0 items
BBQs-R-Us Building Better Barbies
BBQ Buyers Guide  $0.00 


When buying a BBQ there are several important factors to consider and questions to ask.

There are many different aspects that determine the quality of a BBQ, however the most important thing is the overall build quality. A nice, solid BBQ made from either vitreous enamel or stainless steel will last many years, even outside in hostile weather, with very little maintenance. It is essential that the roast hood is either enamel or stainless steel, as this is the part of the BBQ that is most affected by the weather, as well as having to withstand significant heat when the BBQs hood is down. 


BBQ frame ‘firebox'

There are three main materials the BBQ firebox area can be made from:

This is a paint based coating that is baked onto the steel. It is a good short term coating, and can last several years if well maintained and covered. It does not resist heat or UV rays very well, and so is only suitable for areas that are well covered. Remember that even covered-in areas will still get moisture in the air, so it is important to cover and regularly clean baked enamel BBQs.

This is a superior finish and is highly recommended. It is a very tough enamel material and is heat resistant - most indoor ovens have a vitreous enamel interior. Vitreous enamel is difficult to scratch and chip, and is a fantastic and cost effective coating for any BBQ, particularly those that are more weather exposed and/or irregularly cleaned.  

Not all stainless steel is created equal.

The most durable finish, perfect for salt air conditions. Stainless steel is highly non-corrosive, and can be left outside completely uncovered. It can be cleaned with harsher scrubbing brushes than the enamelled BBQs however, due to its light colour, small smudges made by grease marks, finger prints etc are more visible. There are many different types of stainless steel available. The recommended grade is called 430-grade. This is a rust resistant stainless steel, and although it will discolour slightly (a light brown discolouration called ‘tea staining' normally occurs around the hottest parts of the BBQ) it will last for a very long time even in the harshest environment. Some BBQs are made from 304-grade stainless steel, which is also a non-corrosive grade. Care should be taken with other grades of stainless steel, as some of them are little better than tin.

BBQ trolleys and cabinets

The BBQ trolleys are normally either powdercoated or stainless steel. Powdercoated trolleys are generally black or grey, and good quality ones can be highly weatherproof. Constant exposure to sun and rain however, can cause fading and sometimes rusting, so it is recommended that a powdercoated trolley exposed to the elements is covered.

Stainless steel trolleys are completely rust-resistant and will not fade, even in full sun. 

Cast Iron is still the most common cooking surface material found in BBQs, as it is naturally a very efficient heat distributer and will retain heat long after the BBQ is turned off. Cast iron can rust, so it is important to consistently clean and maintain the surface by oiling it. If you are going away or do not use the BBQ over winter, it is recommended that the cast iron cooktop is removed and stored in a dry place.   

Enamel Coated Cast Iron is also available. This is a cast-iron plate that is coated with a ceramic-based enamel that prevents peeling, chipping and ultimately rusting. Enamel coated plates look and cook the same as plain cast iron plates, however they will ultimately last a lot longer and will not peel away - so no large black chunks coming off the hotplate!

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel cooking surfaces are also available. These plates and grills will never rust, and although they will discolour over time as a result of constant heating, they are easy to scrub down and keep clean. Stainless steel hotplates do take more time to heat up than cast iron plates, as stainless steel is not as efficient at distributing heat. Therefore it is recommended that stainless steel hotplates are given plenty of pre-heating time to allow the heat to disperse through the plate. Stainless steel grills will generally heat up ok, as the diffuser system (either a flame tamer, volcanic rock or ceramic tiles) will spread the heat before it gets to the grill.


BBQs have three types of cooking plate available - the grill, hotplate and baking dish. It is very important that the BBQ has a grill, as this is the ventilation route that allows gas to escape and oxygen to get into the burners and keep the flame going. Aside from that, the cooktop can be arranged however you like.

The grill is designed for cooking steaks, kebabs and other meats. It cooks food directly over the BBQ rock or flame tamer, allowing juices to fall onto the rock or flame tamer, which then smokes and flares up giving your food a distinct barbecue flavour. Food cooked in this way is low in fat content and is the healthiest option, although high fat foods such as sausages should be done on the hotplate first to drain some of the fat and oil away.

Hot Plates:
This is the most popular BBQ plate, as it produces less flare and less mess than the grill. It is also ideal for cooking foods that would fall through the grill, such as eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms. The downside is that the hotplate is like cooking on a fry-pan - some of the fat goes back into the meat, making it less healthy than the grill. Most hotplates do have a reversible ‘griddle' section, which has raised lines across it. The griddle section is a healthier way to cook, as the oil and fat will sit in the bottom of the ‘troughs' whilst the meat sits above it

Baking Dishes:
The baking dishes are the least common plate, and normally need to be purchased separately as an optional extra. They can be very good for cooking messier, marinated foods and also for roasting potatoes and other vegetables.


The portable trolley model is the most popular as it offers greater flexibility. They can often have cabinets, which are handy storage areas as well as a side burner and side table. In some cabinets, there is room underneath to store a 9kg gas bottle, keeping it out of the weather and hidden. The benefit of a trolley model is that it is easy to move for cleaning or to relocate to a different area, and in most cases can be taken with you if you move house.

Build-in models are another option. A well built brick, stone or tile construction can look fantastic in the backyard.  Please make sure the frame complies with the BBQs clearance code - most BBQs need a minimum 250mm clearance to any combustible material at the side, and 500mm off the rear. So we strongly recommend against wooden frames and cabinets.

Modular Kitchens are becoming more and more popular.  It all starts with the BBQ, and then works out depending on which modules are required. Modular kitchen BBQs have a variety of options, such as a sink, wok cooker, teppanyki hotplate and extra storage modules that also provide more bench space. The Gasmate Platinum range also has a sink option. The Modular Kitchens are a fantastic looking unit, and are ideally suited to larger patios and backyards that will see a lot of entertaining.

Can the BBQ be run on natural gas?
              Most BBQs can be run off natural gas, but not all - so make sure you check this prior to purchase. The difference is in the    injectors - they are slightly larger on natural gas BBQs to compensate for the decrease in pressure. You will also need to purchase a natural gas governor (regulator) and possibly a natural gas flexible hose and bayonet system to attach the BBQ into the gas line. If you buy a portable trolley, you will definitely need a flexible hose kit.

This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 06 July, 2011.
Reviews Add to Wish List
Customers who bought this product also purchased