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Infrared Vs Traditional BBQ Grill Burners (Reviews / Ratings / Video)

Dan Bjork  |  April 21, 2020  |  3 Min. Read

Professional Grills  |  BBQ Grills

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Will you be shopping for a new grill this season?

If so, you have most likely seen the term infrared burner. What is an infrared burner, how does it differ from a traditional gas grill burner, and is it right for you?

In this article, you will learn the answer to these questions. You will also learn how a sear station doesn't necessarily mean the grill sears.

What Is An Infrared Burner?

The concept of an infrared grill is not new.

It has been around since the 1980s, originally invented by TEC Grills. With an infrared burner, there is an infrared element between the grates and the flame.

The gas flame heats a ceramic tile covered in thousands of microscopic holes that radiate infrared energy into your food.

lynx-pro-bbq-grill-trident-burner-L42PSFR-2Lynx Trident Infrared Burner In Professional Gas BBQ Grill

 

 

 

Differences Between Infrared And Traditional Gas Burners

infrared vs traditional bbq grill burners (1)

You can think of a traditional grill burner as shining a flashlight onto and around your food with a wide cone of diffused heat, whereas an infrared burner points a laser of heat directly onto the food.

All-Gas Vs Infrared Searing On Outdoor BBQ Grills [VIDEO]
 

Getting an even heat across the grill can be difficult with traditional grills in windy areas. Infrared burners are not affected by wind.

That gives you the ability to create even heat across the cooking surface.

Infrared burners utilize uniform radiant energy, heating the food directly. Infrared heat cooks your food evenly and faster.

Compare that to open flame grill burners which radiate heat through a heat distribution system (ceramic rods, lava rock, etc.), to distribute the heat across the grilling area.

The downside with traditional grills is that hot spots occur, and a lot of heat redirects downward.

As we said, think laser versus flashlight for infrared vs. regular gas heat.

Short on time? Get our free BBQ Buying GuideLearn More

What Are The Benefits Of An Infrared Burner?

Lync Infrared BurnerLynx Professional BBQ Grill Infrared Burners

 

  1. Direct heat: The heat is more direct and more efficient.
  2. Faster grilling time: Infrared burners heat up very quickly so you can get grilling in no time.
  3. Higher temperatures: Infrared burners are hotter than a traditional burner. Some infrared burners approach 1,000 F. With that kind of heat, you can sear a steak to perfection.
  4. Moister, more flavorful food: Because infrared is direct heat, you end up with moister meat.
  5. Less flare-ups: No exposed flame means fewer flare-ups than a traditional gas grill.
  6. Easy cleaning: Infrared burners are much easier to clean.

What Are The Benefits Of A Traditional Burner?

Weber-Summit-BurnerWeber BBQ Grill Gas Burners

 

  1. Usability: If you have had a traditional gas grill in the past, there is no need to change the way you grill.
  2. More affordable: Traditional gas burner grills cost less and available on all grills.
  3. Lower temperatures for slow cooking: This type of burner can sustain lower overall temperatures for slow cooking in most cases.

Best Grill For Infrared Burners: Lynx Professional BBQ Grill

Lynx Professional BBQ Grill L30ATRFLP - $4,769

L30ATRF

A normal infrared is one temperature, but Lynx offers a variable from 300-1000 degrees.

You have that direct heat of an infrared but at a lower temperature. You can cook more water-soluble foods like fruit and veggies.

Lynx IR burners-1Lynx Professional BBQ Grill Infrared Burners

 

This grill is all infrared and is available in larger in 30, 36, and 48-inch sizes, but should you buy it?

grills-at-yale-appliance-in-hanoverLynx Professional Built-In BBQ Grill on Display at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

You will be able to grill faster than a conventional burner. The downside is the price at well over $4,000.

Also, you need to be close by to your grill when you're cooking with infrared. Your food cooks faster and could burn if you are not paying attention.

Many pro grills will have the infrared option along with burners. A combination may be a good consideration to an all sear grill.

However, If you truly like to grill, all sear is a good consideration. You have the output plus the ability to lower temperature.

Difference Between A Sear Station And An Infrared Burner

A less expensive option is the Weber Genesis and Summit Series grills. These are all traditional burner units perfect if you mostly cook hotdogs and hamburgers.

Weber-Summit-GrillWeber Summit BBQ Grill E-470

 

They also offer a "sear station," which is an additional burner element that provides a heat boost.

Weber-sear-burnerWeber Summit Grill Sear Station

 

It's not an infrared burner, just an added burner for more heat. It will not be as effective as infrared.

The Weber Summit BBQ grill does add an infrared, but that is on the backside of the grill for the rotisserie on their Summit series only.

Best Infrared Burner Alternatives

There are also some professional gills with traditional burner options more closely emulating an infrared.

The Hestan offers a 25,000 BTU burner with super thick grates that absorb and retain more heat.

Hestan GrillHestan Professional BBQ Grill on Display at Yale Appliance in Boston

 

This makes them more effective at searing than a regular gas burner, but again not as effective as an infrared burner.

yaleappliance_hestan_20170411_2Hestan Professional BBQ Grill Grates on Display at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

Infrared Vs. Traditional Burners: Key Takeaways

yale-appliance-lynx-pro-grill-displayLynx Grill and Outdoor Kitchen at Yale Appliance in Boston

 

In the end, whether to buy a grill with an infrared burner really comes down to budget and how you cook.

If you are a weekend griller who primarily cooks burgers and chicken or don't want to spend thousands of dollars, then a traditional gas burner grill will suffice.

You can spend $799-$999 on a Weber and be happy.

If you love to grill, grill a lot, then the infrared burner may be worth the investment. However, burners with infrared will cost over $4,000.

Using Infrared Burners In Your Kitchen

I know this is a grill article. However, you can have infrared broilers and grills in your kitchen.

Many professional ranges from Wolf, BlueStar, and Thermador offer infrared broilers. BlueStar is the hottest at 1800 degrees.

BlueStar-Infrared-BroilerBlueStar Infrared Broiler For Gas Ranges and Wall Ovens

 

You can buy infrared grills for your cooktop in brands like Wolf, Miele, and Jenn-Air.

Miele is the hottest at 19,000 BTU.

Additional Resources

Get our free BBQ Grill Buying Guide for reviews, features, and specs of the best brands. Over 800,000 people have already found answers in a Yale guide.

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However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

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That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Dan Bjork

Dan Bjork is an Appliance Sales Consultant at Yale Appliance in Framingham. He started his career selling appliances over 20 years ago. Dan truly loves appliance, and his passion shows when helping his customers cut through the confusion of looking at new appliances. He loves nothing more than having folks leave happy and confident in their choices. When he is not selling appliances, Dan can be found spending quality time with his wife and four children, fishing or reading a good book.

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