The endless debate over the relative merits of charcoal and gas grills continues: which one is better? There are pros and cons to each, but people seem to have a strong loyalty to whichever type it is that they prefer. If you're in the market for a new grill and are trying to decide which one to get, here's some helpful information that can help you make the right choice.

A gas grill is definitely the faster choice - light it up and in just a few minutes, it's hot and ready to go. You can also more easily control the heat, which allows you to pace the cooking if needed. Many people also find a gas grill to be more versatile because you can buy models with all sorts of bells and whistles like convenient side burners for cooking vegetables or heating sauces.

It's also easier to clean a gas grill than a charcoal one since there are no ashes and embers to clean up. You can simply turn up the heat for a few minutes in order to burn off the residue on the grill, making it much easier to wipe clean.

When it comes to a charcoal grill or a wood burning fire pit, there's no question that the taste and aroma of food cooked over wood smoke is without compare. However, you will need more patience, because it takes a while to heat up. Lighting the charcoal and letting it burn down can take as long as 40 minutes. This is inconvenient for those times when you have a sudden craving for barbecue.

You'll need to watch your food carefully as it cooks, because there's no way to regulate the heat. Also, clean-up is more work, because you have to safely dispose of hot embers and ashes.

Finally, you should consider the purchase price and ongoing costs associated with each type of grill. Although your upfront costs on a gas unit might be higher, the propane needed to run it is generally cheaper than buying charcoal briquettes. However, there are more parts on a gas grill that can deteriorate, so a charcoal grill will likely last you a lot longer.

In the end, you will want to pick the one that fits both your lifestyle and your budget. Those who lead busy lives might prefer a gas grill because it requires less time to cook a meal. However, if you have some time on your hands, you can't beat the smoky flavor of food cooked over coals.