Aftermarket Burner Comparison

Ed Pinnell

TVWBB All-Star
I bought a replacement burner for my Q 120 and was disappointed in the operation...it was hard to light and, at the lowest heat setting, was too easy for parts of the flame to be extinguished. I compared it with the Weber burner it was replacing and noticed several significant differences, so I thought that I would compare the larger Genesis 1xxx-5xxx burners with aftermarket. Keep in mind that Weber parts are engineered...aftermarket parts are reverse engineered from Weber parts with enough changes to avoid copyright infringement.

The first difference is the venturi area. The aftermarket, a $15 Stanbroil set, is at the top, Weber at the bottom. Notice the Weber venturi is longer and smoother.

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The Stanbroil venturi Is not formed well and is a good bit shorter. What does the venturi do? The gas, as it exits the orifice, passes through the venturi and creates a pressure drop, which sucks in oxygen through the air intake behind it. Inadequate mixing with oxygen can lead to weather-related ignition problems (see flammability limits below) and incomplete combustion. Longer and smoother is better. Here is an illustration:

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picture taken from https://www.semanticscholar.org/

LPG will only ignite at a specific concentration (flammability limit)... the lower flammability limit is 1.81% and the upper flammability limit is 8.86%. Anything outside of those limits won't burn, and that's why complete mixing with oxygen is important, especially when trying to light a burner when the air is cold, damp and heavy.

Ok, 2nd area of difference is in the burner jets (holes). Here are the differences (again, Stanbroil at the top, Weber at the bottom). Notice the aftermarket manufacturers favor larger jets but fewer of them, possibly to avoid infringement. I'm not going to take the time to do the math here, but my experience with the Q 120 burner is that, if you count up the open area that the burner jets present to the gas mixture, larger/fewer jets have more open area. (And it does add up! With the Q 120 I counted 178 burner jets at about 0.045" diameter for a total opening of 25 square inches, and that's not counting the 2 slot jets). What does that mean? Well, as I've said before, pressure and flow run counter to each other...that is, where you have pressure you have no flow, and where you have flow you have no pressure. So the pressure within the burner is limited by how much gas can squeeze through the orifice. The gas mixes with oxygen, expanding at the same time, and tries to exit through the gas jets. If you have more open area for the gas mix to escape, the gas pressure within the burner will drop. A drop in burner pressure means the flames won't "stand" away from the burner as much, and will be more easily extinguished by a gust of wind at the low end of things, and could lead to the burner getting hotter at the high end.

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Lastly, there is a big difference in crossover tubes. Here is the comparison (again, Stanbroil at the top):

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The Stanbroil is punched, again larger holes and fewer of them. The Weber's, and this is interesting to me, are actually louvers! There is no material removed, only deformed to the inside where they act like air scoops. Now why would they do that? Probably because it works better.

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(I tried to get a good picture of the inside of the tube but my phone kept auto-focusing on another area).

I can understand rehabbers changing out burners as part of the rehabbing processs for the sake of appearance, but for the guys who are building the keepers, the original Weber parts are superior to the aftermarket, and I wouldn't be so hasty to put an inferior product in its place. It costs more for a quality product. Just my $.02.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Ed, I definitely appreciate your careful comparison and presentation of the technical aspects behind this. I think this warrants a more thorough review as there are numerous import replacement for the Genesis (and Q grills for that matter). For example, I have had very good success with Qlimetal products, including burners. I felt theirs seemed to work great - more than good enough for my own grills. But, without a careful comparison that is just an opinion based on limited observation.

I guess I have had a negative feeling about Weber burners when they went from 304 to cheaper stainless. I can see paying a good bit more for identifiable quality (such as BBQParts.com or "rcplanebuyer" grates) but paying a lot higher price for the same grade stainless as the cheap imports doesn't sit well with me. However, you have pointed out some other areas to be concerned about. It would be really helpful if we could have a comparison like my "Stainless Rod Grate Throwdown" from last year. Not me, that was a pretty costly undertaking, and another comparison like that will have to await me getting settled from my traumatic move and the costs associated with it.

One last comment: I bought a couple burners for Q200/2000 grills that featured the round holes vs. Weber's slots. In my own limited observation, the round holes seemed to produce a BETTER flame than the Weber originals. :unsure:
 

_Branden_

TVWBB Fan
One thing I've noticed with the cheaper non Weber burners I've used in Genesis grills is they don't like to run well with the valves on full low.
 

Ed Pinnell

TVWBB All-Star
I want to add that the smaller the burner, the more critical the burner design becomes.
Ed, I definitely appreciate your careful comparison and presentation of the technical aspects behind this. I think this warrants a more thorough review as there are numerous import replacement for the Genesis (and Q grills for that matter). For example, I have had very good success with Qlimetal products, including burners. I felt theirs seemed to work great - more than good enough for my own grills. But, without a careful comparison that is just an opinion based on limited observation.
Thanks, Jon! I wish I knew more about burner design and had adequate measuring tools for gas concentration, gas distribution and burner temperature...I'm sure there are a lot of compromises when it comes to engineering burners. And if you are happy with your Qlimetal burners and they are working great for you, that's really all that matters.
I guess I have had a negative feeling about Weber burners when they went from 304 to cheaper stainless. I can see paying a good bit more for identifiable quality (such as BBQParts.com or "rcplanebuyer" grates) but paying a lot higher price for the same grade stainless as the cheap imports doesn't sit well with me.
It's our thirst for cheap goods that drive the market more than anything else. You are sophisticated enough to know the distinction and are willing to spend the money, but most people just push the grills out to the curb and buy new. Then the rehabbers come along and try to get the best value for the money on parts to keep the resale price down so they are not in the market for a 304 burner, either. Eventually the 304s go away from lack of sales...not a big enough market. It's not Weber's doing, it's ours.
However, you have pointed out some other areas to be concerned about. It would be really helpful if we could have a comparison like my "Stainless Rod Grate Throwdown" from last year. Not me, that was a pretty costly undertaking, and another comparison like that will have to await me getting settled from my traumatic move and the costs associated with it.
Yeah, I'm not going do that, either...people are still going to buy the cheapest product and call it good enough. I just don't understand why people automatically replace burners when they aren't having burner issues, as if the cheap imports are better than OEM burners.
One last comment: I bought a couple burners for Q200/2000 grills that featured the round holes vs. Weber's slots. In my own limited observation, the round holes seemed to produce a BETTER flame than the Weber originals. :unsure:
Well, if you could only quantify and qualify that somehow, to show that it truly is better, but a lot of times it's better because we expect it to be better. Night time pictures of the flames, especially if you have decent photographic equipment, is about the best we can do to compare, or maybe grate temps and heat distribution. Again, if you are happy with your purchase, though, that's all that matters.
 
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LMichaels

TVWBB Olympian
Too much model stuff being blended between the Q forum and regular grill forums. See my comparison for my Q320 burners which are being returned on the Q forum
 

Ed Pinnell

TVWBB All-Star
I'm not trying to bump this, but I received a set of OnlyFire burners today, bought on sale last week. They are identical to the Stanbroil. I am convinced that these burners, all of them, come from the same Chinese source(s) and are sold under different names. Whether you like them or you don't like them, don't be fooled into thinking one brand is any better than another...they are all the same.

If I am wrong, prove it.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I suspect you are right to an extent. It is true of some of the aftermarket grates, but definitely not all. Some Chinese ones are much better than others as shown in my review of last year.

I would love to take this project on, but no time and I am already overspent on grill stuff for quite a while. Just ask my wife!!!
 

Ed Pinnell

TVWBB All-Star
I suspect you are right to an extent. It is true of some of the aftermarket grates, but definitely not all. Some Chinese ones are much better than others as shown in my review of last year.

I would love to take this project on, but no time and I am already overspent on grill stuff for quite a while. Just ask my wife!!!
If we all just pooled what we know about aftermarket burners and grates, what works and what doesn't, come up with an established way to objectively determine which is better and why, the time and money would be spread out among us all, and we could all benefit from it as new products move in and out of the market. I see this as an ongoing community project.

EDIT: Much respect and admiration, Jon. Your tackling the review of grates...what a resource for all of us to have. Thanks many times over!
 

LMichaels

TVWBB Olympian
I think the biggest issue is not whether OnlyFire, StanBroil, Qulimetal, etc are better than each other. I have said for a VERY long time they are all most likely coming out of one or 2 factories in China and sold through different marketing companies. It's the lack of consistency that is at issue. Odds are you can buy 4 sets of whichever you want and 50% of them may work and the other 50 may not. I also would not be surprised if Weber's own OEM ones came out of the same factories. Just with tighter QC and the seconds get sold through these other outlets
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I have always suspected that my Walmart “Ozark” stainless large travel cups are made in the same factory as Yeti’s. I have seen comparison tests done in my old Florida hot sun with no difference in ice retention.

While the shared factory idea probably has a lot of truth, I still have to say that there is a huge difference in quality between Qlimetal or Midwest Forge vs. Hisencn and some other low-ball grates. You can see that in my review from last year. I don’t know if this carries over to burners.

Maybe as a start why don’t we compile a list of the Genesis x000 and Silver/Gold burners that are out there and people are interested in? I would be willing to do say three and maybe someone else do similarly. I am thinking of using an agreed upon format along the lines of what I did for the grates but augmented with pictures. If some of us would collaborate on this we could put together a helpful, objective analysis.

I would be interested in doing three x000 burners. I will do a little looking around and come back with some possibilities.
 

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