Over the past several years, natural gas has risen in popularity with grillers all over the United States. Because many people have already invested lots of money in propane grills, they don’t want to spend more money on a new natural gas grill, which makes them wonder if conversion might be possible. Can you convert your propane grill to natural gas?
You can convert many propane grills to natural gas, but not all of them can be converted. For example, people can’t convert grills unequipped for dual fuel or natural gas conversion. There’s also no single conversion kit that works on every grill, as each model has a specific conversion kit.
Grab your grill gear, and let’s start cooking, as we cover everything anyone needs to know about gas grill conversions, such as:
- Why people can’t convert all propane grills to natural gas.
- How a person can tell if he can convert a specific grill.
- A list of currently convertible grills.
Note: most links in this article are Amazon.com Affiliate links, see Affiliate Disclosure, thank you.
Can You Convert All Propane BBQ to Natural Gas?
Depending on who you ask or where you look online, it would seem that every single propane grill can be converted to natural gas. However, unless grill owners are willing to do some perilous stuff, such as a process called “jet-drilling,” then the true answer to this question is no.
Not all propane grills can be converted to natural gas grills. Some aren’t equipped with the proper set-up, while others don’t have a compatible conversion kit that can successfully convert them. While there are ways to convert grills with no conversion kits, it’s much too dangerous, and you might not want to try it.
What is the Difference Between Propane and Natural Gas?
There is a chemical difference that you can see in the image of the molecules, but from a user standpoint, there are two main differences. Both fuels are gaseous fuels; however, propane is compressed to form a liquid and is pumped into tanks. Natural gas(methane) remains in its gaseous state and is transported to your home in a pipe.
Another characteristic that differs is potential energy or BTUs. Propane has slightly double the amount of BTUs of natural gas, making it more efficient to burn.
Finally, Natural gas is lighter than air and rises while propane is heavier than air and will settle in holes or basements.
Most natural gas is produced as a byproduct from the oil or gas industry but can also be collected from the decay of natural materials like decaying plants or landfills. Propane is a byproduct of natural gas refining and gasoline. Of course, it is more complex than this basic statement, but that is a general idea.
Why Can’t You Convert All Propane Grills to Natural Gas?
As mentioned, some grills aren’t equipped with what they need to be converted to natural gas grills, while other grills don’t have conversion kits that work for them, which is especially true of some of the older model propane grills.
Additionally, people can’t convert grills to work in another country. People can’t convert grills made in the United Kingdom to work in the United States, and vice versa.
Another reason people can’t convert certain grills is that specific companies refuse to sell conversion kits for them. Weber, for example, doesn’t sell conversion kits because the company believes converting a grill results in too many potential safety hazards.
The company goes so far as to state that converting the grill renders the warranty null and void.
How Do I Know if I Can Convert My Grill?
The easiest way a person can know if he can convert his grills is to check the user manual, as most have a section that talks about conversion. Additionally, users can check out the manufacturer’s website. Many have a list of which grills can be converted, and will sell the conversion kits right there on the website.
If these options fail, the grill owner can always write or call the company that manufactured his grill. They should be able to tell him whether or not he can convert a specific grill and where to find the conversion kit if so.
Which Grills Can Be Converted to Natural Gas Grills?
The Grillfather website has a convenient list of which propane grills can be converted to natural gas grills. As the website states, the list is ongoing and updated as more manufacturers start selling conversion kits for their grills.
According to the Grillfather, the following grills are currently convertible:
- Char-Broil Grills: Some, but not all, of these grills offer conversion kits that owners can purchase at DIY and home improvement stores such as Home Depot.
- Lynx: Lynx sells conversion kits for most of their grills for an additional fee.
- Summerset: Summerset offers conversion kits for some of its grills at no extra charge to the customer.
- Twin Eagles: Twin Eagles offers conversion kits for some of its grills at no extra cost to the customer.
- Viking: Viking offers conversion kits for most of its grills at an additional fee.
- Weber: Weber doesn’t make or sell any conversion kits for its grills; however, Grillfather lists an independent company that offers Weber conversion kits.
When using a third-party company to convert a grill from propane to natural gas, it’s important to remember that this could potentially void the grill’s warranty, just as it will for any Weber grills.
Why Do People Convert Grills?
People have different reasons for wanting to convert their gas grills. The most common conversion is propane grills to natural gas grills because it’s the simplest conversion, as the natural gas hookup is larger than that of the propane hookup, so users can enlarge the hole to make it work.
Because the propane hookup is smaller than the natural gas hookup, it’s harder to convert in the other direction (natural gas to propane).
Propane to Natural Gas
The most common reason for people making this conversion is that they’re tired of constantly buying propane tanks when theirs are empty, and it’s a huge hassle to be in the middle of grilling and suddenly run out of gas. Because these two things are regular occurrences with propane gas grills, many people prefer switching to natural gas.
Natural Gas to Propane
This conversion is more challenging, so not as many people undertake it. However, those that do usually want a way to have a more portable grill. Natural gas grills limit the number of places where people can grill to areas with natural gas hookups, which means they can’t just pack up the grill and travel with it wherever they want to go.
All people need to make a propane grill function is a tank of propane, which they can easily carry anywhere they want to go, giving them more freedom in where they can grill.
How Do You Convert a Propane Grill to a Natural Gas Grill?
To convert a propane grill to natural gas, find out whether or not you can do it by using the ways listed above (check the manual, call the manufacturer, look online) and see if the conversion is even possible. If not, there’s no reason to take any further steps.
If you can convert the grill, the next step is to run a new gas line. Without a new gas line that’s dedicated to the grill, there’s no reason to go through all the hassle of converting the grill because a natural gas grill is utterly useless without a gas line.
You’ll want to purchase a conversion kit that’s specific to the grill being converted. Not just any conversion kit will do!
For example, if someone is converting a Char-Broil model 8216842R04 grill bought in 2020 or later, the Char-Broil 8216842R04 Natural Gas Conversion Kit is the one he would need.
You’ll need to gather any tools you’ll need to perform the conversion, which could include pipe wrenches, adjustable wrenches, socket, drills, and more.
Once you have all that stuff together, you’re ready to make the conversion.
- Start by removing the jets. The old jets must be removed and replaced with the new jets from the conversion kit. Then you’ll need to limit the valve flow by removing the knob, putting on the limiter stop, and replacing the knob.
- Connect the gas line. After that’s done, hook up the gas line and install a shutoff valve. Make sure you follow your location’s building and safety codes during these steps, as different communities have different regulations, and it’s essential to stick to them. Unless you have experience with installing gas lines, that part needs to be done by a professional.
- Follow the rest of the instructions included with the conversion kit. At this point, the instructions vary a little from conversion kit to conversion kit. You’ll need to follow the step-by-step instructions included with the kit to finish the conversion process, then you’re ready to grill with your new natural gas grills.
Here is a video that shows you the complete propane to natural gas grill conversion using a conversion kit for people who are looking for pointers:
Not all propane gas grills can be converted to natural gas grills, but many of them can. Grill owners can check the manual, call the manufacturer, or look online to see if they can convert their specific grills.
If conversion kits aren’t sold for a particular grill, it’s better not to try to convert them. Converting grills without brand-specific conversion kits can be dangerous and sometimes voids the grill’s warranty.
Finally, whether you are using natural gas or propane, you will still be missing that smokey flavor. The simplest way to add that flavor is with a smoker box full of your favorite variety of wood chips.