Do you want to grill but don’t want to plunge into debt? Or you simply don’t see a reason to shell out half a grand for a grill that you’ll only use a couple of times per year? You’re in the right place as I have answers to both of these questions.
Grilling on gas is much more convenient than on charcoal, don’t get me wrong. But with greater convenience comes a greater price. It’s difficult to find a gas grill for or under this price range and damn near impossible to find one that won’t disappoint you when you taste your first burger.
Just like you, my budget is more or less the only thing I can consider when buying something. But I don’t want you to get conned like I was many times. That’s why I’ve gathered these 3 best gas grills under $100 that actually work and won’t fall apart or rust away after the first grilling season.
Top 3 Gas Grills Under 100 Dollars
What Is A Good Inexpensive Gas Grill?
- Best Overall: Char-Broil Classic 280
- Best Portable: Cuisinart CGG-180TS Petit Gourmet
- Best Indoor: Masterbuilt 205
If you want to save some money and get a good gas grill, then check the features of the grills below and see which one fits you the best.
Char-Broil Classic 280 2-Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill
The Char-Broil Classic 280 is a 2-burner gas grill that works on liquid propane. Many Char-Broil grills are named after their cooking space, and this one is no exception, giving a cook 20 inches wide by 14 inches deep porcelain-coated grate that’s 280 square inches. The porcelain coating helps heat to spread evenly a little better than the traditional all-steel grate, with the added benefit of being easier to clean with your grill brush. It can fit about 6 large-sized burgers.
In this affordable price range, it can be challenging to find full-sized, free-standing grills like this one. It has 2 metal side workstations, though, each measuring 12 inches wide by 13 inches long. The lid and cooking box are also porcelain-coated metal. The handle and heat controller box are made of metal too.
On the inside of the grill, it’s got 2 stainless steel burners that are controlled by the interface on the front, with individual heat controls for each burner, so that you can cook 2 different foods at different temperatures. It also has a simple, push-button ignition system that they call Piezo ignition, but I like to call it magic.
In this category of grilling, there aren’t going to be a lot of frills or fancy-pants features, and this grill is no exception. Many grills have racks on the bottom, utilizing that space beneath the grill, where you can put your propane tank or other tools, but this one doesn’t. It also doesn’t have any hooks for your tools. The workstations don’t collapse.
And the Ugly
It is easier to assemble the grill by 2 people instead of one. There are a surprising amount of parts, and it’s difficult to hold the grill together at different steps. The instructions are pretty bad, and it will take at least 2 hours to assemble.
All of that aside, gas grills aren’t cheap, and a full, freestanding gas grill like this one is hard to find for the price. Once you get past those humps, there aren’t any other issues. It grills like you’d expect, with no troubles in its ignition or propane system, delivering delicious, consistently cooked food, and that’s why it made on this list of the quality budget grills that work on gas.
Cuisinart CGG-180TS Petit Gourmet Portable Gas Grill
Cuisinart’s CGG-180TS Petit Gourmet is a tabletop gas grill that comes in red, silver, and black. It is larger than it looks, and delivers more cooking space than some full-sized grills in this price range.
Don’t Let the Size Fool You
It has 145 square inches of grilling space, which is about 15 inches long by 10 inches wide. You can fit about:
- 4, maybe 5 full-sized chicken breasts
- The same amount of large burger patties
- 1 tiny chicken if you keep the lid down
This grill isn’t full-sized, it’s just the grilling top with 2-foot bars that rest on a table of your choosing. Because of this, and because it only weighs 13 lbs, it’s a prime candidate for someone who wants to travel around with their grill, say to cook at small family functions, or to cook while camping.
The cooking grate is made of porcelain-enamel, so it cooks evenly, looks pretty and shiny, and is easier to clean than a steel grate. It requires the smaller propane canisters that are for camping and uses propane relatively slowly. This grill will save you money as it needs less gas than full-sized grill units.
Some of these models come with defects that stem from poor quality control:
- The igniter doesn’t work
- The grill doesn’t get hot or stay hot
- The handle falls off or stops working
- The grill itself melts.
But there’s a 3-year warranty, so contact the company immediately if you got a unit with issues, and get a new one for free.
Despite these flaws, it’s a pretty good grill unit.
Masterbuilt 205 Tabletop Gas Grill
The Masterbult 205 is a stainless steel portable unit, like the Cuisinart one, above. It has:
- A temperature gauge in the lid
- 305 square inches large cooking surface area
- Piezo ignition system
It requires the small propane camping canisters and outputs 10,000 BTUs of heat.
The Good and the Bad
This unit doesn’t have a lot of quality control issues, just some problems with the Piezo ignition system in general, such as the ignition system dying, or the ignition system bursting the grill quickly into flames instead of very slowly. There’s a 1-year warranty.
For the price range, it’s got a surprisingly large cooking surface, and it gets pretty hot.
Grilling on a Budget
Why is BBQ So Expensive?
The prices manufacturers charge for BBQ grills ranges from a few dollars to several thousand, depending on the equipment. I really enjoy cooking outdoors on a BBQ grill and I know lots of other folks do too, I was wondering how I can own, maintain, and use a BBQ grill without breaking the bank I decided to do some investigating to find the answer.
Are Cheap Grills Worth It?
Absolutely! Just because a grill isn’t expensive doesn’t mean it isn’t a great value. What I found with the research I conducted was that there are dozens of options for grilling and most of them are built sturdy and intended for multiple uses. There were some basic little aluminum pan-style grills that look more like a lasagna pan with a grate tossed on top. Oddly enough, the cheapest version of the throwaway, single-use, aluminum pan grill cost more than my lowest-cost option.
Lowest Cost Option
The first place I started was the grilling equipment. I thought I would see if I could keep my costs down to the absolute minimum and still get a true grilling experience. I compared the costs for a few different types of grilling options and came up with what I think is a budget-conscious choice.
- Grill: A regular aluminum tray and a grate above the charcoal
All I really need is a pan to hold the charcoal and a grate to place the food on and this grill accomplishes that goal. It’s not fancy and it’s not for grilling for a family of 8, but it is still a grill and I can cook on it. Not bad for a few bucks.
How Do You BBQ on a Budget?
Save money by conserving fuel. Follow the guidelines provided on the charcoal briquette packaging and remember, you don’t have to buy starting fluid, use newspaper to get the fire going. I also find that I can keep my BBQ costs down by keeping the grill clean so it doesn’t have to be replaced or repaired. Once the cost of the equipment is handled, it comes down to the cost of the food. For that part, it’s always a good idea to purchase the best quality ingredients and items at the best prices, but that’s up to the BBQ chef.
What Can I Cook on a Tight Budget?
It may not be the tastiest list but you can still have a good time if you’re short on cash.
Between the Masterbult 205, the Cuisinart CGG-180TS, and the Char-Broil Classic 280, it should be pretty easy to pick out which of these 3 grills fits your situation and needs the best. I wish you happy grilling to all you chefs out there!
How often do you have a grill out?