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Best Gas Grills

By: Kelly Burgess on April 26, 2017

Gas grills are convenient to use

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 or warming 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 Spirit E-310 (Est. $500) is our top choice this year, taking that spot from the Weber Genesis E-330, because the Genesis line has been reconfigured, something we discuss in more detail below.

The Weber Spirit E-310 is a pretty basic grill, in that there is no side burner or sear burner, and it's moderately sized at 529 square inches. However, it's also one of the sturdiest grills you can buy, with a long, comprehensive warranty and readily available parts for when something does go wrong. It's a top-performer too, and makes the cut of the best grills for 2017 both at AmazingRibs.com and at Reviewed.com. Max Good of AmazingRibs.com notes that this is the fifth year the E-310 has made their "best of" roundup. Meanwhile, at Reviewed.com, James Aitchison and Keith Barry say the Spirit E-310 is "money well spent." ConsumerReports.org gives the E310 a score of 70 (the highest rank in their mid-sized grill category is 78), with Very Good scores for even heating, preheating, and indirect cooking; Good for temperature range, and Excellent for ease of use.

Owners are also very pleased with the Weber Spirit E-310 and it earns very high ratings in thousands of reviews. While we spotted a few complaints that it was pricey for what you get, the vast majority of owners agree with the experts: they'd rather have a top-performing, top-quality grill with fewer features than a cheapie that doesn't heat as well or consistently. The one thing that some might miss -- especially if they turn to their grill in a power outage -- is the side burner. If that's a deal-breaker for you, we recommend stepping up to the Weber Spirit E-330 (Est. $600), which has a sear station and side burner. If you have a smaller family or space, the two burner Weber Spirit E-210 (Est. $400) is identical to the E-310, just a bit smaller, with a total cooking are of 360 square inches. ConsumerReports.org gives the E-210 a Recommended nod.

As we noted above, Weber's Genesis line has been recently reconfigured -- so recently, in fact, so that many of the sources we use for this report review the old Genesis line, and not the new one. And early buzz we've been reading about the updated Genesis, now called the Genesis II, is mixed. At ConsumerReports.org, the Weber Genesis II LX S-340 (Est. $1,200) earns a Recommended nod, with Excellent scores for evenness, Very Good for preheating, temperature range and indirect cooking.

However, at Wired.com, Joe Ray, who extensively details about a week of testing a 3-burner Genesis II LX, comes away unimpressed. Ease of use (an area that ConsumerReports.org scored as Excellent), was a major peeve. For one thing, the Genesis II series incorporates iGrill 3 technology, which seems like a great idea; however, there's no built-in readout, so you have to open an App to read the temperature even if you're standing in front of the grill. The grill also struggled with hitting high temperatures and had trouble with temperature stabilization on indirect mode. Max Good at AmazingRibs.com sides with Ray's conclusions. While their Genesis II review is not yet completed and posted, this is a partial transcript of his reply to a customer who asked if they were going to review the line: "We are wrapping up the reviews now. Unfortunately we remain disappointed in the new Genesis II, particularly the LX line. We feel they are well made and have many great features, but they are simply under-powered, which we could accept if, like the previous Genesis grills, the price was a bit lower and sear burners were offered for an upcharge."

Owners of grills in this new Genesis II line seem happy -- the reviews we spotted were mostly positive -- however, there are very few of them. Also, owners don't tend to have the rigid standards of the experts, so may not notice some of the experts' quibbles, at least initially. For now, we're going to maintain a wait and see attitude until there's more feedback available for the Genesis II series.

Also, while we aren't going to list them all here, the Genesis II line has a wide variety of different models, in two-, three- and four-burner configurations, as well as feature variations that affect price and convenience -- the LX series is the most high-end. ConsumerReports.org, the only professional organization that has tested more than one Genesis II grill, gives a good explanation of the different versions of this new line, as well as an overview of their test results, in this informative, free-to-the-public article. For full ratings, though, you'll need to subscribe.

In the meantime, if you want a great Weber Genesis grill, the original series is still widely available. In fact, we saw one article speculating that Weber was rolling the Genesis II line out slowly so that retailers could sell out of the original Genesis grills. Of that original line, we highly recommend the Weber Genesis E-330 (Est. $800). When it was our Best Reviewed last year, it got some of the best ratings from experts of any grill in our report -- and still better than any grill in this year's report. All praised it's great performance and amazing ease of use in all functions, from the consistent starter to the simple cleanup. Even the smooth-rolling casters get a thumbs-up. 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.

And don't worry about the fact that the original Genesis line has been discontinued -- Weber still honors the warranty and parts will always be readily available.

An inexpensive gas grill can still offer great performance

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, yet with more features.

This year the four-burner Nexgrill 720-0830H (Est. $270) is the hot choice if you want a big, fully-featured grill, but don't want to spend big bucks. With 60,000 Btu's and 627 square inches of total cooking space, it's got the power and capacity for a big family or a small crowd. at ConsumerReports.org, is one of the top-rated grills, earning both a Recommended nod and a Best Buy designation. In testing there, the Nexgrill earns ratings of Excellent for evenness and preheat performance, Very Good for temperature range and indirect cooking. At Good Housekeeping, it's one of their top-rated grills too, earning 4 stars out of 5. Editors there praise it's "gleaming stainless steel appearance," as well as its ease of use and great heating and cooking performance, with minimal smoke and flare-ups. The only con they noted is you have to monitor larger foods, like chicken, to be sure it doesn't char on the outside before it's fully cooked on the inside.

Owners are very complimentary as well. At HomeDepot.com, which is the exclusive retailer for  the Nexgrill 720-0830H, it earns a 4-star rating in hundreds of reviews. Most are extremely pleased with both the performance and features. They say it heats quickly and evenly, and love how easy it is to light. The side burner is popular with cooks who like to warm sauce on their grill for brushing on the food they're cooking -- and with those who have to deal with occasional power outages.

The only real complaints we saw about the Nexgrill 720-0830H from owners is that assembly can be a challenge, there are a lot of parts. However, once assembled, they note that the stainless steel grill makes it seem more high-end than it is, although a few say the metal seems flimsy.

If you don't need that kind of capacity, take a look at the smaller Huntington 630124 (Est. $130). This grill is both Recommended and named a Best Buy at ConsumerRerports.org, earning Excellent scores for preheating and Very Good for evenness, indirect cooking and temperature range. Owners are mostly complimentary, saying it's a great choice for a couple or a single person. They also say assembly is surprisingly easy.

The Huntington 630124 has 390 square inches of total cooking space and 240 square inches of primary cooking space. The side burner, as we see with all grills, is a popular feature and owners are thrilled to get one on a such an inexpensive, compact grill. However, some warn that you get what you pay for and say that it doesn't reach high enough heat levels to sear, and that indirect cooking is next to impossible except for tiny quantiles of food. This gas grill is probably best for those who cook simpler, more straightforward foods or grill only occasionally.  

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