The best Weber grills
Nothing says summer quite like a cookout. If you're in the market for a grill, you can't go wrong with a Weber. Ever since founder George Stephen invented the first kettle grill in 1952, Weber grills have been a staple of BBQs and picnics around the world.
Weber manufactures a wide variety of gas and charcoal grills, and narrowing your choices down to the features you want can be a challenge. This guide introduces you to some of the best Weber grills currently available, including our top pick, the six-burner Weber Summit Stainless Steel Grill, a must-have for serious grillers cooking for an audience.
Considerations when choosing Weber grills
Gas or charcoal?
This classic grilling question is the first you need to answer when buying a Weber grill. Gas offers convenience, while charcoal gives you more control over the flame since you can move coals around.
Any grill you buy should be sturdily constructed and stable for safety. A grill that is welded -- as opposed to being held together with nuts and bolts -- is usually more durable. Be sure that the grill doesn't have any sharp edges or corners. As a general rule, stainless steel will hold up better than painted metal.
The larger the cooking area, the more food you can grill at a time. If it's just the two of you, you probably won't need a massive grill. Those with large families probably need a larger cooking area. Note that a larger grill can also be more difficult to move around.
For larger grills, wheels are pretty much a necessity if you plan to move it around at all. Four wheels are better than two, and wheels on axles are sturdier than ones bolted right to the grill frame.
While not a feature of charcoal grills, gas grills are all about the number of burners. Burners on a gas grill usually run two to six; the more burners, the more heat you have and the more food you can cook. Side burners are also built into some grills. These allow you to cook side dishes such as beans at the same time you're grilling.
For a gas grill, you should have controls for adjusting every burner on the grill. Some have LED lighting built into them so you can grill at night.
Igniters to light the grill can be found on both gas and charcoal grills. Electronic igniters are both easier to use and more reliable.
Weber grills can vary considerably in price, from the $200 to $300 range for basic models, to high-end models selling for $2,500 or more. You pay for more burners, a larger cooking surface, and advanced features such as a smoker box or rotisserie.
Q. What's the difference between liquid propane and natural gas?
A. One difference is convenience. If you already have natural gas running into your home, buying a natural gas grill is obvious. You can tap right into your natural gas line and never run out of fuel or need to run to the store like you do with liquid propane. Natural gas can also be safer, although it doesn't produce as much heat as propane.
Q. Can these grills also smoke meats?
A. Unless the grill ships with a special smoke box, generally not. Smokers use a low, slow heat to cook meat, whereas a grill is hotter for searing meat. However, a dedicated smoker box that sits on the grill can be used to smoke meats and other foods.
Weber grills we recommend
Best of the best: Weber Summit Stainless Steel Grill
Our take: Take your grilling to the next level with this high-end model that features a large cooking surface.
What we like: The 693 square inch cooking surface is powered by six burners. Includes a stainless steel smoker box and a rotisserie. Available for liquid propane or natural gas.
What we dislike: Costs considerably more than other Weber grills. Large cooking area is overkill for casual grillers.
Best bang for your buck: Weber Spirit II Gas Grill
Our take: A solid family grill that offers an impressive feature set for the price.
What we like: Your choice of liquid propane or natural gas. Available in several colors. Three burners, with 529 square inches of cooking surface. Features an Infinity ignition system.
What we dislike: Can be difficult to move around due to it only having two wheels.
Choice 3: Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
Our take: For those who swear by charcoal, this grill offers a quality build at a decent price.
What we like: 363 square inch cooking area. Affordable. Easy to clean with removable ash catcher. Extras include an LCD cook timer and a built-in thermometer. Electronic Touch-N-Go ignition.
What we dislike: The ignition system here uses propane capsules, which can be hard to find.
Rich Gray 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. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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