The Best Gas Grills Under $300, According to Our Tests

We vetted standalone and portable gas grills for more than a month to find the best value buys.

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The Best Gas Grills Under $300

Food and Wine / Russell Kilgore

Shopping for a new grill can be challenging, especially if you’re budget-conscious and have a ceiling on your spending. Yet, you can still find an excellent grill for $300 or less if you prioritize function over special features. Higher-priced models come with bells and whistles that you may not need. You’re also paying for their thick construction, which retains heat for hours. While the thinner construction of lower-priced grills means less heat retention, the best of them make up for it with enough heat to achieve good sears and defined grill marks. We spent more than a month testing 23 gas grills ranging in price, and three under $300 met our criteria. These wallet-friendly options offer efficient heating, even distribution, and overall performance.

Best Large

Nexgrill 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill

4.2
Nexgrill 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill

Home Depot

Pros: The four burners throw a lot of heat, and the enamel-coated grates do a reasonably good job of distributing it.
Cons: The assembly can test your patience, and the construction doesn’t seem intended for a long life.

Yes, it’s possible to find a larger-sized grill at a $300-or-less price point, and it’s possible to find one with cooking power. The Nexgrill boasts 40,000 BTUs for the relatively large primary cooking area. Assembly was challenging, taking a little over an hour to complete, mainly due to the quality of the pictogram-heavy instructions. Getting the proper placement for the propane tank took time, too. 

After the initial heat-up stage, the grill registered 555°F at the 30-minute mark, more than hot enough for a good sear. There is some heat variation, with a 10- to 20-degree difference in final temperatures during our burger tests, with the burgers on the front and sides cooking slower than those on the back row. The built-in ignition system is adequate, and the burners are responsive to adjustment. There were some minor sticking issues with the grates and flare-ups towards the hotter back of the grates. The grill performed well, considering its price, and is a good starter model or one for folks not expecting longevity out of the grill, based on its construction.  

Price at time of publish: $199

  • Cooking Area: 418 square inches (primary area)
  • Dimensions: 24 x 50 x 47 inches 
  • Weight: 73 pounds
  • Number of Burners: Four, plus side burner
Nexgrill 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill with Side Burner

Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore

Best Portable Standing

Coleman RoadTrip X-Cursion 2 Burner Propane Gas Portable Grill

4.7
Coleman RoadTrip X-Cursion 2 Burner Propane Portable Grill

The Home Depot

Pros: It packs a respectable 20,000 BTUs, heats reasonably well, and doesn’t demonstrate many hot spots.

Cons: The grill collapses like a stroller, but it takes a very coordinated person to set it up without dropping it in some manner.

Our tests demonstrate that you can be cooking on the X-Cursion 10 minutes after taking it out of the box. The enamel-coated grates helped eliminate any sticking worth speaking of, and there was very little flare-up outside of first wiping the grill with oil. When upright, it stands about waist-high on an average-height person and is sturdy, with minimal rocking or grate movement.


Because it’s a pop-up model, there are a few pieces to fit together, but the instructions are pretty simple, and attaching the propane bottle is as easy as it should be. It’s not a large grill, but we fit 10 of the allotted 12 burgers on without significantly overcrowding it, and 12 large onion slices in the test previous to that. The grill was responsive to changing the temperature between tests and left good browning on the onions, grill marks, and caramelization on the burgers. There weren’t any particular hot spots, but one area at the top-right ran cool, and while the burger in that spot cooked, it lacked caramelization.

Price at time of publish: $220

  • Cooking Area: 285 square inches
  • Dimensions: 32 x 19 x 12 inches (folded) 
  • Weight: 50 pounds
  • Number of Burners: Two

Best Portable Tabletop

Weber Q 1200 Gas Grill

4.9
Weber Q 1200 Gas Grill

Amazon

Pros: It’s easy to set up and use and has excellent heat control and retention.

Cons: It’s heavy for a portable grill, with a smaller cooking area than others we tested.

The Q 1200 is a perennial favorite, repeatedly gaining high scores in our testing. A first glance leaves you wondering what the big deal is, but it's pretty obvious after putting it through its paces. Considering its single burner and comparatively low BTU rating (8,500 BTUs per hour), you might not have high hopes for the grill, but it heats quickly and evenly, and it's the only grill we tested with no discernable hot spots.

The enamel-coated cast-iron grates add significantly to the grill’s overall weight, but they also contribute to minimal sticking throughout testing. There were a few flare-ups during the tests, mostly when first introducing oil or fat, but they extinguished quickly without adverse effects on the food. This grill is excellent for camping, picnics, or home use, especially for people with limited space who want a grill that performs well. The only real drawbacks are its weight and size, but the performance for the price makes up for those in our eyes.

Price at time of publish: $259

  • Cooking Area: 189 square inches 
  • Dimensions: 17 x 41 x 16 inches
  • Weight: 31 pounds
  • Number of Burners: One
Weber Q 1200 Gas Grill

Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore

Our Favorite

For overall performance, even considering it’s a portable model, the Weber Q 1200 Gas Grill delivers great value for the dollars spent. If you need or want a standalone model, the Nexgrill 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill with Side Burner is a close second choice.

The Tests

We put 23 gas grills through tests that replicate what the average consumer would do after purchasing a grill. For this list, we selected the top-performing grills under $300. Starting with assembly, we rated the difficulty of assembly and the clarity of the instructions on a scale of one to five. We then judged the sturdiness, evenness of heat distribution, and overall subjective impression on the same scale.

After that, we grilled 12 thick onion slices, 12 burgers, and 12 accompanying buns per grill. We cooked each for a prescribed amount of time at a specified temperature setting and observed how the grill behaved, noting any variations of doneness on varying spots of the grill, flare-ups, or sticking. Again, we rated these on a scale of one to five. Finally, we judged the grills on how easy they were to clean up after cooking.

The grills with the highest scores moved on to our next round of testing. To assess the grill's nonstick properties, we cooked skin-on center-cut fish filets, a delicate protein. We then cooked strip steaks to assess how each model handled indirect heat grilling and searing at high heat. As with our previous tests, we looked for sticking and flare-ups, as well as how well easily we could regulate the temperature of the grills and clean them after cooking. We totaled the category scores and averaged them.

Finally, we tested the portable grills for portability, including how easily they could collapse for storage and return to their grilling position. We rolled or carried the grills from storage to our outdoor lab area, as we noted any difficulties that we experienced moving and lifting the grill, while factoring in whether someone might need assistance moving a grill in and out of a vehicle, for example.

Factors to Consider

BTUs

A BTU is the measure of energy necessary to raise 1 pound of water (essentially 1 pint) by 1°F. Think of the BTU rating as the potential for heat. It doesn’t necessarily mean that heat will be used, but it can be. In general, the hotter a grill burns, the better the results for searing and even cooking. Still, a portable grill with about 8,000 BTUs (the equivalent of a larger stove burner) can get hot enough heat to produce nice grill marks.

Nexgrill 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill with Side Burner

Food and Wine / Russell Kilgore

Cooking Area 

Unless you're looking for a portable grill, you'll want a grill with the most cooking area available in your price range. Indeed, the best standalone grills we tested have large surface areas and multiple burners for indirect heat cooking. A larger cooking area gives you more flexibility in your cooking style. That flexibility allows you to build different heat zones, which broaden the scope of the foods you can cook on the grill.

Size 

Finding a grill that fits your cooking style is essential, as is something that fits your available outdoor cooking space. A large grill in a small area presents dangers from heat contact and potential fire hazards and will ultimately become irritating for the user due to space occupied and working around the bulk of a larger grill. For a portable grill, consider weight, too, as transporting and carrying it can be an issue.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How long should a gas grill last?

    Five years is a reasonable life expectancy for a grill, according to Amy Brandwein, chef and owner of Centrolina Mercato e Osteria in Washington, D.C. That said, cleaning and maintenance contribute to a longer lifespan, according to Brandon Boudet, chef and partner of Little Dom’s in Los Angeles and Little Dom’s Seafood in Carpinteria, Calif. “If you don’t take care of it, you’ll get maybe five years. If you take care of it, I’ve seen them last 20,” Boudet says. He cites family chats where members attempt to hand down long-lived gas grills as evidence to his claim, and we can’t argue that point at all.

  • Is it more efficient and cost-effective to grill with propane or natural gas?

    This depends on your grill, its connection type, and whether you already have a natural gas connection. Natural gas is cheaper, but a gas connection can cost upwards of $1,000, so the math might not work for you in terms of capital investment. But the cost of buying new or refilling propane tanks adds up over time. Propane, however, provides a more consistent pressure than a shared natural gas connection, according to Brandwein.

  • What is the best month to buy a grill?

    Our experts heavily advise against buying a grill between Memorial Day and Labor Day to find the best prices. Online shopping during the fall and winter months usually provides better deals.

Other Gas Grills Under $300 We Tested

Strong Contenders

Char-Broil Performance Series 2-Burner Gas Grill ($279 at Lowe’s)

This grill is a good starter model for someone, but the construction is pretty shaky, and the heat is very inconsistent, with multiple hot and cold spots across the grill.

Cuisinart CGG-750 Venture Gas Grill ($156 at Amazon)

The Cuisinart is a very easy-to-use grill, and the only real drawback is heat inconsistency, with the center running much cooler than the edges, which, with a small grill like this, represents a serious percentage of the cooking acreage.

Coleman RoadTrip 225 Portable Tabletop Propane Grill ($194 at Amazon)

The RoadTrip is another portable grill that suffers from significant temperature inconsistencies on the grill, which, unfortunately, knock it out of the running.

Weber Go-Anywhere Gas Grill ($89 at Amazon)

There were a few sticking issues with this grill, and the legs are wobbly, shaking our confidence in its safety.

What Didn't Make the List

The American Gourmet 3-Burner ($170 at Amazon) presented a handful of problems that knocked it from consideration. The propane tank arrangement was complicated to navigate, and sticking was prominent during the burger-cooking test, as were multiple hot and cool spots, contributing to numerous flare-ups. The Char-Broil Deluxe Portable Propane Gas Table Top Grill ($47 at Amazon) also suffered from uneven cooking, with high flare-ups during the burger-cooking tests. The assembly process was complicated, too, and the temperature control lacked any delicacy.

Our Expertise

Greg Baker is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, and food writer with four decades of experience in the food industry. His written work appears in Food & Wine, Food Republic, and other publications.

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