What is the quality difference between expensive grills

bnicebkindOctober 11, 2005

What is the difference in the $3,500 built-in outdoor grill from Lynx, DCS, Dacor, Wolf, Viking etc. compared to the $700 jenn-air outdoor built-in grill from Lowes? Both are stainless with a rotisserie, and visually look about the same. I could replace the jenn-air several times before spending the amount of the high end grills. So, what am I getting for the money in the high end grill that the lowes Jenn-Air doesn't deliver, and how important is it? P.S. We are in coastal florida climate if that makes a difference in quality issues. I also posted this on the appliance forum. thanks for your help!

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I've studied the high end you've described at some length over last 2 years. I would recommend, if your budget is like mine, to go Jenn-Air.

We have a 5 year old PGS k40 post mount, nat. gas - though no rotisserie which I wanted really bad for a while. The PGS burner will easily last the 10 years it is warranted for. Would recommend, but rotiss/back burner kit was available to add later as salesman said when we bought. However, they discontinued that part later - aaarrgghh!

While your weather is like ours, most of the year here, almost half in fact, is too hot to both cook on the grill and hang out in the backyard. Due to budget and weather, we spent the money indoors instead on cooktop/vent/oven. And no bottle to replace.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 11:57AM
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I guess I should have looked at the date on your original post and realized. Not much interest in this forum I guess.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2006 at 11:07AM
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Pugger, don't worry, I reply to old stuff all the time. I recently replied to a fondue thread that was two years old and the original poster since passed away. My response lead to other members replying about how much they missed her. Ooops!

But do you have an opinion on Jenn-Air vs. Ducane. Home Depot has a Ducane 5-Burner grill for $899. I think the Jenn-Air at Lowes doesn't include the rotisserie but with the Ducane it's included.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 3:36PM
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We also just moved to coastal florida & are looking for a decent grill. I saw the Jenn-Air at lowes today & it looked good - but a rotisserie would be nice.

Thanks. Patty

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 10:18PM
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FYI .. if you go with a ceramic cooker like a Big Green Egg or Kamado (egg shaped BBQs), you will not need a rotisserie at all -- I can easily cook a full sized chicken (or Turkey for that matter) standing up on mine and all sides are cooked easily.. Sorry.. couldn't help myself.. (8->

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 2:12AM
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To answer the original post - the difference is the expensive grills are generally built of the highest quality materials throughout (not just on the exterior), are manufactured in North America and are supported by the same company. The Jenn-Air is made in China, lately by Nexgrill but not always and never has been made by Jenn-Air, and is not supported at all by Jenn-Air. You must go to the manufacturer for support and their support has been spotty from what I've read elsewhere on the web. You get what you pay for. Good quality stainless (304-grade heavy guage) is *very* expensive. If the Jenn-Air even has that good a quality of stainless, then the bulk of the cost has gone into that and *not* into the internals.

At the same time, those $3000+ grills are built for extremely heavy use - nonstop all-day restuarant use which you'll never do at home. You really don't need all that.

There are many other good & proven grills to choose from - BroilKing, Napoleon, original Ducane (not the stainless ones at Home Depot), Weber to name a few.

Here's a good list of grills in the Jenn-Air price range:

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 11:29PM
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I bought the original Ducane. It still works but it is of very cheesy construction. How they got such a good name is beyond me. The rotisserie supports are made of thick sheet metal and are about to fall off. It had a lifetime warranty when I bought it but since then they have re-organized (filed bankruptcy) and have ended all warranties like I bought. Nice company. Go elsewhere if you ask me. To replace the grate that holds the coals now is $100 and mine is about shot at 8 years.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 10:38AM
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We had a cheap $800 stainless grill. The steel discolored from the heat because of it's thinness. Heat escapes and it can't get up to high temperatures.

Our new outdoor kitchen has a Viking with higher quality steel and double walled construction. Also the rotisserie motor is sealed. There is no "cut out" on the side which will also smoke & heat to escape. Another feature that we liked, which was also on the Alfresco we were looking at, is a dedicated burner for the smoker tray. The Viking tray is big enough to hold the big wood chunks. We're also in Florida and we grill all the time any season.

I do recommend a sear zone with any grill. A nice, thick, NY strip cooked 2 minutes on each side at 1,600 degrees is perfect. Good char on the outside and almost raw in the center. Yum.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 6:42PM
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I am looking into built-in grills. If know nothing about them and found the Jenn-air at Lowes for 899. The recommendations on this site are telling me to move away from that. Does anyone Know anything about Cal Flame. there seems to be a good deal on a Cal Flame G4.. can't find too much information on that how ever.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 9:21AM
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I have a Traeger pellet grill/smoker and love it with the auto temp control. I would recommend either a Traeger or better yet a Mak pellet grill/smoker if your going to spend that kind of money. The Mak allows you to sear a steak while the Traeger does not quite get hot enough to sear like charcoal or gas is the only down side to the Traeger units.

These units will cook a cheap frozen pizza and make it really good. If you want to be able to do anything from bake to grill to smoke with one unit check into a pellet type.

I will say my Traeger still is not as good as charcoal grilling but it is the closest you can get without the headache and a lot more versatile. It beats gas grilling completely. I can turn it on and in less than 5 minutes it is up and burning on its own and all you do after that is set the temperature you desire and make sure there are plenty of pellets for the cookout.

I would vote for a pellet grill or big green egg and leave the gas alone.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mak Grills

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 1:45PM
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Bump.....getting ready for spring/summer 2013....building a bbq/ kitchen island, looking at the usual high end suspects for 48"+. Dcs, wolf, lynx, firemagic etc....i think if $$ was no object fire magic is the best of the best (from what ive read). But its nearly double the price of the DCS which seems to get consistently great reviews...its one thing to spend $4k for a great grill but 6-7k?? Welcome all input & feedback

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 10:47AM
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Bought a Lynx in the fall, (SoCal we BBQ all year) Very well made, nice fit and finish, and good features. While it is very convenient to just go out and turn on the gas, does it cook as well as my trusty ol' Weber charcoal kettle? NOT EVEN CLOSE! Glad In kept my Weber

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 7:45PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I agree, Ctycdm. We've got a barrel-style cast iron charcoal grill that cost about $150 4 years ago. It's just now getting broken in well, we rub it with oil every spring. It lives under a roof, but does get some rain blown on it occasionally. The two drawbacks to a charcoal fire are the additional time needed to get it ready, and that it has a short, finite life span. We often augment with wood to make coals with more longevity. The flavor of gas just doesn't compare.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 11:28AM
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We bought a Ceramic Kamado grill/smoker.

Wish I would have done this 30 years ago because I would still have the same grill 30 years later and wouldn't have gone through about 8-10 cheap charcoal grills. (Usually the $50 Brinkman water smoker grills) which last about 2-3 years and I just put them on their side and smash flat and throw them away.

The Kamado is absolutely outstanding.
You can adjust the temp from about 220 up to over 800 and everything in between.
Can keep it at 220 for at least 12 straight hours without having to touch it.
It is very stingy on charcoal use because it is nicely insulated with the little over 1" thick ceramic.

Meat stays nice and juicy.
is a perfect dry smoker, and water smoker.
can turn it into a nice oven with a good Lava/Pizza stone.
Has accessories to turn it into a outstanding Wok
All in all it is the perfect BBQ/Smoker/Grill that should last a lifetime, and I mean a LIFE time even if you buy it in your 20s use it several times a month until you are in your 90s. If well taken care of it should be the only grill you ever have to buy.

As for starting the charcoal.
Using a "Weed Torch" connected to a small propane tank I can start this grill in about 30 seconds.
Have it to 220 degrees for smoking in under 2 minutes.
At about 350 degrees for basic grilling like chicken in about 4 minutes, and up to over 500 degrees for high temp searing of steaks in under about 6-7 minutes.

With the vents on bottom and top wide open it acts as a blow torch inside and gets very hot fast.
Using a weed torch for about 30 seconds or so lights the charcoal fast and uses no contaminates like lighter fluid so the coals are ready immediately just as soon as they reach desired temp.

I have gone out to my Kamado, started it, go back to kitchen to get steaks, come back 6-7 minutes later and its ready to cook, throw on the steaks about 3-6 minutes per side depending on thickness and I am done in well under 30 minutes even if I need to clean out old charcoal and add a full batch of new.
A full load of charcoal should last 3-4 grillings for steaks, or at least 12 hours if you are slow smoking a Boston Butt.

The Kamado is really just about the same speed of use as a gas grill when using a weed torch.
I bit more hassle just because of the use/cleaning out of charcoal but for the flavor difference it is well worth it.

Gas grills just do not compare.
Other charcoal grills do not really compare to a good Kamado.

The one we got was from Costco, called a "Vision Grill" and only cost $540.
Every bit as good, in fact in some ways actually better than the Big Green Egg and cost about 50% less.

This is what it looks like.

and this is weed torch

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:15AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Nunya, when our current grill retires, I'm sold on yours! The weed torch idea rocks, thanks!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:41AM
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You are welcome, I guarantee you will not regret it and nothing is better than a weed torch to light charcoal.
The Torch you can get from Harbor Freight for $20 and if you need a propane tank they are around $25-$30.
Costco is good for those.
One fill of propane should last years because you are only using it for under 1 minute each time.

This is the whole setup.

The one we got, especially since it was from Costco I think is the best deal you will find on a Kamado.
At Costco they only sell the "Classic B" version which works great, honestly I think I would prefer that version even if I had a choice because I do not and never will use an electric coil charcoal starter anyway.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vision Grills

This post was edited by Nunyabiz1 on Thu, Apr 11, 13 at 10:59

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:49AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Thank you, grillmaster!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:13AM
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