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Last Updated on April 28, 2021
When deciding what kind of gas grill to buy, the fuel source type is an important question to consider. Gas grills can run either on propane or natural gas.
The difference between propane and natural gas isn’t significant in terms of their cooking capabilities. Modern gas grills can burn the same way with either fuel source. However, if you have access to natural gas at your house and are debating this question, there are some key points to consider.
Neither propane nor natural gas is better than the other, and each one has specific qualities that suit certain people and grilling situations better. The most important factors are cost and convenience.
What’s the Main Difference?
Originally, propane grills were the clear winner over natural gas for their portability, but natural gas grills have become increasingly popular in recent years. There isn’t a big difference in temperature control and heat output, but people always prefer one over the other for convenience or fuel prices.
Natural gas is a fuel source you can run through your home like electricity or water. It’s more eco-friendly than propane, and this is one reason why many people have started to use it. Natural gas grills are very easy to use because you simply connect them to your home’s natural gas pipeline and switch on the ignition at the grill.
Propane is a liquified gas that comes in small metal tanks. It’s relatively easy to connect a propane tank to a gas grill, even though it can seem difficult the first time. Propane grills have a hose that connects to the tank, and the tank is usually placed right underneath the grill. You must check the tank’s hose and valves frequently for leaks to prevent the unit from becoming a fire hazard. Even though propane isn’t as eco-friendly as natural gas, it still has a smaller carbon footprint than coal or diesel fuel.
Advantages of Natural Gas Grills
When thinking about propane vs. natural gas grills, you should first identify whether you have a natural gas pipeline in your house or if you can install one. If you do, then using natural gas could be a great option since natural gas is cheaper than propane.
If you don’t, installing a natural gas line is an option. Some gas companies will do the installation for free as long as there’s a natural gas main close to your house, but the installation tends to be expensive for most people. This initial financial commitment is the main disadvantage of using natural gas.
In addition to installation, there are a few more things to consider. These are running costs, convenience, and the effect on the environment by natural gas.
Natural gas tends to be about 3 times cheaper than propane. In the long term, this can amount to a considerable amount of money saved, especially if you grill often.
If you don’t have natural gas in your home, consider doing the math for the initial cost compared to the amount you would save over time. A natural gas company can estimate how much the installation would cost.
One of the main benefits of using natural gas is that it’s very convenient. With propane tanks, you’re always worried about running out of gas during a barbecue. There are a few simple methods to check the amount of propane in a tank, but you still have to make sure you have enough propane every time you grill and buy some extra tanks if necessary. With natural gas, you have an endless supply.
Natural gas is a cleaner source of energy than coal or oil. Natural gas produces about half the carbon emissions of coal. If you are looking for an eco-friendly gas grill, natural gas grills are a great choice.
Keep in mind propane doesn’t have a considerable carbon footprint either. Both propane and natural gas pollute a lot less than coal or gasoline. However, in terms of eco-friendliness, natural gas is the winner.
Advantages of Propane Grills
In the propane vs. natural gas grills debate, propane gas grills are the preferred type by most people in the US. Many people choose them because of their ease of use and portability. There is one minor downside of propane: propane is heavier than natural gas, which can cause the gas lines to become clogged. This last point raises some people’s safety concerns, as clogs and leaks pose a significant fire risk.
If you are going camping in the mountains for a couple of days, you’ll find a propane grill helpful. It’s easy to carry a propane grill and tank in the back of your car, and they are fast to set up as well.
Ease of Use
Propane is available in most convenience stores and supermarkets. However, you won’t have to buy them very often. A 20 lb. propane tank can last you for a whole summer, as long as you don’t grill very often. If you have two tanks stored at a time, they should last you for a long time. Also, it’s possible to pay for someone to refill your propane tanks in some areas.
Some grilling experts and chefs say that propane is better for cooking because it stores more energy per unit than natural gas. Heating power is usually measured in BTUs, which means the amount of energy needed to raise a pound of water temperature by 1°F. Propane emits about 2,500 BTUs per cubic feet while natural gas produces 1,000 BTUs.
This means for the same amount of gas; propane can double the amount of heat produced by natural gas. If you typically prefer faster cooking methods with high heat, such as searing, propane may be the better choice. However, if you enjoy low, slow-smoked BBQ dishes, natural gas provides enough heat to get the job done.
Propane Gas Grills vs. Natural Gas Grills: Which One Should You Choose?
Modern gas grills have become very efficient, and they will work well with both kinds of fuel. The main aspects to consider when choosing between the two types of grills are cost and convenience. If you can’t wait to go camping or bring your grill to a friend’s house, then a propane grill is the right option. For those interested in cutting costs, a natural gas grill could prove cost-efficient in the long term.