At BBQ Depot, we prefer to sell US made grills but we do sell some brands that are imported. Blaze, DCS, and even Weber grills (at least in part) are being made overseas these days. We also sell more than a dozen brands that are manufactured right here in the United States of America.
Given that we’re an American company, we might be a teeny tiny bit biased, but we love helping people find an American-made grill that suits their needs. We take pride in knowing that we’re supporting other American companies, and that our customers are getting high quality products that they’ll love for years to come.
Sometimes though, our customers ask us if there’s really any benefit to ordering American-made grills as opposed to ones manufactured overseas, or by brands based overseas.
There are many advantages to purchasing American-made grills that extend beyond the convenience that doing so can provide and the high quality of the products. Some of the incentives run far deeper than that.
Here are some of the more important reasons we love buying American.
If you’re in the United States already, it should go without saying that it will take less time to get to you than they would if they had to be shipped overseas. California to Florida will always take less time than China to Florida. Geographically, there’s just less space to cover. But right now, as the world is trying to find a new sense of normalcy, shipping times (and manufacturing supplies) are even more varied than they have been in the past.
Because each country (and regions within each country) are struggling to return to normal, we’re seeing shipping times, raw materials and product components cover a huge dynamic range.
First of all, there are still restrictions in some areas regarding the number of people who can be in any given space at the same time. Second, most industries are backed up because of difficulty getting raw materials. And none of that even accounts for hold-ups at customs.
Third, when importing products you have to meet MOQ's (Minimum Order Quantities). These minimums can hold up shipments for months especially when many company's presale some of the inventory they are importing.
At the very beginning, shipping containers leaving China were severely delayed because everything was shutting down in an effort to contain the damage. This lasted for weeks, and similar shutdowns happened across the world after that. Italy was completely closed for months because the number of people infected was extremely high.
This had a ripple effect across the world, as China exports a significant amount of product in many different industries. But when China began opening up again, the rest of the world was beginning to shut down, which led to delays on the receiving end of shipping.
At one point, shipping containers were stalled out at ports in California, just waiting to be unloaded by dock workers who were also being restricted because of local guidelines. The backlog has been worked through and things seem to be better, but the delays caused major issues worldwide.
Rising costs, limited and delayed component parts and materials, reduced labor force and freight difficulties have made business as usual nearly impossible.
Flash forward over one year later and the global supply chain is essentially limping across the finish line.
And of course, demand for products related to home improvement has skyrocketed. With people sitting (and working) at home, staring at the same walls every day for weeks and months on end, homeowners were itching to make improvements that they’d been putting off, or simply hadn’t had time to deal with.
It’s a simple matter of economics at this point — demand has been higher than supply, which has depleted the supply and led to a shortage. This isn’t just in finished products, but also in raw materials (which has also driven the price for raw materials upward, but that’s a discussion for a different day).
No matter how closely you maintain your grill, it will eventually need replacement parts. Anything you use on a regular basis will start to show signs of wear and tear at some point. And for grills, this is even more apparent because of the severe temperature swings the product has to undergo. Parts that frequently need replacing are ignition, grease (drip) trays and briquette trays or heat plates (this is because of the direct fire underneath and the grease, juices and sauces from above). Pretty much every day people call us asking for grease trays for their grills. When the grills are imported this part is almost impossible to find.
Metal (typically steel, whether it’s a stainless steel or porcelain coated steel) holds temperature rather effectively. If you live in a climate where it gets cold in the winter, your grill could end up sitting outside during temperatures that go well below freezing.
Some people put their grills in a garage or storage shed for the winter to protect it from the worst of the weather, but it’s still colder there than it would be in your house — and not many homeowners are jumping at the idea to store a grill in their garages.
The garage or the storage shed might be 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), and when you’re ready to break out the grill, it might be about 60 degrees (15 degrees Celsius) outside (the northerners get really excited for warmer weather in the spring — they’ll also be wearing shorts while grilling in the 60-degree weather).
Once the grill is fired up, the temperature can be upwards of 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius). This is a major temperature difference and at some point, even the more durable of grill components will need maintenance or replacement.
Charcoal grills tend to be pretty low maintenance in terms of components that can wear out, but they’re also messier. Some people have no desire to deal with the black chunks of charcoal, the chimney, the paper, starting the fire, etc.
Many people — especially those who are building outdoor kitchens — want the convenience of gas grills. They can be built in, so they aren’t taking up empty patio space, they are sleek and modern, and much quicker to get started.
But they’re also higher maintenance. There are so many moving parts — the igniter, the gas valve, thermocouple, the knobs, and any other bells and whistles your grill came with. Some have a rotisserie spit, which requires a motor. Others have lights inside that will require functional heat-proof light bulbs.
Finding replacement parts for your American-made grill is much easier to find and attain than finding replacement parts for your grill made overseas. It can (at times) be impossible to get replacement parts for imported grills, especially if they are private labeled and the company importing the grills choose to have limited replacement part support.
With US made grills, most of the replacement parts come from the same manufacturing facilities that are building the grills all day long, with the exception of parts that come from 3rd party suppliers including : valves, ignition components and hardware.
Regardless, you can be sure that the replacement parts you’re purchasing for your grill are authentic (or manufactured exactly like the OEM) and approved for use in your specific grill. And while it may be tempting to get a cheaper part online that looks like it would work, keep in mind that grilling can be dangerous — especially if you use a gas grill. It’s best to play it safe and stick to American-made products that have been approved by each specific brand.
Plenty of high-quality products are made overseas — we’re not saying it’s not possible or even probable — but maintaining quality standards and control is more difficult when your products are being made an ocean away.
Many American companies that are manufacturing products overseas will hire local managers. They might send someone over from the company to get things started, but then hire locally so their employee can go home. Even if they do keep someone from headquarters in the area, that person isn’t likely to be the one on the floor watching workers, or doing quality checks before shipments are loaded.
When Twin Eagles was first founded, manufacturing was actually done in China. That seems so bizarre now — knowing that Twin Eagles is an American-made grill brand and has been for so long — but it’s true.
Twin Eagles founder Dante Cantel found that the grills being made in China weren’t up to his standards. Although it was likely a major pain to switch manufacturers so soon after starting, he moved the entire operation to California so he could monitor the manufacturing process more closely, and check product before it was shipped out.
Since then, Twin Eagles has remained in California and now operates out of a state-of-the-art facility. The quality assurance team actually has a 22-point inspection process to make sure that critical components of each grill are functioning properly before it gets ready for shipment.
Cantel even started a second brand called Delta Heat, which offers gorgeous products and the same groundbreaking innovation as the parent company, but at a more affordable price point. Unlike some brands that allow the quality of their less expensive products to fall by the wayside, Delta Heat grills are just as durable, reliable, and beautiful as Twin Eagles grills.
The final part of quality assurance is (unfortunately) largely out of the company’s control. Once the product is packaged and loaded onto a carrier, truck, or plane, the grill is entirely in the hands of delivery people and — to a certain extent — luck.
The shipping journey provides additional opportunities for damage. The more a package is handled, the more possibilities there are for it to fall, be dropped, have something dropped onto it, etc. Going from China to California to Florida provides many weeks worth of opportunities to damage the product you ordered.
Again, we’re not saying that it’s not possible to get high quality grills from overseas — it absolutely is possible and does happen. But buying American-made grills means that quality control is easier, and often results in more consistency.
We won’t lie and say that supporting the local (and national) economy isn’t a reason we love talking about American-made grills. It’s absolutely a factor.
When you buy an American-made grill, you’re not only supporting the economy, but you’re providing job security for your fellow Americans. On a very basic and fundamental level, job security is critical for both individuals and families.
Having a job that you can rely on keeping means that you might have the money to do things like take a vacation, buy a new car, pay for braces for your kid(s), pay for necessary medication or medical treatment, repair things that break in your home, put clothing on your kids’ backs, and even food on the table. While all of these things might sound simple, that’s not always the case.
But purchasing an American-made grill, you’re ensuring that a fellow worker in the U.S. is able to go home at night with a sense of pride because they know they’re supporting themselves and their family.
Like we said, we sell and provide maintenance for grills from over two dozen brands that are proudly manufactured right here in the U.S.A. We certainly don’t like to play favorites among grill brands, but we can tell you which ones are the most popular among our customers.
We mentioned Twin Eagles and Delta Heat earlier in large part because they’re so popular. People love how reliable these brands are, how beautiful their products are, and the selection of accessories that they manufacture to go with any sized outdoor kitchen. They also provide an excellent warranty.
Alfresco is another popular brand, as is their subsidiary Artisan. Customers like the variety within the Artisan series, which includes two different lines: Professional and American Eagle. No matter which line customers have chosen, they love the quality of the grill and the features included.
And for people looking for the best of the best, Lynx is often the answer. Not only are their grills beautifully made, but they come with one of the best warranties in the industry. Additionally, they’re lower maintenance because their intelligent design of their burners prevents the ports from getting clogged.
If you’re interested in Twin Eagles, Alfresco, or Lynx grills, check out a comparison here.
If you’re still trying to make a decision about which American-made grill you want for your patio or outdoor kitchen, we’re happy to help you find the best option for your specific needs and your budget. We have decades of experience to draw from, and we can tell you what our customers love (and also don’t love) about each brand.
If you’ve already made your decision and need help getting started, we’d love to be of assistance. Give us a call today, send us an email, or if you’re in the area, stop into our showroom. We’re looking forward to speaking with you soon!