Spring will be here before you know it, and what better way to celebrate warmer weather than with a barbecue? Just imagine how amazing hamburgers, hotdogs, corn on the cob, chicken, and other vegetables are going to taste straight off the grill in your own backyard! You can even grill peaches and serve atop vanilla ice cream to complete the meal. You want to be prepared to make this dream a reality when the temperatures rise, which means now is the perfect time to purchase a new grill!
When choosing a new grill, you're going to have some important decisions to make. First of all, do you prefer a gas grill or a charcoal grill? Charcoal grills can result in higher temperatures than gas grills, and some people prefer the flavor that charcoal grilling provides. Nevertheless, gas grills are popular since they heat up quickly, offer more controlled temperatures, and are easily cleaned. Propane gas grills are usually more desirable than natural gas grills, since natural gas grills must be connected by a pipeline from the house (must be done by a contractor). The BTU rating measures the amount of heat that the burner creates. You also need to consider the cooking area. Do you usually just cook for a few family members, or are you planning on cooking for a large party? Usually, 450-500 square inches of cooking area is good for most households, whereas 550-650 square inches is good for those who entertain more or have larger families. Stainless steel tends to be the material of choice. You want a grill that is put together well and durable. Finally, you'll want to take price into consideration.
Best Gas Grill: Weber Genesis II E-310 Gas Grill
The Weber Genesis II E-310 Gas Grill measures 45 inches by 54 inches by 29 inches with the lid closed, or 61 inches by 54 inches by 31 inches with the lid open. It produces a total of 37,500 BTU of heat. Testers noted that it heated up quickly, in under 10 minutes. Reviewers note that the gas grill heats evenly and temperature was consistent. A built-in thermometer keeps you aware of the temperature inside the grill. To light, turn on the gas supply. Turn the burner control knob for the appropriate burner you want to light, and then hold down the electronic ignition button until it lights. Assembly took well over an hour and Weber actually suggests an assembly time of 3 hours, so give yourself plenty of time to get set up. That being said, assembly was straightforward enough. While this grill is expensive, it is well-built and effectively grills food for delicious meals. Weber offers a 10-year warranty.
Best Charcoal Grill: Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22"
The Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill is a kettle-shaped grill measuring 39.5 inches by 22.5 inches by 25 inches. The aluminum ash catcher is removable for cleaning and there is an aluminized steel one-touch cleaning system. With this cleaning system, you move the handle back and forth so that the tree blades in the bowl disperse ash from the grill into the ash catcher. We wish there were side tables for added convenience, but this is really a small quibble as we found other factors (such as the resulting quality of food, ease of use, etc.) more important. Weber's warranty information is as follows: 10 years for bowl/lid/center ring, 5 years for one-touch cleaning system, 5 years for plastic components, and 2 years for all remaining parts. You can choose black, charcoal, or green for the color of this great charcoal grill.
Another Great Gas Grill: Weber Spirit E310
The Weber Spirit II E-310 Gas Grill is more affordable than the Weber Genesis II E-310 Gas Grill, while still offering good quality grilling performance. This grill measures 57 inches by 52 inches by 26 inches with the lid open. With the lid closed, it measures 44.5 inches by 52 inches by 27 inches. It weighs 114 pounds. Unlike the Weber Genesis, the Weber Spirit's side tables do not fold down. There are also six hooks to organize your grilling tools. The grill features the same Flavorize Bars designed to catch smoking drippings that result in added flavor for your food. Any food not vaporized slope down to the grease management system to a disposable drip pan. The grill felt sturdy and was easy enough to clean. Assembly took about an hour according to reviewers. Weber offers a 10-year warranty.
Best for Large Parties: Char Broil American Gourmet 800 Series Charcoal Grill
Char Broil's American Gourmet 800 Series is a barrel-style charcoal grill with enough space to cook for large groups. In fact, there are 840 square inches of total cooking area. This grill measures 42 inches by 29.5 inches by 49.5 inches when assembled. To light, Char Broil recommends starting with a stack of 4 pounds of charcoal briquettes or wood in the charcoal grate, adding more ad needed, and always light the fire with the grill lid open. When at least 80% of the coals are ashy gray, you are ready for grilling! Assembly time took a little more than an hour for reviewers. At only $155, this grill is a bargain. Char Broil offers 1-year warranty.
Best for Durability: The Original PK Grill & Smoker
The Original PK Grill & Smoker is a charcoal grill that is made in the USA. It measures 34.75 inches by 36.4 inches by 19.5 inches with the lid closed. There is no built-in thermometer though PK Grills does sell a Tel-Tru thermometer on their site which can be mounted to their grill. There is no ash catcher. There is also a side shelf for extra prep space while you grill. The grill is made of rust-proof material and feels sturdy and durable. In fact, there are many stories of people who acquired their Original PK Grill and Smokers from elderly relatives who had them for years. PK Grill offers a 10-year warranty.
Best Portable Grill: Weber Q1200
The Weber Q1200 Gas Grill is a portable grill with 8,500 BTU-per-hour and a cooking area measuring 189 square inches, making it suitable to serve 2-3 people. This grill measures 24.6 inches by 40.9 inches by 20.5 inches with its tables out and lid open. Reviewers note that the food grilled consistently and evenly. The angled grease tray and the removable disposable catch pan helps you easily dispose of grease and keep things clean. The warranty is good for 2-5 years, depending on the parts (5 years for cookbox, lid assembly, stainless steel burner tubes, cooking grates, and plastic components; 2 years for the rest). Cheaper portable grills certainly exist, but you won't get the same quality as with this Weber Q1200.
After completing our reviews, our favorite gas grill was the Weber Genesis II E-310 Gas Grill. We love how quickly and evenly it heated, and the folding side tables and hooks for hanging tools were also great. Our favorite charcoal grill was also a Weber: The Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill. Assembly was easy and food cooked well once we got the fire started. We also liked the Weber Spirit II E-310 Gas Grill, which is more affordable than the Weber Genesis we reviewed, though the side tables on this model do not fold down. The Char Broil American Gourmet 800 Series is a great barrel-shaped charcoal grill. The Original PK Grill & Smoker is exceptionally durable and we like that it's made in the USA. Finally, if you are looking for a portable grill, we recommend that you check out the Weber Q1200 for your next camping trip or tailgate.