By: Max Good
The Master Forge Portable Gas Grill has a single U-shaped burner generating 12,000 BTU from a one pound propane cylinder. It has small folding legs, a locking lid for travel and a push button, piezoelectric igniter. Stainless Steel body and grate with a 217 square inch cooking surface. The compact configuration by necessity brings the heat up close to the grate for a good sear on your burgers and steaks. Some owners reported igniter and regulator malfunctions.
Master Forge is a brand that people either love or hate. Some owners complain about poor construction, customer service and availability of parts, On the other hand, many Master Forge owners love their BBQ grills and are eager to shower praise. Additionally, a leading consumer rating service named the MF 5-Burner a top pick for large gas grills.
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: 12/21/2012 Last Modified: 2/15/2021
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