Buying a new gas or propane grill can be a little confusing with the range of prices and options available. It is a substantial investment if you are looking for longevity and a good cooking experience. Here are some tips when shopping for your next grill.
Grade of stainless steel, Type 304 stainless steel is the more expensive and a higher grade of stainless steel, made up of approximately 18% chromium and 8% nickel. It’s the chromium that gives stainless steel the corrosion resistant properties. Type 304 is non-magnetic, so take a magnet with you when shopping, if the magnet sticks the BBQ has used the lower grade of stainless steel.
Thickness of steel, Thicker steel will stand up to the heat over the long run, which means less cracks or warping, better heat retention in colder weather and a sturdier appliance. Many lids will be double skinned to contain the heat better for winter grilling.
Cooking grates & sear plates, look for some weight to the cooking grates not only for longevity but also to sear your food quickly locking in the juices. Stainless steel cooking grates are preferable as you don’t have to worry about the enamel finish chipping off. The sear plates cover the burner and protect it from grease and prevent flare-ups. The sear plates should provide full coverage of the burners to hold the heat and distribute it evenly.
Warranty, check out the warranty which is usually listed on the back page of the manual, don’t go by “limited life-time warranty” – you want to know exactly what’s covered. What is the dealer’s reputation? Will they get parts for you or do you have to order parts online?
Quality is long remembered after the price is forgotten, so weigh your options against your budget. It’s better to have a long lasting BBQ with fewer options than replace your burners or grill in a few years time.
Originally published in Cottage Country Connection, May 2016