2017 Weber Genesis II: First Impressions

Today I had a chance to get up close and personal with some of the new 2017 Weber Genesis II gas grills at a local Ace Hardware store in San Jose, CA. All were base models, not the high-end LX model. One was a 2-burner model, two were 3-burner, and one was 4-burner.

Genesis II SE-410 4-burner in Crimson
Genesis II SE-410 4-burner in Crimson

Overall Impressions of Genesis II

To my eye, the lids appear just a short and squat in-person as they do in photos. A member of The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board reports that the grate to lid height is 1″ shorter than 2016 models. Perhaps it’s a optical illusion, but it sure seems shorter than that.

Although I didn’t get to fire-up any of these grills, the design of the new GS4 High Performance Grilling System looks promising. The GS4 system consists of four components:

  • The E2i Electronic Ignition System that ignites each burner independently.
  • The new tapered burners that provide consistent gas flow from front to back for even heat distribution.
  • The good old Flavorizer bars plus new heat deflectors that help distribute heat evenly throughout the cookbox.
  • The Grease Management System consisting of a large center-mounted catch pan with disposable drip tray.

One of the first impressions you get from a Weber gas grill is when you lift the lid and feel its substantial weight. That does not change with these grills. The lids feel heavy and sturdy, the handles strong and secure.

However, when you start looking more closely at other components, they don’t seem as substantial. The work surfaces, the control panel, some of the smaller pieces on the back side of the grill, and especially the cover that visually screens the propane tank seem quite flimsy.

The Tuck-Away warming rack and the folding left-side work surface (on 2- and 3-burner models) seemed fussy. Folding these up and down was not smooth and easy.

Genesis II Assembly

Long gone are the days of “StopWatch Engineering” from the early 2000s when Weber claimed that two people could assemble a Genesis gas grill in 10 minutes with 8 fasteners and a single tool–and they even threw in the tool!

A review of the Genesis II assembly guide indicates that assembly is a two-person task featuring 37 assembly steps and up to 161 parts, depending on the model. Required tools are a Phillips head screwdriver and an included wrench.

Assembly steps are illustrated in picture format with small amounts of text for the most crucial steps. Some steps require 2-3 actions per step, and there are many smiley and frowny face icons indicating the right and wrong way to perform each step.

You start by building-up the frame and then dropping the firebox into the frame, taking care to properly route the electrical wiring and gas line around the grill frame. There are lots of little screws and washers and clips and do-dads…you’ll want to take your time and exercise patience when assembling one of these grills.

If you’re an app person, you might want to avail yourself of a downloadable app called Bilt that offers 3-D step-by-step assembly instructions. It’s available for both iOS and Android smartphones.

Made in China

Made in China label
Made in China label

Sad, but true, 2016 is the last model year in which all Weber Genesis grills can say, “Made in the United States of America with globally sourced parts and components”. The 2017 model year marks the beginning of Genesis II gas grills being made in China, just like Spirit gas grills have been over the past few years. This applies to all of the basic Genesis II models.

It’s my understanding that the Genesis II LX gas grills are being assembled in the United States…for now.

Pricing

Here are the MSRP prices for the basic Genesis II grill line-up:

  • E-210: $499
  • E-310: $699
  • E-410: $899
  • E-610: $1299

Photos of Genesis II

Here are some  photos I took of these grills and comments on each.

There's been a lot of commentary about how the new lids look shorter than the 2016 models. They do look squat in person...a member of TVWBB says the grate to lid height is 1" shorter than 2016 models.
There’s been a lot of commentary about how the new lids look shorter than the 2016 models. They do look squat in person…a member of TVWBB says the grate to lid height is 1″ shorter than 2016 models.
On 2- and 3-burner models, the work surface on the left side folds down...
On 2- and 3-burner models, the work surface on the left side folds down…
...and folds up. The up/down motion was not smooth or precise. It felt a bit cheesy to me.
…and folds up. The up/down motion was not smooth or precise. It felt a bit cheesy to me.
Tool hooks are hidden on the end of the left work surface. Not as convenient as front-mounted hooks.
Tool hooks are hidden on the end of the left work surface. Not as convenient as front-mounted hooks.
iGrill thermometer holder and Genesis II logo are on the front of the right work surface.
iGrill thermometer holder and Genesis II logo are on the front of the right work surface.
The drip pan has a plastic latch that holds it in place.
The drip pan has a plastic latch that holds it in place.
Pull the latch back to release the drip pan, push the latch forward to secure the drip pan. This seemed to work well, hope the plastic holds up over time.
Pull the latch back to release the drip pan, push the latch forward to secure the drip pan. This seemed to work well, hope the plastic holds up over time.
The storage shelf slats under the grill are powder-coated metal.
The storage shelf slats under the grill are powder-coated metal.
When I opened the lid, the first thing I noticed was the Tuck-Away warming rack...
When I opened the lid, the first thing I noticed was the Tuck-Away warming rack…
...which folds up and is held in place by two brackets. It took two hands to get both ends of the rack aligned with the brackets in order to lock in place. It seemed a bit fussy to me.
…which folds up and is held in place by two brackets. It took two hands to get both ends of the rack aligned with the brackets in order to lock in place. It seemed a bit fussy to me.
Here are the stainless steel grates I found inside the SE-410 4-burner model, a special model available only at certain dealers like Ace Hardware. I will have to compare these to a 2016 model to see if they are the same as current S/S grates.
Here are the stainless steel grates I found inside the SE-410 4-burner model, a special model available only at certain dealers like Ace Hardware. I will have to compare these to a 2016 model to see if they are the same as current S/S grates.
I've removed the right cooking grate to reveal the stainless steel Flavorizer bars.
I’ve removed the right cooking grate to reveal the stainless steel Flavorizer bars.
The S/S Flavorizer bars seem thinner than ones I've handled in the past, but again I will have to check a 2016 model to confirm any difference.
The S/S Flavorizer bars seem thinner than ones I’ve handled in the past, but again I will have to check a 2016 model to confirm any difference.
There's a semi-circular notch cut into each end of the Flavorizer bar, for what purpose I have no idea.
There’s a semi-circular notch cut into each end of the Flavorizer bar, for what purpose I have no idea.
And each Flavorizer bar is stamped "SS" to indicate stainless steel, I assume.
And each Flavorizer bar is stamped “SS” to indicate stainless steel, I assume.
Removing the Flavorizer bars reveals the stainless steel burners and a series of heat deflectors that promote even heat distribution throughout the firebox. The burners are rectangular boxes whose height tapers slightly from front to back to provide an even flame across the entire length of the burner.
Removing the Flavorizer bars reveals the stainless steel burners and a series of heat deflectors that promote even heat distribution throughout the firebox. The burners are rectangular boxes whose height tapers slightly from front to back to provide an even flame across the entire length of the burner.
The front end of each burner has its own integrated igniter with protective cover.
The front end of each burner has its own integrated igniter with protective cover.
The back end of each burner snaps into a bracket.
The back end of each burner snaps into a bracket.
Here's a close-up of the burner holes. They appear to be punched from the inside surface of the burner, resulting in little raised nozzles.
Here’s a close-up of the burner holes. They appear to be punched from the inside surface of the burner, resulting in little raised nozzles.
Here's the cast iron cooking grates in one of the 3-burners grills. They seem to be the same as 2016 grates.
Here’s the cast iron cooking grates in one of the 3-burners grills. They seem to be the same as 2016 grates.
Removing the cooking grate reveals the porcelain enameled Flavorizer bars. They seem less substantial than past enameled bars.
Removing the cooking grate reveals the porcelain enameled Flavorizer bars. They seem less substantial than past enameled bars.
Perhaps the saddest feature of the new Genesis II gas grill...it's now Made in China, just like the Spirit gas grill.
Perhaps the saddest feature of the new Genesis II gas grill…it’s now Made in China, just like the Spirit gas grill.