Weber Genesis vs. Genesis II: Hashing Out The Difference

In 2017, Weber updated its popular Genesis models with the introduction of the Genesis II line. What are the differences between these grills, and how might the changes affect your grilling experience? In our Weber Genesis vs Genesis II review, we’ll walk you through the answers.

Genesis

The Genesis line dates back to the mid-’80s, when Weber debuted its first full-sized gas grills. These initial offerings featured a cart-style design, side shelving, and a handy grease management system. Over the years, the design evolved as Weber added grills of various sizes and styles to this iconic lineup.

The specifications listed below are for the Weber Genesis E-330. Though the original Genesis grills have been officially phased out of Weber’s lineup, they may still be available through some online retailers.

Specifications

  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 30 x 60 x 64.5 inches (lid open)
  • Total Cooking Surface: 637 square inches
  • Number of Primary Burners: 3
  • BTU Output (Main Burners): 38,000
  • BTU Output (Side Burner): 12,000
  • BTU Output (Sear Station): 10,000
  • Warranty: 5 Years (Limited)

Pros

  • Rapid, easy assembly
  • Sturdy build
  • Capable of reaching high temperatures in a short period of time
  • Cooks food evenly

Cons

  • Cooking grates tend to wear through quickly
  • Secondary components may be prone to rusting when kept in humid environments

Genesis II

With the Genesis II line, Weber has attempted to ramp up the quality of their products. In addition to updating the overall design, they’ve made the burners and ignition systems more efficient.

There are also two different product lines available. The regular Genesis II grills are designed to appeal to everyday grillers, while the II LX models are geared toward die-hard BBQ fans.

Because the Genesis E-330 was the forerunner to the Genesis II E-330, we’ll provide the specs for the updated version below.

Specifications

  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 62 x 59 x 31 inches (lid open)
  • Total Cooking Surface: 669 square inches
  • Number of Primary Burners: 3
  • BTU Output (Main Burners): 39,000
  • BTU Output (Side Burner): 12,000
  • BTU Output (Sear Station): 9,000
  • Warranty: 10 Years

Pros

  • Reliable ignition
  • Easy to clean
  • Excellent heat retention; maintains a stable temperature throughout the cooking time
  • Powerful side burner

Cons

  • Relatively expensive model
  • Some parts reported missing in initial shipments

Weber Genesis vs Genesis II: Features Face to Face

Affordability

On the whole, any Genesis grill can be considered a mid-priced option. They’re definitely pricier than many of the grills you’ll find through online retailers, but not as expensive as some of the competition (or even Weber’s own Summit line). If you have a bit of money to invest in a quality unit, a Genesis grill could be the way to go.

Which of these alternatives is the more affordable choice? Since the original Genesis line is outdated, you’ll probably be able to score a better deal with one of these. However, be forewarned that they’re no longer available on Weber’s website, which means they can be difficult to find.

Winner: Genesis

Design

The Genesis E-330 was designed with a cabinet-style construction, with a set of double cabinets beneath the firebox. The design is classic and elegant, and many of the grills in the E series were available in a variety of colors. (Products with Weber’s “S” designation feature a stainless steel finish, while the “E” is used to denote enameling.)

The Genesis II E-330, on the other hand, has an open cart-style design. This might be more appealing if you prefer easy access to the catch pan. It also gives you a handy shelf for storing tools or other supplies. There are also multiple color choices available for the II E-330 model and for several other grills in the Genesis II E series.

Why the switch? With the updated line, it appears that Weber is attempting to designate the style based on the last number used in the model’s name. Grills that end in the number 5 have a cabinet-style design, while the number 0 designates an open-cart model. For example, the E-330 is cart-style, while the E-335 features closed cabinets.

All Genesis grills offer at least one side shelf for prep or storage. On models like the E-330, the right-hand side is outfitted with a second shelf that houses an additional burner. This is a convenient perk that’s shared by the original Genesis line and the upgraded II series.

The original Genesis grills have a straight-edged, block-like appearance with a small footprint. The legs end in four locking caster wheels, which improve their stability when they’re in position. However, the wheels aren’t the sturdiest aspect of the construction.

For the Genesis II units, Weber has shortened the shroud and widened the footprint, giving the units has a more graceful appearance. There are also two large wheels affixed to the legs on the right-hand side, which makes the grills easier to maneuver.

Each style has definite benefits, and which one you choose is a matter of personal preference. However, we prefer the ergonomic lids and durable oversized wheels that are available on the Genesis II models. Neither will affect the grill’s performance, but we think they’re easier on the eyes.

Winner: Genesis II

Construction

Weber’s Genesis grills feature a sturdy stainless-steel construction for the frame, side tables, and burners. All are equipped with heavy-duty steel lids, and the lids in the E series also feature a porcelain coating that helps to protect the grill while locking in the heat.

Porcelain-enameled cooking grates also come standard with grills in the E series. If the unit in question has an S before the number, the cooking grates will be made of stainless steel. This is true of both the original line and the updated version.

While the Flavorizer bars on the original Genesis E-330 have the same porcelain coating as the cooking grates, the ones on the Genesis II E-330 are made of stainless steel. We think the stainless steel ones deliver a stronger hit of smoke, in addition to being more durable. For that reason, the Genesis II wins this round.

Winner: Genesis II

Size

If you use the Genesis E-330 vs the Genesis II E-330 as a template, you can expect the updated versions to be slightly larger than their predecessors. Because the original line has been discontinued by Weber, it’s difficult to tell whether this change is true of all the Genesis II models. However, based on what we’ve been able to find, it’s a good bet.

The main cooking surface of the E-330 comprises 507 square inches, with the remaining 130 inches taking up residence on the warming rack. For the II E-330, the main surface covers 513 square inches and the warming rack adds an additional 156.

Either one of these grills could be considered suitable for a family of 5 to 6 people. The difference in size is so small as to be barely noticeable. However, since the updated models are technically bigger, we’ll award them the top prize in this category.

Also of note: When Weber rolled out the Genesis II line, they began to offer a number of different sizing options. There are eight grills in the series, ranging in size from 2-burner to 6-burner models. Before, if you wanted a 2-burner unit, you had no choice but to choose one from the Spirit line, so the variety is a welcome change.

If you want to know how many burners a Weber grill has, take a look at the first number in the model’s name. The E-330 has three burners, while the S-435 offers four. Keep this in mind when you’re on the lookout for a new gas grill.

Winner: Genesis II

Burners

If you look at the specifications for the Weber Genesis vs Genesis II, you’ll notice that the E-330 has a slightly lower BTU output for the main grilling station, while the searing burner cranks out 10,000 BTUs as opposed to 9,000 on the E-330 II. Here’s what this means for your grilling experience.

While the numbers don’t point to any discernible difference, the burners on the updated model are more powerful overall. They also deliver a more efficient performance. The side burner on the Genesis E-330 II is particularly effective, to the point where you need to keep a close eye on it to avoid overcooking your ingredients.

To achieve this, Weber updated the burner design for the Genesis II models. The burner ports (or holes) have a rounded shape instead of narrow slits, and they’re also larger in size. This means that the ports are less likely to become clogged due to corrosion or grease buildup, which cuts down on maintenance.

The burners themselves feature a clever tapered design. They deliver steady pressure and precise front-to-back alignment, which ensures even heating.

With the original Genesis grills, the pressure toward the back of the grill would often be weak, making the front section much hotter as a result. The new design attempts to solve these problems with style as well as efficiency.

Winner: Genesis II

Ignition

The first Genesis grills, including the E-330, boasted an electronic ignition system with independent controls. This meant that users could control each burner individually, firing up the designated zones at the press of a button.

For the Genesis II grills, Weber introduced the new E2i ignition system. The principle is largely the same, but we find the newer models to be more efficient and reliable overall. In fact, we might argue that the E2i ignition system is one of Weber’s finest achievements to date.

The Genesis II LX series also offers high-heat options for each knob, along with an ambient light feature. For more detailed information on the LX models, see Standout Features, below.

Winner: Genesis II

Cleanup and Maintenance

All Genesis grills come with an angled grease tray, which directs any runoff into a disposable catch pan. Both the grease tray and the catch pan can be removed for easy cleaning, and the pan can be thrown out and replaced when it reaches its capacity.

If you select a Genesis II grill that has an open cart design, be forewarned that the catch tray will be left unprotected. That means it could be a target for leaves or other debris, especially if you don’t cover the grill in between uses. The grease tray might also attract rodents or raccoons if it isn’t cleaned out regularly.

The cooking grates on Genesis E models are made of porcelain-coated cast iron. These clean up easily and impart impressive-looking grill marks to boot.

If you purchase a Weber Genesis grill that has an S in the model number, the cooking grates will be made of stainless steel. Some grillers swear that this material is easier to clean, but we prefer the protection offered by the porcelain enameling.

Both the earlier Genesis units and the upgraded versions used high-quality materials for both grid types, so the choice is ultimately a matter of personal taste.

The Genesis II line has also made one significant change to the layout: They’ve designed the grill so that the gas tank is positioned on the right-hand side. While this might appear to be a minor cosmetic difference, it actually makes it much easier to replace the tank when it runs empty. This will cut down on maintenance time in the long run.

Winner: Genesis II

Warranty

When the Genesis line was introduced, Weber offered a five-year limited warranty on those grills. However, the company implemented a 10-year warranty plan the same year that the Genesis II line made its appearance. All the components of the Genesis II grills are included in the warranty, which excludes the damage that comes about due to regular use.

If the burners or ignition fail anytime in the first 10 years, Weber will issue you with a free replacement. Likewise, if any components are damaged when they arrive, contact the company and they’ll be glad to rectify the situation.

Because the Genesis II models are covered for a full 10 years, and because any original Genesis grills would already be several years old by the time you could get your hands on them, the upgraded grills take the top prize in this department.

Winner: Genesis II

Weber Genesis vs Genesis II: Standout Features

Next, let’s find out whether the original Genesis line offered any perks that the Genesis II units don’t have. We’ll also explore the updates that Weber has included with the newer models.

Genesis

  • Tight profile—Fits well on small decks and balconies
  • Locking caster wheels—To promote stability

Genesis II

  • Sizing Options—You’ll have more choices when you go for a Genesis II
  • Convenient Design—The right-side tank configuration is especially user-friendly
  • GS4 Grilling System—Featuring powerful burners, well-constructed Flavorizer bars, and improved ignition and grease management systems
  • Premium Line—The Genesis II LX series is geared toward grilling enthusiasts who strive to remain on the cutting edge, offering upgraded steel grates, extra burner power, LED control knobs, and additional storage space

The Bottom Line

Use a Genesis grill if:

  • You’re willing to settle for an older unit
  • It’s the only Genesis grill you can afford
  • You want a 3-burner grill with a smaller footprint

Check out the original Genesis grills if you don’t have the patio space for one of the broader Genesis II models.

Use the Genesis II series if:

  • You’re looking specifically for a 2-burner unit
  • You want a grill with the most reliable ignition system available
  • You want your grill to be a conversation piece as well as a cooking tool
  • You want the most intense smoke flavor that a gas grill can provide
  • You can afford the upgrade

Take a closer look at a Genesis II model if you’re ready for a top-notch grill that delivers on every level.

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