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As the weather turns warmer, many of us become excited about the prospect of cooking up some delicious and mouth-watering treats on the grill. As one of the great pastimes, grilling has become a traditional activity for families, backyard cookouts, or those who just prefer their food cooked on a grill. No matter the reason, cooking on a gas grill provides a unique experience for both those eating and the one doing the cooking. As such, it is important to have the right grill that offers an enjoyable experience for all involved.
Gas grills come in all shapes, sizes, and price points. Finding the best one for under $500 can sometimes seem like a daunting task as the salesman is constantly pushing to move up in class. More expensive grills can provide an excellent cooking experience, but for most of us, high-quality units can easily be found without a more reasonable price range. We have looked at four of the most popular gas grills to help you make your decision a little easier.
Royal Gourmet SG6002
|Honors||Best in Class||Best Value|
|The Good||Exceptionally high quality materials. Even and consistent cooking with reversible porcelain enameled grill. 10 year warranty.||Sleek and good looking backyard grill. Plenty of cooking space. Better at indirect cooking than most budget grills.||Uses cast iron grates for better cooking. Sturdy while in use and simple to put together. A bottle opener for a little unique touch.||Massive cooking space can cook for almost any size group. Lots of good features including a side burner, shelves, storage cabinets, and more. Beautiful and easy to clean.|
|The Bad||Subpar wheels and free assembly is only available in certain service areas.||Assembly is time-consuming and contains many parts. Four wheels instead of two would have been preferable.||Materials feel thin and flimsy in parts. May be a little on the light side, which could cause problems in high winds.||Cheaply made materials used for construction. Gas flow feels low and it doesn’t put out as much heat as would be expected. Cooking is sometimes uneven and takes time to learn the grill.|
|Overall||Affordable, high-quality, and versatile. One of the best grills you will find for under $500.||Great price for a good grill. One of the best looking grills you’ll find and does a good job cooking for groups.||A budget grill that performs like a budget grill. May not last as long as some other models, but it will save money for a short-term fix.||Not a long-term solution. Expect 2-4 years before it is time to get a new one. A higher quality grill may save money in the long run. An average to above-average grill.|
|Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Backed by the powerful reputation of Weber, the Weber Spirit II E-310 offers numerous advantages over other grills offered for under $500. Weber doesn’t disappoint and provides one of the most durable and high-quality grills around. Featuring consistent and even heating, the Weber E-310 provides buyers with a satisfying and efficient backyard grilling experience. The porcelain-enameled cooking grates combined with the GS4 grilling system are the backbone of the performance of this grill. Heating up very quickly to heats in excess of 500 degrees, expect to be off and cooking in no time flat. The solid construction ensures that heat does not escape to maintain an even heat throughout. Additionally, an exceptional 10 year warranty provides extreme peace of mind as you can be sure the grill will last for years.
There are very few problems associated with the Weber Spirit II except for some minor issues. One potential issue is that, unlike the rest of the grill, the wheels appear to be an afterthought. They are made of cheap plastic and have difficulty rolling across some surfaces. Another problem with moving the grill is that there is nowhere to really grip it, like a handle. While not a huge deal, it can be a hassle. Additionally, some buyers have reported that the free assembly is not available in their service area. While this is an easy grill to assemble, if the free assembly option is important to you, ensure that you are within the service area for that option.
Overall, this is one of the best budget grills currently available. It has solid construction and uses excellent materials. The 10 year warranty is best in class and speaks to the confidence that Weber has with their products. It produces an even, consistent, and flawless cooking experience that seems to be sustainable over the years. You can expect this three burner grill to last in excess of 10 years and will more than make up for being on the upper end of the $500 range. Weber doesn’t disappoint with this model as they continue their tradition of providing exceptional products.
The Char-Broil line of grills are well respected throughout the grilling community. The Char-Broil Performance model is a great example of the attention to detail that the company puts into each of their grills. This model offers several benefits to backyard grillers such as a large cooking space, beautiful design, high durability, and exceptional value. Featuring 425 sq. in. of primary cooking space and approximately 85 BTUs per square inch, it cooks in an even manner for a variety of foods. The heating control works well and allows for fine-tuning the heat to accurately cook delicate food at low temperatures or sear a steak at high temperature.
Additionally, a warming rack is available that is perfect for keeping food warm while the rest of the food is finishing. It works very well for items such as corn on the cob. The strong stainless steel gives the grill a sturdy feel and just plain looks good! Another benefit of being a (mostly) stainless steel device is that it is easily cleaned and wiped down. This greatly decreases the amount of maintenance that is needed, provided a quick wipe down is completed after each use. Two wheels are used to make the grill easier to move around the yard or transporting to and from the storage area. Four wheels would have been better to make it even easier to move around. Assembly can be time consuming as the grill is made up of over 100 separate parts. The instruction manual is surprisingly good, but expect to spend a couple of hours putting it together.
The Char-Broil Performance 4 burner gas grill does a good job at providing a quality grill without costing too much. It offers very good value considering the quality of the materials used. While it may not last as long as a Weber, it will last a long time. Furthermore, the even cooking and granular temperature control give you plenty of control for cooking a variety of meals. Plenty of convenience features such as the easy cleaning nature of the grill and quick-start ignition make this a joy to work with. If you are looking for a grill that is durable and works well and save a few bucks while doing it, the Char-Broil Performance grill may be the right one for you.
The Cuisinart CGG-7400 is a full size 4 burner gas grill that features high affordability for a grill with an exceedingly high BTU/sq. in. (99). The grill comes with 443 sq. in. of primary cooking space with a warming rack (167 sq. in.) powered by a total of 4 burners (44,000 BTUs). The grates are strong cast iron cooking grates that are very heavy duty. Cooking is comfortable with plenty of elbow room as you are operating the grill. The frame feels solid as it doesn’t wobble or sway while the device is in use. Another convenient aspect of this model is that the cleaning is fairly easy as most of the grill is covered in stainless steel.
The Cuisinart CGG-7400 also features a bottle opener that comes in more handy than one would at first realize. Other features such as the twist-start ignition and temperature gauge work well and do not disappoint. Most of the aspects of the grill are surprisingly well done, but there are a few problems that users experience such as some materials feeling cheap and flimsy. There is also a small gap between the lid and warming rack that could allow heat to escape and impact cooking.
Overall, the Cuisinart four burner gas grill does a good job at providing an affordable option for a daily use grill. While it doesn’t quite measure up to the Char-Broil or Weber, it is an acceptable alternative for those looking to try something different. It has the highest BTUs/sq. in. of any of the grills we have reviewed here, but the grill doesn’t cook quite as well as either of the two above (Char-Broil/Weber).
Cooking for large groups or events requires the right grill for the job. A simple 3 or 4 burner grill just will not do in these situations. The Royal Gourmet SG6002 6 burner grill offers a massive 802 sq. in. of cooking area (603 sq. in. primary). The porcelain enameled cast iron cooking grates are preferred by many over the other kinds of grates. They do a good job at holding heat and helping accommodate an even cook. The SG6002 includes numerous features such as an electronic ignition, built-in thermometer, a sear burner, side burner for sauces, and plenty of storage for cooking utensils. Additionally, the stainless steel design allows for a nice appearance and easy cleaning.
Assembly is relatively easy due to a poor instruction manual and numerous components that make up this huge grill. It is easier if you have experience with assembling other grills, but it can be a pain if this is your first time. One of the best aspects of this grill is the price for such a large grill. While it is much cheaper than one would expect, there are some drawbacks inherent in something that is too good to be true. The materials used feel cheap, presumably to save on costs. Some parts of the grill have a tendency to rust over time, which can drastically reduce the durability. Additionally, the gas flow doesn’t seem to be adequate, at times, to heat the entire grill.
The Royal Gourmet Cabinet grill is intended for big jobs at a reduced priced. If you need to save money and aren’t interested in a long-term investment, this may be the grill for you. But, if you expect the grill to last 5+ years, it may be a good idea to look at another option. This model will save you money, but over the long run, it is often advisable to get something that will last. The cheaply made materials and exposed components leave a little to be desired in that area. This 6 burner propane grill will get the job done, it just won’t do it as well as some other grills.