Should You Choose a Gas Grill or a Charcoal Grill?

Should You Choose a Gas Grill or a Charcoal Grill?

At Masterbuilt, we understand that the heart of any great barbecue experience lies in the choice of your grill. And now, with our innovative grilling technology, igniting the flames for your barbecue has never been easier. The choice between gas and charcoal can make or break your grilling experience, so let's fire up this debate and guide you through the journey of choosing the right grill.

Comparing a Gas Grill vs Charcoal Grill

Cheeseburgers and sausages cook on the main cooking grate of an open AutoIgnite grill while hamburger buns toast on the warming rack and kebabs sear on the hopper grill plate. A wooden cutting board holding slices onions, tomatoes and lettuce sits on the left side shelf above the digital control panel. A full drinking glass sits on the right side shelf.

When trying to decide between a gas grill or a charcoal grill, there's many factors to consider. From flavor to convenience to cost, there's many decisions that go into it. One of the main factors to consider is flavor - there's simply no denying that charcoal grilled food tastes better! Often people make the choice for gas or propane due to other factors, more specifically, convenience and speed. Below is a table that shows a quick comparison of gas versus charcoal factors to consider when making your grill choice.

Gas Grill Charcoal Grill
Cooking Type Rapid Cook Time Slow Cooks
Flavor Metal grates cover flame - blocking drippings from food Smokey - drippings reach flame allowing for smoke to infuse food. Charcoal grills have great taste and flavor.
Temperature Control Quick start up and precise temperature control Typically requires continuous monitoring; allows for higher temperatures
Price May be more expensive Generally less expensive than gas
Versatility Grilling only features Many charcoal grills offer both grilling and smoking capabilities

Although not an exhaustive list of pros and cons, this list is a quick guide to help you in your decision making process.

How is the AutoIgnite™ as Easy as Gas?

Someone pours lump charcoal from a bag into the hopper of an AutoIgnite grill. Part of the grill grate and warming rack are visible to the left. The right side shelf may be seen to the right of the hopper.

With the AutoIgnite Series 545 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker, Masterbuilt has bridged the gap between the convenience of gas with the flavor of charcoal. The AutoIgnite™ Series 545 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smokers allows for you to combine the rich, smoky flavors of charcoal grilling with the convenience of the QuickStart™ Auto-Ignition button, making it as easy to use as a gas grill. This innovative feature eliminates the need for manual lighting, allowing you to start the grill with the push of a button. With this feature you can experience the best of both worlds, combining the authentic flavors of charcoal with the ease of a gas grill.

Is the Flavor that much different on a Charcoal Grill?

When it comes to grilling, the flavor distinction between a charcoal grill versus a gas grill is unquestionable. Charcoal grills infuse food with a distinct, smoky, and rich flavor that is irresistible. Additionally, charcoal grills may allow for use of different wood types to bring out even more flavors in a meal, such as hickory or maple wood chunks.

What to Look for in a Grill

When deciding between a gas grill or a charcoal grill, it's key to consider factors that align with your grilling preferences. If you're looking for that distinct smokiness, a charcoal grill will be the best way to go. However, if you're looking for convenience and a quick start up, a gas grill could be a better fit.

Some additional key factors to consider when making your grill choice:

  • Backyard Space: how much room do you have? How many people do you plan to cook for on a regular basis?
  • Durability: be sure to check product reviews for quality - a grill is an investment so make sure it will last for seasons to come!
  • Temperature Control: controlling your cook is highly important to ensuring your recipes come out the best - making sure the grill you're considering has the ability control the temperature for consistency and accuracy.
  • Ease of Clean-Up: the last thing you want is a grill that is so difficult to clean that you never want to use it! Look for features that make your grilling life easier and clean-up a breeze, such as a removable ash pan and grease drip pan.

About the AutoIgnite


An open AutoIgnite grill on a patio in front of a wooded area leading to a beach and lakeshore. A rack of ribs cooks on the main grate while corn on the cob roasts on the warming rack and shrimp skewers sear on the hopper grill plate. Utensils hang from the left side shelf. A full drink glass plus a glass bowl of sauce with a brush resting in it sit on the side shelf.

The AutoIgnite merges top grilling qualities, giving you the authentic charcoal flavor with the ease of gas grilling. Simply press the QuickStart™ Auto-Ignition button on the controller to light your Firestarter, set your temperature on the digital control panel or Masterbuilt app, and let the fan and the ignitor do the rest. With Masterbuilt's WiFi App, connect your smart device to experience a fully connected cooking experience.

Be sure to also check out Masterbuilt's full line-up of grill and smoker combo grills as well as vertical smokers!