If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the winner is, then we recommend the Spirit models:
Weber might be one of the biggest names in grilling, but even serious barbecue fans might have a hard time distinguishing between two of their most sought-after models. That’s what prompted me to run this test: Weber Spirit vs Genesis. Which would win in a head-to-head matchup, the old heavyweight or the young up-and-comer? Read on to find out.
In this article, we’re going to review the following weber grills:
Things To Consider Before Buying a Weber Grill
There’s a reason why the Weber name has endured for so long: Their products are eye-catching, efficient, and built to last. In addition, the company is far from content to rest on their laurels; they’re consistently upgrading their products, always attempting to stay on the cutting edge of technology and convenience.
That said, there’s a possibility that neither the Weber Spirit nor the Genesis will be the right fit for you. Why? Well, for one thing, they’re both gas grills, meaning most die-hard charcoal enthusiasts won’t even give them a chance. These shoppers might be better off looking for a kettle-style grill instead. Also, if affordability is a primary issue, it should be noted that these Weber grills fall into the luxury category rather than the bargain bin. In other words, their recognizable brand and the attendant durability of their product don’t come cheaply.
Here are some of the main factors you should take into consideration when shopping for a Weber grill:
- Affordability—the amount of money you’re able and willing to spend
- Size—how many people you’ll be cooking for on a regular basis; how much space you’ll need for the items you usually grill
- Durability—is the product built from quality materials
- Setup and Maintenance—how quickly the grill can be set up; how easy (or difficult) it is to clean
- Burners/Heat Distribution—how powerful the burners are; how evenly they cook the food; how long they can retain their heat
- Additional Features—other miscellaneous considerations, such as storage space, extra lighting, gauges for gas or temperature control
Weber Spirit in Review
To keep the competition as tight as possible, I’ve narrowed the matchup to just two Spirit models and the Genesis units of the same type.
This two-burner grill is designed to deliver maximum efficiency for smaller groups or families that don’t have a lot of space to devote to their outdoor cooking hobby. The Spirit II has a sleeker design and more accessories than its earlier iteration (and is available in several colors), but it still offers the least cooking space of any model on this list. If you have a larger family or enjoy grilling a lot of ingredients at once, this might not be the best choice.
- Attractive, compact design
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Cart-style grill with storage space and tool hooks
- 10 year warranty
- Sophisticated GS4 grilling system
- Relatively pricey for a two-burner grill
- Knobs are very sensitive—you can turn on the burners without meaning to
- Difficult to assemble
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The Spirit II E-310 advertises all the same benefits of the E-210; the chief difference is its additional burner, which also adds another 79 square inches of total cooking space. It should be noted that the heat output isn’t significantly higher, though, so grillers who want to get a strong sear on a large quantity of thick cuts of meat might want to consider other options.
- Effective ignition and heat control
- Grates are easy to handle and clean
- 10 year warranty
- Attractive, user-friendly design
- Has difficulty heating to high temperatures
- Collapsible tray makes the unit difficult to move
- Some secondary parts are not high quality
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Weber Genesis in Review
The two-burner Genesis unit, an upgrade from its first iteration, is equipped with iGrill 3 technology to allow chefs a bit more freedom during the grilling process. The active grilling space is significantly smaller than on the Spirit, but there is an additional 114-inch warming rack. This unit is geared toward those who don’t need a lot of grilling space, but who want their grill to be a conversation piece as much as a tool for cooking.
- Attractive, high-quality design
- iGrill 3 compatibility
- Heats quickly and evenly
- Easy to assemble
- Very pricey for a two-burner unit
- Limited cooking space
- Has a disproportionately large footprint
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As you might expect, the Genesis II E-310 is a slightly larger version of the E-210, with three burners instead of two. It’s still smaller than its Spirit counterpart, though, with 513 square inches of cooking space and a 156-square inch swing-away warming rack. Like the two-burner Genesis II, it offers iGrill 3 technology. If you don’t think you’ll use this feature, you might be happier with the Spirit E-310.
- Attractive design
- Sufficient cooking space for larger groups
- iGrill 3 technology
- Sophisticated grilling system
- Even, reliable heat distribution
- High price point
- Smaller than most three-burner units
- Works best when the grill is closed, so you can’t see your work in progress
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Features & Benefits of the Weber Spirit
In this section, I’ll go into more detail about the specific features of the Weber Spirit series, and how they contribute to the overall effectiveness of the grill.
In a head-to-head matchup against the Genesis series, these grills would win hands-down. They offer more grilling space at a lower price (though they’re still pricier than much of the competition), and their parts are durable enough to make them cost-effective. The downside is that they don’t include some of the fancier technology, but as far as their grilling ability goes, they’ll get the job done.
The Spirit models offer a generous amount of cooking space—450 square inches for the E-210, 529 square inches for the three-burner unit. If your top priority is having a lot of room to maneuver while you’re cooking (or if you routinely grill for large parties), then the Spirit has a definite edge over its more sophisticated cousin.
If space is at a premium in your yard, or if you have only a small balcony or patio on which to grill, the E-210 could be a good fit. When the side table is collapsed, it measures only 38 inches across. For those of you who need a three-burner unit but are also trying to conserve outdoor space, the E-310 measures just 42 inches across when the left table is in the “down” position.
With the exception of a few secondary parts (the ignition switches, for example), the Spirit grills are very well-made. Since Weber offers a ten-year warranty, you might not have to worry about purchasing replacement parts for a very long time. Personally, while I had some early issues with a broken ignition switch and a leg that arrived in less-than-pristine condition, I’ve gotten plenty of mileage out of my Spirit II E-210.
Setup and Maintenance
Putting together these grills is time-consuming, even if you’ve done similar jobs in the past. The instruction manual can be difficult to follow at times, and the burner knobs are so sensitive that it’s easy to turn them on by accident. This makes the maintenance issue a sticky one, especially if you have young children around. As far as cleanup goes, the porcelain-coated cast iron grates make for a fairly easy time, and the grease management system seems to work well too. I’d recommend investing in a wire brush for scraping off the grates before removal—all the larger bits will fall onto the “Flavorizer” bars, thereby seasoning them for the next use.
The E-210 cranks out 26,500 BTUs over just two burners, which is extremely hot for a unit of this size. That means it could be a good fit if you enjoy a strong, healthy sear on your grilled meats (or if you prefer thicker cuts, like filet mignon and ribeye). The E-310 offers only 30,000 BTUs over three burners, so it’s not as effective in this regard; however, for low and slow cooking, it gets the job done nicely.
The Weber Spirit models boast the “GS4” grilling system, which consists of the following:
- State-of-the-art “infinity” ignition switch for fast lighting
- Specially designed burner rods
- “Flavorizer” bars
- Grease management system
The “Flavorizer” or “Glamorizer” bars are included to give diners the same taste sensation that they experience when eating food that was grilled over a charcoal fire. Does it work? The honest answer: Yes and no. It’s certainly better than nothing, but the flavor isn’t as pronounced as I would like, especially when the grill is still being broken in. If they were the only feature included in the system, I’d say they weren’t worth the added expense. However, the burners (on the E-210 especially) are effective, the ignition switch works well once it’s been properly installed, and the positioning of the grease tray (similar to the drain on a sink) is particularly well thought-out.
Another cool feature of the Spirit series is the open cart-style design, which allows your grilling equipment right where you need it. There are even six hooks where you can hang your tools.
Features & Benefits of the Weber Genesis
Now that we’ve covered the important points regarding the Spirit series, it’s time to give the Genesis models the same treatment.
The Genesis II grills are pricey, there’s no question about that. You should consider buying one only if you’re a serious griller who would enjoy taking advantage of all the technology that these units have to offer.
While these models offer less cooking space than their Spirit counterparts (380 and 513 square inches for the E-210 and E-310, respectively), they also include swing-away racks, which come in handy for toasting bread or buns and keeping sides warm. Their footprints, however, are slightly larger than the Spirits’, so take that into consideration before making a decision.
The Genesis series is built to last. Although Weber offers a ten-year warranty on their product, it’s often not necessary with these sturdy, reliable behemoths. The stainless steel burners hold up well to frequent use, and the porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates should last for just as long if they’re well-maintained.
Setup and Maintenance
It would seem that Weber learned its lesson here: The manuals included with the Genesis grills make setup easy enough for a child to understand. The grease tray is even easier to remove and to clean than the one on the Spirit, and since there are few flare-ups, the rest of the cleanup is usually a snap.
These are top-of-the-line burners, heating quickly and efficiently at the touch of a button. My only complaint is that the grill on the E-310 is meant to be closed during cooking, making this unit seem more like an oven than a grill.
In addition to the “GS4” system, the Genesis series features iGrill 3 compatibility, so you can keep track of what’s cooking from your wireless device. They also include two stainless steel prep side tables, and an advanced “infinity” ignition system that carries its own warranty.
On the Road with the Weber Spirit
To find out whether these grills deliver as promised, I checked online for some customer testimonials for each.
Weber Spirit II E-210
While some difficulty with assembly was reported, the overall response to this little grill was positive. Evidently, it burns so hot that it can melt vinyl siding from a house if you’re not careful—a positive reflection on its capabilities, if somewhat worrisome for the homeowner. Excellent heat distribution and retention were mentioned more than once, with some users claiming that they could use the grill year-round.
Weber Spirit II E-310
This larger model also offered even heat distribution in field tests, though it seemed to work best at lower temperatures. It’s been reported to be extremely durable as well, to the degree that most consumers consider it to be good value, even at a higher price.
On the Road with the Weber Genesis
Weber Genesis II E-210
Despite my misgivings about the smaller size, testers report that the Genesis E-210 is sufficient even for groups of four to six people. Like the Spirit models, they also feel that it’s worth the extra money especially when you consider the ten-year warranty. The only negative that kept cropping up was the fact that the tank placement is slightly awkward.
Weber Genesis II E-310
The three-burner Genesis model comes with a handy cooking guide that’s chock-full of invaluable tips, according to some users. The grill itself is said to offer excellent heat distribution with no flare-ups. In case there’s an issue with one of the parts, Weber has gained a reputation for outstanding customer service as well.
Weber Spirit vs Genesis: The Verdict
Which of these grills would win in the Weber Spirit vs Genesis matchup?
Personally, I would give the edge to the Spirit models. They’re more affordable, offer more cooking space with a minimal footprint, and provide even, reliable heat. The only notable upgrade that the Genesis series has to offer is the iGrill 3 compatibility, and as a hands-on griller, I don’t think that feature is worth the extra cash.
For more information and reviews about the Spirit models, click the links below:
I hope this roundup has answered some of your questions about the differences between the Weber Spirit and Genesis models. Good luck on your search, and happy grilling!