When it comes to buying a propane grill, Weber and Broil King are two of the biggest names on the market. With both companies having a reputation for producing excellent quality grills, it can be hard to choose between them.
So, if you’re looking to get a new propane grill and don’t know which of these brands is the best choice for you, we’ve put them head to head to see which comes out on top!
Before we get into the specifics of the grills we’ve chosen to compare, let’s take a closer look at the two brands in question.
Weber is arguably the most recognizable brand in the barbeque market. Founded in Chicago in 1952, the first Weber grill was created by George Stephen Sr from one half of a marine buoy, giving it that distinctive hemispherical Weber look that can still be seen in iconic smokers like the Weber Smokey Mountain.
Since that time, Weber has expanded from simple brazier grills to a vast range of grilling equipment including a foray into electric pellet grills with the SmokeFire, cookbooks, sauces, and even opened a range of their own restaurants.
If Weber is the established champion of grilling, the Broil King is the feisty newcomer to make a name for themselves. Founded in 1986, one of Broil King’s central tenets is that they make all their grills in Canada and the United States using local workers and local materials.
In 1999, the Broil King brand was purchased by Cadco, a large manufacturer of high-quality foodservice equipment, which allowed them to expand their range of grills.
Both Broil King and Weber have a massive range of products, so, to make things as even as possible, we’ve chosen two comparatively similar grills. In the Weber corner is the Genesis II E-435, while the Sovereign XLS 90 will be representing Broil King.
The Weber Genesis II E-435 is a well-built propane grill at a very affordable price. The Weber Cooking System provides excellent heat distribution and prevents flare-ups, and this model comes with porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grids.
- Dimensions: W65″ x H47″ x D29″
- Weight: 214 lbs
- Main burners/BTUs: 4 burners producing a total of 48000 BTUs
- Total cooking surface: 844 square inches
- Side burner: yes
Broil King grills have a reputation for being reliable and well made, and the Sovereign XLS 90 is no different. The cooking grids on this model are an excellent example of this. Made of heavy gauge 9mm stainless steel, they are hugely durable, provide superior heat retention, and come with a 5-year warranty.
- Dimensions: W65″ x H50.4″ x D24.4″
- Weight: 196 lbs
- Main burners/BTUs: 4 burners producing a total of 50000 BTUs
- Total cooking surface: 1000 square inches
- Side burner: yes
The Head to Head
Rather than a vague overview of both models, we’re going to get granular and break them down into their most significant features before comparing them head to head.
We’ve spoken before about how BTU output isn’t as important as you might think, but it does give us a general idea of how fast each grill will heat up and how hot it can get.
The Weber Genesis uses four high-performance stainless burners on its primary cooking surface that produce a combined 48,000 BTUs of power. It also has a shelf-mounted side burner that puts out 12,000 BTUs and a 9,000 BTU searing station for a total of 69,000 BTUs of combined output.
The main Weber burners are triangular in shape, narrowing towards the back of the grill. This produces a more consistent heat across the cooking surface but does cut down on the main burners’ output.
By comparison, the Sovereign XLS 90 uses stainless steel dual-tube burners. These produce 50000 BTUs that combine with a 10000 BTU side burner and a 18000BTU rotisserie burner for a total BTU output of 78,000BTUs, significantly more than the Weber.
While BTUs aren’t everything, the dual tube design on the Sovereign, coupled with the high output of these burners, produces a well-distributed and consistently high heat.
While the Weber Cooking System does provide excellent heat distribution, the duel burner set up for the Sovereign XLS 90 is just as effective. The higher BTU output also means it will heat up faster and get hotter than the Weber.
Both Weber and Broil King trade on their grills’ reliability, so it isn’t surprising that both models come with a pretty comprehensive warranty.
The Genesis II E-435 comes with Weber’s standard ten-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship, excluding wear and tear.
Broil King offers a slightly more granular and less encompassing warranty, including a limited lifetime (ten-year) warranty on the cook box and burners. There’s also a five-year warranty on the stainless steel Flav-R-Wave cooking system and stainless steel grates, and a two-year warranty on all remaining parts and the paint.
While the Broil King guarantee is pretty comprehensive and is pretty standard for a high-end grill, you just can’t beat Weber’s full ten-year warranty on all the individual components of their gas grills.
As you can see from the specifications above, the Sovereign XLS 90 is the larger grill, and it does have a correspondingly larger cooking surface.
The main cook box is 600 square inches, which, added to the combined 400 square inches of the side burner and rotisserie, adds up to a total of 1000 square inches.
By comparison, the Genesis II E-435 has a primary cooking surface of 646 square inches and adds 145 square inches for its side burner for a total of 844 square inches.
While it might seem like the Sovereign XLS 90 has won the cooking surface comparison hands down, it is worth remembering that around 200 square inches of that cooking surface is a rotisserie, which just isn’t as uniformly useful as a side burner.
If you remove the rotisserie, both grills have around the same total cooking area, but the Broil King is still the larger grill. It’s a close race here, but if you don’t have any use for a rotisserie, the Weber actually gives you slightly more cooking space.
Both the Genesis II E-435 and the Sovereign XLS 90 have proprietary cooking systems installed on them.
For the Genesis, it’s the tried and tested Weber Cooking System that makes use of a combination of stainless steel flavorizer bars and flame tamers that aid in heat distribution, minimize flare-ups and divert drippings away from the burner itself and vaporize them to add to the flavor.
In the Sovereign, you’ll find the Flav-R-Heat Partitions and the stainless steel Flav-R-Wave cooking system. The Flav-R-Heat Partitions separate off your individual burners, allowing you to cook food at different temperatures in different areas.
The Flav-R-Wave cooking system is similar to the Weber Cooking System in that it stops drippings from the food from falling directly into the burners, diverging them instead onto stainless steel bars that vaporize them.
While both systems work really well, the addition of the Flav-R-Heat Partitions in the Sovereign does add significantly to its utility. You get all the heat distribution and flare-up protection you’ll find in the Weber, with the added benefit of letting your partition off areas of your cook box and cook at different temperatures.
When it comes right down to it, both of these grills are excellent choices for the amount you’ll be paying for them.
Both grills are well built, well designed, and come with a range of features that will make any pitmaster’s life easier.
The Genesis II E-435 might not have the grunt of the Sovereign when it comes to pure BTU output. Still, the combination of its triangular burners and Weber cooking system means you’ll get excellent heat distribution and protection from flare-ups.
Despite being the smaller grill, the Weber also technically has the larger cooking space as part of the Sovereign’s cooking area is a rotisserie.
Nearly all of the Genesis is made of solid stainless steel, and the quality of construction is backed up by the ten-year Weber warranty on all parts.
The Genesis really is an excellent grill.
However, the Sovereign XLS 90 is equally well built and has just a few more bells and whistles than the Genesis.
The stainless steel dual-tube burners are great for heat distribution and flare-up control while also kicking out nearly 10,000 more BTUs than the Weber.
The stainless steel Flav-R-Wave flame tamers are every bit as good as the Weber cooking system, and the Sovereign also comes with Flav-R-Heat Partitions that make creating a 2-zone cooking system incredibly easy.
Added to this are the little touches, like the fact that, while both grills come with fold-down side shelves, the Sovereign’s side burners also fold down for easy storage. It also comes with side shelf bins and tool hooks that give you additional storage space.
While there really isn’t much to choose between these grills, and we really love the Genesis II E-435, the Sovereign XLS 90 does everything it can, plus just a little bit more.
Other grills to consider
Of course, both Weber and Broil King have huge ranges to choose from, so if neither the Genesis II E-435 nor the Sovereign XLS 90 really excites you, there are some other entry-level options for you to consider.
The Weber Spirit E-330 might be an entry-level propane grill, but it still has that iconic Weber commitment to quality. Most entry-level grills don’t come with a ten-year warranty on all parts or porcelain-coated cooking grids and flavorizer bars to increase flavor and prevent flare-ups.
Like the Genesis, the Spirit E-330 doesn’t put up the highest numbers when it comes to pure BTU output, with 32,000 BTUs across three stainless steel burners, but it does distribute that heat effectively to ensure even cooking.
The Spirit also comes with a 7,500 BTU sear station with an independent electronic ignition for searing steaks and a folding side table for extra storage.
If you’re looking to get into smoking food, and you definitely should be, the Broil King 28″ Vertical Smoker is an excellent starting point.
Constructed entirely of stainless steel, this smoker comes with a 15,000 BTU burner ignited by a Sure-Lite electronic ignition system. Airflow is controlled by corrosion-resistant cast aluminum Roto-Draft dampers, for precise control of the cooking chambers’ temperature.
There are 770 square inches of cooking space inside the main chamber, and the smoker comes with a multi-purpose chrome coated roast/rib rack and 16 stainless steel meat hooks, so you’ve got everything you need to start smoking immediately.
While you might be tempted to upgrade to the Broil King Smoke XL 32-Inch Offset Charcoal Smoker, we’d actually advise against it.
While there are some great offset smokers on the market, the Broil King Smoke XL suffers from some fairly significant design issues that actually make the 28″ Vertical Smoker the better choice.
Wrapping it up
Both the Genesis II E-435 and the Sovereign XLS 90 are excellent entry-level grills, and both would be a fantastic starting point for any aspiring pitmaster. However, having put them head to head, we think some of the extra features on the Sovereign XLS 90 just edge out the Weber in this particular head to head.
Have you used either of the grills we’ve reviewed and think we’ve missed something? Do you have an entry-level grill you believe to be just as good as the Weber or the Broil King? We’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.