When it comes to grills, you get what you pay for
Is spending all this money really worth it? That's the question on every grill owner's mind as they look through the 4-figure price tags attached to the sparkly, feature-packed modern gas grills of today. The answer is, it really depends on you, but keep in mind that cheap is expensive. What that means is, spending less in the short term usually means spending more in the long term, and this definitely applies to certain "budget" grills floating around the market. The main thing to consider then is, what do you value in a grill? To help address this issue, I'm going to point out some of the most important differences between saving big and spending big.
Build Quality & Lifespan
First, you should decide what kind of grill you want. Build quality comes with a price but it's also somewhat of an essential. When you go cheap you may run into less attention to detail in design, meaning: paint peeling off, shaky legs and frame structure, sharp edges that could harm children, unstable wheels, rust-prone surfaces, etc. High-grade stainless steel would be your best bet in this case, other materials may lead to the above issues that force you to get parts replaced regularly - making you spend more money on a grill that should be lasting you years.
Sizing & Features
This section might be something you'd be okay sacrificing, but again, that depends on you. Do you just cook for your family of 3? Or do you host massive events? Moreover, some people love having every futuristic feature under the sun, and some couldn't care less as long as their steak gets cooked. When it comes to pricing here, paying more gets you a bigger grill with loads of cooking space for those big summer BBQs, allowing you to have multiple different cuts and sides getting done at once. When it comes to features you can opt for the bare-bones essentials, or you could get yourself some nifty perks like: convection fans, light-up knobs and interiors, smoker trays, and even wi-fi control!
Burners & BTUs
Choosing grade-A materials is especially important here, as a rusty burner may leave your grill lasting you just one summer, no joke. Bad materials can also lead to a less efficient heating experience, reducing the effectiveness of your grill. As an alternative to high-grade stainless steel, you could also opt for cast iron burners, these won’t rust, as long as you make sure to care for them. In other words, they're durable as long as you give them some good TLC. If you prefer something that needs zero attention then stainless steel, ideally class 304 (also known as 18/8 after its chemical composition) should be your go-to.
When it comes to the punch that your burners pack, there are a few things you might want to keep in mind, namely the aforementioned level of efficiency as well as the overall BTU of your burners. BTU is a measurement for the maximum heat output that your burners have to offer, with 80-100 BTUs being a good target to look out for.
Be Wary Of Warranties
Apart from the price tag, this might be the best indicator of quality that you'll find. Think about it, if a manufacturer were to set a 10-year warranty, that would usually mean that they have complete faith in the durability of their products. Be careful though, what you want to do is make sure that whatever warranty you're betting on is all-inclusive, as some manufacturers tend to plaster advertisements of huge warranties - that end up only applying to the handles, again that's not a joke. So make sure the majority of your grill parts are covered for a minimum of 5+ years.
At the end of the day, it comes down to your preference and budget. As a rule of thumb, being cheap with your grill shopping will often lead you to replace parts frequently, that weren't even effective to begin with, with a manufacturer that may have already stopped producing replacement parts for the grill anyway. Maybe you don't mind the hassle of replacing parts, and maybe you can't live without wi-fi control and a built-in sound system, either way you should at least spend a good base amount to get a grill that will last you longer than a couple of hotdogs. Good luck, chef.