Gas Grill Buying Guide
What to look for in selecting a stainless steel gas grill, these days...
WHERE’D IT COME FROM?
Check the history of the manufacturer. How long have they been in business? This is important because most stainless steel grill purchases today are an “investment”. That is to say, they’re not cheap. Some day you will most likely need parts. If a manufacturer has been around for at least 10 years, you can feel more confident as to them being there in the future.
IS THIS THE BEST VALUE?
The internet can certainly be your friend in regards to providing information. Take your time, compare features/benefits and price of several manufacturers products. Look for the one that solves your wants/needs/desires and yet fits within your BUDGET. Many stainless steel grills out there look alike but when you drill-down and compare the retail price versus the features, it becomes apparent which ones are the best choices, those that offer the most features versus price=value.
WHO'S GOT YOUR BACK?
What is the warranty that the grill manufacturer puts on their products? Remember-the manufacturer wants to avoid future liability and costs so they will usually only warrant a product that they feel is the life-span or service life of that product.
Read the fine print of the warranty. What are the exclusions, registration requirements, etc? As they say “The big print gives it to you and the small print takes it away”. Further-who do you contact regarding any warranty issues, the dealer or do you go directly to the manufacturer?
JUST WHAT ARE BTU’S?
That means British Thermal Units and this is how heat output is measured. Some manufacturers sell those like they are horsepower or cooking power in this case. While it sounds impressive to have a grill that has more BTU’s basically all that refers to is the size of the hole in an orifice, not like they had to go to great trouble to get there. Further, if a grill has TOO many BTU’s proportionate to its size, it can sometimes “cook itself to death” and shorten its lifespan not to mention, be more difficult to control and cook on.
DID YOU SAY STAINLESS STEEL?
Yes, probably 90% of all outdoor gas grills today are made of some grade of stainless steel. The highest grade of stainless found in the grill industry today is 304. This refers to the amount of nickel found in the stainless. Nickels don’t rust. 304 is the best you can get. BUT-304 costs quite a bit more and is not required in the entire grill as some parts face more wear and tear than others, like the cooking grids and inner housing. SO-sometimes an “All 304 stainless grill” may not be the best value. Rather-a blend of 304 in the critical areas and lesser grades that don’t rust in other areas, like lesser-priced yet still quality 201 grade which is chromium based (chrome does not rust, either) and yet still includes nickel.
SIZE DOES MATTER
One of the questions you should ask yourself when choosing the correct size grill is, how many do you normally cook for? And/or do you entertain a lot? For the typical four person family a 30” grill will suffice just fine and today is the most common size. The 32”-36” size comes in second in popularity. BUT, BUT, BUT-be careful how they measure a grill! SOME manufacturers measure the entire grill body including the outside flanges. The TRUE way is to measure the interior cooking surface, side to side.
DO THEY OFFER A COMPLETE LINE?
If you are building your grill into an outdoor kitchen (and who isn’t these days) you’ll want to make sure that the grill manufacturer also offers a complete line of doors, drawers, refrigerators, ice makers, wine coolers, even a selection of sinks. Having these additional items that match and even complement each other is crucial to having a space to entertain others and be proud of.
As we all do, we want the most value we can get for our money. Find a manufacturer that has been around a while, has good-looking & high quality products with the features you desire then make the investment and get ready for some good times around the ‘ol grill!