Everyone has different needs when it comes to grills.
Although there is no substitute for the smoky flavor and aroma imparted by cooking with charcoal, using a charcoal grill is not to everyone’s liking.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have electric grills that put off purists and offer more limited functionality.
Today, you’re in for a treat, though. With our curated selection of the best portable gas grills, you can get authentic BBQ results with a fraction of the fuss. The kicker? These grills are all compact enough to pop in the trunk of your car and take just about anywhere. And, since you’ll be cooking with propane rather than electricity, you won’t need to worry about the proximity of a power outlet.
What should you consider before buying a portable gas grill, then?
With that skeleton in place, you have all you need to readily compare the following portable gas grills like-for-like.
1. Our #1 Pick: Weber Liquid Propane Grill
- Total cooking area: 280 square inches
- Weight: 42.5 pounds
- Dimensions: 25.1 x 51.4 x 26 inches
First in line and our overall favorite in today’s showcase of the best portable gas grills comes from industry specialist Weber. How does this little unit stack up, then?
The body of the grill is made from a lightweight aluminum, and you get the cast-iron cooking grates you need for optimum grilling. These are treated with porcelain enamel to improve heat conduction while minimizing food splatter.
There is just one burner in place on this grill. It kicks out more than enough firepower for grilling at lower heats, but we found some complaints from consumers about the performance of this grill at higher temperatures.
You benefit from two tables for prepping or serving food, and these fold neatly out of the way when not in use.
As with all portable gas grills, you get a user-friendly experience that’s also ideally suited for beginners to the art of grilling. The seamless push-button ignition means you won’t be fumbling for matches or a lighter, and you’ll always fire the grill up first time.
Aside from a few gripes about the patchy Weber customer care arm, the vast bulk of users reviews are positive, referencing the portability and convenience of this gas grill.
2. Coleman RoadTrip Portable Grill
- Total cooking area: 285 square inches
- Weight: 46.67 pounds
- Dimensions: 30.25 x 19.19 x 16.13 inches
Coleman make some outstanding portable grill solutions including this cart-style model boasting a spacious total cooking surface set against a space-saving form factor.
The foldable legs mean you can easily set this grill up or disassemble it without needing any DIY skills, and without needing to break out the tool box. There are also wheels to simplify transportation, and these lock into place for a stable base of operations.
You get a thermometer baked into this grill, although you may want to use a third-party thermometer as well when you’re grilling. Like all integrated thermometers, the accuracy of the unit bundled is questionable.
There are three burners to ensure you get consistent and even grilling across the whole spacious grilling surface. You can control the temperature of these heating zones independently for maximum versatility.
The total heating output is rated at 20,000 BTU, placing this grill among the strongest performers in its class in this area.
Firing the Coleman up is as simple as using the push-button electronic ignition, and once you’re up and running, using this grill is a cinch.
So, easy to start, easy to use, and easy to transport, this Coleman gas grill ticks all boxes and delivers in fine style. For anyone seeking a great travel grilling companion, you can’t go wrong here.
3. Weber Travel Portable Grill
- Total cooking area: 320 square inches
- Weight: 49 pounds
- Dimensions: 42.72 x 22.05 x 14.65 inches
Weber is a dominant presence in the portable grill vertical, and this travel model shows why their grills fly off the shelves the world over.
To lead off with the main drawback of this grill, you will get just one burner. If this might prove prohibitive and you prefer the flexibility of a multi-burner grill, explore some of the many alternatives we review today boasting more than one heating zone.
The oversized grilling area provides you with enough space for over a dozen burgers, so nobody will go hungry when you’re grilling, and you won’t need to make endless small batches of food either, a common compromise with portable grills.
The default setting for this grill is for a 16oz liquid propane canister. If you prefer cooking out at home or on the campsite using a 20-pound propane tank, you’ll need to pick up the adapter hose separately, along with a tank of LP.
Designed to stash easily in the trunk of your car, this travel grill will help you enjoy great barbecued food on the go any time you fancy. Aside from the limitations imposed by the single burner, this Weber is otherwise one of the best portable gas grills out there.
4. NOMADIQ Portable Propane Grill
- Total cooking area: 226 square inches
- Weight: 12.3 pounds
- Dimensions: 25.6 x 16 x 7.5 inches
NOMADIQ might not be the first name that springs to mind when you’re thinking of grill specialists, but this compact yet spacious grill is well worth popping on your shortlist.
The rugged stainless steel build belies the budget pricing, and you should get several grilling seasons out of this propane-fueled gem.
Weighing just 12 pounds, this is one of the lightest travel grills you’ll find. Whether you’re heading out camping, in the RV, or taking a boat trip, this multipurpose grill means nobody will go hungry.
Twin 5000-BTU burners allow you to create two independent cooking zones, and you can control each of these separately.
As with all propane gas grills, manipulating the temperature on this thing is super-simple.
If you dislike all the hassle you think comes hand-in-glove with grilling, you’ll appreciate the near-instant assembly this grill affords you.
With push-button ignition, you’ll have the security of starting the NOMADIQ first time without a hitch.
Although the majority of user reviews of this grill praise its performance, we found a handful of complaints relating to the low quality of the cast metal used for the chassis of this grill. If you’re shopping for portable gas grills with durability uppermost, we would suggest checking out some of the longer-lasting models we review.
5. Pit Boss Grills Two-Burner Portable Grill
- Total cooking area: 275 square inches
- Weight: 27 pounds
- Dimensions: 23 x 19.5 x 16 inches
Pit Boss has a hard-won reputation for producing user-friendly grills suitable for all experience levels. How does this twin-burner grill stand and fall?
The first thing that strikes you is the robust stainless steel build extending throughout.
A couple of stainless steel burners offer a combined heat output of 10,000 BTU, and you’ll be free to create a pair of heating zones, ideal for grilling different foods simultaneously.
Weighing less than 30 pounds, this compact grill will fit easily into the trunk of your car, and you won’t break your back when you’re shifting it from the trunk to the campsite either.
Seamless push-button electronic ignition gets things going with to a confident and first-time start, and you can then control this grill much more easily than you could a charcoal alternative. As an added kicker, you won’t end up generating the same mess as you would cooking with charcoal either.
Although the foldable legs on this grill are handy, they do not lock into place. This results in a grilling experience that can seem less than stable, especially if you’re grilling on uneven ground at a campsite, for instance.
There is a thermometer baked into this grill. We would offer the same proviso about accuracy as above, and urge you to supplement this with a third-party instant-read thermometer.
Overall, this grill from Pit Boss might not be the strongest performer in their deep bench, but for the purposes of a travel grill, it punches above its weight.
6. Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Gas Grill
- Total cooking area: 160 square inches
- Weight: 17 pounds
- Dimensions: 31.5 x 16.5 x 16 inches
The Cuisinart Petit Gourmet makes a striking visual statement on the patio or deck, and it also works wonderfully as a travel grill.
This is one of the lightest grills we review, making it a great bet if you are often grilling on the move but you struggle moving around bulky equipment.
The alloy steel build, while lightweight, shouldn’t let you down in terms of durability. This grill is well put-together and built to stay the distance.
The grill sits on a stand that easily folds down to streamline storage and transportation.
As you would expect from a unit with this compact a form factor, you take a hit when it comes to cooking surface area. At just 160 square inches, this is one of the smallest grills we review in all senses, so make certain this offers you enough space to avoid cooking endless small batches of grilled food.
The main gripe we found from users concerns the difficulty of cleaning this grill. Setting this aside, the majority of testimony for this Cuisinart is overwhelmingly positive.
7. Char-Broil Tru-Infrared Portable Grill
- Total cooking area: 280 square inches
- Weight: 20 pounds
- Dimensions: 23.7 x 15 x 13.6 inches
Char-Broil has a wide range of grills pioneering Tru-infrared. The key advantage of this cooking method is the way it dramatically reduces the incidence of flareups when you’re grilling. If this sounds good to you, read on.
You first choose from several configurations. This is the base model with just the travel grill included.
At just 20 pounds and taking up very little space, this is one of the most effective travel grills you’ll find. For hiking, camping, or boat trips, the hardwearing nature of this grill comes into its own.
The fire box and lid are both made from cast aluminum, both lightweight and long-lasting. The stainless steel latches eliminate weak points, and the frame itself is designed to withstand plenty of rough and tumble.
When you whip your food onto this grill, you’ll benefit from almost 300 square inches of cooking surface area, making this one of the most spacious travel grills we review today, even though it’s also one of the most compact.
As well as noticing fewer flareups, you should also find your grilled food is cooked consistently all the way through with infrared technology onboard.
8. Weber Liquid Propane Grill
- Total cooking area: 393 square inches
- Weight: 42.5 pounds
- Dimensions: 55.5 x 50.2 x 30 inches
Last but certainly not least in our showcase of the best portable gas grills comes another entry from the inimitable Weber. How does this LP model stack up?
The first thing that strikes you is the spacious cooking area, spanning almost 400 square inches. This places the grill far above most competitors in this regard.
There are two burners rated at a total of 21,700 BTU, giving you ample firepower in reserve when you’re grilling out on the go.
And, despite that substantial cooking area, you’ll find this lightweight and portable grills also works well for tailgating or use on the campsite.
Adjusting the infinite-control burners is seamless and gives you total mastery over temperature control.
As well as the primary cooking area, you’ll also get a warming rack to simplify serving while keeping your grilled food at its very best.
You’ll need to pick up a 20-pound propane tank, but everything else you need is thrown in, so you can get grilling right out the box with no assembly required.
1) Is a gas grill better than a charcoal grill?
This is not a question it is possible to answer objectively. Grilling is almost entirely subjective. If you are looking for convenience and speed of results first and foremost, a gas grill will not disappoint. For anyone looking to embrace the intricacies of barbecuing and insistent on that smoky BBQ taste, there’s no substitute for cooking with charcoal. The only thing that counts, though, is which type of grill makes the best bet for you. If you really can’t decide, buy one of each!
2) What is an infrared gas grill?
Infrared gas grills harness burners that deliver infrared heat instead of the convection heat usually produced by standard gas grills. This infrared heat travels in waves, ensuring that the grill cooks hotter and quicker, while your food stays juicy and tender. Typically, these grills cook at very high temperatures, but many allow you access to a pretty broad temperature band.
3) How does liquid propane differ from natural gas?
Natural gas is not as dense as liquid propane. Where natural gas rises, propane sinks. When it comes to gas grills, though, this difference doesn’t really become relevant. Natural gas and propane gas grills tend to produce similar temperatures and flavor, regardless of the fuel type. The key benefit of natural gas for grilling is the lower costs associated, but for the purposes of travel grilling, you can’t beat the convenience of propane canisters. All the models we review today operate using either a 16oz canister or a 20-pound tank of liquid propane.
4) How long will a tank of propane last when I’m grilling?
The BTU rating of your grill will indicate the amount of gas it’s capable of burning every hour. If you pick up a standard 20-pound tank of liquid propane, this contains roughly 430,000 BTUs when topped to the brim. From here, all you need to know, then, is the BTU rating of your grill. We break this down for all of the gas grills on our shortlist so you can easily compare them. This equation is based on all burners being fully opened. You’ll get more mileage from the tank if the burners are slightly closed.
5) What should the flames look like on a gas grill?
Look for blue flames with the faintest of yellow at the tips. Flames on a gas grill should never be completely yellow. If you see this, it indicates a lack of oxygen in the mix. Fix this by opening the shutters more. If you spot the flames appearing to lift off the burner so it doesn’t seem like they are touching it, this suggests there could be too much oxygen, so close the shutters.
Perhaps you arrived here today at Hempen Hill BBQ without any idea how to choose the best portable gas grill. That should now have changed.
The primary concern and one you should address before anything else is the size and weight of the grills on your shortlist. With this in place, look for total cooking surface area and you have all the key metrics in place. From here, look for a grill offering the cooking environment and control you need for your experience level and requirements.
We are underway with a large expansion of our operation here at Hempen Hill, so we would suggest you bookmark our blog before you head off. Pop back soon so you don’t miss out, as we’ll be updating our content daily. We are a full-service restaurant, and here on our blog we aim to bring you everything you need to grill like a pitmaster at home.