Outdoor Kitchens For 2012

Back in 2010 LTB published two articles on outdoor kitchens – here and here. In trying to revamp them for 2012 we were looking at them and decided to just write a new article. There was a bit of overlap in the two articles that didn’t need to be there and trying to rewrite them was turning into more of an irritant then was worth it. Although the concepts in them are still relatively sound, a few things have changed that need to be mentioned.


So what’s changed? Well, a lot has changed and also very little has changed. I hate to be wishy-washy about things and say that something is simultaneously fantastic and terrible, but unfortunately for outdoor kitchens, that is true. I’ll try to make a quick summary for those who are irritated by longer stories and examples. Essentially if you find yourself or your family A) spending more and more time cooking and grilling outside, B) getting more and more irritated by the constant back and forth between the grill and the kitchen and C) can either financially afford a decent outdoor kitchen or are willing to build one that matches your economic realities, then great, an outdoor kitchen is probably for you.

However, keep in mind the following don’ts:

–    Don’t build one that is far in excess of what you will realistically utilize.
–    Don’t build one because you think it will add value to your house – it probably won’t.
–    Don’t build one if you live in a house that you don’t plan to stay in for a long time.
–    Don’t build one thinking you can just take it with you to your next home. A rolling barbecue you can easily take with you. Outdoor kitchens, I don’t care how “modular” they may be billed as, will be a pain to bring to your new residence and probably won’t fit in with the design or space at your new place.

Really, in the current economic climate, building an outdoor kitchen will depend on you and your financial realities and goals as much as your desire to cook, eat and play outside. Here’s an unrelated but instructive example: my parents both worked (both now retired) and our financial situation was, in reality, in the low to middle range of the middle class. They could have purchased nicer cars than they did but they have been strictly Honda Accord/Toyota Camry buyers for the past 30 years. They could have spent more money every month and had a higher level of car, perhaps even a Mercedes or BMW that my dad so enjoyed looking at. But my parents made a choice to save more money for their future. To them, being able to save money in the present and not have to worry excessively about money when they retired was more important. Other friends of theirs made other choices. One of my dad’s friend’s always drove a BMW that was never more than 5 years old. He bought nice condition used ones that were a few years old and sold them when they hit 5 years old. That way he always had a newer BMW and it looked like he was doing well financially without actually having to do as well as it looked. For my father, that was too much hassle, work and money expended on something that, although cool and desirable, in his world view and scheme of things, wasn’t really important.

Long winded story, but I hope you get the point and how it relates to outdoor kitchens. Yes, the economy is continuing to do less than we hope it does. It would be great if things went back to how they were in the 90’s and early 2000’s. But they’re not. And that reality has set in and changed many people’s thinking dramatically and for good. 5000 dollars for an outdoor kitchen? 30,000 for a high-end outdoor kitchen? “You’re out of your mind!” is what some people may say to that.

Others would think it’s a great investment. Why? It all depends on an individual’s situation.

Example A: Family of four, been living in the same city since high school, husband runs a successful small business, wife either helps with the business, has her own small business or works at a good paying but not high paying job. Financially rather stable, jobs are not as subject to the whims of the economy and they don’t live an extravagant life. Kids are just starting or about to start their teenage years. They all love to eat and play outside. Family in the area, kids have lots of friends and even though they work hard at their jobs, mom and dad put a great importance on family time. Weather isn’t super fantastic but it doesn’t get super cold or have excessive rain either.

Example B: Husband and wife, no kids but love to entertain. High paying and high stress jobs that although financially rewarding are subject to economic dips and stressors – think real estate and finance. Weather is warm all year round, they just moved to the area 3-5 years ago and would like to stay there for a long time. Thinking about kids, but not sure yet. Don’t plan to retire in the area but will stay there for 10-15 years or so.

In both of these examples an outdoor kitchen might make great sense for them. Family A is going to live and die in their house. They are not building an outdoor kitchen to add value to their house but to add value to their family life. For them it wouldn’t be seen as an extravagant purchase but rather something natural and beneficial to their family. Unlikely that they would go the high end route, probably go the economical path of buying just what they need with room for expansion, buying used or discontinued items, having friends help out with the building if they can, maybe even trading or bartering with people they know or other business they work with for what they need. For them, a 10,000 dollar outdoor kitchen can be had for probably around 5-7000 dollars if they save money in all the right areas.

Family B may also spend 10,000 dollars on their outdoor kitchen but they will probably get less of an outdoor kitchen for that price than Family A. Having not lived in their area as long they won’t have as great of connections as Family A. They will more than likely not have the time to put into getting the best deals they can and will use more money as their solution. They have lots of friends who come over and the family wants to spend their time outdoors in the great weather rather than always inside. For them, it would make financial sense to pay for a new outdoor kitchen because they can have friends and business partners come to their house instead of having to dine out at fancy restaurants all the time.

Listen – if you’d love an outdoor kitchen but can’t really justify the cost, then go budget, go modular and go DIY. What do I mean?
–    Plan out your purchases for the next year or two. If you have a serviceable grill, than either stick with that or sell it and buy yourself a newer one. If you buy a newer one, buy yourself the best rolling cart grill you can reasonable afford.
–    Check out discontinued models from reputable grill companies. Some models drop by 30% on the secondary market once they are discontinued, allowing you to get more grill for your budget.
–    Don’t get dazzled by all the flash. Seriously, do you really need a rotisserie? If you do, then great, but if you’re more of a steak/burger/hot dog/ribs kind of family, don’t bother with it.
–    Be sure, and I mean be really sure to look at buying over the internet. Yes, this site will make some money if you buy something from one of the links on our site, but that’s not why. Prices can vary greatly from brick and mortar stores to the internet. Be sure to factor in shipping prices as well
–    Build or buy a sink and food prep area. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to do its job and not look like crap. Used is fine as long as the stainless steel can be scrubbed clean enough to make you happy.
–    Get a medium to small used refrigerator and put next to your food prep area. Used is definitely fine for this, just clean it out well.
–    Make sure all the installations are done by a professional. If you don’t know a professional who can do it, find one a local one on the internet or make friends with someone who can do it.

Hey, this kind of setup won’t be award winning. It won’t look super fantastic, people won’t come over to your house and say “Wow, what a great outdoor kitchen.” But odds are pretty good nobody’s going to come over to your house and laugh at your little set-up. They’re coming for the company and the food. If they overly criticize or make you or your family feel bad for your setup, show them the door. But I seriously doubt you’ll ever need to do that. They other great thing about this approach is it is customizable to suit your needs. Realize you need a bigger refrigerator? Great, get one. Want more storage space? Fine, put it in. Want to move it to another part of the backyard – easily done. Need to move to another house? You can take most of the stuff with you if you plan it out right.

Outdoor kitchens can be awesome. But they can also be overblown money hungry time sucks as well. If you can afford it, by all means go ahead and spend the money. LTB won’t criticize or look down on you. We’ll just turn green with friendly envy. On the other hand, if you don’t have lots of money to spend on an outdoor kitchen or have the money but don’t want to spend it, don’t be discouraged. There are awesome ways to build an outdoor kitchen on a budget if you are smart with your money and don’t care that it isn’t a super expansive architectural wonder. Just don’t build one expecting it to pay for itself when you sell your house. It probably won’t.

In the end, outdoor kitchens are about good food and time spent with family and friends, and not necessarily in that order. Keep that in mind as you are searching or shopping for your new outdoor kitchen.

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 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon PRO665RSIB
Napoleon PRO665RSIB
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon PRO500RSIB
Napoleon PRO500RSIB
4.8 out of 5 stars (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 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon P500RSIB-K
Napoleon P500RSIB-K

4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon P500RSIB-B
Napoleon P500RSIB-B
4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon P500RSIB-CH
Napoleon P500RSIB-CH
4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon P500RB
Napoleon P500RB
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon P500RB-K
Napoleon P500RB-K
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon P500-K
Napoleon P500-K
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon P500SS
Napoleon P500SS
4.7 out of 5 stars (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 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon LEX605RSBI
Napoleon LEX605RSBI
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon LEX485RSIB-1
Napoleon LEX485RSIB-1
4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon LEX485-1
Napoleon LEX485-1
4 out of 5 stars (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 out of 5 stars (3.7 / 5)
Napoleon R425SIB
Napoleon R425SIB
3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon R425SB
Napoleon R425SB
4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon R425
Napoleon R425
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon R365SIB
Napoleon R365SIB

3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)
Napoleon R365SB
Napoleon R365SB
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Napoleon R365
Napoleon R365
3.7 out of 5 stars (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 out of 5 stars (3.6 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon T410SB
Napoleon T410SB

3.7 out of 5 stars (3.7 / 5)Amazon
Napoleon T325SB
Napoleon T325SB

3.4 out of 5 stars (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)

Thank You To A Reader, An Apology and A Promise (of sorts)

So, a comment from a visitor got me thinking a while back. He was lamenting the lack of dates on the articles on LoveThatBarbecue, like so many other sites on the internet. At first I dismissed his complaint without much of a thought. I mean, I saw his point, but I didn’t really see his point. But then, later that week when I was searching for some reviews for some new hiking boots, I found myself checking the date of the article. And that’s when it hit me that this reader who took time out of their busy day to leave a comment about my little ‘ol website was right and I was a big jerk for blowing him off. I’ll say it again – he was right. He was researching information for a purchase of an expensive grill and my article, while helpful in some ways, could have been seriously out of date which may have left him with an overpriced grill that wasn’t worth what he paid for it. I am ashamed to say I have been neglecting this site for some time now.


As the owner of this site, putting up the date of publication of the article is a Catch 22. I run this site because I love barbecue and want to help and interact with others who do as well. However I am not the most prolific writer and there will be weeks sometimes even a month or so when I do not post articles. My concern is that people will see this lack of posting as evidence that the site is dead or I have stopped trying or caring. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s just that sometimes other things in life take over. Also, in the winter months, there are only so many “thinking of barbecue” topics I can honestly write about without making it filler just for filler’s sake. Which I don’t want to do. My goal is for this site to be all killer and no filler. Which I’m sure is probably more than I have done so far.

Now, the first step is to change the date structure. Dates are added, but only to the month and year level. This will let people know roughly when it was written without me feeling super pressured to keep writing every day or every week. Second step is to try and redesign the site somewhat and restructure some things to make it look a little less messy. Hopefully if you’re reading this and you say to yourself “The site looks fine” then I’ve already finished my work. Third step is to start pumping out awesome article after awesome article. Which, being dead in the middle of a beautiful spring and heading into the peak barbecuing season of summer, should be pretty easy to do.

So thanks to the visitor who slapped me on the back of my head. It was a welcome and much-needed wakeup call. Hopefully those who have visited the site will come back. Maybe even be inclined to send me emails or submit comments on the site. Bookmarks are good, links are nice, too. I may even, gasp, branch out into the social media aspect of the internet. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Thank You.
LTB

 

PS – The reader’s name was Pete and his comment was on this article. Unfortunately, me being me, I deleted it before it really sank in. If you’re reading this, sorry Pete. If you’re not Pete – I promise that I will do my level best to not delete comments that I think are helpful to other readers.

Some Tips On Outdoor Kitchens To Consider Before You Buy

Outdoor kitchens can be a great addition to an existing home, or an interesting development in one being built.  Typically built in areas of nicer weather year-round, they can be built anywhere a person loves barbecue, grilling or cooking and entertaining outdoors.

The first consideration in building an outdoor kitchen is whether or not you will continue to cook outdoors to justify the expense.  In all honesty, if you like grilling and do it a few times a month, it really will end up being a big waste of money.  Outdoor kitchens are not cheap, beginning at around 5,000 dollars on the low end and running up into 50,000 dollars and beyond for the extravagant ones.  If you enjoy cooking outdoors and want to build something, maybe a nice deck with a new barbecue would be the best choice.  Cheaper than a full outdoor kitchen, the deck could add value to your home and be the starting point if, a couple years down the road, you decide you really do want to build an outdoor kitchen.

However, if you realize that you are barbecuing and grilling several times a week or more all summer long, try to grill as much as the weather will allow during the spring and fall, and even brave the cold weather for a few barbecues during the winter, an outdoor kitchen might be just the right addition to your home.  Although adapted from the Mediterranean region of Europe, they can be built in any part of the country where people love cooking and entertaining outdoors.


At its most basic, outdoor kitchens are a place to grill with a place to store the stuff you use when grilling.  Of course, just this small definition could be used to spend a lot of money if you go all out.  Functional and serviceable outdoor grills for permanent installation can be found in the 500 to 1,000 dollar range, but it doesn’t take much to find them ranging up in the 5,000 dollar range, or even more.  Add in some custom counter space and cabinets and you’re talking about a 10,000 outdoor kitchen – one that has just a grill and nothing more.  Add a refrigerator, a sink, more storage, table and chairs, a pergola, some more outdoor kitchen appliances, maybe some custom lighting, and soon, you’re in the 30,000 dollar plus range.

However, if you stick to the less expensive grills, don’t opt for custom cabinets, find your outdoor kitchen plans for free on the internet, do some of the work yourself, choose things that are on sale, and realize that you don’t have to build the entire thing at once, your costs will be much lower.  Most projections for lower-end outdoor kitchens will come in around 3,000 dollars, however, in reality, 5,000 dollars is a more realistic budget.  Buying used equipment and having friends help with the work can bring these estimates down somewhat.  Just make sure to do everything by the book and up to code for your area.  One of the great things about outdoor kitchens is their ability to add value to the house if and when you decide to sell.  A hastily slapped together one with multiple code violations and safety hazards will do the opposite.

Outdoor kitchens can be great as centers for not only cooking delicious food, but wonderful memories of time spent with family and friends as well.  If you really think an outdoor kitchen is right for you, take some time to look around on the Internet for outdoor kitchen plans and outdoor kitchen ideas before jumping in with both feet.  Talk to people you might know who already have outdoor kitchens to gauge their feelings.  We here at Love That Barbecue love outdoor kitchens.  They are great social and culinary hubs for the family.  However, they are not right for everyone and every location.  We hate to see people spend a bunch of money on something that isn’t a good fit for themselves or their situations.  So take a good hard look at your personal situation before going too far and building an outdoor kitchen when you may not really need or want one.  You might save yourself a lot of frustration and expense in the long run.

However, if after exploring outdoor kitchens, you truly think that is exactly what you need to do, then have at it.  Our experiences with outdoor kitchens have been overwhelmingly positive and the people we know who have built them after much consideration absolutely love them and wouldn’t consider living without them.

Buying A Weber Grill Cover For Your Grill

So you’ve got your new Weber grill and you’ve got your new grill accessories and you’re ready for everything.  You’re ready to start cooking and making some great food and great memories.  But do you have your grill cover.  Wait, you didn’t buy a Weber grill cover?  Well, you need to, and sooner rather than later.


A Weber grill cover is exactly what it sounds like – it is a cover for your Weber grill, whether gas grill or charcoal grill, it doesn’t matter, you need to get a bbq cover for it.  Why? Think of all the rain.  And snow.  And ice.  And dew.  And humidity.  And bird droppings.  And insect droppings.  And slug trails.  And snail trails.  And every bit of wet thing falling on your beautiful fire-offering and food-giving grill.  Slowly and irrevocable damaging and eating away at your grill.  Piece by piece by piece.  Get the picture?  Stainless steel rusts.  Aluminum corrodes.  Unless you have a grill made from either gold or titanium you need to be getting a grill cover for it.

So you’re sold, a grill cover is in your near future.  What do you buy?  Well, if you have a Weber gas grill, then we highly recommend getting a Weber grill cover.  Made for your grill and most likely your grill alone.  It will fit better and be easier to get off and on than grill covers from other manufacturers.

The only possible exception is for the Weber grill covers that have ventilation holes in them or have cut-outs for the sides or trays.  The entire purpose of grill covers is to protect the grill inside and that cannot be done if there are holes or ways for water or the elements to get inside.

If the grill cover that Weber offers for your model of grill comes with ventilation holes or cut-outs, and honestly not many do, it would be best to avoid them.

But if you don’t get a Weber grill cover, what do you buy?  Well, you can go with the generic, ill-fitting option, you can go even worse and just use a tarp, or you can go the best route and buy yourself a custom-made grill cover.  A custom grill cover?  Surely that’s expensive, isn’t it?  Not as much as you might think.  Of course you can find expensive ones, but there are reasonably priced ones available.  For example, Mel over at Mel’s BBQ Grill Covers sells a variety of grill covers that come in generic sizes that run from small for a grill 50 inches wide, 41 inches tall and 24 inches deep up to the large which runs 78 inches wide by 60 inches tall and 28 inches deep.  Prices depend on size and, oddly enough, color with black being the most expensive and gray and sandstone being the same price.  How much different?  About 15 dollars regardless of size.  The small black one is 50 bucks while the small grey or sandstone is 37.  Honestly, the Love That Barbecue staff appreciates the color options and would buy either the grey or the sandstone over the black.  Also, shipping runs 15 bucks, although these things are heavy, some as much as 20 pounds, so it’s not unreasonable.  In fact, these aren’t all that much more expensive than the bbq covers that Weber makes.  I bet if you contact Mel he’d make a custom fitting one for your personal grill.  Just a hunch, though.

If you’ve bothered to spend any money at all on your Weber gas grill or charcoal grill, then you owe it to yourself to buy a Weber grill cover.  You just need to get something over your grill to keep it safe and functioning.  If you love that barbecue, you’ll cover it up.