Home » How Much Does A BBQ Cost: 9 Grills To Fit Any Budget

How Much Does A BBQ Cost: 9 Grills To Fit Any Budget

Whether you are contemplating the purchase of your first BBQ grill or simply upgrading, you are likely wondering about the cost.  Grills are not all cheap.  Nor are they all of the same caliber and quality.  In some cases, a more expensive grill does equate to better tasting food.

But just the same, how much do you need to spend to get the results you want?  And how much do BBQ grills actually cost?  Here is the quickest answer for those in a rush.

The average cost of a BBQ today is between $150-$500.  Small, portable, gas or charcoal BBQs might be as cheap as $25 while high end grills start at about $750.  Some of the most elite grill setups are over $5,000.  However, there are quality charcoal, gas and pellet grills that easily yield delicious BBQ food for around $450.

Need a little more direction about where to start?  That’s why I am here.  Not only will we go through the different cost considerations, we’ll also take a look at 9 of the best grills that fit any budget.  One of them is sure to work for you!

Is it worth buying a BBQ

Any meat eater will find that the purchase of a barbecue grill is definitely worth the investment.  A quality grill will provide years of delicious food and unique tastes that you just can’t get from cooking in the kitchen.  

Even if you only enjoy grilled food on rare occasions, a grill could still be a worthwhile purchase.  A small, inexpensive barbecue might run you less than $50 and suitably cook dozens of grilled steaks, hotdogs and burgers with ease.  Compare that to buying a lunch or two at your local BBQ pit and you’ll certainly be money ahead.

The only people who may not get enough grilling action to justify the cost of a barbecue are those that live in urban settings or apartment buildings.  Local covenants and grilling restrictions might make grilling excessively difficult and not worth the effort.  If this includes you, occasionally treating yourself to barbecue flavors at a restaurant might be a better option.   

How much should you pay for a grill

Asking how much you should pay for a grill is a tough question to answer.  It’s not easy putting a precise value on your enjoyment of food after all.  Just the same, I think asking yourself this question is still a good idea.  Especially since a more expensive barbecue doesn’t always equate to more delicious food.

To get restaurant quality barbecued food, you should spend at least $250 on a grill.  At this price point, you start to get heavy cast iron grates, better quality burners (if propane) and better heat control.  If you want to master a full range of grilling and smoking, you should spend around $450 to $700 to get the right features.

However, once you launch above those price points, you are more likely paying for fancy features and stylish looks than you are for enhanced cooking capabilities.  Above the $1,000 range, you get diminishing returns.

With that in mind, you should set your grilling expectations first and then find a grill that maximizes the quality of barbecued food you expect for the most reasonable price.  For me, the way a grill looks is secondary to the food it produces.  Don’t be afraid to pay for some handy features.  Just understand that more money doesn’t equal better tasting meats.

When is the best time to buy a grill

Sales happen all year but there are definitely better times to get steep discounts on the grill you want.  Even if you’ve already picked out the right grill, a little patience before buying can lead to huge savings.

New grills start hitting stores by March as peak grilling season ramps up which makes this an unlikely time to find any deals.  Demand is high and less savvy shoppers fork over top dollar to get their new grill before Fourth of July celebrations.  Unless you have no alternative, avoid buying a grill in March through the end of July.  

The absolute best time to buy a new grill starts in August when interest in outdoor grilling wanes and stores offer big discounts to sell leftover inventory.  Holiday sales including Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day are also good opportunities to find modest discounts.  January and February are great times to save money on last year’s models as box stores try to make room for next season’s grills.

For more on the best grill shopping times, check out my article here. I give the full rundown of all the best sale events so you get the most for your money!

Additional costs of a grill

Obviously, the grill itself is where you spend most of your money but there are other costs to consider as well.  Accessories and fuel probably won’t make or break your choice in grills but let’s list things out so you know what to expect.

  • Fuel:  Every grill requires some sort of fuel for its heat source.  Gas grills use propane, charcoal grills use briquettes or lump charcoal and pellet grills go through pellets by the bag full.  Prices vary depending on where you buy your fuel and the quality of fuel you buy.  Regardless of the fuel type, a typical grilling session costs $0.50 to $1.  
  • Accessories:  Go down any grilling isle at the store and you’ll see loads of accessories to aid your quest to grilling perfection.  Some are useful while some are a waste of money.  It’s all personal preference.  At the vary least, you need a grate cleaner, spatula, tongs and a quality instant-read thermometer.  All that will run you about $100.
  • Grill cover:  Your grill is an expensive investment that should last years.  Yet, without a grill cover, any grill stored outside all year will quickly rust and wear out.  A grill cover is a cheap way to ensure you get full use from your grill for years to come.  Custom fitting covers start as low as $20 and range up to over $100 for high quality materials that truly protect your BBQ from the elements.

9 Grills that fit any budget

After a quick internet search for the best grills, you’ll be swamped with countless offerings.  There are over a dozen good brands selling many more grill models than you care to know about.  

How do you choose?  My advice, don’t over think it.  Decide what kind of grilling you are actually going to enjoy most often and balance quality with cost.  Avoid going cheap but don’t get suckered into more grill than you could ever use.  This other article of mine will help you decide between charcoal and gas grills if you aren’t quite sure which is best for you.

Take a look at these 9 grills sure to fit any budget.  I filtered through the junk and compiled a well balanced mix of grills actually worth buying.  See for yourself!

Best portable BBQs for on-the-go grillers

  1. Weber Q 1200 Gas Grill

For portable steakhouse quality grilling power, nothing beats the Weber Q series.  The Weber Q 1200 is a go-anywhere grill that blends performance and quality into a nice tidy package.  It’s the grill I use most often and I can vouch for the beautiful sear marks, even heating and foolproof simplicity.  It’s not perfect but darn close.  The Weber Q 1200 is modestly priced at about $240. 

  1. Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Gas Grill with Versastand

The Cuisinart Petit grill looks unassuming but I assure you this is a grill that gets it done.  It’s a super portable package that yields delicious flame seared meals.  It might lack the heavy cast-iron grates and heavy lid like the Weber Q but it heats up fast and cooks remarkably even across all 145 square inches of grilling surface.  I have yet to try a grill as portable as this one and the Versastand is a nice touch for on-the-go grilling.  At only $200, it’s a worthwhile purchase.

  1. Weber Smokey Joe 14” Charcoal Grill

Weber has long since cornered the market on portable charcoal grills and the Weber Smokey Joe 14” grill proves that point.  It’s an affordable BBQ that distills grilling down into its truest form.  With a handful of briquettes, you have a versatile barbecue with capabilities rivaling his bigger cousins.  Simple air flow control and a wide range of grilling temperatures are but a few of the perks.  Did I mention it only costs $40?

Best gas grills for everyday use

  1. Weber Spirit II E-310, 3 Burner Gas Grill

If it seems like Weber occupies a large slot in this list, that’s because it does.  After all, they make awesome grills.  And the Weber Spirit II E-310, 3 burner gas grill is one of the best.  With 30,000 BTUs of cooking power and over 500 square inches of cooking space, you can grill up a feast for any crowd.  It’s feature loaded while still harnessing a simple aesthetic that looks as good as it cooks.  Any backyard chef will love this grill.  At $570, it has enough thoughtful features making it worth the price.  

  1. Napoleon Rogue XT 3 Burner Gas Grill

Anyone who loves grilling will appreciate the Napoleon Rogue XT 3 burner gas grill.  This grill is a step up from the Weber and boasts every essential feature you could want like 51,000 BTUs of meat searing heat, 620 square inches of cooking space, a huge range of temperature control for the ultimate in versatility, porcelainize cast-iron grates and a side burner for prepping sauces or frying up a side dish.  There is even an included wood chip box to turn this grill into a low temperature smoker.  It’s everything you need for outdoor cooking and worth the $700 price tag. Get it at Lowes instead if Amazon prices rise.

Best charcoal BBQ’s for avid pit masters

  1. Kamado Joe Classic 18” Charcoal Grill

Once you venture into the world of charcoal grilling, you’ll see that it is almost an art.  The Kamado Joe Classic 18” grill is the perfect canvas for backyard pit masters.  Unlike gas grills, you can tailor the burn for any kind of cooking.  Low and slow smokes turn out great in the heat retaining ceramic shell or you can turn up the heat to get a perfect sear on a flat iron steak.  Kamado Joe grills are a premium way to add robust flavors and smoke using real charcoal flame.  It’s pricey at $800 but it will surely elevate the way you grill.

  1. Weber Original Kettle Premium 22” Charcoal Grill

For the more budget minded grillers that still love the allure of charcoal cooking, check out the Weber Original Kettle.  Well, actually the Premium 22” to be exact.  There are some handy additions and better temperature control with the Premium model that make the slight jump in price worth it.  You truly get full versatility like the Kamado Joe but a little less heat retention.  That makes low temperature cooks challenging but not impossible.  But it’s priced right and is probably the best sub $200 barbecue money can buy.

Best pellet grills for complete versatility

  1. Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill

Traeger pellet grills were, are and probably will continue to be, all the rage.  Why? Because pellet grills are awesome!  I love all kinds of grilling but pellet grills upped my flavor game overnight.  With the Traeger Pro Series 22 pellet grill, you can experience the same boost in authentic smokey flavors for less than $700.  There are bigger models but the price gets steep.  The Pro Series 22 has 572 square inches of grilling space which is plenty for all but the biggest family gatherings.  Plus, most of the advanced features of more expensive models are not essential.  

  1. Z-Grills Pioneer 450A Pellet Grill

Plenty of people want to add a pellet grill to their arsenal of backyard cooking gear but don’t care to spend a small fortune.  Luckily, there are loads of thriftier options now.  Z-Grills Pioneer 450A pellet grill is less than $400 but is still a high quality unit that can go toe to toe with the Traeger Pro Series 22.  Quality materials, superb temperature control and every bit as versatile.  Smoke, bake and grill with ease.  For anyone that wants a pellet grill without the Traeger price tag, this is a phenomenal grill worth considering. 

One last thing

Grills aren’t cheap but you also don’t need to spend a fortune to get bold flavors and restaurant caliber results.  Now that you’ve read this article, hopefully you have a better idea of how much you really need to spend to achieve all your grilling needs.  Take your time, do the research and patiently wait for a sale so you’ll find the perfect grill at a price you can really sink your teeth into.