Where Is The Best Place To Buy A BBQ Grill?
When considering a large purchase such as a grill, there are many factors to mull over when you are choosing where to shop. This decision will usually come down to a big box retailer or a local small business. The benefits of a big box retailer are prices and convenience. Oftentimes, big box retailers (such as Walmart, Home Depot, or Lowe’s) will entice customers with low, low prices and large floor spaces with loads of stock to peruse.
But these considerations should not be the only factors when you are thinking about a new grill purchase. In fact, there are many pros to shopping local and many cons to shopping at a big box store.
Big Box Stores Often Have Inferior Products compared to Local Small Businesses
When buying a grill from Home Depot or Lowe’s, it is imperative to know that the product lines at a big box store are usually not the same as those available at your local retailers.
Big box stores demand price concessions from manufacturers which cause the manufacturer to rejigger the grill in order to reduce the cost. You won’t get Home Depot or Lowe’s to admit this, but that is exactly what happens. And it has huge ramifications as to the quality of the grills sold at a big box store.
If you’ve been to your local Walmart, Costco, or Sam’s, you’ve likely seen a large selection of grills on sale for a couple hundred bucks. Many of these grills look nice enough when they are shiny and new. You might even consider purchasing one. Saving money is a good thing, right? Hold on, not so fast. A cheap grill can be one of the worst purchases you can make. Let us count the ways:
Safety might not be the first thing you think of when purchasing a grill but it’s here first for a reason. A faulty grill or part can cause a fire, explosion, or even poisoning – all of which are real concerns with cheap inferior quality grills.
Her are four recent recalls of inexpensive grills sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s:
- In 2020, Royal Gourmet Corporation recalled 1,100 of their Patio 2 burner grills because the plastic regulator hose can melt and catch fire.
- In 2019, Bass Pro recalled 3,700 of their Mr. Steak five burner gas grills because the gas regulator hose can melt if it comes in contact with the bottom of the grill’s firebox.
- In 2017, 26,500 Saber grills were recalled for a faulty LP regulator that had the potential for leaks and burns.
- 41,700 Masterbuilt 7-in-1 smokers were recalled in 2016 because a gas hose easily became disconnected leading to fires, explosions, and gas poisoning.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Recalls only occur when there is a large enough number of grills from one company causing significant issues warranting a recall. Recalls do not reflect the many occasions consumers experience safety problems with cheaply made grills.
A grill is not just about cooking food and about its cost. Investing in a quality grill is also about keeping you and your family safe.
Durability and Reliability
Durability and reliability, each and every time you grill, is what will make your grilling experience pleasurable. Cheap grills, like those sold in big box retailers, might look like they’re made from superior, high-quality materials on the outside, but that does not mean there are quality parts underneath.
High quality grills, as sold by local small businesses, are meant to last. This means you can buy one that’ll last you a decade or longer. You’re more than likely to purchase several cheaply made grills during that time.
The reliability of your grill is also crucial to enjoy your grilling experience. A reliable grill will cook the same every time you use it. You’ll have exceptional temperature regulation, even heat disbursement, and an abundance of power.
Another aspect in the quality of a grill’s construction is the thickness of the materials that are used. Many cheap grills are assembled with very thin metal which can warp, or even form holes over time, due to the grilling heat. Also, thin grill material does not hold on to heat nearly as well as thicker quality steel which makes a nice even cook problematic.
Replacement of Parts
With any grill you purchase, there is always the possibility that a part is going to need to be fixed or replaced after use. It can be extremely difficult, even impossible, to get replacement parts for cheap grills sold by big box companies. Oftentimes, especially with cheap, poorly constructed, imported grills, vendors don’t even know where the grill was made and therefore have no way to contact the factory for replacement parts.
On the other side of the coin, with a high quality grill and a company with a known track record, getting replacement parts is simple and often covered by a lifetime warranty.
Tip: read the fine print. Many discount grills will exhibit a 10-year warranty sign in a large prominent display. However, when you do a little more digging you might find that the manufacturer no longer exists or the warranty only covers some inexpensive parts. Meanwhile, the parts that will likely need to be replaced the most often, like the burners or igniters, are only covered for a year, or perhaps not at all.
If you buy a higher quality grill, more than likely their warranties cover those parts which are most likely to need replacing. Many will have lifetime warranties for some parts and great warranties for other parts.
Cooking Power and Control
Don’t buy a cheap grill if you aspire to be a grilling master or want to savor the whole experience. Cheap grills have burners that regularly flare up, deliver little command over temperature, allocate heat unevenly, and rapidly rust or blow out.
High quality grills come with top-of-the-line burners that last for years with basic maintenance along with great warranties.
A top-shelf grill is also going to dispense more power and more heat. When researching the power you can get from a grill, you can’t just bank on the BTU rating either. A $150 grill with a high BTU rating still isn’t going to cook with the same capacity and authority if the rest of the grill isn’t up to snuff. A poorly fitted lid, inferior cooking grates, or a thin metal build will hold and spread heat less efficiently, notwithstanding that impressive BTU rating.
Decrease in Quality
As we have discussed, the majority of grills in Walmart, Costco, or Lowe’s are of questionable quality, but big box retailers have made some inroads towards bringing high end grills onto their floors. This, however, has had some surprising consequences.
Weber is arguably the most well-known name in grills. For years they did not sell their products in big box retail stores. Finally that changed, and you can now purchase a Weber grill at a Home Depot or Lowe’s, but there have been some ominous trends. Many long time supporters of Weber are concerned with a decrease in quality. These concerns are not based on unfounded assumptions, they have come from people who have gone to the stores and viewed the newer Weber grills.
There are various opinions why this decline is occurring but the bottom line for many Weber supporters is that they just feel cheaply made.They feel light and unsubstantial in comparison to older models. This mainly applies to the lid. There is wide consensus that the lid feels lighter when it’s opened and the lack of noise when it is closed also indicates lightness. To many, these lids sound hollow and weak rather than their traditional high quality lids. Ironically, Weber, in supplying Home Depot, seems to have placed the quantity of sales above the quality of the product….and consumers are noticing.
This decrease in quality has left long-time Weber customers scratching their heads, wondering why such a respected company has resorted to such cheap manufacturing. Is Weber feeling pressure to turn out products for big box retailers faster than ever (they now outsource for parts and assembly) to keep up with other “disposable” brands on the market? If supplying big box retailers has had such a negative impact on a company like Weber, we can only imagine what it has done to other grill companies that never had high quality standards to begin with! Just another instance where you should think twice about purchasing a grill at a big box store.
Shop Local….At Summer Breeze
Besides the purchase of a superior product, here are a few more reasons why you should shop at your local small business when purchasing a grill.
Local Retailers Have a More Knowledgeable and Accessible Staff
Have you ever been in a big box retail store and have had difficulty locating a salesperson to ask them a question? These stores can get busy (and enormous) and on-the-floor sales people are few and far between. Worse, when you do find someone, they might not even be knowledgeable of the department in which you had the question.
At Summer Breeze, our staff are attentive and knowledgeable about all our products. Our employees are trained on what they are selling. It also helps that we are small rather than a gigantic big box. You’re not going to get lost at our store. Our staff can easily find you and help you with your decisions. At Summer Breeze, like most local small businesses, you can talk to the owner. We know our business inside and out and we can answer any of your questions or concerns
Big Box Retailers Do Not Usually Install the Products They Sell
Another negative that comes with shopping at a big box retailer versus a local small business is that a big box store does not always install the products they sell. So, if you want to install a natural gas grill system through a big box retailer, the work would need to be subcontracted to an outside vendor. If you have a problem with the installation, you might experience difficulty in having it corrected. This is because the big box store is only responsible for the products they sold, not the service that was provided. At Summer Breeze, we do the installation and you will not be dealing with any outsiders.
Additional Charges or Post Sale Inconvenience at the Big Box Store
Grill delivery and grill disposal may not be included. Contrast this with Summer Breeze, in our price, we include assembly and delivery of the new grill, recycling and disposal of old grills. The big box stores preassemble grills. They are only sold that way. But maybe that’s not convenient for you. You might prefer to receive the grill in a box, so you can fit it in your SUV and take it home. At Summer Breeze there’s flexibility for every situation. We want you to be satisfied with your purchase and we will accommodate you whenever possible.
Access to Grill Repair Services at the Local Store
If you have a repair issue with a grill purchased from a big box store, oftentimes your only recourse will be to contact the manufacturer directly (if you can locate them). Hopefully you have a warranty, because the big box store will probably not be much help unless you purchase an additional warranty through that store. At Summer Breeze that’s never a problem. We work very closely with our grill manufacturer and you will never have a problem with a repair issue. We always go above and beyond with hands-on service that you don’t often find in a big box store.
Buying Local Supports the Local Economy
Are big box stores good for the economy? Big box stores employ local people, however, they are usually not paid very well. Buying from a big box retailer drains money from the local economy. It sends profits back to corporate headquarters often far away. Meanwhile, every time you make a purchase at a locally owned store it sends economic benefits throughout the community. Local companies buy goods and services locally as well. At Summer Breeze, because we are locals, a large portion of our profits go back into the surrounding area.
At Summer Breeze we have everything you need to help you during your grill buying process. When purchasing a grill, there is no contest between choosing a local business over a big box retailer. Local wins, hands down. Our sales staff, or grillologists, are extremely knowledgeable and experienced. We carry the best grills in the industry. Interested in a custom outdoor kitchen? We can walk you through from start to finish.
Give us a call at (843) 715-3168 or contact us online for more information.