Grilling food may have, over the last couple decades, become one of the most culturally significant pastimes in the United States – in some areas, the quality of a man’s grill can impact his social status. However, some people just can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on a grill – this is where we come in.
Each grill on the market is going to be a bit different than its competitors, which puts a lot of selection available to you. How can you be sure which grill’s going to suit you the best?
This makes it pretty hard to choose your unit at the store, since there’s rarely enough information available to make an informed choice – just a tag with a few numbers and statistics. That’s why we’ve done the research for you and determined which grills are the best value purchases for under $300.
What kind of grill is the better value – gas or charcoal?
If you’re comparing grills sheerly for the price, you’re probably going to end up getting a charcoal grill. They tend to be a bit cheaper than the old propane tank variety, but that doesn’t mean they’re any worse!
Charcoal has been used as a cooking method for a very long time – particularly for cooking meat, like steaks.
- A charcoal grilled steak conjures up great memories for lots of western people, and charcoal fans will claim that a charcoal grilled slab of meat tastes better than anything else you could cook.
- Charcoal is a natural and renewable fuel source for your grill
Why is that, though? What makes a charcoal grill so special?
A charcoal grill has a firebox (the containment unit) that holds the charcoal and the flame that heats up the charcoal. Once your flame’s lit, the coal heats up and the heat spreads through the grill, providing enough heat for you to cook your food.
Charcoal grills are unique in that some of the smoke that rises off the charcoal helps to cook whatever you’re cooking. This is part of the reason that charcoal grillers will tell you they have a completely different, more complete flavor in their food than gas grillers.
People also like charcoal grills because they tend to be cheap.
A charcoal grill with similar statistics to a gas grill will likely cost you a little bit less cash, and restocking your fuel is also going to be cheaper.
How do gas grills compare when looking for under $300?
Propane grills might be a little bit more expensive, but that’s not without good reason. When you’re playing with propane, you get these benefits – and drawbacks.
- Propane grills heat up fast, whereas charcoal grills tend to heat up slower. Because of this, propane grills can be used to cook food quicker.
- Propane tends to cost a bit more than charcoal. Charcoal needs to be replaced as well as propane, but you can still use a charcoal grill with old coals – you won’t be completely at a loss, as you would be trying to use a propane grill with no fuel.
- Gas grills tend to have a few more features than the alternative, which can make them more adjustable and better for the particular griller.
These are the basic differences between the two grills. Still, all grills follow the same basic foundation – they’re metal surfaces that cook food with direct heat.
The important part, and the reason that grills are different prices, is what makes your grill unique.
- Different grills heat up to different temperatures based on the thickness of the grate and the fuel source that you use
- Some grills allow direct adjustment of the grate itself. This creates more or less space between the flame and the food.
- The size of your grilling space makes a huge difference! Many grills have a primary cooking area and a secondary area that keeps food warm.
- Grills made of stainless steel will behave differently than ones made of cast iron
- Some grills have extra components that can provide different methods of cooking, but these are often on more expensive models
What will I sacrifice getting a cheaper grill?
To make sure you’re getting what you want, you need to know what you want, which can be more complicated than people are aware of.
Are you expecting to be grilling for tons of people, or are you just going to use this for family gatherings on weekends?
Do you want to be able to make your food, or do you want grate-seared steaks prepped up quickly? Deciding what you want first is mandatory.
Remember that you’re not going to be able to buy the best grill for a few hundred bucks. If you’re looking in this price range, hopefully, your needs aren’t too specific, or you might be disappointed. Look at these sorts of options:
- Temperature. Your ability to control the temperature changes how fast and how thoroughly your food cooks.
- Damper quality. These are your air flow vents, and can sometimes be adjusted to improve or tighten air flow.
- Adjustability. Many things can be adjusted, not the least of which is the height of the grate which we mentioned earlier. There are often other adjustable things, like the air flow vents or the chimney.
- Grill space.Smaller grills will have 150 square cm or less of space, anything bigger than that is likely able to cook enough for a fair sized group of people at once.
Once you’ve determined your needs, you can move towards picking out the best grill for you and your family. Make the best choice and decide what needs you put above the others, because you probably won’t be able to get everything you want.
Is there anything else to know before buying my grill?
Charcoal and gas grills are both awesome, but they each come with their drawbacks – nothing is perfect, and you have to balance pros and cons.
Regardless of what grill you’re using, it’s important to make sure that you take precautions against fires when you’re using a grill. Any griller should make sure they follow these procedures.
- Wear grilling equipment – gloves and an apron, since you’re around hot flames
- Make sure you have good utensils like tongs and a metal wire brush for cleaning so you don’t contact hot metal
Charcoal grillers have a bit of extra maintenance in their futures. You need to change the charcoal in your grill periodically, otherwise, it loses its efficiency. You don’t want to do this too often, though, otherwise, you’ll run up a bill.
Charcoal grills are also generally more difficult to use and require more constant attention than their gas competitors which allow you to begin cooking with the flip of an ignition switch. Coal also has a higher chance of getting grimy when changing their fuel.
How can I be sure to get the best value?
Fortunately for you, you’re not going to have to go shopping around to figure out the best bang for your buck today. We’ve already done that for you.
Most people don’t have time to analyze every spec for every grill in every store in their hometown – that’d take days!
We’ve rounded up the best value grills that you’ll be able to find – anywhere! These grills are all priced under three hundred bucks and will provide you with the best variety of bells and whistles for the price.
Top 4 Best Grill Under 300
1. Char-Broil 4 Burner Gas Grill
Char-Broil is a brand name that’s earned well-deserved respect in the years it’s been producing grills. They make reliable gas and charcoal units.
This one, in particular, has an impressive grill size of 480 square inches, making it easy to cook enough food for a whole party in one shot – on the primary cooking area. With the secondary area, you have more than 650 square inches!
2. Broil Performance 475 Gas Grill
Broil Performance might not be the most well-known brand name in the grilling arena, but they’ve certainly proven themselves to be worthy contenders with this grill. It’s not the flashiest or the most feature-packed grill on the market, but when we’re talking about grills under three hundred bucks, this one’s definitely worth your money.
It’s a stainless steel grill so it’s fairly easy to clean and looks nice in your yard. It’s gto an electronic auto-ignition switch so there’s no worries about having to spend a lot of time lighting it up, and the heat distributes fairly evenly among the cooking surface.
3. Fuego Carbon Steel Gas Grill
This grill was designed by one of the previous designers of Apple, and it certainly shows – this grill looks like something out of a futuristic movie.
Its strange appearance gives rise to some excellent features. It’s got almost 400 square inches of cooking space hidden under the lid, which in itself is another great feature because it holds heat so well. It heats up really fast, cools down relatively quickly, and has an auto ignition switch.
4. Weber’s Original Premium Charcoal Grill
This is a great grill and the only charcoal grill to make it on to this list. Weber is one of the pioneers of grilling, and this particular model has been proven effective for many years. It’s a traditional looking grill that you might see at a camp cookout.
This design is the original grilling design that was pioneered in the fifties. Since it’s stuck around for so long, you know you’re getting a quality design!
The grate is more than 360 square inches of cooking space, which fits more than two dozen burgers. It’s also got a high standing lid so you can fit entire turkeys in or entire roasts.
Which one’s the best?
The best of the best is probably the Fuego Grill.
It might have a new look that some people will need time to grow accustomed to – most people who see it probably won’t even assume that it’s a grill – but its features, portability, and reliability make it a great choice.
Despite its compact size, it holds a fair amount of food so you can cook enough for a whole gathering. It heats up fast, cools down slowly, and that makes this grill an unbeatable value for under $300.
Now that you’ve been able to read about some different grills, you’ll be able to make a better decision as which one provides the best value for under $300. Normally, this would take a lot of shopping around from store-to-store, so hopefully, this article’s helped you out!