What is the Difference Between Gas and Propane Grills?

What Is The Difference Between Gas And Propane Grills?


There is no real difference when it comes to gas and propane grills, and how they cook food. The big difference is when it starts boiling down to energy efficiency and cost. Propane is sold in tanks, which can be bought at most convenience stores. On the other hand, natural gas has to be purchased strictly from a gas company. The reason for this is that natural gas comes in lines which are hooked to your grill. Natural gas tends to be more expensive then propane mostly because of the difference in chemical properties.

Propane is heavier which causes it to fall to the ground if it is released, this can cause an accidental explosion. Natural gas rises into the air and simply evaporates. Some grill masters claim that propane can affect the taste of the food cooked on a propane grill. Natural gas cooks much quicker, cheaper and is readily available – unlike when you are using propane, which you will have to refill periodically.

If you are using natural gas lines to fire your grill, then you are pretty much stuck using in that area. Whereas with a portable propane tank, you can place your grill anywhere you please. So keep this in mind when deciding which type of gas will suit your grilling needs best.

Do Propane Grills need lava Tocks?

Gas grills often make use of lava rocks to maximize heat distribution. Lava rocks are similar to those used in landscaping and very closely resemble your plain old garden variety rock.You can place the lava rocks in a solid layer on a screen between the heating element and the grill surface, just be sure to leave space for air to circulate. Light the grill and check to make sure that all areas of the heating element are covered, filling any empty spaces. Lava rocks are incorporated to reduce flare-ups and hot spots caused by a run-off from food.

They do this by retaining the run-off without flaring up, spewing up ash or flames – much like charcoal fires. These rocks can also be used several times, minimizing set-up and making cleaning easier. Lava rocks produce little to no smoke unlike charcoal briquettes or wood grills. Lava rocks are not as easy to find as traditional charcoal briquettes and are generally more expensive.

Any additional product placed inside a gas grill should not come in contact with the heating element. Doing so can cause increased stress to the grill, as well as clog vital gas ports. Always maintain a clean grill. A buildup of old briquettes can cause inadequate performance and damage to your grill.

Do Propane Grills Produce Carbon Monoxide?

Propane is an odorless, colorless substance used as fuel in some gas grills. Propane exposure can come from direct contact on the skin and eyes or through inhaling the fumes. Exposure to this undetectable gas can lead to suffocation and death. High levels of propane can cause unconsciousness, seizures and cardiac arrest when accidentally inhaled for a lengthened period of time. When it touches the skin, liquid propane causes frostbite conditions. Even low levels of propane exposure can cause headaches, nausea and vomiting, numbness of the arms and legs.

Do Propane Grills release Co2Long-term effects could include weight loss, conjunctivitis, and memory loss and skin discoloration. Always use your propane gas grill in a well-ventilated area and be sure to store it away or outside of your home. At high enough levels, carbon monoxide is deadly, and this deadly gas is created whenever a gas grill is fired up.  Carbon monoxide, or CO, is safe when the grill is operating properly. However, when used incorrectly, or if the grill is not working, it can be dangerous.

Fumes should always be vented outdoors with a gas grill to prevent a buildup of Carbon monoxide. This gas is responsible for hundreds of accidental deaths due to its undetectable nature. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea, headaches, confusion, shortness of breath and dizziness. If you have any of these symptoms in conjunction with the use of gas grill, seek medical attention immediately.

How do you know when a Propane tank is Empty?

The most accurate way to tell if a propane tank is empty is to simply weigh it. This method can also tell you if there is any propane left in the tank. The typical tank for a gas grill can hold more or less hold 20 lbs. of propane and added to that is the weight of the actual tank itself. There is a number called the tare weight (TW) which is noted on the tank and is the exact weight of the tank when it is empty. Once you know the TW and the amount of propane the tank holds when full as well as its current weight, you can figure out how much propane, if any, is left.

You might want to keep track of your propane tank’s fill level by using a propane gauge. Inline pressure gauges are installed between the gas-line which runs from the grill to the cut-off valve on the tank. These gauges work mainly on pressure and give a readout, which lets you know when the tank is full, low or empty. Analog propane scales work much like luggage scales, except they’re already tared for the weight of the tank.

Simply slip the hook of the analog scale through the handle of the tank, pick up the scale and read the remaining gas level which is visible on the scale. Digital propane tank scales work by constantly weighing the tank and provide a digital readout of remaining cook time and gas fill percentage. Most of these have an app which can be downloaded onto your Smartphone.


A propane gas grill is most certainly a great addition to add to your outdoor cooking repertoire as long as you remember to treat it with respect. Working with gas can be extremely dangerous and should never be taken lightly. Always follow your manuals instruction and never use your grill in a closed off unventilated area.