Difference Between Propane Gas and Natural Gas A Complete Guide
When it’s barbecue season in Quebec, choosing the right appliance to enjoy it is essential.
Often, consumers hesitate between a natural gas barbecue or a propane gas barbecue.
Cleaner and less harmful than charcoal, they allow you to make delicious preparations in record time.
Their ignition is very fast, and the cooking is consistently uniform using the various burners, manually adjustable.
However, they are thought to be similar when there are significant differences between them in reality.
To help you make the best choice, we will look at the differences between a propane or gas barbecue in this article.
The cost, the main difference between propane gas and natural gas
Natural gas is cheaper and good for the environment.
This type of gas is quite affordable compared to propane gas.
Indeed, barbecues running on natural gas do not require the purchase of cylinders but need to be connected to a gas line in your home.
In addition, natural gas is a gas that burns much more quickly than propane and which is also cleaner.
It, therefore, represents the best ecological alternative.
However, suppose the low cost of this gas is to be welcomed. In that case, the type of barbecue represents the most excellent investment at the beginning.
Nevertheless, you will realize great savings in the long term without the perpetual purchase of cylinders.
Propane gas is more expensive and less environmentally friendly.
On the other hand, propane gas is more expensive than natural gas. It may not be the best investment if you plan to cook outside a lot throughout the summer season.
In addition, these barbecues work with a gas bottle purchased separately, which is connected with a hose to the barbecue.
Therefore, it is more difficult to predict a potential lack of gas in the middle of your cooking, not to mention the multiple round trips to the gas station throughout the season.
That’s why we advise you always to keep a bottle in reserve.
Regarding the barbecue itself, it is cheaper than a natural gas barbecue.
However, this saving can quickly be reversed in the long term due to the purchase of cylinders.
Ergonomics and portability are key factors for a barbecue.
The natural gas barbecue cannot be moved.
Unfortunately, this is a weak point that is very important.
Being connected directly to a gas line from your home will make it impossible for you to move your barbecue from one place to another.
Whether you are in your garden, on a balcony, or your terrace, it will always have to stay in the same place.
It is not a deterrent to the purchase for many because their outdoor installation is optimal for these barbecue models.
Moreover, the Prestige Pro™ 500 RSIB model from Napoleon (a Canadian brand) is a versatile, natural gas, and efficient barbecue.
Its preheating time and cooking power will delight you!
You can also find it in a propane gas version.
The propane gas grill is portable.
Suppose you tend to prefer portable barbecues, which you can set up anywhere in your outdoors. In that case, propane appliances are perfect for you!
We love the Weber Genesis II E-310 model; very easy to install and quick to heat up.
In addition, this natural gas does not freeze in winter. It can, for example, withstand temperatures down to -44°C, which is very useful in Quebec!
No problem leaving the cylinder outside during the winter, always on a flat surface and under a shelter, if possible.
The taste of meat and preparations
A fundamental question: but what about the taste of the preparations between a natural gas barbecue vs. propane?
We want to reassure you that both types of barbecue produce precisely the same flavor, even if the calorific value of propane is slightly higher: it will have more beautiful flames.
The type of fuel does not significantly affect the taste of your meats, fish, and any other preparation.
You might not get the smoky, authentic taste found on the charcoal grill. Still, you’ll be spared the significant toxic flare-ups of carbon monoxide.
In addition, the flavors will be much more pronounced than with electric barbecues, which without flame, do not offer an exceptional taste.
Similar elements for both types of barbecue
Apart from the things stated above regarding the main differences between natural gas and propane gas barbecue, these two types of products are very similar in their operation.
Let’s look at the similarities together.
The best brands of natural gas and propane barbecues
In general, all barbecue brands offer both propane and natural gas models.
Among the most recognized and reliable are:
- Weber Spirit (the range of gas barbecues);
- Broil King;
- Napoleon (Canadian brand);
Investing in one of these brands and those featured in our guides ensures you a good quality barbecue, reassuring guarantees, and responsive and efficient customer service.
You can buy your barbecue on merchant sites or platforms such as Amazon.
The lifespan of barbecues
Regardless of the type of fuel you choose, the lifespan will be the same, provided you maintain your appliance properly.
Indeed, even with many advantages, a gas barbecue requires careful and regular cleaning and remarkably rapid and uniform cooking.
You will need to equip yourself with suitable products, brushes, hot water, and soap.
It will guarantee a long lifespan and performance always at the top.
Don’t forget an excellent storage cover to protect its beautiful stainless steel exterior from the weather!
The number of BTUs
For any barbecue, whether it runs on natural gas or propane, the power is expressed in BTU (British Thermal Unit).
It is the heat output of the device per hour when all burners are lit at full capacity.
These days, gas barbecues are powerful and have a BTU/h number of between 25,000 and 60,000 BTU/h.
The higher this value, the shorter and more efficient the cooking time will be for serving many guests.
To determine how much power you need, divide the number of BTUs by the total cooking area in square inches.
Ideally, we are looking to obtain approximately 110 BTU per in2 per person.
Be careful, though; a barbecue that has too many BTUs about its cooking surface is not efficient: it consumes much more than it needs.
With a model with a low number of BTUs, Ditto runs at full speed to reach a relatively average level of cooking.
The burners are the standard heat source, whether propane or natural gas barbecue.
The more burners the barbecue has, the more you will have a large cooking surface, which will let you cook several things simultaneously.
In addition, there are several types of burners:
- the side burner: it is placed separately on the side of the barbecue and is used to heat a sauce or preparation that requires different cooking;
- The back burners (or rear burners): as their name suggests, they are located at the back of the barbecue and allow the barbecue to roast.
They are, like the side burners, dedicated to side dishes.
If you have a creative spirit and are tempted to try new recipes with your barbecue, buy a model equipped with a rear burner!
- Smoking is within reach of all barbecues, even gas ones!
Add the smoking wood directly to the briquettes for a rich, delicious taste.
In the case of the Weber Genesis® II barbecue, add a smoker box to the cooking grates and fill it with wood pellets.
Close your barbecue long enough for the chips to start smoking before reopening it to put the ingredients on the grill.
Then the smoke takes care of the rest!
What you must remember
- the main differences between a propane and natural gas barbecue are their price (both the gases themselves and the barbecues), their ergonomics, and portability;
- propane gas has a better calorific value and produces more beautiful flames than natural gas;
- Cooking is just as fast and even in both models, and the design of the barbecues remains the same.