So what exactly are the differences between the two?
Although they have some things in common, several factors differentiate an infrared grill from a gas grill. Read on as we cover the specific features and benefits of these two grilling options and discuss which one makes the best investment.
What Is an Infrared Grill?
While infrared grills are touted as new and advanced, the concept has been around since the 1980s. As its name entails, infrared grills use infrared technology as a source of heat to cook food. Unlike a conventional gas grill that uses flames or hot air to heat the food directly, an infrared grill uses radiant energy to cook it.
Infrared radiation is a kind of radiant energy that is undetectable to the naked eye, although we can feel it as heat. An example of radiant energy is the heat of the sand at the beach. The sun heats the sand, and the heat from the sand becomes the radiant energy.
The same thing applies to infrared grills. Rather than directly heating the air like an old-fashioned gas grill, infrared technology heats objects instead. Imagine this: the fire heats the steel, glass, or ceramic tile that is wrapped up in several tiny holes. This object then radiates the "infrared energy" into the food.
Conventional grills heat the air directly. With an infrared grill, you don't necessarily use direct flame or hot air for cooking the food. Instead, you only use heat waves from the heated object. The infrared radiation or energy helps maximize the food's flavor.
Benefits of an Infrared Grill
Quick Heating – Traditional grills that use an open flame for cooking food take about 15 minutes to heat up. If you want to cook your food as quickly as possible, this can be a problem. An infrared grill, on the other hand, only takes 2-5 minutes to heat up thoroughly.
Retains the Juice of Food – Hot air can eliminate the moisture from the food. Since infrared technology doesn't use hot air, your food will retain up to 35% of its moisture. That means juicier burgers, steaks, ribs, or anything else you like to grill.
Equal Heat Distribution – Strong wind can affect the heat distribution on a conventional grill, making it hard to maintain the correct temperature. However, the wind does not affect infrared radiation, so infrared technology provides even heat distribution that promotes even cooking. Even without the effects of wind, open-flame grills tend to produce too much heat in specific spots, which results in uneven cooking.
Fuel Efficiency – Some sources claim infrared grills use less fuel or gas than their traditional counterparts as they reach high temperatures.
Self-Cleaning Capability – This may be one of the most amazing features of infrared grills. To clean the grill, just turn up the heat for five minutes after your grilling session. The heat will melt away the food residue.
What Is a Gas Grill?
You can use propane or natural gas to fuel up traditional gas grills. These conventional gas grills cook food by directly heating the air through the flame. The flame produced by the gas heats the air in the grill. This heated air then rises and surrounds the food on the grill's cooking area. This hot air cooks the food without using another element or object to heat it.
While this is a pretty straightforward process, the repeated flow of hot air can dry out the food. Hence, the food loses its moisture or juiciness.
Gas grills are also perceived to promote inefficient heating. Note that during the process of cooking, hot air rises and pushes down the cold air. This means that the cold air is constantly converted to warm air. It is an endless reheating procedure that uses too much energy.
Although gas grills have some disadvantages, there are also some advantages if you use this type of grill.
Benefits of a Gas Grill
Affordable – Since they’ve been around longer, gas grills are less expensive than infrared ones. If you are looking for a budget option, a gas grill makes an excellent choice.
Ideal for Slow Cooking – You can lower the overall temperatures of a gas grill if you are looking to cook your food more slowly. Infrared grills are hotter, so they take less time to cook.
Easy to Use – It’s easy to learn how to use a gas grill. All you have to do is push a button or turn a knob to heat the grill.
Wide Variety in the Market – There is an extensive range of gas grills currently available in the market. You can find various styles with unique features that may match your grilling needs.
Close Comparison Between Infrared Grill and Gas Grill
- Temperatures – Infrared can reach 700°F, while gas grills can usually only reach less than 600°F.
- Cooking time – Infrared burns faster and hotter than gas grills, which means a shorter cooking time.
- Low-Temperature Grilling – Gas grills are better than infrared grills when slow cooking.
- Flare-ups – Unlike gas grills, infrared grills don't result in flare-ups or sudden flame outbursts.
- Taste – Infrared retains the juices of the food, while gas grills remove the food's moisture.
- Fuel Source – Both grills use liquid propane or natural gas to fuel up, but the way the heat transfers from the source to the food differs significantly.
Conclusion: Which Grill Is Better for You?
Deciding between infrared vs gas grills can be a tough choice, and depends on your personal needs.
While infrared grills are more advanced than gas grills, the second option have stood the test of time and are still a great option.
If you prefer affordability over efficiency, we suggest you go for a gas grill. But if you want to invest in a highly efficient grill, an infrared grill is probably the best choice for you.