Propane vs Natural Gas: What’s the Difference?

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If you’re wondering what the difference between propane and natural gas is, you’re in the right spot!

In this TheGrillingDad.com guide, you’ll learn: 

  • The pros and cons of each
  • The main differences between propane and natural gas
  • And much more!
propane vs natural gas

“Now we’re cooking with gas!” I say that to my kids every time I fire up the gas grill.

And when they’re done rolling their eyes, they marvel at the powerful flame I summon from the igniter switch. I find the even flame soothing, and it takes a lot of the guesswork out of cooking times by being able to control the temperature more easily than grilling on a pit with charcoal.

There’s something primal about cooking over hot coals, but The Grilling Dad is a versatile man. 💪 I also enjoy the ease with which I can go from prep to grilling with the flick of a switch.

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Propane vs Natural Gas

As far as grilling goes, the main differences between propane and natural gas are how they’re connected, the price, and the heating power.

Both propane and natural gas grills have different benefits and drawbacks. A propane grill may be the way to go if you want a portable and budget-friendly option. However, a natural gas grill may be the better choice if you want a more robust and convenient option.

Keep reading as we’ll dive into the pros and cons of each type of gas.

Pros and Cons of Propane Grills

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of propane when it comes to grilling.

Pros

Some propane grills are portable and convenient, making them a popular choice for people who enjoy camping, tailgating, or simply grilling on the go. While others are mainstays at homes all across the globe.

Propane grills are fueled by portable propane tanks, easily purchased at hardware and outdoor stores. 

Propane grills are also relatively inexpensive, making them a cheaper option. Propane grills are perfect for the budget-conscious grillers among us and are the ideal entry point if you’re not ready to fork over the dough necessary for a natural gas hookup.

We’ve even got a guide on finding great gas grills for under $300, under $500, and some with more bells and whistles under $2,000.

One of the main advantages of propane grills is that they heat up quickly, allowing you to start cooking almost immediately. This is because propane is a liquid fuel that vaporizes when released from the tank, providing a fast and consistent heat source.

Propane grills are also easy to clean, as they have fewer crevices and nooks for food to get stuck when compared to charcoal pits.

Related >> The Best Small Gas Grills

Cons

Propane grills have some drawbacks. One of the main disadvantages is that propane tanks need to be replaced or refilled. This can be inconvenient, especially if you are in the middle of cooking a meal.

In addition, propane grills can be less environmentally friendly than natural gas grills, as the propane tanks need to be disposed of properly, especially if your tank has a leak.

With all the talk of climate change and the trash in the ocean, this aspect of propane grills can be a turn-off. If you’re mindful of your impact on our planet, you might want to go for the natural gas option.

Related >> How To Start a Gas Grill

built-in natural gas grill

Pros and Cons of Natural Gas Grills

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of natural gas grills.

Pros

Natural gas grills are fueled by a natural gas line connected to your home. This means you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel or replacing tanks, as gas is always readily available. Barring a breakdown of society (😅), you should always have an even flow of gas feeding into your grill.

This is the perfect option for those who crave a midnight steak and want to throw one on the grill without worrying about picking up a tank of propane.

Natural gas grills are also more environmentally friendly, as natural gas is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer emissions than propane. Given the times in which we live, we must all be more aware of how the little decisions we make affect the planet. If you have the money for a natural gas setup, the earth will thank you.

One of the main benefits of natural gas grills is that they are generally more powerful and can reach higher temperatures than propane grills. Be warned; these grills pack a punch, so if you value your eyebrows, don’t get too close to the heat.

The robust heat source makes them ideal for searing meats and achieving that perfect crust on steaks and burgers. I’ve spoken extensively on how crucial a good sear is to a quality piece of meat. This option ensures you never have to taste a steak without a hearty sear ever again.

Related >> The Best Pellet and Gas Combo Grills

Cons

Natural gas grills are great, but they do have some drawbacks.

They are not portable as propane grills, requiring a permanent connection to a natural gas line. You can’t take your natural gas grill on the go or move it to different locations.

In addition, natural gas grills can be more expensive than propane grills.

Many natural gas grills require an infrastructure built around them. Often you’ll see people build out their entire patios around the grill to maximize the aesthetics of their surroundings and establish themselves as flashy grill aficionados. This adds to the expense of the grill and the gas hookup, but it makes you look really cool. 😎

Bottom line: don’t overextend your finances unless you can afford to do so.

Related >> The Best Charcoal Gas Combo Grills

Which Is Better?

Ultimately, the decision between a propane grill and a natural gas grill comes down to your individual needs and preferences.

I’ve grilled on both, and I love them for different reasons.

A propane grill may be the way to go if you want a portable and budget-friendly option. Propane grills are perfect for grilling on the go, maybe at a tailgate party with your friends who can’t get enough of your famous burgers.

However, a natural gas grill may be the better choice if you want a more powerful and convenient option. In my humble opinion, natural gas grills are the Cadillac of grilling, in my humble opinion. Yes, the setup cost can be prohibitive, but the quality is almost unmatched.

There you have it; should you choose the propane or the natural gas grill? While I won’t tell you how to live your life, I would say, if you can afford it, go for natural gas. I like the consistent heating, the ease of use, the quality of the products associated with natural gas grills, and the minimal environmental impact. 

Before you go, we did a write-up on how long gas grills last which could help you with your search for which grill you should buy.

Shawn Hill

Shawn Hill

Hey, I'm Shawn and I run this site. With a wife and 7 kids, I get most of my grilling practice from feeding my own family. I'm here to help you learn more about grilling, smoking, and backyard BBQ! With almost a decade of manning the grill and helping over 25,000 aspiring grill masters, you're in great hands! I've tried just about every type of grill, accessory, and gadget you can imagine. Because of that, I am here to help guide you to the best of the best and help you save time and money by avoiding the junk.

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