Determine how many square inches of cooking space you’ll need. (500-600” is the most common and will cook for 4-8 people – use that as a reference point!)
Decide which add-ons (side burners, rotisserie, etc.) you would like your grill to have.
Research brands, reviews, and warranties on a wide variety of websites – even if buying in person.
After narrowing your search down to a few models, familiarize yourself with materials used in each model to determine which has better quality components.
Pay close attention to materials used for: firebox, grates, burners, and flame tamers. Stainless steel is superior to carbon steel. An abundance of plastic components is not a great sign. Grates should be very solid.
If purchasing in person, do the “twist test” – close the lid and twist the grill from side to side with the main handle. This will give you a decent sense of how well-constructed the grill is.
Look at how the lid is constructed. An insulated or double walled lid is preferable.
Inspect the cooking system – are there enough burners for precise control? Has there been thought put into heat distribution? Make sure the grease tray is easy to access.
When narrowing down models – revisit the warranty offered on each model. A robust warranty (10+ years) is a good indicator of a quality product.
Most importantly: make sure you can visualize yourself enjoying time outdoors cooking on your chosen grill! Your grill should be a pleasure to cook on and something that gets you grilling up exciting new meals for yourself and your loved ones.
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