Gas BBQ grills using propane are a step removed from cooking over a wood or charcoal fire. Plenty of serious barbecuers regard this is a form of heresy! Despite this, and the much higher initial cost over that of a charcoal grill, there are plenty reasons to go get a gas grill.
Here's a summary of the advantages of gas over charcoal if you're weighing up which type of barbecue grill to go for.
Gas lights and is ready to go almost instantly, unlike charcoal which can be a pain in the butt to light.
Charcoal as a fuel costs at least ten times more to cook the same amount of food.
The clean up process is simpler - you turn up the gas and literally burn off the bits.
Gas grills are clean and smokeless.
Temperature control on a gas grill is simple - you turn the nob up or down - where with charcoal it's more of an art.
Also it would only be fair to point out a couple of disadvantages, though they may not really be disadvantages.
Gas grills contain moving parts - regulators, burners, pipes, manifolds, etc that need periodic maintenance and replacement.
Whatever manufacturer you choose, spare parts will be available - but this requires extra cost and extra effort to deal with.
The Two Options: Propane Gas vs Natural Gas
Fuel is most commonly liquid propane gas in a portable bottle. Natural gas grills are produced, but these obviously require a connection to a mainline supply.
Here is a summary of the differences between the two:
Propane gas is supplied at around twice the pressure of natural gas and produces the same BTU/hr for half the volume of fuel.
In other words, liquid propane gas effectively produces twice the amount of heat energy of natural gas.
A propane gas BBQ grill is portable - the gas is self contained in a bottle - a natural gas BBQ needs a pipe connected to your local supply and therefore portability is limited to the length of the hose.
Natural gas BBQs have one major advantage however - you'll never run out of gas! This is the deciding factor to some buyers.
You cannot just attach a LP gas BBQ to a natural gas supply, or vice versa - the internal components are different due to the varying properties and supply requirements of the two gases.
It is possible to convert one type to the other though - many manufacturers produce a kit with the necessary parts.
Both fuels are burn relatively cleanly and are considered environmentally friendly - more so than smoke.
Common Features of a Gas Grill
The majority of gas grills follow the cart design: the grill unit itself is attached to a wheeled frame that holds the fuel tank (if using propane).