The Best Gas Grills Under $1,000, 2018 Edition

Collage of various gas-fueled grills

[All photographs provided by manufacturers]

Editor's Note: Is this the summer you're looking to upgrade your grill? You're probably in need of a little advice. We're longtime admirers of the folks behind AmazingRibs.com, the site dedicated to unraveling the science of barbecue and grilling. Please welcome back Max Good, the only person in the world whose full-time job is testing, rating, and reviewing grills and smokers. The database he maintains includes over 500 grills and smokers, ranging in price from $30 to $50,000. When it comes to grilling and barbecue equipment, nobody knows it better.

This review was originally published in June 2016. It was updated in May 2018 to reflect new recommendations and new features in our previously recommended products.

Most people don't want to spend more than a few hundred bucks on a grill, but, as with many things in life, it turns out that you get what you pay for. There are lots of flimsy, low-quality stainless steel gassers loaded with seductive bells and whistles. You shell out $350 for a shiny grill with a bunch of knobs and lights, and it might look cool on the showroom floor, but be sure to take a picture when you get it home—after a year or two, that fleeting beauty will be a distant memory as you drag the rusted, rickety shell to the curb.

That's not to say that you can't get a decent gas grill at a low price. This list starts off with some stripped-down cast aluminum models that will get the job done and remain in service far longer than most comparably priced grills—these are grills we've given the Best Value Gold or Silver Medal on AmazingRibs.com.

So what does the extra money buy as you head to the higher price tags? Quality, durability, better performance, and better warranties. We're not saying you should stretch beyond a comfortable budget, but if you buy a $200 grill and have to replace it every couple of years, you might find yourself a decade later having shelled out $1,000 on grills that just weren't worth it. For that amount, you could have bought a better grill that will outperform your rust buckets, and last decades.

Whatever grill you choose, we cannot emphasize this enough: Pay no attention to the inaccurate built-in dial thermometers. Those ancient bimetal heat estimators can be off by 50 to 100°F! Furthermore, they're usually located in the lid, not down on the grill where the food is. This is useful only if you plan to eat the lid.

To achieve your goal of backyard domination, you absolutely need an accurate digital thermometer, and if you're a data nerd, I encourage you to take a look at the database of ratings and reviews of more than 100 digital thermometers on AmazingRibs.com. Get one now and you'll never have to make excuses for over- or underdone meat again.

Why Gas?

Gas grills have become popular largely because of ease of use: There's no charcoal to lug or light; you just turn a couple of knobs and start cooking. The convenience of gas is clearly valuable to the grilling public. But beware: You want to choose basic quality over cheap and sexy.

Manufacturers tout the number of BTUs (British thermal units) their grills can produce, but that number can be very misleading. BTUs don't indicate the amount of useful cooking heat a grill can generate; they just tell you how much fuel it burns. Naturally, larger grills with more burners will burn more fuel. Heat flux—that's BTUs per square inch—is a much more useful indicator of a grill's searing power, and is something the manufacturers never tell you. We've calculated heat flux for you here and in the extensive searchable equipment review database at AmazingRibs.com. Typical flux for a gas grill is around 85 BTUs per square inch.

One other thing to consider: Size matters. Two-zone cooking—that is, setting up a hot direct zone and a cooler indirect zone—is an essential technique for good grilling. It can be done on those little two-burner gassers, but it's more difficult and cuts your already-small cook surface in half. Although our first couple of selections are small, with two burners, we recommend a minimum of three burners if you can afford the extra cost. Furthermore, you want those burners set up side by side, with control knobs up front, not back to front, which will prevent you from creating indirect cooking zones. Fortunately, most grill manufacturers these days have stopped producing back-to-front-oriented grills.

Small but Mighty: Huntington Cast Series 24025 Gas Grill

The Huntington Cast Series 24025 Gas Grill, a small, inexpensive cast aluminum gas grill

We like Huntington, one of five grill brands owned by Canada's Onward Manufacturing, makers of quality grill lines Broil-Mate and Broil King. The Cast Series 24025 is one of Huntington's most popular grills and may be the best-built gasser you'll find in this price range. This little fella, with its nice aluminum construction and compact size, is definitely a good choice for condo dwellers with limited space on their patios. It could use a bit more power and better grates. Still, for less than $200, it is what it is. Many cheap gas grills have a warranty of one year or less. This model is warrantied for 10 years on all cast aluminum parts, five years on the stainless burner, and two years on all other parts.

Cooking Area: 240 square inches (about 11 burgers)
Heat Flux: 104 BTUs/square inch

Check out a full review of the Huntington Cast Series 24025 Gas Grill on AmazingRibs.com for more details.

The Classic: Huntington Cast 4200 2-Burner Gas Grill

The Huntington Cast 4200 2-Burner Gas Grill, a midsized, inexpensive cast aluminum gas grill

The Huntington Cast 4200 Gas Grill is a basic, low-priced gas cooker with a design typical of the first gas grills made in the early 1960s: cast aluminum body and an old-style, 40,000-BTU dual-H burner. Cast aluminum holds heat well, and the H burner is actually two U-shaped burners fused together, with a separate control knob for each side. You could easily walk past this plain little grill in favor of a big shiny model that was made cheap to sell cheap and carries a one-year warranty—but if you're shopping in this price range, you would do well to stop and take a look. Huntington's aluminum housing will not rust and comes with a limited lifetime warranty on the cook box, five years on burners and stainless steel components, and two years on everything else.

Cooking Area: 400 square inches (about 19 burgers)
Heat Flux: 100 BTUs/square inch

Check out a full review of the Huntington Cast 4200 2-Burner Gas Grill on AmazingRibs.com for more details.

Two-Zone Cooking for Cheap: Char-Broil Advantage Series 4-Burner Gas Grill

The Char-Broil Advantage Series 4-Burner Gas Grill, a midsized, inexpensive stainless gas grill

Char-Broil's Advantage Series gas grills are one of their most popular product lines, and this $200, four-burner stainless is the best-seller. As mentioned above, two-zone cooking is an essential technique for many barbecue recipes, and this good-sized grill makes it easy to set up distinct direct and indirect heat zones. Overall construction is lightweight, but a little better than many other brands in this price range. If you really have a tight budget and want a grill this size, you could do a lot worse. Advantage owners seem pretty pleased with their purchases.

Cooking Area: 450 square inches (about 22 burgers)
Heat Flux: 71 BTUs/square inch

Check out a full review of the Char-Broil Advantage Series 4-Burner Gas Grill on AmazingRibs.com for more details.

Burger King's Dream: Blackstone 36-Inch Griddle Cooking Station

The Blackstone 36-Inch Griddle Cooking Station, a large, griddle-style gas-fueled grill

The Blackstone 36-Inch Griddle Cooking Station is an interesting low-cost, large-capacity cooktop. The 36- by 21-inch removable, cold-rolled-steel griddle has a lip around the sides and back to keep your goodies from falling off, and electric ignition makes for convenient start-up. Plus, if you remove the bottom storage shelf, the legs fold up for easy transport.

Griddles are different from grills, and we do love our open flames, but boy, oh boy, are people who own these nuts about them! Specifically, they love their even heat distribution across a large cook surface and their high temp capability. Griddles also make it a snap to caramelize onions and peppers, or cook eggs, bacon, and pancakes. Easy to use, easy to clean, plenty of cook surface, and portable!

Cooking Area: 756 square inches (about 37 burgers)

Check out a full review of the Blackstone 36-Inch Griddle Cooking Station on AmazingRibs.com for more details.

The Great-Deal Weber Alternative: Broil King Signet 320

The Broil King Signet 320, a midsized, midpriced cast aluminum gas grill

We went looking for a Goldilocks grill that would suit everyone: a grill with decent size, great performance, quality construction backed up with a great warranty, and a lower retail price than our benchmark Weber Spirit three-burner. We found Broil King's Signet 320. Patented dual-tube burners deliver even heating with a wide temperature range, and plenty of searing power without a sear burner. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a limited lifetime warranty, and it has drop-down stainless steel side shelves with built-in tool hooks. This grill is a steal for what you get.

Cooking Area: 400 square inches (about 19 burgers)
Heat Flux: 100 BTUs/square inch

Check out a full review of the Broil King Signet 320 on AmazingRibs.com for more details.

The No-Flare Searing Champ: Char-Broil Commercial 3-Burner Gas Grill

The Char-Broil Commercial 3-Burner Gas Grill, a midsized, infrared-heat gas grill

The Lowe's-exclusive Char-Broil Commercial Stainless/Black 3-Burner gas grills employ a patented infrared cooking system. Infrared heat is intense, high-temperature radiant heat, but Char-Broil's Commercial grills allow you to dial it back for low-and-slow roasting as well. The cast iron cooking grates on this line rest directly on top of stainless steel radiant plates that cover the entire grill area. There is almost no exposure to direct flame from the gas burners below and, consequently, very little exposure to the convection heat that can dry up moisture in foods. The result is juicy meats with no flare-ups. (Head over to AmazingRibs.com to learn more about infrared, convection heat, and the thermodynamics of grilling.)

Since the radiant plates are less than an inch from the cooking surface, you can do some serious searing with this grill. Those radiant plates get really, really hot. Cleaning the cook surface is a little different because juices and marinades don't drip down and burn up; instead, they collect on the radiant plates in the channels between the grates, but Char-Broil includes a fork-like scraper to address this. An added benefit to this design is low fuel consumption—with the heat source so close to the cooking surface, it takes less fuel to reach searing temperatures. That's why the low heat flux rating is misleading for this IR grill.

Cooking Area: 420 square inches (about 20 burgers)
Heat Flux: 61 BTUs/square inch

Check out a full review of the Char-Broil Commercial Stainless/Black 3-Burner Gas Grill on AmazingRibs.com for more details.

New for 2018: Weber Spirit II E-310

The Weber Spirit II E-310, a midsized, midpriced gas grill

Weber sticks to the basics with a revamped version of its popular, full-size, entry-level Spirit gas grill line. Like its predecessor, the Spirit II is a workhorse that delivers solid performance and is easy to use, easy to clean, and available in two- and three-burner configurations. It continues to be a solid, dependable tool for aspiring backyard pitmasters and pitmistresses. With the multitude of $300 gas grills invading the BBQ market every year, a big challenge Weber always faces is price, and although the Spirit II is an entry-level full-sized gas grill, it is still more expensive than many popular low-cost brands. However, most Spirit owners feel that Weber’s quality, durability, performance, and customer service are worth it.

Cooking Area: 424 square inches (about 20 burgers)
Heat Flux: 71 BTUs/square inch

Check out a full review of the Weber Spirit II E-310 Gas Grill on AmazingRibs.com for more details.

Napoleon Invades America With the Legend LA300

The Napoleon Legend LA300, a midsized, midpriced stainless steel gas grill

Although Napoleon sightings are somewhat rare south of the Canadian border, this company produces quality products and is essentially Canada's answer to Weber. The Legend LA300 is a midsized, mid-range gas grill with a stainless steel cook box, cart, doors, and side shelves and a heavy-gauge steel lid. Napoleon's characteristic wave cooking grids on the LA300 are porcelain-coated cast iron and will produce cool curved sear marks on your steaks. This is a good-looking grill that lists for a couple hundred dollars less than a comparable Weber Genesis. You'll need to get in touch with a Napoleon dealer near you to check this one out; it's sold at independent hearth and patio retailers.

Cooking Area: 405 square inches (about 20 burgers)
Heat Flux: 100 BTUs/square inch

Check out a full review of the Napoleon Legend LA300 on AmazingRibs.com for more details.

For Real: Napoleon LEX/Mirage 485RB Gas Grill

The Napoleon LEX/Mirage 485RB Gas Grill, a midsized, high-end stainless steel gas grill

Napoleon is changing the name of Mirage to LEX worldwide and keeping Mirage in the description during the transition. The LEX/Mirage 485RB three-burner gas grill is a sweet-looking cooker, built solid, with a few nice extras thrown in. It's stainless steel construction all around, including the main tube burners.

The LP and NG models of the 485RB may be purchased freestanding on a double-door cart or as a drop-in for installation. The burner output is 16,000 BTUs each, and a 13,500-BTU ceramic infrared back burner is included, although the rotisserie kit is optional. Jetfire ignition at each control knob makes start-up a snap, and each knob is backlit. This grill isn't available at big-box stores in the US, but you can find them online and at a limited number of independent dealers.

Cooking Area: 405 square inches (about 20 burgers)
Heat Flux: 119 BTUs/square inch

Check out a full review of the Napoleon LEX/Mirage 485RB Gas Grill on AmazingRibs.com for more details.