OT: Best grill under $500

Submitted by Autocracy Now on February 29th, 2016 at 6:19 PM

I am in the market for a new gas grill and was hoping the board could provide some recs.

Only criteria: I will likely use it once a week or so in the summer, so would like to keep the price below $500. I don't really need bells and whistles, but I do want something sturdy that won't rust out within a couple seasons.

Will ask Tom Herman for advice on any subsequent grill purchases.



February 29th, 2016 at 7:18 PM ^

I have the 200 series, can easily do a half dozen burgers, brats, steaks, lobster tails, etc. You can also get a stand for it so it's not sitting on the ground. Very portable, great for camping, tailgating, and every day use.

I use it a couple times per week. It spent two winters outside in Cleveland and has now been two years in the extreme heat of Texas. I probably need to get a new burner for it, but everything works great.


February 29th, 2016 at 6:32 PM ^

Anything with 4 burners should do you nice. Don't get one of those infrared weird ones if you like your meat to actually touch flame. My neighbor got a new grille last summer and he hates it.
Wife and kids got me a Kenmore I believe 4-5 years ago and I use it all the time. Just keep it clean and covered and it'll last a while.


February 29th, 2016 at 10:25 PM ^

Actually, don't cover all Kenmore grills. Check to see if the bottom of the grill can be replaced or if it's soldered into place (I'm not talking about the drip pan). If the bottom is soldered, moisture will collect there with a cover and the bottom will rust out in a couple years. You'll be told that you have to replace the burner box completely and it's cheaper to replace the whole grill.

As you can guess, I learned this the hard way. Rather than take the beat down by the man, I pulled out the rusted bottom and bought a sheet of stainless steel that I cut and put in for about $60. But if I didn't cover the grill, I would probably have avoided the whole hassle.

oc michigan fan

February 29th, 2016 at 6:34 PM ^

Weber for sure. I spent $400ish on mine 4 years ago and it has been awesome. Consistant heat every time. 

My last grill was a fancier Home Depot grill for a similar price (side burner, rotisseire...) and it was crap.

Weber every time. 


February 29th, 2016 at 6:35 PM ^

I've always wondered if a good grill makes a big difference. I have like a $250 Char-Broil 4 burner grill that I bought 7 years ago with my first house. Now that I have more disposable income, I considered getting some $750-$1,000 Weber type grill. Does it really make a noticeable difference if all you grill is chicken breasts and burgers?

Indiana Blue

March 1st, 2016 at 9:28 AM ^

Whatever the grill ... go to Dick's and get the cast iron grill surface (it has a flat side and a ridged side).  Let the cast iron get EXTREMELY hot then drop that filet or burger on it, and you'll get instant searing of the meat !!!   Then remove it from the cast iron to the normal section of the grill and you'll have juicy flavorful meat every time.  It may take a little practice and you must season the cast iron before getting perfect results.  Also be sure to let the meat rest (wrapped in foil) for 5 minutes - this lets the cooking process finish and distributes heat and juices throughout the meat.   Wow ... am I hungry now!

Go Blue!

Clarence Beeks

February 29th, 2016 at 10:28 PM ^

In my opinion, yes, it makes a difference. No need to go particularly expensive (if you've read my other responses, I'm a big fan of the Weber E-310, which is $499, for the everyday grill), but the big difference comes from materials quality (particularly the lid) that better insulates and makes for more even (and higher temperature) heating. I was like you and really wondered, until I bought my Weber. I would NEVER go back.

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M go Bru

March 1st, 2016 at 9:45 AM ^

that I bought 3 years ago for $200. Family of four. In retrospect I only need 3 burners. Porcelain enamel edges on the flavor bars and drip pan requires periodic touchup repainting with special grill paint. It has stainless steel burners, front trim, and handles. 

Try to get stainless for the burners, entire firebox and drip pan, and optional for hood for low maintenance.

Checkout how easy it is to clean the firebox.

Heavy porcelain grates are still the best.

I had a small Charbroil for over 25 years when they were made of cast iron. Replaced the staintess steel burners twice, the lava rock grate once, and the procelain grate once. I hate that they are all sheet metal boxes now.



February 29th, 2016 at 6:35 PM ^

get the combo metal finish of brushed steel/aluminum and it will last forever.  we bbq year round and the grill never comes inside. they last for years and only the insides end up burning out b/c we use it so much. 

get it on sale most of the big box stores can get you what you want for less than $300 and less than $200 if you are observant and check around.  

Clarence Beeks

February 29th, 2016 at 10:25 PM ^

I can't disagree with this more strongly. For about a decade I rolled through several of the cheap (and cheaply made) grills at Home Depot and Lowes. I didn't know what I was missing out on until I bought my first and only Weber. Yes, they cost more, but you won't buy as many. And the quality of the finished grilled product is not comparable.

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February 29th, 2016 at 6:37 PM ^

I've had my Weber charcoal kettle grill since 1997 and it's still practically like new. Only replaced the wooden handlesafter about 10 years.

No experience with gas grills but my gut still says go with Weber.


February 29th, 2016 at 6:59 PM ^

I bought mine in 1998 have used it every year and to be honest I did not take very good care of it.  I spent about $100 last spring on some parts and now it is as good as new!  I see another 18 years easy.  Be sure to get four STAINLESS STEEL burnners and grates!


February 29th, 2016 at 6:51 PM ^

I bought a Weber over 10 years ago and it still works like a champ.  Very sturdy. Quality construction.  Having said that, I haven't looked at the new grills to see if there are better grills out there nowadays. 

M Go Cue

February 29th, 2016 at 6:54 PM ^

Weber makes a a great grill but I absolutely love my Tru Infrared.  It takes a little getting used to cooking at a very high temperature, but it really grills wonderfully, especially steaks.


February 29th, 2016 at 9:40 PM ^

Biggest POS I ever owned, took an advanced engineering dregree to put it together with the small print black and white directions which were incomplete. Push button starter worked for ten minutes, handle fell off about five months later. Worst pile of garbage ever, vowed to never purchase a char broil product again. Char broil was apropos too, put the steak on, go inside to get the tongs or something, come right back out, steak is completely charred on one side. Ruined more meat in that pos that my actual cost must have been $600 whe it was all said and done, grill was only like $150.


February 29th, 2016 at 7:14 PM ^

I'll second the TRU Infrared. The meat comes out juicer in my opinion. The advantage with this model is the gas flame heats up a cast iron grill grate that disapates the heat differently than a traditional open flame. I've never burned anything on this grill. I received mine as a gift and absolutely love it. Lowes has them cheap.

Goggles Paisano

March 1st, 2016 at 5:47 AM ^

BGE is the way to go for those considering spending a good chunck of change on a new gas grill.  Round trip for the egg, a nice custom table to drop the egg into and some of the necessary accessories, I would say plan on $1,300-$1,400.  You will pay a little more now, but you won't regret it.  I grill burgers, chicken, steaks, pizza, pork butt, brisket, and the best is the Thanksgiving turkey.  I promise you won't taste a better turkey that came out of an oven.  

I have some friends that have many grills (why I don't know) but have both Webers and Eggs. For a gas grill or a smoker that is not an egg, they all speak highly of the Webers. 


February 29th, 2016 at 10:28 PM ^

It depends on the size of your egg and how many people you are serving. Quick grilling can be done with the smaller eggs, but the larger ones take more time to get the fire up to temp. 

I love my BGE, but if I just want a hot dog or a quick burger I'll throw it on the gas grill. Absolutely everything else gets done on the Egg though.

Oregon Wolverine

February 29th, 2016 at 11:45 PM ^

I use my egg for all grilling, see below for my description. I've got a large egg (but off brand). With a small ball of newspaper and a handful of kindling, my egg will stabilize in temp anywhere from 200F to 650F in twenty minutes, tops. Takes a little practice to get the hang of it, but easy in short order.

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Oregon Wolverine

February 29th, 2016 at 11:39 PM ^

Any decent kamado grill beats a Weber by a long shot.

I grabbed an "off brand" at Lowes a couple of years back, not prepared to pony up the $$ for a green egg and I couldn't be happier unless I spent even more and grabbed the egg for all of the compatible accessories.

As much as charcoal is a step up from gas, natural charcoal is multiple steps up. Add in the efficiency of a ceramic dome and this device is only limited by your creativity. Get a meat thermometer on a wired remote and serious cooking is in the works. A heat defuser works wonders, great addition.

Grill steak at 650F, roast a turkey (really smoked) at 250F or lower, grill kielbasa at 275F (fresh is best, grill will give delicious light smoke flavor), or pork shoulder with real crackle cooked at 200F for 16 hours. It's really the best cooking device I have, and I have a lot of 'em. Re the latter, most tell me it's about the most delicious thing they've ever eaten. Brings me to tears.

Tip: Cash and Carry carries huge bags of natural charcoal (the real stuff) for CHEAP. Super easy to light, long burning, and when ur finished grilling, roasting, smoking, etc, close down ur kamado and the charcoal, starved for oxygen, goes out. Big pieces remain and can be used again. The waste can be (once out) be dumped into your garden -- great carbon dump, super good for fruit trees.

Plus the ceramic grill is impervious to rust (obviously). I only wish I had gas during PDX's rainy season... But that's fleeting because once you use real charcoal (mesquite is awesome, especially w/a small piece of cherry wood on top), gas cooked tastes like a shadow of BBQ.

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