6 Superior Gas Grills for under $400 — Reviews and Buying Guide
Last updated: Mar 03, 2020
59Hours of Research
Nothing beats the mouthwatering taste of food made over grills. The truth is that if you’re all about speed and convenience, gas grills are the best option to go with. Apart from that, gas models also boast accurate temperature control, which lets you cook delicate meals that might otherwise be wasted on charcoal grills. We won’t pretend to be unaware of the fact that gas grills are often costlier than charcoal ones. However, we did our best to prove there are decent, affordable models available and found the best gas grills under $400.
To find the best of the best currently available, we’ve looked at the essential gas grill features. The primary cooking area size and availability of a warming rack are important to know what amount of food you can cook at a time. BTUs and number of burners determine the grill’s heating output and versatility. The unit’s dimensions will let you know where you can place your grill whether in your house or at the backyard.
Top 6 Gas Grills Review 2020
Our researchers have done everything possible to bring this guide together. In addition to reading products reviews and customers feedback, they have also physically tested different models of gas grills, just so we could recommend only the best models. The guide contains a comparison table, thorough reviews of the selected models, an enlightening buying guide, and ultimately, an FAQ section in which different confusing questions have been answered.
Produced by one of the most popular grill manufacturers in the world, the Char-Griller 3001 Grilling Pro Gas Grill is one of the best gas grills on the market and quite probably the best gas grill under 400 dollars. While it features the feel and appearance of a costlier model, it is still very affordable. The advanced griller allows you to enjoy a large cooking room of up to 438 square inches on the primary cooking area and 192 square inches on the additional warming rack. Simply put, the total cooking area provided by this unit is 630 square inches, which makes it absolutely perfect for home grilling fanatics who usually throw huge BBQ parties.
The grill is equipped with three primary burners, which provide a total power output of 40,800 BTUs. In addition, it comes with a side burner which offers another 12,000 BTUs of power. Apart from the side burner and warming rack included, the unit also features a side shelf which can be useful as additional storage for utensils and plates. Indeed, it is the perfect option for a heavy-duty grilling enthusiast. For a quick and convenient start-up, the grill also comes with an electronic ignition system, which makes it very easy and straightforward to use.
While the body of the grill is made of steel, the grates are porcelain-enameled cast iron. Also, the body is powder-coated for maximum weather resistance. With the kind of materials it is made from, this unit is likely to be still looking new in ten years’ time. Although we have heard from numerous users that the unit is actually a challenge to assemble, we don’t think there are many more downsides apart from that.
For several decades now, Char-Broil has been steadily building a reputation as one of the best manufacturers of grills in the world, and products like the Char-Broil Performance 475 4-Burner Gas Grill shows how far they have come. Featuring a generous primary cooking area of 475 square inches and an extra warming rack of 175 square inches, this model is decent enough in terms of space. It comes with four main burners that deliver a cooking power of 36,000 BTUs, while the included side burner produces 10,000 BTUs, which makes it an extremely powerful machine.
For consistent and even cooking, the grill also features top-of-the-line porcelain-coated iron grates: the premium-quality cooking grates allow your food to be cooked to perfection within a very short time. Like all the top rated models, this one also comes with an electronic ignition system, which allows for an easy and convenient start-up. There are also sizable shelves which offer a great prep space for your meals. The grease tray included is easy to take out and clean, which is an advantage for people who love barbequing but are scared of the hassle of cleaning afterward.
Of course, the manufacturer had durability, aesthetics, and easy mobility in mind when this model was being designed, that’s easy to figure out from the fact that the grill lid, UFC, and fascia are all made of durable stainless steel and that the unit comes with four whole caster wheels. However, the unit may still be a bit difficult to move despite its wheels, thanks to its roughly 96 pounds of weight. For more accurate heat control though, there is a temperature gauge, which takes out any need for guessing games.
Being a hybrid grill, the Char-Broil Gas2Coal 3-Burner Grill is not the kind of grill you see every day. In only one minute, you can easily convert it from a charcoal grill to gas and vice versa, with no need for any special tools. In addition, you can use the gas burners to light the charcoal up, which means there is even no need for you to use lighter fluid. That apart, this appliance is equipped with a total cooking space of 540 square inches, which is made up of a 420 square inch primary cooking area and a 120 square inch warming rack.
This kitchen appliance has three primary burners and a side burner: all of them are produced using sturdy stainless steel. The primary burners deliver a total heat output of 40,000 BTUs altogether while the side burner provides 12,000 BTUs which is quite impressive. The charcoal grill and the cooking grates are porcelain-coated, and the produced cast iron, which apart from making them durable, also makes them easy to clean and maintain. Besides, the grill is outfitted with a big metal side shelf, which serves as an extra workspace.
This grill also has a charcoal tray which helps reduce the possible flare-ups when you utilize the grill as a charcoal model. It also comes with an electronic ignition system which makes it very easy to start a fire. To watch the internal temperature and the pre-heat status, the unit also features a temperature gauge, making it an all-encompassing grill. The burners are backed with a five-year warranty, while a two-year warranty each covers the lid and the firebox. The only downside we’d like to mention is that you can’t use both gas and charcoal simultaneously, so don’t forget that.
Can be fueled either by gas or charcoal
Large total cooking space
Features an electronic ignition system
Comes with excellent warranty terms
Equipped with a temperature gauge
Impossible to use both gas and charcoal simultaneously
Comfortable, fast, and efficient, the Dyna-Glo Gas Grill is the ideal option for anyone looking for a perfect three-burner gas grill. Despite being a relatively portable unit that is ideal for smaller spaces, it still provides you with enough cooking space at a primary area of about 390 square inches and side tables of about 113 square inches. Overall, you get 503 square inches of cooking space in total, and the fact that it has side tables enables you to have a feeling of it being a full-sized unit, even though in fact it isn’t.
Furthermore, the grill also comes with a porcelain-enameled and steel-coated firebox, which has premium-quality stainless steel burners. Alongside the 503 square inches of the cooking area provided by this appliance, it also comes with three burners which generate a combined, even heat of about 36,000 BTUs. For maximum heat control and retainment, the double-walled stainless steel lid also comes with a super effective temperature gauge.
For a quick start and optimum convenience, this appliance also has an electronic pulse ignition system, which means you only need to push a button in order to fire the grill. The Dyna-Glo DGB390SNP-D also comes equipped with a detachable grease-catching cup that enables you to easily clean your unit up after every grilling session and make the maintenance of the grill easier for several years to come. For all the greatness of this grill, however, we were surprised and at the same time disappointed to learn that some of its parts rust quickly, so be sure not to leave it uncovered should you store the unit outdoors.
Sturdy, stylish, and compact, the Weber Spirit II E-210 is undoubtedly an excellent option and would be an excellent pick for anyone. While it comes in a variety of colors, this grill is also very powerful, apart from being a beautiful addition to any outdoor space. It seems quite heavyweight, at 100 pounds, but the two large wheels incorporated make it extremely easy to move around. While its total cooking area of 450 square inches may be smaller than what is found on some other models in the same category, it is suitable for most families.
Moving on, the unit comes with a wide range of modern features, which Weber refers to as the GS4 Grilling System. The first feature in the GS4 Grilling System is the Infinity Ignition, which according to Weber, will ignite at all times. The second feature the system is made up of is the burner tubes, which aids even cooking and consistent gas flow. There are the flavorizer bars as well, which produce a smoky flavor from drippings of food, and the grease management system included also makes sure that extra drippings are channeled into the drip tray.
The Weber Spirit also sports an open cart design, which offers enough space to keep your accessories. Also, it provides hooks to hang all of your utensils and tools. For maximum storage, the left table can be folded down when not in use. The only significant downside most users found with this grill is the seemingly flimsy mounting bars, which often come bent. But with the ten-year warranty, it’s backed with, you don’t really have many reasons to be worried.
While the Solaire SOL-EV17A Portable Infrared Propane Gas Grill is a small unit, it is not a machine to be underestimated at all. It totally makes up for its small size in its construction quality and ease of use. To start cooking, you only need to attach a one-pound propane gas cylinder, press the ignition button, and wait for about five minutes or even less. When you open the lid, you will have a fully preheated 140 square inches of cooking area that is roaring to go thanks to the burner that delivers a power of 14,000 BTUs.
This model is advertised as a portable gas grill, so we are not surprised that it has the smallest cooking area on this list. However, its 140 square inch size is still large enough to make six burgers at the same time or other medium-sized foods for around three to four people. Besides, its portable construction means it’s easy to transport and store away, something that can’t be said about other bigger models. While most users uniformly agree that the lid design of this grill is faulty, the budget-friendly price of this product means we can’t complain much.
The Solaire is quite flexible as far as fuel choices are concerned. While the necessary accessories don’t usually come with the package, you’d have to buy them separately choosing between full-sized propane tanks, low-pressure propane systems, or natural gas. Keep in mind though, that you’ll also need an adapter hose for propane tanks and a conversion kit for natural gas, both sold separately. In general, this is the ideal option for you if you want something you can store away easily after cooking or a portable model you can take with you on your camping trips.
Flexible fuel choices
Easy to transport and store away
Easy to use
Ineffective lid design
Small grilling area
Conversion kit and adapter hose for natural gas and full-size tanks sold separately
The superfluity of options available can easily overwhelm you when you’re in the market for a quality gas grill under $400. Therefore, we have created this section to help guide you along the way.
Why not charcoal or electric?
Why would you prefer gas to charcoal or electric? Below are some reasons why many people prefer gas over charcoal and electric.
Ease of use
If you have ever dealt with a charcoal grill, then it’s needless to tell you how difficult it is to use. From choosing the type of charcoal to get to arranging and lighting the grill, nothing is just easy when it comes to charcoal grills. Of course, we love charcoal grills like most grilling enthusiasts, but we are completely aware that not everyone will be able to handle the stress it comes with. Gas grills, on the other hand, are incredibly easy to use. In fact, you only need to push a button or turn a knob in order to ignite them.
Natural and propane gas are quite inexpensive. Apart from the fact that a twenty-pound tank will serve you for a long time, you won’t also be having to be topping up while cooking. If you are looking at the fuel costs only, propane gas is a lot cheaper than charcoal or electric, as several studies have revealed.
Instant and precise temperature control
For effective grilling, you have to hit and maintain the temperature you’re targeting. With a charcoal grill, this means you have to fiddle with dampers and vents to adjust the air circulation since it’s the only way to have a control on the hotness of the charcoal. With gas, just light the grill and set your dials. In a few minutes, you will be at the desired temperature, and you only need to adjust the burner slightly to maintain it.
Easy to clean and maintenance
One of the most appealing things about charcoal grills is the smoke they emit. Sadly, smoke usually leaves a residue, which includes creosote. While it’s normal to leave a little patina behind, you will still have to scrape the inside of the charcoal grill down occasionally. Moreover, you need to remove ash from the firebox after every cook.
On the other hand, a gas grill doesn’t produce a lot of smoke, so it usually leaves only a little soot or ash behind. The only things you will have to clean are the grates, burner shields, and flavorizer bars.
When trying to buy the right gas grill for your home, you need to consider some important factors, which we will talk about below.
Primary cooking area
A gas grill with two burners at least provides more temperature control and flexibility. The cooking area is the most vital measurement you need to consider when estimating the size. A grill with a primary cooking area of 450 square inches to 500 square inches such as the Char-Broil Performance 475 4-Burner Gas Grill will be enough for most people – these models are capable of cooking as many as 24 burgers simultaneously.
Another important thing you might have to take into consideration when shopping for the right grill for your needs is the warming rack. It’s mainly used to keep the prepared food hot while the rest is still being grilled so that your cooking result could be adequately appreciated by your guests.
A warming rack also enables you to raise your food off the grates’, which subsequently provides you more cooking area.
Number of burners
Different models are equipped with different numbers of burners. Gas grills that have many burners have a tendency to be costlier than those that come with only a couple of them. In the event that you’re on a limited budget or looking for a compact portable grill to cook for a couple of people, we advise you to choose a model with one or two burners. If you’re planning to host huge BBQ parties and need a versatile helper, however, you can choose a model with several burners like the Dyna-Glo DGB390SNP-D and the Char-Broil Performance 475 4-Burner Gas Grill.
In simple terms, a BTU is a burner’s capacity to produce heat. Keep in mind that you can’t possibly sear a steak effectively with less than 100 BTUs per square inch. While you can effectively barbecue with such little power, you can’t grill with it.
With an under $400 gas grill, the higher the BTU, the better the grilling experience you will have. With its primary burners producing a combined power of 40,800 BTUs and the side burner producing 12,000 BTUs, the Char-Griller E3001 Grillin’ Pro Gas Grill is the most powerful model on our list.
The material with which the grates are made is another vital element of the grill. High-quality materials usually last longer and are capable of withstanding any outdoor conditions. We recommend you to look at stainless steel and aluminum grates. Conventionally, aluminum has certain advantages over stainless steel owing to its incredible durability and its ability to evenly distribute heat.
Buying a gas grill that is backed by a good warranty is important. It keeps you from spending money on fixing the unit whenever it has a fault. While some companies provide a ten-year warranty for models like the Weber Spirit II E-210 Sapphire LP Outdoor Gas Grill, others provide a lifetime warranty.
Also, don’t forget to check which parts of the grill are covered. As a rule, manufacturers set different warranty periods for burners, grates, and the body itself.
There are more fancy features you may need to look for in your gas grill, but keep in mind that these grills may not have some of the features due to their budget-friendly prices. Find a model with a removable upper grate for indirect cooking and an electronic ignition system. While a side burner is another feature you could find, we found out that it’s usually underused. Premium features you could go for include wireless temperature monitors and inbuilt LED lights. If you find that you do need some more features, take a look at our picks of the best gas grills under $500, as sometimes stretching your budget just a little can allow you to get all the extras you’re after.
How to maintain your gas grill
Make sure the grates are cleaned before and after each usage. Turn on the grill and wait for all the smoke to clear. Then use a stiff wire brush to scrub the cooking grates. Utilize a nylon grill brush rather than a wire one to clean porcelain-enameled cast iron.
Before cooking, apply some vegetable oil to the already cleaned cooking grates. Pour some oil on a paper towel before rubbing the towel over the cooking grates with tongs.
Make sure you always evacuate the grease traps after each use. The grease traps are called catch pans or drip pans on some models. Wait for the grill to cool before taking the grease traps off.
Brush the bars or rocks off as necessary. Generally, while the grill’s heat cleans these, a covering of debris or ash that ought to be eliminated with a stiff nylon brush may be developed.
Wash the lid, the warming racks, and the control knobs with warm, soapy water on a frequent basis. Utilize a washrag or sponge and a gentle soap like dishwashing liquid to remove food residue or grease stains. Use clean water to rinse the soapy water off.
The side burner always has a lower BTU when compared to the primary burner, so it’s never ideal for primary cooking. However, it is ideal for making side dishes and warm sauces in addition to your main dish grilling on the primary cooking area.
Gas grills run about $1 per cookout while charcoal models will cost you around $2.5, which obviously makes gas more economical than charcoal. However, electric models are the most economical as they run only about 26 cents per cookout.
Of course, the incredibly compact Solaire SOL-EV17A Infrared Propane Gas Grill is probably the most suitable for indoor cooking. Others are huge, space-consuming models, and they may not fit anywhere else apart from the outdoors.
While high price tags mean high quality most times, low prices don’t always mean low quality, as demonstrated by our top rated products like the Char-Griller 3001. Despite being priced under $400, this incredible machine offers a total cooking space of 630 square inches. Not only that, but it’s also the most powerful model on this list, making it an excellent model all-around.