Stainless Steel Grate Throwdown Challenge Results


Jon Tofte

TVWBB Olympian
I am still hoping someday to make my first "This Old Grill" episode, but hurricane and family stuff make that unlikely for a while. So, I decided I should at least publish my findings here so that you all can review them and maybe ask some questions. I did a separate page on each set of grates. I tried to do a broad set of objective comparisons. The final analysis is obviously just my own opinion; you will probably draw some of your own differently:







Here are some comparison pictures of the three "mid-level" price contestants. I am starting with these, because I felt they would be of the most interest to a broad array of members. However, I can post additional pictures based on requests.

Here is Midwest Hearth on the left compared to Qlimetal on the right. I originally felt that the extra support bar was a positive, but I have had it pointed out that it can interfere with cleaning. I think that at over 7mm, a third support is probably not necessary. The Midwest Hearth grates are a hair longer, but maybe not enough to address the "sliding around" issue some have noted, especially with a firebox that is somewhat bowed out.


Here is the same Midwest Heart now compared to Hongso. The Hongso grates are noticeably longer and not like to slide around. They do not have the same level of fit and finish, at least in my opinion.



I hope this report will be of value as you are looking at stainless rod grate options:smilekettle:!
Excellent write up Jon. Very nice. You have me really interested in those Midwest grates. I like the idea of no center cross member. It makes cleaning them with a tool like the Chargon a ton easier. As long as they are "longer" than the Uniflasy (Hiscen) grates, then I don't think there will be an issue with bowed out cook boxes as I have never had a set of the Uniflasy actually fall in. Just close to falling in.

I think I would stick with Honsgo for flip grills as long as prices stay the same. But, I would find it hard to go with RCPlanebuyer grates at more than double what the Midwest grates cost. The Midwest grates, while not as thick of a rod, they make up for it with more rods to produce that highly sought after "small spacing" factor which for some people is critical. I own a set a RCP grates and I truly love them and I will own them probably as long as I am able to grill, but there does seem to be some nearly as good products out there for those who are price conscious. A Cadillac Escalade is great, but a Chevy Suburban will get the job done as well for a lot less.

One thing to remember on this review is that prices on these kinds of grill parts tends to vary quite a bit and quite often, so if you are planning to buy a set of grates, you should probably check for current pricing before you pull the trigger.

Thanks again Jon. I was looking for this review for quite a while and now I can be more confident in my choices for grill grates for my rehabs and otherwise. Also, thanks for the late entry of the Midwest grates. But now you need to get out there and rehab some grills to use all those grates on.

I wonder if this review could somehow be included in the Weber Parts Source Sticky????? Chris? Maybe just add it to the list of sticky thread?
Jon, that was a great comparison and very informative. Although I'm out of the flipping game due to a lack of suitable grills to flip I appreciate the information as I have a couple of gassers I want to upgrade.
Jon I know it's subjective but it would be interesting to know your ranking of these grates from best to worst.
Jon I know it's subjective but it would be interesting to know your ranking of these grates from best to worst.

I decided to not do that because I think it depends a lot on your objectives. For someone who highly values tight spacing and thick grates, it would be hard to beat Dave Santana/rcplanebuyer, but for me I think I would be potentially happier with the Summit ones of similar bar thickness but wider spacing that goes fine with what I typically grill and with my idiosyncratic love of cross hatch sear marks. Either view, I feel, is valid.

Then there is the question of value. Are Dave’s grates worth 30 bucks more than extremely nice ones? I kind of doubt it, but I know there are some others here who wouldn’t agree at all.

Taking it to the other end, are the Hisencn/Uniflasy grates junk? I don’t think so, as long as your grill has a straight firebox. At 1/4 of the price, of course they are nowhere near the quality of the high end models, but for a flip grill or a budget oriented purchase they are still better than old rusted junk grates. I would be willing to say, though, that at this price range, Hisencn beats BBQ Toro in my opinion.

In the middle of the road, I am pretty impressed with the Midwest Hearth entry. I am sure some will not give them the time of day, however, because they are 430 rather than 304 stainless. Of the mid price 304 entries, I personally like Qulimetal better than Hongso, but if your grill has some bow out, you will have a better experience with Hongso. They just don’t look as nicely finished.

I hope my adventures with buying all these grates and doing this analysis will prove beneficial in helping other members in future purchases. Bruce is absolutely right that you need to verify current prices (and availability) because that changes regularly. I am sure, too, that new options will pop up as time goes by.

I still hope to shoot some more video and pictures, but then I may offer a few of these sets for sale to members as I don’t see using all of them for grill restorations or even for my own grills.
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Jon you are right what is best does depend on what you want out of the grates and how much you want to spend.

But regardless thank you for the additional post above with some of your thoughts. It's helpful and interesting.
Jon, that's an incredibly detailed report -kudos! It would have helped my decision making for sure when I sought out grates for my lowly Silver A, but I have no regrets at all going with Dave's and they work quite well! I sprung for them as I plan on keeping it as my own everyday grill. It will be interesting to see how ss grate ratings fair for the Weber 22 kettle. Again, great job!
An over the top reporting job on those grates.

I have both RC Planebuyers as well as the QuilMetal version on two of my grills and would recommend either one but if price is no object and it's a "keeper" grill than RC Planebuyers are the absolute hands down choice.
I did luck out and get the $20 off coupon when the QuiMetal's were first introduced but even at $50 they are still a good option.

Speaking of Quilimetal. I bought three sets of Silver B flavorizer bars from them a couple months ago for my rehabs. They are listed as 16 gauge and priced right at $35. I was skeptical about them truly being 16 gauge, but I can tell you they are, even without measuring them. Another great thing is they fit perfectly. No need to bend them or anything like that. Then, the last thing to consider is what flavor of SS are they? Well, I just checked and they have NO magnetism at all. So, that is a good indicator that they are the preferred 304 stainless. I don't know what RCPlanebuyer charges for Silver B Flavorizer bars, but I can't imagine he is selling his that cheap and the Quilimetal ones are free shipping on Amazon. Oh, and to top it all off, on the set I just stuck in my latest rehab, they gave me six bars instead of 5????
I had a similar positive experience with the Qlimetal flavorizer bars in my Genesis Platinum and have another set awaiting use in a Genesis 300 grill. I really do like their company a lot. It seems like they are trying hard to make a more refined, quality product than some of their competitors.

My two suggestions for them are to lengthen their Genesis grates a quarter inch and to start offering 13-bar flavorizers. Right now, I think rcplanebuyer is still the best bet for 13-bar sets. But for Silver/Gold/Platinum my choice would be Qlimetal.