How much space do you have? A grill with side burners can take up a lot of room on a patio or deck, so be sure to measure your available space before you shop.
Will you use the grill for slow cooking? If so (and if you're choosing a charcoal model), it's helpful to choose one with hinged grates to make adding coals easier.
Do you plan to smoke meats? If so, choose a charcoal grill with smoking capabilities built in.
Are you willing to pay more for ease of use? If so, look for a model with features such as a built-in thermometer, charcoal storage bin (for charcoal grills) and side tables or tool hooks.
Do you want an intense smoked flavor? If so, opt for a charcoal grill.
Do you plan to cook whole birds or roasts? If so, consider a grill with a rotisserie burner.
Do you have the luxury of time? If not, you may be best off with a gas grill; when using a charcoal grill, you need to wait 15 to 30 minutes after lighting before you can begin to cook.
Do you have access to natural gas? Using natural gas instead of propane will save you money in the long run and help you avoid trips to refill the propane tank.
How many people do you typically cook for? Estimate about 100 square inches of grilling space per person.
Do you value durability over convenience or vice versa? Charcoal grills tend to last longer than gas ones because they have fewer moving parts; but a gas grill wins out in terms of convenience.
Keep in mind that many consumers start out shopping for a grill and end up also purchasing a range of accessories, such as a grill cover (around $15 to $50); tools ($20 to $50 or more); a cleaning brush (between $10 and $25); and possibly a handle light or rolling cart (around $25 to $50 each). Propane tanks are often sold separately from gas grills and run about $30 to $50; and if you buy a portable gas grill, you may still opt for a propane tank and adapter hose (around $20) so you can avoid those pesky propane canisters.