If you’re thinking about buying a propane grill for your patio or backyard, there are plenty of critical factors you should consider to ensure that you’re not wasting your money on a poorly constructed, unsafe, or unsuitable model.
Before you consider each of these elements, you’ll need to think about why you want a propane grill in the first place. Do you want to host more large-scale events in your backyard, like football tailgates and friends’ birthday parties? Or perhaps you want an excuse to eat outside a bit more with your family during the summer months. Whatever the reason, pick a propane grill that’s ideally suited to your purposes.
What to Look For When Buying Propane Grills: A Buyer’s Guide
Propane grills are convenient units that are easy to use and clean. They tend to heat up very quickly and emit a steady flow of heat that cooks food evenly without burning or charring it.
However, the best propane grills can be pricey, so it’s helpful to know exactly what you’re looking for before committing to buying a particular model or unit.
Freestanding or built-in
One of the first factors to consider when buying a propane grill is whether you want a portable, freestanding model or a built-in option. Freestanding grills tend to be less expensive than their built-in counterparts. You can invest in a smaller portable option if you want to move your gas grill out onto your patio or into your backyard. These compact and mobile grills come with smaller propane gas tanks, so you’ll save money on fuel costs.
If you’re constructing a stylish kitchen or entertainment space on your porch or somewhere in your backyard, you’ll need to invest in a high-quality built-in propane grill. These units are designed to fit neatly into a set of outdoor kitchen cabinets as a fashionable focal point and a durable permanent fixture.
You must also think about the style of propane grill you want. If you’re planning on purchasing a premium-grade built-in unit, you should opt for a grill that fits the overall aesthetic of the rest of your outdoor kitchen space. For example, if your kitchen cabinets have a natural and classy dark wooden construction, opt for a built-in gas grill with a matte black finish that complements this more sophisticated, traditional decor.
On the other hand, if you’re already investing in stone-built kitchen cabinets for your outdoor area, try finding a grill with a shiny and glossy stainless steel construction. This slick and reflective look contrasts neatly with the more rustic and characteristic aesthetic of the surrounding stonework.
You should always check what type of material the propane grill is made of before committing to buying a particular model. Look for a unit with durable and premium-grade cast aluminum or stainless steel construction. Cast iron grates are more robust and long-lasting than cheaper stainless steel options, although the latter material has excellent rust and corrosion-resistant capacities.
If you have the choice between a unit with a welded stainless steel construction and one that’s held together with relatively loose nuts, rivets, and screws, then you should opt for the former. Gas grills tend to be some of the most expensive units on the market, so you want to make sure you’re investing in something that has genuine structural integrity. You should also look for a grill with integrated casters since they are easier to move around than those without wheels.
Stability and overall safety
If you’re looking for a freestanding unit, you should make sure that the grill has a robust construction and a relatively broad base. You don’t want your kids or pets to tip over this model by accidentally running into it or hitting it with a wayward soccer ball.
You might also want to find a grill that has an integrated storage cabinet for the gas tank. Not only does this feature allow you to hide the ugly propane canister from view when you have friends over for a barbecue, but it also means that you can keep this tank in a secure place, out of reach of your young children or hyperactive dogs.
Make sure that you’re investing in a grill with rounded, smooth corners and edges. You don’t want your guests to bang their elbows or cut themselves on a jagged rim or sharp piece of metal when they’re walking past it.
You’ll also need to consider the size of the propane grill you want. For example, you might like the idea of investing in a compact portable unit that you can roll from place to place with ease. However, many of these models have a far smaller cooking surface than more substantial built-in options. If you want a unit that can cook up to 40 burger patties at a time, opt for a premium-grade freestanding grill or a vast built-in model.
If the propane model is listed as a small grill, that means it can cook a maximum of 18 patties at any one time. Mid-sized models can hold between 20 and 30 burgers at once, while large units can cook between 30 and 40 in one sitting.
Think about the main reasons why you’re getting this grill in the first place. If you want to cook burgers and ribs for lots of people at tailgates and in your backyard, choose a large unit. If you need a grill that you can use for cooking a few steaks and pork chops for your family on heady summer nights, choose a more cost-effective and fuel-efficient small option.
There are several integrated extra features that you should look out for when deciding whether to purchase a propane grill. First, choose a unit with a built-in electronic igniter. When you push or twist this button, the ignition releases a spark that reacts with the gas from the tank to light the burners effectively and safely. Electronic igniters are far easier to use than traditional push-button or rotary options.
Second, look for a propane grill with an integrated side burner unit. This innovative addition allows you to boil some potatoes, corn, or pasta in a skillet or cast-iron saucepan while you cook burgers and steak on the grilling surface. You can also flip down the stainless steel lid when you’re not using this burner, making a handy extra surface for food prep.
Finally, try to choose a gas grill model with integrated LED lights on the control panel at the front. These lights turn a gorgeous, stylish shade of blue or white when it begins to get dark outside, brightening up the cooking surface and allowing the griller to see the burner knobs or dials properly.
Take These Factors into Consideration and Purchase Your Dream Propane Grill
Premium-grade propane grills can be considerable investments, so it’s crucial that you take the time to pick a unit that’s long-lasting, stable, and suitable for both the decor and size of your outdoor entertainment space.