Quick facts about comparing gas BBQs
- Gas BBQs provide instant heat and precise temperature control.
- The most important factors to consider when choosing a gas BBQ are the size of the BBQ and the price tag.
- Freestanding gas BBQs start at around $100 and most premium models top out around the $3,000 mark.
What are my main options?
Gas BBQs typically use LPG, which are the Swap 'n' Go gas bottles you see at your local servo, but most models can also be converted to natural gas and connected to the mains supply.
Most Australians opt to go with a freestanding BBQ for their outdoor area. These come in two varieties:
- Flat-top BBQs. The traditional Aussie barbie, these models can often be seen cooking up sausages at your local sports club or Bunnings. They offer a large cooking surface and are simple to use, while they're also relatively easy to manoeuvre and can fit in a wide range of outdoor areas.
- Hooded BBQs. Hooded BBQs offer extra flexibility for keen outdoor cooks. Their domed lids mean you can do much more than just grilling: you can also roast, smoke and bake dishes to create a variety of mouth-watering dishes. Hooded BBQs also often come with additional features like storage cupboards, side burners, rotisseries and temperature displays. The downside is that they're heavier and harder to move around than flat-top BBQs.
Those are the main choices, but there are also a couple of other options available:
- Portable BBQs. Lightweight and compact, these are designed to be taken with you just about anywhere. They're ideal for camping trips or just picnics in the park.
- Outdoor BBQ kitchens and built-in BBQs. These BBQs are a permanent fixture in your outdoor area. They're large, usually featuring four or six burners, and are often accompanied by large storage and food preparation areas to create a complete outdoor kitchen.
Compare gas BBQs
Updated October 21st, 2019
How to compare gas BBQs
Compare BBQs across the following features to find the best gas BBQ for your needs.
BBQ size matters for a couple of obvious reasons:
- The cooking space will need to be big enough for what you want to cook. Too small and you'll have to cook in batches, too big and you'll be paying for cooking space you don't actually need.
- The BBQ will need to fit in your outdoor area without dominating the space.
Of course, the bigger the BBQ, the more it costs. To find the right-size BBQ for your needs, consider how many people you'll be cooking for on a regular basis and measure the space available in your outdoor area.
Number of burners
The size of the cooking surface influences the number of burners a gas BBQ has:
- Two- or three burners. Suitable for singles or couples who occasionally entertain small groups.
- Four- or five burners. Suitable for most buyers and generally capable of feeding between four and six people quite comfortably.
- Six burners. These larger models will have no trouble cooking food for six or more people.
Some manufacturers make models with as many as eight burners, but these are overkill for most people.
BBQ cooking surfaces come in a variety of materials, including stainless steel, cast iron and enamel. Stainless steel is widely recommended as a good choice because of its ability to cope with high temperatures and prevent rust.
Another factor to consider is the grill-to-hotplate ratio. Many BBQs split this 50:50 but other options are available and the right choice for you will depend on the types of food you cook most often.
Budget is a major factor when buying a BBQ. You can pick up an entry-level two-burner gas BBQ for around $100. Most four-burners fit somewhere in the $160–$1,200 range, while some super-premium models and outdoor BBQ kitchens can set you back up to $6,000.
Ease of use
Check out the BBQ in-store to find out how practical it will be to use. For example, are all controls clearly labelled and easy to reach? Can you open and close the lid without any difficulty? Are all areas of the cooking surface easily accessible? Are there large trays on the side where you can sit plates of food?
Ease of cleaning
Look for any cracks where excess grease may accumulate and be tough to remove. Also check whether the drip tray is easy to remove and will do an adequate job of containing mess.
Gas BBQs typically use electronic or piezo ignition systems. Electronic systems create a spark using a battery, while piezo systems require you to push a button or knob.
Some models come with handy storage drawers and cupboards where you can keep BBQ utensils, cleaning supplies and even condiments.
Check the warranty card to find out what the manufacturer's warranty covers and how long it lasts.
Accessories and other features
Depending on your outdoor cooking needs, you may also want to look for a gas BBQ with one or more of the following accessories:
- Side burners and wok burners
- Warming racks so cooked food can be kept at a suitable temperature until you're ready to eat
- Rotisserie racks
- Smoking racks
- Breakfast plates for cooking things like bacon and eggs
- Pizza ovens
- Built-in light so you can see what you're cooking
- Built-in thermometer for checking the temperature with the hood closed
Gas BBQs vs electric BBQs and charcoal BBQs
Gas isn't the only type of fuel available for your BBQ. Depending on your needs, you may prefer either an electric or charcoal BBQ.
- Electric BBQs. Easy to set up, electric BBQS are simple to use anywhere there's a power point. They also require minimal maintenance, are often easy to transport, and can be a great choice for apartment balconies. However, they tend to have smaller cooking surfaces and they don't produce the same smoky, flame-grilled flavour as other BBQ types. Check out our electric BBQ buying guide for more information.
- Charcoal BBQs. Charcoal BBQs take a while to heat up and can produce a fair bit of smoke, but they're popular with cooks who love their meat to be moist, smoky and delicious. Of course, if you're just looking for a quick and easy way to grill meat and other foods, a charcoal BBQ won't be the right choice for you.
4 things to consider
Make sure to consider the following factors before you buy a gas BBQ:
- Running out of gas. Almost everyone who owns a gas BBQ will have had the unpleasant experience of running out of gas when there's a hotplate full of half-cooked meat in front of you. This is the biggest drawback of using bottled gas, so make sure you keep track of how much gas you have left before inviting all your family and friends over for a barbie.
- Some assembly required. Assembling a BBQ, particularly some larger models, can be a painful chore. If you're the type of person who hates building flatpack furniture, you might want to pay a little extra to get the store to deliver and set up the BBQ for you.
- Ventilation. One issue to be wary of when setting up a gas BBQ is the need for ventilation – gas BBQs should never be used in confined spaces. You should also make sure that you replace any rusty or damaged gas bottles and, if you live in an apartment, check that you're allowed to use a gas BBQ on your balcony.
- BBQ maintenance. Clean your BBQ after each use and remove any excess fat and grease from underneath the cooking surface. A good-quality BBQ cover can also help protect the exterior of your BBQ from the weather.