Let’s look at some of the best gas grills and compare Napoleon versus Weber. These two brands are currently fighting for the top position, but has one won?
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If you are looking for a great gas grill, one better than most retail models today, you are probably considering Weber. This brand, more than any other, is known for making a good gas grill. Or at least they were. Weber has changed a great deal in the past decade. New management (several times) and a move towards cost control and mass appeal have weakened Weber’s hold on the market.
Canadian-based Napoleon (Wolf Steel Co.) has been the slow-growing Weber competitor for several decades. Today, Napoleon is a large and powerful company with a global reach and a product line that matches (and frequently exceeds) Weber in every way. Napoleon has become a massive company while still under its founders’ ownership.
For decades, Weber enjoyed being the most recommended gas grill on the market, particularly the Weber Genesis line. But the big question today is, has Napoleon become the better choice?
The Lower Price Range
Neither of these companies produces bargain bin mass market grills. Their least expensive gas grills come in at around $500, which are small, weak, and generally not worth looking at.
So, first up, let’s look at the Napoleon Rogue 425 versus the Weber Spirit E-310 and the Genesis E-325s. These are basic grills with simple features and similar construction.
What they have in common:
- Three primary burners
- A mixture of cast aluminum and porcelain-enameled steel with some stainless-steel components
- Enclosed carts
- Large side tables
- Four locking casters
- Porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates
- An excellent grease management system
- Both of these grills are manufactured in China
Note: The Weber Genesis comes with a fourth, “sear” burner set between the middle and right burners. This is used to boost the heat output of the grill but doesn’t increase the heat across the entire cooking surface.
|Rogue 425||Spirit E-310||Genesis E-325s|
|Primary Cooking Area||425||424||513|
|BTUs per Square Inch||99||75||76|
|Weight||123 lbs.||109 lbs.||188 lbs.|
|Warranty||15-year||12/10 year||12/10 year|
*Prices may vary and are subject to change. Weber grill prices tend to be more fixed and don’t vary from retailer to retailer. Napoleon grill prices can vary more widely and tend to have deeper discounts on sale.
What’s the difference:
- Price is the most significant difference, but only if you consider it in relation to size. The Napoleon Rogue and the Weber Spirit are almost identical in size and weight, but the Rogue costs considerably more. The Genesis is nearly 20% larger (in the primary cooking area) and $100 more. Depending on your comparison, the Napoleon is much more expensive or quite comparable when considering capacity.
- Power: Weber gas grills have been losing power (heat) for well over a decade. However, Napoleon has held onto its heat and is now a much more powerful grill. When you look at the maximum BTUs per square inch, you can easily see the difference between the two brands.
- Warranty: Weber’s warranty is good. Napoleon’s is better. With Napoleon, you get longer coverage without the limitations on specific components.
The Napoleon Rogue 425 versus the Weber Spirit E-310
The biggest difference here is the price. Occasionally the Napoleon can be found for closer to $700 but that is still a big price jump. The Spirit is Weber’s bottom-line grills. Rogue is near the bottom. I don’t compare the Napoleon Freestyle grills to Weber because these are very small, lightweight gas grills that do little more than fill out the product line.
Between these two, the other big difference is going to be the power. Napoleon gets much hotter than the Spirit and does it much faster. You get a better grilling experience, but you do pay for it. Comparing the two, side by side, the price of the Rogue is worth it. I would recommend it over the Spirit.
The Weber Genesis E-325s versus the Napoleon Rogue 425
Here the price difference is reversed. You get more cooking space with the Genesis, which can be nice. In fact, I always recommend going a little bigger than you need. You can use less of the total grilling surface but can’t use more than it offers.
That said, the Rogue still runs hotter than the Genesis. Side by side, you can see the heat difference. The Rogue heats faster and puts a better sear on meats. In most other factors, these two grills are very comparable.
The Middle Price Range
Moving up the price range, we can look at the Weber Genesis E-335 versus the Napoleon Prestige 500. These grills are priced between $1200 and $1400 and come in various configurations. Aside from that, they are, again, similar in size and construction. The biggest difference is that the Napoleon has four main burners while the Genesis has three (plus a “sear” burner)
|Genesis E-335||Prestige 500|
|Primary Cooking Area||513||500|
|BTUs per Square Inch||76||96|
What they offer:
- 12,000 BTU Side Burner
- 14,000 BTU Infrared Side Burner
- 18,000 BTU Infrared Rotisserie Burner with Full kit
- LED Lit Control Panel
As you can see, the Napoleon Prestige series offers more. If you were to buy the Genesis with its rotisserie kit (without a rotisserie burner), the price difference would drop dramatically. The Weber side burner is good but typical. The Napoleon side burner can also be used as an intense searing burner for that perfect steak.
These grills have the same cooking areas, but the Napoleon has much more power. Napoleon also offers more features and a better warranty. Given these factors, the Prestige is a better value and, obviously, the grill to buy.
The High End
Both Weber and Napoleon offer gas grills in the over $3000 price range. For Weber, it is the Summit line; for Napoleon, it is the Prestige Pro line. Both grills are a combination of cast aluminum, stainless steel, and PAINTED STEEL. Yes, these are NOT all stainless-steel gas grills, yet both are expensive. The main reason for the price is all the features.
What they have in common:
- A rear-mounted infrared rotisserie burner with a full rotisserie kit
- A side burner
- An internal smoker box with a dedicated smoker burner
- Heavy stainless steel cooking grates
- Both are made in North America. Weber in the United States and Napoleon in Canada.
- Nearly identical total cooking area
- Both are available in propane or natural gas
- Plenty of storage space
|Summit 670||Prestige Pro 665|
|Primary Cooking Area||664||665|
|Maximum Main BTUs||60,000||68,000|
|BTUs per Square Inch||96||102|
As you can see, these two gas grills are similar and nearly identical on paper. The real differences are in the details. The Napoleon Prestige Pro offers an infrared side burner sear station that makes a great steak. Napoleon has more power both in the main burners and with the rotisserie burner. The Weber Summit series has six main burners, the Napoleon five. Napoleon offers a better warranty as well as a lower price. Clearly, the winner is Napoleon.
In the range of accessories, Weber has a lot. But with Napoleon you have an option of side burner configurations. There is even a charcoal basket that lets you convert your gas grill into a charcoal grill for added flavor. Also, as with less expensive models, the Napoleon comes with LED-lit knobs to make it easier to grill in the dark.
I could say that shortsightedness and mismanagement have weakened Weber to the point that they have lost their place at the top of lists, but that wouldn’t address the growth and development of Napoleon. Napoleon is a great company with a good reputation, and they have put in the work to unseat Weber.
If you are looking for a great gas grill between $500 and $4,000, I encourage you to take a serious look at Napoleon. They may be more expensive in some areas but earn that price difference. When you turn from Weber to Napoleon, you get a better, more powerful grill. You also get more features and more options. After twenty years of writing about grills and grilling, it is my opinion that Napoleon is now the company to beat.
I have been writing about Barbecue & Grilling for 25 years. I have cooked on almost every grill or smoker ever built. In that time, I have endeavored to match people with the grill or smoker that is right for them. I believe that the right product is the one that you find easy to use, capable of doing everything you want, and is reliable. If you have a good first experience, you will be back for more. In this way, we grow barbecue for the next generation. I want you to make the memories that your children will cherish.
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