7 Best Grills Under $500 of 2021: Gas, Pellet, Charcoal…

Now we’re grilling! 500 dollars buys you a lot of grill. Unlike the grills in the lower price range, these ones not only look sturdy and durable but also feel this way. They’re also more reliable and will last much longer.

But choosing the best grill under $500 is a very frustrating and tedious task.

You need to be very careful. If you’re not, you’re going to end up throwing money down the drain.

And half a grand is a lot of money.

Instead of going from store to store, spending hours if not days of your precious time looking at grills or going through hundreds of listings, take a look at this best grills guide and list and save yourself that precious time and frustration.

Here, I’ve gathered only the best of the best. Get the best:

  • Gas grill
  • Pellet grill
  • Natural Gas grill
  • Charcoal grill
  • Infrared grill
  • Propane grill
  • Gas/Charcoal Combo grill
  • Smoker grill
  • Kamado grill

Pick the grill that suits you the most, take a look at their features, and read the in-depth review.

What Is the Best Grill for Under $500?

Top 7 Best Grills for Under 500 Dollars – Reviews

Weber 46110001 Spirit E-210 Liquid Propane 2-Burner Gas Grill

This Weber Spirit E-210 is a low-maintenance build-to-last liquid propane gas grill that’s packed with features that will make your next BBQ more fun and enjoyable.

Ideal for Small Patios and Balconies

The compact size and foldable side shelves make this one ideal for places where space is at a premium.

Perfect for 2-4 People

The cookbox features a main cooking area which is a cast iron grate with a porcelain-enameled coating that’s 360 square inches large and a 90 square inches warming grate.

You can fit up to 12 burgers (my record was 13) on the grates and the warming rack is large enough for 5 slices of bread.

Combined, you have a total of 450 square inches of cooking space.

Powerful and Durable Burners

There are 2 burners, each outputting 13,250 BTU, totaling 26,500 BTU.

Both are ignited by the electronic Crossover ignition system.

This grill comes equipped with Flavorizer bars underneath the cooking grate that help direct grease drippings away from the burners, preventing flare-ups and adding a nice smokey flavor to your food.

Porcelain Coating, Porcelain Coating Everywhere

The grates, warming rack, Flavorizer bars, grease tray, and lid are all porcelain-enameled.

This coating makes these parts easier to clean, less susceptible to corrosion, and look shiny.

What’s more, the lid retains more heat, making the grill consume less fuel.

Hang ‘Em High

Instead of just placing the grill inside the cabinet where it can easily rattle around inside while moving, you hang it on the hook, making the whole thing much more stable and secure.

There’s a hole in the bottom of the cabinet that some grillers think it’s for the tank. This is not true. The hole has another reason: ventilation. If you place the tank there, you can’t move the grill.

Other Features That Makes This Weber a Weber

This unit features 6 tool hooks, 3 on each side of the side shelf.

Instead of having 2 wheels, it has 4 (the front ones are lockable).

The cart is fully enclosed. The tank is safe, sound, and away from prying eyes.

You can actually see how much propane there’s left in the tank. No more guessing and no more spilling warm water over it.

There is a thermometer embedded into the lid.

The assembly only takes an hour to assemble and the instructions are clear and easy.

Cleaning the grill is a breeze. The grates and Flavorizer bars are non-stick and most of the grease falls into a pan that you can easily remove and clean.

What I Don’t Like About It

While the hook for the tank is a great idea, you need to do some maneuvering and heavy lifting to actually hang it there.

They should have made the locks for the casters bigger as sometimes they’re a pain to reach.

After a year of regular grilling, I noticed several rust spots on the side shelves (other parts are okay). I’m not sure whether this is because of the material or maybe I scratched the protective layer while constantly putting things up and down.

Taste the Difference

For half a grand, you won’t get a gas grill that is so outstanding and durable as this one.

Side Note: Not a fan of this one? Then check out other best gas grills for under $500.

Pros
  • Simple assembly
  • Decent-sized cooking area
  • Compact
  • Gets hot very fast
  • Easy to clean
  • Outstanding temperature control
  • Great looking
  • Comes with a fuel gauge
Cons
  • Hanging the tank is a bit difficult
  • Small locks on caster wheels
  • Side shelves are prone to rust
See Reviews

Z Grills ZPG-7002B Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker

Already featured as the best pellet grill under $500, the Z Grills ZPG-7002B is a wood pellet grill and smoker combo that will infuse your food with that authentic wood aroma that even charcoal can’t do.

Smoke ‘Em All

What this grill excels at is smoking.

It performs well at grilling, too, but there are other grills on this that do this job better.

The main use of this grill is to smoke really low and slow as you can cook for about 20 hours at 180°F / 82°C per a whole 20 lb bag of pellets.

With the right type of pellets, you can achieve flavors you’d never dream of.

Combines the Convenience of a Gas Grill and the Taste of a Charocal One

If you don’t like to handle messy charcoal but would still like that smokey flavor in your food, then a pellet grill is your answer.

To fire this grill, your only job is to unload the pellets into the hopper and press the start button.

You can control the temperature manually or let the integrated controller do the job for you.

Instead of a traditional analog lid thermometer, this one features a digital one.

Pellets produce much less ash than charcoal, so you’ll have less fuss when disposing of them and cleaning the grill.

The Cooking Potential of This Grill

The main cooking area is 504 square inches large (9.2 x 26 inches) and the top rack is 190 square inches (6.9 x 27.5 inches).

Combine the two and you get the total cooking area of 694 square inches.

To put the size into perspective, it’s big enough for:

  • 29 burgers
  • 6 racks of ribs
  • 5 whole chickens

The hopper is big enough to hold 20 lbs of pellets.

Other Great Features Include

  • Auger-fed hardwood pellet delivery system
  • Easy-drain grease system for fast cleanup
  • Porcelain-coated wire cooking grid
  • All-terrain wheels & heavy-duty handle
  • Bottom storage shelf
  • Rain cover included

See It in Action (Cooking Bacon, Hot Dogs, and Burgers)

Insiders Scoop

Take your time when assembling the grill. It’s got lots of bits and pieces.

Searing is, more or less, out of the option on this grill. Not only because of its max temperature of 450°F / 232°C but also because there’s no direct flame.

The temperature gauge is sometimes off by up to 60 degrees which is quite annoying if you’re cooking low and slow.

Removing unused pellets takes a lot of effort. The same goes for the ash. There isn’t an ash pan and if you want to remove every ounce of ash, you need to get an ash vacuum.

The Best Pellet Grill Under $500

This pellet grill has the convenience of a gas grill and gives the food that well-known smokey flavor that a charcoal grill does. I recommend this grill & smoker combo to everyone who loves barbecues and smoking more than grilling.

Pros
  • Smokes well
  • Large cooking surface
  • Sturdy heavy gauge metal construction and heavy-duty wheels
  • Easy to use
  • The included grill cover is a nice addition
Cons
  • Tedious assembly
  • Not suitable for direct high-heat cooking and searing
  • No Wifi connectivity
  • No easy ash and pellet cleanup
See Reviews

Dyna-Glo DGP397CNN-D Premier 3 Burner Natural Gas Grill

Every owner of a natural gas line should consider this Dyna-Glo DGP397CNN-D Premier 3 Burner Natural Gas Grill. It combines the amazing convenience a propane grill has to offer with the added bonus of a seemingly limitless supply of fuel.

Its Cooking Power

It has 3 independently controlled stainless steel burners, capable of producing 36,000 BTU of heat in total and evenly spreading it across the grates.

Generous Cooking Area

The primary cooking space consists of cast iron high gloss enamel cooking grates large enough for you to make about 19 hamburgers at once on its 396 square inches.

The secondary cooking space: the warming rack, is 154 square inches large.

Add both together, and you get a generous total cooking area of 550 square inches.

Other Amazing Features

You can fold the side shelves with minimal effort. This is great if your patio or deck is small and every square inch counts.

The built-in lid thermometer is accurate and easy to read.

3 tool hooks and a towel holder provide convenient storage for your grilling accessories.

Just like the Weber above, this one also has 4 wheels for increased mobility. 2 of them are lockable.

What Put Me Off

The fact that this grill costs almost half a grand, I’d expect better rust protection. But this one is prone to rust just like the cheaper grill models. So if you want to get the most out of this grill, a cover is a must.

The assembly instructions are a bit iffy. Don’t rely on them too much, though. Either search Youtube or forums on instructions on how to set it up or, if you’re daring enough, wing it.

Don’t be surprised if a part was bent, scratched, or damaged in any way once you opened the box. Several grillers (including me) experienced this. In my case, it was the cabinet door.

A Great Space Saver for Small Outdoor Areas

It’s not perfect, but it gets the job done. The Dyna-Glo is not as well-known as Weber or Char-Broil, but it’s still a decent brand worth mine and your consideration. Despite its few flaws, it cooks like a charm.

Pros
  • Elegant design
  • Fast heat up
  • Even heating
  • Lost of cooking and prep space
  • Folding side tables
Cons
  • Tedious assembly
  • Prone to rust
  • May arrive damaged
See Reviews

Char-Broil 463632320 Signature TRU-Infrared 2-Burner Cart Style Gas Grill

Now we’re talking heat. The Char-Broil 463632320 Signature TRU-Infrared is one of the most convenient grills on the market – even more convenient than regular gas grills.

Taste the Meat Not the Heat

Infrared grills are known for their fuel and heat efficiency, faster heat up, higher temperatures, and short cooking times. This one is no exception.

You’ll be able to preheat the grill in up to 10 seconds and make burgers and steaks in a matter of minutes.

Don’t believe me? Find out how they work, what is TRU-infrared grilling technology, what are their pros and cons, and what are the best models currently available in the $500 price range.

Cooking Specs

The Burners

Don’t let the main burners fool you. Yes, there are only 2 of them and they output only 20,000 BTUs but the reality is different. Bigger isn’t always better and this grill is a perfect example.

Being an infrared grill, it doesn’t require as much as your standard gas grill to get pretty hot.

Both burners are ignited by the Surefire electronic ignition system that offers more reliability than the classic Piezo.

The Cooking Area

The porcelain-coated cast-iron grates (aka the main cooking area) are 325 square inches large and the swing-a-way warming rack is 120 square inches.

Granted, you won’t be able to feed a large group of people at once but it’s big enough for a romantic dinner for two or a lazy Sunday afternoon BBQ party with the kids.

The Fuel Choice Is up to You

By default, it runs on liquid propane but if you have a natural gas line at home and want to save money on fuel, you can easily convert this grilling beauty with a natural gas conversion kit (sold separately: item no. 8216842R04).

Ample Prep Space

The 2 large side shelves offer more than enough workspace for food preparation, spices, sauces, etc.

They can be folded down for easier storage.

If you convert the grill to natural gas, you’ll have even more space in the cabinet where you’d place the propane tank.

Other Great Features

  • Lid-mounted temperature gauge
  • The grill sits on 4 casters (two of which lock)
  • Integrated tank gauge

Demonstration

Before You Buy

Take a bit more time to clean up the grill than you’re used to. Because of the compact design, it’s really hard to clean every nook and cranny.

The quality control is pretty bad, so expect missing parts and a few dents upon arrival. Inspect anything and everything before putting it together.

The Best Infrared Grill Under $500

If you want to try out an infrared grill, then this one is definitely worth your consideration. It cooks faster and more evenly than charcoal and gas grills, and flare-ups are history. It’s the ultimate convenience in grilling.

Pros
  • Heats and cooks quickly
  • Infrared radiation heat cooks more evenly and there are no flare-ups
  • Folding side shelves
  • Compact
  • The shelves have holes for hooks
  • Included cleaning tool for the grates
Cons
  • Not so easy to clean
  • Bad quality control, resulting in missing pieces and dents
  • Not suitable for larger groups
See Reviews

Masterbuilt MB20040220 Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker

Do you love cooking low and slow and don’t want to be bothered by the constant supervision? Then try the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560.

As Convenient as a Pellet Grill

Charcoal grills can be a PITA when it comes to temperature control.

You need to add the right amount of charcoal, spread them the right way, and wait to reach the right temperature – not to mention maintain it.

You won’t have to worry about things like that with this one.

It does all these things for you, just like a pellet grill does.

All you need to do is:

  • Unload the charcoal (lump or briquettes) into the hopper
  • Fire it up with a match or a lighter
  • Set the desired temperature on the control panel

Ideal for Large Gatherings

This cooking behemoth can handle up to:

  • 21 burgers
  • 37 sausages
  • 4 rib racks
  • 8 whole chickens

on its 560 square inches large cooking area.

The grates are porcelain-coated cast iron.

Cook up to 15 Hours Before Refueling

The hopper holds 10 lbs / 4.5 kg of lump charcoal or 16 lbs / 7.3 kg of briquettes which should last you between 12 and 15 hours.

Cook Low and Slow, Sear at High Temperature, and Anything in Between

With a temperature range of 225°F to 700°F (107°C – 371°C), there’s nothing you can’t do.

You can even sear at high heat over direct flame.

Control It With Your Phone

The Masterbuilt app (available for both Androids and iPhones) turns your phone into a remote control.

Control and set the temperature, monitor smoke levels, try one of the 250 recipes, order ingredients, and more.

Other Great Features

The control panel/side shelf features 3 utensil hooks.

Included is a meat thermometer.

Brisket Test

There’s Still Room for Improvement

While the app itself is pretty useful, the connection dies from time to time for no apparent reason.

After almost a year of constant use, I’m beginning to notice rust spots.

Master the Art of Charcoal Grilling and Smoking

This awesome grill smoker combo combines the amazing smokey flavor that charcoal grills provide and the convenience of pellet grills. Even if you have never grilled on charcoal, the onboard controller does the thinking for you so you won’t have to worry about a thing.

Side Note: if this particular model isn’t right up your alley, then take a look at these other charcoal grill smoker combos.

Pros
  • As convenient as a pellet grill
  • Extremely versatile
  • Built to last
  • Quality setup instructions
  • Plenty of space to go around
Cons
  • Rust prone
  • Connectivity issues
See Reviews

Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill & 6201 AKORN Smokin Ceramic Smoking Stone

A purist’s best friend: The Char-Griller Akorn Kamado. This Kamado charcoal grill is the perfect choice for every griller who likes to grill and/or smoke without any fancy bells or whistles.

This Is No Regular Charcoal Grill

A kamado is to a charcoal grill what an infrared one is to a gas grill – a better, newer, and improved version.

The egg shape is not just for the looks. It’s designed in a way that maximizes the flow of air, smoke, and heat.

Also, it’s made from durable thick insulated steel or ceramic material that retains heat very well.

Ceramic doesn’t rust, so you can leave your grill in the open without any worries.

The only real downside of these types of grills is the weight – they’re heavy. This particular model is 97 lbs / 44 kg.

Cooking Capacity

The cooking area consists of a primary cooking surface and a warming rack.

The primary cooking surface is the 314 square inches large cast-iron cooking grates.

The warming rack has 133 square inches and if you don’t like it or it’s in your way, then you simply remove it.

In total, this Kamado Kooker has 447 square inches of cooking space.

Be In Complete Control of the Heat

Charcoal grills have notoriety when it comes to heat control.

Because it’s a kamado grill, this one hasn’t got this issue.

It has an adjustable damper at the bottom and one on the top.

Once you get to know them, you can cook at any temperature setting: go as low as 200°F / 93°C or as high as 700°F / 371°C.

It Will Save You Money in the Long Run

Because of triple-wall insulation, porcelain-coated steel interior finish, air circulation system, and egg-shape design, it retains heat much better than any other standard charcoal grill.

Less heat gets wasted, meaning you’ll save on charcoal.

Smoking a Whole Chicken

Neat Accessory Included

Included with the grill is a diffuser plate that turns the grill into an oven.

Now you can make bread, pizza, and even cookies.

Other Features Worth Mentioning

It’s made from 22 gauge steel and the exterior finish is powder-coated steel, meaning this grill will last you a very long time.

The easy dump ash pan makes for quick and easy clean-up.

The side shelves are foldable and include 6 hooks for utensils, 3 on each side.

Beware of These Caveats

Kamado grills aren’t simple to operate as your standard charcoal grill. They require a large learning curve and if you aren’t an experimental kind of person, then don’t buy it as you’ll need quite some time to get the hang of it.

The dome thermometer isn’t accurate and can be off by 50°F / 10°C. Solution: a meat probe.

Like some of the grills on this list, this one also has poor quality control at the assembly line. Parts can be defective or missing, and the grill itself could have some scratches and even dents. Inspect every square inch of this grill in full before assembling it.

Change Your Attitude Towards Grilling

I love to try new stuff and experiment. When I first got this grill, I spent a lot of time tinkering with the heat controls and when I got used to it, I’ve made some of the best smoke-flavored BBQs. If you’re like me, then you’ll fall in love with this grill.

Pros
  • Holds temperature pretty well
  • Ashes are easy to clean
  • Low fuel consumption
  • Amazing temperature control
  • Spacious cooking area
  • Incredible smokey flavor
  • Heat deflector included
Cons
  • Not simple to operate if you’re new to kamado grills
  • Inaccurate temperature gauge
  • QC issues
See Reviews

Char-Broil Performance 650 6-Burner Cabinet Liquid Propane Gas Grill

The Char-Broil Performance 650 is the last grill in this category of the best grills under 500 dollars. This is a liquid propane gas grill.

A Grilling Gargantuan

The grilling area is massive, big enough for 8 – 10 racks of ribs or full salmon halves and at least 8 massive 32 oz porterhouse steaks.

The porcelain-coated cast-iron grates measure 35 x 18.5 in / 89 x 47 cm and are 650 square inches large.

Above is a 280 square inches big warming rack that can be swung out of the way and is large enough for 6 – 8 pieces of bread or hamburger buns.

Feed an Entire Group at Once

Cook for a large group of people with this grill due to its 6 burners plus a side burner for a total of 7 burners, wow!

Each burner outputs 10,000 BTUs of heat.

The 6th burner is a sear burner that is ideal for making steakhouse sear marks.

Easy to Clean

The porcelain coating on the grates makes them non-stick. A gentle scrub is all it takes. I recommend soaking them in vinegar every once in a while for a full cleanup, though.

There’s a pan located under the grill that catches excess grease, oils, and debris. Like the grates, it’s coated in porcelain. Simply remove it, and dispose of the gunk.

Other Features

The grill unit is free-standing on 4 caster wheels for ease of moving around. It has 2 side workstation tables, one of which has a flap to hide the side burner, on the left side. The workstations do not fold down.

The bottom of the grill is fully encased, with stainless steel double cabinet doors.

The inside of the cabinet doors has a rack so that you can place hooks to hang your utensils.

The Issues I’ve Encountered

The grill suffers from poor quality control, resulting in missing and/or damaged pieces. Some parts are made from thin sheets of metal, so expect dents upon arrival. Take a look at every piece and immediately contact customer service if you find something damaged.

While the assembly was without complications (apart from a few missing screws), everything went smoothly. But because of its sheer size and tons of pieces, it took me several hours to fully assemble it.

This thing is huge and folks with small decks or patios should stay away from it. It’s also quite heavy (it weighs 127.6 lbs / 57.9 kg) and despite the fact the grill rests on all 4 casters, it’s still difficult to move around.

Size Matters

Assembly isn’t bad at all and it will take you an hour to two to get this bad boy ready for some grilling fun. Once put together, it’s truly massive, enough to feed a very large group, host backyard parties, or grill for organization functions where a lot of people are present. It heats up hot and fast and maintains its heat pretty well.

Pros
  • 5 main burners + sear + side burner
  • Spacious cooking area
  • Plenty of prep space
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Straightforward assembly
Cons
  • Some pieces may be missing
  • Time-consuming assembly
  • Bulky
See Reviews

The Cadillacs of Grills

Overall, the award for the best grill under $500 goes to the Weber Spirit E-210 gas grill. It’s durable, compact, has tons of features (fuel gauge being one of them), and has plenty of space to cook and work with. It’s a Weber, of course.

The Char-Broil Performance 650 is a behemoth of a gas grill that’s best suited for catering to large groups of people.

The owners of a natural gas line should consider the Dyna-Glo DGP397CNN-D Premier as it’s one of the few natural gas grills that perform so well for this price.

If you want to step up your grilling game and experience tastes like you never did before, consider getting either the Char-Broil 463632320 Signature TRU-Infrared gas grill or the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill. Both are upgraded and improved versions of their respective grill types.

For the lovers of wood-flavored taste and the ultimate grilling convenience, the Z Grills ZPG-7002B Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker is your best choice. It’s a grill that not only it does all of the thinking for you but is also a great smoker.

The Masterbuilt MB20040220 Gravity Series 560 is the same as the Z Grills except it runs on charcoal instead of pellets. It’s also one fo the best smokers that you can get for half a grand.

Gas, Charcoal, Pellet,… Which one is your favorite?

About Mario 139 Articles
I am the owner of the Kitchen Guru Ideas. I've set up this site so I can share my kitchen tips and hacks that have been passed on to me from my parents and grandparents and show you how a wonderful experience cooking is and not just a way to save money. Even in this hectic lifestyle, there is time to prepare and most important enjoy a home-cooked meal.

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