Consumer Reports: What to consider when buying a gas grill

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For Americans who grill, gas is hands-down the preferred method. But when your grill gives out, you will need some expert advice on what to look for when shopping for a new one. In a partnership with Consumer Reports, 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney has some great suggestions for you

Your grill works hard for you, turning out everything from burgers and dogs to fish and veggies to feed your friends and family. So, when it's time to pick a new one, what should you consider? "Quality. Something that's going to cook and heat evenly," said one individual.

"I look for durability, number one. I also look for ease of use," said another gentleman.

Consumer Reports runs grills through a gamut of tests: How long does it take to heat up? Is the surface heat consistent? Consumer Reports' indirect heating test reveals whether a grill will do a good job with fish or slow-cooked meats.

To be safe, grills should be stable. Consumer Reports tests for structural integrity by torquing and stressing grills on this machine.

So, how much grill do you need?

"If you're choosing between a small and medium-sized grill, we always suggest that you go for the midsize model," said Paul Hope, Consumer Reports Home Editor. "It'll obviously hold more food, but you also tend to see more features on those grills too."

Consumer Reports suggests considering one of two midsize grills, depending on your budget. The Weber Genesis II is the leader of the mid-size pack. It gets top marks for temperature performance, has good temperature range, and is as sturdy as they come.

The Char-Broil Signature, available at Lowe's, is excellent for cooking large cuts of meat that need to slow-cook and has a top-rated surface temperature.

The Nexgrill, available at Home Depot, heats up quickly and evenly, outperforming some grills costing three times as much.

Consumer Reports recently surveyed gas grill owners, and most said they got five or more years out of their grill. If you think yours still has a couple good years, here is a link to Consumer Reports' great tips on extending your grills' life.

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