With accurate, thermostatically controlled cooking temperatures, pellet grills made smoking meats as easy as baking mac-and-cheese in your kitchen oven. Building upon the exploding popularity of the simple-to-control pellet cookers, we’re now seeing thermostatically controlled gas smart grills trickle onto showroom floors.
We were surprised when Nexgrill became one of the first gas grill manufacturers to step forward. Darlings of the big box, DIY circuit, Nexgrill is known for low-cost, workaday grills. They sometimes use eye-catching bells and whistles to entice buyers and hike price tags, but Neevo’s innovative design is more than window dressing. It is the first thermostatically controlled gas grill capable of 2-zone cooking that is viable for mass market, residential use.
NexGrill is sold throughout the US by Home Depot. Neevo is offered two ways, the first being the 720 Smart Grill (MSRP $599).
The second one is the 720 Plus Smart Grill with Air Fryer. We tested The Plus model which includes a Multi-Function Electric Oven mounted on the left side of the 720 Grill (MSRP $899).
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The 720 Plus is 49″ H x 69″ W x 23″ D, and weighs 163 pounds.
The 69″ wide top section is in one piece and took some effort for two men to position it properly on the cart. The air oven is on the left and the gas grill head is on the right. Both have windows, but only the air oven has an internal light.
The air oven is a multifunction electric device, similar to many indoor tabletop units.
The gas grill has two 22,000 BTU stainless steel U-Burners.
Two heat tents cover the burners to keep them gunk-free and to help even out the heat.
The primary cook surface consists of two coated, cast iron grates.
Neevo also has a fold-down warming rack.
A double-door cart with four casters carries both cookers.
Grease removal is facilitated by a grease tray that slides out from the front.
But you have to walk around back to access the LP tank that rests in a tank hole. A little inconvenient, especially for this big guy that has to be plugged into a wall outlet. Front access would be preferable.
Neevo needs power to operate. Both the oven and grill plug into standard GFI home outlets. Adding a bracket to wrap the cords up neatly would have been nice. We always wonder why so many manufacturers don’t include them with outdoor, electric grills and smokers.
A shelf on the right features tool hooks and provides some work space.
The overall construction is decent. Aside from the attached aIr oven, Neevo would be a typical, big box, value-priced gas grill. What makes Neevo special is its 2-zone thermostatic control.
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We’ve pounded our fists, crying out for thermostatic control on gassers for years. It’s exciting to see the first models finally showing up on showroom floors. We’re getting spoiled by our thermostatically controlled pellet smokers. We’ve even come to expect Wi-Fi. Neevo has both.
A thermostat with a shiny, protective cover, is placed between the two burners to monitor cooking temperature.
It reports the current cooking temperature to the NEX-Fi controller. The display screen shows status. NEX-Fi also monitors an included meat thermometer. One comes with Neevo, but there are inputs for four.
You can check and control everything from the control panel or from the NEX-Fi App on your cell phone. It even has a cool SELF CLEAN function similar to your kitchen oven!
Unlike your kitchen oven, Neevo can be set for 2-zone cooking. For several reasons, 2-zone capability is unnecessary with a kitchen oven, but it is essential for an outdoor gas grill. Like all residential gas grills, Neevo’s has a limited low temperature range. To cook at low temps on the grill, you need to go 2-zone with some burners on and some off. This enables you to have a low or moderate indirect zone for chicken and roasts, while simultaneously maintaining a hot, direct sear zone. Click here to learn the importance of 2-zone cooking.
We have fired up enough Wi-Fi outdoor cookers to know some typical pitfalls. Connecting these devices to a home internet is often challenging. And even if you aren’t inclined to use the app on your cell phone, you still need to connect. These grills and smokers sit in various warehouses for months before ending up in our backyards. By the time you crack open the box, it’s a good bet the controller is already out of date. Just like your computer, these Wi-Fi cookers need updating over your internet. Connecting can be hindered if your home network is inadequate, or if your modem is too far away from your deck.
We had a heck of a time connecting to Neevo. Finally Nexgrill determined that we got an older model that had the original v18 Controller. Nexgrill reports that a very small number of customers who received the first v18 models have had this issue. Unfortunately, the v18 is out of date and can’t be updated over the air. They say the new models all have current v19 controllers which are capable of receiving updates. Their answer was to send the v19 controller and ask us to install it, which struck us as unusual. Hmmmmmmm. Ultimately, the installation wasn’t overly difficult and we got connected.
Nexgrill Customer Service can confirm which controller version owners have by checking the model number and serial number. Since they periodically do updates to enhance Neevo’s performance, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the v19.
Setting Neevo up for 2-zone low temp cooking is fairly easy; just use Zone A, the left burner, by pressing MODE, then ZONE A, and setting your low cooking temperature with the red control dial. Press the dial in and Neevo ignites the left burner.
Neevo passed our 2-zone separation, bread test with flying colors.
The manual states Neevo’s temperature range with one burner is 200°F to 400°F. Ours only dialed down to 250°F. With two burners lit the temp range is 400°F to 600°F. Neevo is supposed to default to 300°F with one burner and 400°F with two, but the displayed defaults were slightly different. Running both Zone A & B together proved frustrating. With both burners on, if the set temp wasn’t at or above the two-burner set-up’s low threshold, burner 2 would shut off. The instructions are awkward and the default temps in the manual are inaccurate. Eventually, we got the hang of this, but it seemed like the process could be more user-friendly.
Our 2-zone bread test indicated Neevo’s cook surface heat was pretty darn even.
Like most gassers, it runs a little hotter in the back, but nothing to worry about.
First, we did chicken parts with a 2-zone setup and then did burgers with both burners on. The controller worked well, maintaining our desired set temps, and the results were good. We cranked Neevo all the way to sear a steak and were caught off guard by the heat. It got mighty hot and we pulled our medium strip steak off just in time to avoid going well done. If you want to crank Neevo to Warp 10, searing temps, stand by with tongs in hand. Searing with the lid up might be a good idea with this powerful grill. Lid up would just sear the meat surface with radiant heat from the burners and conductive heat from the cast iron grates. Keeping the lid down also roasts with additional convection heat. Click here to learn about the different kinds of heat. But wouldn’t that drive the thermostat crazy and result in an error code? Happy day! Neevo allows you to override the thermostat and cook low, medium, and high with the lid up. At least that’s what the manual says.
Ours would only go either low or medium. When we asked why, Nexgrill said safety concerns compelled them to eliminate the high setting. How about eliminating it from the manual too? Oh well, with the v19 controller, there is at least a possibility the high setting will be restored with future updates.
Neevo’s manual calls their additional 13.8-quart capacity electric cooking device an “Air Oven” instead of an “Air Fryer”, which is more accurate as it is a multifunction oven that can bake, warm, air fry, broil, and toast. It doesn’t connect to the NEX-Fi App and doesn’t have any special design for outdoor use. So why can’t you use any tabletop, multifunction air oven? The answer is that you can. And there are many to choose from.
Neevo’s isn’t too shabby. It has electric lower and upper heating elements, a large convection fan, and an interior light.
It comes with an oven rack, air fryer basket, baking/drip pan, and crumb tray. Here are some air fried chicken wings we did with the basket and pan.
Not bad. And way less fatty oil and mess than traditional frying.
Packaging and assembly
The shipping box was big and heavy due to the large, single-piece, side-by-side air oven and gas grill. Assembly was typical, aside from maneuvering that 69″ width top onto the assembled cart.
There’s a lot to like and a lot to dislike here. For starters, we like the thermostatic control. There aren’t many thermostatically controlled gas grills available yet and Neevo’s 2-zone capability makes it even more unique. Once we got comfortable with Neevo, we began enjoying the experience and got good results. But we didn’t like having to get comfortable with the awkward operation and the manual sometimes failed to provide clear directions.
Neevo’s biggest problem is the v18 controller. If you’re unfortunate enough to get one of the first production runs, you really should upgrade to the current v19 for better performance and future updates. The inability to receive updates on the v18 makes us question Nexgrill’s decision to expedite Neevo’s rollout and ship the out-of-date controllers. It’s not unusual for companies to rush consumer electronics to market, knowing their customers will need to update them after purchase, but having to swap out Neevo’s controller right out of the box seems a little too much to ask of an unsuspecting buyer. After reading this review, that isn’t you.
Nexgrill adds, “At the end of the day, we would like your readers to understand that you had an issue, we worked with you to resolve the issue, and if they have similar issues, we will handle it for them as well.” Several years ago, Nexgrill’s customer service was so great. I’m happy to report it’s much improved.
Rating Neevo has been a tough decision. That v18 controller issue keeps gnawing at me. I’ve gone round and round in circles and ultimately keep coming back to the feeling that Nexgrill is onto something. We can’t give it a resounding thumbs up yet, but haltingly award Neevo our Best Value Bronze Medal with a few red flags. Once we got it up and running and began to understand the operation, our appreciation for this unique gas grill grew, but it sure isn’t for everyone – as is – right now.
If you like Neevo and can wait another year until 2024 to give Nexgrill a chance to make improvements, that may pay off. And if you already have a multifunction electric, tabletop oven, consider saving a few hundred bucks and just buy the 720 stand-alone gas grill.
Tube Burners: 5-year Limited Warranty.
Everything Else: 1 Year Limited Warranty.
Neevo 720 Smart Grill With Air Fryer
Made in USA:
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.
96.7 Heat Flux is the BTU per square inch and is a more useful measure of how much heat a grill delivers than BTU alone.
455 square inches
Mid-Size(about 22 burgers)
238 square inches
Nexgrill Industries, Inc.
Nexgrill manufactures a variety of outdoor cookers sold in North America at Home Depot and other retailers. They also make products for other brands.
Nexgrill also offers a section of tools, rotisseries, covers, built in side burners and parts.
Max Good, Full time grill tester - Max Good, AmazingRibs.com's Vice President of Product Reviews & Keeper of the Flame, is the man in charge of finding the best products for the AmazingRibs.com Equipment Reviews section. Max bottles his own barbecue sauce recipes and now sells them around the country.