Charcoal vs. Gas: Which Grill Is Best for You?

BBQ on weekend.

People certainly have strong feelings about whether a gas or charcoal grill is better. However, there are benefits to using both options. And both charcoal and gas grills have their downsides, too. So which grill should you use? If you’re not already shouting at the screen, read on to compare the pros and cons of gas versus charcoal grills.

From the Pro Charcoal Camp

One of the most obvious benefits of a charcoal grill is apparent even before leaving the store. Charcoal grills are much cheaper to purchase. In fact, they can be as low as $25, although you will also have to buy the charcoal. Of course, you can spend more on a higher-end charcoal grill if you want to. However, base model gas grills start at well over $100 in comparison.

Many people refuse even to consider gas grills based on flavor alone. They dearly love the smoky flavor of the charcoal grill. Usually, charcoal grills get to higher heat than gas, and that high heat is what delivers the smokiness to the food. Whether grilling a ribeye steak or a veggie kabob, your charcoal-grilled food will be delicious.

But Charcoal Grills Aren’t Perfect

Grilling food takes time, and charcoal grills take longer to heat up than gas. That long wait is a tough sell when everyone’s tummies are rumbling. And although charcoal is cheaper initially, you’ll have to buy more charcoal when the bag runs out, and you’ll keep buying it for as long as you use the grill. That cost can add up over time. Finally, charcoal grills can be less than fun to clean up when you’re done.

What’s Good About Gas Grills

It turns out that grills using gas are not only more convenient, but they’re the more environmentally friendly choice. In fact, a gas grill’s carbon footprint is around one-third of the footprint of a charcoal grill. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that gas grills produce healthier foods. Meats cooked on a gas grill have fewer carcinogens or cancer-causing substances, meaning your gas-grilled food is safer. In addition, gas grills are also faster in getting to the desired temperature and often much easier to clean.

Gas Grill Challenges

As mentioned above, gas grills tend to cost much more at the outset. Also, these grills often require assembly or an additional cost to have someone else assemble them. You’ll need to take extra precautions when attaching the propane tank to avoid potentially dangerous leaks. And finally, gas grills aren’t as portable, so you’re less likely to be able to tote it to a picnic.

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So Which is Better?

In the end, it comes down to personal preference. Some people are passionate about that charcoal flavor and will accept the other drawbacks. Others love gas grills because they can get to the eating part faster, and clean-up is a breeze. You’ll have to think about what’s best for you, but either way, we think you’ll enjoy the delicious food and great company that any grill can bring.

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