Choosing The Right Grill - Propane vs Natural Gas

by skywalker

It's summertime, and the summer just isn't right without the barbecue.

It's summertime, and the summer just isn't right without the barbecue. While some people (my self included) prefer wood and charcoal grills, the gas (natural gas or propane) grills certainly have their practical advantages. With classic grill you get a nice, smoke-tasted stakes, but they require a lot of preparation. You need to find a wood or prepare a charcoal, start a fire, and then wait for some time until it is ready and you can put the meat on. While some people enjoy this period and spend it enjoying cold beer, others may not be that patient. And when it comes to cleaning, I am sure that all of us are equally frustrated. You need to get rid of ashes, clean the fire area, and then the grill itself.

On the other hand, gas based grills are much faster to start and easier to clean. All you need to do is open the valve, make a spark (most often press the button) and you are ready to go in minutes.

You can control the gas flow in order to maintain the right temperature, and thus easier prepare some meals that require longer, slower cooking. And when you are done, the cleaning... What cleaning? Just wash the grate...

The gas grills are often smaller, also, so more “portable”, if that could be said for a grill.

Natural gas or propane grill

Now when we have seen the most significant differences between solid fuel and gas grills, the advantages and disadvantages are more clear. But, when it comes to gas grills, we also have a choice to make. Natural gas or propane. Both of them are also having their own stories.

Natural gas is easy available and very convenient to use for a grilling purposes. It has cleaner burning than a propane, and its price is also much lower. Many people say it is safer to use natural gas, because you don't have to disconnect and reconnect installations too often, and it is also easier to notice (by the smell) if there is ever a natural gas leakage. The major challenge in installing a natural gas grill is that you need to extend your gas installation (pipes) all the way to your backyard.

It has its own costs and you can't do it yourself. Having that kind of installation also limits its portability and movement possibility, as you can move the natural gas grill only as far as the gas hose is reaching.

On the other hand, propane grill is more compact and portable. It comes prepared out of the box, so you don't need any additional installations. The lack of complicated installation is its main advantage as it provides portability. As all your fuel is in a small tank, you are not limited to your backyard and you can move your grill to a wood or a lake and enjoy the food and the nature at the same time. That is the main reason why 90 percent of grills in America are propane based. If you are out of fuel, all you need to do is to replace the tank. But, you need to do this carefully to prevent any leakage or equipment damage, as it is recognized as main security risk. Just stick to the user manual and you should be fine. And yes, the propane itself is more expensive than natural gas, but that is the price of the portability and freedom.

What to pay attention to
  • Power and temperature available

One of the main thing manufacturers most often display is BTU (British Thermal Units). This number represents the heat generated per hour by all burners. This is an important detail that needs attention, but that is just one of many small things to check. Some other things are the number of burners installed, type of fuel (NG or propane), ignition type (electrical or lighter), etc...

  • Cooking (grilling) area

One of the worst things that can happen when you buy a grill is to end up with a small cooking area.

If you run out of space, the cooking will take much longer, you will have to split the food and prepare it piece by piece, some meat will be colder than other and your quests may not be very satisfied. So be careful and pay attention to the useful area size.

  • Construction quality and compactness

If you want to buy quality grill that will last a long time, the main thing to check is what materials are used for construction. Stainless steel will newer be prone to rust. Cast iron grates can hold the heat much longer and help distribute the heat evenly across the grill. Maybe you will want porcelain coated cast iron grates because they are much easier to clean, as they are prevent the meat to stick and burn on the grates. Choose wisely...

Top 3 portable propane gas grills

Now when we know advantages and disadvantages of each grill type, let's see the top 3 portable propane grills....

1. Coleman RoadTrip LXE Propane Grill
  • East to transport, folds to compact size with large handle and wheels for easy pulling; Sets up in seconds

  • Easy-to-clean, cast-iron and porcelain-coated surfaces with removable grease tray

  • Pressure Control System for steady heat, even in the cold

  • Large cooking surface, 285 sq. in.(1838.7 sq. cm) with two cast-iron, porcelain coated grill grates included

  • 20,000 BTUs of cooking power, 10,000 BTUs on each burner; powered by 16.4-oz. propane cylinders


Weber 46110001 Spirit E210 Liquid Propane Gas Grill
  • Two stainless steel burners put out 26,500 BTU-per-hour
  • 360 -square inch of cooking area and 90 -square inch for warming
  • Porcelain-enameled, cast-iron cooking grates and porcelain-enameled Flavorizer bars
  • Electronic Crossover ignition system starts with the push of a button
  • Assembled dimensions with the lid open 63-inch by 60-inch by 32-inch




3. Weber 50060001 Q 1000 Liquid Propane Grill


  • One stainless steel burner produces 8500 BTU-per-hour to heat 189 square-inch total cooking area
  • Porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates and cast aluminum lid and body
  • Fully assembled out of box
  • Push-button ignition and infinite control burner valve settings
  • Uses disposable 14.1 or 16.4 oz. LP cylinder (sold separately)



Updated: 10/31/2018, skywalker
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