Gas grills, as with most things in Singapore, don’t come cheap. We don’t manufacture many things here because labour is expensive and so is land for factories. So when you’re looking for a gas grill, you’ll want to make sure you can get the most bang for your buck.
Here is a check list of things to look out for when purchasing your first gas grill:
- What does the BBQ come with? What are you REALLY paying for?
The price tag can be quite deceiving at times. Why does one 2 burner BBQ cost so much less than the other? Before deciding, find out if the BBQ comes with some essentials like a gas hose and regulator, and a rain cover (which is very necessary in Singapore weather!). Sometimes you’ll be getting a motorized rotisserie – it’s good to check on this one, especially if your BBQ comes with a back burner. Also, don’t forget to check on the local warranty period and what the warranty covers. Some local companies cover transport, service as well as replacement parts under their warranty.
- Why buy a grill in Singapore when it’s so much cheaper overseas?
It’s not always the case that it’s cheaper overseas – take one of Napoleon’s more popular models, the Triumph T325SB. It’s USD499 (SGD698) on amazon, and after adding the standard amazon shipping charges and import fees, you’re looking at about USD840, which equates to SGD1174. It costs SGD999 to get it locally (or SGD1199 with the rain cover and rotisserie unit). For this amount, you will be getting your BBQ with a gas hose and regulator suitable for use in Singapore, 1-2 day delivery straight to your door, free assembly, and a local warranty which covers repairs, transport and replacement part costs.
A BBQ grill can be made out of different materials so you have to know if the materials you’re paying for are justifiable. Standard materials for the bulk of the BBQ are usually stainless steel or powder-coated steel, but can also come in die-cast aluminum (usually for the fire box), chrome-plated steel (for the warming rack), and of course, cast iron (for the cooking grids and griddles). 304 stainless steel is probably the highest grade of stainless steel you can get for a standard gas grill, but most will be made of 430 or a mix of both materials. Why does it matter? Singapore’s humidity and rainy weather means lots of moisture everywhere, and moisture is bad for metal, especially when the grade of stainless steel is low. You’ll find corrosion and rust are a common sight.
How do you know what kind of steel you’re getting? Do the magnet test. Magnets don’t stick to 304 stainless steel, but they do to 430 and powder-coated steel. Sometimes a BBQ will have a double-skinned hood, which means two layers of metal – the magnet test can be tricky here, because the hood could have a layer of 304 on the outside, and 430 on the inside. It’s designed this way to protect the more moisture-exposed areas of the BBQ.
If you’re looking at a BBQ, and it has a steep price tag, check if the materials are 304 stainless steel or die-cast aluminum. That might be what you’re paying for.
- Other features – Burners, side burners, foldable side tables…
Other parts you could be paying extra for are the burner power, so compare the BTU/kW with other similar BBQs. Some BBQs come with a side burner or back burner, and some will even be infrared types which are more expensive. Check if the side tables are foldable (if you have a space problem) and if the LPG tank can fit in the cabinet (not necessary, but helpful if you want a sleek integrated look). Other little features such as condiments racks, chopping boards, lights, hooks… these could be small little extras that make the BBQ special.
- Lastly, where is it made?
Where the BBQ is made can contribute to the final price point just because it’s cheaper to ship from China than North America. Some brands will have factories in both locations producing different model ranges. For example, you might have Weber manufacturing their lower end range in China, and their higher end range in the USA, while Napoleon manufactures their entry-level range in both Canada and China, while their high-end Prestige and Rogue R425SIB models are all made in Canada.