gas grill BTU

Gas Grill BTU – How Much Of It Is Enough?

by admin on June 19, 2011

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Gas Grill BTU can be a very confusing thing especially when manufacturers boast of big fat gigantic BTUs but in actual fact, the cooking time still takes longer than expected. It can be really disappointing as a customer to spend few hundred dollars on a nice piece of gas grill only to find that they have been cheated. I have seen a few customers venting their frustration at me for not providing an accurate description of each gas grill’s BTU.

While I do strive to provide accurate information for my customers, sometimes the BTUs claimed by manufacturers are not the real ones. I have explained a lot about BTUs before to customers but have never actually written an article about it. This article is an effort to explain what you need to know about gas gril BTU. So read on…


What most of you might have heard is that a good gas grill should produce around 100BTUs per square inch. While this remains true in general, the same cannot be applied for most modern gas grills especially infrared gas grills. BTUs refer to the heat output generated by the primary burners and not the side burners, rotisserie burners, warming racks etc. Most manufacturers give you a false impression of a really powerful gas grill by combining the amount of BTUs produced by all of these components but not telling you the ACTUAL BTUs produced.

Let’s start with the infrared gas grills.

Infrared gas grills are designed in a way that heat transfer is through radiation and not through convection. I’ll spare you the physics of it but infrared gas grills are more efficient than any other gas grills so fewer BTUs are required to produce an equivalent heat output compared to conventional gas grills.

Is 100BTUs the standard?

Most modern gas grills won’t need 100BTUs per square inch of cooking area to function properly. Gas grills are more efficiently designed and they don’t need such a high output to grill. The most important components to look at for heat output efficiency is the cooking grates. The heavier cooking grates have better heat output and thus cooking times will be faster. Weber gas grills use heavy cast iron cooking grates and have less BTU but they cook really fast and are very energy efficient.

Gas grills that are less efficient may have high BTU outputs but have lighter cooking grates, open spaces at the back or light/thin lids. All these design factors easily dissipates heat to the surroundings and thus have an impact on cooking times.

So is 100BTUs the standard for infrared gas grills?

NO. As mentioned earlier, infrared gas grills are more energy efficient so they only require 60-80 BTUs per square inch to do its job.

Char Broil have a huge range of infrared gas grills for both commercial and personal use. They are the leading manufacturers of infrared gas grills and one of their bestselling infrared gas grills is their Quantum Infrared Gas Grill. You can take a look at it here.

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