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Posted Sunday, May 20, 2007
Weber Genesis E-320, Vermont Castings Signature Series, Blue Ember by Fiesta, and Broilmaster top CR’s ratings for midsized Grills
Yonkers, NY — Two midsized grills costing under $500 outperformed other grills that cost up to three times the price, according to Consumer Reports’ latest reviews of gas grills in the June issue.
The two grills designated as CR Best Buys — the $450 Blue Ember by Fiesta (FG50069-U401), and $300 Char-Broil Commercial Series (463268007) which ranked 84 and 79 respectively — scored higher in CR’s ratings than the $1,100 Frigidaire Gallery (GL30LKEC), which ranked 58.
Among large models, the $1,750 Weber Summit S-650 and the $3,200 Viking T Series (VGBQ300-2RTL) CR tested had high-end features like a smoker burner and a rotisserie spit, but couldn’t outperform an $800 Kenmore (Sears) (16237) grill — the top scoring large model — in grilling tasks.
In the latest CR tests, experts ran 30 liquid-propane grills through weeks of tests and cooked more than 160 pounds of beef, chicken and fish on large, midsized, small, and portable grills. Among midsized grills, Vermont Castings Signature Series (VCS3507P) topped the ratings. The Weber Genesis (E-320) was also highly rated. However, it was recently recalled by the Consumer Products Safety Commission because of a fire hazard with a gas hose. Weber is replacing the hose for free.
Robert Markovich, Home and Yard Editor for Consumer Reports, said now might be a good time to purchase a gas grill. “Rising costs for raw materials such as stainless steel could mean higher prices in the next six months to a year,” he said. “Although prices aren’t dropping, consumers are more likely to find premium features including side burners, rotisseries, and high-quality cooking grates that have trickled down to lower-priced grills.”
How to match size and features to your budget
Midpriced: $250- $500: Best if you want the benefit of some added features but don’t want to spend too much. These models have more features, and on large grills, larger cooking surfaces that can handle 30 or more burgers at a time. Features include burners backed by longer warranties; premium grates; more stainless steel; and often double doors on the cart.
High-end: $500 to $1,000-Plus: Best if you want a midsized or large grill that’s loaded with features. Features include mostly or all stainless steel construction; lifetime burner warranties; more burners producing greater heat; a fully rolling cart; and extra storage. But paying more than $500 doesn’t ensure better performance.
How to choose the right grill
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