You can find cheap grills everywhere these days — from your local Home Depot to the grocery store. It’s not hard to find small outdoor gas grills on sale for under $100, and kitchen grills and ranges starting at a few hundred dollars.
High-end BBQ grills, on the other hand, are an investment, with prices in the thousands. And you can’t run down to the local hardware or department stores and pick them up — those places usually stock their own imported brands.
But while cheap grills will save you a lot of money on the initial purchase, over time high-end gas grills will more than make up for their higher price tag, giving you a better grilling experience — and saving you money.
In addition, more and more grills that are "throw-aways" are ending up in our landfills. This hazardous waste is terrible for our growing environmental issues.
Electricity can be deadly, but you never have to worry about it when you switch on a stereo or a lamp — you trust your product has been manufactured to operate safely and, in the vast majority of cases, that’s the truth.
Gas grills require the same trust. If they’re well-made and you operate them properly, you don’t have to worry. But unfortunately, many discount gas grill manufactures aren’t actually building to the safety standards their consumers rely on.
In case after case, grill recalls have shown that discount grills manufactured overseas aren’t built to the same safety standards required of American-made grills. In 2017, Saber Grills had to recall 26,500 gas grills and 3,400 parts as a result of faulty LP regulators that could cause leaks or burns.
In 2016, Masterbuilt Manufacturing recalled 41,300 Masterbuilt 7-in-1 smokers due to a gas hose that could become disconnected, potentially causing a fire, explosion or poisoning. Even the once-admired brand Weber has had issues with grills built overseas, such as a 2007 recall when the company learned that the hose feeding the side burner was breaking during shipment, causing gas leaks. All these incidents involved grills manufactured in China to cut costs.
What’s interesting about these incidents is how much they tell you about the quality of these imported grills. It’s not hard to make an LP regulator that doesn’t fail and release excess gas, or a hose that won’t break in shipping. It doesn’t require any unique technology that can only be made in America. Rather, it shows that grills manufactured overseas are often made without any regard for the safety or enjoyment of consumers. In addition, it is super hard to have quality control when you are thousands of miles from the manufacturer.
In the image above, this customer built-in a Brinkmann Grill. Faulty valves that were leaking caused a gas build up. When the grill was ignited, it caused an explosion.
Even in grills that aren’t unsafe, that lack of regard can lead to serious issues in quality and longevity. Companies whose gas grills used to last for decades are now making grills that you’re lucky to get a few seasons out of before you replace them.
Sourcing grill parts for old grills can be hard, but it’s rarely impossible. Even if the company no longer manufactures the grill, they may have surplus parts lying around, or they may even be able to stamp out new pieces from the original mold. We’ve ordered replacement parts for customers with positively ancient Weber grills before, giving them decades more life.
Surprisingly, getting replacement parts for new, imported grills is actually much harder. The grills are made cheaply, usually in China by a third party, and the vendor simply stamps their own brand name on it and sells it. As a result, the vendor generally doesn’t know where a particular grill was made, and has no way to contact the factory for replacement parts. If they can get parts, a minimum order quantity must be made then the time to get in our country can take several months.
And many parts are not offered by aftermarket companies. Usually the only parts available for gas grills is burners, heat shields, sometimes cooking grates and ignition. If you are looking for valves, manifolds or body part, those are difficult to impossible to find. That can mean having to replace a grill that’s otherwise in good condition, because one part fails.
And replacing your grill might not be your biggest cost.
If you have an outdoor kitchen, installing a gas grill can be an expensive project — in many cases, at least as costly as the grill itself. You may be cutting a hole in your kitchen counter or installing a whole new countertop to fit your new grill. Installing a high-end material like granite or marble will typically cost thousands of dollars — and that’s in addition to all the time you spend picking out materials, negotiating with contractors, dealing with the mess and disruption of a kitchen remodel.
And a bad grill can ruin the project.
The problem is, every grill model has a different footprint. That means the space you cut in your counter for your grill works only for that grill — and that grill alone. If you need to replace it in a few years, and you may have to buy a new countertop for that section or put up with an unseemly gap and a grill that doesn’t fit with your slick, new kitchen.
Buying a high-end grill that will last is also an investment in your kitchen remodeling — and in not having to go through the whole thing again in a few years.
Burners are where the magic happens. A high-quality burner gives you precise control over temperature, reliability, consistency and convenience. While low-end grills often have burners made of thin sheet metal steel that will rust (or blow out) after a few years, the burners on high-end gas grills can last for many years with basic maintenance.
High-end gas grills also have more power, which means more heat. If you like your steak rare and with that perfect seer, or fancy a little high-heat wok cooking, it’s worth the investment — you can cook well with a less powerful burner, but there are some things you’ll never get quite right.
Additionally, high-end grills have a range of burner options available to meet your exact needs. Lynx Professional Grills are a great example. Long known for their ultra-powerful 25,000 BTU cast brass burners, Lynx recently switched to state-of-the-art cordierite ceramic burners. These industrial duty burners won’t be damaged due to thermal expansion like metal burners, and are virtually invulnerable to the grease and residue that degrades metal over time.
However, consumers also have the option of having a Lynx Trident Prosear infrared burner (offered at no additional cost). The extremely high temperature offered by sear burners lets you get the perfect char on your steak, then move it to a lower temperature burner to finish cooking.
There’s nothing wrong with a solidly built, simple grill if that’s what you want. But for serious cooking nerds and grill fanatics who want all the bells and whistles, it’s worth it to spend the money on a nice grill. Some of the more basic features to look for on any high-end grill are:
Ceramic Briquettes: Grills have a range of
different kinds of heat disbursement systems, which are there to use for
spreading the heat from the flame evenly over your cooking surface. If you’ve
used low-end grills, you’re probably familiar with heat shields — the
tent-shaped piece of metal that goes over the burners in a grill.
Unfortunately, that metal is prone to rusting and wearing out quickly.
Ceramic briquettes are a better option. High end grills use these small ceramic tiles in a tray, to store and evenly spread out heat. They’re durable, they’re easy to clean, they create more even heating, and they last a long, long time.
Better Controls and Lighting: Grill control
surfaces and lighting have come a long way. For high-end grill owners, the
dingy, wobbly knobs and single, gloomy little oven light are a thing of the
past. Modern grills have innovative and attractive controls that are great for
cooking (and showing off).
Spring for a luxury grill like the Napoleon Prestige Pro and you'll get big RGB lighted control knobs. These knobs glow red as a safety feature when the burner is on, but can also be programmed in virtually limitless ways to put on a light show. The grill also has interior grill lights that shine on the system for that late night barbecue.
The idea behind these grills is simple: you buy it once, and then you maintain it for (more or less) as long as you want to own it. With high-end grills, you’re unlikely to be in a situation where you can’t repair something if it breaks. And that’s if it breaks — high-end grills tend to be built with better materials and a higher level of craftsmanship. In many cases, the grill manufacturers know that their product is going to be the centerpiece of an outdoor kitchen — and they want it to look good for a very long time.
Do I Really Need to Spend a Lot on a Grill?
Are high-end gas grills worth it? Absolutely. But do you have to spend a lot of money to cook a great steak? Of course not! The reality is, depending on what your goals are, an expensive high-end gas grill may or may not be for you.
Many US manufacturers offer "affordable luxury" lower priced lines. Take AOG (American Outdoor Grill) for example. This grill is manufactured by Firemagic. This affordable luxury line offers less bells and whistles than its parent, but gives you incredible heat and a great warranty. Other luxury manufactures have followed this trend : Artisan manufactured by Alfresco, Sedona manufactures by Lynx Professional and Delta Heat manufactured by Twin Eagles. These manufacturers wanted to provide consumers with quality, US manufactured Grills at a fraction of their higher priced lines.
If you’re looking to build the outdoor kitchen of your dreams, or you simply don’t want to have to purchase another grill for a long, long time, then going with a high-end grill (or a US manufactured Grill) might make sense for you.
On the other hand, if you don’t grill often, or if you are looking to use charcoal, then you likely don’t have to spend as much.
Still, we’d suggest reaching for a well-built grill. While that doesn’t mean spending thousands of dollars, it does mean doing your research and finding the best grill for your budget.
High-End Gas Grills Are Worth the Investment
If you’re looking for the absolute best outdoor grilling experience, there’s nothing quite like cooking on a high-end gas grill. The level of control they give you will absolutely show in your final product, regardless of if that’s perfectly cooked steak, a rotisserie chicken, or anything else you decide to toss on the heat.
The BBQ Depot is your home for high-end grills and grill replacement parts. Have a question about a grill, or need help picking one that’s right for you? Talk to our experts today by calling 1-877-983-0451 or visiting our website.by Tracy Hollander