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3 Burner or 4 Burner Gas Grill: Which is Right for You

Nov 09,2023 | MONDAWE

I. Introduction

The weather is turning cold and it's time for the annual grilling season. You can enjoy delicious food on the weekends or during the various upcoming festivals by grilling around a warm grill with your family. However, if your old grill has become obsolete, you may need to purchase a new gas grill in anticipation of winter grilling. One of the biggest decisions you will face is whether to choose a 3-burner or 4-burner gas grill. Which is the right choice for your grilling needs? This guide will go over the key factors to consider when deciding whether to go with a 3 burner or a 4 burner.

4 burner gas grill

II. Key Differences Between 3 and 4 Burner Gas Grills

Mondawe Black 4 Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill 

Mondawe 4 Burner Gas Grill with 1 Side Burne

Before diving into the specifics, it's helpful to understand the core differences between grills with 3 burners versus those with 4.

1. Cooking Capacity

The main difference comes down to cooking capacity and grilling space. A 3 burner gas grill typically provides around 30,000 BTUs of cooking power across 450-500 square inches of grill space. A 4 burner bumps that up to around 40,000 BTUs across 500-650 square inches. That extra burner and space makes it easier to cook larger volumes of food at once.

For another thing, 4 burner gas grills have a larger cooking area which can satisfy more people. Therefore, if you are planning to cook for a lot of people, then you will need a large cooking area. In this case, a 4 burner gas grill will be ideal for you. However, if you are only planning to invite a few friends or just family members for a backyard barbecue party, then a 3 burner gas grill will suffice.

2. Temperature Zones

Despite the fact that both grills allow you to control the temperature of your grill while cooking effectively, 4 burner gas grills have four temperature zones while 3 burner gas grills only have three. It's important to note that because 4 burner gas grills have more temperature zones, they give you more room for temperature control. The freedom that comes with these grills allows you to barbecue a variety of foods with ease and comfort.

Furthermore, with more burners and room to spread out, 4 burner gas grills allow you to set up distinct high and low temperature zones. This makes two-zone grilling easier for searing meats while cooking veggies at a lower temp.

3. Grilling Techniques Enabled

Both a 3 burner gas grill and a 4 burner gas grill offer versatile cooking options.

The 3 burner gas grill provides the capability to create direct and indirect heat zones, allowing for simultaneous cooking at different temperatures. This setup is ideal for executing various grilling techniques, from searing to slow roasting, offering flexibility in preparing a wide range of dishes.

On the other hand, a 4 burner gas grill provides additional space and heat control, allowing for even more precise temperature zones and the ability to accommodate larger quantities of food. This extra capacity can be advantageous for hosting larger gatherings and events, providing ample cooking space and versatility to cater to diverse culinary preferences.

4. Average Pricing

Given their larger size and higher output, 4 burner gas grills generally have a higher starting price point, averaging $200-$300 more than a comparable 3 burner. While the initial cost may be higher, the additional burners provide greater flexibility to cook a variety of foods at different temperatures simultaneously. This is especially beneficial for outdoor gatherings and events, making a 4 burner grill a worthwhile investment for those looking for expanded grilling capabilities and cooking convenience. 

On the other hand, there's no reason to invest in a more expensive 4 burner gas grill if you're only going to use the grill to cook for a few people.

Ⅲ. Benefits of Choosing a 3 Burner Gas Grill

3 burner gas grill

Mondawe 3 Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill 

Opting for a 3 burner gas grill offers several advantages:

1. More affordable option

In contrast, 4 burner gas grills are positioned at a higher price point due to their larger size and increased cooking capacity. While they offer enhanced versatility and greater cooking space, the higher cost may not align with the budget of all consumers. Therefore, for those seeking a more affordable option without compromising on essential grilling capabilities, the 3 burner gas grill presents an attractive choice. Its cost-effectiveness combined with versatile cooking techniques makes it a practical and accessible option for individuals and families looking to enjoy the benefits of a reliable and efficient grill without breaking the bank.

2. Sufficient for small gatherings

With about 500 square inches of grilling space, a 3 burner gas grill provides plenty of room to grill for 4-6 people simultaneously. It's a great match for smaller families. Furthermore, a 3 burner gas grill consumes less fuel than a 4 burner gas grill and saves money in the long run. Therefore, it is not only suitable for small gatherings, but also an economical and practical choice for meeting daily barbecue needs.

3. Takes up less patio space

A smaller 3 burner gas grill requires less square footage on your patio or deck, making it a better choice if space is limited. The smaller size of a 3 burner gas grill makes it more portable and easier to maneuver, making it an ideal choice for outdoor activities such as picnics or camping trips. The compact design also lends itself well to smaller outdoor spaces, such as patios or balconies, where a larger grill might be impractical. 

4. Quick to preheat

With fewer burners to fire up, 3 burner gas grills preheat more rapidly so you can start cooking sooner. This quicker preheating time can be advantageous for those who want to enjoy spontaneous outdoor meals or simply minimize waiting time before grilling. The efficiency in heating also allows for more precise meal planning and quicker turnaround when cooking multiple batches of food. Additionally, the rapid preheating of a 3 burner gas grill contributes to energy savings over time, as less fuel is used during the heating process. As a result, the 3 burner gas grill not only offers convenience and speed but also presents an environmentally friendly and cost-effective option for individuals and families looking to make the most of their outdoor cooking experiences.

Ⅳ. Benefits of Choosing a 4 Burner Gas Grill

Mondawe's 4 burner gas grill

 Mondawe's 4 Burner Gas Grill

Stepping up to a 4 burner gas grill provides some compelling advantages:

1. Can cook more food at once

The extra burner and larger grilling surface allow you to cook for larger groups of 6-8+ people with ease. Moreover, the additional burner on a 4 burner gas grill provides enhanced heat distribution and versatility, enabling the preparation of a wider variety of dishes simultaneously. This is especially beneficial when hosting larger gatherings or events, as it allows for greater flexibility in menu planning and expedites the cooking process. The larger cooking area also means that different types of food can be cooked at varying temperatures, catering to diverse culinary preferences and dietary needs. As a result, the 4 burner gas grill stands as an ideal choice for those who frequently entertain or simply enjoy the convenience of preparing ample quantities of food at once.

2. Better for entertaining larger groups

When hosting parties or large gatherings, a 4 burner has the capacity and versatility to grill a variety of foods at once. Whether it's burgers, hotdogs, vegetables, or marinated meats, the 4 burner gas grill's ample cooking space and multiple heat zones allow for efficient and simultaneous preparation of diverse dishes. This not only streamlines the cooking process but also ensures that all guests are served in a timely manner. The enhanced capacity of the 4 burner gas grill aligns with the demands of entertaining larger groups, making it an invaluable tool for those who enjoy bringing people together for outdoor dining experiences. With its ability to handle substantial quantities of food, the 4 burner gas grill is an excellent choice for those who prioritize efficiency and convenience when hosting social gatherings.

3. Enables indirect grilling

The larger grilling area makes it easier to set up indirect grilling zones for smoking meat low and slow. This indirect grilling capability is particularly advantageous for preparing larger cuts of meat or delicate foods that require longer, slower cooking times at lower temperatures. By creating distinct heat zones on the spacious cooking surface, the 4 burner gas grill allows for precise control over the grilling environment, facilitating the creation of tender, flavorful dishes with minimal effort. Whether it's a rack of ribs, a whole chicken, or a brisket, the 4 burner gas grill's indirect grilling feature enables enthusiasts to explore a wider range of culinary techniques, elevating the outdoor cooking experience and providing an opportunity to craft exceptional, restaurant-quality meals for friends and family.

4. Provides greater temperature control

With more burners, it's easier to set up distinct high and low temp zones across the grill. This enhanced temperature control is invaluable when preparing a variety of foods simultaneously, as it allows for precise cooking tailored to each dish's specific requirements. From searing steaks at high heat to gently roasting vegetables at lower temperatures, the ability to establish distinct heat zones on the expansive cooking surface ensures that every item is cooked to perfection. 

Ⅴ. Factors to Consider When Choosing 3 vs 4 Burners

4 burner gas grill

4-Burner BBQ Grill with Side Burner

Deciding between 3 burners vs 4 comes down to assessing a few key factors:

1. How many people do you regularly cook for?

The size and capacity of the grill should align with the typical number of guests you entertain.

With a 4 burner gas grill, you have the flexibility to cook larger quantities of food efficiently, making it well-suited for hosting gatherings or family events.

Conversely, a 3 burner gas grill is more practical for smaller, intimate gatherings or everyday use, providing ample space to prepare meals for a modest number of guests.

Ultimately, selecting the appropriate grill size based on your regular cooking needs ensures that you can optimize your outdoor cooking experience and effortlessly cater to the appetites of your guests.

2. What types of food do you typically grill?

When grilling larger cuts of meat such as roasts, whole chickens, or ribs, the additional burners on a 4 burner gas grill provide the advantage of creating distinct heat zones for indirect grilling or smoking. This allows for precise control over the cooking process, ensuring even heat distribution and optimal results.

On the other hand, if your grilling repertoire primarily consists of quick-cooking items like burgers and hot dogs, a 3 burner gas grill can effectively handle these tasks with ease.

Assessing the types of food you typically grill is essential in determining the most suitable grill size and features to accommodate your culinary preferences and cooking techniques.

3. How much grilling space do you need?

If you frequently grill large quantities of food or entertain sizable groups, a 4 burner gas grill with its expansive cooking area provides the necessary space to accommodate these needs. The ample grilling space allows for simultaneous preparation of various items, making it easier to manage large batches of food efficiently.

On the other hand, if your grilling needs are more modest and involve smaller quantities of food, a 3 burner gas grill may suffice.

Evaluating the amount of grilling space required based on your typical usage patterns ensures that you can select a grill that aligns with your specific needs and culinary aspirations.

4. What grilling techniques do you want to use?

If you aspire to explore advanced grilling techniques such as indirect grilling and smoking, a 4 burner gas grill offers the versatility and space necessary to execute these methods with precision. The ability to establish multiple heat zones on a 4 burner gas grill facilitates indirect cooking, allowing for the slow, low-temperature preparation of meats and the infusion of smoky flavors.

While a 3 burner gas grill can still accommodate direct and indirect grilling, the larger capacity and additional burners of a 4 burner gas grill provide more room to maneuver and optimize the execution of these specialized techniques, ultimately enhancing the depth and variety of your outdoor cooking repertoire.

5. What is your budget?

Considering your budget is crucial when deciding between a 3 burner gas grill and a 4 burner gas grill.

Typically, three burner gas grills are more budget-friendly, with prices starting around $300-$500, making them an economical choice for those seeking essential grilling functionalities.

On the other hand, 4 burner gas grills generally fall within the range of $500-$1,000 or higher, offering additional features and enhanced capabilities at a higher price point.

It's important to weigh the cost against the desired features and cooking capacity to ensure that your chosen grill aligns with your budget while also meeting your specific grilling requirements.

Ⅵ. Conclusion and Final Recommendation

When choosing a 3 burner vs 4 burner gas grill, start by honestly assessing your grilling habits. How many people do you cook for and what types of food do you grill most? This will determine how much space and versatility you really need.

For occasional grilling for small groups, a budget-friendly 3 burner is likely sufficient. But passionate grill masters cooking large batches will benefit from stepping up to a 4+ burner. This provides greater capacity for parties along with more options for indirect grilling.

Be sure to also compare specifications like BTUs, grill surface materials, and side burners. And don't underestimate the importance of build quality and durability. With proper care, your new 3 or 4 burner gas grill can deliver years of reliable service.

Whichever you choose, look forward to unlocking your full grilling potential!