Best Grills Under 500 Dollars For The Money
Outdoor parties, especially barbecues, are a popular summer pastime, which is why an excellent, fully functional grill is a staple at such events. Now is the time to invest in a model that you can turn to for barbecues and shindigs out-of-doors, and this you can do without even spending over 500 dollars. Here is a helpful guide about the best grills under 500 dollars that will hopefully help you in making sound a decision, plus some of the bestselling units available today.
Factors to consider
If you are looking for a good grill under 500 dollars, it is best if you keep in mind some of this information.
Size actually indicates the heating ability and batch capacity of a grill. Individuals who want to accommodate bigger batches of food obviously require a model that is larger than normal. However, remember that bigger grills also need a substantial amount of energy to heat, thus they are less effective for accommodating smaller quantities outdoors. Frequently when people are shopping for a grill they ask, “How many square inches is it?” Forget that. All the manufacturers include the warming racks in their measurements, and the warming racks greatly differ in size. This renders the sq. inch measurement rather useless when determining how big the grill is. I tell people to stand in front of the grill and visualize what you usually cook, and ask yourself, “Is this grill going to be big enough for what we usually grill?”
The material used in the grill and its thickness is crucial. A grill with thicker walls will hold heat better and is capable of generating even heating. Stainless steel and aluminum models can endure corrosion while those made from cast iron and steel are more prone to rusting. The Akorn Grill by Char-Griller is a prime example of a thick wall BBQ grill that retains heat and uses that heat to radiantly cook the food.
The cooking grills typically are made from either chrome plated steel, porcelain coated steel, cast iron, porcelain coated cast iron and stainless steel. The chrome grills are found on lower end grills and are used to keep the price down. They are harder to clean than a porcelain coated grill and tend to rust fairly easily.
Porcelain coated steel grills resist rusting and are easy to clean. Cast iron grills hold the heat extremely well and heat very evenly, but must be kept seasoned with cooking oil to avoid rusting. This can be a challenge on a grill that is used and stored outside. Porcelain coated cast iron has the benefits of cast iron wrapped in an easy to clean and maintain package. If you get grills with porcelain coatings make sure to only use a brass bristle brush to clean the grills as the brass is relatively soft and will not scratch the porcelain off of the grills.
Stainless Steel grills will last a very long time, but don’t hold the heat or sear as well as cast iron. If you are buying a barbecue with stainless steel grills make sure the grill rods are thick and heavy if you like to sear your steak so that it is left medium rare in the center, or if you grill fish fillets, which also should be seared. If most of what you do is cooked indirectly or relatively slow (chicken, pork, roasts), then stainless steel would be an easy to maintain, long lasting choice.
A grill may be compact and travel friendly, permanent or semi-permanent. Compact grills are light and feature wheels so they can easily be moved. Permanent grills are those built straight into a supporting assembly like a brick platform, while semi-permanent ones feature wheels as well but are heavier or supplemented with other features that are not typically aimed for frequent transfers.
Kinds of grills
Grills are grouped by the energy source they use.
Grills that use charcoal or wood as energy are better choices because of the smoke they generate, which can add flavor to the food being grilled. Grills are often constructed with a straightforward design, but they are usually prone to rusting. They offer a steady resource of heat, however they allow less control over the heat. Read our reviews on the best charcoal grills.
Grills which make use of gas or propane to produce heat offer more direct, accurate control over the heating. They also do not need adding or a removing a heat source unlike charcoal grills with every use. Read our reviews on the best gas grills.
A note on gas burners:
If you are going with a typical 2 burner grill, make sure the burners are in an “H” shape and not an “I”. The “H” burners spread the heat out more evenly across the expanse of your grill. “I” shaped burners tend to heat only down the center of the grill. Stamped stainless steel burners will last longer than aluminized steel burners, cast iron longer than stamped steel, cast brass longer than cast iron, and cast stainless steel longest of all. The Weber Genesis features a tubular stainless steel burner that might not look very sturdy, but the design of the barbecue protects the burner and they usually enjoy a relatively long life.
Best Gas Grills Under 500 Dollars
The Char-Broil Classic gas grill includes features that will easily accommodate bigger batches of food, recommended for people who love throwing cookouts and barbecues. It includes a big 480 sq. in. cooking space and 180 sq. in. swing away warming rack. Now you can grill your favorite food, like burgers and hotdogs .on this nifty device; its formidable, hard-wearing burners are capable of heating up in a fast way to allow more grilling. The Char-Broil Classic 4-burner Gas Grill covers all the basics when it comes to gas-powered BBQ grills, and offers the flexibility of a side panel. While the stainless-steel construction gets the job done, some pieces like the plastic wheels seem out of place. Overall, the price of the grill, combined with its ease of assembly, make this one of the more popular grills in its class.
- Includes the char-broil convective cooking system
- Includes electronic igniter
- Includes porcelain-coated grates made from cast iron
- Includes side burner and lid-mounted temperature gauge
- Include burner tent and stainless steel burners
- Features a swing-away warming rack
The Blackstone Griddle Cooking Station is the perfect item for cooking out-of-doors. It is capable of cooking up several batches and you can even use it to cook for yourself at home. It includes 4 autonomous burners with low-high temperature settings that give wide variety of cooking options. It is hard wearing and strong due to its steel frame, powder-coated construction. Its top is detachable for easier cleanup and its large, rolled-steel surface maintains and circulates heat evenly for perfectly cooked dishes. It’s among one of the best grills under 500 dollars that primarily functions as a griddle.
- Features a quick-ignition button
- Includes 756 sq. in. cooking surface
- Griddle top is easily removeable for fast, simple maintenance
- Made from strong steel powder-coated material
- Includes 4 heavy-duty caster wheels
- Includes stainless steel burners and rolled-steel surface
- Includes 4 autonomous burners
- Has 60,000 BTUs
Best Charcoal Grills Under 500 Dollars
The Char-Griller 06620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker (what a mouthful!) is a modern take on a classic cooking style. This griller is specially crafted for kamado cooking and is a much easier, more durable alternative to classic ceramic kamado grillers. With its thick insulation and cast iron cooking surface, I couldn’t wait to try this new version of classic kamado cooking! You’ll be satisfied with the Kamado Kooker’s smokey flavor and consistent cooking performance. Just be gentle with the lid, as there are a very small amount of reports about the latch breaking. Overall, you are likely to get real value for your dollar in this purchase with an affordable, quality kamado-style grill that makes food taste like it was made in a grill that cost double the price. It’s definitely one of the best grills under 500 dollars as Kamado-style grills go.
- 306 square inches of cooking space
- 165 square inches of warming rack
- Insulated design for juicier meat
- Steel cart with rubber wheels
- Locking lid
- Easy dump ash pan
The Weber Performer Deluxe (15501001) charcoal grill has a unique Touch-N-Go gas ignition system that takes the hassle out of starting a charcoal grill and gets your briquettes lit at the touch of a button. The grill also features heavy-duty “Gourmet BBQ System” cooking grates that comes in two parts. This can be paired with the Weber Gourmet BBQ System collection.
When the cooking is done, the clean up is no longer inconvenient or messy because of the One-Touch Cleaning system of the porcelain enameled bowl and lid, as well as the high-capacity ash catcher. The Weber Performer Deluxe goes above and beyond expectations for charcoal grilling. With all of the advanced features included with this grill, you can try all types of grilling recipes with ease.
Made from high quality products, you are getting a reliable and long-lasting grill, along with a warranty to cover any issues. As such, this Weber grill receives our first Editor’s Choice Award for High End Charcoal Grills, and may be the best grill under 500 dollars fueled by charcoal.
- 22-inch diameter porcelain-enameled bowl and lid
- 363 square inch cooking area
- Electronic Touch-N-Go gas ignition system
- Aluminum steel One-Touch cleaning system
- Removable, high-capacity, aluminum ash catcher
- Removable LCD cook timer and built-in lid thermometer
- Hinged grilling grate with interchangeable center part
- Two charcoal trays for indirect grilling
When thinking of dual-zone grills, one usually thinks of gas. The ability to adjust various burners allows you to cook different types of foods at varying temperatures, ensuring that your meal comes out cooked just right, and on time. Being able to do the same with a charcoal grill gives you the best of both worlds…control and charcoal! The Dyna-Glo Dual Zone Premium Charcoal grill offers a solid construction, two work-space shelves, dual charcoal shelves for independent heat levels, a double-walled lid, and 576 inches of primary cooking. The Dyna-Glo dual-zone Premium Charcoal Grill is a conversation piece and a great performer. It’s got the “wow” factor, and the features we’d expect, with a price that’s extremely reasonable. For granular control of mixed-food grilling, there are few better charcoal grills under 500 dollars in terms of flexibility.
- (2) charcoal basket adjustment tray systems for the ultimate heat control options and cooking flexibility
- (4) cast iron porcelain enameled heavy duty cooking grates retain heat to sear foods and lock in natural juices
- Stainless steel lid assembly with double-wall liner, Stainless steel smoke stack with adjustable flu cap, side vents
- Heavy duty 8″ resin wheels with 3″ locking casters provide excellent maneuverability, side shelves, storage basket and bottle opener
- 816 square Inch of total cooking area offers cooking space for all your grilling needs; Grill up to 30 hamburgers at one time
- Protect your grill with a custom-fit Dyna-Glo premium cover – Model # DG576CC (Sold Separately)
Best Portable Grills Under 500 Dollars
You might expect a travel grill like this to be an afterthought for a grill manufacturer, and just a gimmick product to sell to weekend RV warriors. But you’d be wrong. This compact two burner gas grill hangs with the best of them, with top shelf materials, even heating, and great features. You’ll look at compact grills very different after looking at this offering from Napoleon. Napoleon delivers again with quality and craftsmanship that is on a completely different level. This portable gas grill may be a little pricey, and a little heavy, but it just oozes luxury, and its performance justifies the price tag. It’s one of the best grills under 500 dollars in terms of portability and flexibility that’s powered by gas.
- 2 burner portable grill with up to 12,000 BTUs
- Total cooking area: 285 sq. In
- Dual stainless steel burners for direct and indirect grilling
- Porcelain zed cast iron wave cooking grids for consistent, even heat
- Weather guard high top cast aluminum lid
- Optional quality stand
The Weber Charcoal Go-Anywhere Grill is perfect for travel. You can take this on your camping, tailgating or fishing trips with friends and family. This is a top-notch, durable model that has handy features so grilling will be a breeze. It has lid locks that can be turned into strong legs so it can be positioned on flat surfaces. It also features a handle so carrying and moving it from one place to another will be easy.
- Includes base and lid made from porcelain
- Has a 160 sq. ft. cooking area
- Includes strong steel cooking grate
- Includes company cookbook
We love Lodge’s Sportsman Grill is a great choice for outdoor events. It is pre-seasoned with vegetable oil so you can use it right away. What makes this such a great grill for outdoor cooking is its weather-resistant design. It has a larger area for cooking so users can accommodate large batches for parties and other events. It has a draft door as well to regulate the grate’s surface heating temperature while its carry handle allows for fast and simple transport, making it a travel-friendly grill.
- Hibachi-style charcoal grill
- Includes flip-down door for easy charcoal access
- Includes 2 adjustable heights
- Includes strong grates and grill body
- Features pre-seasoned grill
- Ready to use, no other prep work needed
- Weighs 32 pounds
The Texsport company produces a series of superior camping and outdoor cooking equipment for years so you can say they are experts in terms of alfresco cooking. Their Heavy Duty Over Fire camp grill is a constant favorite among active outdoor enthusiasts due to its quality, hard-wearing material and steel-mesh grill top. It has been engineered in a way that it can withstand heavier weight from the likes of cast iron cooking equipment.
- Welded with superior-quality steel
- Includes a steel mesh grill top for better support
- Designed to withstand heavy cooking devices
- Its legs can be folded underneath for easier storage
Fox Outfitters Quick Grill Medium
The Fox Outfitters Quick Grill is meant to be compact, portable, easy to use, and effective. It folds into a compact carrying case and would easily fit into a backpack or kayak. Its design negates the need for a charcoal chimney, and, as a result, charcoal briquettes will start fast and the grill will be ready for food very quickly. This folding, compact, portable charcoal grill is my new favorite, must-have accessory for trips to the river, kayaking, or camping. It’s a brilliant design, and it works just as it should. When it folds down, it’s less than three inches thick, and comes with a soft carrying case. It’ll fit in your backpack or your kayak. The price is a bargain, and as such, we highly recommend it.
- Easy to use folding grill set. Folds down for convenient storage and portability. Extremely to set up.
- Made from premium food grade stainless steel. For use with charcoal and wood. Includes carry bag.
- Grill size: 12″ x 12″; Great for burgers, fish, steak, hot dogs, corn and more.
- Assembled size: 13″ x 13″ x 8.5″; Folded size: 13.5″ x 7.25″ x 2.25″
- Perfect for camping, backpacking, picnics, tailgate parties, rv camping, trailers, parks, and grilling in small spaces.