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Which is best: Pellet Grills vs Charcoal Grills Vs Gas Grills?

So you are thinking about buying a new grill? But there are so many different kinds, how do you pick? Well this is a comparison between the 3 most popular types of grills; gas, charcoal and pellet.

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills are one of the most popular grill types. One of the reasons is that charcoal grills come in many shapes and sizes. The most popular shape is the round or egg shaped that we see in a wide variety of sizes. These are popular because they are easily portable. The grills found in parks are also charcoal.

Charcoal grills are regarded as the classic grill. Grilling purist tend to consider it was the authentic, superior grill. The use of charcoal assists in creating a strong, smoky flavor. Charcoal grills are a great affordable and flexible option. As opposed to some of the other grill type, a charcoal grill comes in many different shapes, sizes and prices.

One of the downsides to charcoal grills is they take practice. Grilling over charcoal is a delicate task and requires lots of experience to do really well. In addition, charcoal grilling takes longer than the other types. Charcoal requires time to light, and even more time for the charcoal to get hot enough to cook. Getting a charcoal grill heated to cooking temperatures can take upwards of 20 minutes. On the other end of that, it typically takes just as long to cool down, which means a very considerable time commitment.

Another consideration with charcoal grills is the mess. Because charcoal grills are the more classic option, they haven’t received the fancy features that some of the other grill types have, which means the charcoal grill can be very messy and almost impossible to fully clean.

The time and skill required to use a charcoal grill, plus the mess it leaves behind often leads people to think its not worth it. However, grill purists will still argue that the smoky, charcoal taste that comes from a charcoal grill makes it all worth it.

Gas

The next most common grill type is a gas grill. These are the grills that come in cart styles or are built into outdoor kitchens. 

Gas grills are popular because of how easy they are to use and control. Turning on and heating up the grill isn’t a 20 minute affair like with charcoal grills, and its much easier to control and maintain the heat when it reaches your desired temperature. Gas grills are also popular because they are larger in size, but are still portable, at least a little bit. Most gas grills come in the cart style, with wheels, making it easy for them to be moved wherever they are needed.

Gas grills are also a lot easier to clean up and keep clean. In addition, they come in a huge variety of different styles so its easy to pick one that fits your specific needs. While not quite as affordable as charcoal grills, gas grills can be affordable. However, due to the variety of gas grills, the price range is much larger than with charcoal grills.

The biggest negative with gas grills is taste, with charcoal or pellet grills you are able to get more of a smokey flavor, that flavor isn’t an option with gas grills. Another complaint for gas grills is the gas. There is two different options for gas, natural gas and liquid propane. Natural gas burns cleaner and is cheaper, but it locks your grill down. Because you have to connect your grill up to a gas connection at your house, you don’t have the freedom to move your grill wherever you want. Liquid propane offers the ability to continue to move your grill, however it presents its own problems. Liquid propane means constantly having to be aware of how full the tank is and how much you will likely need to use. It means having to regularly have a back up for when you run out. In addition, liquid propane is more expensive and worse for the environment.

Gas grills give you a more control and variety, however they don’t allow for as much creativity or flavor, which is why they are not very popular with avid grillers.

Pellet

Pellet grills have been growing in popularity in the last few years. One of the big factors for their rise in popularity is that they can be used as a grill or a smoker. This gives you a great deal of flexibility and creativity when grilling, which is something avid grillers love.

Pellet grills have a ‘hopper’ on the side of the grill that holds the wood pellets. When you want to use the grill just turn it on and set the temperature and the hopper will drop pellets into the burn pot and will continue to drop pellets as you cook, so you never need to worry about it.

Pellet grills allow you to get a specific smoky flavor. You can pick different blends of pellets, that will all allow you to pick the specific smoky flavor you want to add to your food. Most types of Pellet grills are come fairly automated, with some of brands, like our Green Mountain Grills, coming with a Wi-Fi connection that allows you to control the process from your phone.

The automated nature of pellet grills means they are easy to use. Automated meat probes allow you to set a temperature for the food and then forget about it. They also have precise temperature control. Pellet grills are also incredibly easy to keep clean, and very fuel efficient.

Pellet grills do tend to be more expensive than other grill types, specifically charcoal grills. Another complaint is that they require electricity, which prevents you from moving it around wherever you want it to be. However, our Green Mountain Grills Prime or Prime+ versions are a 12v allowing you to operate the grill on a battery remotely even if you can’t plug it in.  Temperature is also a problem for some people. While pellet grills offer more control over temperature, they can’t get as hot as charcoal grills can.

Overall, which type of grill you should choose depends on how much you grill. Every style has pros and cons, but we believe pellet grills are the best option and definitely worth the extra investment.

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