Gas grills are the most convenient option for the avid barbecue fan. They heat up quickly, which means your meal will be ready faster, with a minimum of fiddling. The larger the grill, the more burners it will have, and some gas grills have side burners as well so you can heat up sauces or fix a side dish while your food cooks. Most have split cooking areas, a direct cooking area over the fire and a secondary cooking area above that. Gas grills are the most popular type because of their convenience, but if you prefer to cook over charcoal or are thinking of investing in a smoker, see our separate discussions of charcoal grills, where we also discuss smokers. Or, if you need to cook on-the-go, head over to our discussion of portable grills.
This category may seem like a Weber-grill love fest, but there's a good reason for that: According to reviews, you simply can't beat Weber grills for performance, ease of use, safety and versatility. The Weber Genesis E-330 (Est. $800) is our top choice because it's universally praised by experts and consumers as the only gas grill you may ever need to buy. It's a superior performer that many say will last forever.
The Genesis E-330 scores well in one professional test of gas grills, winning high marks for convenience and grilling at multiple temperature levels. In addition, owners give the Genesis E-330 very high ratings for being incredibly easy to use in all functions, from the consistent starter to the simple cleanup. Even the smooth-rolling casters get a thumbs-up in reviews. There were a few isolated reports of difficult assembly -- the only "con" we found to this grill.
Users say the Genesis E-330 is nicely sized, with 637 square inches of total cooking space -- 507 inches of direct cooking area, plus 130 inches of secondary cooking area. It's highly durable, thanks to its porcelain-enameled steel shroud and enameled cast-iron cooking grates. Owners also appreciate some of the extra features, such as the built-in thermometer, an electronic ignition system, a side burner and a sear burner that can also be used as a primary burner. It can be powered by propane or natural gas, and users report very few flare-ups.
The E-330 is merely one in the Weber E-Series line. The Weber Genesis E-310 (Est. $700) is the same size as the E-330, but lacks the side burner and sear burner, which makes it slightly less expensive. Otherwise, it's the same grill.
The "E" in the E-Series designation merely denotes this grill's porcelain-enameled material. Also in the Genesis line of grills is the S-Series, which stands for stainless steel. Included in the S-Series are the Weber Genesis S-330 (Est. $950) and Weber Genesis S-310 (Est. $850). These S-Series grills are the same as their E-Series cousins and are also at the top of most of the professional roundups we saw.
In this same line, Weber sells an EP series, the "P" stands for Premium. These two grills, the EP-310 and EP-330 are only available at a few specialty retailers and are not on the Weber website. This premium package features two additional color options, crimson and smoke, and stainless steel grates -- it also adds a couple of hundred dollars to the base price. AmazingRibs.com has a good overview of the two different models.
The main drawback to the grills in the Genesis line is that they are large and not everyone needs to cook for a crowd. If you need something smaller, we recommend you take a look at the Weber Spirit line. Like the Genesis line, the Spirit models are offered in either porcelain-enamel or stainless steel. The Weber Spirit E-210 (Est. $400) or Weber Spirit S-210 (Est. $450) are both highly rated by professionals, experts and consumers for their excellent build quality, ease of use and great performance. Both are 2-burner gas grills with 450 square inches of primary cooking space (there's no warming rack), and fold down side tables that make it easier to tuck the grill away in a corner when not in use, while offering a convenient work station when cooking.
While there's no doubt that Weber grills are the gold standard, even their smaller grills may be a stretch for some budgets. The good news is that you can get a great grill for a lot less money -- and loaded with about as many features -- if you take a look at the Char-Broil line. Char-Broil is a long-time manufacturer of grills and has a reputation for feature-rich but highly affordable models in all sizes.
We saw the best reviews for one grill in particular, the Char-Broil Classic 4-Burner Gas Grill with Sideburner (Est. $170). This gas grill gets rave reviews for its incredible ease of use -- it's easy to keep clean as well, owners say. It has a primary cooking area of 480 square inches and a secondary 180 square inch cooking area, with four burners and one side burner, which reviewers say is a feature hardly ever found at this price point. It also earns raves for its built-in temperature display.
In spite of its very affordable price, this Char-Broil grill gets owner ratings that are equal to the Weber grills. Users say it performs extremely well, is not prone to flare-ups, and the food cooks evenly without sticking. If you can't quite swing a Weber, or just have better things to spend your money on, we highly recommend any model in the Char-Broil gas grill line.
If you don't need that kind of capacity, take a look at the smaller Huntington 2020HNT (Est. $165). This grill is the top pick in one professional roundup, earning Excellent scores for preheating and Very Good for evenness, indirect cooking and temperature range. Owners love it too, giving it very high ratings for its simple construction and easy-to-use features. It features 430 square inches of total cooking space and 330 square inches of primary cooking space. However, some warn that you get what you pay for and that it seems cheap or flimsy. This gas grill is probably best for those who cook simpler, more straightforward foods or grill only occasionally.
Elsewhere in this report: