If you’re a frequent griller looking to upgrade with a built-in unit, you might find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer number of options out there. I’ve been there myself, which is why I’ve compiled this Lion grill review to help you make an informed decision. After reading, you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether this is one of the best built-in gas grills on the market.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Lion Built-In Grill
First and foremost: You should only consider buying this grill if you have an outdoor space that’s designed to house a built-in unit. If you don’t have a brick or stone island on your deck or patio, you’d be better off looking for a stand-alone grill.
Those of you who do have (or are planning to build) a structure for a built-in grill should find plenty to love about these sophisticated units. For one thing, they’re always in place, so you can make last-minute decisions about whether or not to use the grill. On a similar note, if you go with one of Lion’s propane or natural gas grills, you can fire it up at the touch of a button. Also, built-in grills won’t interrupt the flow of your outdoor entertaining space the way stand-alone units can.
Buyers should take the following things into consideration before beginning their search:
- How much you can afford to spend
- How much cooking space you’ll need
- How much heating power you’re looking for in a gas grill
- Whether the grill can stand up to your local weather patterns
- Which special features you’re looking for, and which ones you’d be willing to forego
Lion Grill Review: The Basics
The standard stainless steel built-in gas grill from Lion measures 32 inches wide and features 830 inches of cooking space. While this particular model features four burners, a larger five-burner unit—measuring 40 inches wide—is also available for those who need a little more room. Lion also offers a choice between units that run on propane and others that use natural gas. While there are advantages to both, propane is capable of stronger output and continues to be a popular choice.
- Affordable price point with a lifetime warranty included
- High heat that runs consistently for even cooking
- Easy to install and clean
- Two built-in lights help visibility all year round
- High-quality stainless steel construction
- Rear of the grill gets extremely hot, which can lead to accidental burning if you’re not careful
- Grill grates are set a little too close to the burners
- Some components tend to get damaged in transit, leading to time-consuming replacement and repair
Features and Benefits of Lion Premium Grills
Now that you have a basic idea of what to expect from a Lion built-in grill, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details. Here, you’ll learn more about how the unit operates, and the features that help to set it apart from the competition.
Affordability and Value
The Lion grill is set at a decent price point for a built-in grill. Many of the units you’ll find will be noticeably more expensive (sometimes to the tune of several hundred dollars). Considering the overall quality of the product—especially when you take the lifetime warranty into account—I think the price is perfectly reasonable.
That said, unless you really need the extra space, I’d recommend going with the four-burner unit over its five-burner counterpart. Not only will the larger unit cost more money upfront, but it will also be more expensive to run, especially if you use natural gas.
This unit is made entirely of stainless steel, with a seamless double layer used for the lid. Even the light switch and commercial-sized push-and-turn knobs have a stainless steel construct, which means you might want to be careful about touching them once the grill reaches its maximum temperature. I haven’t noticed any problems with the knobs, but they could get dangerously hot, depending on how well the burners have been installed.
The grill for the four-burner model measures 32 inches wide—a standard size for this type of unit—and features 830 square inches of cooking space, including an infrared rotisserie back burner. There’s also a warming rack that’s fully adjustable and can be used for heating sauces or toasting bread while the rest of the meal cooks. The 40-inch unit is the same, but it offers a fifth burner and an additional 200 inches of cooking space for a total of 1030.
So far, the “Quick Lite” valves on this unit have worked just as advertised—the flames switch on the first time, every time. I especially appreciate the push-to-turn knobs, which add an element of safety as well as function.
Collectively, the four burners on the standard-sized Lion grill are capable of cranking out 75,000 BTUs (British thermal units) of heat. If you decide to invest in the five-burner model, you’re looking at 90,000 total BTUs. In other words, they should generate sufficient heat to suit your needs, even if you’re frequently cooking for large crowds. The burners also give off heat for longer than some of its closest competitors, giving the Lion a solid edge when it comes to performance.
Heat distribution is generally even, but the area around the rotisserie is prone to overheating if you’re not careful. As long as you remember this and make an effort not to rotate any food onto that area by accident, you’re likely to achieve satisfactory results on a regular basis.
As mentioned above, the burners are very reliable and should continue to burn even if conditions are windy. If one burner does go out during cooking, remember to turn the switch completely off before attempting to relight it—otherwise, the gas will keep flowing to the affected burner, which could result in explosion and injury when it reignites.
The 304 stainless steel used in the Lion grill’s construction is solid enough to stand up to years of frequent use. If you live in a cold or rainy climate, you might want to invest in a grill cover for added protection; however, the double-cast lid is sufficient during more temperate weather.
One of Lion’s key bonus features is the inclusion of two utility lights, which allow for decent visibility even when cooking after dark. I’ve noticed that these lights are noticeably lower in quality than the grill’s other parts—the bulbs can burn out after just a few months of use. Fortunately, this is a small problem that can be remedied cheaply and easily. Other useful features include a built-in thermometer for heat control, a built-in rotisserie with infrared heat, and an adjustable warming rack.
In the past, Lion has been known to offer a gourmet grilling package to consumers who buy their grill. This package includes a grill cover, rotisserie kit, smoker box, griddle, and griddle plate remover complete with bottle opener. If this package is being offered, it adds great value to the purchase.
There are a number of other add-ons available for these grills, including ceramic “flame rod tamers” meant to aid in heat distribution; a searing burner; and a charcoal tray for those who love the instant gratification of gas grills but miss the flavor that charcoal provides. The drawback? These extras cost money—sometimes a lot of money, meaning any initial savings could be negated if you choose to improve the versatility of your grill.
The lifetime warranty is a huge perk, but it doesn’t stop there. The Lion customer service department is exemplary, responding quickly and courteously to any complaints. Note that if you purchase your grill through a third party, you should still go directly to Lion if you’re experiencing problems with their product.
Social Evidence: At Home with the Lion Grill
If you’re skeptical as to whether this grill really works as well as its specifications would suggest, you’re not alone. I wondered too, which is why I searched online for reviews from real-life consumers regarding their experience with the Lion grill.
Fortunately, the field tests seemed to live up to expectations. The affordability of the unit was mentioned more than once, but users also reported being pleased with the heat distribution, durability, and ease of installation. Serious grilling fans were especially impressed with the built-in lights and rotisserie option, two elements you don’t find every day.
Alternatives: Best Built-In Gas Grills
Looking for something that might work as well as the Lion, but with slightly different specifications? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of three close competitors, each with their own sets of pros and cons.
Like the Lion grill, the Napoleon LEX 605 offers a built-in infrared rotisserie option, but the working components (motor, spit, and forks) need to be purchased separately. In addition, Napoleon features four burners, stainless steel construction, and the ability to convert from natural gas to propane. Each burner is capable of cranking 16,000 BTUs (with the exception of the rear rotisserie burner, with a heat output of 15,500).
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The Bull grill is set at a similar price point to the Lion, but it doesn’t offer as much in the way of heat output, with a total BTU capability of just 60,000 over four welded stainless steel burners. A smoker box is included with every purchase, a perk that could sway charcoal lovers. The unit is just as easy to install and operate as the Lion, but the heat distribution and retention don’t perform quite as well.
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This is the costliest model in our roundup, but if you can afford it, the Blaze is a great luxury option. While the 34-inch unit includes only three burners, each has a heat output capability of 18,000 BTUs. The stainless steel burners are H-shaped for even heat distribution, and the grill includes “zone separators” which allow you to prepare several types of food at the same time. Installation and cleanup are simple, and the installed rotisserie motor is fully waterproof, so there’s no need to remove it when the grill isn’t in use. Blaze also offers consumers a lifetime warranty, helping to offset the high price tag.
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How They Compare
- Napoleon LEX 605—certain components of this grill need to be purchased separately
- Bull Outdoor Products 87049 Lonestar Select—better for smoking than regular grilling
- Blaze Professional—strong performance overall with a luxury price point
All of these grills present viable alternatives to the Lion models. If one of them appeals more to you, consider purchasing that unit instead.
Finding the right built-in grill can be a challenging prospect, and the Lion grill offers a feasible solution at an affordable price. The burners cook evenly and efficiently, it features enough cooking space and versatility to accommodate larger groups, and the construct is sturdy enough to endure in most weather conditions. You don’t have to take my word for it, though—click here to take a closer look at the Lion grill, and decide whether it might be a good fit for your outdoor cooking space.
Click the links below to check Lion grills on Amazon: