When is the best time of year to buy a grill?

best time to buy a grillIf you happen to be reading this in the Fall, right now is the best time of year to purchase a grill.  It’s Labor Day Weekend and the end of summer means grilling season is over and most stores are eager to get all of their grills out the door.

If you are like me, you look for a high-quality grill because you take your grilling very seriously.  Personally, I’m a bit of a grilling nut.   I’ll barbeque in the rain, snow, and 100 degree heat.  I go so far as to take my grill apart and clean it piece by piece with a pressure washer every Spring.  And I’ll grill just about anything: beef, fowl, fish, vegetables and I absolutely love shellfish.   By the way, if you haven’t tried it, clams, mussels, lobsters, and shrimp are all delicious on the grill!

Shopping for a gas grill can be tough, because there are so many models and it’s hard to tell them apart.  But hopefully I can shed some light on the subject for you.  When I buy a gas grill, the most important factors I look for are a durable model with good temperature control.

What to look for in a gas grill

How to buy a barbeque grill resources like Consumer Reports and About.com do a great job explaining all of the various BBQ options, so I’m not going to repeat all that here.  I’ll just tell you my personal guidelines. As a grilling connoisseur I strongly suggest that you do not skimp on quality, but don’t worry, I’ll show you how to find a good deal too. 

  • Price: As a general rule of thumb, don’t spend more than $500 or less than $250.  You want something that’s put together well enough to last you 5-10 years, but there’s no need to overspend.
  • Extras: 99% of people will never use a rotisserie, smoker, or side burner.  Are you part of that 1% that does? If not, just avoid all the extras, they cost more money!
  • BTUs: Don’t get hung up on BTU (heat rating).  This is difficult to decipher as there are many factors that also affect heating like the size of grill and type of burners. It’s better to focus on quality and how much grilling space you think you’ll need.
  • Grates: As Consumer Reports states:

Stainless-steel and cast-iron grates are best; such grates are sturdy and resist rust. Bare cast iron is also sturdy and sears beautifully, but you have to season it with cooking oil to prevent rusting. Porcelain-coated grates are easy to clean and are rustproof–until they chip. Wide, closely spaced bars sear better than thin round rods. 

  • Igniter: Get a grill with an electric igniter.
  • Thermometer: Look for a built in thermometer because temperature is key to good grilling.  And if you find a grill you like without a thermometer, there are always attachments you can buy separately.
  • Propane Tank: Know if a propane tank is included or not.  If you have to buy  one separately, a new propane tanks costs $25-40 (and is usually $17-20 to refill).
  • Storage: Consider getting a grill with enough space underneath to store an extra propane tank.  And of course get an extra propane tank! There is nothing worse than having your tank run out while you are grilling.  Deciding to always have a spare tank handy was one of the best grilling decisions I’ve ever made.
  • No assembly required: If possible, buy a grill that’s pre-assembled. My last grill took literally 20 hours to assemble (and not cause I’m a dummy….there were just so many freakin’ parts!).  If you have to pay a little more for an assembled grill, it’s worth it.

My Brand Recommendation:  I’m a huge fan of Weber grills for even heating, durability, and dependability.  Overall, they are on the more expensive side and smaller than other equally priced grills, but great on quality. You can’t go wrong with a Weber.

How to find the best price on a gas grill

The steps to getting the best deal on a grill are the same as what I advise for just about every big purchase.  Research, decide on a model, get competitive prices, and buy.

  1. Go to a few local hardware stores (like your local Home Depot or Ace Hardware) and pick a model you like.  Just don’t buy it yet! 
  2. Go home and type the model into Google Product Search
    1. Once you find the model, be sure to sort by “Total Price”.  It’s easy to make a mistake about the best deal since Google puts the “Base Price” in bold.
    2. Don’t bother searching for “no tax” or “free shipping”.  These are nice, but you’re only concerned with the “out the door price”.  If the cheapest model ends up having free shipping and no tax, then great.  But it doesn’t really matter, they are just line items…again, total price is your only concern.
    3. Compare your search results with the prices from your local hardware stores (especially if they are running Labor Day deals).  Remember, if you find a grill online but you have to assemble it yourself, it may be worth paying a few extra bucks to pick up a pre-assembled version locally.

Do you have a favorite grill?  Or have any interesting grilling tips?

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