In the market for a new gas grill? These days, walking into the grill section of your local hardware store is like walking into a car dealership. With so many models, brands and features to choose from, it's hard to know where to begin! So whether you want to cook a simple steak or an elaborate seared tuna, there's a grill out there for you. We went to Home Depot's grilling expert, Ken D'Anastasio, who gave us five points to consider when grill shopping.
Price: Grills range from $149 to $1500, so it really depends on your budget. If you're buying a gas grill, keep in mind that a propane tank is rarely included with your purchase, so you'll need to add approximately $20 to the price.
Size: What food do you like to grill and how many people do you generally cook for? If you entertain often and cook 25 burgers at a time, you'll need a larger surface area than if you only use a grill to cook occasionally for yourself. Additionally, consider the amount of space you have at home for the grill.
Material: Grills come in an array of materials, though most are cast aluminum, stainless or cast-iron. While stainless steel is the most expensive, cast-aluminum does not rust, so this may be a better option to consider if you live in a high-moisture area.For those who prefer stainless steel, keep in mind the different grades:- 203 Stainless Steel is the highest quality, which you'll find mostly in Viking grills- 304 Stainless Steel is the most common grade of stainless steel, used in most Weber grills- 430 Stainless Steel can be somewhat questionable, as it is less resistant to corrosion and high temperatures
Grates: Under extreme heat, the material of many grates can chip off onto your food, so it's important to make sure the grates are as durable as possible. Heavy cast-iron grates are best because they hold a lot of heat and distribute it evenly. Plain iron grates require more maintenance than coated grates, so D'Anastasio suggests matte-finished porcelain-coated grates, which he says won't chip and don't get as grimy.
Features: Many grills these days come loaded with all kinds of fancy features, such as:- Side Burners: Allowing you to cook complementary dishes- Sear Burners: For those who enjoy rotisserie cooking- Smokers: For professional barbecue results- Infrared Technology: Allowing for convection cooking, which uses less gas and helps to keep the meat juicier- Baffle Systems: To prevent food from falling onto the burners, helping to keep your grill clean
However, as D'Anastasio warns, "Over 80 percent of customers will buy grills with all the extras and never use them." He suggests considering what you'll use your grill for before you make the purchase in order to avoid spending more money than necessary.