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Buying A New Gas Grill? Check Out These Best Rated Gas Grills

Spring is here (a little late and slow going) and it’s time to really start thinking about grilling more and more. What’s that you say? You need to get a new gas grill? Your old one is busted/lost/stolen/too small/not cutting it? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to hook you up with all kinds of info on the best rated gas grills. More info than you can shake a stick it. But not so much that you get lost. We’re even going to throw in several recommendations at each price point if you keep on looking.

Three of Our Favorites: the Char-Griller 3001 Grillin’ Pro, the Weber Genesis E-310 and the Broil King Monarch 20

          

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Okay. First up. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here. If you’re looking for a general grill buying guide, then go check out The LTB Buying Guide Part 1 if you’ve already got a grill and are looking to upgrade. Never bought a grill? Then you’ll need The LTB Buying Guide Part 2. Once you get done there, come on back over here. Don’t want to sift through all that and want to get straight to the nitty gritty? Excellent. We like your style.

We are going to expand on this article a bit further down the road with some more choices but essentially if you’re looking to buy a gas grill you’ll need to figure out a few things first.

Portability – do you need to lug it around? Do you want the option? If you’re looking for something that is easy to move and maybe take to a friend’s house, tailgate party, a picnic in the park or whatever, then you’ll need to take a good hard look at portable gas grills. They have their drawbacks, size being the biggest one, but if you’re looking for something that can move around easily then a portable gas grill can’t be beat. Yes, we do love portable charcoal grills as well, but they are more difficult to clean up and carrying around the charcoal is messy and heavy.

Price – what can you afford? This is going to be the biggest determining factor over BTUs, size and other assorted features. Are you looking for something in the 300-500 dollar range? 500-800? 800-1000? Over 1000? Well, you’re going to have lots of choices. Let’s start taking a look at the options you’ve got.

Best Rated Gas Grills Under $300
Honestly, at this price range, you are probably better off going with charcoal. Yes, you can find gas grills under 300. You can even find gas grills under 200. But that doesn’t mean they are going to be great quality or last very long. As mentioned other places on this website, the LTB crew recommends going with major brands over store brands whenever possible. Why? Quality and replacement parts are the two biggest reasons. If you’re looking for a cheap gas grill, consider something by Brinkmann, Char-Broil and even Broil-Mate. These companies are likely going to be your best choices.

   Buy from Amazon2                Buy from Amazon2            Buy from Amazon2

If you want a more in-depth look at some nice options in the under $300 range, check out the post we did over here.

Still Want A Gas Grill Under $300?
We also highly recommend that if you’re on a budget and have your heart set on a gas grill, go with a portable gas grill instead. You can get a higher quality grill at a price more in your price range if you start looking at portables. Yes, they are smaller. Yes, you won’t be able to cook as much at one time. But you probably won’t be needing to replace it in a few years like many of the other gas grills in the budget range.

Best Rated Gas Grills Under $500
Once you start looking in the 300-500 dollar range, you can begin to get some decent grills. Most major manufacturers offer grills in this price range, albeit smaller and with fewer features when compared to their pricier cousins. Don’t get suckered into buying something with lots of features at this level either – the company likely skimped somewhere else when adding in all the fanciness. Go for brand name and quality build in this price range. A 5 – 10 year warranty is likely to be found on these grills as well with a few being made in North America, although many will be made in China. Of course, our name brand recommendation still stands here, perhaps more than the other price ranges. The grills we like in this range are from Char-Broil, Broil King, Dyna-Glo and Weber.

Buy from Amazon2                Buy from Amazon2             Buy from Amazon2             Buy from Amazon2

Best Rated Gas Grills Under $800
Bumping up from the 300-500 range into the 500-800 range is going to bring lots more options. Stainless steel is going to be more prevalent here but don’t rush out and buy all stainless. The quality of the steel can be lower than higher priced grills so be wary. More features are going to be found on these grills (side burners, rotisseries, infrared heating, etc.) but the most important feature is how well it cooks. If you’re at a store, open it up and take a look at the quality of manufacture. If it looks and feels cheap it probably is, regardless of the price. Broil-King is heavy in this range, as is Weber. And if you’re looking for a Napoleon grill, (ahhhh, Napoleon) then this price range is the lowest you can go to get one.

   

Buy from Amazon2                      Buy from Amazon2               Buy from Amazon2

Best Rated Gas Grills Under $1000
While there doesn’t seem to be much of a price difference between 700 and 800 dollars, there is a decent jump in features and quality in the grills in the two different price ranges. Better quality steel can be had, but we still recommend on how it cooks and satisfies your need for features than how shiny it is. Remember – all that shinyness can turn to rust if it’s not taken care of or if the steel is lower quality. Buy well in this price range and your grill will stay with you for many years, properly taken care of, of course. Weber, Broil-King and Napoleon – seeing a pattern?

              

 

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Best Rated Gas Grills Under $2000

Originally I had split this up into two sections (under $1500 and under $2000) but it was kind of a waste of space. There isn’t that much of a difference between these two price areas to justify separating them. Why? The major brands competing here are all going to be the same. If you find a grill you like for around $1300 then odds are good the same company will produce a highly similar grill with some extra niceties for about 500 bucks more. The reverse is also true – find a nice grill just under two grand and the same company is likely to have a very very similar grill closer to the one grand mark with a few things missing from the higher priced grill.

Why is this price range a good range to be buying a grill in? Well, in many ways, it is kinda the sweet spot for gas grills. You’re going to be getting a good quality grill that will last for quite some time. Major manufacturers are going to offer good service and replacement parts for these for years to come. You’ll be able to get some good features that you want that will actually work well as opposed to some of the less expensive grills. Just remember that you’re still getting what you pay for and although 1000 or 2000 bucks is a lot of money, in the grill world it’s still budget. Uber-wonder-grills (Amazon link) can run 10 times this price.

Like we said – spend a bit more and get a bit more fancy. Spend a bit less and get yourself a great grill but maybe without all the fancy that comes with putting up another 500 or 800 bucks. That being said, here’s some of the grills we like the looks of in this range. In this price range, we can only get behind two manufacturers – Weber and Napoleon.

       

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So, there you have it in a nutshell – our recommendations for best rated gas grills at a number of different price points. Make sure to fully realize what you’re buying; you can’t get a super high quality fancy grill for next to nothing. Understand that the price is going to be the biggest factor in the initial quality of the grill. After that, how well or poorly you take care of your new gas grill is going to have a big effect on how long it lasts you. Good luck!

 

What? That’s not enough info? More, you say? Give you some more? Well, we’re here to serve, so if you’re looking for more details about best rated gas grills at different price point, here you go:

Portable Gas Grills – Best Of Both Worlds

Best Rated Gas Grills Under $1000

Best Rated Gas Grills Under $800

Best Rated Gas Grills Under $500

Best Rated Gas Grills Under $300

Or, just swing back to our homepage and let us know what you think.

LTB

Best Way To Clean A Gas Barbecue Grill

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is going to be a pretty short article, but I didn’t want it lost in the middle of the other article on cleaning a charcoal barbecue grill.

If you’re looking to clean a gas grill, then you’ve got it easy over the charcoal crowd. Why? because you have the POWER! By that I mean once the cooking is all done, you can turn the gas up to high for a bit and burn off all the leftover stuff. After that, cleaning up is a breeze.

The steps go like this:

  1. Turn gas to high. If you have a “Clean” setting, use it.
  2. Let it run for 15 minutes.
  3. Turn off.
  4. Let grill cool a bit.
  5. Brush off any leftover residue with wire brush.

Not complex. We’re of course not going into all the different kinds of grills on the market. Or the different ceramic grills, lava rocks, burner covers, etc. Neither are we delving into the various steps you’ll need to go through deep cleaning a Napoleon or Weber or Brinkmann or… you get the idea. For those kinds of goodies, check your owner’s manual. If you don’t have one, it’s a good bet the company has them available for download. Check out our resources page for links to some of the major manufacturers.

Deep clean your gas grill once a year. We like to do it at the end of our grilling season, usually sometime in December. Other people stop grilling in September or October so that’s when they clean theirs. It’s really up to you. But if you’re grilling a fair amount, or even just a few times, it’s a good idea to give it a thorough once over every year.

Remember this, though – if you’ve got a newish or expensive or newishly expensive grill, or if you’re using a grill that you do not own, be sure to check what the manufacturer says is okay and not okay. Murphy pretty much guarantees about the time you say “Yeah, I’m sure this will be okay” is just the exact time it isn’t. Try an idea you heard from somebody else and mess up not only your grill but your warranty as well? Yup, done it myself. Heard the horror stories from friends who’ve done it too.

So that’s it. Cleaning up a gas grill is pretty simple. As long as you don’t blow yourself up. Good luck!

LTB

The LTB Barbecue Buying Guide Part 2

Okay, so this is going to be part 2 of my all encompassing, world-renowned LTB Barbecue Buying Guide. Part 1 is over here and it is directed mainly at people who already have a barbecue and have decided to buy a new one but don’t really know where to start.

This section of the guide is for people in a slightly similar but yet radically different boat – those of you who haven’t actually purchased a barbecue before.

What? You’ve never owned a barbecue? How is that possible? What do you mean? I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. I heard it all when I was in the 5th grade and wanted to try my hand at Little League. Well, the questions were about baseball, not barbecues, but the gist was the same. Hopefully for you you’ll have a great experience buying and enjoying a barbecue, unlike my summer playing Little League (still don’t like baseball).


Perhaps you’re starting out on your own, just moved out of your parent’s house, been borrowing a friend’s or family member’s grill from time to time or perhaps you grew up as a vegetarian in a vegetarian house and now simply want to try something different. Maybe you’re trying to buy a gift for someone. Whatever the reason, suddenly you find yourself in the market for a barbecue grill and, like many people new to the world, dazzled by the options available.

We’re here to help.

There’s going to be lots of things to figure out before you get to the point of plunking down your hard earned cash (or well-worn plastic) but once you start to wrap your head around them, it’ll get easier.

Location Location Location
The first consideration you should figure out is where you will be using your grill. This will affect all others, so think well. Outdoors or indoors? Balcony or deck? Apartment or house? Dorm room, RV or boat? Being able to use a grill outdoors in the backyard of a house is going to open up many many options in regards to which grill to choose. If you have your heart set on grilling but only have a small area on a balcony to use, then you’re going to be rather limited. However, don’t think that by limited we mean no options. There’s always options, and luckily in the world of the barbecue grill, some of those options are going to be great.

A secondary consideration to where you will be using it is going to be where you plan on storing it. If you’re able to let it sit outside without worrying about it getting stolen then you’re set. If you’ve got a garage or storage area you can easily put the grill in at night after it’s cooled down and cleaned up then you’re golden. However, if you’re going to have to shove it into a closet, under the kitchen sink or in a cupboard, then you’re going to need to really think long and hard about the next consideration.

Gas, Charcoal or (gasp) Electric?
This is going to be the primary thing you’ll need to figure out when buying a grill. Your choice is going to depend entirely on your needs and situation, not on the needs and situation of the person selling you the grill. Yes, take into account the advice of people you know and even the salesmen, but ultimately you’re going to be the one living with and trying to make the grill produce great food, not them.

The Case for an Electric Grill
Electric grills in some ways don’t make much sense. If the purpose of grilling is to cook food over an open flame, why cook on something that doesn’t even produce a flame, right? Well, it’s not always about the open flame. Grilling is often about cooking outdoors with friends and family. About enjoying time together over food. Having an electric grill can come pretty close to approximating that experience. And by pretty close, I mean the only thing that is different is the food is going to taste slightly different than if it was cooked on a charcoal or gas grill. The time spent with friends and family is going to be just as great.

Many people will often say the flavor and smokiness that are part and parcel of cooking on a grill are not present on food cooked on an electric grill. Maybe so. Well, honestly, it’s totally true. But if you simply don’t have the option of using a charcoal or gas grill, don’t give up on grilling for your and your family. Whether it’s a little George Forman grill, a smokeless DeLonghi, a good sized Napoleon electric or a Weber Q 280 electric, they all can do a pretty good job of grilling most anything you want.

Don’t give up on your grilling dreams just because you have to buy electric. Ask yourself this: Which is more limiting, having an electric grill or no grill at all?

Charcoal or Gas
If your living situation is one where you can buy a charcoal or gas grill, then congratulations. You’ll have so many grills to look at you’ll probably go dizzy. The first thing you’ll need to figure out is if you want a charcoal or a gas grill. Generally people who have an opinion about this have a strong opinion. Here are some things to consider –

  • Flavor – studies have shown that gas or charcoal has no effect on the flavor of hamburgers but when cooking steaks, charcoal will create a smokier flavor. Some people swear that charcoal (or even wood) is the best thing to cook over because of the flavor, despite the inconvenience. Others feel that gas is close enough and the convenience outweighs the flavor issue because they think there isn’t a difference.
  • Convenience – want to flip a switch and be able to start grilling in about 10 minutes? Gas is going to be your best friend. Charcoal takes more time, anywhere from 15 minutes (for a smaller grill) up to 30 minutes or more.
  • Fuel source cleanup – do you have a way to easily dispose of the burned up briquettes? Don’t mind messing around with it? Then charcoal could be for you. If you’ve got no easy way to deal with it or don’t want to mess with it, then gas is going to be your friend.
  • Safety – this is a tossup and going to depend mostly on your fears more than anything else. Gas canisters can leak and in theory, even explode. If not connected properly the risks increase. If that is going to keep you up at night then go with charcoal (or even electric). If you think you can handle it, then gas is going to be an option
  • Costs – yes a good charcoal grill is going to cost very little when compared to a good gas grill. Good charcoal grills can be found from 50 to 200 bucks. Good gas grills are going to start in the 200-300 dollar range and go up from there. However the cost of cooking a meal with charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid is going to average around 5 bucks per meal depending on where you live. Gas should run about 25 cents per meal. So keep the operating costs in mind as well as the initial purchase price.
  • Tradition – want to cook over a big belly kettle grill? You’re probably looking for charcoal. But keep in mind that 69% of households that own a grill own a gas grill. That’s not a minority, that’s a majority. But from the same report, 47% of families own a charcoal grill and 7% own an electric grill. Yes, that’s 123% for those who are keeping score. It seems some families have more than one kind of grill, yes?

Charcoal or gas is going to be a fairly personal opinion dictated by what your personal living situation is, what kind of cooking you plan to do, what level of convenience you are after and what kind of grilling experience you want to have. Here’s the good news – if you buy an inexpensive to medium priced grill, you aren’t out a lot of money, so if you don’t like it you can probably sell it and buy a different kind that is more suited to your tastes.

Fat Wallet or Thin Wallet?
Price is going to be the next consideration for most people and rightly so. Not everyone has thousands of dollars to throw down on a monster grill for their first time grill purchase. So what kind of money are we talking about here?

Well, it goes back to your charcoal/gas/electric decision. If you choose electric you’ll probably find a decent grill anywhere from 50 dollar range up into the 500 buck range. Charcoal is going to run you around 40 bucks or so for a Weber Smokey Joe or 100-150 for a Weber Classic Kettle (they like to call it the Weber One Touch. Fools.) on up into the multiple thousands of dollars. A good gas grill is going to start around 400 bucks or so and go up also into the multiple thousands of dollars. Note that I said a good gas grill is going to start there. Yes you can get them cheaper but that doesn’t guarantee they are good. Weber (there’s that name again) does make some quality gas grills in the sub 400 dollar range, but make sure you know what you’re getting.

If you’re inclined to buy a gas grill but are on a fairly tight budget and don’t want to spend much on the actual grill itself, we’ve got two suggestions:

  1. Reconsider charcoal. If you buy a medium priced charcoal grill in the 100-300 dollar range you’re going to end up with a far better and more durable grill than a 100-300 dollar gas grill. Just the way it is. Charcoal may take longer to be ready to cook and you’ve got to deal with the ash disposal, but there are solutions to those problems. The only solution to buying a cheap gas grill that turns to a pile of crap within a few years is to buy another grill. Don’t put yourself in that situation.
  2. Consider a portable grill. Portable gas grills, while they may look diminutive and far less than manly propped up on something just so you can get it high enough to stand and cook at the same time, will offer far better features and durability than a similarly priced standing style gas grill. The Weber Q 220 is a perfect example – portable, award winning, 280 square inches of grilling space and powered by standard gas canisters. It should run about 230 bucks (less on sale) and is a great value.

As I mention in part 1 of the LTB BBQ Buying Guide (that sounds awesome. I need more acronyms, though), price isn’t something you should be focusing on at this point. Right now what you want to be doing is figuring out what kind of grill you want to buy, what size you’ll need and what features you’re looking for. Remember, you can always just pick up a Weber Smokey Joe or Kettle charcoal grill for between 40 and 100 bucks. Best barbecue I ever had was cooked over a Smokey Joe so they can do the business. (hint, it was the company that made the meal, not the grill)

What you really don’t want to do is look at your wallet, decide you have X amount of money to spend and then find the grill with the most features for that price. You can end up with much more grill than you’ll ever need. You can also find yourself overlooking the accessories and other needful things that go along with a new grill purchase.

The best thing is to figure out what kind of grill is best matched to your situation and then find something that matches your requirements and your budget.

Size Matters
As in “matters of size” not “size is all that matters”. Cooking areas is something that gets thrown about when discussing grills. Primary cooking areas, secondary cooking areas, warming racks, all that stuff. Kinda confusing. Most barbecue experts (not referring to the LTB crew – we’re experienced enthusiasts, not experts) recommend 300 square inches and up for a reasonably sized grill. 400 plus is considered ample grilling space. I’ve only found one resource that tells how much size per person. It said to calculate about 50 square inches per serving. So if you plan on cooking 3 burgers or 3 hot dogs or 3 steaks, then you’ll need about 150 square inches of grill. Now, everybody knows that a hamburger, a hot dog, and a big t-bone steak are going to be different sizes. This is just a rule of thumb. Don’t take it as gospel.

Another thing to consider is if you plan on cooking vegetables and other things along with your primary meal. Those will all take up grill space as well. Corn, kebabs, potatoes, etc. all add up. Warming racks will keep these things warm after they are cooked. Nice to have if they are a feature on the grill you’re looking at, but not crucial.

Still confused? Stick with the 300 rule of thumb, then. Family of four? Maybe up to 8 or so when company comes? Yeah, 300 – 400 will work, but you’ll have to eat in shifts. Like, all the burger lovers eat when the burgers are done, all the steak lovers next. You’ll find a way to make it work. Does that mean you should pass up the previously mentioned Weber Q220 because it’s only got 280 square inches of cooking space? If you plan on regularly cooking for lots of people and everyone needs to eat at the same time, then yeah, get something bigger. But if there are no concrete plans to have a steady rotation of large amounts of people or if the occasional larger group can eat when the food is ready and not fall over from hunger, then it’ll be fine.

Durability
This is going to be pretty simple, but it needs to be said – you get what you pay for. Cheaper grills are going to generally be made out of cheaper materials, have cheaper designs, or will cut costs in less than obvious ways. Like having sub par materials for the inner workings of the grill while making the outside look all fancy. How can you fix this? Two ways, really. Well, three.

  1. First, buy from a trusted name-brand manufacturer. Buying something that sounds like a name-brand but is much cheaper is a surefire way to disappointment. Buying a lower level brand because it’s got lots and lots of features in the price range you can afford isn’t a good path either. It may have all those features, but it’s cheaper for a reason.
  2. Second – Spend more money. Figure out how much money you can spend on the grill, and then find a way to spend a little more. It may mean the difference between having to buy a new grill in 3 or 4 years and being able to use the same grill for 10 or more years.
  3. Third, talk to as many people and read as many reviews online as you can. Yes, many websites make money if you buy a grill after clicking on one of their links. This site does too. But if you read around the reviewing site a little bit you may be able to pick up on if the people writing for it are to be trusted. Do they ever say anything negative about a product? No? Pass on their advice. Do they have a real clear “voice” in their writing? Do they sound like they care not only about the product, but about making sure their readers get an honest review? If not then again, pass on their advice. You’ll be glad in the long run.

Materials
This is where things get tricky. Grills and their subsequent parts can be made out of many many different kinds of materials. Aren’t they all steel, you say? Nope. Steel isn’t always what you want, either. The main body of the grill is more than likely going to be made out of stainless steel, cast iron, cast aluminum, enamel-coated steel or plain old sheet metal. Which is best is going to depend on your point of view. Stainless steel is generally going to be more expensive, is considered to be higher quality and is often the choice or professionals. Try to stay away from plain sheet metal. Enamel-coated steel can be a fine choice if it is made by a reputable manufacturer. Cast iron is great but heavy and needs to be oiled well. Cast aluminum, when done well, can last a very long time. A word of caution about stainless steel – not all stainless steel is created equally. Cheaper stainless steels aren’t worth much at all.

Horse Before the Cart
While the body may be made of a nice quality material, there is no guarantee the cart is going to be made of the same stuff unless it specifically says so. Many times the cart is made of cheaper material. That’s not a reason to run away screaming, but it needs to consider into your decision. Why are they made of different materials? Cost. In effort to bring a stainless steel bodied grill in under a certain price point, compromises elsewhere may need to be made, such as making the cart out of sheet metal or plain steel. Problem is, those two materials rust faster than stainless steel and won’t last as long. If you know what you’re getting, that’s great. If you’re okay with the compromise and know the conditions the grill will be stored in and can mitigate any durability issues with the cheaper cart, then go ahead. Just make an informed purchase, that’s all.

It’s all about the grill, man.
Grill materials, like the grill body and the cart, can be made out of a number of different materials. Popular choices (by the manufacturers) are: stainless steel, cast iron, porcelain coated stainless steel or porcelain coated cast iron. Stainless steel is nice and should last for a good long time. It will, however, develop chips and the meat will stick to these chipped areas. Cast iron is an awesome choice but it will need to be cleaned well and oiled well. Porcelain coatings aim to solve both of the problems of chipped stainless steel and the need to maintain cast iron. However they introduce problems of their own. Cheaper porcelain coatings are thinner which mean they will chip more easily. Chipped coatings of course mean food sticks to it and rust can start. Be sure to keep metal tools as far away from porcelain coatings as you can. That means scrapers, spatulas, tongs, meat forks – they all can weaken and chip the material. Brushes made with metal bristles to clean – great. Metal scrapers – poison.

If you can swing it, cast iron is probably the best. Heats well, holds heat and if taken care of can last a really long time. Like decades long. Yes, plural. If you aren’t willing to put in the work, porcelain coated cast iron is going to be a good second choice. Stainless steel is probably the cheapest yet will still last a long time. Just do your best to keep metal implements away from the grill and it will last a whole lot longer.

BTUs (Hint, if you’re buying a charcoal grill or an electric grill, you can skip this)

Ahhh, BTUs. The love of marketing folk and competitive people everywhere. By competitive people I mean the guys who look at your awesome grill and ask “How many BTUs that baby pump out?” Here’s a secret, something you can mention offhand to the next guy who asks you that –

BTUs have nothing to do with how good the food tastes.

So what are BTUs? BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. They are used when discussing the merits of different gas grills. It is a measurement that basically tells how much heat is generated. For the technically minded folks, a BTU is how much heat is required to bring the temperature of one pound of water up by one degree Fahrenheit.

More BTUs are good, right? Not so fast. Smaller grills will require less of course, while larger grills require more. A poorly designed grill may use more BTUs to achieve the same amount of cooking heat as a well designed one. Generally, a 500 square inch grill will need anywhere between 35,000 and 50,000 BTUs to do their job well. Again, smaller grills less, bigger grills more. Higher BTUs mean you should be able to control the level of heat well. However higher BTUs also correlate to higher fuel consumption. And again, design plays a part as well.

And now for our feature presentation
Grilling, at its most basic, is cooking food over an open flame (sorry, electric grill folks). Modern grills, however, can do sooooo much more than that. It’s all in the features. What features, you ask? Glad you asked (you may be sorry, though). This list, while not complete, may give people looking for their first barbecue grill a starting point to understand what all the terminology is about.

  • Front shelves – little shelves on the front of unit. Often used to rest utensils and the like.
  • Side shelves – shelves on the sides of the barbecue grill body. Used to hold plates and food, both already cooked and ready to be cooked.
  • Enclosed cart – The cart framework is enclosed with sides, a back and often doors. Typically a way to hide the big ugly propane tank. Larger enclosed carts may have shelving or a basic storage area. Nice, but not necessary on cheaper barbecues and will increase the price. Lower priced units that offer an enclosed cart will either scrimp on materials used for the enclosure or on other parts of the barbecue.
  • Side burners – in place of shelves, some barbecues offer side burners. Often used to keep things warm or cook lower priority items, i.e. not meat. Side dishes are often cooked on side burners. People even use them with a griddle for cooking eggs and pancakes. Some people swear by them, others swear at them. If you’ve got the cash and are interested in it, go ahead. If you use it, then you’re happy. If you’ve bought it you might try to find some kind of use for it. Side burners on lower end grills often don’t perform as well as hoped.
  • Rotisserie – turns the chicken/meat/whatever around and around so it gets cooked evenly. While useful and great when used appropriately, I can’t honestly recommend them to first time grill buyers. Perhaps a better choice is to buy a grill that has the option for one down the road. Adding a rotisserie kit when you really think you need one is a smarter choice than spending a lot of money for your first grill just to get one built into the unit.
  • secondary cooking space – like it sounds, it’s a secondary cooking area in addition to the grill, which is then called the primary cooking area or primary cooking space. Can be used to describe a side burner. Also used sometimes to describe things like a warming rack, even though it’s not really a cooking area.
  • Warming rack – just what it sounds like – a rack elevated above the “primary cooking area” (you know, the grill) that you can put stuff on to keep warm. Nice to have but not a deal breaker.
  • Indirect heat – this is a method of cooking that some people really like. Basically, instead of having the meat directly over the heat source, you have it off to one side. The lid is then closed and the heat circulates and cooks that way. Takes more time but prevents burning and many fans of this style of cooking say it makes a juicer and more flavorful meal.
  • Heat distribution plate/radiant/barrier – this is the thing that comes between the burner of the gas grill and the grate that the food rests on. Sometimes it’s a metal plate, sometimes lava rocks, ceramic briquettes or other inventions. They need to be replaced periodically as grease and food particles drip down on them. They all perform equally well (or poorly depending on you point of view). Great thing about them – the usually protect the burners from drippings to a large degree, but not totally.
  • Burner – on a gas grill it’s where the gas comes out of. Simple as that. A heat distribution plate will generally rest over this to spread out the heat from the gas burner itself. The more drippings, grease and food particles get on them the faster they will need to be replaced. Made from a variety of different things. Stainless steel or brass is best, but even cheaply made ones can last 3-4 years if well maintained (meaning cleaned often). You’ll need to clean them periodically to keep them working well and not corroding.
  • Tube burner – basically the same thing as the burner. Some may be referring to Venturi tubes. What are those? The tubes that connect the burners to the control valve. They mix the gas with a little bit of air that allows it to produce a flame. Aren’t you glad you asked?
  • Infrared grills – this is a technology that is becoming more and more prevalent on the marketplace. I’ll be honest, for the life of me, I can’t really understand it. I even did well in science back in my school days. Basically infrared grills heat up super fast and cook things equally fast. While I’ve had it explained to me and even seen them in action, I truthfully can’t get behind something I don’t really understand. Maybe I’m dull, maybe I’m overthinking it. But if you think it’s a great idea then go for it. Prices for this feature are going to be a little higher than normal.
  • Smoker box – designed mainly for gas grills to combat the lack of smoky flavor when cooking with them. Just a little metal box you fill with your favorite variety of stuff to make smoky flavor, put it in and let it smoke. Some companies will grills specially designed to have them. Nice if you really want the smoky flavor but prefer a gas grill.
  • Lights – yes, some grills come with lights. Okay if you want them, but really, do you need lights mounted to your grill? Can’t a flashlight serve the same purpose? Or maybe buy a cheap flood lamp and use that.

There are a whole lot of other features that companies cook up (bwahhh ha ha, cook up) in order to convince you theirs is the grill to buy. Some are useful, some are a draw and some you should pass on. If you’ve got any questions about something you see, be sure to leave a comment or send us an email. We’ll put it on the list and explain it to you to the best of our abilities.

Warranty

Yes, many companies offer a warranty. No it’s probably not everything you’ll expect. The different parts of the grill will have differing levels and periods of warranty. Read it closely and understand it. For example, as I mention in this article, Napoleon has a “Limited Lifetime” warranty which means for major things it’s replacement if it fails because of manufacturing defect in 5 years, 50% off full retail after that. Some parts of the grills under this warranty only have 1 year of coverage, some 2. Personally I like Weber’s warranties – not because they’re better or cover more than other grills, but they are very clearly explained on their website. Other companies have either awesome, good or less than stellar warranties, so check them out thoroughly before you buy. Be sure to search around online and see how well a company stands behind their warranty and how good their customer service is as well. Companies in all industries may drag their feet or make it hard for a person to get them to stand behind their warranty. Best bet is to check around online or talk to your friends about a company’s reputation.

Auld Lang Syne
Wow, that ended up being a much longer article than expected. I’m sure there’s stuff we left out or glossed over that you may want more explanation for. Tough! Just kidding. Let us know what you think and we’ll do our best to help. Hopefully those who are looking for their first barbecue grill (yes, even the people who will buy electric) have learned a bit and are closer to making an informed decision. Ultimately that’s what this guide is all about – information and wise purchases.

Please remember that the most important thing when buying a grill isn’t the BTUs, the price, the size, the fuel source or any of that. It’s the cooking you do on it and the time spent with friends and family. I keep repeating that but that’s because it’s true. And also remember that an expensive grill won’t make you a better cook. It’d be nice if they did, but they don’t.

Good luck and happy grilling.
LTB

 

(PS – If you’ve read this far and still feel like checking out Part 1 of the LTB BBQ Buying guide, it’s over here. It’s more for people who are in the market to replace their grill, but may offer some help for those who are looking for their first grill as well.)

The LTB Barbecue Buying Guide Part 1

Hey folks, this is part one in what I’ve planned to be at least a 2 part buying guide. It may end up being a 4 part buying guide, it depends on how long winded I get and how much time I’ve got. We’ll see. If you’re looking to buy your first barbecue grill, you might want to start with Part 2 of the LTB Barbecue Buying Guide. It goes into more detail than this guide and is geared for those wonderful people who have yet had the joy of buying their first barbecue grill. If you’ve already experienced this joy, then keep reading for some guidance towards the rapture of buying your second (or third or fourth) barbecue grill.

The LTB Barbecue Buying Guide
Part 1


So you need to buy a new grill. Well, maybe need is too strong of a word. Want? Desire? Obsess? Whatever the reason, you’re in the market for a new barbecue grill. So you go to your local hardware store or big box store of your choice and are dazzled by three things – the size of grills nowadays, the features and above all the price. Sticker shock? Yeah, that’s what it’s called when you mouth hangs open despite your best efforts when you see the price of a grill you like the looks of.

What’s an average Joe to do?

Read this article, that’s what. This article and the ones associated with it represent the best barbecue buying guide you can find on the internet. Well, maybe not, but it’s a good starting point, right? Since you’re here, have a look around. Odds are good you’ll have learned something and hopefully are closer in your search for your new awesome barbecue grill.

Now, if you’ve never bought a grill before in your life then you need to go over here to our nice and shiny guide for people, like you, who have never bought a barbecue grill before in their life. Its chock full of information and terminology explanations that will set your mind at ease. Those of you who already know a little about grills should keep reading. Why? Because this guide here is for people who already have a grill and are looking to replace what they have for whatever reason. People just like you.

First things first
Take into consideration how often you will realistically be grilling outdoors. “Every day!” you say. “Every weekend!” Well, while the enthusiasm is commendable, the reality will more than likely fall short of that. There are lots of things that will conspire against your best laid plans to migrate into an all-barbecue all-the-time lifestyle. Family, work, sick kids, bad weather, allergies, the incessant cleaning of the grill – all these and a myriad of other reasons can keep you from your dream. So take a dose of reality and try again. A good rule of thumb is to start with how many days you actually grilled outdoors the previous season. That’s probably how many you’ll barbecue this year. Maybe add 50% on top of that, but much more than that may be wishful thinking.

Self Reflection
No, not that kind. We’re talking grills, man, grills. Take a look at what you have now. What are the pros and cons of your setup? What would you like to have? What features have you found on your current grill that didn’t work? What were some that did? What have you seen on grills in stores, on the internet or at friend’s houses that you thought were rather cool. Is there a direction you’d like to take your family’s grilling experience that you cannot do without a special feature your grill currently does not have? Answers to these questions will go a long way in helping you figure out what you’re looking for. They may even set a clear direction for your grill shopping.

Good Enough for Santa Claus
Some may find it useful to write out a wish list of things they would like. While this is a good way to start, it can also be a frustrating time waste. Sitting around, making a list, checking it twice, fretting over this feature and that. Examining the BTUs and grilling space. BE A MAN as Don Corleone would say. Perhaps it’s just the nature of this writer, but going back and forth between the extremes of pouring over the endless minutiae of a gourmet grill and longing for just a rack over some coals helps me get to the point where I can buy a grill in peace.

Here are some of the things you will need to put some serious consideration into before you buy your next grill. If you care. If you are overwhelmed, don’t pitch in the towel, just go the easy route, get a Weber Charcoal Kettle Grill or a Smokey Joe and be done with it. For those who want something more than that, read on. The list that follows comes in no particular order.

Price
Yes, I listed this first, but that doesn’t mean it should come first. While it is important, some people focus on this too much but not in the way you may be thinking. Some people will say “I’ve got 1000 bucks to buy a grill with” and if they are unlucky, one of three things will happen.

  1. They focus on getting a grill that costs 1000 dollars or darn close to it. They don’t focus on what they need and can find themselves with ridiculously more grill than they could ever reasonably use.
  2. They want to get the most features for the price and by a second or third tier bargain grill that breaks down far sooner than a higher quality grill with less features. Or…
  3. They stretch their wallet farther than they should and buy a grill for 1000 bucks, but forget the extras. You know, the tongs, the thermometer, the fork, the spatula, the grill brushes, the basting brushes, the rubs and sauce and all the other stuff that you’ll end up spending money on. They find out they need/want to pony up another 300 bucks or so to actually get all the stuff they need.

Don’t be that guy. Price is important but don’t fixate on it. Remember – you get what you pay for. Quality doesn’t usually come cheap. Buy the best grill you can afford and don’t look back. Pay for quality and only cry once.

Features
These can be divided up into three basic categories – things you can’t live without, things you’d like to have and things you don’t care about. There may be some things you actually hate and won’t buy a grill that has them, but I don’t really think you’ll need a separate category for those. You may find out that things you think you can’t live without, after a bit of reflection, can move to the other two categories, freeing up your options quite a bit.

Fuel source – charcoal gas or electric.
Wait, did you say electric? Yes, I did and believe it or not, it does have its place. But as far as the great debate between charcoal or gas – the choice is yours. Like the time spent on getting the charcoal just right? Charcoal’s for you. Hate it? Go with gas. Like the smokiness that comes from a charcoal grill? Go, charcoal, go! Hate it? Gas, here I come. Hate the concept of cooking over open flame connected to a can of highly pressurized exploding gas? Charcoal, sweet charcoal. Comfortable with it? Gas is your friend. Truly, there are great arguments to be made for both and people whose opinions I respect come down on either side of the fence for this. One thing you will find – the sheer number of gas grills available on the market today outweigh the number of charcoal grills. I think this is owed primarily to the cooking convenience of gas compared to that of charcoal.

Double barreled
You can go another route – get yourself two grills. Crazy, I know, but hear me out. If you like the futzing with the charcoal on the weekends then get yourself a reasonably priced charcoal grill for the weekends. Weber’s classic charcoal grill runs between 100 and 150 bucks. But for those times when you want to grill quickly, like during the week or for unexpected guests, get an inexpensive gas grill. Good gas grills are around 500 bucks. If you’re really on a budget, join the 7% of Americans who have an electric grill. Cheap, easy, and while many people claim they’re not “authentic grills” it’s better than cooking a steak or a burger in a pan. Medium sized quality electric grills can be about 250 bucks or more. So for about 400 bucks including accessories (charcoal chimney, tongs, spatula, fork, etc.) you can set yourself up with a good charcoal grill for the weekends and the big cookouts and have a cheap electric or gas grill for the times you want to grill but don’t have the time to mess with the charcoal.

Size
This is more about honesty than anything else. How many people will you honestly cook for? Do you see yourself cooking for maybe 4-10? Or is it closer to 15-20? Or more? Seriously try to estimate the number of people who you will realistically be cooking for over what you imagine the lifetime of the grill to be. Start with a smaller grill and want to upgrade in 3-4 years? Possible, and may be a good decision. You might even be able to sell your old grill for a bit of cash. Buy an enormous grill and never actually use it to its full potential? That’s a waste of money.

Heat
If you’re going with gas, this is going to be a consideration. Do yourself a favor – don’t get wrapped up and caught up in the BTU race. Yes, BTUs are important. But the marketing guys at the barbecue companies and the stores that sell them love the BTU factor. Why? How often do you catch yourself debating horsepower with your car buddies or phone battery life when purchasing a new phone? Or zoom capabilities on a new camera. It’s in most guy’s nature to want more. More zoom, more horsepower, more BTUs. A well designed grill can have lower BTUs and do a great job of cooking, better even than a poorly designed grill with higher BTUs. Point? Keep BTUs in mind, but cost, features, and size are going to be more important than BTUs.

Those 5 things (price, features, size, fuel source and heat) are going to be the basic things you’ll need to get sorted out first before you get much closer to buying your new grill. Once those things get narrowed down a bit, you can start to focus on smaller issues. Like what, you say? Like the following things you’ll need to take into consideration down the road before you plunk down your cash.

Materials – what’s it made of? Stainless steel? Aluminum? Cast iron? Cheap metal painted over with something black? Each choice will have an impact on the price of the model you buy. While we here at LBT are fans of stainless steel and would recommend narrowing your preference to that, aluminum does have it’s place, as well as cast iron in some situations. Stay away from cheap metal, though. It won’t last long and you’ll end up needing to replace the grill sooner rather than later.

Durability/Stability – If you’re shopping at a place where you can actually handle the grill itself, give it a good shake or two. If it feels rickety you may want to pass on it – floor models should be set up as well as they can be. If it’s still shaky, then it’s shaky and not something to be relied upon. If you don’t have the luxury of looking at your top choices in person, then read as many reviews as you can before you buy online. And be sure the place you buy from has a good return policy. Amazon comes to mind.

Name brand vs. store brand – Name brands are the big boys. Store brands are either made by the store (hence the name) or made by big companies and rebranded in a deal between the store and the company. A deal that may only be in place for a year or two making replacement parts difficult to find down the line. Although store brands can do a fine job and be good grills if you take care of them, LTB recommends that whenever possible you stick with name brands.

Now, go to it. Figure out some of the things that only you can answer – how many people will you be cooking for? What will your fuel source be? What’s your budget? What features can you live without and which ones are must-haves? Keep durability in mind as well as BTUs and what the grills are made of. Try to stick with a name brand whenever possible. And remember these last two very important points – 1) A grill is simply a tool – it allows you to be the best cook you can be. 2) If you take good care of that tool it should last a fairly long time, no matter how much it cost. the flip side is this – if you don’t take care of it, it will last a very short time, no matter what the cost.

Good luck and happy grilling.

LTB

4

Thinking Of Buying A Napoleon Grill? Here’s The Skinny. (Updated for 2019)

So you’re in the market for a quality gas grill.

You’ve done your research and the name Napoleon keeps popping up. You read that they’re a well-respected company that makes fine gas grills, along with a few electric grills, built-in grills, etc.

You’ve even read a handful of Napoleon grills reviews and are just about ready to pull the trigger.

Hold on.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t buy a Napoleon gas grill. Heck, a lot of our readers have and been quite happy with them.

What we’re saying is before you get all clicky with that credit card of yours, take a closer look. There are some finer detailed points about Napoleon gas grills, as well as their charcoal and electric cousins, that you should know about. There’re some things that the fine folks here at LTB like, sure. But there are also a few things we’re not happy with.

And in the end, if you’re fine with what you see, then by all means pull that trigger. You’ll likely get a great grill that will last you for a long time.

But we’re here to help ensure that.

Click here to check prices on our favorite Napoleon grill at Amazon

Wait…Napoleon?

If you haven’t heard of them, Napoleon has been making grills for some time now and they are a highly respected brand that puts out quality grills.  That’s all.  Just a company that makes good grills that pretty much everybody seems to love.

They started in Ontario, Canada, making wood stoves back in the 1970’s. Since then they have been making stainless steel grills and with each passing year their reputation increases. They also make other things, like fire tables and pits, patio heaters and such.

But…grills. And lots of ‘em.

Napoleon Prestige Pro Line

The pinnacle of the Napoleon’s gas grills, their Prestige Pro line is the best of the best. They also carry the biggest price tags. Let’s take a look.

ModelsOur Star RatingWhere to Buy
Napoleon PRO825RSBI
Napoleon PRO825RSBI
(4.6 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon PRO665RSIB
Napoleon PRO665RSIB
(4.3 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon PRO500RSIB
Napoleon PRO500RSIB
(4.8 / 5)Amazon

PRO825RSBI

The big dog of the bunch and all of Napoleon’s line. Their flagship models comes with pretty much everything. It has 1245 sq inches total cooking area, too many burners to count, and lots of stainless steel.

This grill is a 490 pound behemoth and takes some time to explain. While it follows the standard naming style of Napoleon’s grills, with the RSBI standing for Rotisserie, Side Burner and Infrared burner, there’s a lot more going on than just that.

First up is the main grill head. 825 sq inches of grilling area, 4 burners with a fifth infrared burner at the back, along with an included rotisserie kit. There is a smoker chip tray in the main section to help you get that nice smokiness as well, with its own fire controller. On the right is a “sizzle zone” – two infrared burners along with a warming burner with 420 sq inches of space. On the left is a side burner with a reversible cast-iron grid – not for grilling, but for pots and woks. 10 total burners. And BTU’s? A freakin’ lot. Like 123,000.

Whew. That thing’s a beast.

PRO665RSIB

Less beastly than the 825, but still formidable. 665 sq inches for the main grilling area with 5 burners underneath with 60,000 BTU’s. The side infrared burner has 345 sq. inches of grilling space adding up to 1010 sq inches total. There is an included rotisserie kit along with a rear infrared burner as well as a built-in smoker chip option.

PRO500RSIB

The smallest of the Prestige Pro line, it comes with a 500 sq inch main grilling area, a rotisserie kit, an infrared rear burner, a 260 sq inch infrared burner and lots of shiny stainless steel.

Napoleon Prestige Line

The Prestige is probably going to be the best deal if you can afford a couple of grand for a grill. Not the biggest, not the fanciest, but a good solid grill with lots of features. Plus – made in Canada.

ModelOur Star RatingWhere to Buy
Napoleon P500RSIB-SS
Napoleon P500RSIB-SS
(4.6 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon P500RSIB-K
Napoleon P500RSIB-K

(4.6 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon P500RSIB-B
Napoleon P500RSIB-B
(4.6 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon P500RSIB-CH
Napoleon P500RSIB-CH
(4.6 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon P500RB
Napoleon P500RB
(4.3 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon P500RB-K
Napoleon P500RB-K
(4.2 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon P500-K
Napoleon P500-K
(4.5 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon P500SS
Napoleon P500SS
(4.7 / 5)Amazon

And the breakdown by model goes a little something like this…

  • P500RSIB-SS

    Top of the heap in the Prestige line. Rotisserie kit included, infrared burner plus side burner, all wrapped up in a stainless steel finish. 6 burners, 80,000 BTU’s, 500 sq inches of primary grilling area, 160 sq inches of side burner and a 260 sq inch warming rack.

  • P500RSIB-B

    Same as above, but with a nice cobalt blue hood.

  • P500RSIB-CH

    Same as above but with a nice charcoal hood.

  • P500RSIB-K

    Same as above but with nice black hood and doors.

  • P500RB-SS

    Mid level of the Prestige line, comes with a rotisserie kit and rear infrared burner, but no side burner, just dual outboard shelves. 5 burners (4 plus the rear infrared) takes it up to 66,000 BTU’s and the standard 500 sq inches primary/260 sq inch warming rack totaling 760 sq inches of grilling area. That’s the same as all the grills in the Prestige line, minus the side grill. A shiny stainless steel finish tops it off.

  • P500RB-K

    Same as above but with black hood and doors.

  • P500SS

    The bottom of the Prestige line, but still a mighty fine grill. 4 burners, 760 sq inches of “grilling area,” and 48,000 BTU’s. No Rotisserie kit, and no side burner.

  • P500-K

    Same as above but with black doors and hood.

So, overall, every grill in the Prestige line runs a 500 sq inch main grilling space with a 260 sq inch warming rack. As you go up the line, higher spec’ed models add in a rear infrared burner and rotisserie kit and then a 140 sq inch side burner.

Nice.

Napoleon LEX Line

The LEX line bills itself as high-end stainless steel grills for an affordable price. But are they?

Let’s take a look.

ModelOur Star RatingWhere to Buy
Napoleon LEX730RSBI
Napoleon LEX730RSBI
(4.5 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon LEX605RSBI
Napoleon LEX605RSBI
(4.3 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon LEX485RSIB-1
Napoleon LEX485RSIB-1
(4.4 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon LEX485-1
Napoleon LEX485-1
(4 / 5)Amazon
  • LEX730RSBI

    730 sq inches of primary grilling space, infrared bottom and rear burners, a range side burner and a rotisserie? A freakin’ ice bucket? That’s a lot of grill. Unfortunately, it’s the top of the line of Napoleon’s “Made in China” grills. If that bothers you, then look elsewhere. If not, then for under two grand, you’re getting a heckuva lot of grill.

  • LEX605RSBI

    Essentially the same grill as the LEX730RSBI, minus about 125 sq inches of primary grilling space. And minus about 200 bucks.

  • LEX485RSIB-1

    Notice the letters after the name are slightly different than the two higher models in the LEX line. With this one, you’re losing 120 sq inches of grilling space, as well as the bottom infrared burner. Still have the rotisserie and the infrared side and rear burners, though.

  • LEX485-1

    If you’re following along, you can guess that this is the same grill as the LEX485RSIB-1, only without the rotisserie kit, the infrared rear or side burners. Still a solid grill. In the opinion of the LTB staff, this is where the LEX line gets affordable. But our wallets may not be as thick as yours.

If you notice, the LEX line looks a lot like the Prestige PRO line, just at a cheaper price point. Part of that is due to the LEX line (and every line not named Prestige or Prestige PRO) being made in China. But while there are similarities, you’ll need to take a good hard look at exactly what you’re getting. And what you’re not.

Is Napoleon’s LEX line affordable? Every person will need to answer that themselves with one good eye on their bank balance.

Napoleon Rogue Line

If the LEX line is a little rich for your blood, but you’re looking for something a little fancier than the Triumph line, then the Rogue is for you.

ModelsOur Star RatingWhere to Buy
Napoleon R425SIBPBE
Napoleon R425SIBPBE
(3.7 / 5)
Napoleon R425SIB
Napoleon R425SIB
(3.9 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon R425SB
Napoleon R425SB
(4.1 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon R425
Napoleon R425
(4.2 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon R365SIB
Napoleon R365SIB

(3.9 / 5)
Napoleon R365SB
Napoleon R365SB
(4 / 5)
Napoleon R365
Napoleon R365
(3.7 / 5)
  • R425SIBPBE

    No rotisserie but an infrared side burner. And Black. Did we say black? Yes, it’s black. Because who really needs stainless steel when you can have black. Top of the Rogue line – 3 burners, 36,000 BTU’s. And black.

  • R425SIB

    Same model as above, but stainless steel.

  • R425SB

    Don’t care for infrared cooking? Want a regular range side burner? The R425SB has you covered.

  • R425

    Just want a grill? No side burner, 425 sq inches of primary grilling space? Nothing fancy? Here’s your grill.

  • R365SIB

    425 sq inches too much for you? Happy with 365, but need an infrared side burner? This one’s for you.

  • R365SB

    Smaller grill, but really like the range side burner, not the infrared? The R35SB should keep you smiling.

  • R365

    Bottom of the Rogue line, the R365 is a grill that doesn’t have a lot of frills but… doesn’t have a lot of frills. Truthfully, although street price is around 600 bucks, you might want to keep looking.

The Rogue line has some interesting models, and if we were looking for a budget grill, we’d look long and hard here. But as with many things Napoleon, you’re paying for the name. Other companies may not put as much of a premium on their name but still make solid grills.

Napoleon Triumph Line

If you don’t have the scratch for a Rogue or higher but still want a Napoleon, then the Triumph is the line for you (if you don’t live near a Canadian Tire, that is). While the grills are cheaper, they are smaller as well. In all honesty, this is the area where it’s a good idea to look at other grills, because a portion of the price is going to be the Napoleon name.

ModelsOur Star RatingWhere to Buy
Napoleon T495SB
Napoleon T495SB
(3.6 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon T410SB
Napoleon T410SB

(3.7 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon T325SB
Napoleon T325SB

(3.4 / 5)Amazon
  • T495SB

    495 sq inches of primary grilling space and a range side burner.

  • T410SB

    410 sq inches of primary grilling area and a range side burner.

  • T325SB

    325 sq inches of primary grilling area and a range side burner.

See the pattern? We don’t work for Napoleon so we have no need to sugar-coat things and build these grills up into something they’re not. They’re basic grills. That’s it. But look elsewhere and compare them to other grills on the market, because for the price, there are others out there that might suit your needs better.

Napoleon Legend Line

The Legend line is Napoleon’s cheapest line of freestanding gas grills. To go any cheaper, you’ll need to get one of their portable gas grills (not a bad idea).

Now, does cheap mean bad? Not necessarily.

You’ll need to understand that the grill comes with Napoleon’s President’s Limited Warranty, not their President’s Limited Lifetime Warranty. We discussed it earlier, but in a nutshell, less is covered and for less time.

Will you get a good grill? Yeah. But in all honesty, unless your heart is set on owning a Napoleon above all else, you might look elsewhere. You probably can get more grill for your money by going with a different brand.

Oh, and these are only available at Canadian Tire. If you don’t live near one – keep looking for a different grill.

  • LD485RSIB

    Rotisserie kit, infrared side and rear burner, 6 total burners – the LD485RSIB has a lot. Not a bad choice if you’re strapped for cash.

  • LD485

    Same as above, minus the frills. But missing out on the frills leaves you with a good, solid grill, but not a showstopper. Four burners. No muss, no fuss.

  • LD410

    A little smaller than the LD485. Same basics but less grilling space and minus one burner.

  • LD325

    Same thing, even smaller. Two burners, 325 sq inches of primary grilling surface. LD325, compact is your name.

If you’re not planning on swinging by a Canadian Tire, keep looking. However, if you are, and you’re tight on cash, and you just have to have a Napoleon, give these a once over. But take a good look at other options, too.

Wide Range of Product Lines

Our first beef with Napoleon (get it…beef) is their product lines are unnecessarily confusing. Truthfully, we’ll give them credit where credit is due: they’ve improved their product line since the first publishing of this article.

What used to be 6 different lines (four with the name “Prestige”) has slimmed down to… 6. But luckily there are only 2 with the “Prestige” name.

Currently (end of 2019) Napoleon has 5 freestanding gas grill product lines plus one line exclusive to a particular retailer. As you can see above, they are, in descending level from top to bottom:

  • Prestige Pro – top of the line, best of the best for Napoleon. With a price tag to match.
  • Prestige – in Napoleon-land, they’re second only to the Pro, but an easier to swallow price tag.
  • LEX – A decent midrange line for Napoleon.
  • Rogue – A step down from the LEX line, and a fine grill, as long as you know what you’re getting.
  • Triumph – Cheapest of the non-Canadian Tire lines.
  • Legend – sold exclusively at Canadian Tire (they don’t just sell tires)

And then, following at the back of the pack, come the portable and charcoal grills.

This is just for their free-standing grills. The company also makes some built-in grill heads that follow the same product naming procedures as their main free-standing lines.

They also offer a line of modular outdoor kitchen products, most under the name Oasis. However, if you’re doing the full Napoelon, you’d need to pick up one of their built-in grill heads. And you probably will, because what’s the point of buying their modular cabinets and storage and such just to go with a built-in grill from some other company, right?

Breaking Down The Different Napoleon Lines

As mentioned above, Napoleon has 6 gas grill lines with a grand total of 25 different grills (29 if you live near a Canadian Tire). That’s a lot of grills. And with the habit of giving their grills short names with numbers and a bunch of letters, then it can get more than a little confusing.

Lucky for you, the LTB crew slogged through the Napoleon website and broke things down for you.

First thing you need to take a look at is what the names mean. Essentially, the first group of letters tells you which line it belongs to. PRO is for the Prestige Pro line, P is for the Prestige line, LEX for the LEX, R for the… you get the picture.

The numbers that come next tell you the sq inches of primary grilling space. Notice that’s not the total amount of grilling space. To get that, Napoleon adds in the square inches of the side burners and everything. So if you’re wondering how much primary cooking space you’re gonna have, just refer to the numbers in the model’s name.

Last come a series of letters. For the most part, they follow this pattern:

R = Rotisserie

B = Infrared burner mounted at the rear

SI = Side burner

-XX = Indicates the finish of the grill. SS stands for stainless steel, CH for Charcoal, B for midnight blue, and K for black. Note that the black models have black hoods and doors, while the charcoal and blue ones have stainless steel doors and stainless hood.

So, for example, the Prestige Line all start with 500 sq inches of grilling area, 4 burners and 48,000 BTU’s. The models with an infrared rear burner have the same cooking area but a grand total of 66,000 BTU’s and 5 burners.

Add a side burner and you’ve got 6 total burners, 760 sq inches of total cooking area and 80,000 BTU’s. Notice that’s “cooking area’ not “grilling area”. The size of the grill head hasn’t changed, they’re just adding in the 260 sq inch side grill to the total cooking area.

Most manufacturers do this, but we want to point it out when we can.

Next up – stainless steel.

Stainless Steel Construction…Or Something Less?

Napoleon touts the stainless steel construction of their products. And no doubt they have lots and lots of stainless steel in their grills. Hoods, doors, grills, plates – all kinds of stainless steel going on.

But be aware of what you’re really getting.

On many of the models, there is a significant amount of non-stainless steel. For example, on their flagship product, the Prestige Pro 825RSBI, while there is a fair amount of stainless, some parts are aluminum castings. Yes, those part are warranted for life, but it’s not stainless steel. Other parts are porcelain enameled steel.

Okay, not bad, right?

But when you get down to the lower levels, you’re dealing with more and more non-stainless things. Like galvanneal metal. What’s that you say? Well, you can go over here to check out more info than we here at Love That Barbecue can understand. Or you can go here to get a shortened version of it.

Or just read this – it’s like galvanized steel, but better.

Here’s the thing – are we faulting Napoleon for not using stainless steel? Of course not.

Is anybody being fooled by the black metal that isn’t stainless steel? If you are, then it’s kinda silly because if it was stainless, they wouldn’t coat it with something to make it black.

But by using powder coated galvanized steel and black enameled galvanneal on a grill they tout as “stainless steel” it’s a little deceptive.

Totally liar-liar-pants-on-fire? No.

But if I’m shopping for a Prestige P500-K at one of the major online retailers and see their ad copy say “made from shining and durable stainless steel” and then later under ”Material Type” it says “Stainless Steel” and I buy it, thinking I’m getting an all stainless steel grill for about 1500 bucks only to find out I’ve gotten a grill with a body made from fancified galvanized steel?

I’d be a little pissed.

Napoleon Grill Warranty – When Lifetime Kinda Isn’t

The next point in the overview of Napoleon’s Grills is their warranties.

Take a deep breath because we’re going to be wading through some mud here. And frankly, even more than the is-it-or-isn’t-it stainless steel issue we looked at above, this one gets my goat.

Okay.

Napoleon used to offer a number of different warranties for their different product lines. However, they’ve narrowed it down to two. The President’s Limited Lifetime Warranty covers all their gas grill lines except the Legend line which is exclusively available at Canadian Tire. The Legend line comes under the President’s Limited Warranty. Notice the lack of “Lifetime” in the title. We’ll come back to that later.

Let’s take a look at the details of the President’s Limited Lifetime Warranty first. They offer this warranty on the Prestige Pro line, the Prestige line, the LEX line, the Rogue line and the Triumph line.

Here are the conditions.

They guarantee the components will be “free from defects in material and workmanship” for the following periods:

Aluminum Castings / Stainless Steel Base                Lifetime

Stainless Steel Lid                            Lifetime

Porcelain enamel lid                       Lifetime

Stainless Steel cooking grids         Lifetime

Stainless steel tube burners                          10 years plus5

Stainless steel sear plates                             5 years plus5

Porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grids            5 years plus5

Stainless steel infrared rotisserie burner                  5 years

Ceramic infrared rotisseries burner (excluding screen)          3 years

Ceramic infrared bottom or side burners (excluding screen)                            2 years

All other parts                   2 years

First of all, what the heck is the “plus5”?

That’s an extended coverage where you can buy replacement parts for half off current retail price. So, for example, you buy a grill with stainless steel tube burners and they crap out after 9 years – covered. After 10 years? You’re ponying up for half the replacement price.

One kind of shady thing about the warranty – they’ll send you the part, but you have to take care of installing it. And another – after the first year, they reserve the option of just paying you the wholesale price of the replacement part and then they state they’ve fulfilled their end of the bargain.

The other issue – the warranty is buried. To find out what it covers, you have to go to the individual grill on the website, click on “manual” and then scroll down through the PDF file to read it. Compare this to Weber which has the warranty front and center and easily clickable from each product page.

Now, in Napoleon’s defense, it’s not completely buried. If you click on Support, you’ll find a link to Warranties along with a whole bunch of other stuff. On the Warranties page, it tells all the details of the warranties and what lines they apply to.

This is the thing, though – when looking at the warranties, it all seems a little underhanded. Maybe it’s my aversion to lawyerly things. Maybe it’s all the parsing they do. But it seems – not upfront.

For example – the TravelQ grills are portable gas grills that compete with the Weber Q series portable gas grills. Napoleon’s warranty on their TravelQ series is billed as the President’s 10 Year Limited Warranty. Really, it’s a 5-year warranty with a plus5 tacked on.

Remember the plus5? That’s where they’ll sell you the replacement parts at half the cost of retail.

Sure, Weber’s warranty is 5 years. That’s not the point. The point is the optics, as the politicians say. If you’re gonna say it’s 10 years, make it freakin’ 10 years. Don’t weasel your way to 10 years and make it sound like you’re doing someone a favor.

Another thing that is for the lawyers – they list their warranty next to three other warranties in a bid to show how much better Napoleon’s warranty is. But instead of naming the competitors, they go with “competitor A”, “competitor B” and “competitor C”. Now, maybe the lawyers told them to do that, and I get that.

But if you’re going to compare apples to apples, make sure the apples are the same kind. While the details of the warranties look different, maybe they aren’t. Maybe there’s no “buyout” option. Maybe all of the competitor’s grills are made in North America, not some in North America and some in China.

As far as the President’s Limited Warranty that they bestow on the Legend line, the conditions aren’t as good. For one thing, all lifetime options are out. The major things that the Lifetime warranty covers are reduced to 25 years.

However – they offer replacement “at our option” free of charge for the first 5 of those 25 years only. From years 6-25, replacement parts are offered at 50% off full retail price. Other parts, such as stainless steel sear plates, cooking grids, etc. are covered for only two years. Other parts (regulators, casters, etc.) are under a 1-year warranty.

The point? Read that warranty well. And compare it directly to the other products you’re thinking of buying.

Where Are Napoleon Grills Made? Canada?

If you do much digging at all on the internet about Napoleon grills, you’ll likely come across a fair number of people complaining about being duped. Many of the complaints have to deal with the location of manufacture for the particular grill they bought.

See, Napoleon touts their Canadian-ness every chance they get. No problem there – Weber waves the red, white and blue whenever they can. The problem Napoleon runs into is some of their grills, while designed in Canada, are made in China.

Not all of them. But some. And when someone buys a grill, thinking they bought a “Made in Canada” grill but they ended up with a “Made in China” grill? That might be a little upsetting.

Does Napoleon’s warranty guarantee they will stand by the grill? If you’ve read above, the answer is, probably, as long as you read the fine print.

But how can you find out if the grill you want to buy is made in China or Canada?

You have to ask.

Or Are Napoleon Grills Made in China?

As much as I looked, I couldn’t find information about where they made their particular grills on their website. Looked all around, downloaded multiple manuals. Spent more time than I care to divulge digging.

But found nothing.

Only internet rumors.

So I emailed Napoleon.

Their answer was this – Prestige and Prestige Pro line are made in Canada. The rest are made in China.

Now, the Chinese-made gas grills are made under Napoleon’s supervision, and they go through their quality control. And the company has an excellent reputation.

Also, as stated above, whether the grill is made in China or Canada, the warranty it is bought under will apply to it.

But, in LTB’s opinion, they should make the country of manufacture far more clear than they do.

Verdict and Conclusion

Don’t get us wrong. Although it may seem like we did a lot of tearing apart of things in this article, we actually really dig Napoleon grills. What we don’t dig is so many lines and grills that it’s confusing to the consumer. We don’t dig warranties with so many conditions. We don’t dig touting their “Canadian” grills or their “stainless steel” grills but upon further digging finding out the truth isn’t as clear-cut as they’ve intimated.

Are we calling them out for lying? Of course not. Nothing in what we’ve seen makes us think they’ve lied to the consumer.

But there is a gray area and in some things, Napoleon seems to tread further into the grey area than we’d prefer.

They make awesome grills. And we’d like them to be a little more upfront. Not in a “Boxy But Good” way, but cut back a little on the marketing speak and have a little more straight talk.

Good Luck!

LTB

(note: all photos of grills in this post are courtesy Napoleon Grills)