Portable doesn't necessarily mean basic -- so if you're looking for a premium grill that's portable only in the sense that you can transport it easily, the Weber Q-220 is worth a look. It costs several times more than many other portables, but the trade off is gas-grill technology, a stylish appearance, and a surprisingly large cooking surface, with a domed lid that can accommodate a whole chicken.
Excellent performance. Both professionals and consumers praise the Q-220's even cooking, with About.com's Derrick Riches noting that it excels at cooking burgers, steaks and chicken, while others add pizza, potatoes and vegetables to the list. One user reports that seared tuna or steak comes out "nice and rare in the middle." Nevertheless, we read one negative review, from a user who reports that because the grill has no Flavorizer bar to vaporize juices, hamburgers taste baked, not grilled. Another user warns that the grill reaches 500 degrees Fahrenheit very quickly, adding, "Be careful if you like your steaks rare."
Full-size convenience. According to reviewers, the Q-220 is a portable grill that is nearly as big as a full-size model. That's largely thanks to the generous cooking space, which one user says is large enough to fit 12 half-pound burgers (or nine burgers and eight franks). Reviewers also like the convenient side tables, and they note that the domed lid makes grilling a whole chicken possible. On the downside, some users find the model weighty, and some report issues with lighting it. And while some say the grill is easy to clean, one user maintains that it's hard to get the grate completely free of "grunge."
Flare-ups are less likely. We found very few comments regarding safety in reviews of the Q-220, but those we did find applaud the grill's design. For example, one user notes that the grill funnels all drippings into an easily removed waste pan, reducing the risk of a flash fire. The owner's manual recommends checking regularly for gas leaks using soapy water, as well as cleaning or replacing the disposable drip pan as needed, and opening the lid when operating the ignition.
Pricey for a portable. The Q-220 is more expensive than most portable grills; plus, there are a number of accessories, sold separately, that some users consider essential. These include a vinyl cover (Est. $25), rolling cart (Est. $50), handle light (Est. $25), and adapter hose (Est. $25) to connect the grill to a 20-pound propane tank (instead of using disposable canisters).
Maintenance includes periodically checking the insect screen, cleaning or replacing the burner tube, and checking that the flame pattern is correct. The warranty runs five years for aluminum castings and thermoplastic/thermoset parts, and two years for paint and remaining parts.
About 180 users review the Q-220 on Amazon.com, giving it an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. Users say it is durable, heats up nicely, and performs well, although some complain that it's heavy and some report mechanical failures. One user complains that burgers taste "baked," not grilled.
Review: Weber 566002 Q 220 Portable 280-Square-Inch 12000-BTU Liquid-Propane Gas Grill, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of July 2013
The Q-220 receives 50 user reviews on HomeDepot.com, earning an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. Users say it cooks quickly, grills meats well, and is easy to handle. The few complaints we found mainly center on difficulty in getting the grill to light.
Review: Weber Q-220 Portable Propane Gas Grill, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of July 2013
Derrick Riches includes the Weber Q-220 in his list of best portable grills (updated for 2012). He praises its design, but notes that it's relatively heavy and expensive for a portable. Riches does not say how he tests the grill, but his bio specifies extensive experience in evaluating grills.
Review: Top 10 Portable Grills, Derrick Riches, Not dated
While most top-rated grills on Epinions.com receive only a handful of reviews, the Q-220 garners nearly 50, with an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Users say it is durable and easy to use, and they praise the built-in thermometer; some, however, report problems getting it to light.
Review: Grills $170 to $600, Contributors to Epinions.com, As of July 2013