Barbecues: How to buy the best barbecue Gas vs charcoal barbecues
Smouldering charcoal grills or quick and powerful gas burners – whether you opt for a gas or charcoal barbecue is a matter of taste, budget and personal preference.
We’ve tested both types of barbecue in the Which? test lab – take a look at our barbecue review area for the Best Buy models we recommend.
Grilling food over white-hot charcoal is the traditional method of barbecuing. And if a smoky barbecue flavour is your priority then a charcoal barbecue is your best bet - smoke from coals and sizzling fat infuses food for that authentic chargrilled taste.
Charcoal barbecues are cheaper to buy than gas alternatives. They’re easier to build and lighter to move around the patio. They also tend to take up less storage space in the shed or garage when you’re not using them.
But charcoal barbecues can be tricky to light and slow to heat. Cook on a poor charcoal barbecue and you’ll wait ages for your sausages to cook all the way through while your kebabs have burnt to a crisp. And cleaning away the ash can be a messy job.
Read our guide to charcoal barbecues to find out more about the different types, brands and prices available.
Gas barbecues are quick and easy to heat and cook on, so you’re likely to get more use out of them. Plus they’re easy to fire up for impromptu meals when you don’t have much time.
There’s no waiting around for coals to get hot, and because you can adjust the heat you’re far less likely to be left with sausages that are charred on the outside and pink in the middle.
But while gas barbecues are undeniably quick and convenient, some think that food cooked on them lacks that distinctive barbecue taste.
They’re also more expensive than charcoal barbecues, heavier to move and awkward to store in the shed. Plus you’ve got to buy and top up a gas canister to fuel it, which can make an unsightly feature on your patio.
To read reviews of all of the gas barbecues we've tested you can filter our results for gas models.