If a new grill tops your home improvement wish list this year, you won’t find any shortage of options. Whether you’re in the market for a gas grill, pellet grill, or a familiar charcoal kettle model, you’ll find there are grills for sale to meet any need. To find the right pick for your patio or backyard, you’ll need to decide what type of fuel fits your needs, and consider size, style, and price.
With so many factors to consider, grill shopping can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Our guide to Ace Hardware grills can help clear the smoke from the air and have you cooking (on your new grill!) in no time.
What are the most common types of grills?
As American as apple pie, the family cookout is as sure a sign of winter’s end as the arrival of songbirds outside your window. For as long as there have been backyard barbecues, there have been debates over which type of grill is best. In truth, the best grill is different for everyone, depending on their needs. Propane grills might top the list for those who prize convenience. At the same time, those seeking to infuse their meals with quintessential smoky flavor might prefer charcoal or ceramic grill.
Before you hit the grill aisle, check out our breakdown of the most common types of grills and their benefits below so you can find the right fit for you and your family.
Natural gas or propane grills
Natural gas and propane grills are popular choices for backyard barbecuers. These cart-style grills are easy to use and allow you to strictly control the cooking heat using external knobs similar to those on your kitchen stove. Inside the grill, gas burners ignite beneath the cooking surface and create an even, easily controlled temperature.
Natural gas grills connect to your home’s gas line, while refillable propane tanks fuel propane grills. However, many gas grills can accept both fuel options.
Natural gas is often less expensive over the useful life of a grill. Still, it lacks the portability that makes propane gas the more popular choice. When you opt for propane tanks, though, you have to prepare in advance to be sure you don’t head out to grill only to be greeted by an empty tank.
While Weber’s kettle-style design is the most recognizable charcoal grill, it’s only a small corner of the market. Charcoal grills can come with all the bells and whistles or with none at all, but they all offer the traditional smoky flavor you imagine when you think of grilled food.
The smoky flavor you know and love comes from lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes, and attaining it takes slightly more work than if you cooked on a gas grill. Lighting and pre-heating the charcoal requires time and patience, and after grilling, you’ll need to clean and dispose of the ash.
Unlike electric and gas grills, on most charcoal grills you adjust the oxygen coming in via a damper or vent to control the temperature. While some models include a lid thermometer to monitor the cooking temperature, you should always use a meat thermometer, as well, regardless of your fuel source.
Charcoal grills can achieve extremely high temperatures, making them ideal for searing and browning. Their design also makes it possible to smoke foods in them, and manipulating the briquettes below the grate can create hot spots and cooler areas that allow for indirect cooking.
While many popular charcoal grills are made of metal, ceramic grills are developing an equally large fanbase. Big Green Egg grills, in particular, are a type of charcoal grill with a reputation for versatility. Ceramic tolerates high heat but can also heat to low temperatures for smoking and slow cooking. The ovoid body of this ceramic grill also allows for a wider range of cooking methods thanks to greater air circulation.
An electric grill is an excellent solution if you live in a place that doesn’t permit you to have a gas or charcoal grill. Electric grills are often the perfect choice for those with limited space for outdoor cooking. Whether you opt for a small, tabletop option or a standing model, all you need is a nearby outlet to start cooking on an electric grill.
Electric grills can be relied upon to heat up quickly and cook your food evenly. You may not get the same cooking flavors from an electric grill as you would with some others. However, you can ensure flavorful dishes with the help of liquid smoke, basting sauces, and marinades. Electric grills require almost no prep time and are easy to clean up, making them ideal for weeknight meals when you don’t have a lot of time.
Pellet grills are often described as having the best of both worlds. Though they use wood pellets to cook your food, they are powered by electricity, giving you the taste of wood-cooked meals with the ease of propane or electric grill. Wood pellets come in a medley of flavors, such as mesquite, apple, cherry, hickory, and more. These pellets are automatically pushed into the grill as needed by an auger to maintain a preset temperature and disperse the heat and smoke throughout the cooking chamber.
Achieving competition-worthy flavor from a wood pellet grill doesn’t require a professional, though. Wood pellet grills are easy to use, so even first-time grillers can achieve mouth-watering results. In fact, wood pellet grills can achieve rotisserie-style results without a rotisserie, and you may find even turning your food is unnecessary thanks to the outstanding heat dispersion of your pellet grill.
You can smoke meat using charcoal, pellet, or ceramic grill. However, for many barbecue enthusiasts, nothing beats the taste of meat cooked in a dedicated smoker. Whether you’re in the market for a small, bullet-style smoker or want to invest in a large capacity, trailer-mounted smoker, the mechanics remain the same. Smokers may be electrically powered or require gas or charcoal fuel. Wood chips or chunks are added to a tray that sits above the heat source, and food is placed on a rack above that where it’s cooked at low temperatures for an extended time. The result? Fall off the bone tender, exquisitely-smoked meat that will have neighbors lining up for an invitation to your next cookout.
Our favorite brands of grills
There are plenty of brands to choose from when you’re shopping Owenhouse ACE Hardware grills, including best-selling models from our favorite manufacturers Big Green Egg, Traeger, and Weber.
Across Asia, charcoal-fueled earthenware cooking pots have been used for thousands of years. It wasn’t until after World War II, when Americans stationed in Japan returned home with these instruments, that their use caught on in the US. In 1974, serviceman and entrepreneur Ed Fisher drew inspiration from these clay cookers when designing and selling the first Big Green Egg ceramic grill.
Over the past decades, Big Green Egg has expanded its product line to include ceramic grills of all sizes using the same construction that made the original a hit. Thanks to its ceramic construction, food cooked on a Big Green Egg takes on all the smoky flavor of a traditional charcoal grill but is more tender and juicy.
In 1985, Joe Traeger developed the first pellet grill and received a patent for it the following year. Nearly 40 years have passed, and Traeger is now the largest manufacturer of wood pellet grills and a worldwide bestseller. The modern lineup of Traeger grills gives home cooks the best of both worlds: all the delicious flavor and innovative design of the original, plus high-tech amenities that make it easier than ever to create mouthwatering meals.
Traeger also supplies wood pellets explicitly designed for their grills. All of their wood flavors come from American mills and meet Traeger’s exacting standards, ensuring perfect smoke and flavor.
Weber grills have long been considered a mainstay of the summer barbecue. Their classic kettle design was introduced in 1952. They have since enjoyed a reputation as one of the most reliable and trusted names in the industry.
Over the years, Weber’s line of grills has expanded. It now includes a range of gas, electric, portable, wood pellet, and charcoal grill options to meet every family’s needs. A comprehensive warranty backs all of their grills.
When it comes to deciding which grill is best for you and your family, it’s best to arm yourself with knowledge. Learning the basics of grill models and manufacturers only go so far, however. You also need to take into account your individual preferences and circumstances. To narrow down your options, it can be helpful to list the features that are important to you as well as those you hope to avoid. If you still need help making a decision, why not tap your local expert for advice?
At Owenhouse Ace Hardware, our team of knowledgeable associates is on hand and ready to help! Call or stop by our Downtown or West locations and see why our Bozeman neighbors have trusted us to meet all their home improvement and hardware needs since 1897.
Related Departments & Services
- For grill cleaners and other cleaning supplies, look in our Cleaning aisle.
- Both Owenhouse locations also carry new, full Blue Rhino propane tanks, available for purchase or exchange.
- Purchase a new, empty Manchester propane tank and have it filled at the bulk propane tank at Owenhouse West.
- Get everything you need to keep your backyard looking great in our Lawn & Garden department.