With the advent of the Spirit II, the old Spirit model is receiving less and less attention from the grilling community.
But are the new features worth the upgrade?
To find out the answer, I decided to take the Weber Spirit vs Spirit II rivalry directly to the mat—or, more appropriately, to the grill.
In a rush? Here is the winner:
- Your purchase includes One Weber Spirit II E-210 2-Burner Liquid...
- Grill dimensions: Lid Open - 57"H x 48"W x 26"D. Lid Closed - 44.5"H x...
- Propane gas grill works with Standard 20 lb LP tank.
- Features: Porcelain-enameled, cast-iron cooking grates,...
- Two burner grill is built to fit small spaces, and packed with...
- Boasts the GS4 grilling system with improved infinity ignition,...
- Porcelain-enameled, cast iron cooking grates
- 529 Square inches of cooking space over three burners. Left Table down...
- 30, 000 BTU-per-hour input main burners with fuel gauge
- Open cart design with six tool hooks and two large wheels.Built-in lid...
In this article, we’re going to compare the following weber grills:
Weber Spirit E-210 vs. Weber Spirit II E-210
Weber Spirit E-310 vs. Weber Spirit II E-310
Things to Consider Before Buying a Weber Grill
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of the Weber Spirit, let’s go over the reasons why you might consider buying one of these grills to begin with.
If you enjoy cooking outdoors on a regular basis, a gas grill can be a great investment. They can be fired up anytime (and, in the case of some travel units, anywhere) you want to add a grilled component to your meal. For home cooks that are often pressed for time, this convenience is invaluable. You don’t need to plan ahead, as you would with a charcoal grill—just press the ignition switch and you’re ready to go within minutes.
Of course, some individuals just can’t live without the char and smoky flavor that only charcoal can provide. The Weber Spirit models make an attempt to bridge that gap with the inclusion of its “Flavorizer” bars, but true charcoal enthusiasts might be better off shopping for a kettle-style grill or a smoker than one of the Spirit models.
To help you make sense of the basics, here’s a list of the features you should be on the lookout for when shopping for a Weber grill:
- Affordability—how much are you willing and able to spend on a new grill? If you’re upgrading, will the new features and benefits be worth the cost?
- Size—is there enough total cooking space to suit your needs? What about additional prep or storage space?
- Efficiency—is the ignition system reliable? How quickly do the burners take to get hot, and do they retain their heat for a sufficient period of time?
- Durability—will the grill be able to hold up to the elements through long years of storage?
- Setup and Maintenance—how difficult is the grill to assemble? Are the parts easy to clean?
- Additional features—which of these would improve your grilling experience? Which are you willing to forgo?
The Weber Spirit: A Basic Overview
This is a two-burner gas grill, compact enough to fit on a balcony or a small patio, with a built-in thermometer for accuracy. Both the lid and the cookbox are porcelain-enameled, as are the cast iron cooking grates. Two stainless steel side tables and six heavy-duty hooks offer additional storage, and a front-accessible grease pan helps with the cleanup.
- Compact footprint
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Ample storage space
- Heats quickly and efficiently
- Some secondary parts prone to damage in transit
- Temperature controls can be tricky
- Assembly is time-consuming, especially for first-timers
The E-310 is a larger version of the E-210—the main difference is that it features three burners, instead of two. This means more total surface area for cooking, as well as a slight increase in storage space. The price is accordingly higher as well, though not as much as you might pay for a later-model three-burner grill.
- Instruction manual is very easy to follow
- Heats evenly and efficiently
- Performs well even when used multiple times a week
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Large gap in the back is wide enough for wild animals to get into the cabinet
- Awkward placement of propane tank
- Ignition system isn’t the most reliable
The Weber Spirit II: A Basic Overview
The upgraded version of the Spirit offers 450 square inches of cooking space over two burners. Weber touts its “GS4 grilling system” for this unit, which includes a state-of-the-art ignition system and burners, as well as a grease management system and “Flavorizer” bars. The most noticeable difference between the original Spirit and this update? The Spirit II comes in a range of colors: red, sapphire, mocha, and ivory, in addition to basic black.
- 10-year warranty included with purchase
- Sophisticated grilling system with tons of extras
- Attractive and user-friendly design
- Choice of colors
- Relatively high price point
- Assembly can be time-consuming
- Two wheels instead of four makes maneuverability more challenging
The three-burner upgrade is strikingly similar to the E-210, but it offers a third burner and 529 square inches of cooking space. Like its smaller counterpart, it boasts the “GS4 grilling system” and an open-cart design with two wheels. The total heat output for the Spirit II E-310 is 30,000 BTUs over three burners–an impressive number for a grill of this size. This unit is available in black, ivory, sapphire or red.
- Plenty of cooking space
- Choice of color
- An impressive array of bonus features
- 10-year warranty
- Attractive and user-friendly design
- Relatively high price point
- Some secondary parts are prone to breakage in transit
- Grill may not get hot enough to produce a good sear on thicker cuts of meat
The Weber Spirit: Features & Benefits
Let’s see how well the two-burner and three-burner Weber Spirit models meet the criteria we discussed earlier.
Weber grills usually skew toward the higher end of the price spectrum, but what’s interesting here is that these original models may actually be priced higher than their newer counterparts. Why? It’s anybody’s guess, but if you’re looking for a lower priced model, you might as well go with an updated version rather than an older unit.
The older E-310s offer the same amount of cooking space as the upgraded models, but they’re also slightly bulkier in design. That makes this category something of a toss-up–you’re not likely to notice much of a difference either way.
The long-term performance of the Spirit grill could be one of the reasons why it continues to hold its value. The ignition system is reliable, the burners heat quickly and evenly, and the flames hold their own throughout long afternoons of grilling.
On a similar note, a Spirit E-210 or E-310 is bound to last for quite some time, as long as it’s properly seasoned and maintained. This is another point that justifies the higher price tag.
Setup and Maintenance
The smaller unit has some issues in the setup department, maybe because the footprint is so compact. Fortunately, the E-310 has a great instruction manual that helps to make this first step that much easier. As far as maintenance goes, I haven’t had any complaints. The grill grates are easily removed and clean up well with the aid of a stiff brush, and the grease tray is handily accessible as well.
The original Spirit grills offer stainless steel side tables, caster wheels for ease of movement, and built-in thermometers on the lids. In other words, there’s not much to distinguish them from similar models–at least not in this category.
The Weber Spirit II: Features & Benefits
Now that we’ve covered the basic ground introduced by the Weber Spirit, it’s time to find out how the upgrade compares to the original.
As I mentioned earlier, these grills are often priced competitively lower than the originals–maybe to entice long-time users to try something new, even if there’s nothing wrong with their current grill. The Spirit II series wins this round, hands-down.
These grills offer a decent amount of cooking space for two- and three-burner units, and they’re sleeker and more compact than their older counterparts. If your balcony or patio is already cramped, these grills could be the answer.
With the possible exception of the Spirit II E-310, which tends to take a long time to heat to the desired searing temperature, these units deliver when it comes to efficiency. Their heat output is satisfactory, and the “Flavorizer” bars provide a nice flavor boost when used for grilled meats.
The construct of these models is not quite as solid as the original Spirit series. Secondary parts, such as the lid and legs, have been known to scuff or dent when the unit is shipped. If it arrives in good condition, however, the grill should last a long time (provided it receives proper care).
Setup and Maintenance
The advanced technology of these grills makes them somewhat time-consuming to assemble, but the instructions are clear enough for first-timers to follow. As far as maintenance is concerned, the grease management system goes a long way toward helping with cleanup. The porcelain-coated cast iron grates clean up easily also, especially if you enlist the aid of a wire brush.
The aforementioned “GS4” grilling system might be the best reason to invest in one of the Spirit II models. With the “infinity” ignition, sophisticated burner tubes, “Flavorizer” bars, and grease drip tray, the unit would have plenty to offer even without the additional storage space and tool hooks. Unlike the original Spirit grills (which feature a cabinet design), these are cart-style models, which means you’ll have more space to maneuver down below.
On the Road With the Weber Spirit
In an effort to find out if these grills really deliver as advertised, I searched the Web for testimonials from satisfied customers. Here’s what I found out about the original Spirit series.
I found mainly positive responses to the E-210. Customers reported that the grill has excellent heat control, and that’s it’s especially good for two people (though it can be used for four). The small footprint makes it an especially attractive choice for city life.
I got similar responses to the three-burner unit, with specific mention of how easy it is to clean, as well as to assemble. The most negative reaction I found was in response to the awkward placement of the propane tank, but that could hardly be considered an insurmountable issue.
On the Road With the Weber Spirit II
Spirit II E-210
The upgraded E-210 was also reportedly easy to assemble and to clean (though setup does take a while). The gas gauge makes it easy to tell when refills are needed, and the size is more than adequate for a two-burner unit.
Spirit II E-310
It was noted that this grill works more efficiently if you apply oil to the cooking grates beforehand. Aside from that, the unit was thought to be of high quality. One consumer specifically mentioned having a good experience with customer service, which is good to know, since some parts arrived either dented or scratched.
The Verdict: Weber Spirit vs Spirit II
Now that we’ve gone through the particulars of the Weber Spirit vs Spirit II models, which ones could be considered the standouts?
The answer might seem obvious, but I would have to go with the Spirit II models. Not only are they newer and more sophisticated, with impressive technology, but they may also even cost slightly less. The efficiency and durability are likely to be on par with the originals, and the same ten-year warranty is in effect in case something should go wrong.
Read more about the Spirit II models on Amazon by clicking the links below:
Whether you agree with this assessment or not is up to you, but the bottom line is that you’re bound to have a positive experience with any of the grills listed here. Best of luck in your search, and happy grilling!