About a decade ago before the electric and gas grills were introduced to the market, charcoal-fuelled grills were the order of the day.
A lot of people were so used to the convenience of grilling with affordable traditional briquettes and charcoal fuelled grills that they never saw the electric and gas grills revolution coming.
When the electric and gas grills eventually hit the market, they came in with a big bang. It was only a matter of time before the electric vs gas grill debate sprung up because they both offer sophisticated and more efficient features and functionality that made them the number one choice for everybody.
But it doesn’t end there: many people aren’t sure of which is the best for them out of these two modern-day grills.
Factually speaking, both grills aren’t without their pros and cons, and while one may perform better in one aspect, it may come short of the performance of the other in another aspect. This implies that both grills have their own flaws, and that takes them far from being perfect.
At the end of the day, deciding on the best grill for your backyard boils down to your personal preference. That is why we have summed up and explained the most prominent features of each model to help you understand how they work as well as decide on which will best fit your specific needs.
Electric vs gas grill: definitive features
Source of fuel
This is the most descriptive and definitive feature of both grills. The electric grills use electricity as their source of fuel where the grill is plugged into an electrical outlet to generate heat without igniting an actual flame.
On the other hand, gas grills use natural gas or propane to ignite an open flame.
Electric and gas grills are available in a wide variety of sizes depending on how and where they will be used. There are small-sized electric grills that are very portable and compact for indoor usage. Bigger-sized electric grills are also available for outdoor or patio use.
Gas grills aren’t particularly suitable for indoor use owing to their large sizes. Many restaurants resort to using industrial-sized gas grills that are capable of grilling enough meat to cater to the needs of hundreds of people at a go.
Types of grills
Both grills come in different types, with each model specifically made to meet some specific grilling requirements.
Most electricity-powered grills are usually equipped with the clamshell contact and open grills with a single side heat element. The electric grill’s heating element is usually fixed firmly and deeply within the other directly below the cooking surface.
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There is also a detachable drip pan that is firmly fixed beneath the elements to trap any stray fluids and juices during the grilling process.
Some gas grills are equipped with side burners, rotisserie kits, and multiple burners that work hand-in-hand to ignite a gas flame and aid usability. This flame heats up the grilling elements which in turn conducts the heat that is needed to cook up the food.
There is also a gas-powered flattop grill with a griddle-like cooking surface that shields your food from the open flame while supplying the heat required to cook it up. With this type of gas grill, a “smoker box” containing some wood chips may be required to give your grilled foods a smoky flavor.
The temperature range of a typical electric grill falls between the low, medium and high categories. Radiant heat is generated slowly and steadily while the grill powers off at irregular intervals to re-energize its heat coils if the temperature is too low. This type of grill may not be the best option for foods that require scorching the surface with intense heat over a long period.
As for gas grills, their controls are evaluated and quantified in degrees. Gas grills are ideal for searing foods as pitmasters are able to set the heat at a steady temperature over a long duration.
Price and popularity
Electric and gas grills are available for both low-end and high-end users. Overall, there is a wide range of gas grills available, and they are much more affordable than their electric counterpart.
Finally, there is the issue of maintenance. Both electric and gas grills require special care and maintenance to enhance their efficiency, usability, and durability.
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Electric grill users must be wary of the dangers of carbon dioxide emissions and take every step to keep them at a non-toxic level.
When cleaning an electric grill, it is essential to remove the heating element and prevent it from getting in touch with water. The storage should be cleaned thoroughly to remove all the unwanted food remnants while the wire and casings are examined.
Gas grills require users to check the tanks for leaks on a routine basis and change appropriately. All detachable parts including the removable heating plates, grease trays and grates should be washed with hot water immediately after use.
So, which one is really the best?
Before you decide to settle for either the electric or gas grill, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of both grills in line with your specific needs and requirements. Only then will you be able to decide which is best for you.
Some of the factors you should consider before deciding on which grill is the best buy for you and your lifestyle between the electric grill and gas grill are:
- Local legislation against pollution and the use of some forms of fuel
- Fuel options
- Energy efficiency
- Food requirements
- Space limitations
To some hard-core grillers, there’s something special about a tasty steak that is seared to perfection, and the electric grill just doesn’t offer that.
So if you want the real flavor of grilled foods on an outdoor barbecue, then a gas grill is the right buy for you.
Otherwise, you can just settle for a safer electric grill that allows you to plug in your grill in any available electrical outlet and enjoy the delight of some home-cooked barbecue without taking too much space.
Jim is our staff editor and writer. He has a degree in engineering. His hobbies are radio engineering and new technologies about which he has been writing for more than 7 years.