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Cheap gas grills are smaller and less powerful than pricier models, but many still offer exceptional performance

While gas grills priced above $500 will get you more features and are better constructed, there are grills for less that still offer good performance, durability and convenient operation. Among these lower-priced gas grills, the Weber Spirit E-210 (Est. $400) earns the best ratings and reviews.

The Spirit E-210 has a cooking surface that‘s almost one-third smaller than our top gas model, the Weber Genesis E-310 and its heat output (measured in British thermal units, or Btu) is also about one-third less. Like the Genesis E-310, however, it has a porcelain-enameled shroud and porcelain-enameled, cast-iron cooking grates. These components carry the same warranty (25 years on the shroud and 5 years on the grates) as that on the Genesis E-310.

The Spirit E-210 earns a recommendation in one professional, comparative evaluation that tests grills at multiple temperature settings. It also appears in About.com's 2014 list of the top-10 gas grills priced between $250 and $500; and owners posting reviews for this Weber on consumer review sites such as Amazon.com and HomeDepot.com universally praise it. The consensus by owners is that it's relatively small and basic, but it cooks well and is easy to assemble and use. Nevertheless, Derrick Riches, About.com's grilling guide, notes that preheat times can be long because it isn't very powerful. In addition, some say the fold-down side tables feel flimsy.

If you want to stay in this price range but are looking for a gas grill that really turns on the heat, reviewers recommend the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Gourmet (Est. $400). This is a 43,000-Btu model, which means its heat output is significantly higher than even that of our top gas model, the Weber Genesis E-310. The Char-Broil also has an electronic ignition and a side burner.

The Char-Broil Gourmet gets a high rating in one professional test of gas grills. Owners agree, saying it cooks a variety of meats and vegetables very well. Despite the high heat level, we found virtually no reports of flare-ups. Nevertheless, users say there is an adjustment period for the high heat capability. Derrick Riches says the model is well priced for an infrared style, but adds that the cooking chamber is prone to rusting.

For the price, the Char-Broil has a much larger cooking area than the Weber, so may be a better choice if you're cooking for a crowd. If not, you can't beat the reputation of a Weber.

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Weber 46110001 Spirit E210 Liquid Propane Gas Grill, Black
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $499.00 $399.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Weber Genesis 6511001 E-310 637-Square-Inch 38,000-BTU Liquid-Propane Gas Grill, Black
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from Amazon.com
New: $849.00 $699.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Char-Broil TRU Infrared 3-Burner Gas Grill with Side burner (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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from Amazon.com
New: $449.00 $376.76   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

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