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A burner is one of the most important components of a grill. It's what heats up and cooks food, and it’s what drives your grill's ability to sear that perfect burger or steak.
There are many different types of burners out there. Most notably, different grill burners can vary in material and shape.
Here are some of the most common types of burners on grills, and how they work.
Burners aren't always made from the same material. In fact, different kinds of grills may require different materials of burners for proper operation.
For example, if you have an infrared grill, then your burners are most likely going to be made of ceramics. Learn more about how infrared grilling works here.
Stainless steel is the most popular material for making burners because it can withstand high temperatures without breaking down.
It’s also incredibly durable in the face of impacts and corrosion.
Aluminum is another great material for making burners.
It conducts heat extremely well - better than stainless steel, but it is less durable and generally doesn't last as long as stainless steel.
Ceramic burners are strong and durable, and conduct heat quite well - they're the best of both worlds.
Ceramic burners are usually found in commercial grade grills or luxury residential grills.
Burners can also differ based on their fuel type. You'll want to think about which fuel type is ideal for you before purchasing a grill.
Gas burners are probably the most popular kind of burner. They come in two main varieties: propane and natural gas.
Generally speaking, propane and natural gas burners are more or less the same. The difference comes in how the orifices and tubes are configured - but the burners themselves work quite similarly.
Both kinds of burners work igniting gas to create a flame, which in turn heats your food.
Infrared burners work by heating up the food directly.
The radiant heat produced by these burners penetrates through the meat, keeping it warm while cooking. They are typically used in outdoor grills.
The majority of infrared burners are fueled by propane or natural gas, but some are powered by electricity.
Electric grill burners are powered by electricity and utilize electric heating elements to cook food. They're commonly used in indoor grills but aren't all that uncommon for an outdoor grill.
They're highly efficient, but they take longer to heat up than other types of
Not only do burners differ by fuel type and material, but they also come in different shapes.
The shape of a burner affects how efficiently it heats up or cools down food. Some common shapes include:
A u-shaped burner produces a cone of intense heat. It's perfect for searing meats or vegetables on the grill.
An H-shaped burner is probably the most dated shape of burner - you'll find these on older grills or lower end models.
It's not that they can't perform - they're just prone to break down and heat inefficiently compared to other BBQ burner shapes.
An oval or round burner creates a circle of intense heat. The round shape is commonly found on flat top and griddle cooking surfaces.
Functionally, it creates a hot area near the center and gradually tapers off in heat intensity as you get further away from the center of the burner.
This can be a great set up if you're cooking a meal where something needs to cook hot while other foods need to stay warm.
A straight tube burner produces a line of intense heat. It comes in handy for grilling burgers, steaks, and chicken breasts.
The best burner depends on what you plan to cook regularly on your grill, and how much performance you want in your outdoor kitchen.
If you're looking for a grill that performs for the occasional weeknight cook, H shaped or straight tube burners will do the trick.
If you want a more professional/commercial grade level of performance, U shaped burners may be the way to go. This configuration often leads to the most consistent heat distribution and steady high temperatures.
That's not to say straight tube burners can't perform at a high level. Much of it comes down to the manufacturer.
And when it comes to the best kind of material for a burner, ceramic is generally viewed as the longest lasting.
If you want something a little easier to maintain, you can't go wrong with stainless steel.
Questions about burner types? Give our team of experts a call or get in touch with us via email.
If you've decided that you'd like to buy a new burner, there are several factors that you should consider before making your purchase.
Once you know what you need, you can narrow down your search to find the best grill for your needs.
The right kind of burner can make a huge difference when it comes to how well your food tastes and how quickly it's made.
The right kind of burner will make your grilling life a whole lot easier. So do yourself a favor and make sure to buy the right kind of burner for your grilling needs.