As we spent the last year living with COVID-19, the demand for backyard cooking has skyrocketed.

Google searches for backyard grills and barbecues spiked significantly over the course of 2020. With favourite restaurants closed for portions of the year and stay-at-home orders in place, more people are making the effort to cook their own meals.

But it also means — as many retail stores were closed to in-person shopping at the same time as restaurants — that more grill shopping is being done online. Shopping online is incredibly convenient, but it does come with one big drawback: You can’t actually see or touch what you’re thinking about buying.

However, being online, there is so much more information at your fingertips to ensure that you are getting the right model for your needs. When shopping online for a new grill, Napoleon offers the follow tips:

  • Know what kind of grill you are looking for. The first step whether you are buying online or in a store. You have options — natural gas, propane, charcoal or electric. For natural gas, your home needs to have a safe gas connection outside. The propane runs off an external tank, and charcoal doesn’t require any connections. If you are in a condo, you may need to look at an electric option. In all cases, grills are to be used outdoors.
  • Don’t ignore the dimensions. This is an important piece of information and often overlooked. Know where in your yard you want the grill to be placed and measure the size of the space. Then compare that to the dimensions of the grill (often found in the product description space of a retailer’s website). If it’s a tight spot, you can don’t want to be buying a large unit that will take up all your living space or won’t fit.
  • Check out the features of the grill. Entry-level models will have very few bells and whistles, whereas high-end barbecues are loaded with extras like a rear burner for rotisserie cooking, infrared Sizzle Zone for searing, smoker tubes for additional flavours, lighting for grilling after dark and a two-head cooking system that gives you ample space to cook every element of your meal on the grill.
  • Pay attention to the materials used. The type of metal used in the barbecue — and its quality — will not only determine the durability of the grill, but also its performance. A cast aluminum firebox will heat quickly and help retain heat, aided by a stainless steel lid. Heavy gauge stainless steel is ideal for burners that will last.
  • Research the warranty. A grill is an investment in your home, and you want an assurance that investment will last. A lifetime warranty on the burners is useless if the firebox rusts away after two seasons or the cooking grids crumble away into dust. Select Napoleon grills come with a comprehensive bumper-to-bumper 15-year warranty, with a limited lifetime warranty on major components.
  • Expand your information gathering. If you are looking to buy a gill, you are likely starting on a retailer’s website. If you have further questions or are looking to dig a little deeper on a particular model, check the manufacturer’s website. They will often provide more detailed specifications and information about the barbecues on their roster.

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