Gas grills—whe ther they’re fueled by Liquid Propane or Natural Gas—provide the best of both worlds in outdoor grilling by combining the power of flame with the benefit of precise control. And it’s starting that searing flame we’re going to examine here,
Depending on the brand, model and configuration, you’ll find that there is more than one method for properly lighting a gas grill whether it’s of a simple design or one of the best available. Over the years, several different ignition innovations have been developed. They all result in flames—though there are some basic differences between the fuel sources—so it’s really just a question of which one you find most convenient. And since the experts at Appliances Connection know their way around gas grills, we’ve set up a brief primer on the subject.
So, whichever technique or technology you use in your own grill, just read below to learn how they work and how to use them.
IMPORTANT NOTE: With gas grills, it is extremely important that you keep the lid or hood up when lighting the grill. This prevents any accidental gas build-up within the grill, which can result in an explosive event. Never allow any type of gas to flow into an enclosed space.
There are two types of spark ignition commonly found in gas grills:
Single Spark Ignition - This type of ignition system operates with a piezoelectric igniter. This is a self-contained unit that derives its spark from the principle of piezoelectricity, which, in short, is the electric charge that accumulates in some materials in response to high pressure. Typically, this ignition typically requires you to turn the gas burner on and press a button to set the spark. This does not always happen on the first try, and repeated attempts may be necessary (think of flicking a lighter repeatedly until is fires up).
Continuous Spark Ignition – Unlike the single spark method, this ignition system requires an outside battery or electrical source to operate. When activated, the ignition component sets off a series of series of sparks instead of a single one. Similarly, you just have to turn on the flow of gas and press the igniter button until the fuel catches fire. Some of the more innovative brands such as Hestan and Lynx have made this even easier by integrating both gas and spark into a single knob control.
HOT SURFACE IGNITION
Hot Surface Ignition operates on a single knob control and is one of the best methods for getting the burners lit on the first attempt. This is because instead of a spark, this type of grill lighter is a simple silicon carbide heating element that is quickly elevated to a red-hot steady glow to ignite the flowing gas. This type of ignition requires an electrical source or battery to provide the necessary energy, and can be found is many high-end gas grill models from brands like Viking,
FLAME THROWER IGNITION
Flame Thrower Ignitions are quite aptly named, as that is precisely what they do to ignite a gas grill. With a simple turn of a knob, a piezoelectric spark element and a concentrated stream of gas are integrated to spread flames throughout the burners. And with the piezo element, no outside electrical source is needed, as you can find in our premium line of gas grills from the outdoor lifestyle specialists at XO. This type of ignition is also one of the most reliable for getting things cooking at the quick.
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED
As a last-shot option if your gas grill ignition system is failing or on the fritz, you may want to get a grill that comes armed with flash tubes, which are simply openings you can use to ignite the burners with a match or long-nose lighter. If all else fails, you can get hands-on and light the burners directly with the gas flow at a minimum amount to enable combustion. However, if your gas grill is malfunctioning in the ignition area, don’t put off getting it looked at and repaired. You paid for an ignition system and should be able to use it without worry.
WHILE YOU’RE HERE…
Since we’re on the subject of gas grills, why not take a look at a couple of premium gas grills that you can depend on to light right up with their different ignition systems…
PRICE: $2,869.00 *
This Sedona Series 36” Built-In Natural Gas Grill from Lynx carries two 23,000 BTU stainless-steel burners under 891 square inches of stainless-steel grating cooking surface, backed by a ProSear Infrared Burner that delivers pro performance with variable power from 300 to 1,000 degrees and a layer of ceramic radiant briquettes providing even heating throughout. The body is constructed from seamless, shimmering steel with no gaps or lines where moisture could collect, including the spring-assisted hood that makes for effortless opening. And it all starts with the push of a knob and the Lynx Spark Ignition System that lights first and fast.
- Integrated Illumination – cool, blue-lit knobs and dual-halogen lid lighting let you keep cooking after dark
- Ceramic Radiant Briquettes – distributes heat evenly below the grill
- Expansive Grilling Surface – this grill has a greater depth to provide 891 sq. inches of cooking surface
- Blue LED Knob Illumination – elegant, functional blue LED control knob illumination takes the guesswork out of grilling in the dark
- Halogen Lights – keep the grilling surface fully illuminated when the sun goes down
- Fluid Rotation Handle – rotates with your hand for truly effortless lid opening
PRICE: $1,349.00 *
Napoleon’s Prestige Series 67” Freestanding Natural Gas Grill has 900 sq. in. of iconic stainless-steel wave-shaped grates that provide even heat transfer with a set of staggered, dual-level sear plates that distribute heat while keeping food from falling into the grill. Underneath, six individually controlled standard burners give off up to 80,000 BTU including a fast and fiery infrared Sizzle Zone burner that car reach up to 1800 degrees in just 30 seconds—perfect for roasting on the included rotisserie. And getting the grill going is easy with a trademarked Instant Jetfire ignition system that shoots a jet of flame to light each gas burner individually.
- Folding Side Shelves – minimizes space, letting you tuck your grill out of the way
- Accu-Probe – temperature gauge safely and instantly reads food internal temperature
- Roll Top Lid – Lift Ease Centre-Gravity lid lifts smoothly without extending past the back of the grill.
- Illuminated Knobs – Night Light knobs with SafetyGlow let you know which burners are lit for multi-zone grilling
- Easy Roll Casters – locking casters make moving and storing the grill fast and easy
*Prices may fluctuate due to discounts, promotions, or sales events. Click "VIEW LATEST PRICE" to see the up-to-date price of the item.
We do hope we’ve been helpful in explaining the basic ins and outs of the most common gas grill ignition methods and systems. But what do you think? Have you had experience with one or more of the ignition systems we’ve covered? What did you like about them? Or what do you think they are lacking? We’d like to hear about it. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
If you want to know more about purchasing an outdoor grill, explore our buyer’s guide here:
How long does a gas grill usually last?
A gas grill will usually last between 5 to 15 years depending on the initial quality of the item, frequency of use, replacement of parts, and upkeep.
Are gas grills illegal in NYC?
Gas grills are not illegal in NYC, but there are several rules and regulations that must be followed which can be found here.
Are natural gas grills safe?
Certainly, natural gas grills are safe—so long as the grill is installed and connected by a qualified expert, and you use the grill in a well-ventilated outside area.