Charcoal vs. Gas Grill: What Are The Differences?

Charcoal vs. gas grill: What are the differences between charcoal and gas grills

Grilling is a favorite outdoor pastime for many and is an ideal way to bring family and friends together.

With so much debate about whether charcoal grilling or gas grilling is better, it can take time to decide which method to use when you fire up the BBQ.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of both methods so that you can make an informed decision about which grill best fits your needs.

An Overview of Charcoal and Gas Grilling

Charcoal grilling

Charcoal grilling requires using a charcoal briquette-filled grill, usually made of metal or ceramic. 

The heat source comes from burning these briquettes, which can be ignited in many ways (including lighter fluid). Charcoal provides intense direct heat and a smokier flavor to grilled food.

Gas Grilling

Gas grills use propane or natural gas as their fuel source, with the heat generated by burners under the cooking surface. Gas grills provide precise temperature control, and many come with built-in thermometers for ease of use. 

Although gas grills lack in providing smoky flavors to grilled food, they offer convenience and speed that charcoal just cannot match.

Advantages of Cooking on a Charcoal Grill

Advantages Of Cooking On A Charcoal Grill

Charcoal grilling is favored by many for its intense heat and smoky flavor that cannot be replicated with gas grills. There are several advantages to using charcoal, including the following:

  1. Flavor Enhancement: Charcoal grills provide strong, smoky flavors which enhance the taste of grilled food compared to gas grills. You can also adjust the temperature according to your desired cooking results.
  2. Customizable Heat Output: Charcoal grills offer customizable heat output, allowing you to create different cooking environments, from low and slow to hot and fast, which is beneficial for different recipes.

Disadvantages of Cooking on a Charcoal Grill

Although charcoal grilling has many advantages, there are a few drawbacks to consider. These are some examples:

  1. Longer cooking times: Charcoal grills take longer to heat up than gas grills and usually requires more fuel to maintain an even temperature. This means that cooking times can be extended when using charcoal.
  2. Unreliable Temperature Control: Maintaining the correct temperature of a charcoal grill can be challenging, thereby making it difficult to achieve consistent results with each cook. A thermometer makes it easier to accurately determine the temperature of the charcoal grill.

Advantages of Cooking on a Gas Grill

grilled beef on gas grill

Gas grilling is famous for its convenience and quick start-up time. There are several advantages to using gas grills, including:

  1. Fast Start-Up Time: Gas grills heat up quickly, getting you cooking faster than charcoal grills.
  2. Effortless Temperature Control: Gas grills are easier to control when it comes to heat output, making them great for controlled environments such as low-and-slow cooking. They also come with built-in thermometers that allow you to monitor the temperature accurately.
  3. Consistent Heat Output: Gas grills maintain consistent temperatures throughout the cook, achieving even results every time.

Disadvantages of Cooking on a Gas Grill

Although gas grilling offers many advantages, some drawbacks should be considered. These include:

  1. Cost: Gas grills can be more costly than charcoal grills due to their fuel source and the technology used in the design.
  2. Unreliable Heat Output: depending on the conditions, gas grills may not heat up as evenly as expected, leading to hot and cold spots or uneven temperatures throughout the cooking surface.
  3. Less Char flavor: Gas grills may not achieve the smoky flavor that charcoal grills are known for, so they may not earn a more traditional barbecue taste with a gas grill.

How to Choose Between Charcoal or Gas Grills

How To Choose Between Charcoal Or Gas Grills

When deciding whether to go for a charcoal or gas grill, there are several things to consider, such as cost, convenience, and flavor. Here are some factors to remember when choosing between the two types.


Gas grills are more expensive than charcoal grills due to their fuel source and the technology used in their design.

However, charcoal grills may require more frequent replacement of components due to everyday wear and tear.


Gas grills heat up quickly and maintain consistent temperatures throughout the cook, allowing you to enjoy your meal sooner. Charcoal grills, however, take longer to heat up and may require more effort when controlling the temperature output.


The smoky flavor that charcoal grills are known for adds a layer of flavor that gas grills can’t recreate in their sterile burning environment.

Heat Output

Consider the heat output of both grills. Charcoal may take longer to heat up but offers higher temperatures than gas, which is more reliable in terms of even temperature throughout the cooking grate.


Both grills require regular maintenance and cleaning, but gas grills require less attention than charcoal due to their technology-driven design and quick start-up time.

Common Misconceptions about Charcoal & Gas Grilling

Regarding grilling, many things about charcoal and gas grills need to be clarified, which can lead to confusion. 

For example, some people may assume that charcoal grills take a lot of time to heat up or that gas grills need to provide better quality flavor. However, this is only sometimes the case. Here’s what you need to know about the differences between the two types of grills:

Charcoal Grills 

Despite popular belief, charcoal grills only require a few minutes of preheating before they’re ready for cooking.

In terms of messiness, proper maintenance is key with any type of grill, so regular cleaning can keep charcoal and gas clean and tidy. And as for skill level, anyone can produce great-tasting food of either kind with proper technique.

Gas Grills 

Gas grills may not give the same smoky flavor as charcoal, but there are still many ways to add delicious flavors when using a gas grill, such as marinades or rubs.

Lighting a gas grill is also much easier now, thanks to technological advancements, making them suitable even for novice grillers.

Lastly, while propane fuels it rather than wood or charcoal – a gas grill still produces an open flame once lit, making it just as ‘real’ as any other cooking method over the fire!

Although both types have pros and cons, what works best for you and your cooking style matters outdoors.

With the proper knowledge about these common misconceptions about charcoal and gas grilling, you’ll be able to make the best decision for your backyard BBQ needs!


In conclusion, charcoal and gas grills both have their benefits and drawbacks. Choosing which type of grill works best for you will depend on your needs and preferences when it comes to grilling.

Learning about the common misconceptions about both types of grills can help you make an informed decision so that you can get the most out of your backyard BBQs!

Susan Lee