Spring is around the corner and people are looking into buying new outdoor grills. Weber and Napoleon are two of the most popular manufactures of gas grills. They both manufacture good quality grills at prices well below a professional grill.
Updated for 2014
Weber Brothers Metal Works in Palatine, Illinois made buoys for the Coast Guard. In 1952, one of their employees George Stephen was looking for a way to grill food. He took one of the buoys and cut it in half to make one part a grill and the top part a lid. George then added a handle and legs and then poked some holes in the lid. That developed into the first grill made.
The Weber Kettle grill was born.
George Stephens, in the late 1950’s, bought the Weber Brothers Metal Works and devoted his time to manufacturing the Weber Kettle grill. Over the next 30 years, the company was selling grills throughout the country. In 1985, Weber developed a gas line of grills known as the Genesis. That was a turning point in outdoor grilling because it gives you a precise heat without flare–ups. Weber now sells grills and accessories in 30 countries around the world.
Over the last 10 years, Weber has upgraded its product quality. It is actually number one in terms of percentage of products repaired with an unbelievable 1% service rate (the average is 25%).
The Wolf Steel Ltd. Company was started by Wolfgang Schroeter in 1976 in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. They started manufacturing wood stoves which were made of solid cast iron and two glass doors. In 1981 the company developed a line called Napoleon which included Gourmet Gas Grills. The grills offered infrared grilling, which was at the time the most advanced technology in North America. The company has grown to the largest manufacturer of gas grills, gas fireplaces and stoves. They now distribute in all of North America and Canada.
Napoleon P500RB vs Weber Genesis S-330 BBQ Grills
Napoleon P500RB Prestige Series Grill – $1100
- Up to 66,000 BTU’s for fast grilling
- Up to 5 burners including the infrared burner
- 760 sq. inches of cooking
- Available in black porcelain and stainless steel finishes
- Stainless steel tube burners with crossover lighting
- Space saving LIFT EASE roll top lid
- Stainless steel side shelves with condiment trays
- Stainless steel cooking system for longer durability
- Heavy duty rotisserie kit with counter balance and 2 forks for delicious restaurant style cooking using the rear infrared burner
- Available as a natural gas or propane unit
- EASY ROLL locking casters
Weber Genesis S-330 Grill – $949
- 3 Stainless steel burners
- 7mm diameter stainless steel rod cooking grates
- Stainless steel flavorizer bars
- 38,000 BTU-per-hour input
- 12,000 BTU-per-hour input side burner
- 10,000 BTU-per-hour input sear station
- Individual electronic ignition
- 6 Tool hooks
- Owner’s guide with recipes
- Primary cooking area = 507 sq in
- Warming rack area = 130 sq in
- Total cooking area – 637 square inches
However, having cooked on both, Weber seems more even between the burners and the repair rate of 1% is amazing, truly remarkable for any cooking appliance (Napoleon is still very good at 10.3%).
For this reason, Weber may be a better choice in 2014.
Here is Chris of Yale breaking down the key features of the Weber Genesis grill.
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Neil Katz has been in appliance sales at Yale for over 25 years. Neil spends time following the Sox and Patriots and watching the stock market.