By: Max Good
The E-420 and S-420 are the entry point for Weber’s top of the line gas grills, aptly named Summit. 420 is the most basic Summit model with four stainless main burners and one 12,000 BTU side burner, but no upgrades like sear burners and control knob lights. They are a step up from Weber Genesis in construction, performance and price. Summits look good, cook beautifully and have great features that are clever, effective and easy to use.
E has black porcelain double cart doors and hood. S has 430 grade stainless steel doors and hood. Carts are painted metal with cast aluminum end caps. Shelves and control panel are stainless steel. Otherwise both have the same features and the same price.
420 is available in LP and NG models, as are all Summits. LPs have a handy LED fuel level indicator right on the control panel that shows your propane level at the push of a button. They have stainless steel flavorizer bars, serious 3/8 inch (9 mm) diameter stainless steel rod cooking grates and a double layer of steel under the hood for extra insulation. Piezo-electric “Snap-Jet” ignition is activated by each individual control knob. A battery powered Grill Out Handle Light screws onto the lid handle to illuminate the cook surface. Handle lights are nice accessories, but an internal hood light would be more appropriate for this premium priced cooker.
All gas BBQ grills have air vents that often invite rainwater in. Summits have an extra set of water friendly vents right above the control panel. Although Summit cook boxes are waterproof, the carts are not. If you are constitutionally unable to use a grill cover and your grill is regularly exposed to rain, be aware that Summits are notorious for taking in water which gets funneled to the grease pan inside the cart and can cause quite a mess.
Addressing an increased interest in outdoor BBQ kitchens, Weber introduced add on “Island Cabinetry” and “Social Centers” to integrate with the Genesis and 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 for Summit 460 and 660 built-in models.
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: 11/27/2012 Last Modified: 2/9/2021
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