Grill reliability is one of the most common topics our customers ask us about when they’re looking to purchase a new grill. It certainly makes sense that they’d be concerned about how long it will last (or how long should it last?), especially if you’re planning to spend a decent amount of money, or are looking to build an outdoor kitchen with matching accessories.
A grill is an investment in the same way an appliance is — you’re spending money on something that you’re hoping will last with relatively minor maintenance. This is especially true when building an outdoor kitchen. You do not want to have to replace your grill. Finding a replacement can be a daunting task especially if the brand you chose is out of business or no longer supporting your grill. The built in grill market greatly differs from indoor appliances. With an indoor appliance, a 30" stove is the same no matter which brand you choose. This is not the case in the outdoor appliance industry. For example, the overall with may be the same amongst the various brands what differs is the cutout which is essential for building in your grill. The width, depth and heights all differ with each manufacturer. So with this, you want to be sure to choose a long lasting manufacturer.
The short answer to how long your grill will last is somewhere between 2 to 25 years or more. We know, we know — that’s a pretty broad range. There are alot of reasons why one grill may only last 2 years and another over 25 years. There are a lot of questions that range brings up, and we want to help you answer them. Something everyone wants to know is how to get as much bang for their grilling buck as possible, which is perfectly understandable.
How long your grill will last depend on a lot of factors coming from a lot of different sources. Starting all the way from where your grill was manufactured, what kind of grill you have, how often you use it, and how well you take care of it. We’ll get into all of this and more, and tips for extending the life of your grill.
When we ask what kind of grill you have, we’re not necessarily talking about the brand (though that can play a part, depending on the materials and quality level of individual components that each brand uses).
The main answer we’re looking for here is: do you have a charcoal or gas grill?
The reason this is important is because gas grills simply have more moving, or functional components. Charcoal grills require maintenance for sure, but in general, they have fewer components that need attention on a regular basis.
Maintaining a charcoal grill is just simpler, which means that people are more likely to actually do it — or even if they don’t, the grill will probably survive a few years (or more). Furthermore, they don’t require many replacement parts, since it’s just the physical metal frame, the grate you cook on, trays that hold the charcoal, handles, and maybe wheels.
With gas grills, you’re talking about igniters, gas valves, knobs, interior lights, exterior lights (sometimes included in the knobs for easy evening grilling), drip trays, burners, and then of course the physical firebox (casing) of the grill.
Given all of these components, it’s easy to get annoyed or impatient and simply not do the suggested maintenance. Or only do it once per season.
While it’s most important to do a complete cleaning at the beginning and the end of each season, you should still be doing checkups throughout. Not only does it improve grill reliability, but it extends the life of your grill, and it keeps you and your family safe.
Whether we like it or not, a large portion of grill reliability is how well you’re taking care of it. (We know, it can be tedious and frustrating.)
Regardless of the type of grill you’re using, they all need some TLC (tender loving care, for those who don’t remember). It’s easy to think of your grill as a self-cleaning oven — you’re cooking at such hot temperatures that things kind of just cook off, right?
To some extent, that’s true — bacteria shouldn’t be hanging around, but it can. Think of the care and maintenance of your grill in the same way that you clean your cooking utensils in your regular kitchen. You wouldn’t use a bowl that had raw chicken marinating in it to serve your potato salad — at least not without thoroughly washing it first.
You have to remember that when you’re working with fire and food, you’re running the risk of unintentional fire (such as from grease or fat buildup). Both fire and food leave behind remnants that need to be scraped off and disposed of. Over time, food and char can get caked onto grates, which can fall down into the grill and get stuck.
Furthermore, grills are typically stored outside, which leaves them open to the possibility of insects and tiny critters. Even when grills are stored in sheds or garages, they’re exposed to more bugs than would be in our homes.
Grill covers can be good and bad, regardless if your grill is built-in or freestanding. The good is that it helps keep water out of the components, in addition to stopping harsh weather from directly pelting your grill. It can also help deter critters from getting into your grill because lifting the cover or hood will be more difficult. The bad is that it can trap moisture causing mold growth in the grill. It is a good idea to remove the cover after a rainstorm to allow the grill to dry out and not trap the moisture.
Speaking of critters, sometimes very small ones (like spiders) can get into the tiny crevices of your gas grill. Spiders like to make their way in the venturi tubes and cast webs which can interfere in the gas flow to the grill. If you haven’t used your grill for a while — say, after a long winter — it’s a good idea to do a thorough inspection and cleaning to get anything out of there that may have tried to seek shelter in the cold.
Of course how often you use your grill will play a part in how long it lasts. If your grilling season only lasts from April to October (if you’re feeling adventurous) and you use it once per week, your grill may last closer to 15 years — provided that you’re taking good care of it in between uses. Those that are lucky to grill all year long will need to do alot more maintenance (cleaning) to get their grill parts to last!
It’s important to note that using your grill less often doesn’t necessarily mean that it will last longer. If you let the grill sit for weeks on end and you don’t clean it before using it, you may find that it’s less reliable. Letting the grease sit on your heat disbursement system for months on end will eat through the metal (regardless of type) and cause these parts to virtually disintegrate. Also, keeping the port holes around your grill burner will greatly extend its lifespan. It is a good idea, every year, to spray some lubricant around your gas valve stems. You do this by removing your control knobs and spraying the lubricant around the stems. This will keep them from seizing.
Corroded burners or rusted parts do not mean your grill needs to be replaced, but it does mean those parts need to be replaced. We can help you find the parts you need easily so you can extend the life of your grill. But if you don’t open it up to clean and maintain it, you may just think that the grill is broken and that you need a new one.
If you live in warmer climates that make weekly or biweekly grilling easier, you may find that your grill lives somewhere in the middle of the range. (Again, provided that you’re cleaning and maintaining it properly.)
The more you use it, the more wear and tear it will endure, which means the maintenance is even more critical. Checking individual components for grime and keeping them as clean as possible will help them last longer, which will extend the overall lifespan of your grill.
Even so, we’d recommend a thorough cleaning every so often. Set a reminder on your phone or in your calendar to do a deep clean once every month or two — whatever you feel makes sense for how often you use it.
If you’re the type of person who grills almost everything and uses their grill multiple times per week, you should expect your grill to end up on the shorter end of that estimated lifespan. As always, taking good care of the grill will extend its life, but the more you use it, the faster it will wear out.
First and foremost, extending the life of your grill depends on maintaining it according to the brand’s instructions, at the very least. Be sure to thoroughly read the instructions that came with your grill, as they will be the most accurate and specific to your grill type and brand.
Second, be sure to regularly clean your grill. We have step-by-step instructions for cleaning your gas grill here, but again you should always read the instructions that came with your grill from the manufacturer to catch any idiosyncrasies or special instructions.
In fact, doing so is essential to keeping your grill’s warranty intact. If a component of your grill that is typically under warranty breaks because you have not properly maintained it, your warranty request for a replacement part may be denied.
A simple way to extend the life of your grill is to maintain it according to manufacturer instructions. Doing this can literally be the difference between the parts in your grill lasting 5 years or 15.
Another is to replace the parts according to manufacturer instructions. Parts are recommended to be replaced on a wear-and-tear scenario — when you notice something looking a certain way, you know it’s time to be replaced. For example, when you see the tiny portholes around your burner breaking into a larger hole, it is time to replace your burner or if you have a porcelain coated cooking grate and the porcelain has chipped causing the grate to get rust, you do not want to grill on a rusty grate.
And finally, make sure you’re doing maintenance regularly, and not just whenever you think about it or you feel like it. Many manufacturers recommend that you run through a maintenance and inspection checklist before you light up the grill each and every time you plan to use it. Again, this may seem tedious, but it’s a surefire (no pun intended) way to extend the life of your grill.
It’s important to make sure that burners are clean and that grime isn’t building up. Any time you’re dealing with fire — especially gas — you’re running the risk of a grease fire if you’re not properly cleaning the cooking surface or the heat disbursement parts as well as making sure the lines are clear.
Regardless of the type of grill you have, you need to keep the cooking grates clean. Traditionally, people use steel wire brushes, but there’s always the risk that the wire will get stuck to the grate and end up in your food. This could become a medical emergency, fast. As a result, many companies have been developing alternatives.
Many of these options include steel coils instead of bristles. Some are made with nylon and polyester. Others are made from bamboo or wood. Even the nylon brushes that still have bristles manufacture them in bright colors so they’re easy to find if they fall off and get stuck on or in food.
Every grill we sell at BBQ Depot comes with some kind of warranty. Most of them feature a step-down model where nearly everything is covered for the first year or two. These parts are generally ignition and electrical components such as lights. After that, certain parts are covered for a period of time, and in some cases, there is a limited lifetime warranty on specific parts of your grill.
It’s important to read the warranty information ahead of time so you can make the most out of it, but also some warranties specifically exclude lack of maintenance or harsh weather conditions. If your grill is damaged because of yo failed to clean it or severely neglected it, your warranty may not cover it.
This isn’t necessarily a reason people choose one brand over another, but sometimes it is. Our local customers in south Florida are acutely aware of the possibility for severe weather. Depending on the customer, they may choose a brand with a warranty that accounts for such things, or they may just plan on purchasing a new grill more often.
Some of the best grill warranties we’ve seen are from brands such as Lynx, Twin Eagles, Delta Heat (a Twin Eagles subsidiary), MHP and Napoleon. If you have questions regarding specific brands’ warranties, we’re happy to look into that for you.
With decades of experience between us here at BBQ Depot, we’re confident that we can help you find exactly what you’re looking for in a grill or outdoor kitchen. Each person’s situation is unique, and we’re happy to help you find the solution that works best for you and your family.
We can walk you through options, advise you on grill reliability and warranties, and when the time comes, even fulfill your service orders. Our team is made up of experts in grill mechanics, troubleshooting, and maintenance, so even after you purchase your grill, we can be of service to you.
If you live near our showroom, we’d love to meet you in person, but you’re always welcome to call us at (877)-983-0451 or email us. We look forward to speaking with you soon!