It’s no question that pellet grills are the hottest trend in the grilling scene. All thanks to their ability to infuse a smoky, grill flavor in your ribs, pork shoulders, etc. But for those who want perfect sear marks on their steak, a gas grill is what you are looking for.
When comparing pellet grill vs gas grill you will find that though they both offer convenience they represent distinct qualities in your BBQ and grilling experience. You are looking at differences in flavor, grilling speed, temperature, and cost.
A pellet grill is the grandmaster in flavor and versatility, while the gas grill is the standard party grill because of its high temperature and fast speed. These are just some of the features that distinguish these two types of grills.
Read on to find out whether you want a pellet or gas grill.
|Features||Pellet Grill||Gas Grill|
|Fuel||Wood Pellets||Natural or propane gas|
|Flavor||Smoky||No flavor is added|
|Temperature Range||176-700 degrees Fahrenheit||200-900 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Run Time||1.5 pounds for 1hour of cooking||20 hours on one propane tank|
|Ideal for||Grilling, smoking, baking||Grilling|
Pellet Grill vs. Gas Grill – Main Differences
Flavor of Food
The main reason people favor pellet grills over gas grills is the flavor. A pellet grill burns wood pellets which imparts a smoky flavor on your food. You can even have different flavor pellets to get your food to taste a certain way.
Gas grills do not add any flavor to food. They are gas-powered hot plates because there’s no difference in taste with the food that you cook on your stove. Any additional flavor will have to come from seasoning.
Pellet grills are designed for low and slow cooking. It’s hard for pellet grills to get over 600 degrees Fahrenheit, while any gas grill can get over 700 degrees at the grate and some 900 degrees if you need to sear meat.
However, cheap gas grills can struggle to maintain steady temperatures at low settings. You will have to go for a model with quality components for consistent temperature.
Another big difference between pellet grills and gas grills is the run time before refueling. Standard pellet grills can hold enough pellets to cook for eight hours. Although 8-hours is the typical cooking time for most meals, you’ll have to refill if you want to cook for longer.
On the other hand, a gas grill can give you up to 20 hours of grilling on a typical propane tank.
Gas grills offer griddles, side burners, rotisseries, etc. But they can’t match the versatility of a pellet grill.
You get a grill, smoker, and oven all-in-one with a pellet grill. We are talking indirect heat and smoking for neat briskets and smoked pizzas in minutes.
Cleaning and Maintenance
There are less cleaning and maintenance on a gas grill than on a pellet grill. When you do one cook on a pellet grill, you will have to clean out the dust left after grilling. You are also going to deal with soot which you need to vacuum. Especially, after 13 hours of roasting a brisket.
A gas grill will cost you less than a pellet grill. You will find that an entry-level pellet grill can cost as much as a quality gas BBQ.
What is a Pellet Grill?
A pellet grill is essentially an outdoor cooker. It combines elements of a traditional grill, an oven, and a charcoal smoker. It uses a fire fed by BBQ-grade wood pellets. These pellets do not need to be soaked because they are made from compressed sawdust
A pellet grill also combines electric elements to control the temperature according to the volume of pellets burned.
How does a Pellet Grill Work?
Pellet grills are similar to pellet stoves in the way they work. They have a funnel-shaped hopper on the back or side of the smoker. It’s where you fill the wood pellets. The hopper feeds the pellets into the auger. The auger is a large screw that turns slowly and feeds the pellets into the firepot where an ignition rod ignites it.
The firepot creates heat and smoke, which cooks the food.
A convection fan and a heat baffle distribute the heat and smoke evenly throughout the smoker. The fan also feeds a steady flow of air into the firepot.
Once you set the desired temperature, the smoker feeds the firepot pellets to reach the desired temperature. You don’t need to add pellets or watch the grill. That’s the convenience of a pellet grill.
What is a Pellet Grill good for?
Taste of Smoke
We can’t say it enough. If you love the smoky flavor in food, a pellet grill is what you want. From fish to ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and even tackle chops, you can expect a distinct smoky flavor when you cook on a pellet grill.
You can use a pellet grill like a traditional grill for hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, corn, etc. There are no flare-ups, so food cooks evenly.
You can bake on a pellet grill. From simple desserts to bread, a pellet grill allows you to flavor your baked goods with a subtle smoky flavor.
Set and Go
Not a master griller? No worries, you can roast the finest ribs on a pellet grill with the least effort. All you need is a good idea of the temperature required for the kind of roast you want and an approximate time to hit the target temperature, and your smoker will do the rest for you.
Benefits of a Pellet Grill
Precision temperature control
It’s super easy to set and maintain the temperature on a pellet grill. You don’t need to stoke or tend to the fire. The fan does the stoking, and the augur delivers the wood pellets. Once you set the temperature, that’s it. You can come back to evenly cooked food that you will feel proud presenting to family and friends.
Smoky Flavor-Easy to Do for Beginners
The subtly smoky flavor that a pellet grill gives your food means it’s hard to over-smoke the food, which is easy to do for beginners. There’s no learning curve. You get in there, and the smoky flavor is just like a pro did it.
You can even select the flavor you want by choosing from a variety of wood pellets.
The flames on a pellet grill are safely away from food. It means there will be fewer flare-ups if any. The drippings on your food hit the diffusion pan and vaporize back into your food. Those that don’t, end up in the grease pot.
The heat baffle combined with the convection fan ensures that it delivers consistent heat and smoke, so you don’t have to monitor the grill.
Ease of Use
Pellet grills are straightforward to start and control. They require a basic understanding of its features to cook excellent veggies, chicken, and foods that require a touch of smoke to be exciting.
You only need about a pound of wood pellets per hour of cooking.
It’s not surprising to find Wi-Fi connectivity on premium pellet grills. They can connect via apps that allow you to change the settings and keep up with what’s happening on the grill.
Disadvantages of a Pellet Grill
- They Need Electricity
You need to plug-in a pellet grill to power the ignition rod and the fan. As such, they are not ideal for camping.
- You need to Stock-Up on Pellets
Unlike a propane tank that you can simply get from a gas station, you need to visit a barbecue specialty store or order pellets online. Otherwise, if you run out of pellets, you can’t continue to grill. And, you can’t turn to heating pellets because they are not food-grade.
Who should buy a Pellet Grill?
If you are looking for versatility and consistently high-quality food, a pellet grill is for you. No need to stoke and tend to the fire. Set it and leave it for flavorful meals each time.
How much does a Pellet Grill cost?
Pellet grills range in price from $400-$5,000 or more. The cheap ones can match the price of gas grills. But almost always exceed the cost of most gas grills.
What is a Gas Grill?
Gas BBQs are the most popular on the market. This is because they are easy to find and use. A gas grill comes with a burner to grill food at high temperatures. Most include lids that allow them to be used for indirect heat cooking.
How does a Gas Grill Work?
Gas grills require fuel in the form of propane or natural gas. If you opt for propane, you need a propane tank that will sit underneath the BBQ. For natural gas connection, you require a pipeline from the grill to the natural gas outlet.
After you have connected the fuel, turn the valves of the grill. The gas will travel to the burner.
Igniting the gas produces a continuous flame that will heat the grill. Most gas grills have more than one burner for even heating. Some grills have infrared burners, while others include briquettes to help distribute heat more evenly.
Once the burners have started heating up, lower the grill hood to get it to the ideal temperature. When it’s heated up, you can cook with the hood up or down.
What is a Gas Grill good for?
Gas grills are for cooking at medium to high temperatures. That’s why they are ideal for backyard BBQs where you need to feed lots of people in a short time.
Because you can get to very high temperatures on a gas grill, you will be able to get perfect sear marks that we all love to see on steak.
Benefits of a Gas Grill
Easy to Use
Many people enjoy the convenience of turning on a gas grill, and it’s ready to cook in 20 minutes. On top of that, you don’t have to wait for long hours before the food is ready. The higher temperatures of a gas grill mean that your food will cook faster.
Gas is Easy to Access
Unlike pellets where you have to order online or visit a barbecue specialty store, gas is readily available at gas stations and hardware stores. And you’ll never run out if you are using natural gas.
While temperature is not as precise as a pellet grill, you can still control the heat busing the gas knobs. You only need to ensure that the knobs are working because temperature is a critical element of grilling.
It is Cheap
From the initial investment to the cost of fuel, gas grills are the cheapest to own in the long run.
Easy to Accessorize
Gas grills are not high-tech units. Hence, there are lots of accessories to go with them. From smoke tubes to sear burners, and even griddle pans.
It’s a Breeze to Clean
The racks on a gas grill are the major areas of cleaning. These are simple to clean with a cloth, a spray bottle, a wire brush, etc. When the grill grates are clean, you can always count on your grill to deliver evenly cooked food every time.
Disadvantages of a Gas Grill
- No Added Flavor
Cooking food on a grill does not add the smoky taste revered by master grillers. You also can’t smoke readily on a gas grill. You have to rely on smoke boxes and smoke flavors to give food the charred taste.
When fat and food drippings hit the burners, they can cause flare-ups which can be nasty to deal with. Look for a grill that has a drip guard.
While a drip guard protects from flare-ups, you’ll have to wipe it down from time to time to prevent grease buildup that could lead to a grease fire.
Who Should Buy a Gas Grill?
A gas grill is an excellent choice for those on a budget or just learning the ropes of grilling stuff like pizza and lacquer pork ribs. It’s also good if you fire the grill every other day for a quick perfect-grilled steak after coming home late.
The good thing with gas grills is that they are also available in portable options for camping.
How much does a Gas Grill cost?
Gas grills offer great price to quality. You can find small outdoor models that start at under $100 to high-end BBQs that cost over $4000. When comparing prices, cheap grills offer limited features and can sometimes pose safety issues.
Premium models come with better burners as well as better built heat disbursement features like ceramic briquettes. In the end, your grilling experience is more satisfying on a high-end grill than on a cheap one.
Pellet Grill vs. Gas Grill- Which one Wins?
When it comes down to choosing between a pellet grill and a gas grill, it’s all about meeting your needs. Buy a pellet grill if you want the best flavor in all your foods and if you don’t mind the high initial investment for a pellet grill.
Buy a gas grill if your budget is tight and value speed over flavor.
Do pellet grills require electricity to run?
Yes, pellet grills need electricity to power the fan and the ignition rod.
How long do pellets last in a pellet grill?
Most pellet grills require 1-1.5 pounds of pellets for one hour of cooking.
How often should you clean your grill?
If you barbecue every other day, you should wipe down the grates after every grilling session. It’s best to clean the grates thoroughly twice every grilling season. It ensures that your grill cooks consistently and lasts longer.
How can you avoid flare-ups on a gas grill?
There are many tips on avoiding flare-ups. But the most common one is trimming the fat on your food before cooking. Also, keep the lid open when searing fatty foods and avoid cooking in windy areas. The wind blows oxygen into the grates, which can cause flare-ups.
Can you use a gas grill as a smoker?
It’s possible to smoke food on a gas grill using a smoker box. The smoker box carries damp wood chips and sits on a dedicated spot on the burner. The smoke is directed to your food using the holes in the lid of the smoker.
By now, you are well-versed in pellet grills vs. gas grills. Now you can make an informed decision whether to get one or the other. Remember that a pellet grill is excellent for imparting the smoky flavor to food, while a gas grill is nice for speedy cooking.