Propane vs Natural Gas Grill

Grills & Outdoor Cooking

Absolutely nothing says “festive” than the thought of throwing a fat, juicy steak on a hot grill. It gives a genuine primal delight that occurs when you watch your meal cooking on an open flame whilst the smell of barbecued sausages sizzling, various kinds of tasty meats and vegetables fill the air.

Some consider it the greatest kind of aromatherapy possible. For others, it’s just a joy. Barbecuing is an art.

It demands a particular kind of skill in order to get just the proper level of doneness while maintaining all the juicy delicacy that is a synonym for a tasty meat banquet.

However, like every artist, you must have the finest equipment to get the most out of your work. The choice of the proper grill is pivotal to the whole process. This raises the question: Propane vs. natural gas grill – what’s best? In this guide, the answer to that query will be thoroughly researched.

Difference between natural gas and propane

What is natural gas?

Natural gas is a non-renewable, unscented, colorless, flammable, and non-toxic hydrocarbon. This is a gas compound, the basic ingredient of methane, representing approximately 70-90%. Besides, there are other gases in the blend: propane, butane, and ethane.
As soon as natural gas is extracted from the soil, it has to be mixed with petroleum to make the fuel we use daily. During this process, propane, butane, and ethane are extracted.

What is propane?

Propane is a non-toxic, non-colorful, unscented gas that is normally compressed and kept in liquid form.
The greatest source of propane is natural gas refining. As noted above, it is a byproduct of the processing. Propane may also be a byproduct of crude oil refining.

Propane Vs. Natural Gas: Is there a difference?

Well, the brief response is – yes. While many people use the two words interchangeably, there are significant distinctions between them. They might be quite alike, but they definitely are not the same thing.

Actually, without going too deep into the finer points of their chemical composition (this is not a chemistry lesson after all!), propane is in a class of gases that are known as hydrocarbons. This is the identical class that includes butane and ethane.

All of them are byproducts of the refining of natural gas and petroleum. For this reason, propane is also referred to as liquefied petroleum (LP) gas.

In contrast, natural gas is basically methane that is compressed under pressure into a liquid. It is natural since it is a fossil fuel derived from nature and includes a number of other gases, one of which is propane. It is gathered as is before being subjected to a very basic refining operation to clean it up and make it more efficient.

While the two gases have many similarities (e.g. they are both clean-burning, have no color and no smell), a lot of differences can be found between propane and natural gas.

  • Energy efficiency: whenever we compare fuels, we need to consider the amount of energy we can obtain from the same quantity of fuel. For the purposes of this comparison, we are going to use BTUs, which stands for British Thermal Units and is a unit of measurement for thermal energy.

When using one cubic foot of natural gas, it generates 1030 BTUs. The use of one cubic foot of propane produces 2516 BTUs. In other words, if we use the equivalent quantity of both, we will receive 2.5 times the energy of propane.

  • Cost: We cannot discuss cost until we discuss energy efficiency. What’s really great news is that it’s super easy to compare the prices of propane and natural gas. If the cost of propane is in gallons, it must first be converted to cubic meters/foot (which is how natural gas is usually measured). As soon as this is completed, we must multiply the cost of natural gas by 2.5. In this way, we are going to be able to purchase the same quantity of energy at the calculated prices. Obviously, this works just in case we keep a strict eye just on the cost-energy balance, ignoring other factors like environmental impact.
  • Environmentally friendly: natural gas and propane are both clean-burning gases. As a matter of fact, propane is the greenest-burning fossil fuel, and natural gas is close to it. If that’s the situation, then why is propane regarded as a green fuel and natural gas isn’t?

To be regarded as green, fuel has to be eco-friendly before it is burned and also after it is burned. This is exactly the situation with propane. When propane is released into the environment, it produces no pollution. The opposite is the case with natural gas. The key component of natural gas is methane, which is a greenhouse gas.

As a result, it’s really crucial that you attempt to avoid natural gas leakage and spills from getting into the atmosphere.

  • Domestic and transit use: natural gas and propane both like to be used for home warming and cooking. The primary difference between the use of natural gas and propane for home use is how it is delivered.

Natural gas is transported to residences via gas pipelines. As a result, the gas is accessible 24/7 from the moment the gas pipelines are installed in a home.

Conversely, propane is normally stored in liquid form in propane tanks. These types of tanks can be serviced everywhere, including locations that do not have gas lines. The disadvantage is that propane tanks have to be refilled, and if refilling cannot be done due to any reason (for example, a big storm), a home may be without heating.



What is a natural gas grill?

Natural gas grills function just like standard propane grills when it comes to cooking food, yet with a ton of extra features. Natural gas grills cost much lower, offer greater convenience, and are a lot nicer on the planet, too. Unlike having to go through a propane tank or charcoal, a natural gas grill takes advantage of hydrocarbon-based fuels as a heating option.

What is a propane gas grill?

A liquid propane grill uses metal tanks full of liquid propane gas. Liquid propane is a scentless, uncolored, easily flammable liquid that can be used to cook safely.

Liquid propane has the benefit of storage in a sustainable tank, which can be found nearly everywhere. Portability is the keyword in comparison to natural gas, which is normally connected to an immobile supply.

Even the most basic and affordable propane grill, however, is more sophisticated than a standard charcoal grill. This is like moving from a low-tech gadget to a high-tech one meant to enhance and facilitate the cooking experience. Making them great for beginners and occasional users equally.

However, they’re not only great for beginners, since many propane grills come with sophisticated features and techniques that even professionals will enjoy. There are practically no limits to the rules when it comes to using a propane grill and its supplies for cooking. Indeed, the more daring you are, the better.

The Best Full-Size 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill

Cuisinart Propane Gas Grill

Cuisinart Propane Gas Grill

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Features:

  • Stainless steel lid.
  • Cooking power: four 11, 000 BTU burners.
  • Includes a 4-foot LP hose to connect the grill and the 20lb propane tank.

How does a gas grill work?

Gas grills need fuel, either natural gas or propane. When the grill needs propane, it is delivered via rechargeable tanks that have to be changed or refilled once they are empty, whereas the grill needs natural gas, which must be supplied via a pipeline connection from the natural gas outlet.

To operate a gas grill, you first need to open the grill’s top to avoid gas buildup in the cooking compartment. To get a propane grill started, you have to rotate the valve on the top of the gas tank counter-clockwise, whereas, with a natural gas grill, you need to turn the burners fully on and push the ignition knob to light a fire. You may also use a match to start the fire when you don’t have an igniter. If necessary, you could switch on all the burners, and once you are finished, simply close the top and let the grill heat up for 15 to 20 minutes before you use it.

When you rotate the valves of the grill, gas, either natural gas or propane, starts flowing through the burner in the quantity permitted by the valve. Igniting the gas flowing out of the burner produces a steady flame that warms up the grill. As most grills are completely constructed of metal components, the heat from the fire is spread uniformly over the whole grill area.

In addition, the holes in the burner are uniformly distributed to provide coverage over a wider surface area and provide greater efficiency and more rapid warming of the food on the grill.

The grill bars are rotatable and may be used for grilling kebabs or grilling chicken while rotating on the bars. The metal tops are designed to assure that whatever you cook will be uniformly heated.

Nowadays, the majority of grills feature several burners, which enables the heat to spread more uniformly and cover wider surfaces. You can control the gas from the burners by using the regulator on the grill. The amount of gas passing through the burners may be boosted if you need to get your food cooked faster, or you may slow the process to achieve more uniform and thorough cooking.

Once you’re all done barbecuing, shut off the burner controls on a natural gas grill and close the vents on the gas tank to shut off the grill on a propane gas grill. At all times, have an eye on the fuel indicator on the propane tank in order to keep track of when to add fuel. It is critical to keep the grill spotless each time after use since extended use with no cleaning can lead to stuck burners as well as dirty grills.

Are you comfortable? Well, let’s begin. First question…

Most importantly, first things first: have you got a natural gas outlet at your disposal?

If yes, you barely have to read any further. Natural gas tends to be less expensive and convenient to use once you have it set up. Perhaps you would like to get a dual-power grill, but be sure to get one that works with natural gas.

We realize that anyone who reads this likely has no outlet. Therefore, allow us to move on to the actual deciders:

Time is money. Would you rather choose comfort or expense?

Propane is unbelievably practical. Simply pick up a canister when doing the weekly shopping, and you are ready to start. Installing natural gas connections can be challenging and it should be performed by a specialist. It will save you money over the long term, though.

However, the amount of money you’ll be saving comes down to one issue:

On a scale of 1 to pyromaniac, how many times are you going to light the fire?

If you will be barbecuing almost every single evening on a clear day, you will soon benefit from the cost savings of natural gas. By doing so, you will earn a little back on your setup expenses whenever you use the grill. However, if you are a more casual griller, you are likely to be much happier with propane.

To compensate for the upfront expense, it could be years before you’re able to use the grill if you only use it once every month or thereabouts. The climate in which you live will also influence this since it will dictate how frequently you can barbecue.

Talking about climate, will yours be changing in the near future?

Are you facing a potential relocation, or are you happy to go far away?

A propane grill certainly wouldn’t even be worth a second thought in both cases. Sadly, natural gas does really bind you to its unique needs. While natural gas is cost-effective, propane is flexible.

The Best 3-Burner Natural Gas Grill

Weber Natural Gas Grill

Weber Natural Gas Grill

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Features:

  • Cooking space: 529 square inches.
  • Includes 10-foot flexible hose.
  • Porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates.

Can you use natural gas on a propane grill?

There is a common issue that we face: Can you connect a propane grill to natural gas? While propane is definitely still the most popular gas grill option, natural gas has grown in recent years. As soon as a natural gas line is in place, you no longer need to be concerned about your gas going out halfway through cooking, or needing to change propane tanks often.

Although you should certainly never attach a propane grill to a natural gas line unless you first upgrade it to natural gas, this is a fairly straightforward procedure. Just be sure to follow these easy steps below.

  • Be sure your grill is designed for dual-fuel and can operate on natural gas

Not all propane grills can be operated on natural gas, so make sure to read the owner’s guide.

  • Buy a conversion set

A conversion kit will allow you to turn a propane grill into a natural gas grill. Refer to your grill’s identification label to determine the type of conversion set you’ll need.

  • Install the conversion set

Once you have turned off the natural gas supply, you can convert your propane grill to natural gas.

Difference between cooking with propane and natural gas

One-to-one, propane packs more energy in the same room as natural gas, yet any respectable natural gas grill balances this out just by expanding the gas inlet valve. The two fuels generate the identical high, consistent heat that gas grilling is all about. Simply put, you will not really notice the difference between propane and natural gas until everything is connected.

Does natural gas burn hotter than propane?

Propane will burn hotter when compared to natural gas (2500 BTUs versus 1000 BTUs), which some grill purists believe is among the key things to keep in mind. Propane is regarded as eco-friendly as it is lead-free, emits low levels of greenhouse gases, as well as generating water vapor and carbon dioxide.

Propane vs natural gas temperature

Propane will burn hotter when compared to natural gas (2500 BTUs versus 1000 BTUs), which some grill purists believe is among the key things to keep in mind. Propane is regarded as eco-friendly as it is lead-free, emits low levels of greenhouse gases, as well as generating water vapor and carbon dioxide.

Propane vs natural gas safety

Since natural gas is lighter than propane, it evaporates more rapidly than propane when it leaks into the atmosphere. Thus, one might suggest that natural gas is slightly more safe than propane since it takes a bit longer to evaporate into the air.

Do I need a regulator for the natural gas grill?

The regulator may be convertible or not. Check that the controller of the unit is convertible. You can see this by the connector on the top of the regulator. It has a hexagonal form.

A non-convertible knob that is only adjusted for natural gas features a circle on top with a line down the center.

When your grill is shipped with an appliance regulator on it, you must modify the regulator at the same time you are converting the grill. Likewise, if you are converting a grill from LP to natural gas, adding an appliance regulator would be a great safety precaution.

Every natural gas grill is supposed to have an appliance regulator. It controls the amount of pressure that goes into the grill.

Having one on an LP grill with high BTUs would be a wise practice.

Such grills are supplied with a convertible appliance regulator.

How to connect propane tank to grill?

Grilling a tasty meal starts with securely connecting your propane grill tank to your gas grill.

  • Place your propane grill

To begin, be sure your grill is a good distance away from flammable items and that your grill lid is completely opened. Once you have placed an empty propane cylinder, take it away now.

Be sure the propane tank handwheel is rotated to the OFF position before you attach the tank.

  • Attach the propane tank

Start by taking off the blue plastic cover that hides the nozzle. Attach the propane tank nozzle to the gas line of the grill – it should be a good fit. Rotate the coupler on the end of the grill’s gas line to the right to verify that the connector is fully screwed in, yet not so firmly that you will not be able to unscrew it once you have to get a new tank.

  • Turn on the gas

At this point, you are ready to turn on the gas. Rotate the handwheel gradually to the left to turn the valve to the open setting.

  • Inspect for leakage

Your tank should now be safely attached to the gas line of the grill. To be sure the connection is safe and that there is no leakage, conduct a basic “bubble” tightness check. You had better conduct the tightness test on a regular basis, but most importantly, before using your grill for the first time after a while.

  • Start cooking!

Once you’ve done the tightness test, you can turn on your grill and begin cooking! Be sure to obey the grill manufacturer’s directions for correct use.

How to make the gas grill hotter?

  1. Get your gear. You are going to need expandable grill grates to properly cover the burner of your grill, and plenty of lava rocks to create a densely packed single bed on those grates.
  2. Take the grill grates off your grill and thoroughly cover the burner with the expandable grill grates you bought.
  3. Cover the grates with a densely packed bed of lava stones.
  4. Put the grill grates back in place and light the burners as normal. Hold the cover of your grill shut while it is heating.
  5. Allow approximately 20 minutes before the temperature within your grill hits 500 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The lava stones hold the heat so the temperature will not drop when you raise the cover. After several uses, the stones will become covered in fat after all – turn them over as needed. Based on the frequency of grilling, you will likely have to change the lava stones once every few months.

How to Connect a Propane Tank to your Gas Grill – Video

Conclusion

Propane, as well as natural gas grills, deliver an equal outcome if you use them for cooking your food. In the end, it depends on how much you care about comfort, expense, and efficiency.

If you are looking at leaving a lower environmental footprint as well as saving money, then natural gas is the right choice. Conversely, if the natural gas pipeline in your home is either not accessible or not even hooked up, then the installation procedure could result in a significant invoice. In these situations, propane is a more affordable and practical option.

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Steve Toomey

The main inspirer and creator of this resource. In passion about gardening, home decor & interior. Also, likes to DIY projects and interesting in house gadgets. Moreover, he likes to find out how to make cooking easier and simple with kitchen gadgets. Read More.

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