5 Best Grills Under $500 – Consumer Reports
Are you in the market for a new gas or charcoal grilling set? Perhaps you’re looking for a quality grill with great main and side burners for even cooking. Definitely something with high quality grates for grilling food evenly. But most important of all, you’re looking for a grill that’s budget-friendly. This list will show you the top 5 best grills for under $500.
Nexgrill Evolution 5-Burner Gas Grill
- Five 9,000 BTU stainless steel burners
- 45,000 BTU maximum capacity from the main burners
- One 12,000 BTU side burner
- arrow-right 495 square inches of main grilling space
- arrow-right Stainless steel grates
- arrow-right Battery-powered electronic igniter
- arrow-right Detachable infrared cooking plates
- arrow-right 25.2 x52 x 46.5 inches assembled dimensions
- arrow-right 77 lbs product weight
At first glance, this gas grill by Nexgrill looks like every other stainless steel propane grills available on the market. What sets this 5-burner grill with almost 500 square inches of cooking space is the innovative use of infrared grilling.
If you’re not familiar with this concept, infrared heat uses radiant heat to cook the meat. Unlike conduction cooking (direct contact with the heat source) and convection cooking (hot air cooks the food), the infrared cooking plates work similar to a microwave and shoots electromagnetic energy to heat the food.
Unfortunately, this grill doesn’t exactly use infrared cooking; the detachable stainless steel infrared plates are placed directly on top of the heat source, and the food is placed on the steel plates. It’s actually traditional convection cooking with additional steps.
This is the typical propane gas grill with all of the bells and whistles. What’s interesting about the unit is that even though it comes with the cooking grates, “infrared” plates, and side burner, this grill only ways around 77 lbs. Looking past the whole infrared fiasco, this is actually a good stainless steel grill that does everything you’d expect it to. The materials are light but strong, and it has a wide cooking space and 5-burner setup that distribute heat evenly. Although you may experience the occasional flare up, at its price tag this gas grill is definitely a good choice.
Weber Spirit E-310
- 3 stainless steel 32,000 BTU burners
- 424 square inches of cooking area
- 105 square inches of warming rack area
- arrow-right Porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates
- arrow-right Porcelain-coated flavorizer bars
- arrow-right Electronic ignition with the push of a button
- arrow-right 63 x 52 x 32 inches assembled dimensions
- arrow-right 130 lbs product weight
The Weber Spirit E-310 3-burners liquid propane gas grilling set has a wide 424 square inches of cooking area. It also features a superior temperature control gauge – an essential for everyday backyard grillers. For added safety and function, this gas grill has two powerful back swiveling wheels and two front locking wheels for easy maneuverability.
What makes Weber so popular among avid grillers is their extra attention to detail which makes their grills last for several years longer than competing brand grills. The burners are made of high quality stainless steel, built to last for several years of constant usage. Each burner comes with its own individual knob to give the user more control when applying direct and indirect heat. In addition, the burners are positioned carefully top provide even cooking across the cooking area.
If you know Weber, than you know that their quality does not come cheap. However, Weber’s E-310 model priced below $500 lets even the most tight-budgeted grillers experience the excellent performance of Weber gas grill performance.
KitchenAid 3-Burner Propane Gas Grill
- 3 stainless steel 16,000 BTU burners
- 48,000 BTU total output from main burners
- 12,000 BTU side burner under a mounted cover
- 483 square inches of main cooking area
- 645 square inches of total grilling space
- Electronic ignition
- Stainless steel cooking grates
- Made in China by Nexgrill; licensed name from KitchenAid
Who would’ve thought that KitchenAid, a company famed for their high quality and costly home appliances, could produce an affordable gas burner? Well, don’t be disappointed, but KitchenAid just licensed their name to Nexgrill for use on several gas grill models.
However, this doesn’t necessarily make this gas grill any less qualified to be categorized as one of the best grills under $500. These burners are made of high quality stainless steel covered by a ten-year manufacturer’s warranty. The heat output isn’t that great but it’s good enough for amateur or barbeque hobbyists.
The design is nice and it even includes side burners for people who are interested. The unit itself is lightweight, but this can be attributed to the use of lower grade stainless steel parts. Most of the components of this gas grill are painted with a steel-color coating, so expect the unit to rust if you don’t take it in from the rain.
For its price, there are gas grills that perform better and are made of sturdier materials, but this should get you a couple months of barbecue power in your backyard. Just remember not to purchase this gas grill if you’re expecting the same quality as KitchenAid-made appliances.
Char Broil Performance 650 Cabinet Gas Grill
- 6 10,000 BTU stainless steel burners
- 60,000 BTU maximum output capacity
- 10,000 BTU side burners
- arrow-right 930 square inches of total cooking space
- arrow-right Porcelain-coated cast iron grates
- arrow-right Electronic ignition with a push of a button
- arrow-right Liquid propane hose
- arrow-right 62 x 24 x 45 inches assembled dimensions
- arrow-right 127.6 lbs
This massive 60,000 BTU 6-burner grill by Char Broil will definitely catch the attention of everyday barbeque dads out there. It’s almost not fair to put other grills in the same list as this beast. Overall, you should expect the best value out of this grill under $500.
This Char Broil liquid propane gas grill isn’t stingy on the burners, nor is it stingy on the cooking space. With 650 square inches of main cooking space and a further 280 square inches of a secondary rack, you’ll be able to get more done in a shorter amount of time. This is the perfect cost-efficient gas grill to go with if you have an outdoor kitchen or just like kickin’ back on a lazy Sunday afternoon with the grill.
It’s also important to make note of the quality construction of this stainless steel gas grill, built to last for many seasons. The lid, handle, control panel, and cabinetry all use stainless steel so you know it’s a sturdy contraption.
For a newcomer in the grill game, Char Broil is doing an excellent job at keeping the gas grill monsters at bay with their quality low-budget grills.
Dyna-Glo Stainless Steel 2-Burner LP Grill
- 2 15,000 BTU burners
- 30,000 BTU maximum output
- 350 square inches of main cooking space
- Electronic ignition at the push of a botton
- 2 enameled cast iron grates
- arrow-right 2 stainless steel P-shaped burners
- arrow-right 45.8 x 23 x 45.4 inch assembled dimensions
- arrow-right 81.4 lbs
The final item of our best grills under $500 is the Dyna-Glo 2-burner liquid propane grill set. Let’s start on an honest note: with only two burners, you know you aren’t going to be anywhere near chef-level grilling, but for its price, it’s definitely one of the most cost-efficient 2-burners out there.
The compact 350 square inches of cooking space may seem limited to many users, but its size makes it handy for using in backyards of apartments or on smaller house decks. The size means you aren’t going to be cooking for large groups of people, but the enormous maximum capacity of 30,000 BTU from the burners does deserve some praise.
Despite being a small-sized grill, it’s built with some of the sturdiest materials. Stainless steel burners, double-walled lid, and porcelain-coated cast iron grates all work in unison to keep the heat in and cooking even.