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Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill, the Ultimate Showdown!

There’s certainly nothing quite like a pair of succulent sausages or a juicy T-bone steak that has been grilled to perfection.

It’s a well-known fact that debates rage on about what makes a good steak and how long you should grill one, but there’s also the matter of what hardware to grill it to bring out its full potential. More specifically, the question is what type of fuel you should be using to give the grilled food an unmistakable taste.

With that said, Pellet Grill vs. Gas Grill is on our menu today.

Apart from the traditional charcoal grill, which has been the mainstay of backyard parties and outdoor events since, well forever, gas and pellet grills are gaining more traction and deserve a closer look.

Each has some merits and a few drawbacks, so to make an informed purchasing decision the next time you find yourself in need of a grill, here’s an overview of what to expect from each.

By the end of this ultimate pellet grill vs gas grill showdown, you’ll be armed with the pros, the cons, and the facts to help in your decision-making.

And the winner is? Let’s find out!

Table of Contents

Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill

In today’s Pellet Grill vs. Gas Grill Showdown, we will be looking at a number of conveniences and drawbacks for both to help us decide our winner.

Pellet Grills

On the Other Hand

Pellets made out of tiny scraps of wood have become an inexpensive and appealing solution not just for indoor heating, but for grilling your meat too.

Pellet grills offer you the best customization options when it comes to tweaking the meat’s smokey flavor to just the way you like it. If you love the fresh, unmistakable smell of wood smoke permeating your grilled meals, then pellet grills are hands down the best option here.

The pellets themselves come from a wide variety of wood species, so you can experiment with them and combine two or more to create a distinct flavor other types of grills simply can’t mimic.

Another one of the pellet grill’s strong suits is its versatility. You can roast, barbecue, grill, smoke, braise, or bake using a pellet grill. And they just keep getting better. Some newer models now let you switch between indirect and open-flame cooking to allow you to sear the perfect steak.

Most are designed to be ideal as smokers, allowing you to prepare delicious smoked food with very little hassle. Another factor to consider, which ties in with its grilling and smoking capabilities, is that a pellet grill can heat up evenly much quicker than a charcoal grill, shortening the time it takes to start preparing meals on it.

Pellet grills leave little mess, and they’re among the most lightweight and mobile models, so you can maneuver around the backyard with ease. They even have electrical attachments that work with your car that will let take yours with you when you go on vacation and not be deprived of the smoky flavor you’ve become accustomed to.

On the Other Hand

On the other hand, pellet grills do suffer from a few drawbacks. Pellets aren’t as widespread as grilling enthusiasts would like yet, and depending on where you live, you might not be able to get a hold of any locally, or the ones on offer might be more expensive than what you’re willing to pay.

Speaking of cost, most pellet grill models don’t come cheap, and you should be prepared to pay as much for one as for a good gas grill. Smaller models lack the capacity you’ve come to expect from gas models, so the cost becomes even more of an issue. Most importantly, pellet grills can’t work without electricity, which severely limits their use in outback areas.

You can read more about pellet grills in my “What is a Pellet Grill? – An Introduction to Pellet Grilling” guide.

Gas Grills

On the Other Hand

Cooking speed and the number of different possible bells and whistles are what makes gas grills a serious contender and part of what makes them the most prevalent type of grill today.

Their indisputable convenience is another fan favorite—just set the grill to the proper temperature, fire it up, and forget about worrying over inconsistent temperatures or uneven heat distribution. Give one just about 10 minutes to properly get cooking and you can do the same. You can fine-tune the amount of heat it gives off simply by adjusting one or all of the burners, which means that you can also keep food warm for later consumption.

Gas is a cheap and readily available fuel source and might prove to be the most inexpensive option if you plan on using the grill a lot. You can get a good 20 hours’ worth of grilling out of one propane tank, and swapping it out is easily taken care of.

Once you’re done with grilling, there’s next to no cleanup. Since only gas has been burned there’s no messy ash to take care of, leaving just the mildly unpleasant chore of cleaning the grates in preparation for the next cookout.

On the Other Hand

On the other hand, gas grills need a lot of open space to be handled safely. Whether it comes with a separate propane tank or is hooked up to your local gas grid, you need to ensure that the grill is operating in a wide open area to reduce the risks of a fire hazard.

In some places, city ordinances prohibit the use of gas grills, so you’ll definitely need to familiarize yourself with those before you even consider buying a gas grill. Those which hook up to your grid are also stationary, so you can’t take them along on a camping trip.

A good gas grill is also expensive. If you’re satisfied with nothing but top-of-the-line models with all the trimmings, expect your expenses to reach well into the thousands. Last but not least, a common complaint about gas grills is that the food they cook tastes bland compared to the richly flavored delicacies you can make with pellets or charcoal.

You can read more about gas grills in my “What Is A Propane Gas Grill? – An Introduction To Outdoor Propane Gas Grills And Their Many Options” guide.

Final Thoughts on Our Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill Showdown

Both types of grills can do a fine job of thoroughly cooking the food you put on them—that is a given. From here on, however, things start to get complicated and have as much to do with your lifestyle choices, budget constraints, and taste preferences as they do with the grills’ actual features.

For those of you who enjoy the occasional, meticulously planned meal full of different flavors, the pellet grill sweeps the competition away. Conversely, if speed, convenience, and volume are at the top of your grilling needs list, gas grills offer the advantage you need to satisfy all three every time.

Whichever model you choose, be prepared to make several compromises, but rest assured that great-tasting food won’t be one of them.

And The Winner Is?

I will let you decide in the comments below.

As always, if you or someone you know could benefit from this article on Pellet Grill vs. Gas Grill cooking, or if you find this information useful, please consider sharing it with your grilling friends or on social media!

If you would like to leave a comment or have a Pellet Grill vs. Gas Grill opinion of your own to share, please do so below. We always welcome your input.


Pat G.

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DisclosureAt The Grilling Life, I am committed to researching and writing thoughtful, informative and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your outdoor cooking needs.  If you like what I do, you can support me through my chosen links, which earn me a commission.  This allows me to continue sharing with you my love for all things barbecue.  Your support is truly appreciated.

Patrick Ginise

A backyard warrior, certified carnivore, lover of good whiskey, grill master and I’m Living The Grilling Life!

I have a passion for cooking with live fire and smoke, no matter the weather. I’m a real person just like you, who loves outdoor cooking and BBQ. Food, fun, and time spent with family and friends are what it’s all about! It is my mission to take my passion and knowledge for outdoor cooking and all things BBQ and share this expertise in techniques and grilling equipment with you. In other words, Living The Grilling Life!

I have personally tested over 150+ Grills and Smokers and hundreds of grilling thermometers, temperature controllers, grill brushes, grilling tools, fire starters, and other BBQ products.