By: Max Good
A lot of people like this Lowe’s exclusive grill*, so we went to kick the tires and were sorry to find it is about as flimsy as flimsy gets. It’s so cheaply constructed that it made the POJ Char-Griller on display next to it look good. The dampers were rickety and out of line with the vents in the body, there’s no way this thing can control air and heat well. On the plus side, it has an adjustable charcoal tray to bring hot coal up for searing or lower it for BBQ roasting. A front door makes replenishing coal easy and a mounted bottle opener is always welcome. As with all Master Forge equipment, durability is questionable. A model with an enclosed double door cart is also available.
This grill is made by GHP Group in Morton Grove, IL for Master Forge. GHP makes Dyna-Glo Grills and offers basically the same model with the Dyna-Glo logo on the lid.
Sold only at Lowe’s, Master Forge offers a lot of grill for little money by using inexpensive materials, construction, and components. While researching products we often cruise the web and look for comments by owners. Many owners raised concerns about construction, customer service, availability of parts, and the fact that the brand is only a few years old and still unproven in the market. On the other hand, many Master Forge owners love their grills and are eager to post praise. Additionally, a leading consumer rating service named the Master Forge 5-Burner Grill a top pick for large model gas grills. So what’s the deal?
You get features out the wazoo: side burners, sear burners, warming/steaming stations, LED illuminated knobs, halogen lights in the lid, towel racks, fold-out tables; one model even has a built-in bottle opener! But the steel is thin, and some parts just look and feel cheap, like the plastic control knobs and the thermometers. As always, we strongly recommend you not rely on dial thermometers, and that you purchase a good digital thermometer to get accurate oven temp readings. Manufacturers would serve us better by replacing cheap dial thermometers with bottle openers. Nonetheless, overall quality is in line with other low cost grills. This is an important point. It’s not useful to compare Master Forge to high end brands like Weber. Compare them to Brinkmann. However, if you’re looking for economy and are considering other low cost grills, Master Forge may sweeten the deal with all the extras. Then ask yourself how long do you think it will last? Will you be replacing it in 5 years? The bargain price may not be such a bargain in that light.
Lowe’s, like Wal-Mart and other big box retailers, carries popular brands and also has private label products made for them. This operation is managed by a division of Lowe’s named LG Sourcing. Lowe’s seems to have offered various grill lines for several years under various names like “Perfect Flame” and made by various companies like “BBQtek”. Currently, Master Forge is manufactured by Sagittarius Sporting Goods headquartered in Taiwan. We have to wonder how the happy Master Forge owners mentioned above will feel about their grill in a few more years, particularly if Lowe’s changes their BBQ line again. Any Perfect Flame owners out there care to comment?
We compiled a list of questions and called Lowe’s to speak with a product manager. There was no Master Forge product manager. We ended up talking to someone in Public Relations. She wrote down our questions to present to the right person, but wouldn’t allow us to speak directly. The following day she sent an email that said nothing of value and answered none of our questions. If this is the way they handle media inquiries from the world’s most popular barbecue and grilling website, we shudder to think what their customer service is like.
Published On: 10/16/2013 Last Modified: 10/20/2021
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