Purchasing a grill used to be a relatively easy affair. Perhaps you had a few brands to choose from, and the main question was which brand provided the best quality within your budgetary limits.
There is a wide variety of grills available these days. If you want a multifunctional grill that is quite easy to operate, your options are a pellet grill or a gas grill.
However, there are variations between these two types of grills that can influence your decision. Would you like a grill that specializes in low and slow smoking? Or are you more likely to prefer a grill that produces amazing sear markings on your steak?
Let’s take a closer look at pellet and gas grills, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each type of grill.
Pellet grill vs. Gas grill overview
Before you select which grill is best for you, let’s go over some major differences. While they both have the word “grill” in their names, they are very distinct types of cookers.
Pellet and gas cookers both provide speed and convenience in user-friendly packaging.
Pellet grills are excellent multipurpose “set and forget” cookers. They’re more akin to an outdoor oven. They are excellent at cooking low and slow. They will also give your food a mild smokey flavor.
You may have heard the terms pellet smokers and pellet grills used interchangeably; they are various ways of referring to the same product. Pellet smokers may be a better moniker, considering they produce far superior smokers than grills.
Pellet grills are typically more expensive than gas grills, and pellets are less widely available than gas.
So, if cost-effectiveness, speed, and beautiful sear marks on your steak are important to you, you might want to look into gas.
Gas grills shine when cooking at medium to high temperatures. You can usually find a gas grill that fits your budget, and gas is a fuel that burns efficiently. A gas grill also heats up quickly.
Having stated that, gas grills do not work as well as pellet grills at lower temperatures. Smoking on a gas grill is impossible because of the poor insulation.
Pellet grill overview
It’s a little perplexing to refer to these cookers as grills. It is easiest to think of it as a smoker/outdoor oven that can also grill.
As pellet grills gain popularity, the number of manufacturers producing these burners increases. Yoder, MAK, Rec-Tec, and Traeger are all highly regarded brands among grill enthusiasts.
Pellet grills apply indirect heat to cook food, similar to an oven, with a convection fan. Pellet grills must be plugged into an electrical outlet to power the fan and several other grill features.
Wood pellets for smoking are manufactured from compressed sawdust that has been formed into cylinders similar to giant chicken feed pellets. These are loaded in the hopper, a huge container. It is typically mounted on the unit’s side or back.
At the bottom, the hopper is formed like a funnel and feeds the pellets into the auger. The drill resembles a giant screw that gently rotates and feeds the pellets into the firepot.
Inside the fire pot is a rod that warms up and glows red. When the pellets come into touch with the rod, they catch fire and emit the smoke and heat which cooks your meal.
The fan circulates the smoke and heat across the grill’s cooking surface. Many pellet smokers also have a heat baffle to distribute heat over the cooking surface evenly.
- Extremely convenient – Once you’ve loaded the hopper with pellets and adjusted the temperature, all you have to do is sit back, relax, and wait for your meal.
- Fuel-efficient and low-cost operation — Pellet grills have a convection fan, which makes them incredibly efficient. This means that you can expect to pay less for pellets than you would for charcoal.
- Easy to maintain – Pellet grills, unlike charcoal grills, don’t produce a lot of mess. Aside from the cooking surfaces, you may need to wipe out the fire pot every now and then, but that’s it.
- Versatile – Pellet grills let you roast, smoke, bake, and grill all in one unit (but the sear will not be as impressive as a charcoal grill).
- Quick – You can predict your pellet grill to heat up and be ready to cook in 15 minutes.
- They have to be plugged in – Pellet grills are not as compact as other types of griller. Unless you own a generator, they are not suited for camping.
- Not the cheapest pick to get — If you want a high-quality pellet grill, you must be willing to spend some money. Expect to pay at least $400.
- Emergency pellet stockpile is a must – The smoking pellets are more of a specialty product. While you can easily go down the road and get extra coal, this isn’t always possible with pellets unless you’re lucky enough to have a specialty grill store close. Getting the pellets you desire may necessitate placing an order with Amazon.
- Less smoke and heat – Unlike stick burners, pellet burners do not emit a strong smokey flavor. As previously said, they do not achieve the same high temperatures as the other types of grills. Therefore you should not expect beautiful sear marks. Some versions, such as the Camp Chef PG24 Deluxe, allow you to circumvent this limitation by buying a sear grill attachment.
Gas grill overview
Gas grills are great for grilling at high temperatures for short periods. However, some grills include lids and other features that allow for indirect cooking.
Gas grills can run on natural or propane gas, but which is best for you is a topic for another discussion! To be clear, we will focus on LPG grills in this piece because they are more widely used.
The gas is held in a gas bottle, normally located beneath the grill’s cooking surface.
The gas enters the manifold via the gas regulator pipe. The manifold is a tube that runs the length of the kitchen.
The gas is subsequently fed into valves via the manifold. These valves are used to regulate the amount of gas burned, which controls the temperature.
Some gas grills include an infrared burner that uniformly distributes heat. Most gas grills, on the other hand, will have flame-producing burners. Because food is not grilled directly over the flame, heat must be uniformly distributed across the grill.
Briquettes are one method for accomplishing this. On a rack, these are placed right on top of the flame. The flame heats the briquettes. Your meal is placed on a rack on top of these briquettes, and the heat is dispersed evenly to cook it.
- Excellent for grilling – This is an apparent benefit. When grilling at greater temperatures, gas grills shine. They can be used as smokers, although they do not perform as well as other varieties of the grill while cooking low and slow.
- Cheap — You can purchase a gas grill to fit almost any budget. While higher-end gas grills have more amenities, quality options are still available at the lower end of the price spectrum. Gas is also a low-cost, high-efficiency, and widely available fuel. A standard LPG tank will provide approximately 20 hours of cooking time.
- Ease of use – So far, your gas bottle is full, and you’ve set the temperature on your gas stove correctly. Your grill should be ready with minimal fussing and trouble.
- Speed – Gas grills should reach the required cooking temperature in about 10 minutes.
- Clean – Because gas is a clean-burning fuel, you won’t have to clean up the residues of burned wood or coals.
- Heat retention – Gas grills require enough airflow. As a result, the heat retention of gas grills is poor. As a result, they are lousy smokers.
- Lack of flavor – Because gas is flavorless, utilizing it as a fuel source will not impart any smoke flavor to your meal unless you use a pellet smoking tube or anything similar.
- Safety considerations — To use a gas grill, you will need to have enough open space. This is done to limit the risk of fire when utilizing gas. Check your local rules and restrictions as well, as some city codes prohibit the use of gas grills.
- Temperature control can be complicated at first – but once you’re accustomed to your gas grill, it shouldn’t be a problem. However, you may need to tinker with the dials at first to ensure that the heat is just right.
Gas grills and Pellet grills comparison
Now that you understand the differences between these types of cookers let’s look at how they compare in a some areas.
Ease of use
Gas grills and pellet grills are both popular owing to their ease of use. Given that the most difficult aspect of grilling is starting the fire, it comes to the reason that the appealing feature of both of these types of grills is that igniting the fire is as easy as turning a knob.
Both are easy to clean.
If you want to use your cooker as a smoker or an oven, a pellet grill is a way to go. While a gas grill can be converted into a nice smoker, it requires a little more DIY talent.
Temperature and range control
Pellet grills thrive at low and slow cooking, with the tipping point being between 200 and 350°F. They strain at temperatures exceeding 400°F and will probably not go above 450°F.
Gas grills, on the other hand, are in exactly the opposite predicament. Most gas grills will have little trouble reaching 500°F. Better quality gas grills can reach temperatures of around 700°F. However, managing temperatures in the lower ranges can be challenging because of the heat retention concerns that are frequently associated with gas grills. Cheaper gas grills with poor heat retention may find it hard to keep a steady temperature of roughly 250°F.
A high-quality gas grill will do a better job of maintaining stable low temperatures.
Pellet grills use intricate algorithms to manage the temperature, and some models can even achieve +/- 5°F accuracy, which is rather astounding.
Gas and pellet grills both have sophisticated whistles and bells, particularly as the price rises. However, at this stage, pellet grills seem to be more likely to be technologically advanced.
Pellet grills are, by definition, high-tech devices. Manufacturers have rushed to include Bluetooth and WiFi features, integrated meat probes, and LCD panels. Some can even be configured to keep meat at a specific temperature after the cook is finished.
Gas grills do not have automatic temperature control. Gas grills typically have more basic features such as rotisseries and side burners. Some models additionally include small pleasures like interior lights and illuminated knobs.
Are pellet grills healthier?
When muscular meats are subjected to high temperatures, potentially carcinogenic compounds are formed. These compounds have also been found in the smoke produced by charcoal or wood.
Some argue that pellet grills are a safer option for the grill. According to the complaint, pellet grills, by design, do not allow as much of this potentially hazardous smoke to reach the food. The fact that pellet grills do not reach the same temperatures as other grills have also given birth to the notion that they are a safer option for grilling.
However, for these claims to be validated, much more in-depth research is required. According to Kristie Sullivan, a toxicologist with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, these carcinogenic chemicals can still be formed without apparent char marks on the meat.
Wrapping it up
We hope you found this comparison of gas and pellet grills useful.
If you are ready to spend a large sum of money on a new grill, you will undoubtedly want one that provides the most value for money and best suits your needs.
While both pellet and gas grills provide high efficiency and convenience, certain variables will determine which one is best for you.