Best BBQ Grills 2022 for Every Budget

How to Choose a Good BBQ Grill From Our Lists

Listed here are lists of the best BBQ grills of many shapes and cooking heat sources within a wide variety of budget ranges. You can choose the best charcoal grill for under $200, the best pellet grill for under $500, and many other different kinds of top grills. We also found the top selling, more premium grills for under $1000-$3,000.

Weber Grill work surface for fajitas
Weber Grill work surface for fajitas

Overview of Shopping for a Good BBQ Grill

Whether you’re buying your first grill, replacing one, or you haven’t had one in awhile, there is a massive decision path you absolutely should consider. This in-depth article will also help you in many ways to think about the pros and cons of the numerous aspects that you may not be aware of or might have forgotten. Is it time to change your grill type or just get a better replacement?

What Type of Grill is Best Suited For Me?

You’ll need to have a good understanding first if you are the only one cooking outdoors or if others are also involved. If it involves others, you’ll need to incorporate their desires as well as yours in the decision making processes. Next, your grill buying decision involves a commitment, as it’s a long-term decision. It then involves a budget cost (now and for the future usage). This is followed by kinds of heat sources, recurring conveniences (or added work), future maintenance, and product life.

Then, you decide on the type of grill. And some of these things coordinate together to impact how the final cooked foods are going to taste, which is what grilling is all about. Correct? So, let’s look through the different key aspects of choosing a grill. We’ll cover those topics now.

Important Topics of Choosing a Grill

  1. Commitment
  2. Budget Cost
  3. Fuel Heat Source
  4. Work vs Conveniences
  5. Maintenance and Product Life
  6. Reviewing
  7. Final Choices

The grill type and its fuel heat source will be a key factor leading to how the cooked food will taste.

1. Long-Term Commitment (2-20 years)

When choosing a grill to buy or replace, you also are committing to stay with it for several years. Some of them will last as long as a well-cared car and others for maybe just 2-3 years. In all cases, it can be quite a commitment. The final purchasing decision will be based on a good number of factors, not in any specific order, as they’re all part of a single, final decision. So, this first purchasing factor is to remember that this is a long commitment.

2. Grill Budget Range Cost – Best BBQ Grills for the Money

Costs Comparisons: Grill

How much does an outdoor grill cost? What is the best outdoor grill under $300? What is the best charcoal grill under $200? The prices of the outdoor cooking grills at the regular consumer level are typically going to be higher cost when it comes to getting fueled by gas but they tend to have better features. This holds true whether it’s portable, on a base stand or cart, or built-in as part of an outdoor kitchen station.

Weber Grill under a Grill Canopy View 1
Weber Grill under a Grill Canopy View 1

Usually the most popular of electric equipment will be seen as a smoker. That equipment might be a tad bit higher due to an imposition on the utilities bill for the home. The pellet grills are very popular and usually cost about the same or less than gas but, at least a little more than a charcoal grill. The cheapest outdoor key cooking equipment will be the grill or smoker when fueled by charcoal, whether using briquettes or lump.

So, if you have a price range or a budget, that will help narrow your search down. Also, some of the other factors won’t have as much impact if they fall outside of your budget. So, that’s also a good thing as it leads you quicker to a final decision. However, sometimes as you learn of added conveniences, some people will change their budget. Others, might base their budget to be higher if the product life will be longer.

You can think of this as purchasing a kitchen appliance, like an oven with a cooktop. You know you’re going to have it awhile so you want to get the most for your money. Having a pre-determined budget range will help you keep that focus. Grill price ranges for budgets are typically going to be something like these:

Leading Choices of Best Grills under $100-$300

Here and deeper in this article for lists, you’ll find the best BBQ grills under 200 or best grills under 300 dollars.

Leading Choices of Best Grills under $300-$500

Leading Choices of Best Grills under $500-$1,000


3. Choose Your Desired Heat Source

This is one of the biggest decisions. It also is a dance around the question of “How important is Flavor from a Grill vs the Work Involved?” So, here’s the huge caveat and where many people’s opinions will differ. Yet, it’s important to understand that everything works back to the end result of the flavor of outdoor cooking. The easiest fuel heat source & grill types are electric, followed by gas. If everyone believed that the grilled foods tasted the same, we’d all be done. But, other fuel heat sources & grill types exist and sell well, all for tons of reasons. Whether you agree or not, many consumers find that cooking from wood or charcoal has the best flavors. Next down in the flavor line is cooking with pellets, although some are considered somewhat higher and similar to cooking with wood. Final preferences are followed lastly by gas and electric grills being on the lowest side for flavor but are the highest on conveniences.

So, know that the amount of work involved is inversely proportional to the fuel heat source and equipment. In other words, for better tasting foods, there’s often more work involved in the grill prepping and overall operations. So, in addition to the heat source you select, the equipment (grill) itself may have some added features to aid in work reduction with some added conveniences. The final deciding point for choosing your heat source is to understand its costing. Here are some considerations to help you decide.

Costs Comparisons: Fuel Heat Sources

So, the amounts of costing for just the fuel heat sources of grills are going to vary in some geographical areas and on how and what you cook. And, while the cost of a fuel heat source might be high, you might be getting the advantages of saving time and gaining lots of convenience. Here’s an overall costing consideration.

Electrical costs will vary a lot all across the country but, it’s going to be estimated at being considered high.

Gas will be considered medium high and is dependent if you’re using a small canister, a tank, or a direct line for natural gas. And, in some geographical areas, gas might be costing more or the same as electrical.

With pellets, that’s considered as medium to medium high. Again, this is very dependent on how and what you’re cooking.

Wood is usually going to be the cheapest heat source but, it’s dependent on your wood provider, of course.

Charcoal briquettes is usually considered the lowest but about the same or higher than wood.

Lump charcoal is all across the board as the burn rate and size vary quite a bit. But, generally, it’s considered between medium costing and can go to medium high and even to high. There’s a good benefit of lump charcoal over charcoal briquettes. Lump charcoal produces less ash typically. And some will produce more or less than others. Also, lump charcoal generally burns slower so you won’t usually have to refill it as often during longer cooking sessions. This is a consideration of true cost.

4. Work vs Convenience Comparisons

Prep Work Comparisons

Regarding getting ready to cook, the gas grill beats them all. It’s convenient and doesn’t require must preheating time at all. Basically, it’s always ready to go. Pellets are extremely easy to load and manage. With charcoal or wood, you’ll have to load up the charcoal/wood first but, with lump charcoal, you may not need as much, if any at all. In some charcoal or wood scenarios, you might have to empty out the ash from the previous cooking session at this time.

Cooking Work Comparisons

With the cooking process, all are going to be similar but yes, there are going to be some differences. Controlling the heat is the biggest advantage of gas. With just the turn of a knob, it’s extremely easy to manage. Added features might include a fuel gauge, a side burner, and some will be hybrids for alternate fuel sources such as charcoal. Charcoal, wood, and pellet grills will vary quite a bit on this aspect and usually you have to learn what vents to control the air flow for lowering or increasing the heat.

After getting used to a particular grill, it can be mastered but, not until that’s learned after several cooking sessions. And, if you change grills, you’ll have to learn the controlling of the different vents all over. There are some charcoal grills however, that have a wonderful charcoal shelf that can be raised or lowered to have some quick control over the heat during cooking. And, still others, that raise or lower the actual cooking surface. And yes, there are some that will hold the heat better, e.g., the dome or egg-shaped units but only if they are specifically made from a heat retention material such as ceramic or stone.

Work After Finished Cooking Comparisons

After the cooking is done, gas might just require being turned off. And a charcoal, wood, pellet grill might just require closing vents and closing the covers or lid. You can benefit for salvaging any remaining unburned product if your particular grill closes up tight enough to seal out the oxygen so it will stop burning the fuel source quickly. The lump charcoal tends to be consumed slower than briquettes so, you usually will have more lumps left than briquettes.

But, all grills will need to cool down a bit before using a weather protective covering to protect it, assuming it’s not in a covered patio, porch, or similar environment.

5. Maintenance & Product Life Comparisons

Weather Cover: All grills will require similar protection from the natural elements like wind, rain, sleet, humidity, sun, and snow. So, depending on your outdoor environment, you’ll need to consider a protective covering when not in use.

Secure Your Grill: Even going beyond just a weather protection cover for your grill, there are other factors of consideration to protect it. Think about the distance you want to keep it from your house. Also, securing it from high winds not only when you’re not using it but also while you’re grilling. Lots of great ideas are mentioned here (at exceptionally well to think about regarding the various ways of securing your grill. And there are tons of other great articles and advice on that site as well.

For long term, all grills will have components that will fail over time. Gas grills generally more often than others. That’s partially because it has more components. And there are safety factors of ensuring there are no gas leaks while in storage, as well as during cooking. The gas grill won’t require loading of charcoal nor emptying of any ash.

Heating Element: The electric grill won’t require replacing a gas tank for more fuel but, in time, you will need to replace the heating element due to it eventually burning out.

Heat Shield: Also, both electric and gas grills will usually use a heat shield (heat plate, heat guard, and it goes by other names), which may last a few years.

Gas System: For gas grills, the gas delivery system may have some components that will need occasional replacement, including the burner assembly unit(s). Or, the fuel gauge, if it has that option, might need changing.

Ignitor: And any grill (including charcoal) that uses an ignitor might require some components to be replaced during the life of the grill.

Grates: For all grills, the grates themselves might need some replacement eventually. And charcoal grills may have an added grate. Or, you might want to change the material your grates are made from, e.g., cast iron, stainless steel, cold rolled steel, carbon steel, porcelain enameled, etc.

Auger: This and other components are unique for pellet grills. Some portions can be replaced if they break or wear out.

Grill Infrastructure: All grills have their own infrastructure components. Here are some that your ultimate grill choice might have. Any shelf, shelf lift, drawer, ash/grill pan, charcoal bin or bin door, wheels, thermometer, or storage areas are among some of the normal components that might require some attendance over time. And sometimes, these components can’t be replaced because of parts availability from the manufacturer. And, other times, you won’t want to invest in replacing some costly parts if the grill only has 1-2 years of life remaining.

Grill Product Life: Just like everything, there are a ton of factors will dictate its useful duration. While a lot will go into the quality of the product itself, I’ve seen people who had a budget basic grill for $50-$100 that lasted about 5 years. And others, I’ve seen the same type last typically just 2 years. For basic grills such as those, the number one reduction of its usefulness is rust. And it was caused either because of not always covering it or the location of living in an area with high humidity.

There are, of course, the better quality grills that last 10-20 years or more. And those will tend to have some solid protections and resistance to some of those weather elements but, you still have to protect/cover them.

You’ll want to be cautious of assumptions about the quality and the product life of what grill you’re purchasing. For example, the Kamado type of grills developed quite a good reputation for a long life cycle. However, that’s only because of certain brands, makes, and models that gradually earned that reputation over a long period of time.

So, if you’re seeing the word “Kamado”, you’ll want to ensure you’re aware that it doesn’t mean it is one of great quality and will last for a long time. These days reveal a lot of “knock offs” and have the shape and name of the Kamado grill type but aren’t built with the long-life quality metals, coatings, or the thick ceramic heat absorbing materials. That leads us next into the final topic of reviews and top choices.

6. Reviewing

Narrow Down Your Grill Choices to Begin Reviews

Normally, when you buy a kitchen appliance, reading through some reviews makes you think of some additional options you might want in an item. While reading reviews for grills will definitely do that same thing for you, the biggest thing that makes grill hunting so much different is settling in on what type of fuel heat source. The good thing is, usually each different heat source reveals a totally different set of features you can consider having. So, if you can pretty much decide on a grill’s fuel heat source, you’ll be good to begin using your reviews studying to narrow down the brand, make, and model.

Let’s say you might have narrowed down a few types of grills to maybe 3 different ones. One method is to read some of the reviews on the actual manufacturer’s site. And then you want to validate by looking for some recent reviews of that same grill on a reseller’s site like Walmart or Amazon. Note if using Amazon, consider changing the default Amazon reviews sorting of “Top Reviews” to “Most Recent”. You can have more confidence in reviews if the quantity is higher.

What to look for in the reviews

Since you’ll already have access to the grill’s specs, you’ll want to read for pros and cons of some of the features, the operation and use of the grill, and some insight regarding the product life or maintenance of it. Here are some example review comments on some things you might find out (about various types of grills):

  • The grill cover doesn’t seal well enough to snuff out the charcoal for re-usage the next time.
  • It uses a lot more gas than the review was thinking it should.
  • Has a huge cooking surface. Love the tray lifting thing for immediate heat control. Also, I save charcoal because I sometimes only use 1/2 of the grill.
  • The charcoal shelf began to rust out after the first year.
  • The ceramic walls were thin compared to the higher priced Kamado grill. Didn’t hold the heat as good. I should have got the Kamado Joe or the Green Egg instead of this non-brand.
  • Love the gas controls. Worked great for heat distribution and even cooking. Had it for 3 years; everything still works like the day I bought it.
  • Works great. I added a generic rotisserie and it fit perfectly.
  • Has loads of vents and the instructions were excellent for putting together and how to use the vents when grilling compared to when doubling as a smoker.
  • I originally thought the idea of the glass viewing window was cool but, it’s dark when closed so, I still have to open the lid to see what’s going on inside. However, I can see if there’s flaming going on through the window.
  • The auger failed in my pellet grill after 2 years. Warranty was 1 year so, there’s that. Should have bought the extended warranty.
  • My self ignitor started acting up after just 9 months and this grill’s supposed to last many years. Reached out to the manufacturer and they had me take a video of what it was doing. After some back-and-forth emails, they sent me a replacement part, which saved me about $100. Very happy with their response.
  • Love being able to add pellets during the longer grilling times. Food tastes great.
  • Absolutely can’t compare the food flavor with my wood pellet grill. To me it tastes as good as a wood grill.
  • I really like the way you can add more charcoal briquettes. The longest I can cook is about an hour if I don’t add any. So, when I’m doing slow cooked ribs on indirect heat, I have to add more about every 30-45 minutes.

Making Final Choices

Here are some grills based on types (many via Amazon affiliate links). This quick list will make it quicker for you to narrow down your searching based on what you’ve decided as your fuel heat source. You can also search Internet for things like “Top Gas Grills”, “Best Kamado Grills”, and so on.

Our Top Choices for Charcoal (briquette/lump) Grills (low to high budget)

Frequent Questions on Choosing the Best Grill or Smoker

I would like to also smoke some meats. Do I now need a separate smoker?

Is your intention of smoking meats to be performed about one or more times each 2-4 weeks? If you answered yes to smoking at least once a month, you’re justified having a separate smoker. If you prefer smoking less often, you should consider getting a grill that can double as a smoker and has the capability of refilling its heat source easily during the smoking process. However, if you still feel a smoker is in line for your scenario, go for it but try to use one that consumes the same fuel type you use in your grill OR consider an electric smoker.

Are smokeless grills good?

While it may perform as a grill, it cannot have an outdoor grill flavor without the smoke. The reason that outdoor grilled food tastes so good is due to the meat getting seared and being cooked while the drippings fall onto the heat source, creates the smoke, and melds into the meat for that flavor. If you read reviews on those items, you’ll see where there are some who may indicate it tastes the same as cooking on a kitchen stovetop’s skillet.

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