Many backyard grill masters, myself included, love their Weber grills. There are at least 20 different Facebook Groups and two major internet forums dedicated to cooking on Weber grills. Without question, Weber has a dedicated fan base.
If you are considering buying your first Weber grill then you have probably heard all of the hype about how good they are. However, despite the hype, many first time purchasers get sticker shock when they look at the price tag. There are a lot of other grills out there, many of them appearing to have the same features, at much lower price points.
This raises the two very logical questions of, “What makes Weber grills so expensive? Are they worth it?”
The quick answer is that almost all Weber grills are worth the money. The value comes from the long term cost of ownership combined with amazing grilling performance. When Weber grills are compared directly against other brands of similar quality it becomes clear that the price of a Weber grill is very reasonable.
Why Are Weber Grills Worth the Money?
The two main reasons that I believe Weber grills are worth the money are:
- Long Term Cost of Ownership
- Pay for Performance
Long Term Cost of Ownership
Many people fall into the trap of buying a cheap grill, using it for 1-2 years and throwing it away after it rusts through. They develop the mindset that grills are only designed to last a year or two so why would you pay a lot of money for one?
What they don’t realize is that Weber grills last an extremely long time.
I have a Weber charcoal grill on my deck that is over 10 years old and it still cooks like a champ. This grill is in great shape and I have every reason to believe it will last me another 10 years.
That charcoal grill cost about $180 when I bought it which means it has cost me less than $20 a year to have an amazing charcoal grill on my deck.
I also have an old Weber Q1200 on my deck that is over 10 years old. I can’t remember exactly how much this grill cost when it was new but it was certainly less than $200.
Sure, you will have to buy some parts every few years. I replaced the igniter on the Q1200 once and replaced the cooking grate on my kettle twice. Check out the following articles for more information about the Q Series Grills:
Both of these grills are in good enough shape that I believe I could list either of them on Facebook/Craigslist for $100 and get them sold within a week.
The takeaway here is that when looking at the cost of a Weber grill you need to realize that it will probably last you at least a decade. Sure, it may hurt to make the initial purchase but after 2-3 years of grilling you are going to realize that you made a solid investment.
Pay for Performance
I was, at best, mediocre at grilling and smoking for the first several years that I got into the hobby. And when I say mediocre I am being generous.
What I didn’t realize was that the cheap products I was cooking on were making it almost impossible for me to learn my craft.
It was almost impossible to control temperatures on my cheap, off brand, charcoal grill. My cheap gas grill would always have massive flareups and burn whatever I was cooking. My cheap electric smoker couldn’t hold temperatures and kept switching off the GFCI breaker.
One day I finally bit the bullet and forked over the cash for a Weber charcoal grill.
Holy crap! The difference was night and day!
I was hooked.
I bought a used Weber Genesis. It was amazing.
I bought an 18 inch Weber Smokey Mountain. I could finally make decent ribs and pulled pork.
Once I switched over to Weber I had the confidence to start inviting people over for a night of grilling and barbecue.
Buying Weber grills and smokers fundamentally changed the course of my grilling education/abilities and, if for that reason alone, were worth every dollar I ever spent.
Comparison to Other Brands
Let’s take another approach to this question of value.
People get sticker shock when they see a Weber grill next to to a cheap NexGrill other generic grill at Home Depot, Lowes and Walmart. They don’t understand why the Weber costs twice as much.
Here is the thing though, you should not be comparing a High Quality grill against a Low Quality grill. It just doesn’t make sense.
Instead, let’s compare the cost of a Weber with other High Quality brands. In this example I want to compare the 22 inch Weber charcoal grill against similarly sized grills from two other High Quality brands, PK Grills and Napoleon. Prices are current as of April, 2021 but I have included links to the manufactures websites so you can check current prices if desired.
- Weber 22 inch Charcoal Grill: $119 (link to current price)
- Napoleon 22 inch Charcoal Grill: $239 (link to current price)
- PK Original Charcoal Grill: $369 (link to current price)
Interesting….once you start comparing apples to apples the Weber grills look highly affordable.
Don’t Buy Just Anything
So far I have been making the case for why Weber grills are worth the money. However, you should always do a little research before you buy a particular model as there are few products that have missed the mark and, in my opinion, should be avoided.
Specific examples of Weber grills that, to me, are not worth the money include:
- The Smart Grills Series. See Weber Spirit SX 315 Smart Grill Overview for details.
- The Summit Series. See Weber Summit 670 Review for details.
- The Smokefire Series. This was just a train wreck.
If you are looking for the absolute best value in the Weber product line then you need to look at the Weber Spirit E 330.
Why Are Weber Grills So Expensive?
Weber grills grew out of Weber Bros. Metal Works, a family business started in 1893. In 1952, co-owner George Stephen Sr. had been cooking with a brazier at home, and used some old sheet metal to build the first Weber grill (then called “George’s Barbecue Kettle”) and bring it to market.
Until then, outdoor cooking was typically done over an open flame or in a brick oven, and this “kettle” was the first grill of its kind, designed for improved performance and consistency when cooking outdoors. The product became so popular that Stephen soon led the newly formed Weber Barbecue division.
In the late 50s, Stephen bought out the Weber Bros. factory, renamed the company Weber-Stephen Products, and devoted the new business to barbecues and grills, developing new materials, new techniques, and new ways to cook outdoors.
Weber remained a family firm until 2010, when BDT Capital Partners acquired a majority stake in the company.
There are a few factors that set Weber grills apart from other, less expensive grills. The most important features are:
Design and Engineering
Weber is not only the inventor of the backyard grill as we know it today, but the company has continued to innovate over the years. The company continues to develop new technologies, file patents, and innovate more and better grill techniques, and pays attention to customer feedback. This means that even classic Weber designs often get thoughtful upgrades like self-cleaning systems, grease channels, and other improvements over their own and competitor grills.
All of the Design and Engineering is performed in the USA and some of the grills are still manufactured in Illinois.
Weber grills are made with porcelain-coated enamel or stainless steel, cast iron, and other high-quality materials. The company uses welds instead of fasteners when building grills, which takes more time and labor, but creates more durable, rustproof seams.
Testing and quality assurance. Weber grills are thoroughly tested to meet company standards. Each model is tested to simulate 10-15 years of use, and make sure that they stand up to touch conditions.
Weber makes grill schematics and replacement parts easily available. This makes them easy to repair at a wide range of service centers, or to order parts and repair them yourself, without having to ship the grill anywhere. This also means that you may be able to find an older model Weber at a garage sale and rehab it with new parts, to bring it back to life.
Weber has world-class customer support that takes the time to make sure you are satisfied. They help you with questions, problems, and repairs, and have excellent response times and follow-up.
Most Weber grills have a 10-year warranty, and the company stands by their product. They will even refund the cost of shipping if a return is necessary. Even when a Weber is out of warranty, as we’ve already mentioned, it’s easy to get replacement parts and keep a Weber grill in great condition for decades.
Are Weber Grills Worth the Money?
For most people the answer is a resounding Yes — Weber grills are still worth the money.
These grills give you fantastic results, convenient features, and incredible durability. That being said, some of the Weber models launched in the past couple of years aren’t worth the investment so always due a little due diligence before you make a purchase.