Choosing a new grill is not among the easiest tasks if you have no experience on the topic.
These days there are several types of grills available, they differ in the source of power and more, which makes it so important to understand the upsides and downsides of each of them before you make the final choice.
In this article I will present to you the differences between a pellet and a gas grill so that you can know what will work better in your situation.
Both grills are great but they differ in many ways despite both of them being made with grilling in mind.
Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill – Face to Face Analysis
First we’ll take a closer look at the key aspects in order to show you what both grills have in common and what makes them different.
Gas doesn’t give food any extra flavor, as is the case with charcoal or wood. Pellet is nothing more than compressed wood shavings, depending on the brand and content, it is the best if it’s high quality pellet without filler.
High quality pellet is 100% wood, the smoke of which has a great impact on food’s flavor, which I don’t think needs to be explained to anyone. You have to know, though, that the flavor of food cooked with pellet differs from that cooked with charcoal.
On top of that, one has to understand that a significant impact can only be noticed when the food is cooked for a long time. Quickly grilled steaks, wieners or burgers from pellet won’t achieve a significant difference compared to gas.
On the other hand, you will definitely notice a difference when smoking thick slabs of meats.
With the right accessories (smoker box) and with wood chips, you can add a smoky flavor to food cooked on a gas grill, but it won’t be quite as effective.
Ease of use
Both grills are incredibly easy and intuitive to use, which makes them a great alternative for those who don’t like all that commotion taking place when cooking with charcoal.
All you have to do is start a burner and after about a dozen minutes you can start cooking if you have a gas grill. When it comes to a pellet grill, the situation is even better than that, here you only have to set the temperature using a digital controller and start the ignition.
The king in this category is the pellet grill, releasing you from any tasks from the moment of being started. All of that thanks to the technology and the system that calculates exactly when and how much pellet to add to the furnace in order to maintain the temperature.
The better the controller, the more stable the temperature, and that’s why when it comes to the best models, you can expect great results even in different inconvenient weather conditions.
Your only responsibility is to refill the pellet container and then choose the target temperature and start the grill.
When it comes to the gas grill, here you are going to have to gain some experience to know how much burner power to use in order to achieve a particular temperature. In practice, though, it is still a grill with easy temperature control.
The gas grill was mainly designed for quick and hot grilling and not for smoking like the pellet smoker, which means it doesn’t require that kind of precise temperature control.
In both cases you can expect achieving the right temperature for cooking within about a dozen minutes. When it comes to gas grills, it looks better in case of much higher temperatures.
You don’t have to waste time getting the charcoal or wood burning, you just start the burner and in a short time you can start cooking.
This makes it possible to quickly and easily prepare food on a grill even if you don’t have much time. With a gas grill it is almost as convenient as with a regular gas oven.
A pellet grill already stands out just with the digital controller and the technology it uses. Solutions of this type often have more features than temperature selection, such as the ability to plug in a probe or set an alarm, for example.
On top of that, you can expect the standard accessories just like with a gas grill.
A gas grill doesn’t come with a built-in controller, but you can buy just as interesting gadgets (wireless thermometer etc) separately.
In both cases you can find plenty of interesting accessories that improve versatility or comfort of cooking with your grill.
Grilling or smoking
Both grills are versatile, but each of them was designed mainly with one type of cooking in mind.
For example, the pellet smoker, also known under the slightly different name of pellet grill, is actually a great smoker. It was designed with cooking with indirect heat in mind, but thanks to being able to reach high temperatures, it can also be used as a grill.
When it comes to the gas grill, it was mainly designed with hot and fast grilling with direct heat in mind. But the construction itself is versatile enough that with use of the right techniques and accessories it is also good at cooking with indirect heat.
Make sure to take that into account when choosing between a gas and a pellet grill.
Gas burns pure without leaving anything behind, which means that all that is left to do is the basic task which is cleaning the grill grates. Other than that, once in a while you will have to empty the grease tray.
Every gas grill has a grease collecting system that consists of collecting the grease on a special tray that can be easily and quickly emptied.
The situation is similar when it comes to the pellet grill in terms of grill grates and greases. An additional task, on the other hand, is to clean the inside of the grill, especially the furnace area from ash. You have to do this once in a while, after a few cooking sessions with the grill.
For that purpose, I recommend simply using a vacuum cleaner, which will easily, quickly and effectively allow to get rid of ash even from the hardest to reach corners. On top of that, after each cooking session you have to empty the ash accumulating in the ash tray. Here the situation differs depending on how much detail the manufacturer has put into solving this problem.
Due to large amount of electricity and technology, a pellet grill is much more prone to different problems. Another downside is the fact that once one of the elements stops working, the whole grill is down.
Another argument is that the pellet smoker only started developing like never before after the Traeger patent expired. It means that it will take some time before the quality and durability of this technology will get close to the gas grill level.
Gas grills, on the other hand, have been on the market for many years and they were developing much faster thanks to stronger competition. All of that has lead this technology to the point where certain manufacturers offer as much as 10 years of warranty for their grill (like Weber for example).
When it comes to a pellet grill at similar price, you can only expect 1 to 6 years of warranty.
On top of that, a gas grill is characterized by much simpler construction where an important element is mainly the burner. In case of a malfunction, it is not difficult to replace it, plus it doesn’t cost that much.
The main difference can be noticed in the so called “starter grills”, which are the inexpensive but good quality models – a perfect solution for beginners who don’t know if this is the type of grill they want to invest so much in.
The cheapest, small-sized pellet grills cost around $300-400. That’s a lot, and on top of that there isn’t much selection for this kind of money, especially when it comes to the size and features.
For the same amount you can buy a medium tier gas grill with 10 years of warranty. If, however, you have a small budget, you will easily find something decent for half that price.
As you can see, the difference in terms of prices is big at the start.
When it comes to high-quality, multifunctional and large grills, in this category the selection and prices are actually similar and in many cases for more than $1,000 you can buy something from upper tier.
Pellet Grill Overview
It is actually a smoker with the grilling ability but it works the best for long smoking. No other type of smoker can offer such convenience and at the same time confidence that everything is going exactly as it should.
- Ease of use, convenience and speed
- Great for smoking
- Temperature control
- Needs access to electricity
- Poor warranty in many cases
Gas Grill Overview
A brilliant grill for quick, hot and comfortable cooking without getting your hands dirty with charcoal. It is very easy to use and clean and it can reach very high temperatures in a very short time. The availability of so many different accessories makes it also a very versatile grill.
- Speed, convenience and ease of use
- Easy temperature control
- Great for grilling
- Availability of interesting accessories and gadgets
- No smoky flavor
- Poor at smoking
- Temperature control isn’t that much precise
- The built-in lid thermometers are not accurate
Despite both types being called grills, only one of them is actually a real grill, of course I’m talking about the gas grill.
A pellet grill is simply a great smoker that can also be used as a decent grill.
In practice, however, both grills are brilliant, easy to use and they offer comfortable cooking. An important difference is what you’re planning to cook and how, as both grills specialize in different things.
A gas grill is great for quick grilling of steaks or hamburgers, whereas a pellet grill is great for smoking ribs, brisket or other thick pieces of meat.
Of course both grills are versatile enough to be able to handle both styles of cooking but when choosing between a pellet and a gas grill, you need to choose what is more important to you – grilling or smoking.