It’s a reality in today’s world that living spaces are getting smaller and smaller. According to the United States Census, 20% of Americans live in apartment communities (1).
For those who like to barbecue but don’t have a large back yard or spacious patio available, a small gas grill is a great option.
Advantages of a Small Gas Grill
The main advantage of a small gas grill is pretty obvious, its small size. They can be placed in a smaller, confined area where a traditional larger gas grill would be too big.
Another advantage is their portability. Small gas grills are often small enough that they’re easy to carry and can be brought along on family outings like camping, to the park, or to a beach.
A third advantage is their price. Expect to pay a lot less for a small gas grill compared to their traditional larger counterparts. This makes them a good choice for students or someone on a budget.
A final benefit of a small gas grill is that they consume less fuel than a traditional gas grill. Thanks to their smaller cooking surface, you can expect that you’ll be using a lot less gas to cook your food than a big grill.
Gas Vs Electric Small Grill, Which is Better?
If you live in a home which doesn’t allow for a barbecue that uses live fire, an electric grill may be a good alternative.
Electric grills use electricity to heat elements that cook the meat. They can be used both outdoors and indoors, and can sometimes be small enough to fit on a kitchen countertop.
The main downside of an electric grill is the taste difference compared to a gas grill or charcoal grill. Since you don’t get the smokey flavor that you would with meat cooked on an open flame, you might notice a difference. But if you want to barbecue and have no other allowable alternatives, an electric grill can be a fine choice.
What to Look For in a Small Gas Grill
Before you purchase a small grill, you’ll need to consider a few important points.
First, how much space will you have? Patios and balconies come in many different sizes, as do gas grills. It’s important to take measurements of the space you’ll have to set up your grill, and read the specs on the grill you’re considering buying first to make sure it will fit. Don’t forget to include the propane tank in that calculation.
Second, what type of fuel can you use? If you live in a place that doesn’t allow you to use a liquid propane gas grill, then you’ll need to consider an electric grill.
Third, how portable do you want it to be? If you’re only planning on using the grill on your deck or patio and don’t plan on taking it anywhere, a larger sized one will work well. But if you think you might want to take it to an outing, you’ll need a smaller unit.
Finally, how many people will you be cooking for? If you’ll be cooking for you and maybe one other person, a smaller sized gas grill will work fine. But if you have a larger family or plan to have guests over for a barbecue, you’ll need to consider a grill with the most primary cooking space available.
10 Best Small Gas Grills Available in 2020
Here is our list of the best small gas grills available in 2020. We start with the best overall choices, then go into the best small grill options for different needs.
1. Best Overall Choice #1 – Weber Spirit II E-210
The Weber Spirit II E-210 is the epitome of a small gas barbecue grill with all the features of a larger model. It comes with a whopping 450 square inches of cooking space, burns at a nice, hot 26,500 BTU’s, has reversible porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grates (to switch between large or small grill grate widths), and includes the Weber GS4 Grilling System.
One of my favorite features is the folding side tables, which helps it fit into a compact space when not in use. It even comes with a set of side hooks to hold your cooking utensils in a convenient, reachable place.
All in all, this is just a fantastic little unit that can fit in a smaller space while providing you all the features you need in a gas grill.
- Boasts the Gs4 grilling system with improved infinity ignition, burners, porcelain-enameled Flavorizer Bars, grease Management system, and 450 Square inches of cooking space over two burners
- Porcelain-enameled, cast iron cooking grates. Left table down width : 38 Inches
- 26, 500 BTU-per-hour input main burners with fuel gauge. Dimensions - Lid Open (inches)57 H x 48 W x 26 D
2. Best Overall Choice #2 – Royal Gourmet 2-Burner Patio Propane Gas Grill
The Royal Gourmet 2 Burner Propane Gas Grill is another compact gas grill that packs features comparable to a larger unit, and is a great value for the money.
It features 3 stainless steel burners producing 24,000 BTUs of heat, 310 square inches of cooking area, and a powder coated double layer lid to keep the heat in well.
It also has foldable side tables which makes storage in small spaces easier, as well as a front board with bottle opener and seasoning basket.
My favorite thing about this grill is the company behind it. Royal Gourmet has excellent customer service and generally handles any issues with its products quickly, if you ever need it.
- Royal Gourmet 2 Burner 24000 BTU Gas Grill; dimension: 45" Length x 22.4" Width x 44.5" Height
- 310 sq. inches porcelain cast iron cooking grates and a 108 sq. inches porcelain wiring warming rack secondary cooking surface
- Folding stainless steel side shelves provide prep space and convenient storage
3. Best Small Infrared Gas Grill – Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared 3-Burner Cart Style Gas Grill
The Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared 3-Burner Cart Style Gas Grill is a little bit larger than the previous two gas grills, but it features something really cool – infrared technology.
Infrared grills provide a more intense, evenly distributed high heat signature that warms up quickly and sears food faster than ordinary gas grills. It’s the grill of choice for most steakhouses and professional chefs.
This model provides 24,000 BTUs of heat on a 450 inch cooking area. It also includes a side burner for heating up sauces or side items.
My favorite feature about this grill is its stainless steel design. It reminds me of the classical elegance of an Airstream travel trailer and will be a visually impressive addition to your patio or balcony.
- Exclusive stainless steel finish for increased style and durability
- TRU-Infrared cooking technology prevents flare-ups, delivers even-heat and cooks juicier food
- 450-square-inches of primary cooking space is great for most cookouts
4. Best Tabletop Portable Gas Grill – Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow Tabletop Propane Grill
If the space you have to cook is really limited, the Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow Tabletop Propane Grill is an excellent choice.
It packs a lot into its tiny design, like 205 square inches of cooking space, 10,000 BTUs of heat, foldable stainless steel legs, and a stainless steel drip tray.
The coolest feature about this tabletop grill is its stainless steel design, which gives it a classic retro look.
All in all, this is a great little tabletop gas grill that’s a good value for the money.
- 205 Square inches of total cooking surface with warming rack
- 10, 000 BTU stainless Steel "U" Burner
- Foldable stainless steel legs
5. Best Small Portable Gas Grill – Coleman Roadtrip LX Propane Grill
If you like to grill in “exotic” locations, like parks, beaches, sporting events or concert parking lots, the Coleman Roadtrip LX Propane Grill is THE small gas grill to own.
Not only is it small and “fairly” portable (it weighs 50 pounds so you might need a helper), it packs a TON of cool features that rivals a full scale gas grill model.
First off, it burns a respectable 20,000 BTUs of heat (a lot for a small model), with two independent burners which you can adjust individually. Next, it has a really generous cooking area at 285 square inches. That’s plenty of space to cover everyone at a tailgate party.
Combine all this with the included side table and tool hooks and you’ve got yourself one of the best small outdoor gas grill models available.
- Portable propane grill ideal for tailgating, picnicking, and camping
- Delivers 20,000 btus of heat with 2 independently adjustable burners
- Swaptop interchangeable cooktops allow you to switch out grill grates for griddles or stove grates (sold separately)
6. Best Small Gas Grill for Apartment Patio – Char-Broil Classic 280 2-Burner Grill
The Char-Broil Classic 280 2-Burner Grill is indeed a classic and the best patio grill I’ve found. When I first moved into an apartment a few years ago, a friend brought one of these over as a welcome gift, and it still works like a CHAMP.
It’s a small, no-frills gas barbecue that does exactly what it’s supposed to do without any bells or whistles. But just because it doesn’t have many extra features doesn’t mean it doesn’t do a great job.
It has 2 burners producing 20,000 BTUs of heat, 280 square inches of cooking area, and two side tables. It’s not fancy, but it’s cheap and a great apartment patio grill that I highly recommend.
- 280 square inches of cooking space over porcelain-coated grates
- Two stainless steel in-line burners for cooking performance;Assembly Required
- Porcelain-coated steel lid and firebox stand up to weather and the elements
7. Best Small Gas Grill For Camping – Weber Go-Anywhere Gas Grill
When it comes to camping, size is definitely an issue. After packing up tents, sleeping bags, clothes, toys, firewood, food, and everything else under the sun, you don’t need a huge barbecue taking up a bunch of space.
That’s where the Weber Go-Anywhere Gas Grill comes in handy. It’s a little model, weighing only 13 ½ pounds and only 21 inches wide, and it’s the best small propane grill for use in the great outdoors.
It uses small propane bottles, or you can buy an adapter to connect it to a 20 pound tank if needed.
It has 160 square inches of cooking space and has one burner that burns at 6,500 BTUs of heat. It’s not exactly a steakhouse grill, but it gets the portable grilling job done while taking up minimum space.
- Cooking area = 160 square inches
- One stainless steel burner, 6,500 BTU-per hour input main burner
- Porcelain-enameled cooking grate
8. Best Small Gas Grill With Side Burner – Char-Broil Classic 360 3-Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill with Side Burner
Having a side burner is a nice option for a gas grill. It allows you to prepare sauces and sides right there at the barbecue without having to run back and forth to your kitchen.
The Char-Broil Classic 360 3-Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill with Side Burner is a nice model that includes a side burner. It’s built on the same framework as the before-mentioned Char-Broil Classic 280 2-Burner Grill, which is the best small BBQ grill model I’ve used for years and I highly recommend it.
This model features 3 burners which produce a whopping 30,000 BTUs of heat, and includes a 170 square inch porcelain-coated swing-a-way rack for warming.
- 360 square inches of cooking space over porcelain-coated grates
- 170 square inch porcelain-coated swing-a-way rack for warming
- 8,000 btu side burner provides a secondary cooking space for sides or sauces
9. Best Small Gas Grill Under $200 – MASTER COOK 2-Burner Gas Grill
The Master Cook 2 Burner Gas Grill is a great deal for the money, and at the time of publication costs $199.99 with free shipping on Amazon. That price may change in time, but hopefully not too much.
This is an excellent grill for that price. It includes 2 burners putting out an impressive 32,000 BTUs of heat, 312 inches of cooking space, and a convenient storage area.
It also includes a stainless thermometer gauge and metal side shelves with hooks for hanging cooking utensils.
Overall, this is the best small outdoor grill I’ve found for the price.
- 2 main burner, 32,000 BTU
- 312 square inches of primary cooking on porcelain-coated cast iron grates, plus 90 square inch swing-away rack with porcelain-coated grates
- Integrated push & turn ignition for fast and reliable startups.
10. Best Small Gas Grill Under $300 – Char-Broil Performance Stainless Steel 4-Burner Gas Grill
The Char-Broil Performance Stainless Steel 4-Burner Gas Grill is one of the largest models reviewed, but at $299.99 and free shipping (at the time of publication, subject to change), you’re getting a lot of barbecue for the buck.
It features 4 gas burners putting out a whopping 32,000 BTUs of heat across a 425 square inch cooking surface. It has porcelain-coated cast iron grates, which are rust-resistant, help prevent food from sticking and are easy to clean.
It also includes a 10,000 BTU side burner that has a cover which folds down flush when not in use.
The coolest thing about this grill is the aesthetics – it’s stainless steel all over and looks like a retro spaceship.
If I didn’t already have a great grill, this is the one I’d probably buy next.
- Exclusive Stainless Steel finish for increased style and durability
- Stainless Steel burners emit flame from the top to allow for even cooking
- Porcelain-coated grease pan is durable and can be removed for easy cleaning
Be Sure to Check The Rules
Many cities and counties have laws that limit what types of barbecues are allowed on balconies or near a structure. Additionally, many landlords have rules in their rental contracts or leases that might prohibit using a barbecue. If there is an accident and you have a balcony fire where you weren’t supposed to be grilling, the damages may not be covered by your rental insurance.
So before you purchase a barbecue for your patio or balcony, it’s always best to check with the local laws and even speak to your landlord or property manager to confirm it’s ok to grill on your property.
The most important thing is that you are barbecuing safely. Home fires can start easily and spread quickly, so you have to be very careful when grilling. According to the National Fire Protection Association, over 10,000 home fires are started by grills every year (2).
This guide from the Fairfax County Government provides several helpful tips on grilling safety.
While all of these grills are great for their own unique reasons, the overall winner in my opinion is the Weber Spirit II E-210.
It meets all of the important criteria for the best small gas BBQ grill I need:
- Plenty of heat (26,500 BTUs)
- A TON of cooking space (450 cubic inches)
- It’s compact with folding side tables
- Comes with reversible cooking grates (a super-cool feature)
I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. If you have any questions or feedback for me, please drop me a line.
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