3 of the best gas grills to put in your backyard

Look alive, grill masters! It’s barbecue season, and if you’re looking to be the envy of the neighborhood potluck, it might be time to upgrade your grilling setup. There are tons of options to choose from, but a gas cooker remains the tried-and-true champion when it comes to backyard grilling.

Because gas grills ignite and heat up quickly, they’re ideal for newbies. Most have plenty of room to fix a family-sized feast, and newer models come jam-packed with nifty extras, from side burners to special sear stations to built-in lighting for evening cooking.

So if you’re on the hunt for a quality gas grill, you’re in luck. We put a bunch of the bestselling models through their paces by grilling burgers, whole chickens, ribs and more. These backyard models are three of CNET’s favorites.

BEST GRILL OVERALL

Weber Genesis II E-335, $1,049

This Weber liquid propane gas grill is pricey, but if you’re ready to make an investment in your outdoor kitchen, this model is a top choice, with ample grilling-area and cooking-grid dimensions.

This model comes with plenty of high-performance specs. With 513 square inches of primary cooking space powered by 39,000 BTUs, plus a fold-down warming rack, a 12,000-BTU side burner and stainless steel rod cooking grates for heat retention, you’ll never want for cooking-area space. Two cabinet doors hide a two-shelf storage area below the grill for utensils and supplies. That does mean the propane tank is stored outside the grill, but the provided hanging fuel gauge and easy access felt like a bonus more than an eyesore.

The Genesis II E-335 is also compatible with Weber’s iGrill 3. This $121 accessory plugs into the front of the grill and houses up to four Bluetooth temperature probes. You can monitor the temperature probes via a companion app for iOS and Android, so you keep an eye on what’s happening in your cooking area from a distance.

BEST MIDRANGE MODEL

Char-Broil Commercial 3-burner, $529

Char-Broil’s three-burner model comes in at almost half the price of the Weber model. You’ll get a liquid propane and natural gas grill that can handle most cooking challenges with ease.

Char-Broil uses what it calls Tru-Infrared, a set of perforated emitter plates that separate food from flame to evenly distribute heat and reduce flare-ups. There were definitely fewer flare-ups compared with other models in our testing, but you won’t be able to see the flame when you’re lighting the grill or adjusting the temperature, so keep that in mind.

You’ll get 25,500 BTUs of grilling power over 420 square inches of primary cooking-area space, plus a side burner and tank storage. Like the Weber, it comes with a 10-year warranty.

BEST BUDGET MODEL

Char-Griller E3072 3-burner, $250

You don’t have to spend more than $500 for a great barbecue grill. Char-Griller’s E3072 proves it. This model brings 40,800 BTUs of power over a generous 438 square inches of cooking space, plus a 12,000-BTU side burner.

What we noticed most in testing this grill is how quickly it got up to temperature compared with other models. It held that heat well, too. Unfortunately, that became a hindrance in our testing. Burgers and chickens were too charred on the outside, thanks to the hot cast-iron cooking grate. If you do purchase this model, keep that in mind and start out with less heat. Ribs were better, perhaps owing to the two smokestacks designed for even low and slow cooking.

There’s no storage cabinet on this model. The propane tank sits behind a decorative front panel. That’s an aesthetically pleasing compromise, but reaching through the side bars and around the panel to open and close the tank was frustratingly difficult. Despite those annoyances, this barbecue grill offers plenty of practicality and power for a very reasonable price.

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