Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill (Which is Better?)

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Are you trying to decide between a pellet grill and a gas grill and are not sure what the differences are? Don’t worry, because we have all the information you need here.

In this TheGrillingDad.com guide, you will discover:

  • The main difference between a pellet grill and a gas grill
  • What a pellet grill is best for
  • What a gas grill is best for
  • And much more!
burgers over a flaming grill

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Pellet Grill or Gas Grill?

When it comes to deciding between a pellet grill and a gas grill, you should consider that they are quite different in terms of the results they provide. Depending on what your personal preferences are, taking a closer look will help you decide which one is right for you.

The pellet grill and gas grill both provide you with the opportunity to create an authentic outdoor cooking experience. They also offer a variety of packages and accessories that you can add on for better convenience.

About Pellet Grills

Pellet grills are the perfect choice for those who want an authentic smoky flavor in their favorite meats. The wood pellets that are used for fuel in these grills create an experience that is more like what you would get from a smoker.

Additionally, the pellet grill is designed to cook at a slower rate of speed to provide you with food that has a robust flavor throughout. Most people who use a pellet grill do so using lower temperatures to make this happen.

You may also want to consider that pellet grills are typically more expensive to purchase than other grills. If affordability is an issue for you, this may cause you to lean more towards a gas grill.

About Gas Grills

Gas grills are the better option for those who want the convenience and speed that this type of grill provides. This is because the gas grill is designed to cook at higher temperatures which means you can finish your grilling in less time.

Not only does a gas grill cook at a faster rate of speed, you typically do not have to wait a long time for the grill to preheat. This is because, with gas, the heat is almost instantaneous.

If you are looking for a grill that fits your budget, the gas grill may be the best choice for you since they are more affordable than other grills. The only added expense with a gas grill is the fuel you will have to purchase to keep it running, which can be readily found.

Still have questions? Keep reading below because we have all the details you need to help you understand the difference between a pellet grill and a gas grill.

comparing the pros of pellet grills vs gas grills.

Pellet Grills and Gas Grills At a Glance

While many people prefer a pellet grill over a gas grill, plenty of others say the gas grill is the better option. These reasons typically boil down to the personal preferences and needs of the individual griller.

Here at TheGrillingDad.com, we prefer the pellet grill for the simple reason that it provides a better authentic barbecue experience. But, don’t take our word for it, let’s take a look at some of the main differences between the pellet grill and gas grill so you can decide what is best for you.

Pellet Grill: At a Glance

If you have been immersed in the world of outdoor grilling for any length of time, then you know that most people refer to pellet grills as smokers. This is because of the preferred method of low and slow cooking that results in a smoky flavor in your food.

The pellet grill works by using electricity to provide power to a convection fan that then pushes the heat and smoke up to the grill grates. This is done through a process that includes churning the wood pellets with the use of an auger motor until they are ignited.

Keep in mind that while the unit works from the use of electricity, it is the wood pellets that make this grill a better choice. This is because wood pellets are the sawdust from some of your favorite woods that can provide you with an authentic flavor for your meat.

Pros of a Pellet grill:

  • Versatile – the pellet grill allows you to vary the methods you use to cook your favorite meals. You can choose to grill, smoke, roast, and bake as you see fit.
  • Easy clean-up – pellet grills are simple to maintain and keep clean after each use. Since they use wood pellets that are burned in the cooking process, the most you have to do is empty the fire pot occasionally.
  • Less expensive to operate – since pellets are typically less expensive than charcoal, you can save when you have to buy more. Additionally, the pellet grill uses convection fans to move the heat around which makes it more fuel efficient.
  • Set it and forget it – once you set everything up, it takes about 15 minutes or so for the grill to heat up and then you are ready to go. All you have to do then is put your favorite meal on the grill and relax until it is finished.

Cons of a Pellet grill:

  • More expensive grill – pellet grills are typically not the cheapest grills on the market. This means you will likely pay $400 or more for a good pellet grill. You can find some pellet grills under $500, though.
  • Wood pellets may be difficult to find – you most likely will not find wood pellets very easily, which means that you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to order some. Your best bet is to order your pellets online which can take a few days to arrive.
  • Not as portable – since pellet grills run off of electricity, they have to be near an electrical outlet to operate. This may not be as convenient if you are wanting a grill that you can take with you on camping trips.
  • Doesn’t work well on high heat – pellet grills are designed to work with the low and slow method you would want when smoking meats. This means that if you want a grill that will give you a nice sear, you may want to get a different grill.

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Gas Grill: At a Glance

Gas grills are designed to use either propane or natural gas depending on the brand and model of the grill you choose. Because of this, they are most commonly used when high temperatures are called for.

Since gas grills are used for high-temperature cooking, whatever you are grilling will finish in a shorter amount of time. Although the temperature can be adjusted if needed for more indirect cooking needs, most people use a gas grill to save time.

A gas grill operates by using a container that is typically located under the grill to feed gas through a hose up to the grill itself. Whether your grill uses infrared burners or open flame, you will typically not place food directly on top of the heat source.

In some cases, especially when the grill uses an open flame, you may find that they require the use of briquettes. These are used to take in the direct heat of the flame and therefore pass the heat to your food.

Pros of using a gas grill:

  • Easy to use – since gas is used to heat the grill, you can begin cooking almost immediately after igniting the burners. This is because most gas grills operate using an open flame.
  • Easy to clean – Since gas is the main heat source in a gas grill, you often do not have a lot of clean-up to deal with. The most you may have to clean is any remnants of food left on the grates themselves.
  • Less expensive – gas grills are much better for those who want a grill but also need to stay within a certain budget. You can typically find a wide range of prices depending on the bells and whistles you want. 
  • Great for high-temperature grilling – most people who cook outdoors want the authentic barbeque flavor for their foods. A gas grill comes close to providing that flavor since they are designed to cook your food at high temperatures.

Cons of using a gas grill:

  • The flavor of food lacks smokiness – if you are looking for a smoky flavor in your food, you may want to choose a different grill. A gas grill is not designed to produce a smoky flavor that you may find in a pellet or charcoal grill.
  • Possible safety concerns – since this type of grill operates by using gas, there is always a risk to your safety. This is because a gas grill requires an open space for better ventilation and needs to be clear of anything that may be flammable.
  • Heat control – some grillers say that the heat retention in a gas grill is not as great since they require a lot of ventilation. This means that while you can cook at high temperatures, you will not be able to get a smoker-type environment.
  • Temperature control – while the temperature controls can be more accurate with a gas grill, finding the right temperature may be a challenge, at least initially. This means that when you are just starting with a gas grill, your food may suffer in quality.

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Whether you choose to use a gas grill or a pellet grill, you should always take the time to do your research. This is because most people have certain requirements they are looking for in a grill, so reading through the pros and cons can be most helpful.

Pellet Grill and Gas Grill Comparison

The differences and similarities between a pellet grill and a gas grill can help you make the best decision for your purchase. Taking a closer look at how they compare overall in key areas can make the biggest difference for you and your choice.

Affordability

For most people, the price of a grill is an important factor when deciding which one they will ultimately purchase. This is because when it comes down to it in the end, most people want to stay within their budget to make it worthwhile.

Pellet grills tend to be more expensive than other grills mostly because of the added features they require to function properly. This type of grill uses an electric system that operates the function of moving the wood pellets through the grill and thus can be more expensive to build.

Gas grills tend to be less expensive than other grills since they do not require all of the bells and whistles. A gas grill operates by using a fuel source, typically purchased in a tank at your local hardware store, and can be ready to use in a matter of minutes.

While there are inexpensive options, some gas grills can be upwards of $2,000 and more. On the other end of the spectrum, you can often find high-quality grills for a few hundred bucks.

Related >> Best Gas Grills Under $300

When it comes to choosing the grill that fits your needs in terms of affordability, the gas grill takes the lead, hands down. This is because tanks of gas that operate the unit are easy to find and less expensive than using wood pellets.

Ease of Use

While both the pellet grill and gas grill are relatively simple to operate, they both have their advantages and disadvantages. Both of these types of grills are easy to get started since it only requires the press of a button to get them going.

The pellet grill requires the operator to load wood pellets into the hopper before igniting the grill itself. Once this is done, you can ignite the switch that begins the process of heating the grill for your use.

Related >> How to use a pellet grill

A gas grill is quite different from a pellet grill since you do not typically have to load anything in before use. You need to turn the gas onto your grill before pressing the ignition switch that begins the heating process.

When you consider that the pellet grill has to be maintained from time to time to remove excess ash left behind from the pellets, the gas grill may be your better choice for ease of use. This is because a gas grill operates cleaner and requires less clean-up in the long run.

Temperature Capabilities

When you consider the temperature capabilities of both the pellet and gas grill, you will find that they are quite different. Whether you wish to cook low and slow or more quickly at higher temperatures, you will need to choose carefully.

The pellet grill works best when you choose the low and slow method of cooking that most smokers require. More modern pellet grills, however, are more versatile and can easily reach temperatures near the 600℉ mark.

While there are some pellet grills that can sear, those are the exceptions. Most are only great at low and slow.

A gas grill is made for higher temperatures and therefore does not have any trouble reaching temperatures near 700℉. They do however struggle with heat retention as well as not doing as well at cooking at low temperatures.

The clear winner when it comes to temperature capabilities is the pellet grill hands down. This is because of the versatility that is provided by allowing for low and slow methods for smoked ribs and brisket, as well as the ability to operate on higher temperatures for burgers and steaks.

Added Features

Many grillers enjoy the added bells and whistles that offer even more versatility to their outdoor cooking experiences. While most grills have many features that can be added to the basic design, some grills offer more than others.

For example, the pellet grill is more likely to offer added features such as technology that can make the experience more enjoyable. Features like WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities as well as LCD screens and meat probes that can be integrated into the system make them more attractive to those who are technologically savvy.

A gas grill, on the other hand, typically does not come with much in the way of technology but has additional features that can be purchased. These features typically include rotisserie capabilities as well as additional shelving and internal light sources.

When you compare the two types of grills when it comes to added features, the pellet grill is the top choice. This is because of all of the technology that can be added that makes grilling a much better experience overall.

Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill: The Winner

Deciding between a pellet grill and a gas grill can be overwhelming until you have more information. Now that you know more about the features of each of the grills, you should be better prepared to decide.

When you consider all of the features listed above, it is obvious that the pellet grill is the better overall choice. Even though the pellet grill is more expensive than a gas grill, the additional features make it the most versatile.

The gas grill, on the other hand, is best suited for those who want to save on the initial and overall costs. This is because a gas grill is much less expensive to purchase even for those with greater features.

No matter which you pick, you will have some amazing BBQ food! 

Hope Davis

Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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