Propane is probably the most popular fuel for grilling out there, especially for those who want to grill quickly, without the hassle of dealing with charcoal or firewood.
That said, many grillers have started using natural gas over the years. But is natural gas a fuel that any gas grill can use?
We’ll answer this question—and more below.
Can Any Grill Use Natural Gas?
Strictly speaking, no. Not every grill can use natural gas. Setting aside the obvious grills that can’t use natural gas, such as charcoal grills, not every propane grill is designed for natural gas hookup.
In many cases, this is because the manufacturer makes a specific version of that grill that uses propane. Many, if not most, major grill manufacturers offer natural gas alternative models. In some cases, you may be able to buy a conversion kit.
Since natural gas burns a bit cooler than propane does, those grills have burner orifices and valves that are a bit larger, allowing a greater volume of gas to flow into them.
Natural gas should never be used in propane valves unless the appropriate conversion kit is properly installed.
Natural-Gas Grills vs. Propane Grills
Natural gas and propane grills each have their pros and cons. Let’s take a look and see what they are.
The Pros and Cons of Propane Grills
- A propane grill is generally cheaper to buy than its natural gas counterparts.
- Delivers more BTUs (British Thermal Units) and is twice as energy-efficient as natural gas.
- Portable tanks.
- Refills are widely available.
- Does not create greenhouse gas emissions.
- One tank specific for one appliance.
- Need constant refills depending on the amount of use.
- Prices per gallon are usually higher than propane.
- Costs more than natural gas over time.
The Pros and Cons of Natural Gas Grills
- Continuous 24/7 supply — never run out of fuel.
- You only pay for what you use; there are no leftovers.
- Natural gas prices per cubic foot are usually lower than propane prices.
- The line can be used for multiple appliances, such as furnaces, gas ranges, ovens, water heaters, clothes dryers, grills, fireplaces, fire pits, outdoor lighting, etc.
- Saves money over propane over time.
- Upfront costs for installation and conversion can be prohibitive, from $500 to several thousand dollars.
- As a fuel, natural gas isn’t available in every area.
- Not for renters (unless, of course, the house or apartment building is already hooked up).
- Contains methane, which can harm the environment.
Converting a Propane Grill to Natural Gas
Before we go into converting a propane grill to a natural gas grill, here’s a word of warning.
Warning: DDIY (Don’t Do It Yourself)
A search on the internet will reveal a lot of “DIY” information about boring out your propane burners and valves in your grill to make them more suitable for burning natural gas.
While doing this can work, it can also be a dangerous and deadly disaster if something goes wrong. It’s better to see if your grill comes with a conversion kit or buy a natural gas grill than rolling the dice with highly combustible gases.
Check with Your Local Plumbing Inspector
You should also check with your local plumbing inspector to see if you’re allowed by law to use flexible gas hoses. In some jurisdictions, people are required to use a more permanent installation.
Turn Off the Gas
Before you get started, make sure the professional plumber who installs your natural gas line shows you where the cut-off is located. You’ll need to turn off your gas line before installing a line into your grill. If you have a street-side gas line valve, you might have to hire a professional to make the adjustments for you.
Propane to Natural Gas Grill Conversion Kits
The grill conversion kits usually cost less than $100. However, these are usually after-market products manufactured by third-party companies. Also, some grill manufacturers specifically warn against conversions.
In fact, in their warranty, Weber expressly forbids converting their grills, and doing so voids its warranty.
On the other hand, Charbroil manufactures and sells its own conversion kits with instructions on how to safely convert our propane grill into one that uses natural gas.
General Instructions on Using a Conversion Kit
These are general instructions on how to use a conversion it. These directions may vary depending on the model and conversion kit.
What Usually Comes with a Conversion Kit
The items to expect in the propane to natural gas grill conversion kit include:
- Flexible gas hose
- Hose wrench
- Orifice cleaning tool
- Valve limiters
- Jet Wrench
- Quick disconnect
Other tools needed:
- Pipe wrenches
- Adjustable wrenches
Step One: Swap Out the Jets
The first thing you’ll need to do is remove the old jets. Using the jet wrench that should come with your conversion kit, remove and replace the propane jets with the new natural gas jets.
Remove your grates and burner assemblies to change out the jets.
Step Two: Limiting Valve Flow
- The final step is limiting the valve flow. Start by removing the valve knob. You should be able to pull it straight off.
- Next, slide on the limiter stop.
- Now reinstall the knob by pressing on tight.
- Run your gas line to the grill, then install a shutoff valve on the end of your line.
- Secure the valve to either your deck or a building (according to your area’s local code).
- Next, install the quick-disconnect fitting included in the conversion kit.
- Finally, remove the grill’s propane pressure regulator along with the old hose and install the new natural gas hose.
Step Three: Turn the Gas Back On
Last, you’ll just have to turn the flow of natural gas on. After that, you should be ready to grill as much as your heart desires!
Can Any Grill Use Natural Gas: Conclusion
Converting a propane grill into a natural gas grill involves a bit of work, especially if you don’t already have a natural gas line installed on your property.
However, this may not be an option for certain types of grills, such as those made by Weber. In that case, you’ll need to check with the grill’s manufacturer to see if they offer a natural gas version of your grill.
If you have to buy a new grill, at least you’ll have a spare propane grill you can use for traveling. Just remember to check with a professional plumber before converting your grill and take other safety precautions, such as turning off your gas line before getting started.
If you follow all of our steps, you should be on your way to enjoying non-stop cookouts with unlimited fuel.