THE GENESIS II LX LINE HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED
The Genesis II LX E-440 is a good looking 4-burner gas grill, built like a tank with many great features that do justice to the Weber Genesis names lofty reputation. However the LX E-440 has two frustrating flaws; it doesn't do a good job of searing and high price. It cooks most food beautifully. We got tender and juicy BBQ chicken with reasonably crispy skin for example, but it can't properly sear steaks. By that we mean, we can't get an all over even dark brown surface with more browning (flavor) that a few pale grill marks. We tested two units supplied by Weber and neither did any better than a tan steak with golden grill marks as described in this article. We can get a better sear on a $30 Hibachi.
The previous Genesis line was not super powered either, but price tags were lower and sear burners were offered for a modest upcharge. Sear burners are special burners that produce extra heat. Instead of sear burners, LX has slightly higher powered main burners and a "High+" setting on the control knobs that Weber describes as "a new High+™ setting that allows all burners to turn up to highest setting for an added boost of heat". Sounds good, but High+ is actually just an additional graphic next to the burner dials, (see below). Some users have compared it to the guitar amplifiers that go to 11 in the heavy metal movie spoof, Spinal Tap.
The last Genesis line only came in 3-burner models. The new Genesis II is offered in 2, 3, 4 and 6 burner configurations. With an enclosed cart, 14,500 BTU burners and stainless steel rod grates and flavorizer bars, LX models are meant to be a step up from standard Genesis IIs that have an open air cart, 12,500 BTU burners, coated cast iron cooking grates and enameled steel flavorizer bars. LX models also have LED illuminated control knobs and an LED fuel gauge mounted on the right side shelf, (shown below). Click here to learn more about different grates.
Genesis II features Weber's new GS4 grilling system, consisting of their Infiniti Ignition with an impressive ten year warranty, and tapered-quadrangle shaped burners to replace tube burners, (see below).
The new GS4 burners are intended to provide uniform gas pressure from front to back to ensure even heat. Using a Fireboard digital thermometer, however, we observed an 80°F temperature difference from the right front to right rear cook surface. Flavorizer bars have half circles cut in them so you can see more easily if the burner is lit, a very nice feature. Inverted V heat deflectors in between flavorizer bars and slightly below reflect heat upward. The new grease collection tray is easy to remove from the front. It funnels grease to a disposable aluminum grease pan that sits in a steel pan under the center of the cast aluminum firebox.
Weber recently purchased iGrill Digital Thermometers and all G2s are "iGrill 3 ready". iGrill 3 is a four probe digital thermometer that can be monitored from an app on your smart phone. We've long been advocates of replacing obligatory, useless hood temperature estimators with accurate digital thermometers. Antique hood thermometers can easily be 50°F off. The iGrill 3 enables you to place one digital probe at the cook surface to dial up the correct oven temp, and one in your food to monitor internal meat temp. Click here to learn about digital thermometers. The concept is a step in the right direction, but surprisingly, there is no read out on the iGrill 3 itself, so you need to use the app even when you're standing at the grill. Furthermore, mounting one on an LX model requires removal of the LED fuel gauge. Check out Weber's iGrill 3 video below that shows the installation on a standard Genesis II.
The hefty and beautiful enameled hood attaches to the cast aluminum end caps with riveted seams. A rear “tuck away warming rack” folds down; handy but a bit of a pain to move into position. LX comes with Weber's grill light that attaches to the handle and switches on when you lift the lid and off when you close it. Useful, but tedious to assemble and you need a screw driver to change batteries. Pay attention, it is easy to install upside down.
On the left is a large stainless side shelf with three built-in tool hooks. On some models the shelf can be folded down to save space, but not on the LX E-440. A second side shelf on the right has a nice flush mounted 12,000 BTU side burner for side dishes and warming sauces. The cover is not water proof so rain will get in, but everything looks rustproof. As is often the case, the quick release connector for fuel for the side burner is tricky to connect. The manual shows battery installation for side burner ignition backwards. All Genesis II LP models include Weber's "Precision Fuel Gauge" which measures the LP tank weight and shows your approximate fuel level. Nifty, but hardly precision. Natural gas models are available, but no conversion kits, so decide before you buy.
The double door storage cabinet has two internal shelves. The grill doesn't come with a cover and the cabinet is not water proof, so you may want to purchase the optional cover. There are two locking casters on the left and two large fixed wheels on the right.
Shipping crate and packaging were very well designed. The manual states three people are needed for assembly, but we easily accomplished the task with two. With only 8 nuts and a little wiggling here and there we were done in 60 minutes. BEFORE USE YOU MUST TURN IT TO HIGH AND BURN OFF ANY RESIDUAL DIRT DUST AND GREASE. It smoked for 20 minutes.
There is much to like about the new Genesis II line, not the least of which is the superb customer service that comes with all Weber products. Yet we can't help being disappointed, particularly with LX which we view as equivalent to the previous Genesis EP models that were a step up from the standard Genesis line. Having the choice between 2, 3, 4 & 6 burners is good and integration of the iGrill 3 digital thermometer, while imperfect, is a feature we've been pleading for. But the discontinued EPs had a significantly lower cost and were available with sear burners which actually enabled you to make restaurant quality steaks at home. Printing "High+" on the control panel doesn't replace a real sear burner and we expect more from Weber especially at this price. The 2016 Genesis EP-330 3-burner with sear burner had an MSRP of $999 and typically sold for $849. The 2017 Genesis II LX E-340 3-burner with no sear burner has an MSRP of $1,399 and street price of $$1,199.
Warranty is 10 years for the cook box, lid, burners, stainless grate, flavorizer bars, ignition system, and grease management system. All remaining parts are two years. LX models are made in Palatine, IL while standard Genesis II is made in China.
Weber provided our test grills.
Heat Flux is the BTU per square inch and is a more useful measure of how much heat a grill delivers than BTU alone.
Cooked On It
We have hands-on experience testing this product. We have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners and other reliable sources.
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 8pm 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.
Since then Weber, like many others, has outsourced manufacturing of more product lines. 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. Many some cheap grills fall apart after three years or so.
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 appears this is beginning to change as Weber enters a new era of digital technology and software based products.
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.
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 price range Genesis series is one of the most popular gas grills in the USA. The line was totally redesigned as Genesis II with a soft launch at the end of 2016 and a full roll out for Spring 2017. Consumer response was disappointing so Weber redesigned the line again for 2019.
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.
The previous Genesis models were all 3-burners, Genesis II is offered in 3 and 4 burner configurations.