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Beginner’s Guide to Buying Your First BBQ Grill

By John

Buying a BBQ grill can be a lot of fun, but it can also set you back a few dollars. Unfortunately, that component of the process usually isn’t avoidable. If you want good stuff you’ve got to pay good money for it: that’s the way that the world works.

But while you can’t count on getting a decent grill without parting from a few dollars, you can ensure that your money is going towards a high-quality product and to that extent we are here to help. Read on for a comprehensive buying guide on the art of buying a good grill.

So, How’s it Done?

Good question.

The only question actually, so let’s find out.

  • What do you plan on doing with it?: What you plan on doing with your grill needs to be the first question that you ask yourself as you enter into the process. Yes, cooking food is the obvious answer, but there are also many different foods to cook, and many processes through which you can cook them.

If all you are looking to do is cook burgers and brats a few times every spring and summer, you will probably be able to get away with a simpler, more affordable grill.

On the other hand, if you intend to smoke ribs and brisket, you may want something with a few more bells and whistles. Inventory your needs before you start looking at grills, and then weigh those against the capabilities of each BBQ that you look at.

  • Propane or Charcoal?: Personally, I am a charcoal man, but if you favor the control and ease of use of a good propane BBQ there is certainly no shame in that either.

You can find either for a wide range of different prices so deciding which one that you want is really just a matter of personal preference. While the cheapest propane grill might be a little bit more expensive than the cheapest charcoal grill, you can still find versions of both that will not break the bank so keep that in mind as you weigh out your options.

  • Size: How much room do you have in your backyard? I like a nice big BBQ same as the next guy—the ability to cook for a large party in one sitting is certainly nice, but it is also important to understand the limitations of your living space.

If you can accommodate the size of a larger grill then by all means go for it. If, on the other hand, you are somewhat limited in your storage capacity, do keep in mind that good grills come in all shapes and sizes and there is certainly no shame in selecting a smaller model.

  • What’s it Made Of?: Like I said earlier, you get what you pay for when it comes to grills. While it’s always nice to find what appears to be a steal, pay attention to what your grill is made of before you jump on what looks like a bargain. Cheaper materials usually cost less for a reason.

While you may not pay as much for a grill made of aluminum or sheet metal, you also won’t be able to count on it lasting as long as its stainless-steel counterparts.

Aluminum or sheet metal grills are more prone to rust, and they also aren’t going to hold up nearly as well to the high temperatures that grills are often subjected to.

While buying a grill made of cheap parts might seem like a good idea at the time, it won’t turn out to be financially prudent at all if you have to replace your BBQ six months down the line because your original fell apart.

  • Grates: The same way that you want to ensure that the body of a grill is built to last, you also want to make sure that the grate will be able to hold up to the demands of its job. A good stainless-steel grate is going to be made to last, and it will also distribute heat evenly across the cooking surface which will improve the quality of your food, as well as the smoothness of the cooking process.
  • Accessories: Remember also that grills can come with a wide variety of accessories that, while not necessary, can certainly enhance your experience and give you a whole lot more options when it comes to your grilling.

Accessories can be as simple as cup holders, as useful as an attached prep table, as versatile as a rotisserie, or as convenient as a self-starting option.

While add ons and accessories are great for the grill master that will actually use them they generally are also somewhat expensive. Make sure that you actually plan on using them before you pile on the bells and whistles.

  • Price: The final and most obvious consideration that you will need to make as you begin the process of shopping for the perfect grill is price.

Fortunately for the grill master on a budget, there are great products out there that don’t break the bank. Just make sure that you aren’t letting your quest for a bargain come at the quality of the grill itself.

The perfect grill is going to offer a combination of quality and affordability.

One More Thing

Less exciting but still relevant considerations to make relate not to the product itself but in how customer friendly it is. Also consider the extent to which you will need to assemble it, as well as the warranty that comes with it. Ideally, you will get a product that you can assemble yourself that will also be covered in the event of manufacturer defects.


Well, that’s it.

There’s a lot to consider, isn’t there?

The good news is that, while there are a lot of variables when it comes to buying a grill, most of them are low stakes variables. So long as you make sure that your grill is built to be last you will be just fine.

Just remember to take your time as you engage in the enjoyable process of buying a new BBQ. You’ll be glad you did next summer when all of your friends see how drastically your grilling has improved.

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