6 Things to Watch Out for with Cheap Grills

by Chris Commins
A number six on fire against a dark background representing six risk factors for cheap grills.

Saving a few bucks – or maybe much more – is an attractive prospect no matter what you’re aiming to buy, and for many Americans, that’s a grill.

The latest consumer research figures from the HPBA revealed that
grill ownership in the U.S. is at its highest point ever, with 80% of homeowners and 70% of households having a grill or smoker.

Naturally, that means a horde of hungry people looking for the best possible deal on their next outdoor cooking setup. You might be one of them. Here are six things to consider which could prevent you from getting burned in more ways than one by cheap BBQ grills!

How the Thinking Griller Defines “Cheap”

Most people take the word at face value, whether they’re looking for cheap gas grills, cheap charcoal grills, or cheap pellet grills. “Cheap” means (at best) getting something for a low price that may even be worth more than you paid for it.

At worst, it means finding a cut-price item that also cuts multiple corners. Here’s the best perspective to have when it comes to those dollar amounts:

“Cheap” Should be Considered Over the Long-Term

The initial outlay for a great grill can feel hefty. Now imagine that same grill performing well for many years of delicious outdoor cooking (with the proper maintenance, of course). Cheap BBQ grills don’t require any significant investment and, as a result, don’t yield long-term rewards.

Cheap and What You Can Afford Can Be Two Different Things

Taking your dream grill home doesn’t have to break the bank. There are some great financing deals available to make payments more palatable. Breaking the cost up over time with a monthly plan can turn you away from “cheap” toward the better option – “affordable.”

“Cheap good grills” is a term you rarely see in reviews. That’s because there’s always a downside to paying less. Discovering more than one drawback when it’s too late to fix it is just as likely.

6 Things to Be Wary of with Cheap Grills

It’s understandable when people feel they don’t need anything grand or advanced when it comes to grills. They may just want something to quickly rustle up some food. The problem is that a recipe for disaster can happen just as fast. Don’t go down market unless you’ve thoroughly weighed the risks and drawbacks:

1. A Shortage of Accessories and Features

Accessorizing a grill is one of the most rewarding and fun ways to truly make it your own while also making your cooking easier. These add-ons can run from little things like fire starters and heat monitors to bigger things like smoke boxes or whole pizza ovens.

These are usually made by the same company that makes the grill to ensure compatibility.

You’ll have a much harder time finding such things with cheap BBQ grills. Check out the brand-specific features on something like this Traeger Ironwood 650, which includes proprietary remote control via Wi-Fi, or the Bull Lonestar with its own lighting system and thermometer.

2. They’re Often Less Safe

Cheap gas grills or cheap charcoal grills can be accidents waiting to happen. Grills have many components; it only takes a single shaky part to make the whole thing a liability.

Noxious fumes, flare-ups, or even explosions can be more likely with cut-price products because they’re not subject to the same rigorous testing and quality control of higher-priced models.

3. Cheap Today, Expensive Tomorrow

Cheap grills are often composed of inferior parts, which means more breakdowns. This leads to more effort and expense to source replacement parts and make repairs (if the parts can even be found).

Things may get so bad that you must buy another cheap grill, especially if the faulty part is essential to the grill working. It all mounts up until the illusion of having saved any money disappears.

4. You’re Limiting the Size of Your Cookouts

The only thing harder to find than cheap good grills are cheap, good, big grills. Cheap designs will be seriously lacking in cooking space. This isn’t an issue when you choose something like this spacious T-Series design.

People love a cookout, and outdoor grilling often attracts unexpected guests. Do you really want to make everyone wait as you stand over a small grill with limited cooking power?

5. They Can’t Take a Lickin’

A grill has to be tough to stand all the prodding, poking, bumping, and moving it endures over its lifetime. Grills must also stand up to being constantly flaming hot. That takes quality construction.

Down-market models show their true colors quickly as their flimsy materials start buckling under the heat they can barely hold or quickly rust on exposure to the elements.

6. What About the Warranty?

It’s always a good idea to check the warranty, even with the finest grills. It’s downright essential to scrutinize the warranty on cheap electric grills, cheap flat-top grills, or any other type.

You may find that the product’s most vital components aren’t covered for long at all, which takes you right back to number three on this list!

Don’t forget the important distinction between cheap grills and affordable ones. Grabbing a top-quality grill is much easier than you think – just make sure you find a knowledgeable retailer who’ll put your needs and budget before their own bottom line.


Major Differences Between Cheap Grills and Quality Grills

When it comes to grilling, it's easy to be tempted by the lower prices of cheaper grills. However, investing in a high-end quality, more expensive grill can make a world of difference in your BBQ game. Here are some key differences between cheap grills and quality grills:


Temperature Control

Quality grills offer precise temperature control, ensuring your food is cooked to perfection every time. Cheap grills often have inconsistent heat distribution and temperature control, leading to overcooked or undercooked food.



Quality grills use superior materials, such as hardwood pellets, to infuse your food with a rich, smoky flavor that simply can't be replicated by cheaper grills.



Cheap grills may be easy on the wallet, but they can be difficult to maintain. Quality grills typically come with features, such as porcelain-coated grates and easy-to-clean ash dumps, that make maintenance a breeze.

Fuel Efficiency

Quality grills tend to be more fuel-efficient than cheap grills, which helps save you money on fuel costs in the long run. Cheap grills consume more fuel, resulting in frequent refills, making them less cost-effective.



Quality grills offer versatility in cooking methods, allowing you to smoke, grill, and bake. Cheap grills, on the other hand, tend to be limited in their cooking methods, only able to grill basic items.

Get What You Pay for at BBQ Outfitters

We stock only the best and most reliable grill brands to help Texans take outdoor kitchens and cookouts to the next level. These big names pride themselves on being durable enough to become a long-term fixture for you and your family and are built to be safe and backed by some of the best warranties on the market.

Drop by either our San Antonio location or Austin showroom, where our friendly staff will help you weigh the pros and cons of every kind of grill. You can then decide how well it will fit your budget and lifestyle. You can also contact us with questions about grill prices, features, and financing!