Pricewise: Gas Grills
TOH readers told us outdoor cookers were on their wish list for summer, so we smoked out two impressive midsize models. Here's how they stack up
Summer means dining outdoors, one hand wrapped around a cold drink and the other hovering over a sizzling grill. Small wonder that when we posted a poll on Facebook for our reader-created issue, more than half of TOH readers said they were looking to get their mitts on the right grill. We homed in on two gas models sized just right for hosting a crowd or whipping up breakfast, lunch, and dinner during a kitchen renovation. Both performed well in a test just short of a Bobby Flay smackdown. The big-ticket grill proved more substantial and less prone to flare-ups; the lower-priced one preheated quickly and kept an even heat. Read on for more differences.
Weber Genesis-310 three-burner propane grill
Is it for you?
If you are willing to pay for a handsome, heavy-duty high performer with a long life expectancy.
Weight: 180 pounds
Primary cooking area: 507 square inches"
Warranty: 10 years for burners; 5 to 25 years for most other parts
About $650, Weber
Heavy-duty stainless-steel burners are protected by "flavorizer bars," which vaporize cooking juices and create smoke for extra flavor. Bars and cast-iron grate both have a porcelain-enamel finish.
Porcelain-enameled steel inside and out with aluminum end caps and handle; built-in temperature gauge. The 11-inch-high interior holds a hinged warming shelf.
Two stainless-steel side shelves with cast-aluminum caps.
A single electronic igniter lights all three burners. A twist of the knobs offers precision flame control.
High-grade steel painted with a polyurethane enamel to resist rust and pitting. Handles and trim are stainless steel. The cart encloses the tank and has a built-in fuel gauge. Two resin swivel casters in back and two locking ones in front make moving and parking a breeze.
Char-Broil Commercial Series four-burner propane grill
Is it for you?
If you are okay with a lighter-weight grill that offers good value (and a bonus side burner) but isn't as likely to endure.
Weight: 165 pounds
Primary cooking area: 500 square inches"
Warranty: Lifetime for burners; 1 to 2 years for most other parts
About $300, Char-Broil
Lighter-weight stainless-steel burners are capped by tented flame-tamers to discourage flare-ups and distribute heat evenly. Cast-iron grate preheats fast and retains heat; it's porcelain coated to resist rust.
Solid stainless steel resists rust; built-in temperature gauge. The 10-inch-high interior holds a hinged warming shelf.
Stainless-steel side shelves; one has a high-BTU side burner to handle sauces and extras—helpful if you are renovating and have no kitchen.
Each burner has its own electronic igniter, which means you can still grill if one igniter breaks. Three flame settings: low, medium, and high.
Painted steel, which tends to show scratches and wear, with stainless-steel handles. The tank is hidden inside; a fuel gauge is sold separately. Four plastic swivel casters, with locking ones in back, make this grill harder to maneuver and park.