The selection of grills these days is so big that buying a new one becomes quite a challenge because we don’t know what to choose.
Back in the day it wasn’t such a problem, there was a charcoal grill available that was manufactured by several brands, including the perfectly known Weber manufacturer. These days the diversity of types of grills and the number of brands on the market forces everyone considering a new grill to do some serious analysis.
In this article I will take a careful look at and compare pellet grill vs gas grill.
Which of them is easier to use and to clean, and which of them is better for cooking steaks, hamburgers, ribs, pork shoulders, briskets etc.
You will learn all of that by reading this guide in which I have listed all the upsides and downsides of both types of grills.
Pellet grill vs gas grill
First and foremost, I’d like to explain the issue of naming conventions for the pellet grill and pellet smoker. Both names mean the same thing and both are widely used despite the grill construction being much closer to a smoker than a typical grill.
A pellet grill is versatile and very easy to use, it’s a set & forget style smoker in the full meaning of the word. In this regard it looks a little like an oven where you also need to only set the temperature, provide the fuel and you’re done.
Based on that, you can now easily conclude that a more accurate name is “pellet smoker” despite many people using the word “grill”.
Meanwhile, a gas grill specializes in what every grill should, which is cooking/grilling with direct heat (it also makes it possible to cook with indirect heat).
Both grills are very fast and easy to use, as well as versatile and easy to clean.
Pellet grills cost a little bit more and it’s hard to find something at a lower price, but when it comes to gas grills, the offer is so developed that everyone can find something for themselves in a price range from as low as about $200 to several thousand.
What I Like About Pellet Grills
- They are easy to use and fast, all you have to do is select the temperature and press the start button.
- You don’t have to worry about temperature control, all is controlled by a system that adds pellet (fuel) to the furnace in the right moment in order to maintain a fixed temperature.
- Despite working best as a smoker for slow smoking, they also make it possible to cook, roast and grill.
What I don’t Like About Pellet Grills
- It is the most expensive grill for those who wish to start their adventure with cooking on a pellet. For comparison, for the price of the cheapest basic model you could buy a small yet good gas grill or a solid kettle grill from Weber with 10 years of warranty.
- They rely on electricity, it’s not a problem in the backyard but away from home you have to make sure you have access to electricity.
- They have a lot of electronics which means that when something breaks down, you won’t be able to cook, the repairs also tend to be costly.
What I Like About Gas Grills
- A great choice when it comes to fast and hot grilling of steaks, hamburgers or wieners.
- It reaches very high temperatures in a short time, which makes it perfect if you don’t have much time.
- The offer of gas grills is so big that everyone will find something for themselves, even the most demanding person. A lot of models have very interesting features that you won’t find in any other type of grill (such as a sear, smoker & rotisserie burner)
- Gas grills are very easy to use and clean
What I don’t Like About Gas Grills
- Compared to charcoal grills, they lose due to absence of such intense smoky flavor of food.
- Although smoking is possible here, it actually lacks a lot compared to what a typical smoker has to offer (there is actually no point comparing in this regard).
- You have to remember about checking the amount of gas in the tank or to keep a spare one around because an empty tank in the middle of cooking is the worst possible scenario that could happen to you. On top of that, a problem to many people is safety when it comes to gas.
Gas vs Pellet Grills head to head comparison
I think that now you know more or less the characteristics of both types of grills, now the time has come to get them together and compare the major characteristics that catch the eye of each of us.
Ease and speed of use
In both cases there’s nothing to complain about, both types of grills are known for their incredibly easy use and speed.
In grilling, most time is spent on lighting the fire, so it’s no wonder that gas grills and pellet grills have become so popular, they are simply very good in this regard. All you have to do is start the burner or set the temperature and press the button when it comes to a pellet grill.
This is all as simple as operating a gas/electric stove, so even a newbie won’t have any problems after a few minutes of using both grills.
The gas grill is known for hot grilling, which means it can easily achieve a temperature of about 500 degrees F, better models can achieve even higher temperatures (especially those with a sear burner).
A downside of gas, on the other hand, is fairly difficult or borderline impossible maintenance of a low temperature that is perfect for smoking. It is only possible when utilizing the right techniques but it isn’t as comfortable as in case of the competitive pellet grill.
The pellet smoker can also achieve high temperatures up to about 450 or even 500 degrees F. However, it works best as a smoker at lower temperatures, between 200-350~ F.
When it comes to gas grills, keeping a fixed low temperature is very difficult and it’s no wonder seeing how this type of grill was designed with hot cooking in mind.
For cooking in perfect conditions, the pellet smoker was made. Thanks to its special construction and technology utilized by these grills, you don’t have to worry about a fixed temperature. High quality pellet grills can maintain a stable temperature with fluctuations of only +/- 5 F.
When cooking on gas, the food is very delicious but it doesn’t have what charcoal or wood can give, for example.
When it comes to the pellet, there’s a distinct wood pellet flavor but it shouldn’t be compared to the one characteristic to charcoal. A huge advantage is the availability of different types of pellet, which makes the flavor of food differ slightly depending on the type of wood pellet.
Cooking on a pellet is cooking 100% on wood, so you should have no doubts when it comes to that. When it comes to gas grills, it is possible to buy a smoker box and wood chips separately in order to also give the meat at least a slightly smoky wood flavor.
Versatility and accessories
It is definitely gas grills that are the most versatile, but I have to emphasize that they cost a whole lot. Either way, if you have a big budget and like gadgets and experimenting in the kitchen, you should direct your eyes towards the gas grill.
For example, check out the Weber Summit series, which is equipped with as many as 4 additional dedicated burners that you won’t find in any other type of grill. On top of that, you can add to that a whole lot of accessories sold separately.
When it comes to pellet grills, you can also expect a lot of interesting features but sadly, these things aren’t cheap, either. The main difference is that a pellet smoker offers a lot of solutions that expand the smoking possibilities.
You need to carefully analyze what is most important to you, smoking or grilling.
Overall the price range is large in both cases, and it’s similar when it comes to the maximum prices.
A significant difference in favor of gas grills, however, can be seen at the lowest price bracket. It is the price category for those who don’t have much money or are simply buying this type of grill for the first time and wish to see if it will work for them.
Even the cheapest pellet grill costs several times as much as the cheapest gas grill.
For example, a simple gas grill can be bought for as low as $100 whereas for a pellet grill you will have to pay $300 if you want to start.
Malfunctions and warranty
Looking objectively, the pellet grill contains many more technical and complicated elements without which it’s impossible for the grill to function.
When one of the elements responsible for the functioning of the grill malfunctions, you can forget about cooking. The digital controller, burner, spinning spiral, ventilator and the entire complicated system responsible for calculating when to add fuel – all of that can break down.
When it comes to a gas grill, the only actual problem might be a burner. Each of us has come across gas ovens and we know that these things, when well-made, can last for a really long time.
In both situations, a lot of progress has been done throughout the latest decades, which lowered the change of malfunction quite significantly (it applies to good quality grills that cost a little more).
It is proven by the fact that Weber offers whole 10 years of warranty for their gas grills, but when it comes to pellet grills, it is about 5-6 years at best.
I tried to list the essential information so that you get a clear overview from both sides. Now it’s up to you to think about which type of grill better suits you.
It is actually hard to talk about a fair comparison here as these are completely different styles of grills.
The gas grill was mainly designed for quick and hot grilling. The pellet grill on the other hand specializes in incredibly easy and comfortable smoking, plus it offers the woody flavor of meat.
Both grills are very easy to use and quick, plus both work great at what they were designed for.
Now it’s your move to make a conscious choice of what will better suit you based on what you’ve read here.