I’m all about looking good, but buying a grill just because it’s “all shiny and pretty” leads to serious buyer’s remorse. Don’t do it. Instead, buy a grill the right way. Pay attention to the basics like its size and features, and of course price. Then you can be sure you’re getting the perfect grill for the right price. Here’s what you need to know.

(You can find a ton of grill options out there, like smokers, built-ins, natural gas, electric, and pellet grills. I’ll focus on charcoal and propane grills because you can find them easily and at great price points.)

Download the KCL app for money-saving tips, deals, and coupons.

Wanna text? I’ll send you a couple of the hottest deals each day — just send me a text at (208) 266-4466.

 

1. Consider your grilling style.

Before you throw down some bucks on a grill, think about your cooking style.

Are you more about cooking burgers, hot dogs, and steaks, or were you thinking pancakes, eggs, and bacon? This will help you decide whether you should go with a grill (grates) top or a griddle (solid cooking surface). Some grills offer a combo like the Blackstone 1819 Griddle and Charcoal Combo, which I found on Amazon for about $400.

If you want both or if that Blackstone Grill is out of your price range, buy a regular grill with grates and plop a griddle pan on top of the grates. Here’s a griddle pan you can grab on Amazon for less than $60:

 

2. Weigh the pros and cons of charcoal and gas grills.

You also need to decide whether you prefer to work with charcoal or gas, because gas grills are generally more expensive. Here are a few pros and cons of each:

Charcoal

Pros:

  • Reaches high temps (about 700 degrees) for a good sear
  • Adds a rich, smoky flavor to food
  • Cheaper than gas grills

Cons:

  • Takes longer to heat (about 20-30 minutes)
  • Messy to clean up
  • You need to keep adding charcoal to maintain heat for long cooking sessions
  • Cooked meats can contain high levels of carcinogens from the charcoal

Gas

Pros:

  • Quick start-up time of around 10-15 minutes
  • Easier to maintain temperature
  • Adjust heat easily and quickly without having to move hot coals around
  • No smokey flavor, which can be a con, too (unless you add a smoke box)

Cons:

  • Complicated to assemble
  • More parts to clean and replace

 

3. Determine the best size grill for your needs and space.

While you might want the biggest grill with all the bells and whistles, your wallet may be telling you to be a bit more frugal. Here’s what you can expect to spend based on the grill’s cooking area at Home Depot. (FYI, a four-inch burger patty needs about 20.25 square inches of cooking space.)

Charcoal grills:

Small (363 square inches or 18 burgers):

Medium (511 square inches or 25 burgers):

Large (1012 square inches or 50 burgers):

Gas grills:

Small (429 square inches or 21 burgers):

Medium (623 square inches or 31 burgers):

Large (802 square inches or 40 burgers):

 

4. Compare different grill features.

Size isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to the cost of a grill. The more features, the more money. Here’s a quick look at what a difference they can make:

Compare these two charcoal grills at Home Depot:

The price jumps up more than $100 for a couple of side shelves, two adjuster dampers, and a temperature gauge.

Here’s another look at the prices at Home Depot between gas grill features:

The difference in price between the first grill and the last is over $400. The difference in features is a few extra burners, a paint job, and a rotisserie kit.

 

5. Shop for the best grill deals in the fall.

You’ll find plenty of deals ahead of grilling season; think Memorial Day and Father’s Day. However, after the 4th of July, you’ll start to see sales ramp up at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, and other retailers. Once fall comes around, you can find the deepest discounts, like these from Walmart in October 2020:

  • Masterbuilt Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker, (reg. price $497), $367 sale price
  • Blackstone Table Top Portable Grill, (reg. price $84) $69 sale price
  • Weber Charcoal Grill, (reg. price $74), $51 sale price

 

Before you read on, be sure to bookmark the KCL Home Depot Deals page to stay informed about all the deals.

 

 

6. Buy a used grill and save money.

Find a decent-looking used grill (with no rust on the body) for a fraction of the price of a new one? I say snatch it up if you’re wanting to save money on a grill. I got a free Weber gas grill with a full propane tank on Craigslist. I replaced the grates for $50 and got a cover from Home Depot on sale for $11. Look at how little you can spend for a couple of the most common parts.

  • Weber Charcoal 22-inch Cooking Grate $20.99 regular price at Weber.com or on sale at Amazon.
  • Weber Igniter Kit – Performer Platinum and Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill $28.99 regular price at Weber.com.

Save more money when you buy generic or off-brand replacement parts.

Stanbroil Burner Tube Kit for Weber Summit Gold A/B/A6/B6, Platinum A6/B6 (reg. price $29.99) $23.99 sale price at Amazon
Compare to $97.99 at Weber.com or $74 in savings
SHINESTAR Two 17.3-inch x 11.8-inch Grill Grates for Weber Spirit 300 Series, Genesis Silver BC, Genesis Gold BC, Heavy Duty Stainless Steel (reg. price $79.99) $47.99 sale price at Amazon
Compare to $59.99 at Weber.com or $71.99 in savings

TIP: Manufacturer warranties don’t typically carry over to new owners.

 

7. Pay attention to the company’s warranty.

Speaking of warranties, make sure your grill has a good warranty. You’ll find companies don’t have a lifetime warranty covering the entire grill, but rather various warranties for different parts of a grill, like the exterior housing, burners, ignition, cooking grids, paint on the exterior, and valves. Here are a few examples to give you an idea:

  • Weber Q 1000, 2000, 3000 Series gas grills have a five-year warranty on their cookbox, lid assembly, burner tubes, cooking grates, and plastic components.
  • Weber Charcoal grills have a ten-year warranty on the bowl and lid, a five-year on its One-Touch cleaning system and plastic components. All remaining parts have a two-year warranty.
  • Broil-King offers a lifetime warranty on their cookboxes, while grids and burners have a 2 to 15 year warranty.

 

8. Read online grill reviews and ratings.

Whether you’re shopping on Amazon, at Home Depot, or any other retailer, always check out the product ratings and reviews. These can give you a good idea of how well the item works in the real world. Here are a few top-rated (4+ stars) grills from Amazon:

 

9. Buy a portable grill for extra cooking space at home or on the go.

While the above tips apply to portable charcoal and gas grills, you may not find many features in smaller styles. However, that shouldn’t stop you from grabbing one (when on sale) and using it as a second grill at home or when you’re camping or on the beach (when allowed). Here are some worth checking out:

Gas grills

Charcoal grills

 

That’s all I’ve got for grills, but if you have any more ideas, let me know in the comments!

Thinking About Buying a Grill? Here's How to Do It Right