November 18, 2018

Natural Gas vs. Propane or Charcoal Grill – Choosing Your Outdoor Grill

Natural Gas Grill Vs. Propane/ Charcoal Grills:

One of the most under-utilized spaces of any home is the backyard. The backyard is the perfect place for spending quality time away from phone or TV screens, and to create lasting memories within a family or group of friends.  One of the most traditional, community building activities centered around the backyard is a good-old-fashion barbecue. And yes- vegetarians can enjoy this American past time too! Throw some veggie burgers/dogs on the grill so everyone can participate!

When it comes to choosing your outdoor grill to purchase there are many factors which should be taken into account- How big is your space? What is your budget? What kinds of features do you want? Should it be mobile or should it be a permanent fixture?

First things first:

Natural Gas or Propane? A hot debate between grillers around the country. They both have their advantages and disadvantages; its up to you to decide which option best fits your lifestyle needs. Let’s examine the two, starting with a natural gas grill:

A natural gas grill utilizes a residential gas line for fuel, unlike propane gas grills which must be connected to refillable propane tanks. While natural gas grills can be more expensive than charcoal or propane gas grills, they do have some advantages over other types of grills.


Cooking with gas grills is easy and convenient. They’re ready to be used for cooking almost immediately after being turned on. With natural gas grills, maintenance is even more convenient, as there’s no need to refill and replace propane tanks. This can be advantageous, especially in instances where the grill will be used continuously.


When choosing your outdoor grill, natural gas is typically less expensive than propane gas. Although it’s not as efficient as propane gas, in many parts of the country the cost of natural gas is significantly less. It can sometimes be as much as one-third cheaper than propane.


Natural gas grills don’t use charcoal or briquettes,, thus there’s no messy ash cleanup afterwards. Additionally, natural gas burns cleaner and contains less contaminants than propane gas. There’s also less worry about fumes burning off from the propane gas, which can be transferred to the food and inhaled by anyone in close proximity to the grilling area.


On the subject of taste, a study conducted a while back, participants were presented with hamburgers and steak cooked on gas and charcoal units. No one could tell the difference between the charcoal or gas when it came to the hamburgers, but they could tell the difference with the steak. The charcoal grill steak had a distinct smoke flavor.


To decide what kind of grill is right for you, consider where the grill is going to sit. A small patio or covered area is not the place for a large charcoal grill. Electric grills produce no flare-ups and are safer in smaller areas. Gas grills do produce flare-ups and need to be away from any structure to avoid those pesky house fires. Charcoal can be lit with an electric starter and therefore, used with virtually no open flame.


Finally, there is the issue of cost. Gas grills are generally more expensive than electric or charcoal; charcoal being the cheapest. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money then charcoal might be the answer. However, charcoal is the more expensive fuel. You can easily spend $5.00USD a cookout on charcoal, while gas might cost around $.20USD per cookout. Charcoal won’t save you money in the long run.

Propane contains more energy than natural gas – propane contains 2,500 BTUs per cubic feet as compare to 1,000 BTUs for natural gas. Propane will give you all the heat you need, and then some, to cook your favorite BBQ dishes. For this and other reasons some feel propane is a purer barbecue experience.

While it’s embarrassing to run out of propane in the middle of a barbecue, when choosing your outdoor grill it is important to know, most grills have a gauge that lets you know when you’re getting low. Propane is readily available at supermarkets and convenience stores alike, so even if you forget to monitor your supply and run out, it’s only a temporary inconvenience. In some areas you might even have a propane guy who comes around regularly to fill up your tanks – hardly an inconvenience at all.

Contact All County Landscape-Hardscape

While considering these options may seem confusing at first- All County Landscape-Hardscape is here to make the process a little easier. We’re here to answer any questions you may have, and meet any design goals you may have in mind. Look at our gallery of backyard barbecue grills for some inspiration!

Which ever you choose, the backyard is the perfect place for building family bonds or even making friends in the community. We’re here every step of the way! Give us a call for your consultation and let us help you design the backyard of your dreams.