Gas Grill vs Pellet Grill: Comparing the Pros and Cons

Gas grills are convenient and quick, while pellet grills offer a wood-fired taste but take longer to heat up. Consider ease of use and cleaning before choosing.

gas grill vs pellet grill

The dilemma for most up-and-coming home pitmasters is whether to choose the convenience of gas or the authentic smokey taste from a pellet grill. Purchasing a quality outdoor grill is not cheap and is an investment you will have to live with for several years. We have compiled a comprehensive list of pros and cons between gas and pellet grills so you can make the best decision. 

Gas grills are popular and convenient. They start instantly and don’t need much time to preheat. Pellet grills take longer to heat up, rely on electricity, and may not be as easy to operate as gas grills. They are also more expensive than gas grills but impart a smokey wood-fired taste to food.

Although both gas grills and pellet grills have plenty of unique pros, there are some aspects, like cleaning up after your weekend feasts, that you should also consider before buying.

The two grill types deliver entirely different vibes, so let’s jump right in and compare the pros and cons so you know whether to choose a gas or pellet grill. 

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Gas Grill vs Pellet Grill – What’s The Difference?

Plenty has been written and said in the past comparing gas vs. charcoal grills. Those were traditionally the standard two types available, and you were either a hardcore fan of one or the other to get your steak seared to perfection. 

In 1985, Joe Traeger changed all that when he created the first pellet grills. The convenience and unique smokey taste created by pellet grills added a new dimension to backyard grilling. 

While most people are familiar with how a gas grill works, pellet grills, and pellet stoves are terms often confused or used interchangeably. A pellet grill and a pellet stove are entirely different in design and functionality. Before we get into the mouthwatering details of comparing gas and pellet grills, let’s quickly recap each type.

The Background Of Gas Grills

gas grill

Gas grills are the most common backyard grills used in the United States. These convenient outdoor cooking machines, invented in the late 1930s, are fueled by natural gas or propane. 

One of the handiest things about using gas grills is that they are almost instantly ready. The burners will ignite at the flick of a button, and the heat can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the amount of gas being delivered.  

How Long Have Pellet Grills Been Around? 

pellet grill

Pellet stoves have been in use since the 1970s, and they were especially popular as an affordable source of home heating. From those humble beginnings, the first pellet grill was patented in 1986. 

There are some significant differences between pellet stoves and pellet grills. Although one developed from the other, everything from how the pellets are moved through the machine to the actual type of pellet used is different from the original heater version. 

Some important things to know about pellet grills: 

  • All pellet grills require electricity to run the motor. An auger moves the pellets from the hopper through the machine and drives the fan to create heat.
  • Only food-grade pellets are safe to use in pellet grills
  • You will use around 1.5 pounds of pellets per hour while using a pellet grill

The Pros And Cons Of Gas Grills Vs. Pellet Grills

There is no denying that a slow-cooked hickory-infused roast cooked in a pellet grill has a mouthwatering appeal all its own, but cooking regularly on a pellet grill may require more commitment than you’ve got!  

10 Pros Of Gas Grills

Royal Gourmet GA5403B 5-Burner BBQ Cabinet Style Propane Gas Grill with Rotisserie Kit, Sear Burner, Rear Burner and Side Burner, 74,000 BTU Patio Picnic Backyard, Outdoor Party, Blue

Gas grills dominate the market, and there are gas models of every shape and size to choose from. The performance, convenience, and cost-effectiveness of using gas is reflected in their popularity. 

Although other outside cooking options like charcoal, electric, pellet, or kamado style options are available, gas grills always stay in style. Let’s find out why.

  1. Gas grills are user-friendly and hassle-free – flick a switch, and your cooking surface will instantly come to life.
  2. High heat and simple temperature control – The burners in a gas grill can be adjusted at the turn of a switch to either rev up the heat or keep things simmering under the hood of your grill.
  3. Instantly ready – You can decide to BBQ spontaneously and have a gas grill ready to start flipping steaks in minutes.
  4. Plenty of choices available – Because gas grills are the most popular outdoor cooking type, there is a greater choice between brands. Units can even be fully customized to fit into your setting. 
  5. Fast cooling – At the flick of a switch, your gas grill will be off, and it won’t take long before it is completely cool. 
  6. Gas grills are affordable – Plenty of competition among manufacturers means plenty of feature-packed affordable options are available.
  7. Gas is inexpensive, no waste fuel. You only need to use gas while your food is cooking, and it can be turned off instantly when you are finished. 
  8. Ultra-convenient – A gas grill can be connected to your gas line at home. 
  9. Clean-up is easy – Empty a drip pan and wipe the racks when they have cooled down.  
  10. Small, portable gas grills are available. 

What Are The Cons of Gas Grills? 

With all the positives that make outdoor cooking on a gas grill so convenient, it is difficult to imagine that there could be any reasons not to choose gas. As you can see from our list below, there are quite a few reasons why gas isn’t everyone’s first choice when it comes to home grilling. 

  1. You can’t smoke food on a gas grill – well, you can try, but gas grills are not designed for slow, low-temperature cooking.
  2. Gas grills don’t perform well overall when cooking at low temperatures.
  3. It doesn’t give a smokey quality to food.
  4. Portable gas grills usually need a propane tank which can be expensive.
  5. It is easy to burn food. Gas grills tend to be hot and fast. Food needs to be carefully watched and flipped to avoid burning.
  6. Safety concerns – To safely operate a gas grill, there must be a lot of space around the unit. According to the National Fire Protection Association, gas grills are responsible for almost 9000 housefires per year, not including structural or outside fires. Leaks and breaks in the gas delivery system are the most common cause. 
  7. Lack of smokey taste – A gas grill does not provide the same smokey flavor as a grill that burns charcoal or pellets. Gas is flavorless, so it is only the heat doing the cooking.
  8. Gas grills may lack versatility – Although top-end gas grills have loads of features, a gas grill is ultimately still just a gas grill. Smoking food, or using less heat-heavy techniques like baking, can be tricky. 

The Pros Of Pellet Grills

Z GRILLS Wood Pellet Grill Smoker with PID Controller, 700 Cooking Area, Meat Probes, Rain Cover for Outdoor BBQ, 7002C

Pellet grills are a no-mess, no-fuss alternative to cooking over charcoal while retaining the natural wood-cooked taste. They offer more versatility than gas grills, and once you get the hang of the settings, food cooked in a pellet grill carries a unique flavor. 

  1. Pellet grills offer a more natural, all-wood BBQ feel.
  2. Great to prepare food when low temperatures are required.
  3. Creates a relaxed, slow-cooked vibe – perfect for lazy afternoons and evenings
  4. Delivers an authentic grilling smell while the food is cooking
  5. Pellets are mess-free. Unlike charcoal, wood pellets are clean and easy to decant into the hopper. They burn down to a fine ash. 
  6. It is easy to adjust the temperature inside the grill. Since the mechanism responsible for the heat runs off electricity, adjustments can be made by turning a dial. The internal fans and the speed of the auger are highly responsive, so adjusting the cooking temperature on a pellet grill is possible.
  7. You can buy specifically flavored wood pellets to add subtle nuances to the taste of your food. Hickory and apple are popular choices, but new variations are constantly becoming available, which can add exciting taste twists to your menu. 
  8. You don’t have to babysit your food while it is cooking to save it from burning. Pellet grills can be set to cook slowly and evenly. 
  9. Easy to clean. Ash needs to be emptied periodically, and the grates wiped down. 

Cons Of Pellet Grills

There is no doubt that pellet grills offer an authentic BBQ taste that is hard to beat, but what are the downsides of choosing one? 

  1. They need an electrical source to run. 
  2. One of the most limiting factors about pellet grills is that they are great in fine weather, but since they are driven by electricity, they are not suited to use in wet weather conditions. 
  3. It can take longer to learn to use.
  4. Not great for impatient cooks or anyone who enjoys steak prepared on a sizzling grill.
  5. They are expensive – especially compared to gas grills.
  6. You need to keep adding pellets. Although most pellet grills have large hoppers, they do need to be refilled quite often. 
  7. It may not smoke as well as you hope. If you need an extra smokey taste, there are ways to create a smokier effect inside a pellet grill, but the result will differ from a dedicated smoker
  8. Heat is not instant. Although pellet grills can be ready in around 15 minutes, a short wait is required for the unit to heat up, so it takes longer than a gas grill. 

Comparison Of Gas Grills Vs. Pellet Grills

Most grillers sit squarely in one camp or another. Some prefer the convenience and simplicity of gas, while others don’t mind the extra effort and preparation required by pellet grills. There is a lot to love about the rich taste and authentic BBQ aroma distinctive from woodburning grills. 

Now that we have covered the pros and cons of these two popular grill types, let’s look at how they stack up against each other. 

Gas GrillsPellet Grills
Gas is cheaper than wood pelletsPellets deliver a distinctive taste
Easy to use immediatelyIt may take some time to master pellet grilling
Immediate cookingIt takes at least 15 minutes to heat up
Grills are cheaperPellet grills are more expensive than gas grills
A good option for grilling meatMore versatility of cooking, especially at low temperatures
It can be connected to a household gas supply or run with a propane gas bottleRequires electricity to operate
More portableLess portable since units are often quite bulky and require an electrical outlet.
Gas does not affect the taste of the food. Imparts a smokey taste to food – you can select wood flavors
Gas grills are not created for smoking meatWell suited for smoking food
Very fast – quick clean-upStart to finish takes longer – clean-up is easy
Perfect for fast, hot cooking Not as good if you like searing meat
Once a gas line is connected, it does not require any additional supplies to operate. You need to keep the hopper supplied with pellets. 
Easy to burn food. More suited to hands-on grillersLess likely to burn food. Best suited to slow, relaxed cooking style.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Pellet Grill Better Than Gas? 

Pellet grills deliver a smoky taste that can’t be replicated on a gas grill. You can even get specifically flavored wood pellets. However, gas grills are more convenient and less expensive than pellet grills. 

What Are The Cons Of Pellet Grills? 

All pellet grills rely on electricity, so they aren’t as portable as some other outside cooking units that use charcoal or gas. Being reliant on electricity  also means they aren’t ideal to use in wet weather. 

Other cons include that pellet grills can take time to get used to and take longer to get hot compared to gas. Because the heat is more evenly distributed, it may not be able to sear steaks quite as efficiently. 

Is It Worth Buying A Pellet Grill? 

A pellet grill is worth buying, especially if you need versatility from your outdoor appliance. While it lacks the intense heat and speed of a dedicated gas grill, it does an admirable job of grilling and provides flavor and depth to slow-cooked dishes or even smoked cuts. 

Can You Just Grill On A Pellet Grill? 

One of the biggest selling points of pellet grills is their versatility. They stand head and shoulders over gas grills when it comes to handling a range of food. Pellet grills can do everything from baking to grilling and everything in between, including smoking meat

Conclusion

Gas is a solid option if you need a fast, all-weather, convenient grill if you BBQ frequently. Pellet grills offer a wider variety of cooking styles and a richer taste, but they are a bit more work to operate. Since they require electricity to run the motor, they are also not ideal to use in wet weather. 

Bestselling Gas Grills on Amazon

SaleBestseller No. 1
MASTER COOK 3 Burner BBQ Propane Gas Grill, Stainless Steel 30,000 BTU Patio Garden Barbecue Grill with Two Foldable Shelves
  • ❤ STAINLESS STEEL BURNERS: This propane gas grill has 3 Stainless Steel burners, can put out 30,000 BTU-per-hour with integrated piezoelectric ignition system, quick start up with the push &turn of a control knob
  • ❤ FEATURES: The whole Stainless steel control panel with chromium plating control knob makes this propane gas grill more study and delicate, a stainless steel handle and a built-in stainless steel thermometer on the cover lid, two foldable tables and two heavy duty wheel casters for storage and moving
  • ❤ PORCELAIN-ENAMEL WIRE COOKING GRATES: The cooking area of our propane gas grill is 471.8 include 339 square inches for cooking and 132.8 square inches for warming
  • ❤ ASSEMBLED DIMENSIONS: 46.46 L x 20.87 W x 41.14 H inch, and 29.5 inch Length when folding both of the side table of the propane gas grill
  • ❤ MULTIFUNCTION AND PRACTICAL: This propane gas grill is perfect compliments any outdoor space like backyard, garden, courtyard, terrace and balcony of most family, alternative all season for outdoor cooking
Bestseller No. 2
MASTER COOK Gas Grill, BBQ 4-Burner Cabinet Style Grill Propane with Side Burner, Stainless Steel
  • 36,000-BTU 4 burner propane gas grill with 12,000-BTU Lidded Side Burner
  • This propane gas grill has integrated piezo ignition system ensures quick and reliable startups
  • 400 square inches of primary cooking area on heavy duty enamel grates of the propane gas grill plus 118 square inches of secondary cooking on procelain-coated swing away rack
  • Stylish and durable stainless steel lid and control panel, lid-mounted temperature gauge for easy cooking control
  • Stable cabinet structure, easy assembly. 4 casters for easy portablility and keep the propane gas grill place wherever you want
SaleBestseller No. 3
Royal Gourmet GA6402H 6-Burner Propane Gas Grill with Sear Burner and Side Burner, 74,000 BTU, Cabinet Style Outdoor BBQ Grill for Barbecue Grilling and Backyard Cooking, Black
  • Sufficient Cooking Capacity: Total of 835 square inches cooking area which can hold up to 39 hamburgers at one time. It can satisfy the need of an 8-10 gathering to conveniently cook as much gourmet food as possible.
  • Mess-free Cleanup: Equipped with removable grease tray and grease cup to reduce the risk of flare-ups. It’s very easy to slide out and dump residues, thereby simplifying the cleanup procedure.
  • Lockable Caster Wheels: Four directional caster wheels make it more convenient to move grill within your backyard or patio; the brake system is to lock the wheels while cooking for strong stability.
  • High Cooking Output: Embodies five tube burners (10,000 BTU each), a sear burner (14,000 BTU) and a side burner (10,000 BTU). With all burners in use, you will have a total of 74,000 BTU output that can heat up the grill in no time.
  • Burners for Different Purposes: With the capacity of offering 14,000 BTU power, the sear burner produces intense high heat for professional style searing. The single side burner is an appropriate choice to prepare side dishes.

Bestselling Pellet Grills on Amazon

Bestseller No. 1
Traeger Grills Pro 22 Electric Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker, Bronze
  • Never use gas or charcoal again: cooking with wood just tastes better. Traeger created the original wood-pellet grill as the ultimate way to achieve wood-fired taste
  • Versatile barbecue cooking: hot and fast, or low and slow, the Traeger Pro Series 22 pellet grill offers 6-in-1 versatility to grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and BBQ food to juicy perfection
  • Precision temperature control: The Digital Pro Controller rocks Advanced Grilling Logic, which maintains a +/- 15 degree F temperature control to precision grilling. 450 °F Max Temp
  • Sturdy and durable: powerful Steel construction and durable powder coat finish, Easy to clean porcelain grill grates and all-terrain wheels
  • Large cooking capacity: 572 sq. In. Cooking capacity that can accommodate 4 chickens, 5 racks of ribs or 24 burgers.
Bestseller No. 2
Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2024 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker 8 in 1 BBQ Grill Auto Temperature Control, 450 Sq in Bronze
  • ★Ultimate 6-in-1-- barbecue wood fire pellet grill: bbq✓bake✓roast✓braise✓smoke✓grill
  • ★Fan-forced Convection cooking-eliminates the need for a rotisserie and creates a versatile environment for grilling, roasting, smoking, braising and baking.
  • ★2019 UPGRADE--Temperature and Pellet Feed Control System. The new upgrade digital control board auto ignites the grill and allows you to set the cooking temperature from 180°f to 450°f.
  • ★Automated electric feed system-maintains the heat for you from 180ºf to 450ºf and produce the optimal amount of smoke. Just set it and let it work: No more babysitting. Enjoy the cooking!
  • ★HUGE GRILLING AREA--450 Square inches grilling area; 15-pound hopper capacity. Foldable working shelf; heavy duty all terrain wheels; rust proof cover & racks
Bestseller No. 3
Z GRILLS Wood Pellet Grill Smoker with PID 2.0 Controller, 700 Cooking Area, Meat Probes, Rain Cover for Outdoor BBQ, 7002C
  • PID 2.0 TECHNOLOGY - Features an LCD screen for auto-tuning fuel and airflow, ensuring temperature consistency despite significant external temperature variations
  • HUGE CAPACITY - 700 sq in grilling space is great for Home, party, and tailgating; 24 lbs large-capacity pellet hopper offers a longer cooking time
  • BUILT TO LAST - Sturdy steel construction with a high-temperature powder coating finish makes the pellet grill long-lasting
  • EASIER SMOKE - Large LCD screen with 2 included meat probes. Just set it and let it work, No babysitting the grill
  • VIEWABLE WINDOW - Conveniently monitor pellet supply without having to lift the lid with the view window; You’ll be smoking for hours without needing to refill

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