Hosting a BBQ? Here’s how to buy the best grill

Summertime means grilling season is in full swing. But before you can host that backyard BBQ, you need a grill. These tips will help you pick the right kind of grill at a price that fits your budget.

Tips for buying a grill

  • Start by choosing a fuel type. Grills come in a range of different budgets, so start by narrowing your search according to fuel type. The most common options include:
    • Gas grills are popular because of their convenience. These grills light with the touch of a button and the turn of a few dials. If you want a gas grill, you’ll also need to decide between natural gas and propane. Natural grills plug into your existing natural gas line, which means you’ll never run out of fuel. Propane grills use a cylinder that will need to be refilled. However, if you don’t already have a natural gas line at your home, propane will be significantly cheaper.
    • Basic charcoal grills or specialized ceramic grills give you greater control over cooking temperature. The bigger you build a fire, the higher the temperature. Charcoal grills offer more of a classic grilled flavor than gas grills, but they do have a steeper learning curve.
    • Wood pellets. Pellet grills are designed to make food taste like it was cooked over a wood fire. They often have digital thermostats that allow you to be very precise with the cooking temperature.
  • Set a budget. Grill prices range from hundreds to thousands – to even tens of thousands of dollars. Be sure to set your budget and know how much you can spend before you start shopping. This will help you further narrow your options.
  • Choose the right size. If you are cooking for a family of four, a two-burner gas grill or most small to medium charcoal grills will work fine. Many grills are measured in square inches. Grills around 400-500 square inches are a good choice for most families. If you’re grilling for a crowd, you may need something larger.
  • If you are new to grilling, start simple. A basic starter grill that only costs a couple of hundred dollars will allow you to improve your grilling skills and decide if you want to invest in something fancier.
  • Check for solid construction. The more solid the grill, the more grilling seasons it will last. Give assembled grills a jostle to see if they feel shaky or unstable. Grills with welded joints are usually sturdier and more stable than carts assembled with nuts and bolts. Check the wheels as well, to see if the grill is easy to maneuver or if it could present a tipping hazard when moved around.
  • Get to know the grill materials. Different grill materials require different methods of care and cleaning. For example, cast iron grids require curing to prevent rust but are very durable. Stainless steel grids are resistant to rust, but they may allow food to stick and are more difficult to clean. Porcelain-coated steel grids are suitable for non-stick cooking. However, the glaze can chip, and the steel can rust if the grids aren’t properly maintained.
  • Read the warranty. Every grill warranty is different, so read the fine print to know what is covered. Some grill manufacturers only offer warranties on their burners, which generally last for two to 10 years. You can expect burners with a 10-year warranty to last longer than a grill that offers no burner warranty.

For more information

If you are shopping for a grill online, read the BBB Tip: Smart Shopping Online. And if you plan to spend your summer evenings at the grill on your back patio, you might enjoy reading the BBB Tip: Shopping for Your Home Garden.

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BBQ Grilling