The new 2018 Weber Spirit II Grill model has been released and it appears to have many long-term supporters of Weber ( and the Spirit grills in particular) concerned due to its decrease in quality. These concerns are not just assumptions, they’re coming straight from the mouths of people who have gone in to the stores and felt these newer style grills for themselves.
There seems to be a common consensus that the decline in quality is happening for multiple reasons, but ultimately it comes down to the fact that they just feel cheaply made. After feeling these grills in person, people are realizing that they feel light and flimsy in comparison to older models.
One of the largest Weber forum boards (TVWBB) has been getting affirmations from posters on how they look and feel lighter in weight overall. This doesn’t necessarily mean it is poor quality, but it does raise some questions quickly for customers going into stores feeling the product for the first time.
This mainly applies to the lid. There’s the wide agreement that the lid feels lighter when it’s opened and you can tell it is lighter when you close it due to the lack of noise it makes as it’s shut. It sounds hollow and weak rather than the traditional, high quality, ceramic coated lids. Weber seems to have placed quantity of product above the quality of the product and customers are noticing.
Many grill brands release grills that are meant for shorter term use, or are known to not last long (not going to name drop here), but Spirit grills have always been known for their long-lasting quality, until recently. These other brands sell their grills for cheaper due to the lower quality, but Spirit is trying to continue charging the high price due to their reputation even though the quality is going downhill.
Much of this can be explained by the outsourcing done by Weber for parts and assembly. The overall quality of product is suffering because of this outsourcing, proliferation of models, and duplication of lines. All of these things have left long time customers scratching their heads wondering why such a good company has resorted to such cheap manufacturing and product.
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Weber Spirit II- Not all is Lost
However, some could argue that there are improvements with the newer generation of Spirit grills. Some of these improvements include non-magnetic stainless, an improved range of colors available, and an open cart design (though some are fussy about this one). Specifically focusing on the open cart design, many customers are very excited about this change as it decreases risk of rusting on the under carriage of the grill.
The non-magnetic stainless also sets these grills apart from cheaper, more disposable, brands. To the average consumer they may not notice a difference in the stainless quality, but true Weber fans know that this partially justifies the somewhat expensive $500 across the board price tag on a Weber Spirit II.
This generation of Spirit grills also features a 10 year warranty, which is a new improvement that could prove extremely beneficial with the cheaper manufacturing process compared to past generations released in the Spirit line.
Now consumers are left asking themselves if the 10 year warranty is enough security to risk buying the updated, cheaply made, model of the Spirit Grill. Some customers are considering just buying used, slightly newer, grills from the previous Spirit generations and refurbishing them. It’s been said that those grills will last longer and perform better in the future than the cheaper made Spirit II. This would also be a cheaper option, so it may be all around more beneficial as a consumer to take this route.
It is possible that Weber will notice a decline in sales and go back to their old, higher quality, manufacturing techniques for future generations. This may not be the case though, as the company is feeling pressure to turn out new generations of product faster than ever before in order to keep up with the other “disposable” brands on the market.
Overall, customers who have a backlog of experience with Weber grills are upset with the cheap manufacturing and due to the high price tag, it is unlikely Weber will gain many new customers from this generation of grills, considering that same customer could get a “disposable” grill that feels like it is better quality at first glance, for a cheaper price overall. It is proven that true Weber fans don’t hesitate to spend more money for the high quality product, and this is how Weber has earned such a great reputation and customer base over the years. However, asking those same customers, who know what Weber quality should look and feel like, to spend the same amount for a lower quality grill is just unrealistic on the company’s part.
As these grills are sold longer and more people do take the leap of faith to purchase them, reviews will tell the truth as to how different the performance is compared to previous models. It may come as a surprise, but Google has so far collected a 4.4/ 5 overall review rating on the Spirit II E-310 from customers among online suppliers like Lowe’s and Home Depot (the single one star among those 30 reviews did note earlier this month that the lower interior and frame are “made of cheap coated steel” and that it’s “falling apart” now from rust). This grill is still in its fetal stages, so time willll. I wouldn’t be less enthusiastic going with a 2008 Spirit over the 2018 update.
Weber Spirit E-210 vs E-310 (the 2013 Update)
If sales do indeed decline, so will reviews, which again is going to make new Weber customers less likely to try this grill, rather than any other grill on the market with positive reviews.
Customers deserve a response from Weber, an explanation for this low quality product with such a high price tag. You and me both are calling for Weber to stop outsourcing their manufacturing and I truly do believe this will fix the problem, but will Weber listen to us? Is the next generation going to be even worse quality than this one appears to be, or will Weber hear what their customers are saying and spend more time getting back to their original reputation of excellent quality?