10 best gas BBQs to suit every outdoor space

Make alfresco eating a lot more entertaining with a hassle-free grill

Jon Axworthy
Wednesday 24 March 2021 14:15
<p>We tested with a home-made quarter pounder to see if it could produce a mouth-wateringly seared exterior, while keeping the inside nice and moist</p>

We tested with a home-made quarter pounder to see if it could produce a mouth-wateringly seared exterior, while keeping the inside nice and moist

No matter how big or small, if you have access to some outside space at the moment then you’re probably trying to spend as much time there as possible.

With this in mind, we reviewed a range of gas barbecues, which are renowned for their convenience, to find the household cookout kings.

Gas models nearly always require more assembly than their charcoal counterparts and even though you may have more time on your hands these days, you don’t want to spend it wrestling with grates and gas canisters, so we looked at how straightforward the assembly of each model was right out of the box.

After that, it was all about the barbecue’s ability to cope with food that required different cooking times. We looked at how each grill that came our way coped with a home-made quarter pounder to see if it could produce a mouth-wateringly seared exterior, while keeping the inside nice and moist.

We also tested the grills’ abilities to produce smoky, flavourful chicken and nicely charred veggie kebabs without any of the dreaded flare-ups that make the meat taste overly charred and acrid.

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What we were left with were the models that can make the time you spend outside more relaxing and the food you produce more delicious.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

The best gas barbecues to buy in 2021 are:

Best gas barbecue: Weber spirit II E-320: £699, Weber.com

Best small gas barbecue: Cadac citi chef 40: £154, Stovesareus.co.uk

Best stylish gas barbecue: Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Furnace 3: £750, Amara.com

Best portable gas barbecue: Char-Broil X200 grill2go: £121.99, Amazon.co.uk

Weber spirit II E-320

We love Weber’s second version of the “spirit” barbecue, which we found eliminated the flare-ups during cooking that the previous incarnation was rather prone to. The black enamel model looks good and performs better, no matter what you’ve got grilling. You only need to press the ignition for the first burner, after which the second and third will light themselves. The cast iron grate gave a really good sear to all our food, and it incorporates a removable circular section, so you can accessorise with a pizza stone, griddle or even a wok, adding real versatility.

Another bonus was the side burner, which meant that we could simmer some sauces in a 10in pan or even fry some mushrooms to go with a barbecued breakfast. The foldable side table can be collapsed after use, reducing the footprint of the barbecue and making it a welcome addition to different sized spaces. The grill also works with Weber’s new iGrill 3 “smart” thermometer, which means you can keep on top of how your meat is cooking via an app on your phone.

Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Furnace 3

A good-looking sleek aluminium model with effortless assembly. The three burners were very efficient, which meant that it was easy to get great colour on everything that hit the grill. Instead of flare-ups, the drippings from the meat were vaporised into smoky flavour, so if you’re new to the art of cooking with fire then this delivers impressive barbecue fare with minimal effort.

Char-Broil X200 grill2go

As the name suggests, this is ideal if you’re looking for some portability, but it’s also a good choice as a table top grill for a small patio or balcony. There’s virtually nothing to assemble and the electronic ignition was reliable and had us up and running in no time. The grate is made up of strips of triangular stainless steel, which we found stopped the burgers sticking, reduced flare-ups and provided even heat over the entire surface so that our burgers seared quickly and tasted great.

Char-Broil professional black edition 4400

Although this arrived with an intimidating 14 pages of assembly, it actually came together very easily and we were up and cooking within an hour and a half. The temperature control was spot on, which made it easy to stop the juicier cuts from drying out, eliminate flare-ups and allowed us to seal moisture and flavour into all of the meat. Finally, although it didn’t add anything to the food, the red LED illuminated temperature controllers did look great, particularly during evening cookouts.

Char Broil all star 120

This is another grill perfect for barbecuers with limited space thanks to its drop down shelving that means that it can be stored in the corner of a balcony. You can also detach the grill from the stand so that it sits on a table. The cast iron grill grates were ready for cooking quickly and produced some of the best burgers we tasted. With minimal assembly, it comes with some nice practical touches, like somewhere to store your kitchen towel and even a mini bin.

Outback omega 250

This two-burner model was straightforward to put together, easy to light and hit cooking temperature quickly. It gave a good sear to the burgers and the porcelain coated grill meant that we never had to worry about leaving the flavour of the food stuck to the grill when we turned it or took it off to serve. The side burner worked well for frying and saved repeated trips to the kitchen to separately cook onions.

Weber genesis II E-310

Still a real crowd pleaser and if you’re expecting to do some proper outdoor entertaining (rather than some occasional eating) then it’s well worth the extra investment. The large porcelain-coated cast iron grate takes the stress out of catering for large gatherings and we cooked large batches of burgers evenly, quickly and with an appetising sear. We had no problem with any of the meat sticking when it was flipped or turned and there was plenty of room underneath for storage thanks to the propane tank being located to the side of the grill, making it easy to replace.

Cadac citi chef 40

A funky table top model that comes in three different colours and is ideally suited to a balcony on a warm summer evening. It offers good even cooking and heat distribution across the ceramic coated aluminium grill with a dome lid that hooks behind it to act as a windshield when cooking. The modular design means that it’s very easy to break down and clean the pans when you’re done.

John Lewis & Partners 3 burner

This three burner barbecue didn’t require a degree in engineering to set it up and we were ready to go in just over an hour. With efficient ignition and excellent heat distribution the model dealt really well with everything we threw onto the porcelain grill. The high stainless steel hood also meant that there was plenty of room for smoke to circulate around the food when the barbecue was closed, making it was easy to infuse it with a delicious smoky flavour. We really liked the generous warming rack too, which made it easy to ensure that all the food was ready to go at the same time.

The Firepod

Although this has featured in our roundup of the best pizza ovens, it’s versatile enough to deserve a place in this roundup as all you have to do is replace the pizza stones with the griddle pan (£99) and you can turn it into a portable grill. Burgers were moist and the Firepod did a really good job of caramelising the meat, while keeping in the juices.

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How to choose the best gas barbecue for you

Barbecues come in all shapes and sizes, which can make choosing the right one a tricky endeavour. To make sure you pick the best appliance for your garden, there are several things to consider including how often you are going to use it.

If you plan to use your barbecue regularly then it might be worth investing a bit more in a model that will last you longer and comes with a lengthier warranty. However, if you plan to use your barbecue occasionally, a cheaper, more portable option might be best because they are typically lightweight and easier to store and clean.

It’s also worth considering how many people you are going to be cooking for. Every barbecue has a cooking area which is measured in square centimetres (cm²). As a rough guide, up to four people will require a smaller cooking area of up to 1800cm², while up to six people will require a larger area of 2000cm² to 2500cm². Finally, if you are catering for up to eight people, you will need the largest gas barbecue, with over 2500cm².

There are many other features to look out for, depending on what it is you’re after including wheels so you can easily manoeuvre the barbecue around your garden space, shelves for storage and a warming rack to keep your food warm while you cook.

How to clean a gas bbq

According to grill manufacturer Weber, there are five simple steps that need to be taken to clean the inside of your gas barbecue:

  1. Start cleaning your gas barbecue by disconnecting your gas tank; consult your owner’s manual for directions on your specific model.
  2. Next, brush the grates to remove any food debris, then spray your grate cleaner and let it settle for 30 seconds. After, scrub the grates with the abrasive side of your sponge, rinse with water and set aside for drying.
  3. Spray the grate cleaner inside the cookbox and on the Flavorizer bars and let settle for 30 seconds. Scrape the grease and debris off with a plastic scraper and set the flavouriser bars aside and clean with a sponge.
  4. Wipe down the cookbox, drip tray and bottom tray: use a brush when needed. Be careful not to splash water onto the burner tubes.
  5. Make sure your barbecue dries thoroughly before reassembling your barbecue and finishing your grates with a non-stick spray.

The verdict: Gas BBQs

For gardens and larger areas the Weber spirit II E-320 offers premium build quality combined with real versatility and consistently well-cooked food. If you’ve got less elbow room we really liked the form and function of the Cadac citi chef 40, which delivers big barbecue flavours from a smaller grill.

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