Be they small or big, grills are definitely something you want to own if you are a food enthusiast, and you have a little bit of free yard space to get a-cookin’.
Today’s article is dedicated to people who want a gas grill, but either don’t have enough room for a large one, are on a limited budget and can’t afford one, or don’t cook that much food at once and don’t need one. With a small propane grill, you’re opening up a world of possibilities in terms of the delicious foods you’ll now be able to cook.
Top 3 Picks
Best Overall: TEC G-Sport FR Infrared Propane Gas Grill
“In every way, I am thrilled with this grill and have told several people about it this week.” (Customer review)
Best for Tailgating: Weber Q 1200 Portable Propane Gas Grill
Measuring 40.9″ x 16.5” x 15.5” and weighing only 32 pounds in weight, the quality construction and the features that come with this Weber grill make it a reliable camping and tailgating unit.
Best for Price: Weber 46110001 Spirit E-210 Gas Grill
“In short, this grill does everything I wanted in a gas grill, and it fits (with the side trays folded down) in a very small footprint on my deck” (Customer review)
Small Grill vs. Big Grill
The first thing that comes to mind when planning to buy a grill is what size is most appropriate for your needs. There are two things to consider here: how much space you have available and how much food you’re looking to cook at once. That means that you are going to have to determine for how many people you’ll be cooking on this grill on average. The general recommendations are:
- A grill of 216 square inches is enough for three people or less.
- 288 square inches is best for four people.
- 360 square inches works great for cooking for five people.
- If you cook for six people or more, you’ll need a grill with a minimal cooking surface of 432 square inches.
Small grills usually have one or two burners, so you might be wondering if that’s enough for you. The number of burners will also determine whether or not you can have different heat zones in the grill. Grills that have two burners usually allow you to control the temperature individually, which means that you can turn on one burner and leave the other one turned off, offering loads of flexibility in terms of what you can grill.
When you’re pondering over whether you need a small grill or might be better off with a larger one, here are some additional things to consider and that might push you into making the right purchasing decision:
- Depending on where you live, there might be some restrictions related to the grill that you want to use. If you plan to have a grill placed in the balcony, consider the fact that condo restrictions might prevent you from doing so. Larger grills are most likely prohibited in such a situation.
- The footprint of the grill could also play an important part in determining the correct size. The majority of grills, be they small or big, come with side tables that can extend the meal prep area, while others are equipped with lids that open all the way to the back. That means that the total footprint of the grill is larger than its actual size.
Propane vs. Charcoal vs. Electric
Owning a grill is amazing because of the many different and juicy types of food you can prepare, but also because it gives you the opportunity to spend more time outdoors. But good food also means choosing the right type of grill, so let’s take a look at what each of the three main grill types can do.
First of all, it’s important to note that propane grills are different compared to natural gas grills. The latter category is normally considered safer than the former because you are not connecting the grill to a gas tank, but rather to your home natural gas pipeline. In that sense, they also offer one disadvantage: natural gas grills, once connected to your gas pipe, can’t easily be moved around.
Gas grills are considered to be one of the most common choices in today’s day and age, and that’s because they gather important benefits found in charcoal and electric grills: they offer the convenience of an electric grill combined with the smoky flavor of a charcoal one.
Propane grills are often more attractive compared to the competition and are likely to include convenient features, like integrated rotisserie, side burners, or smoker boxes. Because they dissipate a lot of heat, they can’t be placed too close to certain items and your local codes might also regulate their proximity to certain apartments.
They are typically larger compared to the other two grill types, but they do offer loads of advantages: they heat up pretty quickly, they cook food fast, they give your meat that authentic barbecue flavor, and are often equipped with more features compared to electric or charcoal grills.
There are barbecue enthusiasts that would never give up their 10-year-old charcoal grill for a modern propane grill and that’s because charcoal is known for bringing your barbecue flavor to a whole new level. The smoky taste of meat grilled in a charcoal BBQ is beyond any comparison, but there is one important downside that we have to mention: smoke coming from charcoal has carcinogenic compounds.
Charcoal grills also take a longer time to prepare your food and, because of the amount of heat and smoke they generate, you can’t place them everywhere. They also take a longer time to heat up, usually around 20 to 30 minutes, which isn’t ideal when you’re looking to cook something fast. Unlike other grill types, charcoal grills don’t have an on/off button, and you can only tend to the coals when the cooking session is over, and the briquettes have cooled down.
But that doesn’t mean charcoal grills are ineffective or an option that should totally be ruled out. They give food a specific charbroiled flavor, they are pretty good at searing meat and give the food a nice, caramelized coating, and they can be really cheap, making them a great option for people who are on a limited budget.
Electric grills are rather new to the scene and don’t represent a traditional way to grill. However, they are considered to be the healthiest option out of all three and is also considered to be the most accessible. They do require a power outlet to function which, in most cases, is actually an extension cord.
They can heat up really fast and are quite easy to use. There is a broad range of electric grills to choose from, from small to big and from cheap to expensive. Some models are designed to be placed on countertops, which makes them a better option for people who live in an apartment.
However, it’s important to note that electric grills won’t give your meat that same charbroiled taste that other types of grills do. Also, if you use them on a regular basis, they might increase your electricity bill quite a lot.
Best Small Propane Grills
Known to be a pioneer in the industry, Weber has made a grill for pretty much every category of shopper or grill enthusiast out there. The Spirit line is dedicated to shoppers on a budget, looking to offer more than decent grills at good prices. The model that you’re looking at right now is the Spirit E-210, a propane gas grill that might look small, but can get a lot of cooking done with minimal headaches.
With 450 square inches of cooking area, this little propane grill has porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates that promise to evenly distribute the heat across the grill’s surface and to offer you an easy-to-clean product. The porcelain-enameled lid will also help trap heat and protect the unit from the elements. It comes with tool hooks and folding side tables to make it easier when you’re in need of extra space. The warming rack will keep the food warm until you’re ready to serve and the fuel gauge will always show you how much gas is left in the tank.
The next product in today’s line-up is an infrared gas grill that features two burners capable of providing a total heat output of 20,000 BTUs. The primary cooking surface offers 325 square inches to work with, but also includes an additional warming rack that provides 120 square inches of extra space to keep the food warm.
The grill’s body is made from quality stainless steel and comes with a bunch of additional features that one can find very useful when looking to cook delicious food in a unit that can be operated with ease. The iron grates are porcelain coated and easy to clean. The grill embeds the SureFire electronic ignition that allows you to fire up the grill in seconds. It also comes with integrated LED lights to help you cook even in low light conditions.
When it comes to budget-oriented options that deliver more than you had hoped for, few propane grills can beat this little Weber fellow. It is a portable grill that delivers 189 square inches of cooking surface which is ideal for making small servings for one or two people. It’s great for small spaces or single individuals/couples, offering 8,500 BTUs of heat output and weighing a mere 31 pounds in weight.
This tailgating grill is built with a durable stainless-steel burner and comes with a temperature knob that allows you to control the intensity of the flame. There are two foldable shelves located on the side of the grill, plus a bunch of tool hooks so that you can have everything you need next to you while you’re cooking.
If you’re ready to invest in a high-quality grill that offers a bunch of useful features and a construction that’s bound to last for years to come, you have to check out what the TEC G-Sport grill has to offer. It uses an all-infrared burner system that reduces moisture loss in your food and eliminates hot air in order to make your meals tastier and your cooking experience better. Promising to use up to 35 percent less gas compared to other similar grills, this model comes with a wide array of features that are worth mentioning.
The 309 inches of cooking area is covered by a stainless-steel burner with no less than 22,000 BTUs of heat output, making sure that your meals are cooked to perfection. It includes a stainless-steel construction, tool bars located on both sides of the grill, and the possibility to remove the grill from the pedestal for easier transportation.
This Everdure is another propane grilling powerhouse that delivers 22,000 BTUs over two burners that promise to help you reach searing temperatures in next to no time. Offering 388 inches of cooking space, this unit delivers the power of die-cast aluminum construction to make sure that rust will never be a problem. The grill stands out through the flame port holes that both burners are equipped with, allowing close grate contact so that the grill will heat up really fast.
The grill rests upon a three-tier stand that allows you to adjust the height to a position you are most comfortable with. The side shelves can collapse to make the grill fit in together spaces. You can use the Everdure with the lid opened or closed.
When it’s portability you’re looking for, few propane grills are better than this one from Cuisinart. Weighing 41 pounds and measuring 42.8 x 21 x 36 inches, this grill is equipped with two wheels that make it easy for you to push it around, while the collapsible stand makes this grill a reliable picnic companion.
It is equipped with a 15,000 BTU burner that distributes heat across the entire surface of the grill. It has a fast ignition system so that you can get it fired up in minutes, while the temperature dial grants you more control over the flame’s intensity. It comes with side shelves that fold out and give you extra space to work with. The thermometer is built into the hood and offers pretty accurate readings.
When you’re short on space and you want a reliable propane grill that occupies as little space as possible, the Cuisinart CGG-306 doesn’t disappoint. It weighs just a little over 22 pounds and measures 21.5 x 19 x 15 inches, which allows it to fit pretty much anywhere. It uses two stainless steel burners that offer a heat output of 20,000 BTUs which are distributed over a cooking surface 276.75 square inches.
Much like the previous Cuisinart model, this one also equips a fast ignition system and a temperature control dial that regulates the intensity of the flames. Some other features include foldable legs, a drip tray for grease collection, and a carrying handle for easier transportation.
With a beautiful combination of chrome and black, the Master Cook grill is beautiful as it is useful. It’s made from stainless steel and includes three stainless steel burners that give out 30,000 BTUs per hour. Using piezo ignition, it’s ridiculously easy to fire up the grill and enjoy convenient start up.
The grill is designed with porcelain-enamel cooking grates that provide you with 339 square inches of cooking area. There is also a warming rack included, offering another 132.8 square inches of space. Other features of interest include foldable side shelves, stainless steel control panel, and lid-integrated thermometer.
What is the smallest propane grill?
While there are plenty of small propane grills to choose from, the Cuisinart CGG-059 stands out because it measures only 19 x 11.5 x 10 inches and weighs 10 pounds.
Is it cheaper to grill with propane or charcoal?
According to Spruce Eats, it is cheaper to grill with propane rather than charcoal. A side-by-side comparison revealed that for people who grill weekly, it costs about $182 to operate a charcoal grill and $31.20 for a propane grill.
What is the best brand of small grills?
There are a lot of brands that make exceptional small grills, including Weber, George Foreman, and Char-Broil.
Determining what size grill is best suited for you might not be as easy as it sounds. It’s important to think about how much food you plan to cook at once and how much space you have available, which also means taking into consideration the grill’s footprint. Regardless of your choice, the market is very generous in terms of grill models available for purchase, so you’re going to have to do your homework before spending money on grills of any size.