Who Makes The Best Budget Gas Grill? Nexgrill Vs. Char-Broil
If you’ve been in the grilling section of your local big-box store, you’ve probably seen the names Nexgrill and Char-Broil. Popular manufacturers of propane grills for the budget end of the market, both companies have a broad range of models to choose from.
But which one comes out on top?
Personally, we have a preference for Char-Broil, but, rather than just expecting you to take our word for it, we’ve put the best of the 2- and 4-burner models from each brand head to head, so you’ve got the information to make your own decision.
Nexgrill Vs. Char-Broil
Before we start looking at the products, it’s essential to understand a little more about each of the manufacturers.
Headquartered in the town of Chino in California, Nexgrill Industries is a supplier of stainless steel, cast aluminum, and cast-iron products. Alongside their Nexgrill brand range of grills, you can also find them producing heaters, burners, patio furniture, and stainless tool cabinets.
Nexgrill also creates products that are sold under a variety of other brands through a third party licence. So, if you buy a propane grill from Grill Master, Member’s Mark, Jenn-Air, or Kitchen-Aid, it’s probably been made by Nexgrill.
As with most budget manufacturers, although Nexgrill is headquartered in California, their grills and made in China.
Char-Broil is a subsidiary of W.C. Bradley Co. The company came into existence when their parent acquired a controlling interest in the Columbus Iron Works and turned their hand to the increasingly popular backyard leisure and cooking market.
The Char-Broil 19 is possibly one of the first cast iron charcoal grills to hit the home market.
Because of the increasing popularity of the brand, Char-Broil acquired the New Braunfels Smoker Company in 1997, and then Oklahoma Joe’s, a manufacturer of high-end smokers, grills and accessories in 1998 to round out their portfolio.
Char-Broil partnered up with the Thermal Engineering Corporation in 2003 to create a new range of gas grills using infrared cooking technology. More recently they have acquired SABER grills and Dancook in order to move into the premium grill and European markets.
As with Nexgrill, despite being headquartered in Columbus, Georgia, Char-Broil grills are principally made in China.
The Four-Burner Throwdown
Now that you’re up to date on both companies, let’s put their most popular 4-burner models head to head.
Char-Broil Performance Stainless Steel 4-Burner
The Char-Broil Performance 4-Burner uses their proprietary TRU-Infrared Cooking System that the company claims will give up to 50% juicier food while using up to 30% less gas.
While user experience might vary, it is true that infrared cooking systems do use less gas than traditional burners and can achieve higher temperatures than your standard gas grill. This means your grill is going to warm up faster, and you might be able to get a decent sear on a steak.
The four burners put out a collective 47,770 BTUs, and the side burner puts out an additional 10,000 BTUs.
Space is always at a premium around any grill, and to help with that, this grill comes with a side burner, to cook up side dishes or sauces, and side shelves. There’s also a storage cabinet under the grill itself.
When it comes to clean-up, the Char-Broil comes with a porcelain-coated grease tray for easy cleaning.
In terms of accessories, this model comes with a Surefire Electronic Igniter, a lid-mounted temperature gauge, a built-in warming wrack and lockable casters, so your grill won’t roll off.
With the exception of the porcelain-coated cast-iron grates, the whole grill is made of stainless steel, and you’ll get a 5-year warranty on the stainless steel burners and a 2-year warranty on all other components.
What we like:
- Infrared cooking – The TRU-Infrared Cooking System cooks hotter and uses less gas doing it.
- Two-year warranty – There’s a minimum of a two-year warranty on everything.
- Great storage -There’s a fair amount of storage to stop things getting cluttered.
What we don’t like:
- Fiddly assembly -The grill is self-assembled and comes in a lot of parts.
NexGrill 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill
While it doesn’t have an infrared cooking system, the NexGrill 4-Burner puts out a combined 48,000 BTUs over four individually controlled burners, heating 462 square inches of primary cooking space. Over that main cooking space is a 164.5 square inch warming rack to keep your food warm on.
NexGrill uses a proprietary Even-Heat Cooking System that uses angled “flame tamers” to distribute uniform heat throughout the firebox.
As with the Char-Broil, the Nexgrill has two side shelves, one of which doubles as a 12,000 BTU side burner, and an under-grill storage cabinet. There’s also an electric ignition switch for an easier startup.
There are also lockable casters on the base of the grill and a thermometer attached to the lid.
The main issue with the NexGrill model, while advertised as being made of stainless steel, is not 100% stainless steel. It’s a stainless steel coating over a carbon steel core. This means that the Nexgrill is prone to rust and only has a 1-year warranty, except for the burners, which have a 5-year warranty.
What we like:
- Good heat distribution – The use of angled “flame tamers” help prevent flare-ups and distribute heat evenly.
- Great accessories – The Nexgrill has the same quality of life accessories like electric ignition and plenty of storage that the Char-Broil does.
What we don’t like:
- Low-quality construction – The lower quality of materials used in this grill’s construction.
Both the Nexgrill and the Char-Broil 4-burner models are relatively similar in design and function. However, for around the same price point, the Char-Broil grill has the advantage of the TRU-Infrared Cooking System, a more extended warranty and better quality construction.
The Two-Burner Tangle
With the Char-Broil coming out on top in the 4-burner head to head, let see if NexGrill can pull it back in the battle of the 2-burners.
Char-Broil Performance Series 2-Burner
Since it’s the smaller version of the 4-burner we just reviewed, there are a lot of similarities between the two models. Both are made of stainless steel, with an electronic ignition switch, lockable casters, porcelain-coated cast-iron grates, and a built-in thermometer and warming wrack.
The main difference between the two is that the smaller 2-burner lacks the TRU-Infrared Cooking System, with two stainless steel burners putting out 24,000-BTUs over 300 square inches of primary cooking surface.
The storage cabinet under the grill is smaller, for obvious reasons, but the grill does still come with side shelves, which fold away, although not side burner. When you’re done cooking, there’s a removable porcelain-coated grease pan at the side of the grill for easier cleaning.
You also get the same 5-year warranty on the stainless steel burners and a 2-year warranty on all other components.
What we like:
- Added storage – The folding side-tables are an excellent addition to what is clearly meant to be a portable grill.
- Easier cleanup – Adding a removable porcelain-coated grease pan for easier clean-up is always welcome.
What we don’t like:
- No infrared cooking – The loss of the TRU-Infrared Cooking System makes it harder to differentiate this grill from others on the market.
NexGrill Deluxe 2-Burner Propane Gas Grill
As you might expect from the ‘Deluxe’, the NexGrill 2-Burner does have some quality of life additions that you won’t find on the more basic 4-burner model.
You’ll be cooking over 28,000 total BTUs coming from 2 stainless steel burners on 290.7 square inches of cooking space. There’s also a 106.31 square inch warming rack built into the hood.
Unlike the 4-burner, the deluxe 2-burner has porcelain-coated cast-iron cooking grates, and the full grill is made of actual stainless steel. The same Even-Heat Cooking System makes a return to ensure the minimum number of flare-ups and better heat distribution.
As with the Char-Broil, you also get folding side shelves, lockable casters, a battery-operated electronic igniter system, and a built-in thermometer.
The NexGrill Deluxe 2-Burner can be convertible to natural gas (a slightly odd move on NexGrill’s part) although the hose and regulator required are sold separately. This is a strange choice, as converting it to a static natural gas emplacement conflicts with the 2-burners more portable build.
The stainless steel burners in this model have a longer 8-year warranty, but the rest of the parts are only covered for 1-year.
The increase in quality in the deluxe model does bring it up to par with the Char-Broil model. However, the move to the deluxe model does put it into the same price bracket as the NexGrill 4-Burner, and above the Char-Broil 2-burner, so you’re paying extra for the same build.
What we like:
- Full stainless steel – The use of proper stainless steel in the construction of the body.
- Porcelain enamelling – The addition of the porcelain-coated cast-iron cooking grates.
- Good heat distribution – The inclusion of the Even-Heat Cooking System on a 2-burner model.
What we don’t like:
- Self-assembly – Despite being deluxe, you still need to assemble the grill yourself or pay to have it done for you.
- Higher price point – Going ‘Deluxe’ means paying more for the same features on the basic Char-Broil 2-burner.
While the NexGrill Deluxe 2-Burner is a step up in quality from the NexGrill 4-Burner, it doesn’t really have anything that the Char-Broil 2-burner doesn’t have, except that higher price point.
When it comes right down to it, there’s not much point in paying more for the same features.
Wrapping it up
Both NexGrill and Char-Broil offer reasonably good value for money at the budget end of the gas grill market. However, when it comes to choosing between them, both the Char-Broil 4-burner and 2-burner models have more to recommend them than their NexGrill competitors.
The Char-Broil 4-burner has all the same features as the 4-burner NexGrill, with the added benefits of the TRU-Infrared Cooking System, better quality construction, and a more extended warranty.
The NexGrill Deluxe 2-Burner gives its Char-Broil competitor a much closer run for its money, but the step up to deluxe also increases the price without giving you anything the Char-Broil doesn’t.
Overall, in the Nexgrill Vs. Char-Broil head to head, we think Char-Broil comes out on top.
Do you have any of the grills above? What was your experience like with them? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.