If you’re shopping for a Char Broil grill, you probably appreciate a good bargain. The question is, which one of their units will give you the most bang for your buck? In this Char Broil Performance vs Commercial Series roundup, we’ll help you arrive at the right conclusion.
Char Broil Performance
Char Broil has been in business since 1948, when the company produced some of America’s first charcoal grills. Their units are typically affordable yet durable enough to withstand a few seasons. If you’re a first-timer looking for a decent grill with which to practice, Char Broil could be a good place to start.
There are several grills in the Performance series, and the entire line stands as a fine representation of everything that Char Broil does best. For this review, we’ll be talking about the Char-Broil Performance Stainless Steel 4-Burner Cabinet-Style Gas Grill.
- Dimensions: 50.4″ L x 24.5″ W x 45″ H
- Main Grilling Surface: 475 square inches
- Number of Main Burners: 4
- Side Burner: Yes
- BTU Output: 46,000 (including side burner)
- Superior packaging
- Easy to assemble
- Relatively compact size for a 4-burner unit
- Suitable for year-round use
- Main grilling surface is on the small side
- Some shipping issues reported
Char Broil Commercial Series
Though the Commercial Series is another Char Broil offering, the grills come with a few significant differences. We’ll talk more about those in the Standout Features section below.
In the interest of keeping things simple, we’ve opted to compare the Char Broil Commercial Series TRU-Infrared 4-Burner Gas Grill to the Performance model outlined above. If you need to tell the grills apart at first glance, the Commercial version is slightly larger, with bar-style handles on the cabinets.
- Dimensions: 58.8″ L x 22.5″ W x 47.2″ H
- Main Grilling Surface: 525 square inches
- Number of Main Burners: 4
- Side Burner: Yes
- BTU Output: 45,000 (including side burner)
- Generous size
- Appealing design
- Maintenance is relatively carefree
- Features TRU-Infrared cooking technology
- On the pricey side
- Infrared burners require a certain degree of skill to operate
Char Broil Performance vs Commercial Series: Features Face to Face
Here, we’ll talk about some of the features you should look for in a gas grill to see how the Performance and Commercial series hold up. To make your final decision easier, we’ve included a winner for each category.
As we mentioned, Char Broil is a good place to begin if you’re shopping on a budget. While they offer a variety of products, their gas grills typically fall into the inexpensive-to-moderate range. Unlike some bargain-basement offerings, however, these are sturdy enough to withstand a few years of regular use.
In terms of sheer affordability, however, the Performance grill is a better deal. The Commercial version has a number of extra features that drive up the price tag. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re looking to save a few bucks, we would recommend the Performance over the Commercial series.
Both of these units offer a cabinet-style design, featuring a set of double doors beneath the main firebox. The handles on the Performance grill are set in a vertical position, while the Commercial unit is outfitted with horizontal bar handles. Because the Commercial grill is larger (see Size, below), the cabinet area is roomier as well.
The grills also share a stainless steel finish, with one minor difference: The Performance grill has black control knobs and the Commercial keeps the steel motif throughout. In our opinion, the steel knobs make the settings more visible, especially since they’re equipped with integrated LED lights.
The Performance 4-Burner unit is flanked by a pair of shelves for storage and prep. The shelf on the left-hand side is actually a lidded burner, so it can also be used to heat sauces and side dishes.
The Commercial grill also comes with a lidded burner, but it’s situated on the right-hand side. It can also pull double duty as a shelf when the burner isn’t in use. Both of these shelving units are more generously sized than the ones on the Performance model.
These Char Broil units are also outfitted with four locking caster wheels, which help keep the grills stable when they’re in place. The wheels on the Performance grill are more reasonably proportioned than the ones on the Commercial version, which are fairly small when you consider the unit’s size.
Overall, we think the Commercial 4-Burner grill offers more curb appeal. The layout—namely, the fact that the side burner is housed on the right—also makes it more convenient to use, particularly if you’re right-handed.
No matter how attractive a grill looks from the outside, it won’t do you any good if it’s constructed of flimsy materials. That’s why it’s vital to pay attention to the build quality before making a final decision.
The Performance Series 4-Burner Gas Grill features stainless steel construction for the firebox, heat tent, burners, side shelving, and lid. This results in a grill that’s sturdy and retains its heat well. Our main complaint is that the exterior will show fingerprints and other smudges if it’s not wiped down regularly.
The cooking grates on the Performance model are made of stainless steel as well. These also offer excellent heat retention, resulting in visible grill marks on steak and pork chops. That said, they can be difficult to clean if the job isn’t done immediately.
Does the Commercial Series unit have anything more to offer in this department? We believe that it does. While the heat tent, burners, and firebox feature the same stainless steel construction as the Performance, there are a couple of differences that set it apart.
For one thing, the side shelf is made of painted steel, which gives it an additional layer of protection against the elements. The company also offers a more generous warranty on the burners (see Warranty, below). This indicates that the parts are designed to last a great deal longer.
In addition, the cooking grates are made of cast iron with a porcelain coating. This is our preferred material for grilling, as it conducts heat well and cleans up quickly afterward. Thanks to the porcelain enameling, you won’t have to worry about the cast iron rusting out over time.
The BTU output for the Performance unit is 36,000 on the main surface. The side burner offers an additional 10,000 BTUs. As we pointed out, all of the burners are constructed of quality stainless steel, so you can expect them to enjoy a long life.
By contrast, the 4-Burner Commercial model offers a total BTU output of 45,000. The main grilling surface is equipped with four burners, each with a BTU output of 8,000 apiece. The side burner cranks out 13,000 BTUs, making it a good fit if you need to boil water for pasta or rice.
What does this mean for the pitmaster? In the past, people believed that a grill should offer 80 to 100 BTUs for every square inch of grilling space. Since the Performance model packs more of a punch across a smaller surface, it would win this round by that logic alone.
That said, this rule of thumb no longer applies. Fewer BTUs doesn’t necessarily mean less power. In fact, if the grill is cranking out fewer BTUs per square inch, it could mean that the grill is more efficient. In short, the quality of the construction is more important than the BTU output itself.
On that note, the Commercial 4-Burner model earns higher marks. The TRU-Infrared technology might require a bit more skill than garden variety burners, but in the end, they deliver even heating and superior results.
We should also reiterate that Char Broil offers a longer warranty on the burners for the Commercial grill. This perk, combined with the efficiency of the system, is enough to give that model the edge here.
The stainless steel construction on these grills gives them an advantage over the competition when it comes to temperature control. Electronic ignition allows you to torch the burners in a heartbeat, and both units reach the desired temperature quickly.
Because of the TRU-Infrared technology, the Commercial ranks higher in terms of heat distribution. The food cooks evenly and retains more of its juices when it’s prepared over these burners. If you can afford the upgrade, we would recommend the Commercial 4-Burner Gas Grill.
The grills are also equipped with built-in lid thermometers so you can keep an eye on your progress. However, be forewarned that the one on the Performance is positioned in a way that makes it difficult to read from a distance.
The Performance grill is outfitted with 650 square inches of cooking space in all. The main grilling surface covers 475 square inches, while the spare warming rack has an additional 175 inches. This makes the grill suitable for parties of 4 to 5 people.
Once you’ve assembled the Commercial model, you’ll have 525 square inches of grilling space to work with. You should be able to fit 25 to 30 hamburger patties on the main cooking surface, depending on how big they are. With a grill this size, you should be able to serve parties of 5 to 6 people on a regular basis.
Because the warming rack on the Performance grill isn’t suitable for cooking, the Commercial Series offers a bit more space. The difference between these two models isn’t noticeable if you’re grilling for smaller parties. However, if you frequently cook for a crowd, you’re bound to appreciate the extra room on the Commercial unit.
Ease of Assembly
It takes time to put a gas grill together, but the assembly routine is easier for some models than for others. Let’s find out how the Performance and Commercial grills compare in this regard.
All told, it should take about two hours to put together the Performance grill. The instructions are direct and easy to follow, and the packaging job is generally efficient, although this may depend on the retailer. If there are any parts missing, contact Char Broil’s customer service department for replacements.
Assembly for the Commercial model, meanwhile, will take slightly longer. Although it’s not that much larger than the Performance version, the additional features come with extra parts that require careful attention. For best results, we would recommend inviting a friend or family member to help put this one together.
Care and Maintenance
How much time will you have to put into the cleanup routine? Will you need to invest in special equipment in order to keep the grill in prime condition? These are questions that everyone should ask when shopping for a grill.
The Performance 4-Burner Gas Grill offers a small footprint, which is excellent in terms of maintenance. The stainless steel firebox is another nice touch, as it cleans up easily with a stiff wire brush after each use.
On the other hand, the Commercial version has porcelain-enameled steel grates. This means that the ingredients won’t stick to them as easily, a feature that’s likely to appeal to those of you who hate washing dishes. However, remember that the extended cooking surface goes hand in hand with larger grilling grates.
So which series wins this round? It’s a close call, but we think the Commercial version is the better choice. If you want a grill that’s both convenient to use and simple to clean, this is the one you should choose.
As we pointed out, the Commercial Series grill has shelves that offer plenty of space and are also convenient to use. However, storage opportunities don’t end there. When you open the cabinet doors, you’ll find a set of interior racks that can be used to hold barbecue tools until their next use. The cabinet space is also more spacious overall.
The shelving on the Performance grill is adequate, but there isn’t much room in the lower cabinet for anything besides the propane tank. This might not be a deal-breaker if you’re working with limited space, but if you cook outdoors on a regular basis, it’s something to keep in mind.
Once again, the Commercial unit offers a better deal here. The burners are covered by a 10-year warranty, and the grates, lid, and firebox are covered for 3 years following the date of purchase. All of the other components are under warranty for 1 year.
To be fair, the warranty package on the Performance model is still generous by industry standards. A 5-year warranty is in place for the burners. The lid and firebox come with a 2-year warranty, and all the other parts are covered for 1 year.
In our opinion, the warranty package on the Commercial Series grill is enough to make up for the higher price tag. In the end, however, it’s up to the consumer to decide.
Char Broil Performance vs Commercial Series: Standout Features
Of course, there are certain features that the Performance series has that the Commercial line does not. It works the other way around as well. Here’s the rundown on the most pertinent differences between the two.
Char Broil Performance Series
- Stainless steel cooking grates—Rust-resistant, with great heat retention
- 10,000-BTU side burner—A convenient tool for keeping sauces warm
- Gear Trax enabled shelves—Allows for extensions if necessary
Char Broil Commercial Series
- TRU-Infrared technology—Efficient burners help seal in moisture and promote even cooking
- Integrated LED lights—For grilling at night
- 13,000-BTU side burner—Gets hot enough to boil water for pasta
- SureFire electronic ignition—Provides reliable start-ups, even in bad weather
- Porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates—Sturdy and simple to clean
- Integrated tank gauge—Allows you to keep a close watch on the fuel supply
The Bottom Line
Use the Char Broil Performance grill if:
- You’re shopping on a budget
- Space constraints would make a smaller grill more appealing
- You prefer stainless steel cooking grates to cast iron
Does any of this sound appealing? If so, check out the Char Broil Performance 4-Burner Gas Grill today.
Use the grill from the Commercial Series if:
- You’re an experienced pitmaster who wants to experiment with the TRU-Infrared technology
- You have the space to accommodate a larger grill
- You’re willing to pay extra for a generous warranty
- Cleanup is your least favorite part of cooking out
- You want a grill with plenty of storage space
If this sounds good to you, take a closer look at a Char Broil Commercial grill.