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Differences Between Charcoal, Gas, Professional Gas, and Pellet Grills (Reviews / Ratings)

April 16th, 2019 | 4 min. read

By Steve Sheinkopf


I hate to say it. But there is no one best type of grill. Well, there is one best grill, but you won’t read much farther after learning the $14,000+ price tag.

Fram grills

You do now have more choices and brands for grills than ever. You can buy Weber, Char-broil, Napoleon, and MHP for a value type of gas grill.

If you like better output, infrared sears, smoker options, and rotisserie, then Lynx, Hestan, DCS and Kalamazoo are great choices.

You may like a smoker or the ability to infuse flavor. Pellet is another type of outside cooking using wood pellets for heat and flavor.

Traeger has been the name for pellet style grills. But be careful, many people are oversold on pellet styled, so we will set expectations properly in this article.


Traeger Pellet Grill TFB88PUB - $999.99

Charcoal is the last type of grill. The $199 Smokey Joe was my first, and nothing beats charcoal for texture and smokey flavor. Most professional grill competitors use a mix of wood and charcoal for a reason.

Since there is no best grill, I will show you the advantages and disadvantages of each. In the end, you will understand what type of grill is right for you and your family.

I will also briefly cover brands briefly as well. You can read about brands more in-depth in other articles.

(Click here for our New Grill Configurator to find the perfect grill for you)

Pellet Grills


How it Works (According to Traeger):

“Our wood pellet grills use an auger to move hardwood pellets from the hopper to the firepot within the grill. The higher the set temperature, the more pellets dispensed into the auger.

Once in the fire pot, a hot rod ignites the pellets, starting a fire. A fan then stokes the flames, creating convection heat, (just like an oven) to cook your food in the grill evenly. A drip tray sits over the fire pot, keeping direct flames off your food while catching drippings to help prevent flare-ups”

How You will Use it (According to Us)

Basically, you will load the hopper with your favorite pellet flavors. The grill creates an even convection heat ideal for smoking and lower temperature cooking.


Traeger Timberline TFB85WLE - $1,799

Traeger Timberline

Pros of Pellet Grills

First, you can add flavor in a way you cannot in gas. The thermostat is set for 5-degree increments, so unlike grills, you can keep a more consistent temperature without maintaining constant vigilance over your grill.

You also do not have to open, check and turn the meat over like a gas grill. Their Wi-Fi works. You can be notified through an app on your phone.

Cons of Pellet Grills

If you want to quickly throw a burger on before the game, then Traeger is not the right product for you.

The max temperature to a Traeger is 500 degrees not 900 like a gas grill. Consequently, you do not have the “char”, speed and searing capabilities of a gas grill.

Traeger is a good product if you understand its not a grill. It more of a smoker with an ability to cook like a convection stove.

Charcoal Grills


Weber Charcoal Summit 18501001 - $1,999

Charcoal is the best grill for adding smokey flavor. It can also be completely portable in many grills.

Pros of Charcoal Grills

I have owned a few grills, and nothing beats charcoal for texture and smokey flavor.

The Weber Charcoal Summit is a large charcoal grill and has a small LP tank to start the coals quicker.

Cons of charcoal grills

Charcoal grills require supervision. You have to add charcoal, build it up properly and constantly watch your food.

Like a pellet, it is not fast, so plan that burger well before game time.

Regular Gas Grills


Weber Genesis 66011001 - $799

Gas grills are easy. They can reach high temperatures and can be regulated easily by simply turning the knob. They are simple to use.

Pros of Regular Gas Grills

You can cook that burger quickly and evenly. It is simple to use and pretty durable as well.

Cons of regular gas grills

You have speed but gas lacks texture and flavor of either the charcoal or pellet style grills/cookers.

Professional Grills


Kalamazoo K750HT - $17,695

Instead of 6,000-10,000 BTU per burner, a pro grill will have 23-29,000 with solid stainless construction and a load of extras like infrared sear, rotisserie, charcoal trays and smoker baskets.

Pros of Professional Grills

You can cook a lot very fast. You can use the rotisserie up to 50 pounds in one of these grills.

Infrared searing is a more direct, intense heat to sear the fastest. You have smoker baskets to add smokey flavor as well.

Every grill is good.






Fuel Type

Natural Gas (NG) or Liquid Propane (LP)

Natural Gas (NG) or Liquid Propane (LP)

Natural Gas (NG) or Liquid Propane (LP)

Natural Gas (NG) or Liquid Propane (LP)

Grill Type

Built-In or Freestanding

 Built-In or Freestanding

Built-In or Freestanding

Built-In or Freestanding

BTU Output

 Up to a total of 118,000 BTU

Up to a total of 110,000 BTU

 Up to a total of 92,500 BTU

 Up to a total of 69,000 

Smoking Capabilities















Side Station






12 Designer Color Options 

Stainless steel or marine-grade steel

 Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel 


1 year parts and labor

2 years parts and labor

2 years parts and labor

1 year parts and labor 

However, Kalamazoo is the best with a hybrid drawer system, so you can cook with charcoal, wood, and gas. However, Kalamazoo starts at 13,000 and has a 4-8 week lead time in the season.

Cons of Professional Grills

It is expensive…..You can do more, but the price starts at $5,000. The flavor and the texture is still better in the other grills.

Wi-Fi in Grills

Unlike appliances currently, Wi-Fi has value for grilling. You do not have to be tethered to a grill anymore while entertaining.

The Traeger Wi-Fire and IGrill from Weber allow you to receive alerts on your phone rather than standing over your grill.


Weber iGrill


Traeger Wi-Fire

What Type of Grill Is the Best?

It depends. There is value in all types.

Pellet is more like an outside range. It allows you to add any number of flavors and is consistent in temperature.  

You can set this grill in the morning at a low temperature and have your food done in the evening for dinnertime.

There is nothing like food from a charcoal grill for texture and smokey flavor, but you have to watch it consistently and load it every time properly.

Gas is about speed, searing, and char, but not necessarily added flavor. Pro ranges have some of that ability but at a much higher price.

So what you should buy depends on how you will use it and cooking preferences. You do have good options in any style.

(Click here for our upcoming Grilling Demos )

Additional Resources 

Get our free BBQ Grill Buying Guide for reviews of all the major brands. Over 510,000 people have already found answers in a Yale guide.

view our bbq buying guide

Related Articles 

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Steve Sheinkopf

Steve Sheinkopf is the third-generation CEO of Yale Appliance and a lifelong Bostonian. He has over 38 years of experience in the appliance industry, and he is a trusted source of information for consumers on how to buy and repair appliances.

Steve has also been featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.

Steve is passionate about helping consumers find the best appliances for their needs, and he is always happy to answer questions and provide advice. He is a valuable resource for consumers who are looking for information on appliance buying, repair, and maintenance.

Despite being the worst goalie in history, Steve is a fan of the Bruins and college hockey, loves to read, and is a Peloton biker. The love of his life is his daughter, Sophie.

A Note About Pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.