Many people enjoy a good barbeque when the summer weather arrives and there’s nothing better than having family and friends descend on the home to share some quality time together as well as help themselves to good food, drink and entertainment.

For some, it is a good time to break out the charcoal grill; but others turn to a gas equivalent. But which is the better, and how does one decide which to use?

Advantages and disadvantages of a charcoal grill

Traditional charcoal grills remain a hugely popular choice, but they can be time-consuming to prepare while it can take a while for them to reach the required heat needed in order to properly cook food. Plus, afterwards when the cooking is complete the charcoals can take some time to cool down before they can be disposed of and the unit will require to be emptied and cleaned before it can be used again.

Despite being something of a drain on time, there are advantages to a charcoal grill.

They are fairly mobile and easy to handle due to their relatively small size and supplies of charcoal, igniting liquids and fuels are readily available in garages, supermarkets and camping stores.

Plus they are often inexpensive to buy and are suitable for catering to the needs of a small group of people. They can be easily packed away as camping gear too for those who like to grill away from home.

Many people also say there is an enhancement of flavor using a traditional charcoal grill that is difficult to replicate.

However, it can be very difficult to regulate the heat of a charcoal grill. While they are slow to reach cooking temperature, the heat is difficult to control and the fuel needed to create direct and indirect cooking areas on the grill require careful placement to prevent over or under-cooking.

Advantages and disadvantages of an electric grill

Electric grills are ideal for bigger parties and can be ran directly from the mains power. They are quick to heat up and cooking zones can be set independently on various parts of the grill.

Electric grills won’t run out of fuel – unless there’s a power outage – and they are quick and easy to clean for future use.

They also don’t require much room for placement outside of being near a power outlet or within reasonable reach using an extension power cord.

The biggest disadvantage of an electric grill is its’ inability to recreate the smoky taste gained from a charcoal grill.

Advantages and disadvantages of a gas grill

Easy to operate, the gas grill perhaps needs a bit more room on the lawn than an electric grill, but like an electric grill they are very quick to reach cooking temperature and cooking zones can also be easily defined on different parts of the grill to ensure perfect cooking every time.

Not as messy as a charcoal grill to clear up afterwards, gas grills are often perfect for larger sizes of gatherings where there is a lot of food to be grilled and cooked.

Gas grills are available in a wide range of sizes to fit most spaces around the garden and can cater for small or large parties of guests with ample room to cook a variety of meats, vegetables and cobs at one time.

Although more expensive and require regular maintenance and care they can be considered an investment as they can last many years if properly looked after.

Gas fuel can run out but gas canister fuel is relatively inexpensive to buy and canisters can be refilled. New canisters are often readily available at a number of outlets although take care to store canisters away safely when not in use.

Some gas grills can be connected directly into mains gas supply also, although this will require an expert to perform the installation safely and without leaks.

There’s a lot to consider when choosing the best gas grills for your backyard; from the type of fuel to be used to the siting of the grill within the garden, the frequency of its’ use and the typical number of people it will be used to cater for are just a few issues to think about and the right choice isn’t always a straight or easy one to make before budget even enters the equation.

Having sufficient gas for cooking can be guesswork, while gas refills might not always be readily available especially for those who live away from larger towns or cities; while areas that are prone to power outages might not get the best use out of an electric grill if the power decides to go off during cooking.

Charcoal grills are messy and time-consuming, but their portability is a positive advantage although they are best used for smaller groups where gas or electric grills can cater to many more people. Plus, bags of charcoal are heavy to carry and require a storage quantity to ensure they don’t run out while cooking.

Whichever grill is decided upon, it is sure to deliver great and tasty food time and again if properly cared for.


Now an editor with The Arches, Amelia has lived in the world of lifestyle media for more than a decade. When she isn't wielding her red pen, she's likely canning whatever's in season, listening to anything with a fiddle, or playing Uno with her

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