Grill Buying Guide

Grill Buying Guide

Buying a grill is a big deal. And just like any major purchase, the more you know, the better off you’ll be. That’s why I’m writing to help give you some background and helpful tips for when you hit the stores and sales.

Stepping into a hardware store, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sea of stainless steel grills. Many of them appear to have endless entertaining features and appealing gadgets. But don’t be fooled. Not all grills are created equal. While some grills may have more features, they may not be as good of quality. Therefore, your purchasing decision should not be taken lightly.

 To make sure you’re getting the most value for your dollar, you should figure out exactly what you want and have a good picture in your head before you walk into the store. That means research, research, and more research. You’ll first want to decide what type of grill you want to purchase: gas or charcoal. This is really a matter of preference. Personally, I like to cook on both types of grills. I use my charcoal grill when I desire a slower-paced experience and rich, smoky flavor. On the other hand, when I want to get in, get out and get grilling, gas grills are always my number one choice.

 Next you’ll want to figure out your price range. It’s important to remember that buying a grill can be quite an investment—gas grills can range anywhere from $300 to $3,000 and charcoal grills can be pricey as well—so make sure you decide what features are most important to you and how much you’re willing to spend. One factor that’s constantly overlooked is grill performance, so steer clear of models that boast lots of features, but don’t have the quality to pull them off.

 Once you’ve figured out type and price, it’s time to assess the key components of every grill:

  • Cooking System: The core of any good grill is the cooking system. A well made charcoal grill will contain a sturdy, heavy-duty, plated steel cooking grate and a charcoal grate to place the fuel on. A lid with air vents should top things off. For a free-standing, non-portable, gas grill, you should look for models that have two or more separate burners (not just control knobs), which allow greater heat control.  Smaller, portable and electric models may have fewer burners but should still have solutions for heat control and emit even, consistent heat. All grills should also have an efficient grease or ash collection system to keep the heat source clear of any clogs and any run-off juices from making a mess of your gorgeous grill. The best systems quickly flash the drippings, eliminating flare-ups and creating flavorful smoke.
  • Construction: A quick way to test construction is with a simple shake. A good quality grill will feel solid and sturdy when you shake it. A poorly made grill will wiggle unevenly and may sound loose or flimsy. If a grill isn’t solid on the sales floor, chances are it will fall apart rather quickly on your patio or deck.
  • Assembly: Easy assembly is a priority. Some grills require hours upon hours to assemble. Better brands reduce or eliminate the amount of assembly required by the consumer.
  • Service and Warranties: Top-notch customer service should come with any quality-made grill. This should including thorough, easy-to-read information about the product, and a toll-free service line for any questions after you get the grill home.

 Remember, your food’s only going to be as good as your grill, so make sure a one-time bargain doesn’t turn into a long-term disappointment. Investing in a Weber grill is a sure-fire way to keep your focus on dinner instead of buyer’s remorse.

What are your thoughts? (6)

08.30.12

Don N

A quick question? Is there a 6 burner stainless steel without a side burner?

08.30.12

Kevin Kolman

Hi MrDonNovak,

All of our 6 burner gas grills come with a side burner except our Summit S-660 gas grill, which is a built-in model. Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy Grilling!

-Kevin

06.29.12

Sylvan W

Finally purchased a Weber grill (Performer) about eleven days ago, and have managed to grill six of those days (including three in the rain from Tropical Storm Debby)! Looking forward to improving that average over the coming days.

01.05.12

Rick M

The internet is a wonderful tool....read the reviews before you buy. Yes, they all look pretty in the store, but can they perform. Myself, it was the availability of replacement parts....most grills, when a part wears out, the entire unit ends up at the driveway for the garbage man. Customer service, most off brands, there isn't one. When

07.24.11

daniel k

I have the weber performer grill and would like to do some rotisserie grilling on it but the website says that the attachment does not fit my grill. I am wondering why not? I thought all the kettle grills were the same?

07.24.11

Kevin Kolman

Hi GrillMe:
Actually not all kettle grills are the same. The Weber Performer and One Touch Platinum have a lid holder which is the reason we do not recommend using the rotisserie on these grills since it interferes with the rotisserie attachment. At this time the charcoal rotisserie can be used with the 22.5 inch One-Touch Silver grill or 22.5 inch One-Touch Gold grill only. Happy Grilling!! -Kevin

07.06.11

Zach T

I'm 31 years old and am just buying my first grill, I guess i am finally getting my man card. I love using friends and relatives grills but I finally got myself one to go along with the house we just bought. I was deciding between the one touch 18.5 or 22.5, a guy i know told me that I HAD to go with the 22.5 because of all the other things I could do later on with it. He said he uses his as a smoker sometimes. I am not looking to do all that just yet, but is that as simple as he is saying it is? and what exactly would i need to do that? Also, besides preheating the grill, what is one of the biggest things I need to always remember as I begin my journey to master griller?

07.06.11

Kevin Kolman

Hi Tnzach30:

Sounds like after 31 years you have finally gotten your grilling card! Let me be the first to say welcome to the Weber family. I would have to agree with the advice you were given. Although the 18.5 does a great job the 22.5 will give you more room which will come in handy on your journey to becoming a master griller. It is really as simple has he says. Weber does an extensive amount of testing to ensure the performance of your grill to be second to none. As long as you follow the grilling instructions you will become a master griller in no time.

One concept you need to know is that the temperature of a charcoal grill depends on the amount of oxygen inside the grill. The more oxygen the higher the temperatures. The damper system on the lid and bowl control the oxygen levels in the grill giving you complete heat control over the grill. This is how you can grill almost anything you can think to perfection because you control the temperature of the grill. If you wanted to use the grill to smoke meats you can do this by using less charcoal at the start and by adjusting the dampers to restrict the amount of oxygen inside the grill. Keep in mind if you plan on grilling anything over 1 hour you will need to add charcoal throughout the process to help maintain the temperature of the grill.

It is great to hear that you understand the importance of pre heating the grill. This step is so critical to grilling foods to perfection. One of the biggest tips I can give you is trust the grill. Weber has done all the upfront work to make the grilling process as simple as possible. Weber includes in a grilling guide show much charcoal is needed to grill a specific piece of food, along with grilling times and if you need to add charcoal throughout the process. Trust is a major factor in grilling because many people like to take the lid off the grill and peek. This can cause temperatures to be lowered in the grill, lead to possible flare ups and will cause your food to be on the grill longer which could affect the overall results. Also, do yourself a favor and get a good timer. This will help keep you on schedule when grilling and on the road to becoming a master griller. Happy Grilling!! - Kevin

05.30.11

Rick H

I have an older Master Touch 22.5" which I love. Prior to that I had my first Weber an 18.5 One Touch Silver. Between the two I have been grilling reularly for 27 years. I was in our local hard ware store the other day which carries Weber products and saw a nice display of One Touch Platinum and also i saw the performer on the Weber website. Are the carts sold separately so I can just take the legs off my kettle out and put it on the cart?
Thanks,
Rick

05.30.11

Kevin Kolman

Hi Trent: Do you have cast iron grates or porcelain-enameled cast iron grates?

For cast-iron grates some special care is required to maintain the wonderful searing/grilling performance of your cast iron grates, as well as their longevity. As with any cast iron cooking tool, proper seasoning is most important. Once the grates are seasoned you can maintain them by doing a burn-off just before you grill. Brush off charred residues with a steel brush rather than a brass brush. Don't do a burn-off after you grill, but rather leave the cooking residues on the grates/griddle to keep a protective coating on the cast iron. If you store your grates/griddle for extended periods of time, grease very lightly with vegetable shortening, then wipe dry with a paper towel. Store the grates in a dry place.

For porcelain-enameled cast iron grates seasoning is not required as the porcelain-enameled coating protects the grates. For maintenance simply burn off any food residue left on your grill by turning all your burners to high for 15 minutes before and after grilling. Also brush them clean with a good grill brush--removing any food particles that may be left on the grates. Happy Grilling!

-Kevin