Charcoal vs. Gas Grills: 8 Pros and Cons

Home / Charcoal vs. Gas Grills: 8 Pros and Cons

Charcoal vs. Gas Grills: 8 Pros and Cons

The sunshine is here and the debate is on. When it comes to the charcoal vs. gas grill question, which should you choose? There are pros and cons to each, and we’re going to take a look at both sides before making our decision.

Many people assume the gas vs. charcoal debate translates to “propane vs. charcoal,” but that isn’t the full picture. Have you ever considered installing a natural gas line to your outdoor grill? This might be the year. But let’s not jump the gun here before we get to the bottom of our first question. Good ol’ charcoal vs. gas grills — who comes out on top?

A man moves a tong around on a charcoal grill with fire coming off of it.

Side note: Electric grills have their benefits too, but this post is strictly about charcoal vs. gas grills.

THE SHOWDOWN

Each type of grill has its pros and cons when it comes to outdoor grilling. But which ultimately comes out on top between gas and charcoal? Well, it does depend on what you value, but for our two cents, the blue ribbon goes to natural gas outdoor grills. Here’s why.

Charcoal Outdoor Grills

Pros

  • Great Taste
    • There’s no arguing that a lot of people love that charcoal flavor. The taste component is obviously a pretty big factor. Our hats are off to charcoal grills on this one. Now where’s that grilling apron…?
  • Classic Vibes
    • Charcoal is the old-school grilling king. The original champ. First used in 1897, the classic charcoal grill deserves a point or two for dominating the ring for so long.
  • Inexpensive Upfront Cost
    • Len Penzo’s financial blog points out that you can get a charcoal grill for dirt cheap — we’re talking $30. The cheapest gas grill, on the other hand, will run you in the neighborhood of what you’d pay for a decent kid’s bicycle.

Cons

  • Tougher to Get the Hang Of
    • Popular Mechanics article points out that charcoal grills do come with more of a learning curve, but that’s hardly a deterrent for a true grill lord, right? It’s just a matter of rolling up your sleeves, cracking a beer, and running some experiments.
  • Carcinogens
    • Unfortunately, there are also some charcoal vs. gas grill health issues to consider. There are two molecules (PAHs and HCAs) that commonly get into meat made on a charcoal grill, and as Best Life points out, various studies have attributed a greater likelihood of developing several types of cancer to the consumption of these molecules.
      • And according to Aurora Healthcare, while PAHs can still get into food made on gas grills, this harmful infusion occurs more when there’s charcoal involved. The article offers several healthy grilling tips, however, that can help mitigate the damage and risk to your health. While “use a gas grill” is at the top of that list, they also suggest marinating your food and even that you go ahead and sip on a little wine with dinner! How’s that for health advice?
A pair of arms skewering six green chili peppers to grill them.

Natural Gas Outdoor Grills

Pros

  • Cheaper to Operate
    • Again drawing from Len Penzo’s calculations, propane grills cost about $1 to operate every time you cook out. Charcoal on the other hand, will set you back about $2.50. There are ways to cut down on those costs, but at that baseline operational cost, it’s easy to see how the extra cost of purchasing a gas grill could pay for itself over a handful of years.
  • Minimal Mess
    • While this may not tip anyone’s scale in the debate, that Best Life article also points to the fact that gas is easier to clean up than charcoal grills. Worth taking into consideration for those nights when you’re stuffed, exhausted, and just want to relax.

Cons

  • Taste
    • While we gave his to charcoal grills, it isn’t totally fair in actuality. The black, sooty stuff isn’t required to run natural gas outdoor grills it’s true, but you can use charcoal in gas grills if you really want to. You aren’t banned from charcoal all of a sudden just because you hooked up a gas line. Still, maybe it’s not a bad opportunity to embrace the full gas grill experience.

As we said at the top, gas grills make a lot of sense to us. The health considerations and financial savings over time are enough for us to hand the crown to gas grilling. Do you agree?

CHARCOAL VS. GAS GRILLS: WHICH WINS IN YOUR BOOK?

Let us know what you think! The outdoor kitchen is a sacred place, and we take that seriously. For us, propane and natural gas grills make a lot more sense than charcoal, but there are plenty of diehard opinions in the world of backyard grilling. Let us know what yours is.

We’re on Facebook if you’d like to reach out and share your thoughts!

Grill on, friends. 🤙

P.S. We alluded to it at the top, but natural gas outdoor grills are a phenomenal option for the summer that ensure you’ll never run out of propane. Give us a call today to speak with a qualified Plumbing One technician about your natural gas options.

614-600-4548

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