Weber Genesis II – Still the Best
The Weber Genesis II series (launched in 2017) represents Weber’s update and replacement of the trusty old Genesis range. The Genesis II range brings new technology and expanded grill sizes to the table.
I guess the burning question is whether these new grills, priced more or less the same as the old ones, take the series forward or whether they regress a little. As it turns out, that’s a question with no clear-cut answers, as there are improvements in some areas and question marks in others.
Without going into too much generic background about the new series, let’s instead look specifically at what the new grills offer, and then dig down into some specific models.
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Weber Genesis II – First Look
Up top the Genesis II grills cut a close copy of their predecessors. The burner knobs, nice big handle on the lid, lid-mounted thermometer, side tables, all there and all very similar. The six tool hooks on the side tables are great for hanging all your accessories.
The Genesis II definitely has a more sleek and rounded appearance than the old models.
Looking towards the bottom though, the enclosed cabinet standard on the old Genesis grills is gone, and you now have an open design. The closed cabinet has now been moved exclusively to the Genesis LX series, a luxury series of grills that feature a lot more bells and whistles.
This is one of the steps down that Weber has taken, in my opinion.
In this space, quite conveniently placed right in the center, is the grease tray, making for easy cleanup at least. This easier grease management is a plus, so you win some you lose some.
And then another positive: the old model had 4 small wheels/castors at the bottom. Two of these have now been replaced with large wheels, making the grill easier to move, especially over rough surfaces.
Everything looks and feels sturdy, with steel construction all the way round.
Under the Hood
Lifting the hood, you get the by now familiar Weber porcelain enamel cast iron grates that give you those lovely thick sear marks on your food. There’s also a stainless steel warming rack, adding additional cooking space.
You have your flavorizer bars, catching some of the grease drip and turning it into delicious smoke to really give your food that barbecued taste.
Digging deeper, gone are the old tube burners, replaced by tapered shape stainless steel burners with heat deflectors that should provide even heat across the entire cooking space. The new burners look good, giving a tidy and quality feel to the bowels of the grill.
The new infinity igniters that come with a 10 year warranty promises to take care of those lighting up hassles almost for good. Time will tell, but they sure work well.
Finally there’s the semi-protected enclosure for your propane tank, complete with gas level indicator.
What is GS4?
You’ll hear a lot of talk about GS4 whenever these grills are mentioned. This is simply a collective term for the new grilling system Weber has implemented here, and refers to the 4 central components:
– The Infinity ignition system
– The new tapered shape burners
– The flavorizer bars
– The improved grease management system
That’s your GS4 in a nutshell! Check out this video for more detail:
iGrill is Weber’s bluetooth thermometer system, complete with phone app so you can monitor what’s happening on your grill without even being there. The device needs to be purchased separately, but the Genesis II grills are already outfitted to receive the temperature probes.
Okay, those are the basics applicable to every grill in the series. Now, let’s review the top models in detail.
Weber Genesis II E-210
Finally there is an “entry-level” Genesis two burner grill. I’m not sure if Weber realizes that this model is sort of getting stiff competition from their new Spirit II range, but I guess it doesn’t matter much as it’s all in the family.
Anyway, this is a great looking two burner grill, but it targets a difficult spot in hierarchy as the Spirit II is considerably cheaper for not much of a difference.
The Weber Genesis II E-210 offers 380 sq inch primary cooking space plus the 114 sq inch added by the warming rack. The Spirit offers 360 square inches with a 90 square inch warming rack. The two burners deliver 26,000 BTU.
This grill is not difficult to assemble, although it will take an hour or two.
Even though this is only slightly larger than the old Spirit grill in primary cooking space, it will still comfortably accommodate a family of four. The heat is plenty for the size and the grill gets up to 550 degrees in about 10 – 15 minutes depending on conditions. Rather than getting enough heat, a bigger issue seem to be getting the heat low enough for real slow cooking.
The new burners distribute the heat beautifully, and this is an excellent mid-range grill suitable for small families. It’s a hard pick over the Spirit though, in particular with the 3-burner Spirit E-310 costing about the same. I do like the additional space in the cart of the Genesis more than the more compact Spirit.
Personally I’m not sure if there was really a call for a 2-burner Genesis, but here it is and it is an excellent grill either way. It just happens to be surrounded by really good competition in the Spirit II models.
Weber Genesis II E-310
This is probably the grill that is going to strike the sweetest middle ground for most people. It’s a good size grill for big families or gatherings and for many people there won’t be a lot of motivation to spend $200 – $300 extra on the 4-burner or larger models.
This model features a primary cooking space of 513 square inches, plus another 156 square inches of cooking space added by the warming rack. That’s plenty of space. The three burners together gives you 37,500 BTU, which should have you covered for serious grilling and searing.
In the first year since its launch the Genesis II E-310 has been very positively received. You still get the excellent build quality that Weber is famous for, and the GS4 system provides reliable ignition and fantastic heat distribution. This is a seriously good grill.
Weber Genesis II E-410
Now we’re getting to the first of the serious party and get together grills: the 4-burner E-410. This is a very large grill that provides 646 square inches of primary cooking space, plus a 198 square inches warming rack. You’ll easily serve 10 people or more with this grill, so it’s perfect for those big summer parties.
The four burners offer 48,000 BTU. All the other features are standard as with the other models. The only differences here are cooking space and amount of burners.
This thing is built like a tank and about as heavy too. It does take longer to preheat than the smaller models.
Weber Genesis II E-610
When huge is simply not big enough, then the Weber Genesis II E-610 is the grill you need. This gigantic 6-burner grill is a steel monster that will probably cook all the food you need for those family gatherings where 3 generations all get together at once.
The primary cooking space on this grill amounts to 770 square inches, in addition to the 228 square inch warming rack. To heat all this space there are the 6 burners offering 60,000 BTU.
As you’d expect, assembly of this monster takes some work, so if you have to option for expert assembly when you purchase it, it might be a good idea to take that.
The Genesis II range of grills from Weber remain the best gas grills around. The new GS4 system is simply beautiful, the build quality still top notch and the heat distribution perfect, even on the larger models.
It is a pity that the cabinet design has now been reserved exclusively for the LX series, and while the new grease system is very good, the grease catch out in the open can be a problem under some conditions.
However, the improvement outweigh these few issues, and these are still the best grills your money can buy.
– steep drip guards channel grease away from the flames to prevent flareups
– GS4 system provides reliable ignition and great heat distribution
– larger wheels make for easier mobility
– new burners in combination with reflectors provide even heating even on the large models
– 10 year guarantee
– the exposed grease tray, while easy to clean, can get messy
– cabinet has been done away with for an open design (only the LX range have a cabinet)