Propane Grill: What is It and is It Healthy?

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  May 28, 2022

Always the latest smoking tips & tricks?

Subscribe to THE ESSENTIAL newsletter for aspiring pitmasters

We'll only use your email address for our newsletter and respect your privacy

I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

A propane grill is a type of grill that uses propane as its main fuel source. Propane grills are typically more powerful than other types of grills, making them ideal for cooking food quickly. They also tend to be more expensive than other types of grills, but they offer many benefits that make them worth the extra cost. Propane grills are easy to set up and use, and they can be used in a variety of different ways.

What is a propane grill

What is the point of a propane grill?

The main benefit of a propane grill (best ones reviewed here) is that it can reach high temperatures very quickly. It can reach grilling temp in 15 minutes or less, kind of like why you would buy a sports car instead of a minivan.

In this article, I’ll explain how propane grills work and offer tips on choosing the best one for your needs.

Propane Gas Grills: The Ultimate Guide

Propane gas is a type of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) that is widely used as a fuel source for cooking and heating. It is a by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining. Propane gas is stored in portable canisters or cylinders and is delivered to homes and businesses through a supply chain.

How Does a Propane Gas Grill Work?

Propane gas grills work by using propane gas as a fuel source to heat metal grates, which then cook the food placed on them. The propane gas is stored in a tank or cylinder and is connected to the grill via a pipe. When the grill is turned on, the propane gas is released from the tank and is compressed into a liquid form. The liquid propane gas is then sent through the pipe to the grill, where it is converted back into a gas and ignited to create heat.

What is the Difference Between Propane Gas and Natural Gas?

The main difference between propane gas and natural gas (full explanation of grill differences here) is the way they are stored and delivered. Propane gas is stored in tanks or cylinders and is delivered to homes and businesses through a supply chain. Natural gas, on the other hand, is delivered through a pipeline system. Propane gas also has a higher energy content than natural gas, which means it can produce more heat per pound. Propane gas is also rated in British thermal units (BTUs), which indicates its heating capability.

How is Propane Gas Refined and Processed?

Propane gas is a by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining. It is extracted from natural gas and petroleum through a process called fractionation. During fractionation, the natural gas and petroleum are separated into their component parts, including propane gas, methane, ethane, hydrogen, and carbon. The propane gas is then refined and processed to remove impurities and condenses into a liquid form for storage and transportation.

Grilling with Propane: The Magic Behind the Flames

When it comes to propane grills, the fuel source is stored in a portable tank that can be easily replaced when empty. The tank is connected to the grill via a valve that controls the flow of gas. The valve is typically located on the side of the grill and can be turned on and off to regulate the amount of gas being released.

The Burners and Igniter

The burners are the heart of the grill and are responsible for producing the heat needed for cooking. Most propane grills have two or more burners, each with a series of small holes that allow gas to escape. When the valve is opened, gas flows through the burners and is ignited by an igniter. The igniter creates a spark that ignites the gas, producing a flame that heats up the grill.

The Regulator and Safety Features

To ensure that the grill is working properly and safely, a regulator is used to control the pressure of the gas flowing from the tank to the burners. This helps to prevent dangerous flare-ups and ensures that the grill is operating at the correct temperature. Additionally, propane grills have safety features such as a built-in thermometer and an automatic shut-off valve that turns off the gas if the flame goes out.

Cooking with Propane

Propane grills are a popular choice for outdoor cooking because they are easy to use and provide consistent heat. The heat produced by the burners can be adjusted by turning the valve, allowing for precise temperature control. Propane grills are also portable, making them a great option for camping trips or tailgating. In addition, propane is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer emissions than charcoal or wood.

Mastering the Art of Using a Propane Tank BBQ Grill

  • Before starting, make sure that the propane tank is tightly connected to the grill’s regulator.
  • Check the propane tank’s level to ensure that you have enough propane supply for your cooking needs.
  • Remove the grill cover and clean the grates with a wire brush to remove any ash or debris.
  • Check the connector and ensure that it is not damaged or worn out.
  • Make sure that the grill is in a safe and stable location away from any potential hazards.

Cooking on the Grill

  • Depending on the type of food you’re cooking, set the grill to the appropriate temperature.
  • Use the control knob to adjust the heat as needed.
  • Add food to the grill and let it cook until it’s done.
  • If you’re using the indirect method, place the food on the side of the grill that’s not directly over the flame.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the food is cooked to the correct temperature.

Additional Tips

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific grill model.
  • Consider making certain improvements to your grill’s design, such as adding a side burner or a rotisserie.
  • Experienced grillers may prefer certain types of propane tanks or connectors, depending on their needs.
  • Beginners may find it easier to use an electric grill compared to a propane grill.
  • Always prioritize safety when using a propane grill, and save a lot of time and effort compared to traditional charcoal grilling.

Why Propane Tank BBQ Grills are the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Propane grills are the perfect equipment for grilling enthusiasts. They offer a wide range of benefits that make grilling a fun and enjoyable experience. Here are some of the benefits of having a propane tank BBQ grill:

  • Propane grills heat up quickly and hold a steady temperature, making it easier to cook your food to perfection.
  • Propane grills are versatile and can be used to cook a wide range of foods, from steaks and burgers to vegetables and fish.
  • Propane grills are easy to use and require minimal effort to light and operate.

Fuel Benefits

Propane grills are powered by propane gas, which is a safe and efficient fuel source. Here are some of the benefits of using propane as a fuel source for your grill:

  • Propane is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer emissions than other fuels.
  • Propane is readily available and can be easily refilled at your local propane supplier.
  • Propane is a safe fuel source that is less likely to cause fires or explosions than other fuels.

Mastering the Control of Your Propane Grill

A propane grill consists of several parts and connections that work together to supply and regulate the gas flow to the burner. These include the control valves, manifold, tubes, igniters, and burner. The control valves are designed to lock into place when the valve is in the OFF position and must be depressed by pushing in the control knob while turning to the ON position. The manifold is a pipe assembly that connects the control valves to the burner, and the tubes connect the manifold to the burner. The igniters generate a spark that ignites the gas flowing through the burner.

Properly Connecting and Disconnecting

It’s important to properly connect and disconnect your propane grill to avoid any accidents or damage. When connecting your grill, make sure to use a brand-specific regulator and hose and check for any corrosion or damage. When disconnecting, always turn off the gas supply at the tank and wait for the grill to cool down before removing the regulator and hose.

Replacing and Repairing Parts

Over time, certain parts of your propane grill may fail or need replacing. If your igniter has failed, try swapping out the module or electrode. If your control valve is not regulating the gas flow properly, it may need to be replaced. When replacing parts, always make sure to slide them into place and reestablish any connections before buttoning everything back up.

Lighting Your Grill

To light your grill, make sure the gas supply is turned on and the control valves are in the OFF position. Then, turn on the gas supply and press the igniter button near the burner to generate a spark that ignites the gas flowing through the burner. For older grills that may not have an igniter, you can use a wand lighter to ignite the gas.

Protective Measures

To protect your propane grill from the elements and stop any corrosion, make sure to transport it with care and cover it when not in use. When replacing or removing old parts, make sure to wear protective gloves and use a wire brush to clean any metal surfaces.

Propane Vs Natural Gas Grills: Which One is Right for You?

When it comes to deciding whether to buy a propane or natural gas grill, there are a few key differences to consider:

  • Propane grills are smaller and more portable, while natural gas grills are designed to be stationary and connected to a gas line.
  • Propane grills ultimately produce more heat, with more than twice the BTU power of natural gas grills.
  • Propane grills release less fuel into the burner than natural gas grills, as all gas is jetted from small orifices at the entrance of the burner to mix with air to get the perfect flame.
  • Propane grills require a propane tank, while natural gas grills need to be connected to a gas line.

The Pros and Cons of Propane Grills

If you’re trying to decide between a propane or natural gas grill, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each:


  • Propane grills are more portable and can be taken on camping trips or to tailgates.
  • Propane grills are generally cheaper to buy than natural gas grills.
  • Propane grills are easy to clean and maintain.
  • Propane grills heat up quickly and can reach high temperatures faster than natural gas grills.


  • Propane tanks need to be refilled or replaced, which can be a hassle.
  • Propane grills produce more thermal energy, which means they can burn food more easily if not monitored closely.
  • Propane grills may have issues with temperature control, as the flame can be too high or too low.
  • Propane grills may require more fittings and adjustments to ensure a safe and meaningful use.

So, Which One Should You Choose?

Ultimately, the answer to whether you should choose a propane or natural gas grill depends on your individual needs and preferences. Here are a few things to consider:

  • If you’re looking for a portable grill or want to take your grill on the go, a propane grill is the way to go.
  • If you’re concerned about the environment and want a cleaner fuel source, a natural gas grill is the better choice.
  • If you’re looking for a grill that heats up quickly and can reach high temperatures, a propane grill is the way to go.
  • If you’re looking for a grill that is easy to control and maintain, a natural gas grill is the better choice.

Remember, both propane and natural gas grills have their pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh them carefully before making a decision. And if you need help deciding, don’t hesitate to ask an expert like Emma Braby, a grill expert who has been writing about grills since March 2020.

Is propane grilling healthier than charcoal?

Some people believe that propane grilling is healthier than charcoal grilling because there is no need to use lighter fluid with propane. Lighter fluid can contain chemicals that can be harmful to your health if they are inhaled or ingested.

Additionally, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) or “carcinogens”, can coat your food because the charcoal creates a lot more smoke than with propane.


So, that’s what a propane grill is. They’re great for outdoor cooking and can be used for everything from grilling to boiling. You just need to make sure you have the right tank and regulator for your needs. I hope this guide has been helpful and you’re ready to get cooking!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.