After doing a complete research on BBQ grills, I bought the Weber Genesis E-320. I checked Epinions first (of course) but there was only one review. Consumer Reports rated it #1, but did not give it a best buy, probably because the retail price was too high at the time it was rated (they showed $700, but you can get it for $550-600).
Recommend this product?
I almost went for one of the many stainless steel grills rated by Consumer Reports as a "best buy", but then came across About.com where they have great info on grills and said that grills that look and cook great out of the box won't hold up unless they're built solid. Do not be fooled by the cool looking stainless steel, it won't hold up and will look and perform like trash in no time - unless you spend big bucks.
I choose the Weber because:
1) it is robot welded, not the cheaper/will fall apart soon type spot welds found in all of the others in this price range.
2) the thing is solid. Rock and roll any of the cheaper bbqs and you'll see the difference.
3) the grates are heavy duty, not cheap throw aways.
4) the Weber is thought out and well designed. As an example, the dripping tray is solid and slides out. It also converges into a small tray that holds a throw-away aluminum insert. Sweet!
5) Weber will be around if and when any parts are needed, are the others? Don't think so. And Weber has 24/7 support (kinda excessive but nice to know)
6) It doesn't have tons of cheap/flimsy stainless that will discolor and warp in a short time
7) and finally, its AMERICAN MADE in a state-of the art factory. Makes me proud to buy a top notch American produce AND support the USA!
Putting it Together
Putting this together was fairly straight forward. Even though I'd rather have a root canal than put anything together, and Home Depot will put it together for you, I wanted to know that every nut and bolt was accounted for. Also, it travels better in the factory box than when it has already been put together. In assembling this grill you will really see the solid design of the frame, etc. especially if you've really checked out the competition.
Wow! My last grill was a used Fire Magic that probably sold for $2-3 thousand and finally rusted out. And before that, a series of no-name bbqs that would end up in the trash. The Weber heats up QUICK and cooked everything evenly. MUCH better than all of the others I have ever used before. It helps to have a temp gauge to know when its ready, and keep the temp at a reasonable level. Grilling on the Weber Genesis just feels like your using professional equipment.
I bought this at BBQs Galore for $550, compared to $600 at Home Depot (our Home Depot puts it together for you). The one at Home Depot does come with a side burner that I don't need and looks like it would get in the way of the rotissary that I plan to add later. I also purchased the Weber cover that goes with this model for $50 at Home Depot - it fits like a glove and looks great.
3 Month Update/Call For Service
The Weber wouldn't fire up, so I called their 800 support number and quickly got an actual person (on Saturday!) that was really friendly, knowledgeable, and actually from this country. After identifying the problem Weber shipped (next day delivery)a new regulator to replaced the one that had malfunctioned. I was dissappointed in the failure, but very impressed with the easy to get to support. Also, because I was having people over and needed to BBQ, I borrowed my neighbors BBQ and now REALLY appreciate the quality of the Genesis even more! This incident did not cause me to downgrade my rating.
I cooked a turkey in the Weber with a smoker that I also bought for $10 + wood chips. It was easy to cook, as the thing cooks so evenly and you can monitor the temp. It was heaven! Have also cooked everything from steaks to shesh kabobs - all easy to cook and perfect.
TWO YEARS LATER
All is still great with my Weber. The battery leaked in the automatic starter so it stopped working. I called customer service and (again) they answered the phone quickly and were very friendly/helpful. Within 2 business days, I had received a new starter. They even included a new battery!
My brother also bought one of these from Home Depot about the same time I did (without knowing it). He and I have become a West Coast mini-fan club. When it came time for to buy a new BBQ grill as a gift for our parents last week, we got them a Weber Genesis.
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Amount Paid (US$): 550