UPDATED FOR 2016
There’s a very good reason for doing a segment on the best gas grill under $300. The $200 – $300 price range is an exciting one for gas grills, with some real hidden gems to uncover!
Best Gas Grill Under $300 – The Lineup
I’ve isolated and compared 5 models for you and I’m sure you’re going to be pleasantly surprised with the range of choice you have. So, let’s not waste any more time and get right into it!
NOTE: In this article, “approval ratio” refers to the percentage of 4 and 5 star reviews the product receives. So, basically it is the percentage of buyers who end up happy with the performance of the product.
Weber Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill
The Q2200 (see full review) is the largest of Weber’s truly portable grills. It is an update of the ever popular Q220, which was always a solid little grill, well built and ready for the road.
Weber made some improvements and updates to the grill. Let’s look at the quick features first and then continue the discussion.
- Single burner
- 12,000 BTU
- 280 sq inch cooking area
- porcelain enameled cast-iron grate
- folding side tables
- split grates
Cleanup is easy thanks to the removable grease tray. Despite the low BTU the grill does a fine job of cooking whatever you throw on it. The domed lid also makes it possible to cook a whole moderately sized bird on it.
Weber has added a new system of split grates to the Q2200, meaning you can have use a grate on one half and a griddle on the other. It also makes cleaning of the grates even easier than before.
Adding a wheeled cart adds another $70 or so to the price, which pushes up the total price for using this as a wheeled backyard grill considerably. Still, the option of portability when you need it is good to have, and Weber grills will last you longer than anything else on the market. Investing in this kind of quality still makes a ton of sense.
Be aware of its limitations (only one burner, less cooking space), but if you can live with those, this is a wonderfully capable grill that will last you a long time.
Approval ratio: 93%
Char-Broil Gas2Coal 3-Burner Grill
The Char-Broil Gas2Coal gets a joint Editor’s Choice for the innovation it brings to the table.
This grill can be turned into a charcoal grill with the simple addition of a charcoal plate onto the burners. It is a fantastic concept that works very well in practice.
- 540 square inch total cooking area
- 3 stainless steel burners
- 40,000 BTU
- 12,000 BTU side burner
- converts from gas to coal with simple panel
- porcelain-coated cast-iron cooking grates
You get a lot of space and plenty of heat with this grill. A 420 square inch main cooking area is supplemented by a 120 square inch warming rack. Add other essential features like thermometer and electronic ignition and you have a great grill for the price.
The main attraction of course here is that you get the ability to do both charcoal and gas grilling in one fairly compact unit. It’s a wonderful grill to have around, and it’s well worth considering for the price.
Dyna-Glo 30,000 BTU 2 Burner Gas Grill
Dyna-Glo grills is a classic mix of part quality, part shortcut. This was one of my favorite grills when it launched a few years ago, but since as more user data rolled in, I’ve had to downgrade its rating a little as concerns about certain internal parts started coming up.
While I still believe this is a good grill for the price that offers decent value, you need to be aware of some issues. First, here are the important features, and then we’ll discuss the product further.
– 2 stainless steel burners
– 30,000 BTU
– 350 Sq inch primary cooking space
– 547 sq inch total cooking space
– enameled cast-iron cooking grates
A few minor issues plague this grill. The heat rack is low, which makes it hard to handle meat directly below it. The grates are also close to the burners, which may encourage flareups. Heat distribution is also not 100% even and there are hot spots, but at this price point it’s par for the course.
In the years since I first wrote about this grill, some issues with the lifespan of internal parts started coming up. The brackets for the heat tents in particular seems to have a limited lifespan. The fact that these parts don’t seem to be available separately, but can only be replaced by buying a new firebox, is a concern.
Still, this is an otherwise well constructed grill that generates a lot of heat and sears like a champion, while also offering a good range of heat control for lower temperature cooking. For the price, you’re getting a lot of value, but be aware that you get a limited lifespan.
Approval ratio: 78%
Dyna-Glo 36,000 BTU 3-Burner
This is a very good grill from Dyna-Glo. The 3 burners put out 36,000 BTU and cover a comparatively small primary cooking space of 390 square inches. Sensible design choices and quality materials (metal housed casters, oh yes) shine through here, and for under $300 (current discounted price at Amazon) this offers even better value than its 2-burner sibling.
– 3 stainless steel burners
– 36,000 BTU
– 390 Sq inch primary cooking space
– 507 sq inch total cooking space
– porcelain enameled cast-iron cooking grates
While it offers slightly more primary cooking space, the smaller heating rack means it offers less overall space than the 2-burner model.
With three burners on a fairly small cooking area, you get very even heat distribution. These are not P-shaped burners, but straight ones. They do a fine job of distributing heat though. This is a very pleasant grill to cook on.
There are rust concerns as parts like the heat tents and pans are not stainless steel.
Handy side shelves with an integrated towel bar and three tool hooks per shelf are nice touches. This grill offers good even cooking, heats up fast for a good sear and is well constructed. For the price, it’s a very good deal.
Approval ratio: 81%
Thermos 4-Burner Gas Grill
Thermos is a Char-Broil brand, so it’s probably safe enough to say this is a Char-Broil grill.
Now, what is this big old 4-burner grill doing in such a low price range? Well, Char-Broil is certainly targeting the value market by putting out large grills at very attractive prices.
No, you’re not going to get an all stainless steel grill that will last for a decade. If, however, you want a few years of big cooking at a low entry price, then you’re part of the market for this grill.
– 4 Burners
– 48,000 BTU
– 10,000 BTU Side burner
– 480 square inch primary cooking area
– 208 square inches secondary cooking space
– porcelain coated cast-iron grates
– electronic ignition
Straight out of the box this is a decent grill at a very good price, with plenty of cooking space. You get all major features, including a thermometer and a side burner. Char-Broil is an old hand at making grills, so the expected performance and grilling quality is there right out of the box.
However, as with most of these budgets grills, a lot of the key parts are not stainless steel. They will rust after a few years, or start failing from wear and tear. As I said at the start, these are not built to last decades, that’s why you get them at silly prices. Overall, the Thermos 4-burner is a fine grill for the market it is targeting, offering a lot of value and good cooking.
Approval ratio: 68%