When grilling season rolls around, you want to be sure you have the right equipment. It might be your skill as a grill master that makes all the difference, but having a good grill goes a long way to making the job go better.
If you like to cook out often, you want something more than a basic grill. At the same time, you don’t want to take out a second mortgage for a monster of a machine. But there are plenty of mid-range options that will cover all the bases and stay within your budget. So let’s get grilling!
How We Defined “Mid-Range” Grills
We were a bit shocked to see the huge range of grills available. Sure, we knew there was a variety, from your basic portable charcoal grill right up to massive pieces that will let you make gourmet meals. But the range of features – and the corresponding prices – is enormous.
That means that our interpretation of a mid-range grill is somewhat broad, too. For this article, we looked at grills ranging from $500 up to $2000. Yes, that’s a big range, so we’ve tried to look at models at the lower end as well as some at the upper end.
In this range, you’ll find a lot of features that make grilling a great experience. You’ll have everything from extra shelves to better heat control to more grilling space.
We just want to add one caveat here: we don’t control the pricing on these products, so it’s possible that by the time you read this, they may no longer be in the price range we set out to consider. Eventually, we’ll try to update the article, but we hope the prices stay within or reasonably close to our target range.
What to Look for in a Barbecue Grill
We’ve talked elsewhere about the different kinds of barbeque grill, so we won’t rehash that here. Instead, let’s consider what you should expect in this price range.
For what you’ll spend, you should expect a much-improved product. The grill should be better at the basics as well as adding some extras. The grills we’re looking at here all require a natural gas hookup, so you may need to have them installed for you.
This is an investment so you should expect it to be durable enough to hold up for several years. If you take good care of your grill, the base unit can last over a decade, although some parts, like the grates, may need replacement after about five years.
You want a lid on your grill, too. While a simple open grill might work for a burger or hotdog, a lid will help trap the heat and provide indirect cooking for thicker cuts.
You also need enough room for cooking. If you normally just cook for a family of four, about 400 square inches is the minimum. But if you frequently host larger groups, you should consider a larger grill.
Being able to control heat zones is also a basic feature at this level. This can be as simple as having separate controls for different burners. With different zones, you can cook various items at once. On the other hand, you want the grill to be able to cook evenly across all zones, too, for those times when you’re cooking a lot of hamburgers or other items. That way, you can be sure they’ll all be ready about the same time.
Most often, you’ll want to have at least 3 burners for your grill. This gives you enough heat, allows for zones, and provides enough space to cook everything at once for up to about eight people.
Of course, heat is key, too. You want about 80 – 100 BTU per square inch of cooking surface. You might have to calculate it yourself since most grills list those two numbers separately. It’s not BTU alone that matters. It’s how concentrated it is. This level will allow you to cook nearly anything well.
Of course, all that is basic to grilling. But when you’re spending this much money, you should get some extras, too.
Look for a grill that has shelves and hooks. This will allow you to keep your tools close by. It will also give you a place to set trays of uncooked and cooked food while you place it on or remove it from the grill.
A cabinet underneath is a great feature, too. While you won’t be using it much while cooking, it makes it easier to store your equipment when it’s not in use.
Easy cleanup is a key feature, too. We’ve met lots of people who love grilling, but we’ve never heard anyone say that cleaning up the grill is their favorite part of it. Easy access to the grease pan, quality materials, and a clean design of the overall unit can simplify this necessary task.
Even entry-level grills often have a thermometer, but at this level, it’s a must. To get the best taste, you’ll want to be able to monitor the temperature while your meal is cooking.
Portability is key, too. If you live in an area with year-round great weather, you may get away with leaving your grill in one place. For the rest of us, though, you want to be able to easily move the grill if bad weather is expected or just to get it out of the way. You might even find it useful to change its position just based on the sun and wind each time you use it.
Our Picks for the Best Mid-Range Gas Barbecue Grills
With all that said, now let’s look at the top grills we’ve found in this price range!
- Cooking area: 512 sq in (primary); 156 sq in (secondary)
- BTU: 37,500
- BTU/square inch: 73
- Burners: 3
- Overall dimensions: 61 in (h) x 54 in (w) x 31 in (d)
- Weight: 157 lbs.
- Wheels: 4
- Grill Warranty: 10 years
- Burner Warranty: 10 years
Weber is a leader in the industry, and this is a good grill in its price range. While we’re slightly disappointed in the BTU per square inch rating, overall it offers a lot – including a great warranty.
This grill includes a large primary cooking surface along with a warming grate that measures 156 square inches. That’s great when you need to get just a few more servings cooked before you’re ready for the crowd to swarm you for some juicy food. The grates are cast iron and porcelain-enameled. They can also be flipped so you can choose between a thick or thin sear mark.
The shelves fold down for easy storage. There are also hooks for utensils.
Other features include a thermometer and a grease pan.
This grill lets you add Weber’s “iGrill” probes and app that will send a notification to your phone when the food reaches the proper temperature.
This is a hefty piece of equipment and you’ll either want to have it delivered or get a truck or large SUV to pick it up with. It’s made of painted steel and in the packaging weight about 165 pounds. Once you get it out and assembled, though, it moves easily on its four wheels.
The 10-year warranty is pretty standard, but it also covers the stainless-steel burners, which is great to see.
- Cooking area: 425 sq. in. (primary); 195 sq. in. (secondary)
- BTU: 36,000
- BTU/square inch: 85
- Burners: 3 plus one side burner
- Overall dimensions: 48 in (h) x 51 in (w) x 25 in (d)
- Weight: 147 lb.
- Wheels: 4
- Grill Warranty: Lifetime
- Burner Warranty: 10 years
Napoleon’s Rogue 425 is another fine entry in the mid-range grill category. While the primary cooking area is on the small (but still sufficient) side, it offers a large warming grate and a good BTU per square inch rating.
The 425 square inches of cooking space with 85 BTU per square inch is great for getting your cooking done in a reasonable amount of time. While it’s small if you have a large family or host a lot of parties, it’s perfect for the family or just to have another couple over. With the 195 sq. in. warming grate, you’ll have plenty of space to keep food warm while other items are still cooking.
The three main burners and one side burner help control temperatures and provide even cooking.
The shelves fold down so the unit will take up less space. They can also be removed. There’s also a cabinet underneath for storing utensils and other supplies.
Made of stainless steel, this is a durable and easy-to-clean unit. The lifetime warranty and ten-year burner warranty don’t hurt, either.
- Cooking area: 552 sq. in. (primary); 186 (secondary)
- BTU: 56,000 (primary), 10,000 BTU rotisserie
- BTU/square inch: 101
- Burners: 4
- Overall dimensions: 21 (h) x 32 (w) x 26 (d)
- Weight: 155 lb
- Wheels: N/A
- Grill Warranty: Lifetime (some parts, including ignition and electronics, have a one-year warranty)
- Burner Warranty: Lifetime
If you’re looking for a great grill that’s almost commercial quality, you may like this model from Blaze. And to make it even more convenient, it’s available in both natural gas and propane models (you’ll see a button to choose when you click the link above).
This is a grill only; the base is available separately. But this will work great if you just want a countertop model for your outdoor kitchen. Or, you can add the cart, although this might push the price a little out of our range.
The four-burner system provides even more control than the other grills we’ve looked at, and the large primary cooking surface and warming area make it ideal for hosting get-togethers.
A rotisserie burner is standard; you’ll just need to add a spit assembly. The grill is designed to accept one.
The interior lighting works well for grilling late. You’ll be able to see what you’re doing no matter what time you’re cooking.
One issue we have seen is that Blaze doesn’t service these grills; they only offer replacement parts. While we haven’t seen service deals with many grills, this one is at the upper end of our price range, so it would have been a nice addition.
The lifetime warranty on the main systems is great, especially since it covers the burners. However, electronics, lighting, and the ignition only have a one-year warranty.
- Cooking area: 350 sq. in. (primary) 175 sq. in. (secondary)
- BTU: 30,000 main; 10,000 side burner, 12,000 rotisserie burner
- BTU/square inch: 86
- Burners: 3
- Overall dimensions: 48 in (h) x 52 in (w) x 24 in (d)
- Weight: 122 lb.
- Wheels: 4
- Grill Warranty: Lifetime
- Burner Warranty: 10 years
Although on the small side, this grill is still a great option if you only have to cook for a few. For those times you do have a bit more to cook, the ample warming area will come in handy. And one of the top features here is a built-in rotisserie spit.
The Broil King offers consistent heating over the whole surface so you’ll know what you’re getting. There are no concerns about food getting partially done or other related issues.
The side burner offers 10,000 BTU for cooking as if you had a single-burner stove. It’s handy and great for making sauces or other dishes to complement your main course.
For movement, it has two wheels and two casters. The wheels can be locked to keep it from moving around. The cabinet underneath is great for storage.
The only negatives we’ve seen have to do with the assembly instructions. And the complaints were from several years ago; the instructions seem to have improved since then.
- Cooking area: 483 sq. in. (primary) plus 161 sq in (secondary)
- BTU: 36,000 plus 15,000 searing burner
- BTU/square inch: 75 (primary cooking area)
- Burners: 3 plus side sear burner
- Overall dimensions: 49 in (h) x 50 in (w) x 24 in (d)
- Weight: 121 lbs
- Wheels: 4
- Grill Warranty: 1 year /3 years for grates
- Burner Warranty: 1 year
The linked model is a propane grill, but it can easily be converted to natural gas. KitchenAid offers this great grill that offers a good-sized cooking area. The BTUs/square inch is a bit lower than we’d like, but it’s competitive with other grills in its price range. And it’s good enough to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time.
KitchenAid claims the primary cooking area is large enough to cook 23 hamburger patties at a time. Fortunately, they do admit “actual results may vary.” We’ve heard that an average burger is just over 20 square inches, so the math works out – technically. It wouldn’t give you any room to flip or move them, of course. But still, you could get a lot of burgers on this grill at a time! We didn’t try packing it full, but 16 or 18 is probably comfortable.
The sear burner is powerful and will leave a good “grilled” marked on your steaks, burgers, or whatever else you’ll be serving up.
It does offer a cabinet underneath and a decent-sized shelf. It’s also relatively light compared to the other grills we looked at.
Switching to natural gas is relatively simple. You do have to provide the hose and regulator. However, the orifices are built into the unit for the main burner. For the sear burner, you do need to remove and replace the LP orifice, but the natural gas version is included.
If you want to be fashionable too, you’ll be happy to know this grill is available in black, slate, red, green and blue.
The biggest disappointment here is the short warranty. It seems like it will hold up, but the warranty length doesn’t show much confidence in that.
When you want to enjoy grilling, it’s important to have the right grill. The models we’ve looked at here are mid-range entries that offer a lot. You’ll enjoy cooking with them and will love the consistent heat they provide. Which is your choice? Be sure to invite us over when you try them out!