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Weber Grill Buying Guide: Finding The Perfect Backyard Grill

With winter in the rearview mirror, it's time to get back to everyone's favorite season: grilling season.

Welcome Grilling Season Back with Weber Grills

Sub-freezing temperatures are (hopefully) in the rearview mirror for the time being as we move into what is undoubtedly America's favorite time of the year: grilling season. Some may call it "summer", but grilling season is a little more flexible. While waterpark belly flops and camping trips to your local state park require some serious forethought and travel, you can find grilling season in your backyard at a moment's notice. All you need is a proper grill that fits your barbecue style.
That's easier said than done. Ever since man first cooked food over fire, we've been revolutionizing and re-making the process of barbecue. The American concept of grilling has been built upon the bedrock of cheeseburgers and hotdogs—all smoked on Weber grills.
Weber grill with food grilling
Created over 60 years ago in Chicago, IL, the first kettle grill was made for covered cooking and smoky flavor. With a lid covering the smoking briquettes, fiery foods no longer lost moisture and flavor as they cooked. That made for charred bites cooked the best way, and meant to be enjoyed out in the summer sun.
While Weber grills are still cooking strong today, it's not 1960 anymore. The market is saturated with grilling contraptions, from electric cookers to wood pellet smokers. If your finger isn't on the pulse of everything barbecue, it's tough to know which grill would fit your backyard cooking style best. Whether you're a beginner in the world of barbecue or have been smoking meats for decades, the original American brand has the next backyard cooker you're looking for. Explore our Weber Grills Buying Guide below to learn more.

The Classic Charcoal Grill

This backyard barbecue is the one that launched the entire Weber grills brand. Back in 1956, founder George Stephen was frustrated with the popularity of the brazier grill, an uncovered charcoal appliance that allowed in water and had no protection from gusty flare-ups. An employee at what was then called Weber Brothers Metalworks, George Stephen took a closer look at the round metal buoys that bobbed on Lake Michigan and knew he had an idea that would change grilling for good. He sliced the sphere in half, filled it with charcoal, and added a lid and legs—successfully making the world's first charcoal kettle grill. The no-frills Original Kettle's design remains largely unchanged to this day, apart from added culinary conveniences like ash disposers.
Weber Original Kettle Grill

Original Kettle Grill

While the global company has since turned its attention to making newer barbecues with fun features like infrared rotisseries, buyers still love the original charcoal kettle grill. It's even taken its rightful place as their logo. So the question remains—why are charcoal Weber grills still so popular today?
They're durable, economical, and bring an absurd amount of flavor to anything you cook on them. Charcoal tends to burn hotter than gas, too, making these briquette BBQs ideal for grillers who are after those high heat sear marks. But the number one reason people still pursue charcoal Weber grills decades after their inception is that unbeatable smoky flavor. Often imitated but never duplicated, there's no way an electric or gas fuel can reproduce the taste of smoke incarnate. The updated Weber Original Kettle Premium version is available in a range of colors including red, green, and copper.
Weber Performer Deluxe

Weber Performer Deluxe

Meanwhile, incarnations like the Performer Deluxe incorporate conveniences like charcoal storage, a grill cart, and built-in timer. The same buoy-like shape and cooking methods are just as effective here on the Performer, but what truly sells the machine is its simple ignition process. The Touch-N-Go gas ignition system uses propane fuel to light your briquettes. That way you can spend more time barbecuing and less time trying to build tinder piles underneath your steaks. The Performer Deluxe comes in colors like red, green, copper, and classic black.
Weber Summit Kamado Charcoal Grill

Summit Kamado

Kamado grills are based on the Japanese term "mushikamado", a semi-mobile cooker originally designed for steaming rice, grilling, and smoking. In the US, this double-walled cooker has taken off thanks to its innate insulating properties. The Summit Kamado pushes the boundaries of what a Kamado grill can be, acting as a slow-cooker for brisket one night, then putting out high-heat seared steaks for lunch the next day. Thanks to the Summit Kamado's lower airflow levels, food stays more moist than it would in a classic charcoal grill. This type of cooker also comes as a Summit Kamado grill center.
Weber Smokey Mountain Weber Smoker

Smokey Mountain Weber Smoker

Charcoal isn't just for grilling. The Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker is a "low-and-slow" type cooker that's great for those who are interested in exploring the world of smoked foods. With two cooking areas and a familiar fuel source, many backyard barbecuers feel right at home when they use one of these Weber grills for the first time. Warm charcoal sits below a pan of water, and the steam-filled smoky container heats any meats inside. Smoke hams, turkeys, briskets, and roasts. Comes in 14", 18", and 22 inch diameter sizes.

Gas Weber Grills

While charcoal cookers have dominated in flavor for decades, versions fueled by liquid propane and natural gas take the gold standard in usability and flexibility. Whether you're exploring liquid propane or natural gas Weber grills, both fuel types heat up quickly and are relatively easy to use. That being said, there's a very broad range of gas Weber grills with three main tiers. Within each tier are dozens of models with small differences like extra burners, added side tables, and other features. Our barbecue experts break this broad category down for you below.
Weber Spirit Natural Gas Grill

Spirit

Sometimes referred to as the brand's entry-level grill, the Spirit is the most affordable member of their triad of gas grills. Whether your Spirit runs on natural gas from your home or a tank of liquid propane, they all function with the GS4 grilling system. GS4 begins with a push-button ignition that lets you light the entire grill from the first burner. Also included in the GS4 upgrade are improved burner tubes for a more even heat, as well as the brand's signature flavorizer bars. You can find the GS4 system in both the Spirit II and Genesis II line of barbecues.
When it comes to exciting add-ons, the Spirit sometimes outstrips its charcoal competitors. Each Spirit has side tables, while some fold down or conceal a hidden burner. Meanwhile, storage compartments within the cart make the perfect place to stash grilling accessories and propane tanks. The Spirit comes in multiple models, with different numbers of burners, colors, and other features.
Weber Genesis Natural Gas Grill

Genesis

If the Spirit is entry-level, the Genesis line is a cut above. The "middle child" of the gas Weber grills, these barbecues throw in a few extra features with every more innovative model. From extra warming racks to dedicated sear stations, the Genesis diversifies the different ways to use your grill. Toast buns on the warming rack while you sear steaks, then saute veggies atop your nearby side burner. The Genesis is designed to make full multi-course meals, while the Spirit is better suited to entrees or appetizers.
There are a broad variety of Genesis grills, from the stainless steel S-335 to the copper E-315. Look for all the square inches, style, and features that you need out of a grill (and exclude any that you don't).
Weber Summit Natural Gas Grill

Summit

At the top tier of gas Weber grills sits the Summit, a line of shining precision-based barbecues made for people who call themselves "grillmasters". And they're justified; each of these devices is an outdoor kitchen unto itself. Cooking zones expand from sear stations and warming racks to include foldable rotisserie cookers. Meanwhile, the boost in price means higher quality materials everywhere, from stainless steel rod grates to SnapJet individual burners. That way, you only use as many burners as you need (and save energy in the meantime).
On the Summit, extras abound. Lights hidden in the grill's handle help to illuminate your grill's surface as you flip burgers, while higher-BTU burners provide a more even heat across the board. If you're interested in throwing a little more smoke into your meals, look for a Summit with a stainless steel smoker box like the Summit S-670.

The Bottom Line: If you're looking for a Weber gas grill:

  • The Spirit is the perfect grill for those on a budget. These cookers are designed for folks who need a grill for summertime fun and love cooking entrees like burgers, steaks, and kabobs outdoors.
  • The Genesis offers more features at a moderate price. If you're interested in grilling entire meals all from your backyard, explore the fully-outfitted Genesis models.
  • If you're ready to make a serious investment in a barbecue, The Summit is the model for you. These models are for those looking to flex their grilling muscles, and who want to experience everything that outdoor cooking has to offer.
Weber Wood Pellet Grill

Wood Pellet Smokers

One of the newest devices on the barbecue scene, Weber wood pellet smokers use flavorful fuel to do it all—they can cook fatty roasts low-and-slow for optimal flavor, or heat up sausages and cheeseburgers quickly for a fast weeknight dinner. The Smokefire Series uses neither gas nor charcoal, instead burning compacted wood pellets in flavors like mesquite, apple, and cherry. Users fill the grill's fuel compartment with their preferred wood, then wait for the grill to heat up. Each Smokefire can reach temperatures anywhere between 200-600°.
Dry heat and wood flavor differentiate wood pellet smokers from charcoal water smokers like the Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker. For more about the basics of this trending type of backyard barbecue, check out our guide on Wood Pellet Grilling.
Weber Portable Grills

Portable Grills

Summer is the best time of the year for outdoor adventures like RV trips, camping, and tailgating. Unfortunately, it's not always possible to hook your stay-at-home grill to the tow hitch at the back of your car and drive off. Between bumpy roads and outdoor weather conditions, towable barbecues often end up being more trouble than they're worth.
That's why Weber engineers have spent years refining their line of portable barbecues to take on your outdoor adventures. When choosing one of these, keep in mind that portable Weber grills are not "one size fits all" devices, and each one can't perform every single task one might need from a take-anywhere barbecue. Different sizes, fuel types, and aesthetics can make one model perfect for some situations, and the wrong choice for another. Make sure you explore different options and pick the one that's best for your needs.
Weber Q 1200 Portable Grill

The Classic Q Series & More: Versatile Liquid Propane

The most iconic of the portable Weber grills, the Q series compresses the design of the original kettle into a flattened shape not unlike its namesake, the letter "Q". These beloved mini-grills have been around for years and were designed to fit the lives of grillers on the go. Whether you're flipping burgers from a condo balcony or a beachside getaway, the Q was made for flexible fun.
That being said, there are tons of barbecues in the Q series with a variety of features. Some are made with fold-out wings—the perfect spot to keep seasonings and small grill utensils at the ready. Meanwhile, other Q models are made to maximize space, sacrificing fold-out tables for extra square inches of grilling room. Larger families and party hosts may prefer these high-capacity Weber grills instead. Meanwhile, other options come with colorful lids in vibrant hues like bright blue, green, maroon, and orange. Perfect for tailgaters hoping to match their team color, these colorful Q1200s will be the envy of everyone in the parking lot (along with your signature stuffed cheeseburgers). If you're not a fan of the Q series, check out some of their newer offerings like the Weber Traveler. This collapsible BBQ on wheels includes its own cart as well as a built-in side table perfect for holding a small cutting board or other gear like knives and spatulas.
The downsides of the Q series? There aren't a whole lot of cons, making them some of the most popular Weber grills ever. But if you are a nitpicker, they're a little awkward to pick up, and you'd need both hands to do so. Plus, they bear any burdens of a full-size liquid propane grill, like a reliance on cans of propane and the risk of running out of fuel in the middle of a cooking session.

The Electric Q Series: Plug-In and Grill

Bearing a striking resemblance to their gas-fueled counterparts, the electric-powered Q grills bring a shocking new element to the roster of portable Weber grills: a cord. Fueled by electricity instead of charcoal or propane, the electric Weber grills may be a bit less portable than their gas-fueled brethren. These models are designed to go places that real fire is not allowed, like condo balconies and apartment porches. With no ignition or flame, these Weber grills allow the grillmaster without a backyard to barbecue their favorites like saucy ribs, smoky sausages, and kabobs—all without fire.
These stylish gray Weber grills might prove more portable than you'd imagine, too. While you certainly can't plug them into a sandy beach or the mud on a multi-mile hike, more and more commonly used grilling sites are equipped with electrical outlets. Many campgrounds provide electrical hookups for those who travel by RV, and some stadium tailgate spots are equipped with them as well. Make sure you do your research before loading your electrical grill into the back of your pickup truck and heading off to the big game.

Charcoal Portable Grilling: High Heat on the Road

Now this is what portable grilling is all about. At least that's what grilling purists like to say as they're trying their best to light the charcoal as it starts to drizzle. But it's true that cooking with electricity or liquid propane can't impart the same smokiness you could get from cooking over charcoal briquettes. Whether you're heading out into the forest or to the beach, portable charcoal Weber grills manage to bring big flavor along for the ride.
Versions like the Smokey Joe and Go Anywhere grill prioritize a light porcelain-enameled body that holds burning briquettes, giving grillers the high temperatures perfect for searing proteins like burgers, steaks, and chicken. The Smokey Joe is essentially a shrunk-down kettle version, complete with a bowl-shaped frame and lid. Meanwhile, the Go Anywhere is a more compact box-like body and fold-out legs. Wherever you go, pick the one that's best for your budget and your situation, and keep in mind that you'll be bringing along a bag of charcoal (or two) and that some parks and beaches do not allow charcoal grilling.

Maintenance and Accessories: How to Get the Most From Weber Grills

Whether you've picked out a full-size six-burner Summit grill or are opting for a more portable charcoal Smokey Joe, it's important to take care of your barbecue. Weber grills are designed to last for years as long as they're well maintained. Take steps to keep your barbecue in fighting form by cleaning it after each grill session with a stiff grill brush. Once the grate cools down (but is still warm) scrub off any food particles that cling to the barbecue.
Experts suggest you do a stronger deep cleaning for a gas grill every 3-6 months. Disconnect your gas tank before scraping off as much debris as you can reach, then use a large, abrasive sponge to scrub both sides of the grates. Spray with grate cleaner and continue to scrub until grates are clean. Do the same with the cookbox, removing any remaining food or grease off with a plastic scraper. Avoid getting the burner tubes wet throughout this process. Once dry, put your grill back together.
Finally, ensure Weber grills stay protected from the elements with a grill cover designed specifically for your make and model. These weather-resistant fabrics help to keep rain and snow off your barbecue. Heavy-duty UV-inhibiting materials help to keep your machine's finish from fading in the sunlight, wind, snow, or rain. And with head-to-toe coverage and fastening straps, your device will be covered all over. That helps to deter critters from coming over in search of any leftover cheeseburgers or ribs. Whether you pick from the wide variety of gas Weber grills or their iconic kettle barbecue, protect it for years to come with a heavy-duty cover.

Help & Support

If you're still not quite sure which of the Weber grills would be best for your lifestyle, check out our Outdoor Grill Buying Guide. Here, you'll learn more about the different fuel types available, and you can take a peek inside a grill's construction. Learn about materials, burners, grates, igniters, and more. Alternatively, give our experts a call at 800-860-3577 for more personalized help. A discussion with our barbecue specialists will help you to figure out which of these Weber grills is best for your home. We'll help you get it installed in time for grilling season so you can focus on the important stuff (like lounging in a hammock until dinnertime).

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