7 Best Grills Under $500 of 2020: 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 catalog pages, take a look at this best grills guide and list.

Here, I’ve gathered the best of the best grills in their category. 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.

Top 7 Best Grills for Under 500 Dollars

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

What’s the Best Grill for Under 500?

Reviews

Do you want a grill that everyone will adore? Here you have them with details that are worth your money and consideration.

Oklahoma Joe’s Charcoal/LP Gas/Smoker Combo

Can’t decide between a charcoal and a gas grill? Then why don’t have both with this Charcoal/LP Gas/Smoker Combo by Oklahoma Joe’s.

Charcoal, Gas Grill, and Smoker All in One

The best way to decide on a grill is to test it first-hand. Instead of checking the pros and cons of gas vs charcoal grills and pondering for ages which one is better for you, try both for the price of one.

On busy weekdays fire up the gas burner in have some delicious burgers in no time at all. Every seasoned griller knows nothing beats the convenience of a gas grill. When you have more time to spare, light the charcoal grill and the smoker and serve yourself the best BBQ slow-cooked ribs imaginable.

The side burner is a fantastic edition. Make sauces or soups while cooking the main course.

A Grilling Behemoth

This one is the biggest grill on this list. The total cooking area is enormous: a whopping 1,060 square inches: the primary cooking area – the gas and charcoal grates – is 750 square inches and the firebox chamber has 310 square inches.

The cooking surfaces of the gas and charcoal grates and the firebox chamber are similar and measure about 18.5 x 19.3 inches. On each, you can make:

  • Two 8 lbs pork shoulders or briskets
  • 12 burgers
  • Four 4.5 lb whole chickens and ten 1 and 1/4 lb sirloin strip steaks
  • 18 sausages or hot dogs

If you fire both grills and the smoker at the same time, you’ll be able to feed the whole block.

The Cooking Potential

The grates are porcelain-coated cast iron: even heat distribution, easy cleanup, and nonstick surface guaranteed.

The gas grilling chamber has 3 independently controlled burners that give out 12,000 BTU each, or 36,000 BTU total.

The side burner (that doubles as a side table with the lid closed) has another 12,000 BTU burner.

The firebox has a side damper that makes airflow easy to control. To achieve the best smokey-flavor, don’t forget to use the other damper on the top of the charcoal grilling chamber.

Other Features

Both the charcoal and the gas chambers have a lid thermometer.

Underneath the cooking chamber is a convenient storage shelf.

Never again burn your hand when opening the lid during a cookout with these Cool Touch steel handles.

The convenient access door on the firebox makes stoking the fire easily without having to open the cooking chamber lid.

Honest Feedback

This grill massive. It weighs 220 lbs when assembled! You’ll get a hernia if you’re not careful when moving it around.

Given the complex and versatile design and also considering the price, they could have made this grill a bit more durable. It’s made from the cheaper stainless steel that is prone to rust despite being called “stainless”. So shell out a couple of bucks more for a grill cover.

The Best Charcoal Gas Smoker Grill Combo You’ll Get for $500 or Less

You can’t beat this grills versatility: smoker, charcoal grill, gas grill, and stove all in one unit. Instead of having 4 separate cooking units that take up a huge amount of space and a chunk from your wallet, you have all of them combined in one versatile unit.

Pros
  • Gas/charcoal grill smoker combo
  • Extremely versatile
  • Built to last
  • Quality setup instructions
  • Lots of grilling surface area
Cons
  • Difficult to move around
  • Rust prone
See Reviews

Weber Spirit E-310

The Weber Spirit E-310 is a liquid propane gas grill that comes in a matte black finish with stainless steel accents.

The Power

There are 3 burners, each outputting 10,666 BTU, totaling 32,000 BTU. It’s ignited by the electronic Crossover ignition system.

Ample Cooking Space

The main cooking surface is a cast iron grate with a porcelain-enameled coating that’s 424 square inches large. There is a removable 105 square inches warming grate, large enough for 5 normal slices of bread. Combined you have a total of 529 square inches of cooking space.

Other Features That Makes This Weber a Weber

This grill has 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.

This is a full unit with a cart and a wheel for each leg.

There are 2 stationary side tables with clips for hooking and hanging your barbecue utensils.

The cart is fully enclosed into a single cabinet so you can store your propane tank and a few other things.

This cart has a special measuring unit that will tell you how full your propane tank is.

The hood of the grill is porcelain-enameled to keep its finish despite its heavy heat environment so that the exterior will never rust or fade.

There is a thermometer embedded into the hood.

Review of the Weber Spirit E-310

This grill only takes 30 minutes to an hour to assemble and the instructions are clear and easy. Once fully assembled, this grill does well with igniting properly the first time when you press the ignition button. The flavorizer bars help reduce flare-ups and keep your grill evenly heated.

See how this grill performs:

Pros
  • Simple assembly
  • Gets hot very fast
  • Easy to clean
  • Outstanding temperature control
  • Great looking
Cons
  • The igniter starts to die off within a year or two
See Reviews

Dyna-Glo Premier 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 space is at a premium.

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

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 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 some forums on instructions on how to set it up or, if you’re daring enough, wing it.

Is This Grill Worth the Money?

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
See Reviews

Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 325 Liquid Propane Gas Grill

Now we’re talking heat. The Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 325 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.

Interested in infrared grills? See 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.

The Cooking Specs

The Burners

Don’t let the main burners fool you. Yes, there’s only 2 of them and they output only 18,000 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 that are 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.

family bbq party

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).

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 under the grill where you’d place the propane tank.

Other Great Features

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

Before You Buy

This model doesn’t include a side burner. If you want one, you need to select the option with the side burner. Why I’m telling you this? Because many customers didn’t know this and thought their model had one. Boy, there were really disappointed when the grill arrived at their doorstep.

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. Expect 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. If you’re looking for the ultimate convenience, then this is it.

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 infrared plates
Cons
  • Not so easy to clean
  • Bad quality control, resulting in missing pieces and dents
  • Not suitable for larger groups
See Reviews

Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill and Smoker

A purist’s best friend: The Char-Griller 06620 Akorn Kamado Kooker. 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 upgraded 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.

The Cooking Specs

The cooking area consists of a primary cooking surface and the 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.

Control the Heat in Full

Charcoal grills have a 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 or as high as 700 ° F.

It Has Low Mileage

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.

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 hooks for utensils.

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 degrees. Getting a grill and/or meat probe is advisable.

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.

Final Say

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
Cons
  • Not simple to operate if you’re new to kamado grills
  • Inaccurate temperature gauge
  • Takes a while to heat up
See Reviews

Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker

The Z Grills ZPG-7002B is a wood pellet grill and smoker combo available in either charcoal black or steel silver.

Smokin’

This grill is more of a smoker than a grill as its max cooking temperature is 450°F. Don’t get me wrong, that’s hot but other grills on this list can get hotter.

The main use of this grill is to smoke really slow as you can cook for about 20 hours per 20 lbs of pellets.

More Convenient Than a Charcoal Grill

If you don’t like to handle the 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 hood thermometer, this one features a digital one. This is the only grill on this list with such a feature.

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

It’s big enough to cook:

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

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

Overview

Insiders Scoop of the ZPG-7002B

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

Searing is out of the option on this grill. Not only because of its max temperature 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 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 grilling surface
  • Sturdy heavy gauge metal construction and heavy-duty wheels
  • Easy to use and clean
  • The included grill cover is a nice addition
Cons
  • Tedious assembly
  • Not suitable for direct high-heat cooking and searing
  • Inaccurate thermometer
See Reviews

Char-Broil Performance 650 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

Cook for a large group of people with this grill due to its 6 burners plus a side burner for 7 total burners, wow! Each burner outputs 10,000 BTUs of heat.

The grill itself is stainless steel with a porcelain coating for durability and ease of cleaning, and measures 35 inches longways and 18.5 inches across for a total of 650 square inches of cooking space.

It also has 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.

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 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.

Review of the Char-Broil Performance 650

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.

Final Verdict

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 family of 6 – 10 people, to host backyard parties, or to grill for organization functions where a lot of people are present. It heats up hot and fast and maintains its heat pretty well.

Pros
  • Massive – big enough to feed a large group of people
  • 7 burners
  • Spacious cooking area
  • Easy to clean
  • Smooth assembly
Cons
  • Some pieces can be missing in the box
See Reviews

The Cadillacs of Grills

$500 is a lot for a grill, for anything, really, so you need to carefully consider which grill you’re going to buy. For this kind of money, you not only need to get a decent grill, but also a reliable and durable one.

In this grill buying guide, I’ve gathered 7 best of the best grills you can get for 500 dollars. You only need to choose the type of fuel it’s going to cook as I have done the needed research and testing for you.

Gas, Charcoal, Pellet,… What’s your favorite type of grill and why?

About Mario 118 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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