Weber's Genesis line of gas grills gets great reviews from owners and experts. The Genesis E-320, in particular, is often cited as the best grill you can buy for the price; in fact, we name it the best grill overall in our latest report on gas grills. Now, after years of success with the line, Weber has redesigned its Genesis gas grills for 2011, and there's also a new model -- the Genesis 330.
A company redesigning a grill may not seem like such a big deal, but Weber's dramatic changes for 2011 have generated a lot of online chatter. Advocates of the proven old design say it worked so well that it's a shame to change it at all. On the other side of the argument, some users are already applauding the changes made for 2011.
In the past, Weber Genesis grills were unique in that the burner tubes ran from side to side rather than front to back, and the control knobs were mounted on the right side table. That's over. For 2011, the burners are mounted front to back, with the control knobs on the front of the grill. Individual electronic ignition lets cooks turn on and control one burner at a time, and with the new design users can set up separate heat zones from side to side rather than front to back. Some owners have already commented that this arrangement makes using the grill easier for them.
Before this year there were two Weber Genesis models: the 310 and the 320. E-310 grills cost about $700 and have three burners; for $50 more, E-320 grills give you three main burners plus a side burner. The new Genesis E-330 grill costs $50 more than the E-320 and adds an interior sear burner, previously available only on Weber's top-of-the-line Summit grills. In addition, if you're willing to pay more, you can buy stepped-up trim levels. EP versions offer more paint colors and upgrade to stainless-steel cooking grates. S versions, available for the 310 and 330 only, are finished in all stainless steel.
The good news for grill buyers is that stores' remaining 2010 Weber Genesis models will likely be on sale. You can debate whether it's a good idea to pay more for a 2011, but we certainly wouldn't recommend against jumping on a deal for a leftover 2010, either. As a perennial ConsumerSearch Best Reviewed model, it's clear that you'd still be getting an excellent product.
ConsumerReports.org hasn't tested the new2011 Weber Genesis grills yet, nor have they been on the market long enough for many owners to provide reviews. At this point, it's a matter of opinion. Derrick Riches,About.com's BBQ and grilling guide since 1997, has given his, calling the the new Genesis "more efficient" and concluding that, "For the price there really isn't a better grill on the market."