IN 2013 WEBER DECIDED TO DISCONTINUE THE DUCANE LINE.
The Affinity 4200 is a mid-size gas grill by Ducane that is sold exclusively through Lowe's. Ducane grills have been around many years sold with the slogan, "buy your last grill first". As one opens and closes and fiddles with knobs, it's easy to believe the Ducane reputation for basic, functional and durable grills remains intact. "Serviceable" is a word that comes to mind.
Weber bought Ducane in 2004 to "offer value to people who aren't in the price range of the Spirit line". Production immediately shifted from North Carolina to China where Weber's entry level Spirit grills are made.
All Affinity models have black porcelain-enameled steel bodies with cast aluminum sides and stainless steel control panels and side tables. The 4200 has four stainless steel burners that line up left to right with control knobs up front the way we like them, battery powered electric ignition, grease catch pan, two locking casters and two swivel casters. It is identical to the Affinity 4100 except it includes a 12,000 BTU side burner. Of course the obligatory cheap built-in lid thermometer is thrown in. Ignore it and use a more accurate digital thermometer.
Cooking grates are stainless steel rods. Instead of a small grate, the removable warming rack is different than most, which are standard wire racks. On the Ducanes they are porcelain-enamel coated steel trays with slits cut through them. The heat distribution plates are very large, covering most of the area beneath the cooking grates and it’s easy to see why Weber chose not to refer to them as "flavorizer bars" as they do on the Weber line. One user griped online claiming the heat distribution plates are too close to the cooking grate and so large they catch all the drippings thus exacerbating flare-ups. That might be a problem, but in general, the closer to the cooking surface, the hotter the surface and the better searing.
The assembly manuals are of the IKEA variety: All illustrations, almost no words. These are basic, no-frills, BBQ grills backed by Weber's good name and their stellar customer support.
Heat Flux is the BTU per square inch and is a more useful measure of how much heat a grill delivers than BTU alone.
Looked Closely At It
We have seen this product up close and we have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners, and other reliable sources.
The Ducane Brothers Metal Fabricating Company started in 1946, specializing in manufacture of oil-fired furnaces. They began making gas grills around 1975 with the slogan, "Buy your last grill first" and developed a respectable following. Indeed many Ducane owners seemed hooked. In the early days, Ducanes were made with heavy cast aluminum cook boxes.
When the company went up for sale around 2004, Weber-Stephens swooped in and grabbed it. We asked Weber what the acquisition brought to their business. Were they concerned that Ducane simply cannibalizes Weber sales? "Ducane has Weber DNA," they replied, "It's a great brand that offers value to people who aren't in the price range of the Genesis line".
Manufacturing was immediately shifted from North Carolina to China, where Weber makes their entry level Spirit Series. Current Ducane product line consists of three LP Gas models: The Affinity 3100, 4100 and 4200. All three are virtually identical in construction and appearance: Black porcelain-enameled steel body with cast aluminum sides and stainless steel control panel and side tables.
IN 2013 WEBER DECIDED TO DISCONTINUE THE DUCANE LINE. They do not currently have plans to sell the brand to another party. All existing models will be sold until stock in gone. No more will be manufactured. Weber pledges to honor the warranty for all Ducanne owners.