By: Max Good
WEBER’S SPIRIT GAS GRILL LINE WAS REPLACED IN 2018 WITH WEBER’S SPIRIT II. Click here to learn more.
Weber’s entry level Spirit line was completely redesigned for 2013. Spirit SP-320 has three stainless steel burners and a 12,000 BTUs side burner. It is the largest Spirit model with 424 square inches primary cooking surface and a 105 square inch warming rack.
A big change for Spirit in 2013 was reconfiguration of the burner layout. Burners used to connect from side to side with control knobs on the right side shelf. The new Spirit burners connect from front to back with control knobs on the front panel. This not only frees up work space on the side shelf, but provides better performance when cooking indirect or 2-zone. Indeed Weber Genesis, Summit and most other manufacturer’s gas grills follow this burner design. Also included is Weber’s in cart LP tank fuel gauge that gives an approximate indication of fuel level by tank weight.
The SP-320 has 7mm stainless steel rod cooking grates and porcelain enameled flavorizer bars. The single door cart is painted steel with a stainless door. The lightish hood and work surface are also stainless steel. Cast aluminum end caps feature built-in tool hooks and a small condiment rack is affixed to the side of the cart. It rests on four casters (two locking) and has battery powered ignition. SP-320 is offered in both LP and NG models.
Spirit was always a very basic, well made, serviceable BBQ grill line. The 2013 redesign offers significant upgrades and considerable value. Owners of previous Spirit grills may rub their eyes in disbelief as they behold these new cookers that barely resemble past models. Although Spirit is Weber’s entry level price point, it is still more expensive than many other popular grill brands. However, most Spirit owners feel the quality, durability and performance are worth the price.
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.
Published On: 11/21/2012 Last Modified: 2/24/2021
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