Weber-Stephen is one of the oldest and most respected manufacturers of BBQ equipment and related accessories in the world. Weber grills and smokers cook beautifully and have great features that are clever, effective and easy to use. As popularity and demand for BBQ gear grows worldwide, Weber continues to earn their long standing reputation for quality, durability and outstanding customer service and support, (7 days a week from 7am to 9pm CST), in an increasingly competitive environment. Even in this crowded marketplace, many consumers are still willing to pay more for the Weber name and they are rarely disappointed. They make a variety of cookers and smokers. Their iconic black charcoal kettles are known throughout the world. Indeed Weber is expanding globally.
Weber-Stephen was family owned since it was founded in 1952 by George Stephen. At the end of 2010 the Stephen family sold a majority stake to Chicago investment group BDT Capital Partners. In 2012, Weber settled a class action suit out of court regarding their use of the phrase, "Made in USA". Weber previously qualified the "Made in USA" statement by specifying their products are assembled in the USA with some components that are sourced globally. Here is an excerpt from Weber's statement "Weber believes that because all Weber grills and the disputed accessories are designed and engineered in the USA, and all grills save for one line [Spirit]* are manufactured and assembled in the USA using component parts primarily made in the USA, it did nothing wrong and therefore has valid defenses to plaintiff's claims. The court has not held a trial or ruled in favor of either party on any disputed issues. Weber and the plaintiff have agreed to settle the matter to avoid the costs of continued litigation." As a result of this suit, Weber can no longer claim to be made in America.
Things change, but we believe Weber's commitment to quality and innovation has not.
The biggest barrier for many folks is price. Webers are not cheap, but when you consider that they last decades, the price is easy to justify. In fact, when you consider the fact that some cheap grills fall apart after three years or so, Webers might be considered a bargain.
Our main complaint: All Webers have the obligatory bi-metal dial thermometer in the hood that gives you a ballpark reading of what the temperature is high above the meat. Since we cook on the grates, though, it's always better to bring your own digital thermometer and place a probe there. It would be nice if they would go digital in the digital age and it appears with their acquisition of iGrill digital thermometers, this is begining to change.
*At the very end of 2016 Weber introduced their new line of Genesis II gas grills to replace the popular Genesis series. Genesis II is made in China. Genesis II LX is still made in Palatine, IL.
Weber gas grills are simply the gold standard. Designed intelligently with attention to details and built to last, they look good, work beautifully, and almost never break down. If they do, Weber is known for great customer service and for carrying an inventory of parts on models from years gone by. Meathead owned a Genesis for 15-years and can testify from experience.
All their burners are quality stainless steel, have a long life expectancy, and they come with electronic ignitions. The body is heavy. The casters are sturdy and lock solid. Nothing wobbles on Webers. The grease drip pans are easy to access from the front, not the back as with many other grills. Except for the portable/compact Q line, all models hold the propane tank inside the enclosed cart, and can be adapted for natural gas. They have smaller vents in the hood than most gassers which means they retain more heat than grills with more BTUs.
All have inverted V shaped "flavorizer" bars that cover and protect the burners while vaporizing drips and turning them into flavor that gets back up onto the meat. Except for the Q line, all either come with a rotisserie or you can order one as a factory accessory.
Weber gas grills come in four basic flavors, Q, Spirit, Genesis II, and Summit, each with several configurations. Models starting with an "E" are built with Weber's sturdy porcelainized enamel coated steel, and those starting with an "S" are mostly stainless steel.
Addressing an increased interest in outdoor kitchens, in 2011 Weber introduced add on "Island Cabinetry" and "Social Centers", pictured above, to integrate with the Summit lines. These range from matching side tables with enclosed storage to cart mounted side burners, enclosed trash cans and large "Social Areas" that serve as a bar with double door storage underneath. There is also a faux stone island with matching countertops.
Much has been made of 430 and 304 stainless steel: the two most popular grades used by grill manufacturers. Many other inexpensive brands use very thin, low cost 430 stainless to get that shiny showroom floor look. Premium grill makers tout their use of higher quality, higher priced 304 stainless. At some point, Weber decided to switch from 304 to 430. Although 304 is superior, 430 can work just fine if it is a thick gauge like Weber uses, but it is not as durable and one has to expect the life of the grill will be shortened. Will this decision could come back to haunt the castle in Palatine? Only time will tell. Alas, it does not appear Weber's prices were reduced to reflect the cost savings realized with this change.
Weber's mid line Genesis series is one of the most popular gas grills in the USA. Everybody and their brother seems to own one. The line was totally redesigned as Genesis II with a soft launch at the end of 2016 and a full blown blitzkrieg for Spring 2017. Check out the Weber video below that describes their new GS4 Grilling System.
Many expressed concern that Genesis production has moved from the USA to China. The warranty has changed, but it's a mixed bag. Housings dropped from 25 years to 10 years, however the grates and flavorizer bars went up from 5 years for stainless steel to 10 years, and 3/2 years for porcelain coated enameled grates and bars respectively to 5 years for both. The new Infinity Ignition "Ensured to ignite every time with improved durability and enhanced 10 year warranty", is up from 2 years. Electronic components have been a major source of pain for grill manufacturers and consumers alike. High priced luxury producers have been able to use state of the art durable parts, while mass market brands had to use lower quality, less reliable parts to keep prices in line for shoppers in big box stores. That seems to be changing with component pricing going down and performance heading north, 2017 could be a pivotal year for technology in the outdoor cooking arena.
Instead of only 3-burners, Genesis II is offered in 2, 3, 4 and 6 burner configurations. There are two distinct lines: Genesis II and Genesis II LX. As the name indicates, LX offers significant upgrades at an additional cost.
This model was discontinued in 2016 and replaced by the Genesis II and II LX lines.
Genesis is one of the most popular grills in the USA, appearing in backyards coast to coast. Like all Genesis models, the EP-330 has three stainless steel burners that line up from left to right with control knobs on the front panel. This burner configuration is relatively new. Prior to 2011 Genesis burners lined up from front to back with control knobs on the right side shelf. The current design is better for 2-zone indirect cooking and frees up the side shelf for workspace. The EP-330 also includes a 10,000 BTU sear burner located between the left and middle main burners. Use of the sear burner with all three main burners boosts the EP-330 Heat Flux number (BTU/Primary Cooking Surface) from 74.95 to 94.67. A 12,000 BTU side burner is added to the right side shelf as well.
Offered in LP and NG models, the EP-330 is very similar to the slightly less expensive E-330. It has a double wall porcelain enameled hood and double cart doors in your choice of black, copper or green, just like the E models, but also offers the additional color choices of Crimson and Smoke. These colors are available for LP grills. Natural gas grills are black only. Additionally, E models come with porcelain coated cast iron grates and porcelain coated flavorizer bars, whereas EP models feature 7mm stainless steel rod grates and stainless flavor bars. Carts are painted metal with a stainless steel control panel and side shelves and four casters. The hood and shelves have cast aluminum end caps with tool hooks on the shelves and battery powered ignition.
LP models come with a "Precision Fuel Gauge" located inside the cart next to the LP tank. Hang the tank on the fuel gauge scale, it measures the weight in 20% increments and shows your approximate fuel level. An EP-310 model is offered that is the same as the EP-330, but without a sear burner and side-burner.
It is readily available online, but not at big box stores. Here's why: Weber used to give exclusivity on certain high end grills to independent dealers with the idea that consumers wanting entry level cookers could pick them up at Lowe's and Home Depot, while those looking for premium grills would be better served by independents who also carried luxury brands. Small, independent hearth and patio store owners liked this arrangement because it gave them a competitive advantage over the big guys. But Weber relaxed this policy, much to the chagrin of the indies, and now all Weber grills are available at the big chains EXCEPT for Genesis EP-310 and EP-330: a remnant of days when independent Weber dealers could easily differentiate themselves from huge national retailers.
Black and stainless steel add-on cabinets that nestle under the side tables are optional and stainless work surface extensions are also available. The add-on cabinets have adjustable height wire shelves.
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.