Getting this list whittled down to 7 models was tougher than you probably think. You’ll end up tripping over the vast number of gassers displayed at any big box store you go to, and that’s only counting the parking lot display. These selections try to touch upon a wide spectrum of prices and designs with the best breeds picked.
1) $999 3-Burner- Weber Genesis EP-330
The popularity of gas grills doesn’t get much more feverish than with the USA made Weber Genesis. Aside from its superficial appeal, the Genesis is known for their performance and solid construction. It’s a grill people will invest in later on in life.
The EP-330 features a side burner and sear burner. The side burners are not too exciting, although for searing steaks- the more sizzle the better. This cooker’s appeal and versatility is really bumped up by the sear burner.
Think again if you’re going to pick up an EP model at your local hardware store as they’re only being sold by patio dealers and independent hearth (update: Amazon.com is currently offering it for cheap). Seeking out one of these is worth it because, with a couple significant upgrades, the EPs are less like other members in the Genesis family with flavorizer bars and stainless steel, long lasting rod grates.
Genesis EP-330 vs Napoleon Prestige
Assuming you’ve narrowed down your shopping to the Napoleon Prestige P500 and the Genesis EP-330 based on your research and the sexiness of these two grills, you’re looking at justifying a price gap of $550-$600. (I would have included the Napoleon Prestige P500 in this list had it not been for its price, but otherwise it’s definitely top 10 material.)
With Napoleon, the stainless steel it’s made with is 304 grade, and the EP-330 has one less burner (3 versus Napoleon’s 4 burners).
What you don’t get with the Weber is the rotisserie rear infrared burner (found in the Napoleon). Upping your budget to $1,800 or more will get you that feature in Weber’s Summit 470 series.
Take the Weber S-330, for example. It costs around this much, and the (optional) rotisserie is not included ($100 extra), nor a side burner and infrared rear burner. With a Napoleon P500RSIB at around $400 more, you get the rotisserie, rear burner, and infrared side burner. Plus, the $1250 P500RB comes with the rotisserie and infrared rear burner, but you’ll be missing the side burner. So, the Weber S-330 and the additional accessory (rotisserie) is just $200 less than a P500RB.
How I take it, you’re better off going for the P500RB or the P500RSIB for $400 more ($200 at the low end) for just those options (assuming those costs to be MSRP).
2) $799- Napoleon Legend LA300
Although it’s rare to see sightings of Napoleon below the border of Canada, they churn out some quality grill pieces and are basically Canada’s response to Weber. The Legend LA300 is a part of Napoleon’s mid-range, mid-size gas grills. A cook box in stainless steel, side shelves, doors, and cart with a steel lid of heavy gauge.
Characteristic of Napoleon, the Wave Cooking Grids in the LA300 are cast iron porcelain coated which will footprint your steaks with classic sear marks, cool curved. This grill is good looking and is about $200 less than the list price of the comparable Weber Genesis. Both of course with stainless steel.
3) 3-Burner- Weber Spirit E-310
There must be good reason why the Broil-King and Char-Broil grills above cost very little in comparison to the Weber Spirit? Because when it comes to backyard grills, Weber represents the gold standard. Their construction, design, customer support, and warranty are hard to beat. For the majority of Weber users, this is something they all know of already. More is willing to be spent by future owners to see their grill with the Weber logo edged in and you’re almost never going to see them disappointed.
Spirit is the entry level line of Weber’s gas grills. Made within the Chinese border. Its redesign in 2013 saw some major upgrades that brought a familiarity to the performance and features of Weber’s more sophisticated line of grills- the Genesis. The burner, defined by a fashionably old layout, was reconfigured (a significant change).
The direction the burners connected used to be left to right with the right side shelf sporting control knobs. The date of new model’s burners is brought up to more current standards; directionally, they connect from front to back and the front panel situating control knobs. Not only is this a setup more appropriate for 2-zone cooking, but it eliminates the right side shelf, lending room for cutting boards, beverages, and bowls.
One feature that was nice of Weber to slip in is the LP tank, in-cart fuel gauge which is an indicator of the approximate level of fuel (going by weight). Read the full review here.
4) $499- Broil King Baron 440
The escalating relationship between Broil King and Lowe’s leaves us with a line of top notch gas grills that go head-to-head with the lovely Webers to households across America. The Baron 440s are sized well with a slick look packing a 4-burner with Dual Tube (BK patented) Burners that are set up in a way to level out the pressure of gas from back to front and allow a temperature that’s consistent along the cooking surface.
There’s also the deep cook box and the high hood. This design is believed by many to be ideal for large turkeys and roasts. North America is where Broil Kings are made with the USA and Canada assigned to share its production.
Their Baron 340 is a bit cheaper (but one less burner).
5) Char-Broil Black 3-Burner/Commercial Stainless Gas Grill- $399
Redesigned in 2015, these infrared grills are an exclusive of Lowe’s with a newly featured gauge for the fuel level and upgraded grates. Infrared heat is described by its radiant heat with a high, intense temperature, but the Char-Broil Commercial line has the option to turn back the dial for slow and low roasting as well.
Char-Broil’s cooking grates in their Commercial grills are cast iron, resting just above radiant (stainless steel) plates that follow the entire area of the grill. The direct flame coming below from the gas burners remains almost unexposed, and the food’s moisture is ultimately spared from what might otherwise be dried up by the overexposure of convectional, hot air heat. So, you’re left free of flare-ups and your meats stay juicy.
Since there’s under an inch of space between the cooking surface and the radiant plates, you can get some next-level searing. The cooking surface: Cleaning it is going to be a bit different because marinades and juices don’t trickle down and sizzle away; they’re collected by the radiant plates within the grate’s inner channels. This is addressed by Char-Broil with a scraper included (similar to a fork). One of the perks this design adds is low consumption of fuel.
Despite the output burner not emitting quite as high of BTUs, the radiant plates do get boldly hot.
Image by ddqhu- CC BY-SA 2.0 license
Featured img: CC BY-SA 2.0