Are Weber Grills Worth the Money?


 

Bruce

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Weight? While aluminum is less dense than steel, a thin piece of steel is likely less in weight than a 1/4" of Aluminum.
Space? I don't know how they are packaged, but are the all steel grills able to be packaged into smaller boxes since the cook box isn't one solid piece? I know some of those big Summits would take a Stove sized box without the cook box being disassembled?
Also, are you sure the cost of a cast aluminum box isn't more expensive that a fabricated steel sheet box?
Maybe there is a perception that the old aluminum cook boxes are for cheaper/lower quality grills?

I don't know, just throwing things out there?
 

Garth C

TVWBB Super Fan
Maybe Weber isn't 5x better than the competition it was in 80s and 90s, but it's still at least 2x better right now. I think the thought process is that being that far ahead of others in the price to value ratio wasn't making them as profitable as they could be.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Olympian
I think one big reason Weber uses partial steel on the Summits is to create the option for a infrared burner on the back. Depending on the model they can interchange different back pieces without having to make an entirely separate firebox. In my opinion this is really unfortunate. The old Summit Platinum with its stainless frame and cabinetry would have been the perfect large grill were it not for the steel firebox pieces. That grill was also realistic in terms of size and not excessively complex. The current one is an enormous beast with a lot of things to keep working. I am sure it is great when new but not easy to rebuild as I am finding out the hard way.
 

Greg M

TVWBB All-Star
I would like to see an actual cost comparison is sheet metal vs cast aluminium. Aluminum as a raw material may be cheaper. But that doesn't mean it's actually cheaper in the final finished manufactured product.

If cast aluminium is really cheaper and the other manufacturers like charbroil, kenmore, members mark, etc all choose not to go that route - the question is why not? The only answer would be planned obsolescence. They don't want a grill that lasts decades for obvious reasons.

Despite suggestions to the contrary I think it's obvious that an aluminum firebox is far superior to sheet metal. And the firebox is really the heart of a gas grill. Most of us prize durability and that ain't a grill with sheet metal in the firebox. Weber isn't pristine in this either. If they tried hard enough I'm sure they could have figured out some way to make a better firebox on their summit grills.

The other quality option is stainless (for the firebox). Below is a discussion of cast aluminium vs stainless for that application. But sadly when I've looked at grills at my local big box stores I didn't see any with that feature (stainless). All thin sheet metal except for cast aluminium on the Weber genesis, weber spirit and broil king grills.

https://barbecuesgalore.ca/blogs/gotta-have-it/cast-aluminum-fireboxes
 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
It's not just a material thing. It's also the tooling, finishing and handling processes. Casting a piece is quite inexpensive (I only know this stuff because of things I learned from my dad), but a simple rough casting i.e. that Genesis cook box would be far more expensive to make out of separate pieces of sheet metal (any metal) due simplyto all the tooling costs, than all the handling and finishing costs and finally assembly costs. Which is what is so puzzling about Weber and their weird production. Another weird thing is on the Summit models it's only the front portion of the cook box that rusts out never the rear portion. Why? I can't figure it out. As for rusted out other brands. I owned a MM grill and the fire box DID NOT rust out. Oddly it was the upper rear part where the IR burner was located that went bad and the pieces that carried the burners and served as quasi "crossover" channels. But the cook box was solid as a rock. My friend also had a CharBroil (not the newer True IR type) and even though the burners went "bad" on his too. The cook box itself was trouble free (far more trouble free than my $2000 Summit!) though his grease tray rusted out (but so did one on my old Genesis), and the cabinet rusted out on his.
BTW there are simple high end grills with very heavy cast aluminum fire boxes still made. Check out a BroilMaster. Made right here in Bellevue IL and built like tanks. PGS and another brand I cannot remember are also made with very heavy cast aluminum one of the other brands again right here in IL near Waukegan IL All of them bringing back what most of you here all lament about Weber. Simple, VERY ruggedly built, easy to maintain and from personal knowledge I can tell you (at least in the case of BroilMaster) those castings are 3x heavier and thicker than even the old Genesis line.
The big advantage cast aluminum has over (sheet metal whichever metal) is they tend to hold heat and redistribute that heat (radiate) it around the internal area. It will also hold quite a lot (similar to cast iron). Again I can attest to this from the BroilMaster I had. That thing would stay hot LONG after the gas was shut off
So yes there are definite advantages to using the cast cook box both in cost and efficiency.
 

Greg M

TVWBB All-Star
Lmichaels I had forgotten I saw a fairly cheap broilmaster grill a couple of years ago at my local Lowe's. I did notice the firebox and lid were entirely aluminium. I have no doubt those parts would last. But sadly the rest of the grill didn't measure up. The grates were extremely cheap chromed wire. And the burner material looked paper thin. Still those are replaceable parts so that humble little grill might be a better choice than a similarly priced but flashier $150 to $200 char broil or kenmore.

That does lead credence to the possibility that cast aluminium is cheaper or at least as cheap to manufacture as sheet metal. Which leads to the question of why don't all manufacturers use it? Including Weber in the summit.

I think maybe in our current disposable society most people just don't care. And it's in the manufacturers best interest to have their grills wear out in a few years.
 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
If you saw a REAL BroilMaster grill with parts like that in it than someone put them there. True BM grills come with either VERY heavy gauge stainless grates or VERY heavy cast iron with porcelain coating and their burners are heavy gauge stainless steel. So someone put that crap in there as aftermarket since you can buy junk aftermarket parts for them
 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
BroilMaster grills are pretty high end and are typically only found at better grill dealers and garden centers, same with PGS and MHP are just some of the products
 

Greg M

TVWBB All-Star
BroilMaster grills are pretty high end and are typically only found at better grill dealers and garden centers, same with PGS and MHP are just some of the products

Yes I've seen them at our local grill dealer. They aren't much to look at. At least the ones I saw several years ago. But they do look like they will last. It was that very grill dealer that first clued me in on the importance of cast aluminum vs sheet metal several years ago.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Olympian
Don't sell them short until you try one. For a lowly looking grill they perform amazingly

Larry,
Have you had that opportunity? I was looking over the Broil King website and I agree that they look to be in a whole different league well above the big box NexCharWhatever grills. Made in North America and seem to be a worthy Weber competitor in terms of price and features. I wish I could try one for myself. As to looks, the current models are ok but not as stylish as current Webers (or even some of their cheap competition). Still, how they grill is the real thing followed by how they last. I would like to know more.
 

Greg M

TVWBB All-Star
John I think you are confusing broil master with broil king? Broil king is also a quality grill. Made in North America and widely available in most Lowe's and home depots. Broilmaster is usually only seen online and in dedicated outdoor/grilling specialty stores.

Broil king is interesting. They look well made. But I really don't like their extensive use of lower grade stainless for the hood and side tables of all their grills. That stuff is generally durable but looks horrible as it ages on exterior parts.
 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Jon yes I did. I used to have one of these
285kw1.jpg
Some folks I know gave me theirs when they were escaping IL. I rehabbed it with the newer style SS grates and new ceramics along with new burners. All courtesy of BroilMaster. The grate design on the premium series is interesting. They call it the waterfall design. It allows you to set either one or both of the grates at either low med or high above the heating elements for different types of cooking giving a little more flexibility to it's very simple and rugged design. The castings are WAY heavier than a Weber (even a vaunted old style Genesis) and once they get hot the body of the grill radiates all that heat all around the food you're cooking
I sold it because I just flat out had too many grills on my deck (I was up to 4 IIRC) and there was no place to just sit on the deck LOL.
But yes I have owned and cooked on a BroilMaster. Outstanding and well made product
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Olympian
John I think you are confusing broil master with broil king? Broil king is also a quality grill. Made in North America and widely available in most Lowe's and home depots. Broilmaster is usually only seen online and in dedicated outdoor/grilling specialty stores.

Broil king is interesting. They look well made. But I really don't like their extensive use of lower grade stainless for the hood and side tables of all their grills. That stuff is generally durable but looks horrible as it ages on exterior parts.

Greg,

Thanks for pointing that out! I will check out the Broil Master site. I thought I had seen a Broil King at Lowes one time, but what I saw was not nearly as nice as the ones on their website. Their better ones looked like a better choice than most of the chinajunk grills they carry. Maybe not cheap enough for their interest?
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Olympian
Broil Master grill

I had a brief opportunity to check out Broil MASTER grills online:

2ibdf6u.jpg


Sort of reminded me of a Weber Q3200XL if you will allow.

This grill was conceived in an alternate anti-universe from the one that came up with the NexGrill Evolution we chatted about last month:

v6kkqs.jpg


The Nexgrill is flashy, ultramodern, lots of features, multi-burner, flimsy and inexpensive.

The Broil Master is plane Jane, old-fashioned, simple, one burner (split), basic featured, very rugged and quite expensive.

I mention the Q3200 in comparison because of the aluminum construction and the burner setup. The Broil Master’s burner at first glance looks like a 1970s ultra cheap grill design:

2yladz7.jpg


However, I believe them when they extol it’s quality and can see how it would give a very even heat distribution. The big Q tries to do similarly by augmenting the effective ‘q’ shaped burner with a second straight middle burner.

I wish I could have the chance to use one of these grills like Larry has. Certainly looks like what many of us do seem to pine for in terms of simple construction and durability. And based on Larry’s experience also a great grilling machine. I guess I am priced out, but I might add Broil Master to my trolling CL and OfferUp to see if any ever show up!
 
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LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I think you'd be surprised. I can also tell you that they can (if you want) get HOT. I mean damn scary hot. So if searing something is your want oh yeah like instant. But the gas valves are made to also get REALLY low so that thing can go from a meat sauna to OMG hot and everything in between. Another feature I liked is the top rack is an extendable stainless steel design. They have a couple different designs built on the same body too. The one with control knobs close together uses the bowtie burner. They have another with wide control spacing and uses either 2 loop shaped burners or IR burners or a combination. IMO that one would be the "holy grail" of BroilMaster finds
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Olympian
Uh-oh, lol.

Already added to my search list;)! Way too expensive for me to buy new, but maybe someday someone will be discarding one and not know what they have.

My wife was just saying she would like another grill on the deck, preferably with a fixed mounting post:rolleyes:! (I also have some high and dry developable land here in South Florida I can sell you:eek:!)
 
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