Any time that you make a significant investment in something for your home, it’s important that you get the best quality for your budget.
When it comes to the best gas barbecue grills, it’s not only important to get one that is the right size and has the features that you’re looking for, but it’s also essential that you choose one of the longest lasting grills.
Inexpensive grills can seem like good value, until they fall apart on you after just a few years of use.
Spending more will usually mean that you’ll get better quality, but there are some important considerations to make so that you can be absolutely sure you’re making a long term investment.
How Long Should Gas Barbecue Grills Last?
The first question that you need to ask yourself, is how long you expect a grill to last. If you’re only expecting a year or two of life from a grill, then even a budget-friendly coal or gas model would be suitable for your needs.
However, if you’re going to be spending $500, $1000, or even $3000 for a large standalone gas grill, you would reasonably expect to get five years of trouble free service from your grill, and it’s not uncommon to have premium grills that will last for a decade or more.
The Longest Lasting Grills Are Made from Stainless Steel
You may have found a grill that has caught your eye because of the features that it has. Maybe it incorporates the infrared back burner that you’ve always wanted for rotisserie cooking, or maybe it has the side burner that you’ve been wanting so that you can cook all of your favorite dishes outdoors.
Features are critically important to get the grill that you’ve been dreaming of, but you should never choose features alone over the material and construction quality of your grill.
The most important consideration is the material that your grill is made from. If you buy a grill that is made mostly from aluminum, then you’ll probably find that the grill is relatively inexpensive. The grill will also be lightweight.
Aluminum can be a good material for tabletop grill that doesn’t spend all of its time outside, or even for a portable camping grill that will only be used a few times every year. However, once you start thinking about aluminum for your main grill at home, you’re going to start running into problems.
Low grade aluminum is a soft material that can easily bend or become dented or scratched. The presentation of an aluminum grill won’t last for long, and even just after one grilling season you could be looking at a grill that you’re no longer proud to use.
Aluminum isn’t just an average structural material because of how prone it is to damage, but also because it will corrode over time. Corrosion on aluminum is not always structurally dangerous, because corrosion on aluminum can actually create a barrier against further decay.
Unlike iron, aluminum won’t completely rust and disintegrate, but it’s still not going to look good after just a few months of being used. Another problem with aluminum is that it is usually coated with a heat treated powder to get the finish and color that is desired.
This type of finishing is effective and resistant to scratching and chipping, but only when it is kept cool. Obviously, because a grill is exposed to high heat, the finish is eventually going to wear down. This creates the risk of flaking which can contaminate your food.
There’s a good reason why aluminum grills are relatively inexpensive – because they’re cheap to manufacture and are considered disposable. They have a general usage cycle of one to two years before they are replaced, and in just five years you could spend as much on replacing your grill as you would on starting out with a grill made from higher quality materials.
Stainless steel is typically more expensive because there’s more involved in the production process, and the material is harder to shape than aluminum. However, it’s not so expensive that the price of a quality stainless steel grill would become prohibitive.
Choosing stainless steel means that you’ll get excellent resistance to corrosion, the grill won’t be easily dented or scratched, and when covered it can last for many years. Because stainless steel can be left polished or even coated in heat resistant enamel, the high heat environment of a barbequing session will not be a problem.
Stainless Steel is Also the Best Material for the Cooking Grid
When looking for the longest lasting grills you’ll need to consider more than just the assembly of the body. The cooking grid is critically important, because it’s the part of the grill that receives the most heat (aside from sear plates and the burners themselves).
Some inexpensive grills use cast iron cooking grids, which can be problematic for a number of reasons. Cast iron adds a lot of weight, because to create a good cooking surface it needs to be thicker than a steel cooking grid.
Cast iron is also porous, so it will take in moisture and eventually rust. While it’s possible to season cast iron with cooking oil to help it last longer, you’ll still have a cooking surface that is less efficient than steel.
Other Points to Consider When Choosing Gas Barbecue Grills
While Steel will always be better than aluminum as a material for a grill, it won’t always be practical or necessary. There are different grades of aluminum, and also treatments that can be performed to help parts last longer.
Take Weber charcoal grills as an example. They use aluminum legs, but are well known to last for years or even decades when properly cared for. The same can apply to a gas grill, so it often depends on the manufacturer and the quality of the material that they have used.
Likewise, not all steel is high grade steel, so if you want the longest lasting grills, make sure you research the type of metal that is used, and any kind of treatment that has been performed.
Some parts of a grill are more likely to wear out than others. Poor quality hinges can easily corrode and degrade over time, so stainless steel hinges should be preferred for any grill that has a hood. Temperature control knobs on a grill can also degrade, so look for a model that uses aluminum or stainless steel knobs, rather than plastic.
If you find a grill with the materials and features that you’re looking for, make sure you check the warranty coverage before you make your purchase. A warranty period won’t always indicate that you’re looking at the longest lasting grills, but it can be a good gauge for the minimum expected lifetime.
As an example, a grill that has a five-year warranty on the burners should have at least a five-year serviceable lifetime. When you keep the grill stored in a covered area, or use an outdoor cover, you’ll be able to ensure that you get the most from your investment.
To get you started with some great ideas for long lasting grills, we’ve put together this quick suggestion list of five of the longest lasting grills.
Weber 50060001 Q1000 Liquid Propane Grill
You’ll find that when it comes to materials, there are always exceptions to be made. The Weber Q1000 uses a combination of aluminum and steel in its construction, but because it’s a small grill that won’t be stored in the most extreme weather conditions, there’s not a lot to worry about in terms of future damage.
The aluminum used is high grade cast aluminum, and the cooking grates are cast iron, but they’ve been porcelain enameled so that they are not susceptible to rust and degradation. This is a good option if you’re looking for gas barbecue grills for use on a heat resistant countertop, or for outdoor tabletop cooking for a small family.
Char Broil Performance 474 4-Burner Cart Gas Grill
Here’s an example of a good looking standalone cart style grill, with four burners, and that still comes in at a reasonable price point. The Char Broil Performance 475 uses aluminum and stainless steel parts, with steel being used in all of the most important places. The lid, handle, and the front control panel are all stainless steel.
This model uses cast iron cooking grids, but like the Weber model, they are also porcelain coated.
A porcelain treatment is far superior to a naked surface or powder coat, and there should be no problem getting 3 – 5 years out of the grill surface when using this grill regularly. The burners themselves are stainless steel, again, showing a good commitment to quality materials without blowing this grill out of the entry level price range.
This is one of the longest lasting grills in the sub-$200 market segment, and it even comes backed with a 5-year warranty for the burners, and a 2-year warranty for the main firebox and the stainless steel lid.
Smoke Hollow 205 Stainless Steel Portable Tabletop Propane Gas Grill
This Smoke Hollow Grill is the perfect example of a portable grill that is inexpensive, but that still uses some of the best materials available. The construction is all stainless steel, including the grilling surface, and it incorporates a hood and even a warming rack.
The best part thing about this grill is that it can usually be purchased in the sub-$100 price range. Although it’s not going to replace your main standalone grill at home, it’s a good option if you want one of the longest lasting gas barbecue grills for camping, picnics, or impromptu grilling at home for a small family.
Weber 61004001 Genesis II LX S-340 Liquid Propane Grill, Stainless Steel
What happens when you start looking at price points in the upper mid-range and high end? You get options like the Weber Genesis II LX S-340. This is an excellent family grill that would also be perfect for parties and cookouts.
It has three high performance stainless steel burners with stainless steel Flavorizer bars, and, as you should expect at this price, the majority of the construction is stainless steel.
Even the front doors for the inside storage compartment are made from stainless steel, which is a great move by Weber, especially considering that the doors are non-structural and have no bearing on the quality of the cooking surface.
It shows that Weber has aimed for longevity of this product, which is something that the company has always been known for.
The cooking grid on this grill is made from thick, solid, stainless steel, which will resist corrosion, it won’t chip like an enameled surface, and it should last the lifetime of the grill. This is an example of a grill that could easily last for five years and beyond.
Bull Outdoor Products 69008 Premium Drop in Grill
This Bull Outdoor Products 69008 Premium grill has all the features of a standalone grill, with three burners that can provide heat up to 45,000 BTU, and stainless steel construction that will ensure long lifetime and durability.
It’s available in both a liquid propane or natural gas version, so it’s suitable for connecting to your main home gas supply.
In addition to stainless steel construction on the firebox and hood, it also uses a stainless steel cooking surface and stainless steel burners.
Because a drop-in installation will typically remain for a number of years, an all-stainless steel model like the Bull 69008 makes a lot of sense.
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to start shopping for your next grill.
Should The Type of Grill Have an Impact on Choosing the Longest Lasting Grill ?
From our list it will be evident that we haven’t simply selected the largest and most expensive grills that are currently on the market. Grills come in all shapes and sizes, and they also come in different price categories. Does the type mean that a grill is going to last longer? Not necessarily…
There are some small grills that are still able to satisfy the requirements of being long lasting. Take the Smoke Hollow 205 Stainless Steel Grill as the perfect example of a relatively affordable grill that is made entirely from stainless steel. It costs less than $100 but still features in our list of the longest lasting grills.
There are other small and affordable grills that are made to last for years of grilling. The Magma Marine Propane Grill is another example of a small and portable grill. In this case, the grill is designed to be used on a boat. This particular model is made entirely from high quality stainless steel, which helps it to stand up to the challenging conditions in a marine environment.
Even the smallest portable grill can last a long time when properly cared for. The UCO Flatpack Portable Stainless Steel Grill is obviously not the most feature-packed grill, but it is one that is made from stainless steel and that could be excellent for camping when you need to travel light.
With the right care, this is another grill that can potentially last for years. The low cost of this grill also makes it perfect as a backup grill for at home or even to be stowed in your camper.
It doesn’t matter if you need a small grill for travel, or a large grill as your outdoor dining set piece – quality exists at every price point and in every category. Stick to our advice of looking for premium materials and build quality, and you’ll be sure of finding a long lasting grill that is perfect for your needs.
Does Higher Cost Mean That a Grill Will Last Longer?
Cost is often associated with quality, but this is not true in all situations. Many people shop with the idea of you get what you pay for. It makes sense in many scenarios, but it doesn’t always apply to quality.
Take grills as an example. More expensive grills often feature the same quality as affordable grills, with the key difference being the features that they provide. A larger grill uses more materials and components and is therefore more expensive to produce.
Manufacturers also need to recoup their investment in research and design. The cost of a grill is made up from a number of important factors, and this means that price doesn’t always mean better quality.
Again we can use the example of the Smoke Hollow 205 Stainless Steel Grill. From a quality standpoint it features excellent construction and the same materials that are used on a larger grill like the Bull Outdoor Products 69008 Premium Drop in Grill.
While one is definitely more premium, it would be possible to maintain both grills over a similar period of time, with the right amount of care.
A small stainless steel grill that is properly cleaned and stored could potentially last a lifetime; even one that costs less than $100!
How Important is Branding When It Comes to a Long Lasting Grill?
Brands are an important aspect of shopping, and there are a number of reasons why brand loyalty exists. Many people assume that brand loyalty is mostly blind, and does not actually translate to quality. As a discerning consumer, you probably already know that this is not true.
Brands develop a reputation (sometimes over decades of being on the market) through quality, affordability, and other factors like customer service and after sales support. When people respect a brand for its quality, there is usually a valid reason behind it.
Take Weber grills as an example. Weber charcoal grills have been favorites for outdoor cooking for more than 60 years. The reputation of this company was built around affordability, quality, durability, and cooking ability.
If Weber was a brand that couldn’t produce a long lasting grill, then you can guarantee that it wouldn’t have the type of prestige that it has today.
The point here is that you can often trust a brand to create a long lasting grill if there is a long history of quality. However, you still need to be responsible as a consumer for checking materials and other aspects like reviews and customer feedback.
A company with a strong reputation can still release a bad product from time to time, and taking the time to research a product will ensure that you end up with something that meets all of your requirements.
Using Reviews to Determine Whether a Grill is Long Lasting
Online shopping has revolutionized the way that we buy things for our homes. A few decades ago it would have been unheard of to purchase a grill online without ever seeing it in person. Today, there is enough information available online that you can make informed shopping decisions without even leaving the comfort of your home.
Of course, to get to the point of being well informed, you will have to do an adequate amount of research. Finding a reliable review source is one way of ensuring that a grill is long lasting and that it has all of the features that you need. In fact, you’re looking at one of those resources right now.
Another way to further your research is through the use of consumer reviews. Professional reviews go in-depth and can provide you with the key details and full analysis of a product. Consumer reviews are typically less detailed, but they are still valuable. This is because they share information from owners who have needs and expectations that are similar to yours.
When you’ve read through the professional buying guides and reviews, make sure that you also browse customer reviews to find out what people like and don’t like about the grill that you are considering. Consumers often come back to update reviews, so you can find out a lot about durability and the grills that last the longest.
Keep in mind that every owner reviews a product from a different viewpoint. Some customers can negatively score products because of issues that are important to them, even if those same issues are not important to you. Likewise, some positive reviews may overlook some problems that would be concerning to you. Always read more than one consumer review before forming an opinion about a product.
When you combine consumer feedback with the professional reviews found on Premium Grills, you will be able to form a solid idea of the longest lasting grills that are right for you.
What if a Grill Doesn’t Have All of the Best Materials but Still Gets Good Review Scores?
There are exceptions to every rule, and this is true in the gas and charcoal grill market. We have gone into detail on why stainless steel is the best grill material, but does this mean that a grill made from other materials will not be long lasting?
This answer can be complicated and it does depend on the overall quality of the materials that are used.
The Weber Q1000 Liquid Propane Grill is made from heavy duty aluminum, but it still makes it into our list of the longest lasting grills. This is because of the quality of the materials, as well as the overall design and function.
The aluminum is treated with a porcelain enamel so that it can resist high temperatures and corrosion. The cooking grates are made from cast iron, which can be made to last for years with the right care and seasoning (look at any vintage cast iron skillet to see just how long this material can last).
Not every long lasting grill will be made from stainless steel, so don’t be afraid to buy something different if it is within your price range and has good professional and consumer reviews. Even if stainless steel is not the primary material, you can still find a grill that is durable and long lasting.
Be Realistic About What You’re Buying
Unrealistic expectations can lead to short or long term buyer’s remorse. When you are investing in a grill and want something long lasting, you have to be realistic about what you’re buying and the use that it will be getting.
If you only use a grill a few times every year, then even the most affordable grill could become a long lasting grill. If you’re cooking regularly and leave your grill exposed to the elements, then even a high quality grill could be compromised and degrade over time.
Care is just as important as the materials used to manufacture a grill, so make sure that you are performing regular cleaning, and keep your grill covered when it’s not in use. If possible, store your portable grill in a garage or shed when there’s inclement weather. This will help preserve it and ensure that you get the most return from your investment.
By being realistic about your expectations and taking care to protect your grill, you can enjoy it for many seasons to come.
It’s Time to Find the Perfect Long Lasting Grill for You
Your ideal long lasting grill will come down to your desired features, size, and your budget. Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to start shopping for your next grill. Keep in mind what you have learned, and you can always come back to this resource before making your decision.
Remember, stainless steel will always be the most durable material, but it’s possible to get quality aluminum parts or iron parts that have been sealed in enamel, so you’ll need to pay close attention to the complete product description whenever you want the longest lasting grill.