Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill: 12 Factors That Matter

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Last updatedLast updated: September 21, 2021
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There’s something very relaxing about an afternoon BBQ with some friends. Good company and robust, juicy steaks made on the perfect grill—what could be better? The right grill makes all the difference. So, just how do you know which is better when it comes to pellet grill vs gas grill comparisons? Essentially the most common difference between the two comes down to the type of fuel source used. Pellet grills make use of wooden pellets whereas gas grills use propane.

Today we’ll be looking at how pellet grill vs propane grills stack up to each other. Considering the differences is important because these features will be the deciding factors when it becomes time to select what suits your needs better—wood pellet vs gas grill.

What are pellet grills

Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill: 12 Factors That Matter

Designed to cook meat over a lower temperature, a pellet grill is more similar to an oven. It can also double as a smoker since it has more insulation to maintain heat and smoke. Pellet grills use wood pellets as a fuel source.

While pellets might not always be easy to find, they offer the option of different wood flavors to customize your food aromas. Read on to see what the pros and cons are of using a pellet grill.

Pros

  • Pellets come in different flavors allowing you to customize the taste of your food
  • You can set the grill at a low temperature and leave it to cook, with no need to watch it all the time
  • Doubles as a smoker, offering more options for cooking
  • Reaches required temperature in as little as 15 minutes
  • Easy to clean
  • Pellets together with convection fan make for an efficient cooking process

Cons

  • Pellet grills need to be plugged in so can only be used where there’s electricity outlets
  • Cost is higher than that of a gas grill
  • Smoking pellets might not be as easy to locate as propane for gas grills
  • Since pellet grills cook at a lower temperature, it’s not ideal for a “quick” BBQ


What are gas grills?

Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill: 12 Factors That Matter

Gas grills are ideal for the occasional afternoon BBQ with friends and family when all you’re looking for is a couple of perfectly seared, juicy steaks. They’re affordable, easy to find and use natural gas or liquid propane Trusted Source Propane - Wikipedia Propane (/ˈprpn/) is a three-carbon alkane with the molecular formula C3H8 en.wikipedia.org as the fuel source. The pros and cons of using a gas grill are listed below.

Pros

  • Gas grills are considerably cheaper than pellet grills
  • Higher temperatures can be reached on a gas grill
  • Cooking time is much shorter due to the higher temperatures
  • Easy to clean because only the cooking surface needs to be cleaned
  • Accessories are available to customize and upgrade your grill

 

Cons

  • Food doesn’t have the classic smoky flavor imparted from pellets
  • Can be dangerous to use if the griller is connected directly to a gas line
  • Since gas grills require ventilation, they’re unable to maintain the heat required for smoking
  • Difficult to achieve specific temperatures

Pellet vs Propane Grills

There are several features to consider when choosing between pellet grill vs propane grills. Read on to see what they are.

Price

The price of pellet grills is somewhat higher than gas grills but not to the point where it’s unaffordable. It’s still possible to get a quality pellet grill for a considerable price. If you’re on a budget, it’s a good idea to research different models before making your final decision.

Gas grills are reasonably cheaper than your average pellet grill. Even the tightest budget should be able to get you a reasonably sized gas grill. With the accessories available, you’ll easily be able to add on and upgrade your gas grill in future.

Cooking options

Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill: 12 Factors That Matter

Since pellet grills are more versatile, they give you more cooking options. With a pellet grill, you have the option of using it as a grill, smoker or even an oven. You can easily turn your pellet griller into a smoker without too much fuss.

Gas grillers on the other hand have a variety of manual accessories such as griddles, smoke boxes and knobs to make your BBQ exceptional.

Flavor

When it comes to flavor, pellet grills win hands down. The flavor is determined by the pellets you use. Different types of wood can be mixed to add a specific smoky or woody taste, depending on your preference. Some pellet flavors can be used to add fruity flavors as well.

Gas grills on the other hand can’t achieve the flavorful, smoky effect on your food. While they don’t make the food taste bad or bland, you’ll have to rely on the seasoning of your food to provide you with flavor.

User-friendliness

Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill: 12 Factors That Matter

One of the aspects that these two grills have in common is their ease of use. Compared to charcoal grills, pellet and gas grills are much simpler to use. Neither pellet nor gas grills require you to star a fire manually.

For pellet grills you simply feed pellets into the grill, set the temperature, place the meat inside, close the lid and wait. Gas grills are similar but need more attention from the chef. You’ll have to move food around and adjust the temperature as you go along. So, although both are easier than charcoal grills, between the two, pellet grills require less work.

Temperature range

Essentially pellet grills can easily cook between 200- and 400-degrees. The only snag with this is there isn’t enough heat to give your juicy steak that perfect sear you get from increased heat. Pellet grills are easier to smoke with because you can sustain heat and smoke.

Depending on the model of gas grill you choose, temperatures can increase to as much as 700 degrees. Gas grills are not suited to lower temperatures and should only be used for meat or food that cooks well at higher temperatures. If you want your steak to have char lines and be perfectly seared, a gas grill is perfect.

Fuel costs

Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill: 12 Factors That Matter

The wooden pellets used in pellet grills are generally cheaper than propane. Propane on the other hand is also more readily available at a variety of stores. Since pellets are made of processed wood, they can generally be more expensive than regular firewood. To make sure you don’t run out of pellets, you can always buy the 40-pound bag option.

Temperature control

It’s very easy to achieve and maintain a specific temperature. As long as the grill has the necessary quantity of fuel, there will be no hassle with sustaining the required temperatures.

Gas grills on the other hand struggle with temperature regulation. Since they’re less insulated, they’re not able to retain heat. Cooking at low temperatures can be time consuming.

Versatility

Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill: 12 Factors That Matter

Pellet grills are by far more versatile than gas grills since they can easily double as a smoker. This gives you more options for a variety of different cooking methods.

Since gas grills require a certain amount of ventilation, there isn’t much option for heat or smoke retention. Without proper heat and smoke regulation, there isn’t an option for smoking. You’ll also not be able to insulate a gas grill to increase the smoke and heat needed for smoking. A gas grill isn’t an option if you want to use a grill primarily for smoking.

Cooking time

Cooking your favorite steak on a pellet grill will take an average of 45 minutes to cook since it’s running at a lower temperature. A medium-rare steak should be done in about 45 minutes, followed by a rest period of about 15 minutes to seal in the flavor.

Steaks can cook on a gas grill in under 20 minutes. For medium-rare cook an average of 3 to 5 minutes, while medium requires 5 to 7 minutes and well done takes about 8 to 10 minutes.

Accessories

Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill: 12 Factors That Matter

Adding accessories to your grill can make your grilling experience that much simpler. Some of the accessories you can get for a pellet grill include the following:

  • Pellet storage box
  • Grill covers
  • Grilling & smoking tongs
  • Remote BBQ thermometers

Gas grills are also not short on accessories. Some examples:

  • Cast iron skillets
  • Cooling racks
  • Sturdy tongs and long handle forks
  • Gloves

Safety

Pellet grills are very safe to use. The fire is ignited without an external accelerant like gas. The area where the fire burns are characteristically shielded from the cooking area. Pellets however aren’t as easy to find as propane. You’ll have to research where pellets are sold in your area.

Most gas grill models use liquid propane rather than natural gas. Liquid propane is available at hardware stores, making it widely available, portable and cheaper than wood or pellets. Another option would be to connect the grill’s gas pipe directly to your home’s gas line to access natural gas. Any use of gas is dangerous, so always take extra precautions when you’re using any type of gas.

Popular Brands

One of the top brands normally associated with pellet grills is definitely Traeger. Other popular brands that are popular with pellet grill enthusiasts are MAK, Yoder and Rec-Tec.

Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill: 12 Factors That Matter

A model making waves in the pellet grill category is the Traeger Grills Pro Series 780. This nifty pellet grill is an 8-in-1 and can be used to do the following: bake, BBQ, braise, roast, grill, sear and char-grill. Simply get your grill to the required temperature and the grill will do the rest.

There’s no labor-intensive start-up or continuous watching. The WiFIRE technology feature allows to control the cooking process from the app on your phone. It can even connect to Alexa and you’ll feel like a BBQ wizard – commanding your grill from any point of your house.

Gas griller brands that are popular include Weber, Coleman, Dyna-Glo, Z Grills and Char-Broil. Of these, the most well-known must be Weber which is easily found in different sizes at most stores that stock grills.

Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill: 12 Factors That Matter

One of the more popular Weber models is the Weber 62016001 Genesis which offers 844 square inches of cooking surface. This gives you a wide cooking space for all those big family BBQs. Some of the impressive features include high-performance burners, infinity ignition and a stainless steel flavorizer bar. The improved grease management system makes cleaning a breeze.

The iGrill 3 feature monitors meat or any other food from start to finish and notifies you when the perfect temperature has been reached. This means you don’t have to run up and down checking your grill every few minutes!

Final thoughts

Deciding on gas vs pellet grill depends on what you want to use it for. If you’re already a seasoned grill master looking to improve your skills, you might want to invest in a pellet griller. For the occasional BBQ with friends, a gas grill might be a better choice for you.

Choose a pellet grill if you want to:

  • Double your grill as a smoker
  • Enjoy smoky flavored food
  • Enjoy the slow cooking process

Choose a gas grill if you want to:

  • Cook food at a higher temperature
  • Just want the occasional BBQ in the backyard
  • Work on a tight budget

Having a clearer idea of the features offered by these two types of grills will make it easier to decide between pellet grill vs gas grill. While a pellet grill is a general winner in most categories your best option is entirely up to your personal preference. Either way, you’ll end up with a juicy piece of steak!

References

1.
Propane - Wikipedia
Propane (/ˈ
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