Natural Gas vs. Propane Grills
From the cuts of meat and secret sauces you grill with to temperature settings and cook times, BBQing is often a matter of personal preference.
The age-old debate between natural gas (NG) and propane (LP) is no different.
Both of these clean fuel sources are easy to use and quickly provide high heat, which is why gas grills are the most popular choice among home cooks today. Neither is truly “better” than the other, but each has certain qualities and limitations that make it the more practical choice in specific situations.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you can’t use a natural gas grill with a propane grill, and vice versa, because gas orifices are sized differently to accommodate the different pressures of each gas. Though some grill brands sell conversion kits that allow you to change the orifices, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with what separates natural gas from propane.
Advantages of Natural Gas
If there’s one thing you must know about natural gas, it’s that this fuel is run through the home like any other utility.
Because of this setup, those who already have a natural gas supply piped in will probably find it to be the best fuel source for their grill. Most natural gas models come with a kit that makes hooking up the grill to the gas line quick and easy, not to mention that natural gas is generally cheaper than propane and will never run out in the middle of a BBQ.
Getting a new natural gas line installed, however, is often expensive and can result in your backyard being uprooted by professionals laying down the lines. It’s a considerable cost up front — especially if you live far from the main distribution line — but using natural gas rather than propane will still save you more money over time if you grill frequently.
Natural gas is also one of the eco-friendliest fuel sources on the market, and it’ll safely float out of your outdoor kitchen in the event of a leak because it’s lighter than air. To top it all off, natural gas appliances can operate even when you lose electricity.
LP gas is commonly used in small tanks that sit beside or inside of your grill. LP tanks can be purchased an refilled at many hardware stores and stores that sell grills. A hose and regulator are required to supply and regulate the gas to your grill. Some residences have large, in-ground propane tanks. In this case the grill would be set up for LP, but it may require a special regulator for the gas line.