranty: 15 years for the firebox, 10 years for the burners
The Napoleon Rogue XT 525 is a solid four-burner gas grill that offers 525 square inches of cooking area, which is more than enough to feed a family of four or more. The unique wave-shaped grills retain heat and help keep juices in for more flavor, and they can be reversed for different types of food. Give steaks and burgers a good sear using the thick side or flip the grates over to the thin side for more delicate items like fish. The grill also has side tables that can be folded to save space, and it comes with a smoker.
Nexgrill Deluxe 6-Burner Grill
Dimensions: 46.45 x 59.85 x 22.29 inches
Weight: 124.2 lbs
Warranty: 8 years for the burner, 1 year for the other parts
If you need a bit more power, the Nexgrill Deluxe 6-burner has six main burners that produce up to 60,000 BTUs, as well as a ceramic side burner that offers another 15,000 BTUs. You can sear your steaks on the side burner and then finish them off on the grill. The side burner can also be used for sauces and sides. In addition, the grill has side tables for extra space, a cabinet below where you can store a propane tank or cooking supplies, and it comes with a rotisserie kit so you can slow-roast whole birds.
How to Convert Your Grill
As an avid griller, I can tell you that choosing between propane and natural gas can be a tough decision. But what if I told you that you could have the best of both worlds? By purchasing a convertible gas grill, you can switch between propane and natural gas without having to buy a new grill.
Now, it’s important to note that converting a grill from one type of gas to another isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. You’ll need to purchase a converter kit that’s specific to your grill model. The kit typically includes new gas jets, gas fittings, and gas valve limiter stops, as well as a gas hose. Installing the kit can be a bit tricky, so make sure you follow the instructions carefully or have a professional do it for you.
It’s also important to do your research beforehand. Not all grills can be converted, and some manufacturers like Weber will actually void the warranty if you attempt to convert their grills. So, make sure you choose a grill that is appropriate for the type of gas you want to use, or choose a model that is convertible.
When it comes to grilling and flavors, both propane and natural gas grills will give you excellent results. However, there are other factors to consider, such as set-up costs and convenience. Propane grills require a propane tank, which needs to be refilled or replaced periodically, while natural gas grills require a direct natural gas line hookup, which can be a bit more involved. By choosing a convertible gas grill, you have the option to switch between the two types of gas, depending on your needs.
In terms of costs, propane tends to be a bit more expensive than natural gas, but it’s also more widely available. Natural gas is typically cheaper, but it requires a fixed gas line, which may not be available in all areas. Ultimately, the decision comes down to what makes the most sense for you in terms of convenience and costs.
If you’re torn between propane and natural gas, consider a convertible gas grill. It may require a bit more effort and investment upfront, but in the long run, it can save you money and give you the flexibility to grill with either type of gas.