The best time to buy a grill
When is the best time to buy a grill?
Conventional wisdom holds that you should buy seasonal appliances in the off-season, but this advice assumes the most important factor in your decision is price — and it might not be. When it comes to grills, depending on your priorities, you may want to buy earlier in the season, especially if you haven’t nailed down what type of grill you want yet.
Before you buy
Gas vs. charcoal
When considering what type of grill to buy, think about what you like to cook and the amount of time it takes to grill with charcoal. While most agree charcoal produces a superior flavor, it does require a little more advanced planning than simply turning a knob as you do with a gas grill.
The most popular choice for home grilling, gas grills are convenient but do require refilling propane tanks in most cases. (Some natural gas grills use a dedicated natural gas line, eliminating the need for refilling tanks.)
On the other hand, charcoal is inexpensive and available almost everywhere. Some people are intimidated to start a fire with charcoal, but with some newspaper and an inexpensive chimney starter, you can light your charcoal and start grilling in no time.
Other types of grills
Beyond gas and charcoal, specialty grills like ceramic Kamado grills and pellet grills offer other features.
With 884 square inches of cooking area, the Trager pellet grill and smoker allows you to set a specific temperature and walk away, knowing the grill is maintaining that temperature within 15 degrees. Another plus is not having to deal with charcoal or propane. The grill dispenses pellets of hardwood as needed (this runs on electricity and requires an outlet).
When to find the best grill selection
If you're looking to buy a grill and want to be able to compare models in person to make your decision, then the best time of year is March through Memorial Day. As the weather warms and people start to gear up for the summer, grill models come out onto the sales floor and the selection is best.
Maybe you’ve only used a gas grill but want to try smoking with charcoal and aren’t sure whether to go with a traditional charcoal grill or a ceramic Kamado grill. Or you might have trouble visualizing the available cooking area from dimensions provided in online specs and want to compare the grates of several grills quickly.
If you find this type of comparison shopping helpful or just want a variety to choose from, spring is the best time to buy. Also, if you don't own a grill, buying a grill early in the spring/summer will set you up to cook outdoors for the season, and may be worth paying full price.
When to find the best prices
If you already have a grill that you're looking to replace, and price is your top concern, consider holding off on buying a new grill until late summer.
Sales on grills usually start around Fourth of July (a peak time for barbecues). Prices start to go down in August and more sharply in September as the weather cools off. If you’re looking for a bargain, you probably won’t beat prices in September.
While the selection can be a bit thinner, you may be able to snag a floor model at a significant discount, as retailers are looking to clear space for other seasonal and holiday merchandise.
Portable and camping grills are more compact and easier for retailers to store, so there are fewer seasonal swings in pricing. However, they might only be available in brick-and-mortar stores at certain times of year.
Rachel Boller is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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