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Propane Grill Buying Guide

Propane Grills: Your Definitive Buying Guide

We’ll Help You Find the Best Propane Grill for Your Peach State Home

propane grill

No one likes being cooped up inside on a gorgeous summer afternoon. It’s no wonder, then, that families all over Georgia are firing up their grills. And there’s no better fuel than propane to cook your ribs, hot dogs or salmon filets.

According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 61 % of American grill owners use propane. It’s safe, easily transportable and clean-burning. A propane grill offers precise temperature control with fewer meat-charring flareups and no chemical taste.

There are lots of propane grills on the market today — what’s the best option for your family?

Here is a comprehensive breakdown of propane grills — the sizes, models, features and heating capacities — so you can make an informed choice.

What Size Grill Do I Need?

As a rule, you should measure your cooking space in square inches and allow 72 sq. in. of primary cooking space per person. Primary cooking space only refers to the main cooking area, not side burners or warming stations.

Additionally, you’ll want to err on the side of more cooking space, as too little will mean you spend more time at the grill preparing a meal — so round up to the nearest hundred sq. in. when calculating.

Also, consider whether you expect to host large gatherings (or grill multiple foods for each person) since this will increase your grilling space needs.

Number of PeopleGrill Size
1 to 3 peopleA 360 sq. in. grill should suffice.
4 to 5 peopleYou’ll want a grill in the 400 sq. in. range.
6 to 7 peopleYou’ll want a grill in the 500 sq. in. range.
More than 7 peopleYou should get a grill with 600 sq. in. or larger.
How Many Burners Do You Need?
Multiple, individually controlled burners offer more adaptable cooking, with varying temperatures and indirect heat zones.
Number of BurnersYour Choices
2 BurnersThe minimum number you should consider. Suitable for grilling for 3–4 people.
3 to 4 BurnersThe sweet spot for most home grillers. This allows for versatile heating combinations.
5 or More BurnersBest for people planning to regularly grill for large groups.
Other things you should bear in mind when choosing your ideal grill size include:
  • Does it have at least 12 inches of headspace to cook effectively?
  • Do you have enough outdoor space to allow sufficient distance from your home and greenery?
  • Does your homeowner’s association or condo board restrict the grill size (or if you can have one at all)?

Propane Grill Features

Today’s propane grills come with features to ensure the perfect (and perfectly safe) cooking experience.

How Many BTUs Do I Need for My Propane Grill?

A British Thermal Unit, or Btu, measures energy output. Each Btu indicates the amount of thermal energy required to heat a pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. Propane appliances measure their heat-producing capacity in Btus.

So, how many Btus should a propane grill produce?
You should measure a grill’s heating capacity by Btus per square inch of cooking surface. To get to this number, divide the total Btus by the grilling area. For example:

28,000 Btu Grill / 360 sq. in. of primary cooking area = approximately 78 Btus per sq. in.

Total BTUs
Primary Cooking Area (sq in)

Btus per sq. in.

Most grills tend to fall in the range of 75 and 100 Btus per square inch. If the grill you’re considering is below this range, it will take longer to cook your food. If the Btu rating is 100 or higher, you might end up with some unintended well-done steaks.

Bigger isn’t better with Btus. An excessive rating will mean that your grill will burn fuel faster. It’s just as important to confirm that the grill’s structure is sound. A heavy-duty, well-fitted lid will seal in heat, and you’ll get more heat for your propane.

When deciding the optimal Btu rating for your grill, consider how you plan to use it.

How You Plan to Use Your GrillThe Best Choice is
Do you plan to host a lot of barbecues with many guests?A higher Btu model will help you cook lots of food faster.
Do you plan to use the grill for smaller family meals with many different recipes?A lower Btu grill will allow you to customize fine-tune meals with variable cooking times.
How many Btus do you get in a 20 lb. propane cylinder?
The portable tank you attach to your grill holds about 4.5–4.7 gallons of propane. Each gallon produces 91,500 Btus of potential heat. So, you can expect a total of 410,000–430,000 Btus per 20 lb. cylinder.

Types of Propane Grills

Whether you’re looking for something compact and portable or built-in with all the bells and whistles, there’s a propane grill for you.

outside grill
Freestanding Grills
  • Probably the most popular grilling option
  • Durable, cartlike structure allows for many features and easy positioning
  • Range in size from about 240–800 sq. in. of primary cooking area
  • Generally have plenty of storage and rack space
  • Excellent for hosting home barbecues and large family dinners
portable grill
Portable Grills
  • Compact cooking options that can often fit on picnic tables
  • Easily transportable, with around 150–300 sq in of cooking area
  • Uses a smaller propane canister
  • Perfect for tailgating and camping
built in
Built-In Grills
  • Custom-designed as showpiece features for your outdoor entertaining space
  • Can accommodate just about any cooking feature, from rotisseries to smokers to additional burners and infrared lighting
  • High-end option for outdoor kitchen island by pools, cabanas and decks that will raise your property value.
flat top grills
Flat-Top Grills
  • Uses a flat-plate cooking surface as opposed to a grate
  • Requires more careful cleaning since juices and grease accumulate more easily
  • Available in a wide range of sizes, from small portable options to full-sized models
  • Sometimes called a gas griddle or hibachi — they’re great for breakfast scrambles, stir-fries, cheesesteaks and fajitas.
infrared grill
Infrared Grills
  • State-of-the-art option with an extra-hot infrared element heated by propane
  • Cooks food quickly, with fewer flareups and better moisture retention
  • Pricier than non-infrared models, suited for seasoned home-grillers ready to kick their game up to the next level!

Must-Have Grilling Accessories

To get the most from your top-of-the-line propane grill, check out these ten essential accessories:

  1. Cooking Utensils — You can’t grill without the proper tools, so secure some stainless steel utensils — a two-pronged fork, spatula, tongs and basting brush are key.
  2. Grill Cover — Protect your grill from rain and other nasty weather with a high-quality, breathable cover.
  3. Rotisserie Attachment — From multiprong corn cob sets to veggie baskets to good old-fashioned rotating spits, rotisseries are a fantastic, hands-free grill option.
  4. Smoker Box — Give your food a zesty kick with a box of wood chips scented with apple, bourbon, mesquite and much more!
  5. Additional Racks — Optimize your cooking space with expansion racks.
  6. Wireless Thermometer — Want to check your food’s temperature without opening the grill cover? Get a wireless thermometer and monitor your temps through an app.
  7. Charcoal Tray — You can have the convenience of propane and the aroma of charcoal with a tray attachment that sits between your burners and the cooking surface.
  8. Pizza Stone — Propane grills cook pizza perfectly, with a delectably crispy crust. Invest in a ceramic stone to place on your grate to draw moisture from your dough.
  9. Griddle — Enjoy all the benefits of a flat-top or hibachi grill with a griddle attachment. You can fix breakfast each morning on your grill!
  10. Cleaning Supplies — Cleaning isn’t the most fun part of grilling, but it’s essential. Be sure to get a long-handled wire brush and a bottle of spray-on grill cleaner. You’ll be happy you did.

Propane Summer Fun and So Much More

As you can see, there’s a world of enjoyment to be had when you invest in a high-quality propane grill. Your local propane provider can provide you with tips on maintaining your grill and ensure you have adequate fuel for your summer cookout.

Watch a video on propane cylinder safety.

A grill is just one of the many propane-fired appliances that can improve your quality of life and raise the value of your property. Your Georgia propane dealer can help you find and install excellent products and qualify for discounts and rebates!