Best Propane Grills Under 200 Reviews and Buying Guide 2019

Best Propane Grills Under 200 Reviews 2019

Even though summer is slowly coming to an end, there is still plenty of time to get out there and grill for the family or friends. Of course, with fall fast approaching, it might serve better to get a less expensive model now with fewer warm nights ahead. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best propane grills under 200 reviews of 2019. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide and FAQ, so you can navigate the various types and specs of propane grills. We personally think that the Char-Griller and Char-Broil are the top-performers, but you have to keep reading to see the best values.

Char-Griller E3001 Grillin’ Pro 40,800-BTU Gas Grill, Black – Best Seller

It may come as a surprise, but Char-Griller is actually one of the youngest and least experienced companies that we reviewed. That said, they still have close to 3 decades of experience under their belt and have always specialized in the grilling market. On top of that, they were founded by and are still owned as a family operation, providing a sense of stability to this quick riser. While some companies we saw focus on one type of approach or another, Char-Griller seems content to simply go with the “bigger is better” mentality, topping the list in most spec categories. As such, it is not terribly difficult to see how or why the Char-Griller E3001 Grillin’ Pro propane grill is our best seller.

Bringing the Heat
While there are a number of different specs and features that manufacturers use to try and entice customers to their products, at the end of the day, a grill still serves one primary purpose: to cook food. To that end, it is arguably the most important that you make sure your propane grill can put out the necessary heat to do its fundamental job. Thankfully, the Char-Griller propane grill has you covered with list-leading heat specs across the board. First, the main burners put out a total of 40800 BTUs per hour, across 3 separate stainless steel burners. That averages to 13600 BTUs per burner which is also the highest per burner rate that we reviewed. However, the E3001 propane grill is not simply content to offer the hottest main cooking surface on our list.

In order to accommodate either a larger cooking load or specialized cooking needs, the Grillin’ Pro propane grill also made sure to include a 12000 BTU side burner. To be clear, the side burner does not come with its own grate, though it does come with a specialized pot stand. Still, this provides you the ability to use a cast-iron skillet to sear any thicker cuts of meat before throwing them onto the main grill for general cooking. Of course, you can also use it with the included pot stand to make a wide range of sides or alternative courses. However, the Char-Griller propane grill is not content their as they also made sure that this grill follows their company’s general philosophy. Basically, while not the first, Char-Griller is definitely one of the most prominent adherents of the barrel-style of grill design– regardless of the fuel source. This design allows the grill to better trap the heat and maintain a consistent temperature, even if you have to open the lid periodically.

Solid Build
Of course, the fact that the Char-Griller E3001 propane grill uses a superior barrel design is not the only advantage it brings to the overall build category. For example, the entire barrel body is made of durable steel which does a solid job of retaining its heat. On top of that, the Char-Griller Grillin’ Pro propane grill also seems to do a better job than some with their welding job. This is actually an incredibly important part of the grill as open seams are one of the biggest reasons that some cheap propane grills are not able to get up to and maintain hotter temperatures. Thankfully, the solid build combined with the hot stainless steel burners make sure that is not an issue for the Char-Griller. It is worth noting that this design comes with a couple of drawbacks, with the worst likely being the amount of maintenance required.

Basically, the burners may be made of stainless steel, but to ensure that heat retention stays at its highest level, the body is not. As such, this means that the body is far more likely to rust without proper protection from the elements than some of the other propane grills we reviewed. On top of that, it also means that you will need to clean the grill more often than some of the others to ensure that the grease similarly does not begin to degrade the metal. Finally, the use of traditional steel may do a great job of trapping the heat inside, but it is also heavier than other materials, making the Char-Griller propane grill the heaviest option on our list. Still, all of this extra effort did not go in vain as the Grillin’ Pro propane grill also offers the largest cooking area we reviewed of 438 sq in as well as the largest warming rack with 192 sq in.

Pros

  • Puts out 40800 BTUs
  • Has a 12000 BTU side burner
  • Has porcelain-coated cast-iron grates
  • Has dual smokestacks
  • Has a 438 sq in grilling area
  • Has a 192 sq in warming rack

Cons

  • Is a more expensive propane grill
  • Requires more maintenance than some

Char-Broil Performance 300 2-Burner Cabinet Liquid Propane Gas Grill- Stainless steel – Top Pick

Out of all the companies on our list, few can truly compete with Char-Broil in terms of name-recognition or prestige. Part of this has to do with the fact that Char-Broil is easily the oldest and most experienced company on our list with a storied history that stretches back 75 years. In fact, Char-Broil’s founder, W.C.

Bradley, is often credited as being the first manufacturer of the cast iron grill and one of America’s first charcoal grill. This innovation did not stop with the founder as Char-Broil has won numerous awards for their grills and continued to bring cutting-edge cooking techniques to the market. To this day, Char-Broil continues to focus exclusively on the outdoor leisure cooking market and showing no signs of complacency or regression. While we rated this our top pick, it is worth noting that the company is aware of their quality and success, and the Char-Broil propane grill is a fairly expensive option.

Good Heat
To be clear, even though we rated this as our top pick, it should be noted that the Char-Broil propane grill is not the hottest grill that we reviewed. That said, it does still provide two top-ported stainless steel burners which put out 24000 BTUs per hour. That “top-ported” part of the burner description is important because a number of manufacturers place the burners underneath the grill’s body. While this will ultimately heat up the grill to the proper temperature, it takes significantly longer and will not be able to handle heat dispersion. To ensure that you do not have to worry about any flare-ups from drippings, the burners also use stainless steel heat shields. It is worth noting that the Performance 300 propane grill does seem to have some issues with regular heat dispersion.

Basically, if you are the kind of person who likes to grill with the lid open, then this is likely not the grill for you. Though, to be fair, proper grilling technique suggests that you should not grill with the lid open in the first place. Still, the Char-Broil does offer a solid cooking area with a 300 sq in grilling surface and a 100 sq in warming rack– though neither of those are anywhere near the largest we saw. Of course, part of the issue may well be the materials used which were likely selected to provide different benefits altogether.

Convenient Build
One thing to consider with a propane grill is that you will have to work with the grill fairly regularly, even when you are not cooking. This is because the soot and drippings from cooked meat can wreak havoc on the body of a propane grill. The Char-Broil propane grill sought to alleviate this concern by using stainless steel instead of standard steel. Standard steel, also called plain carbon steel or mild steel, does a better job of retaining heat, but it is also far more susceptible to corrosion or rust. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is naturally resistant to both general corrosion and rust due to the chromium content in the alloy. While this is not necessarily the best metal to use for heat retention, it does mean that stainless steel is far less likely to begin rusting or corroding after numerous grilling sessions. It will also hold up significantly better when left outdoors, though you should still cover it up when not in use.

Another benefit of the stainless steel body is that it is much easier to clean than mild steel since you do not have to worry about grime getting stuck in corroded areas. It does seem as if the Char-Broil Performance 300 propane grill went the extra mile in terms of convenience. Aside from using a material that is easier to clean and naturally more resistant, it can also fold its metal shelves down for easier storage. On top of that, the Char-Broil propane grill also features 4 caster wheels, two of which are lockable, to offer both portability as well as stability.

Pros

  • Puts out 24000 BTUs
  • Has porcelain-coated cast-iron grates
  • Has a 300 sq in grilling area
  • Has a 100 sq in warming rack
  • Is easier to maintain
  • Is easier to store

Cons

  • Is a more expensive propane grill
  • Irregular heat dispersion

Cuisinart CGG-306 Professional Tabletop Gas Grill, Two-Burner, Stainless Steel – Best Value

Though the company has a fairly good reputation, Cuisinart may not necessarily be the first name that you think of when you think of propane grills. A big part of this is likely due to the fact that Cuisinart actually got its start by making the first consumer-grade electric food processor. Since then, Cuisinart has generally focused more on kitchen counter appliances than the outdoor cooking market. However, the company has been around since 1973 and focuses on a wide variety of different cooking niches, though often for other tasks outside of strictly cooking. On top of that, Cuisinart has won numerous awards over the years, both for design as well as innovation. Regardless, one quick glance at the Cuisinart CGG-306 propane grill and it is not hard to see how the company and market meet nicely.

Different Design
It is quite obvious that the Cuisinart propane grill is not like the other products we have reviewed thus far. Instead of taking the traditional backyard grill approach, Cuisinart decided to stay within their wheelhouse and made a tabletop grill. This design carries with it a number of advantages, but it also carries with it a couple of things to watch out for too. Specifically, the compact design combined with its ability to get surprisingly hot means that the plastic handles have a tendency to melt if the temperature gets too hot. Thankfully, the Cuisinart tabletop grill comes with a conveniently labeled thermometer to help make sure you do not accidentally keep it too hot. Still, the tabletop design does allow you to take this grill virtually anywhere, allowing you to cook on the same table that you will eat on. Even better, the use of stainless steel for almost the entire grill means that you do not have to worry about it rusting or corroding as much. However, you are still going to want to clean it regularly to prevent any obstructions from messing with the propane flow or the burners.

Decent Cooking
Once you start looking for a budget-friendly product, you better expect it to come with some warts. This is not to suggest that the Cuisinart propane grill is a poor product, especially considering it is not even the least expensive option we reviewed and still took our best value spot. However, you need to understand that you are not going to get the kind of grilling experience that you would with a more traditional style of grill. For one, the Cuisinart propane grill has one of the lower heat outputs that we reviewed at only 20000 BTUs. Still, you should not necessarily discount that lower heat output since the CGG-306 propane grill sits the grate closer to the burner than some of the other products we reviewed. This allows the Cuisinart propane grill to still achieve hot cooking temperatures, even if the burners are not putting out quite as much heat.

Pros

  • Is a less expensive propane grill
  • Puts out 20000 BTUs
  • Is easier to assemble
  • Is a more portable propane grill
  • Is easier to clean
  • Made of stainless steel

Cons

  • Plastic may melt
  • Requires more maintenance than some

MASTER COOK Classic Liquid Propane Gas Grill, 3 Burner with Folding Table, Black – Runner Up

Master Cook is by far the youngest and least experienced company on our list having only been founded about 20 years ago. That said, this young company focuses exclusively on outdoor propane products, though they also sell patio heaters as well as grills. Given enough time and refinement, we feel that the Master Cook could easily move up on our list. As it is, however, this grill is merely an acceptable option if you are looking for a standard grill at a lower cost than the better-rated models.

Surprising Specs
One thing that is definitely surprising about the Master Cook propane grill is the specs which rate as second-best across the board. In terms of total heat output, the Master Cook grill ranks second with a solid 30000 BTUs across 3 total burners. This does mean that the burners themselves are not the hottest, but they do put out more total heat than most of the other propane grills on our list. The Master Cook then complements this solid heat with an even more impressive surface area. In terms of both the grilling space and the warming rack, the Master Cook propane grill is the second-best we reviewed with 340 sq in and 133 sq in respectively.

Up and Down Build
Of course, whenever you look for a cheap propane grill, you need to expect there to be flaws for the price. With the Master Cook propane grill, those flaws come with the overall build quality which is definitely on the low-end of our list. For one, the body welds are not that great and allow for heat to escape easier than others. This can actually make it difficult to achieve the hotter temperatures necessary for some foods. On top of that, the welds of the frame are not much better as this grills’ frame is noted for rusting and corroding over time– occasionally to the point of collapse. On the plus side, the Master Cook propane grill does come with two wheels and the metal shelves fold down making storage easier than some.

Pros

  • Is a less expensive propane grill
  • Puts out 30000 BTUs
  • Has porcelain-enameled grates
  • Has a 340 sq in grilling area
  • Has a 133 sq in warming rack
  • Is easier to store

Cons

  • The frame is not that durable
  • Iffy heat containment

Weber 50060001 Q1000 Liquid Propane Grill – Also Consider

Weber is actually one of the big names in the grilling world with a fairly extensive history that stretches back over half a century. On top of that, the company is also noted for their continued dedication to innovation since making the first kettle grill to prevent ash from charcoal blowing onto the food. To be fair, the Weber Q1000 propane grill is not a terrible product, but it does have a potentially fatal flaw that pushed to the bottom of our list. If you are a bit handy, this is actually an excellent option.

Solid Performance
In terms of pure specs, the Q1000 propane grill is an admirable competitor, though it does rank at the bottom. To be fair, this is also a tabletop grill and should not be compared to the larger standard backyard grills. In terms of its heating ability, it comes with a single stainless steel burner that puts out 8500 BTUs per hour. On top of that, it also has a main grilling area of 189 sq in which is large enough for about 6 burger patties. Unlike the other grills we looked at, this is the only one on our list made of cast aluminum. This choice allows the Weber tabletop grill to maintain a lightweight build and be significantly easier to transport than larger grills.

Troubling Regulation
While the Q1000 tabletop grill offers some solid features, including a porcelain enameled cast iron grate, it also has some troubling faults. By far the biggest problem with the Weber Q1000 tabletop propane grill is the gas regulator. Oddly enough, it is not so much that the regulator gets too hot, like some other tabletop grills. To the contrary, the regulator has a tendency to get blocked and not function properly at all, a worryingly common issue. As if that were not enough, even if you do get the regulator working or fix it yourself, the use of cast aluminum makes heat retention difficult. This ends up leading to a situation where you must lead the lid closed more than normal to maintain a consistent heat.

Pros

  • Is a less expensive propane grill
  • Has porcelain enameled cast iron grates
  • Made of cast aluminum
  • Is easier to assemble
  • Is a more portable propane grill
  • Is easier to clean

Cons

  • Has a poor regulator
  • Difficult heat regulation

Best Propane Grills Under 200 Buying Guide 2019

BTUs

Clearly, one of the most important factors of a propane grill is how hot it can get, and while this is not entirely controlled by the burners, they are definitely a big part of the process. Basically, the burners, which are almost always made out of corrosion-resistant stainless steel, are where the flames emerge from and control how much heat the propane grill can ultimately produce. This measurement is given in BTUs, or British thermal units, but it is not the end-all, be-all of grill heat. That said, the higher the BTUs, the hotter the grill can get– though other factors can definitely affect the standing temperature over time. It is important to note that propane grills with multiple burners will often provide the total BTU count, but that should not be taken as a given measure for any particular part of the cooking surface.

Surface Area

Depending on how you usually use the grill, the surface area can either be one of the most important specs or simply fluff. Basically, if you only have a tendency to grill for a few people at most, then you likely do not need to worry about the surface area quite so much. On the other hand, if you have a large family or regularly grill for cookouts, then you are going to want to make sure that you have the surface area necessary to cook as much of the food at once as possible. In this regard, the surface area is rated in square inches and can be broken up into a couple of different spaces. The most obvious space is the grilling area which sits directly over the main burners and is where you will do most of the cooking. Larger propane grills will also generally include a warming rack for food that cooks at a lower temperature. If you want to have even more options, some propane grills come with a special side burner which is generally used to sear meat at high temperatures before cooking them on the main grilling area.

Grates

While they do not always get as much love and attention as the other parts of the propane grill, the grates are arguably as important, if not more so, than the burners. High-quality grates can make the difference in whether you get those nice grill marks and how evenly the food cooks. To be fair, the lowest quality grates are generally made of stainless steel which is not a terrible choice. It does not allow the heat to distribute as easily or evenly through the food, but it is naturally strong and resistant and fairly easy to clean up. That said, you should generally look for cast-iron grates as these will help distribute the heat quicker and more evenly throughout the food. Another thing to look out for is a porcelain coating which further makes cleanup much easier and can also help with heat distribution. When it comes to cast-iron grates, you are definitely going to want to make sure they are porcelain coated.

FAQ’s

Why a propane grill?

When it comes to grilling, easily one of the more important questions to consider will be the fuel source. Traditionally, grills have three different fuel sources: burned materials– which include wood, charcoal, and pellets– electricity, or propane. All of these fuel sources have their advantages and disadvantages, so why should you choose propane? When you look at the fuel’s ability to heat the food combined with its cost and maintenance, propane definitely stands out as one of the easier and cleaner methods.

With electric grills, you will regularly run into the issue of the burner either not getting hot enough or the body not being able to keep consistent heat– unless you spend a lot of money. Burned materials, primarily charcoal, do have the advantage of providing a classic “grill” flavor to the food, but they are also extremely messy and more difficult to clean. By contrast, propane still generates an actual fire, so it has a tendency to heat and maintain a constant temperature better than electric burners. On the other hand, propane also burns clean, so you do not have to worry about the messy cleanup associated with burned materials. To be fair, some people do complain that propane grills do not adequately provide that classic “grill” flavor that burned material grills do.

How Will You Use the Grill?

While all propane grills will ultimately rely on you standing nearby cooking food on the grates, there are a wide range of circumstances in which you might do this. If you are cooking for a large group of people, you will need a different grill than if you are cooking for yourself and maybe a few friends. It is also important to consider whether or not you expect to take the grill anywhere else and cook onsite or whether it will sit comfortably at home for its lifespan. In order to accommodate a variety of needs, there are a couple of different grill types and profiles.

The standard type of propane grill can comfortably be called the “backyard” grill as this is where it is likely to stay. While most will provide at least two wheels, with some coming with four, they are not really intended to be taken on trips to different locations. However, the backyard grill often has the advantage when it comes to the cooking area as well as maximum heat. The other type of propane grill is the tabletop grill which, as the name suggests, sits on a large flat surface, like a table. This kind of propane grill is incredibly portable, rarely weighing over 30 pounds, and can usually be carried by a single person. However, the tabletop grill can have issues with maintaining a consistent heat, though they usually do a decent job with maximum temperature.

What to Look For?

Regardless of the type of grill you get, you definitely want to make sure that it can achieve the temperatures you need to cook with. Keep in mind, it is entirely possible to slow cook with a propane grill, but that will prevent you from searing meats. However, the cooking temperature can be affected by a wide range of factors with the welding often overlooked. The design of the body combined with the quality of the welds will often play a big role in determining how well the propane grill retains heat, regardless of how many BTUs the burners put out. Another thing to consider is the materials, especially the grates on which you cook the food. While all grill grates are made of metal, the best ones are made of cast iron to provide a better heat distribution.

Conclusion

As you can see, if you are not necessarily looking to break the bank for a propane grill, there are still plenty of solid options on the market. In fact, there is a surprising variety of different solutions depending on your particular grilling needs. If you need a propane grill that can handle a family cookout with a lot of guests, the Char-Griller has the heat and cooking space that you need. If your grilling needs are a bit more modest and you do not want to worry about too much maintenance, the Char-Broil offers an excellent, albeit expensive, solution. If you simply need a standard propane grill at a much lower cost, the Master Cook provides an adequate performance. On the other hand, the Cuisinart is probably one of the better tabletop options on the market, so long as you keep a close eye on the heat. Finally, the Weber is a great option for limited space, but you may need to make some adjustments to keep it working properly.

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