Barbecue Grills: What to look for before you buy

6 minutes read

When the weather is good, there is nothing better than cooking and eating alfresco. If you are looking at barbecue grills to use on a regular basis, a bit of homework is a good idea.  Luckily, we have done all the hardworking for you and come up with this guide to barbecue grills. 


Price of Barbecue Grills

The prices of barbecue grills range from super cheap, to thousands of pounds. The size of your new barbecue grill and its features all have an effect on what you pay. Like in most things in life, you get what you pay for. But, you need to decide on what features you actually want. So, narrowing down your requirements, will reduce your list of possibilities. This is a good thing, as there are hundreds of different barbecue grills released every year. If you are buying a gas barbecue, find out if the gas bottle, regulator and hose are all included.

Fuel Options for Barbecue Grills

You have the choice between gas or charcoal. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. But, your budget may decide which one you go for, because gas barbecue grills are more expensive.



Charcoal barbecue grills take longer to get up to cooking temperature. However, chimney starters can get it going much quicker. However, if you don’t mind waiting for it (with a few beers), you will enjoy the smoky flavour a charcoal barbecue grill gives you. This method is slower too, so the meat holds its moisture and is more succulent.



Gas barbecue grills are easier to use. They also allow you to be consistent in your cooking, as the flames don’t change unless you want them too. You can also start cooking pretty much immediately , without having to wait for it to get up to temperature.

Grill Materials

The main body of the grill is usually made from cast aluminum, sheet metal, cast iron, or stainless steel. Stainless steel is best for professional cooking equipment and the most expensive. One thing to look for, is not just the body, but also the frame of the barbecue. Some “stainless steel” grills have painted steel frames that can rust, especially if they are kept outside.

Running Costs of Barbecue Grills

With gas barbecue grills, you rent the gas bottle and you get it filled or you swap it for a full one, once it is empty. This usually costs about £30 for around 12 hours of cooking time.

A bag of charcoal is about £10 and will keep medium sized barbecue grills going for about three barbecues.


Look in to the BTU rating. This is a measurement of the amount of heat created by the burner. A grill with higher BTUs doesn’t necessarily produce more heat. It is a factor of the heat created, the size of the grill and how well it holds and distributes that heat. Don’t buy a grill just because it has a high BTU number. Compare that number with the size and the shape of the grill. Smaller more compact grills can produce higher cooking temperatures with lower BTUs.

Other Things to Think About

barbecue grills

Barbecue grills that come with a hood are more versatile. This is because you can control the heat more and get that smoky flavour.

If you opt for a gas barbecue, buy one with at least three burners. You can have two burning and leave the heat off one. Put some colour on you meat over the direct flames. Then, move it over to the burner that is off. Close the lid, so the meat cooks but doesn’t burn.

There is a similar process with charcoal barbecue grills. Put all the charcoal at one end of the barbecue. Once the meat has some colour move it to the other side and close the lid trapping the heat in. Buying a food thermometer is an easy way to ensure your food is safely cooked.

You need to think about the size of the barbecue you are going to buy. If you are cooking large pieces of meat, a standard size grill is fine. However, if you are going to cook lots of burgers and sausages for a large group, you may want a bigger grill space. If you are cooking for lots of people at a party, you may need a warming rack for “ready to eat” food.

If you are intending to cook food that could fall through the grill (slithers of meat, vegetables or even eggs) then a model with a griddle may be useful. Some barbecue grills have useful side burners for sauces, boiling potatoes or vegetables. A gas barbecue would benefit from an adequate area for grease collection when cleaning.

You also need to think about where you will keep your barbecue when you are not using it. If it is kept outside, a fitted cover is essential to protect it.


Click here for the best portable barbecue grills
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