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Gas Grills - need help deciding!
Old 06-12-2010, 08:57 AM   #1
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Gas Grills - need help deciding!

Our not-so-beloved old gas grill has died and we need to replace it. It is not worth repairing (again). We went to Lowe's. A grill can cost anywhere from $150 on up (and up, and up).

What I would like to know is what features are worth paying for? I looked on Consumer Reports and then read reviews - some of the grills they recommended had terrible reviews by people who actually had used them.

So I am writing in hopes that someone can tell me if 4 burners are better than 3, if infrared is worth the money, if we buy a non-cheap grill will it actually last longer... and so on. We'd like to stay under $300 but if I was sure it would last a long time, I might pay more. I need a medium sized grill.

Should I just buy a cheap grill and figure it's a throw-away after 3 years... maybe. The thing is, I really like to cook so I'd like one that is good and lasts but doesn't cost $700.

So - help? Any advice is welcome.
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:36 AM   #2
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We have a relatively cheap gas grill ($150) at home in Arizona and it is in excellent shape after 6 years of fairly heavy use. That is partly because the low humidity does not support rust and party because we religiously keep it covered when not in use.

We had to replace a 4 year old grill at our vacation rental condo in Hawaii last year because it was getting badly rusted. The body was not in bad shape but the burners and tubes were falling apart, undoubtedly because of the salt air and humidity. We bought a $450 that is probably what you'd get for $300 in the civilized world. It's mostly stainless, 3 burner + side burner, high BTU model and is very nice. (We rent the condo so try to have nice stuff for guests.) And after 1 year the stainless steel is getting some surface rust!

The only thing I would say is that the nice grill is somewhat of a problem because the propane does not last very long. The reality is that you rarely need the full heat it can produce. So most of the time you are just burning and wasting gas. You can turn down the burners of course but it still uses a lot of gas. I suppose it is nice to have the extra heat when you need it but it's also a nuisance to replace the gas so often. If I had to do it again I would go for a model with lower BTU output and possibly only 2 burners. In my opinion it is a case where the manufacturers have started getting feature crazy and have added a lot of stuff that is not really needed just so they can brag about it.

If you live in a humid or wet climate I would definitely spend extra for stainless steel or components though and get a good cover!
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:41 AM   #3
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I recommend a Weber Q grill:



Unless you have really large gatherings, you'll find that it is plenty big. The advantage is that after every use, you can put it away in a shed or in your garage. Because it's smaller, it's quicker to clean. I'm guessing that it uses less propane also.

You'd want to buy the adapter hose so that you can attach it to a standard propane tank.
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:53 AM   #4
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We got a Lowe's special with 4 burners and a side burner... it is infrared..

First... we never use the side burner.... we cook that kind of stuff inside... you may be different.

The problem.... since you have a LOT of cooking top... you have a LOT to clean... (my wife will not let anything stay dirty for even a short time.. so she cleans up all the time)... it cooks great, but I really don't know if it is any better at cooking than one of the ones with the old black grill surface...

I have never used all 4 burners... I have used 3 once... but could have gotten by with 2...

We also bought the one that was very deep discount... and we keep it covered all the time. The cover is fading badly now, but the grill still looks like new after 2 years...
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
I recommend a Weber Q grill:



Unless you have really large gatherings, you'll find that it is plenty big. The advantage is that after every use, you can put it away in a shed or in your garage. Because it's smaller, it's quicker to clean. I'm guessing that it uses less propane also.

You'd want to buy the adapter hose so that you can attach it to a standard propane tank.
That looks like a great grill for camping or RVing too.

I agree with the advice on stainless steel components and to protect the grill from exposure to weather. We have a mid-range Weber that we always keep in the garage or under the patio roof. No problems after 6 years. And that poor thing seldom gets a chance to cool off in the summer season.
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:57 AM   #6
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I recommend a Weber Q grill:
Unless you have really large gatherings, you'll find that it is plenty big. The advantage is that after every use, you can put it away in a shed or in your garage. Because it's smaller, it's quicker to clean. I'm guessing that it uses less propane also.
I looked at that one, but it is too small for me. It's smaller than what I have (a little). I often do have a lot of people over, or cook a lot at once to have leftovers and maximize use of the propane.

I'm not into cleaning grills - other than than a good scrape to get the food off the grill itself. We haven't gotten sick yet .

We need a regular one - not one that goes on a table. I use it a lot so it's out on the patio, uncovered, pretty much all the time. Rust is an issue - the burners rusted out and my SO replaced them once - now they are rusted again. We currently have 2 burners plus a never-used-in-10-years side burner.

Please keep up the comments - this is very helpful. Does anyone have a specific brand/style of grill they actually like (other than the Weber Q)?
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:03 AM   #7
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Our grill gets constant use and so far it is holding up much better than other grills we've had . It's from Lowe's . The brand is BBQ grillware and it was reasonably priced . I live on salt water so my grills tend to rust and not last but this one is holding up the best . It also has a side burner which we never use .
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:48 AM   #8
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I've had Weber and CharBroil. Stainless steel is a ginormous PITA to keep clean.
Weber is more solidly built but CharBroil isn't bad. Weber burners run front to back, so it isn't so easy to have one part of the grill very hot and another not.
CharBroil burners run side to side, it is easier to have different surface temps across the grill.
I have a side b urner and use it frequently. 1) when non-meat eaters prefer their food prepared separately, 2) frying when we don't want to do anything in the kitchen, 3) when some food prep needs a different temperature.
The three burner CharBroil was fine with us.
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:54 AM   #9
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Buy a Weber E-210 or 310. They are $399 and $499. Home depot and amazon have them with free shipping.

Excellent warranty, replacement parts are available, flavorizer bars work very well, igniter is all assembled.

Read the reviews on Amazon. I bought my first Weber in 1999 and it's still running fine. I've replaced the grills and flavorizer bars once. The whole chassis is as good as the day i bought it. It sits out on the deck all year because we use it in the winter. I did buy the weber cover which is still fine after all these years.

I recently picked up the charcoal weber for $69 with the weber chimney for $15 which fires up the charcoal with no effort. Charcoal does have more flavor than gas though.

Now I'm hungry.
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Old 06-12-2010, 02:07 PM   #10
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My biggest concern with a grill is where the handle is placed with respect to the lid hinge. I like handles placed to the side of the hinge line so that my whole arm is not in the burst of smoke and flame that shoots out when one lifts the lid.

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Old 06-12-2010, 08:37 PM   #11
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I've switched from gas to charcoal. I like the weber grills because once you are done cooking, you can close off the air intake and put the charcoal out, this lets me reuse the charcoal for the next time... Also, almost all my charcoal I've picked up a yard sales from the people who switched to gas grills for the convenience...

We do have a gas grill at the vacation rental, and I will definitely replace it when its time with a good used gas grill from a yard sale or estate sale. Unless you have can keep your gas grill out of the weather, you pretty much cannot prevent it from rusting/wearing out in a few years. Only if we were going to invest in an outdoor kitchen would I put a high quality gas grill into it.
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:54 PM   #12
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I have a Weber Q grill in the motorhome. It's lovely for its size, but limited to direct grilling only - no indirect - which does kind of cut in half what if you can do.

I'm going to get a Weber Genesis E-320 for the house. Read the reviews on that. Customers love it and Consumer Reports gives it very high ratings. It's $$$, but I'm very serious about my culinary adventures, so for me it's an important investment.

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Old 06-13-2010, 04:44 AM   #13
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Get one with either a cast iron grate, or a stainless grate. I prefer cast iron myself. Don't get the ceramic coated cast iron or steel grates, because the ceramic tends to come off over time, and can end up making your steak or burger crunchy.

I think the stainless burners and flavorizor bars tend to last a little longer.

If you get cast iron, make sure to season the grates with some sacrificial bacon or something. When you clean it, if you use soap and water, make sure to wipe a little oil on it so keep it seasoned.

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Old 06-13-2010, 07:39 AM   #14
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Based on Consumer Reports ratings, I bought a Vermont Castings stainless steel gas grill at Home Depot a few years ago, and I have to say it has been excellent. Gets used once or twice a week, nearly all year round.

For whatever reason, they're not included in current CR ratings, and HD doesn't carry them any more, but I'm a very satisfied owner.
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:37 AM   #15
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Weber's customer support has been excellent every time I've called, and they mail a nice annual magazine for free with recipes and stories about how great Weber is.
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:03 AM   #16
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I really appreciate all the advice - please keep it coming (we are still looking and thinking about what to buy) - and many thanks. I love this group. You are so helpful.
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:05 AM   #17
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I have a Weber Q grill in the motorhome. It's lovely for its size, but limited to direct grilling only - no indirect - which does kind of cut in half what if you can do.

I'm going to get a Weber Genesis E-320 for the house. Read the reviews on that. Customers love it and Consumer Reports gives it very high ratings. It's $$$, but I'm very serious about my culinary adventures, so for me it's an important investment.

Audrey
Ouch, I priced it - and I WANT it. Unfortunately while I got very good appliances for the kitchen (I love to cook, too) I haven't been able to justify mega bucks for the grill. Tempting though. Just as I retire, spend big money on a grill...
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:16 AM   #18
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Ouch, I priced it - and I WANT it. Unfortunately while I got very good appliances for the kitchen (I love to cook, too) I haven't been able to justify mega bucks for the grill. Tempting though. Just as I retire, spend big money on a grill...
To me it's a matter of priorities. We have a nice big courtyard in the new house, and I'm already spending more on my outdoor kitchen counter with sink. Having a truly great outdoor gas grill is really important to me.

But I have been quite happy with my Weber Baby Q. It's just small, and I can't do indirect or low temp grilling which is a little limiting.

Audrey
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:21 AM   #19
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Weber's customer support has been excellent every time I've called, and they mail a nice annual magazine for free with recipes and stories about how great Weber is.
They also publish absolutely fantastic grilling cookbooks — and I am a cookbook connoisseur!

Audrey
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:27 AM   #20
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Buy a Weber E-210 or 310. They are $399 and $499. Home depot and amazon have them with free shipping.

Excellent warranty, replacement parts are available, flavorizer bars work very well, igniter is all assembled.

Read the reviews on Amazon. I bought my first Weber in 1999 and it's still running fine. I've replaced the grills and flavorizer bars once. The whole chassis is as good as the day i bought it. It sits out on the deck all year because we use it in the winter. I did buy the weber cover which is still fine after all these years.
Do you use the cover regularly? I'm actually thinking about not bothering — it can get pretty windy around here. Seems like the enamel finish would stand up well. Maybe the stainless steel parts would start to look nasty....

Audrey
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