Ready to have your meat-loving world rocked?
With just $500 you can score a grill that is finally going to cook a perfectly seared, mouth-watering steak evenly and with a perfect sear.
Frankly, your barbecue will smell so good your neighbors are going to be beating down your door wanting to know what is cooking and if they can come join you.
This could be good or bad, depending on how much you like your neighbors. But definitely a good thing if you are serious about enjoying your barbecuing experience as much as the meat coming off your grill at meal time.
So what do you get for $500?
For one, you should expect more grilling surface area. You can cook for the whole family with room to spare. A whole rack of ribs is going to be a breeze. And I am HUGE rib freak, so if you’re like me, you know that extra space is essential.
You should also expect to see quick and even heating. With a bigger budget, all of the essential functions should perform perfectly.
I’ve put together a list of my top picks, researched extensively for this price range, any of which will seriously transform your outdoor cooking experience from a necessity to a recreational activity. I’ll break down the top features AND nitpick any cons that you should know about before buying.
There are some great contenders here and an option for every griller.
Let’s start with the massive Performance 650 offering from Char Broil.
The first thing you should know about this grill is the number 6. As in SIX burners.
It’s almost not even fair to pit the other grills in this category against the Char Broil – both of them only offer 2 burners each. Combined, they still come up 2 short when stacked against the 650.
This grill brings MASSIVE value for under $500. It also brings the power, with 60,000 BTUs and a 10,000 BTU lidded side burner. Just as important, is how that heat is distributed, and once again the 650 earns top marks, providing insanely even heating, making for an easy and relaxing cooking experience.
The Char Broil doesn’t scrimp on burners and it doesn’t scrimp on space. This grill offers 650 square inches of primary cooking area and an additional 280 square inches of a secondary swing away rack. Large metal side shelves extend the work space and offer extra room for marinating and prepping meat. The Performance 650 is really more of an outdoor kitchen than a mid-size grill and it’s glorious to work with.
I also think it’s key to highlight that the grill is well made and was designed with lots of stainless steel for maximum longevity. The lid, handle, control panel fascia and cabinetry are all stainless steel and sturdy as well as durable.
The Performance 650 also features a quick electronic ignition system for reliable and easy start-ups. It also offers selective lighting so you can use as many of the burners as you need, saving on gas and allowing you to cook with indirect heat when needed.
The cooking grates are porcelain coated iron, not just iron, and are easier to maintain and keep clean after grilling. It also boasts a lid-mounted temperature gauge to help you monitor heat levels.
Another thing that I particularly liked about this grill was the ease of maintenance. The removable grease/drip tray is easy to access and replace when full and casters the grill is mounted on are sturdy and smooth, making it easy to store the grill in the off season. Char Broil also gets bonus points for including the hose to hook up the tank. Not all grills do and it’s one of my big pet peeves.
Overall, this is a top quality grill and the best value by far for the under $500 market, Char Broil hasn’t compromised on some of the areas where it would have been easy to do so in the name of cost cutting. You definitely don’t get the feeling you are cooking on a budget grill.
This grill, for being a relative newcomer to the market, is killing it on Amazon. Reviewers are more like fans and the 650 currently has a 4.7 out of 5 star rating, making it THE BEST grill available for well under $500.
It would be impossible to do a review of top outdoor grills without including a Weber, and this grill just squeezes in under the price cap bar, making it one of our top picks for the best gas grills under 500 dollars.
As you’d expect, this grill is stylish. Weber is known for great grill cooking quality, but also for well designed products. It is also especially well outfitted with great quality accessories; all the fittings – the controls, the doors, the ignition system, scream quality and longevity.
Once you’ve wheeled this bad boy into place, you won’t have to think about replacing it for at least a decade and that isn’t something that you can say about many of the outdoor grills on the market. That said, the grates are porcelain enameled iron, not steel, so I would definitely recommend using a cover to ensure max life and protection from the elements.
In terms of size, it isn’t massive, but it’s no shrimp either. The Weber offers 424 sq inches of primary cooking area with a 105 sq inch warming rack.
So how does it cook? That’s the burning question, isn’t it?
I’m going to be honest, after the raw power of the Char Broil 6 burner, I was dubious about how quickly the Spirit’s two burners were going to get up to top heat levels. I shouldn’t have thought twice about it.
This baby reaches 550 degrees in a little under 10 minutes, and despite having half the number of burners, it can get you up to temperatures in excess of those the Dyna-Glo is able to reach. That should keep the char-grillers out there more than happy.
One thing to possibly watch out for, is that the hood and handle do get hot. This is easy to work around if you’re prepared, so keep that pro grill mitt handy.
One thing that was kindly pointed out to me by a reviewer was that the side burners fold down, meaning that after cooking this grill becomes VERY COMPACT. This is a definite advantage, especially as it is still able to provide plenty of storage and the dome is high enough for you to fit a whole chicken (the detachable warming rack really helps with this, why don’t all grills have a detachable rack?).
This is a serious 3 burner grill, coming in at the top of our price range and as a Weber, I would expect nothing less. This grill also receives excellent reviews on Amazon, with a top-level 4.5 star overall rating.
The third on our list of the best under $500 is the second offering in the Dyna-Glo line up. The 2-burner version comes further under the $500 cap than the other two, almost half of what you’d pay for the Weber, distinguishable in only a few minor ways.
Let’s be honest, with this two-burner, you know you aren’t cooking on a pro-level grill (the other two on the list might make you think so), but, for the under $300 price tag, this is a solid 2 burner gas grill.
The Dyna-Glo is an especially compact grill at 350 square inches of primary cooking space, so it is perfect for those with space limitations. It is a top pick for apartment dwellers or those with a smaller backyard that need something moveable with a low-profile.
Despite its size, it is seriously solid, and even boasts stainless steel burners (though the grates are cast iron). The double-walled stainless steel lid works to keep the heat in and meat cooking evenly.
Obviously, the size means that you aren’t going to be cooking for massive groups of people, but its two burners still kick out 30,000 BTUs, which is definitely respectable in the compact grill line-up.
The Dyna-Glo is a steal on Amazon forunder $300, receiving a stellar 4.3 out of 5 stars from happy grilling enthusiasts.
I am a grill freak! It's hard to pick my favorite thing to grill, but if I had to choose... it is still a tie between pork ribs and a juicy beef burger. I am currently grilling on a Weber S210(I live in a small space) but my dream grill is definitely a summit. Those things are bad ass. Anyways I would love to hear from you, leave a comment or question below!