This isn’t the most robust BBQ I’ve used, but it cooks well and the four burners offer plenty of flexible grill space. It’s worth considering if you’re looking to feed a crowd this summer and need a gas BBQ that won’t break the bank.
Inexpensive for its size
Sturdy grill plates
Intuitive to use
All grill parts removable for cleaning
Tricky to assemble
Some parts feel flimsy
Gas bottle can’t sit on shelf
Why you can trust Ideal Home
Summer is just around the corner and if you want one of the best BBQs to cook up a feast in your garden, but want to avoid sending smoke billowing across all your neighbours gardens, you’ll need one of the best gas barbecues. And while gas barbecues don’t produce those intense smokey flavours that you get from charcoal, they make up for it by heating up fast, giving you more control, and producing consistent and predictable results.
A family size gas barbecue can set you back several hundred pounds, a figure that's only rising in the cost-of-living crisis, but this 4+1 burner Vonhaus gas barbecue is under £250, making it more wallet-friendly than some of the bigger brands. It offers four main burners under the grill plates, as well as a side burner which is essentially a built-in gas hob ring.
I was excited to try out this barbecue as I’ve never used a barbecue with a side burner and I wanted to see what all the fuss is about. And given that Vonhaus is not one of the big BBQ brands, I was keen to test it out and see whether it’s up to the job of cooking delicious meals for al-fresco dining.
Vonhaus 4+1 Burner Gas BBQ specifications
- Fuel type: gas
- Burners: four 2.8kW burners and one 3.2kW side burner
- Materials: non stick porcelain coated grill
- Dimensions: 101 x 48 x 125cm
- Cooking area dimensions: 62 x 35cm plus a 57 x 14cm warming rack above
- Weight: 21kg
Who tested this BBQ?
After completing a Home Economics degree, Helen went on to work for the Good Housekeeping Institute and has been reviewing home appliances ever since. She lives in a small village in Buckinghamshire in the UK, where she reviews all sorts of home and garden appliances using her wealth of experience.
Helen tried out this BBQ in May and was lucky to get some sunny weather so she didn’t have to dodge any rain showers. She used it at home to cook for herself and her husband as well as friends. She was sent the BBQ for review and allowed to keep it afterwards.
Unboxing, setting up and first impressions
This barbecue arrived in a huge box weighing almost 25kg, so it needs two people to lift it from where the courier leaves it, to wherever you plan to assemble it. The box could be sturdier - a couple of the barbecue parts arrived with small dents or bends - nothing that affected assembly and use though.
However, assembling it was a mission, the whole process from the initial unboxing to the finished assembled barbecue took me two hours. I did it by myself and it would be easier with two people, though I’m not sure it’d be much faster. You’ll need to supply your own screwdriver and a wrench as well. Some aspects such as fixing the gas pipe into place, were particularly tough and needed some muscle. Whereas you’ll need a more delicate touch for some of the other parts or you risk bending them.
The main cooking area is solid, but I found some of the other components for the frame beneath to be flimsier than I would have hoped for. That said, once it was all assembled it gained some strength. Plus, for a gas barbecue of this size, it’s a bit of a bargain, so you do have to set your expectations accordingly.
Once it was set up, I wheeled it into position, but you won’t want to move it around too often since there’s no handle to pull it with, I had to grip onto the side shelf instead. Once in position, it looked pretty impressive.
The side burner is to the left of the main grilling area and is covered by a flip-up lid, so when not in use it acts as a second side table. But if you’re cooking on it you’ll have to make do with just the side table on the right, which is sturdy and roomy enough for a dish full of food or for your marinades and utensils. I think it would benefit from a hook or two though, to hang tongs and other BBQ tools.
Underneath the barbecue there are two cupboard doors, it’s not an enclosed cupboard, in fact both sides as well as the back are open. So there’s a limit to what you can leave in there, furthermore, the shelf isn’t strong enough to hold a gas bottle, so that has to go on the ground next to the barbecue.
The lid has a decent size handle and is light to lift. It has a built-in thermometer, but the larger circle of numbers are the Fahrenheit figures which is a bit annoying for most of us, because for Celsius you have to look at the smaller numbers. Plus they’re marked at weird intervals like 206C and 262C.
The three heavy non-stick grill plates look good quality and they’re easily removable for cleaning. Only one of the four burner controls has an automatic ignition. So you have to light this one first, then as you switch on the rest, they naturally light from the first. In general, it’s all pretty straightforward to get to grips with.
What’s it like to use
After the long set up process, I breathed a sigh of relief when I switched it on and it all worked as expected. It’s a big family-size barbecue so I tried it out when we had friends over. I switched it on and allowed the grill plates to heat up for a few minutes, then I loaded it up with six burgers, eight sausages, and two blocks of halloumi sliced up. There was more than enough space, in fact, I could easily have cooked more.
At the same time, I used the side burner to fry onions for the burgers, which was actually really convenient because I didn’t have to keep running between the kitchen and the barbecue. And they softened nicely while everything else cooked.
Some of the fat from the burgers caught fire as it dripped down, which gave them a nice flame-grilled flavour. And everything cooked with defined bar marks. Having four burners meant I had plenty of control and could cook the sausages easily without burning them, whilst also cooking the halloumi and burgers fast.
I made use of the warming rack to keep the burgers warm while I finished cooking the sausages and halloumi. Then, once everything was ready, I turned off all the burners and closed the lid to keep the heat in while I popped to the kitchen to grab the plates and salads. I was impressed with the results and having such a spacious barbecue made the job far less stressful than juggling all this food on a smaller barbecue.
For my next feast I splashed out on a big, thick, sharing-size ribeye steak that I grilled alongside tenderstem broccoli and asparagus. On the side burner I gently warmed a pan of peppercorn sauce. I had two burners on high to cook the steak, but for the greens I started on high and then reduced the heat when they were nicely charred.
Everything cooked in about 10 minutes and the steak was seared and charred on the outside but still pink and succulent inside. When it was time to plate up, it was super easy since I had the pan of peppercorn sauce warming on the side burner. All-in-all this meal was effortless to cook, but super impressive on the plate and very tasty.
Now, I’ve been reviewing a lot of barbecues recently and I’m getting a bit bored of barbecue food, so I decided to get a bit inventive with my next meal. Don’t judge me - I thought it would be a good idea to make a fry up, or a grill up if you prefer.
I skewered mushrooms and brushed them with garlic butter as they cooked, added tomato halves, and sausages. On the side burner I heated a pan of baked beans and when that was hot I popped a lid on it and swapped it for a frying pan to fry eggs. At this point I added the bacon and some buttered bread, which toasted up a treat.
I was surprised at how successful my BBQ fry up experiment was. The side burner worked well for the beans and fried eggs and everything else cooked as I’d hoped. I knew the sausages and bacon would be fine, but the tomatoes softened nicely and charred on the outside and the garlic mushrooms worked well too. It pays to experiment!
Cleaning and storage
I scoured the instruction manual for the go-ahead to clean the grill plates in the dishwasher, but sadly the advice with how to clean this BBQ is to wash by hand. The grill area splits into three sections so the plates are simple to remove and they all fit in my kitchen sink. I left them soaking to reduce the amount of scrubbing needed, because they get quite caked in burnt on food.
There’s a huge full-width stainless steel drip tray under the burners, it pulls out from the back of the barbecue. It’s long and a bit unwieldy but I found cleaning it wasn’t too much of a drama. I scraped off as much solidified fat as possible before washing the rest of the residues off in my sink. The exterior of the barbecue just needs a wipe with a damp cloth.
For storage Vonhaus sells a universal waterproof BBQ cover for £45, which is probably going to be money well spent if you plan to leave it outside year round. Otherwise I’d say it’s advisable to store it in a garage or shed over winter.
If on reflection you don’t think you’ll use the side burner, it’s worth taking a look at the Weber Spirit II E-310 gas barbecue. This three burner BBQ is smaller and it’s pricier too. But it offers fantastic build quality from a big name BBQ brand. Plus, the two side arms can be lowered so it’s a more compact option, if space is at a premium.
Another option to consider is a hybrid gas and charcoal BBQ like the Outback Meteor 4-Burner Hybrid Gas & Charcoal BB. This is the one to choose if you can’t decide between gas and charcoal. It offers the best of both worlds. Like the Vonhaus it comes with four gas burners and a side burner, or you can convert it so that half of the grill space turns into a charcoal BBQ. And surprisingly it’s only slightly more expensive.
Should you buy the Vonhaus 4+1 Burner Gas BBQ?
My main gripe with this BBQ is that some of the parts are less robust than I would like. But, once it was assembled and in position, this didn’t have any bearing on the quality of food I was able to cook on it. It’s a great choice if you often feed a crowd of people, or if you're putting together an outdoor kitchen. The roomy grill means you’ll have all the space you need to cram on the required number of burgers and sausages to feed several hungry mouths. What’s more, the side burner is certainly a useful addition that saves you running between the kitchen and BBQ quite so much.
I’m usually a charcoal BBQ fan, but there’s a lot to be said for the ease of a gas BBQ as well as the control when it comes to gas vs charcoal BBQs. It’s great to be able to create hot and cold zones and move the food around as needed, especially when you’re cooking a lot of food in one go. And let’s not forget the price, this big BBQ is an affordable option which gets it a big thumbs up. But do note that the price doesn’t include the gas connection hose and regulator - this will set you back a further £20.
About this review, and the reviewer:
As part of our commitment to how we test products that we recommend at Ideal Home, Helen tested this BBQ at home with a variety of different foods to check its credentials.
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After completing a Home Economics degree, Helen went on to work for the Good Housekeeping Institute and has been reviewing home appliances ever since. She lives in a small village in Buckinghamshire in the UK.
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