When it comes to gas barbecuing on a grander scale, three burners are better than two – T3's best gas barbecue buying guide is testament to that. And in the pantheon of gas barbies, the Campingaz 3 Series Premium S and Char-Broil Professional Pro S3 are both stalwart models that are well worth considering for both price and functionality.
We’ve already reviewed both models individually, but how do they stack up against each other? Let’s find out.
Oh, and to see even more great barbecues be sure to scope out T3's guide to the best barbecues.
Campingaz 3 Series Premium S vs Char-Broil Professional Pro S3: design and function
From an aesthetics point of view, both of these barbecues are very well designed. The Campingaz’s hunkered-down lid and rounded edges give it a sporty appearance while the Char-Broil looks really stylish in all that angular polished stainless steel.
The Char-Broil uses much better materials in its construction though it does flex a bit so it requires being positioned on a level surface or the doors may not line up correctly. Admittedly that’s not a great start for a £700-plus barbecue but it’s it’s not a deal breaker in my opinion. The Campingaz doesn’t flex much at all but it sure feels tinny – as if it’s constructed from the cheapest metal the manufacturer could find. That said, you absolutely don’t notice this unless you rap a knuckle against the side or a door panel. And besides, the overall build quality is comparable with most models in its price band – as low as £429 at some online stores.
Both models are equipped with three gas burners and that in turn means they have grill grates big enough to accommodate six to ten guests, depending on the type of food being cooked.
The Campingaz’s cast-iron grate has 61cm x 46cm of grill estate that’s divided into two sections: on the left it has a large cast-iron grate with a removable centre to accommodate a range of Campingaz’s Culinary Modular cooking accessories and, on the right, a two-way flat/ribbed griddle plate for fish, prawns, halloumi, vegetables and bacon and egg fry-ups. It’s also equipped with a right-hand side burner for pot-based boiling and a large shelf on the left.
At 61.5cm x 44.5cm, the Char-Broil’s cast-iron grate is a teeny bit smaller and you don’t get a griddle with it. What you do get on the side is a really useful 29cm x 22cm single-burner sear station for high-temperature steak searing. If you like crispy steaks then this is a great addition to have.
On the grill grate front, the Campingaz 3 Series Premium S eschews the usual heat deflector panels you see on most gas BBQs in favour of a series of solid partitions built into the grill grate itself. This helps reduce flare-ups because the fats aren’t dripping onto any deflectors below. By contrast, the Char-Broil Professional Pro S3 uses the company’s TRU-Infrared technology. In short, a thin sheet of corrugated stainless steel with thousands of tiny holes punched into it is placed directly below the main grate. This sheet radiates ‘infrared’ heat from the burners below, ensuring even heat distribution and high meat-searing temperatures.
Campingaz 3 Series Premium S vs Char-Broil Professional Pro S3: performance
Having used both of these barbecues extensively, I can tell you that both models excel at grilling though the Char-Broil just clinches it when it comes down to food moisture content and overall succulence. But on the other hand, the Campingaz has that Spanish-style plancha (or griddle) on the side which has proved useful for grilling tricky ingredients like fish and sliced onions. It’s also whipped up at least one full breakfast – and that’s something that can’t be done on the Char-Broil or indeed most barbecues.
Campingaz 3 Series Premium S vs Char-Broil Professional Pro S3: keeping them clean
Uniquely, the Campingaz 3 Series Premium S is equipped with a cleaning system comprising a water-filled tray beneath the burners and a series of dishwasher-safe grill parts. Simply fill the tray with a measured amount of water and instead of the fats baking onto the tray, they simply float on the water which is then decanted into a plastic container for easy disposal.
The only downside to Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared system is that the corrugated sheet below requires regular cleaning – preferably after every grilling session. To clean it, simply put all three burners on full blast for about 15 minutes and all fats will be carbonised. When cool, grab the supplied tool, scrape away all the dust and suck it all up using a cordless vac.
Campingaz 3 Series Premium S vs Char-Broil Professional Pro S3: verdict
Price has to be a consideration when choosing a gas barbecue. While I would be happy to own either of these barbecues, when it comes to the crunch I’d opt for the Campingaz 3 Series Premium S. It’s quite a bit cheaper than the Char-Broil Professional Pro S3 and it’s more readily available online. But the real clincher is the split grill system which allows you to grill (and even fry) a wider variety of ingredients.
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