When buying an outdoor grill cover, it’s more convenient to pick the cheapest option. Besides, it will just drape on your grill and catch dirt. However, it will also be the defense of your equipment against outdoor elements like mildew, dust, pests, and weathering. At some point, I also asked myself this question: what cover would be best for my bbq grill? The answer lies in knowing the right features and its purpose. Here are two of my picks:
|Scala Home BBQ |
|Char-Broil Heavy Duty |
You need to use a grill cover if you want your equipment to be in top shape all the time. It can even lengthen the lifespan of the grill. Still, choosing the right one can be challenging. With that, I learned to consider the following points:
Cheap vs. expensive
If you have a Weber grill, the common notion is that you’ll buy a cover marketed to fit into it. Although there isn’t a problem with custom fits, generic ones can provide the same size for a fraction of the price. Branded ones tend to be more expensive without the guarantee that you’re purchasing quality material.
The advantage of generic ones, though, is the warranty that comes with the product. The likes of Classic Accessories and Grillman offer lifetime warranties for their best-in-class covers. Most likely, Weber or Char-Broil-made covers will give a maximum of two years for a total replacement.
However, generic ones have a share of downsides too. But what cover would be best for my BBQ grill? Grill owners who buy cheap covers from IKEA or Home Depot usually complain about too pliable materials that won’t even withstand intense sunlight. They end up spending more since they have to buy another. At this point, a pricier cover will be a better investment as long as you choose it meticulously.
At the end of the day, it’s not just about the price. All grill covers come equally when judged by material and construction. It’s important that you set aside the budget for the meantime and expand your options.
Custom fit vs. generic
Custom fit covers may come from the same brand of the grill that produced the model. Although this can be pricey, paying for quality ensures that the cover fits like a glove to your grill. Custom made covers are specifically designed to fit every part of the grill without the need to adjust straps or buckles. Covers from Weber are selling like hotcakes because of its top quality that can last for decades without sustaining evident damages.
What cover would be best for my BBQ grill? Generic covers, or those that came from a separate brand, could be risky to purchase. It’s usually made with excess length or deepness to fit on a variety of grill models. While this will work in warding off dust and rain, strong winds will be a different thing. Generic covers might be easy to blow off or the excess fabric will be flapping in the wind causing rips. The upside of generic covers is the lower price and a wide range of options. For example, the Classic Accessories cover can come in gray and brown colors.
What matters here is you get the cover that will fit the grill just right (not perfectly) for the best price.
If there’s one aspect you should be meticulous about, it would be the material. Nowadays, the market is flooded with polyester covers, probably because of the cheaper material. This fabric works well on wicking mild moisture and keeping dust away from the equipment. What cover would be best for my BBQ grill? But if you want a weatherproof cover, opt for canvas or polyester with a special coating.
Canvas is the same material used for tents and awnings. It can endure sunlight and rain –and even snow – for a long time without withering. If you find canvas covers to be quite expensive, look for reinforced polyester instead.
You don’t have to overcomplicate your standards when choosing a grill cover. Stick to a product with straps, buckles, or elastic hems for added fit on your equipment. Pockets and vents are optional since the latter can cause rainwater to seep inside. Just beware of moisture buildup during the summer months.
As long as the cover stays in place during a strong wind without tearing, it would be a good choice.
Beware of lined pieces
Grill covers that come with a special lining of cotton and other soft fabric are used to prevent scratching the smooth metal surface. It also gives additional protection against heat and moisture. However, some lining materials like felt fabric, for example, are attractive for critters. Squirrels and rodents can chew on it and use it as a material for their harborage.
If possible, stick to unlined options like polyester, vinyl, or canvas. These materials can be gentle to the metal surface without sacrificing the protection against outdoor elements. If breathability is at stake, mesh linings will work well but keep an eye on a potential infestation going on.
Where should you buy?
You can check Amazon for a variety of options. You can find custom made and generic covers here to suit your budget and expectations. You will likely be entitled to returns or replacements too. Of course, you can always grab one from the nearest Costco or IKEA store. But if you want more options, purchasing online would be better. To each his own.
Always buy from trusted brands and sellers with positive reviews. Nothing beats tried and tested covers even if it’s a bit pricey than what is available in a physical store. Take time to refer to customer reviews about a certain product.
Top Picks for the Best Outdoor BBQ Cover
What cover would be best for my grill? After having an idea on the basics, here are two of the best picks I’ll recommend to you. Living in a tropical place is crazy especially if you have numerous BBQs. It can rust easily without a cover and the last thing you know is that you need a new model. I personally don’t like throwing my money off the window. So to ensure that your BBQ grills will also last long, try these two covers:
—>Scala Home BBQ Grill Cover<—
This one somehow reminds me of Classic Accessories pieces but a few dollars cheaper. It has an elegant brown color, unlike most pieces that are black. So if you want something that will blend on your backyard, this is my best bet.
This Scala cover comes with a pocket where you can store utensils as well as a padded handle to easily put it on and off the grill. At the bottom are easy-click close straps to secure the cover in place. Unlike cover pieces that have straps around the body, the buckles on this one are located at the bottom where you can wrap it around the wheels.
What we like the most about this Scala cover is it can fit a variety of BBQ models. Mine had side burners and this cover slid like a glove. A few of Weber gas grills will also fit here as well as other brands like Char-Broil, Brinkmann, and Jenn Air.
What cover would be best for my grill? This one is a premium cover, I should say, since it’s made from 600 denier fabric. To give you an idea, this is the same level of fabric strength utilized on camping chairs and backpacks. This makes the cover water-resistant and dust-resistant as well. Take note, though, that it could only wick a certain amount of water. It won’t keep your grill bone-dry during a strong hurricane.
What could be done better:
This is a pretty solid piece but if you’re storing your grill with no shade for the whole year, there would be tears. The tears in mine aren’t enough to deem the cover useless, but it’s there. I think it’s caused by the extreme UV damage it experienced last summer. If the material would be treated with an anti-UV ray layer, it would be a perfect choice.
—>Char-Broil Heavy Duty Grill Cover<—
What cover would be best for my grill? If you have the budget to splurge on a top-dollar drape, I suggest that you check out the Char-Broil heavy duty cover. First, the polyester material of the piece has a PVC coating. It means your grill also gets protection against the harm of UV rays. And you know what the good news is? It lasts even if you leave it frying under the summer sun.
This may come as a surprise since it’s made from 300D polyester which is just half of what Scala has. Based on experience, the PVC coating helps a lot in augmenting that part since mine has never ripped yet.
Take note that this has an upper side vent. If you’re using it during the rainy season, beware of the water seeping through the opening. Anyway, during summer, this part helps to wick away the moisture to keep the grill bone-dry.
It uses Velcro straps instead of buckles. Although I have my doubts, it’s holding up pretty good and hasn’t been pulled out of the grill during windy days. It’s also easy to clean. You just cleanse it with water through a hose and it’s good to go. Just don’t do the spraying when the cover is on the grill. The water might enter through the vents if you’re not careful.
What could be done better:
It tends to fade as the season changes. I think this is quite normal due to weathering, but if the color fastness would be stronger, it would be better in retaining its aesthetic appearance.
Why use a grill cover in the first place?
What I know is that grill covers aren’t just pieces of fabric for vanity. These drapes are used to protect the BBQ grill from harmful elements, especially if you’re storing it outdoors. Rain, wind, and snow can cause rusting fast which is why having a sheet to combat its direct impact is important.
Covering is crucial, especially for grills that are below the usual standards. It gets worn out easily, and without the first line of defense to protect it against dirt, it would be useless in a matter of months. Using a grill cover isn’t a hard and fast rule, anyway. You just put it in and you’re good to go.
However, remember that we should practice the art of covering and not covering. Here’s what you need to know based on the weather:
Hot and humid days
Some grill masters think that during very humid days, it’s a bad idea to cover your grill. The humidity could be trapped inside that will result in the formation of molds and mildew. But not if you choose the right cover.
As you know, summer days also bring swaths of dust in the air. Leaving the grill in the open will make it look like a rough road the next time you check it for use. So the best bet here is to get a cover with vents. An easy fix, to be honest.
Snowy and rainy days
Unless you want to witness your grill fall into the hands of corrosion, you might as well cover it during winter. Personally, I suggest putting the grill in the garage to avoid clumps of snow from accumulating on top of it. So what cover would be best for my grill? If you can’t manage to do the same, you might as well get a grill cover without vents. You would want to have as much coverage as possible.
The snow may thaw at some point and the water will come flowing through the opening. The same goes for rainy days.
This is especially true if your BBQ grill has digital parts. If it got soaked or exposed directly to freezing temperatures, the circuits will be ruined.
So you’re grilling and the sky starts to well up. Your first instinct is to probably grab the cover and put it on as soon as you can. But with a burning hot surface, this is a suicidal move for your cover. It will burn in the process. It could be a little defeating, but I’d rather have my grill soaked in the rain than have a 50-buck polyester fabric tattered with holes.
After the rain, make sure that you clean the grill right away. The ash will start to cake and letting it sit will allow it to solidify like a lump of cement.
Features to look for
In case, you’re still undecided on what to look for your grill cover, here are some of the staples I usually aspire to have:
Straps are very important to keep the cover intact even if a capful of wind starts to blow. These parts ensure that the material is hugging the grill. Usually, most grill covers would have straps at the bottom so you can lace it up on the stand or wheels of the appliance. There are also some that wrap on the body of the grill to harness the excess fabric.
Grill covers can get pretty large especially if you have side burners or combo models. So to keep it a one-man show, look for a cover with handles. This part will make it easy to put the cover on and off the equipment. I preferred this with double stitches since repetitive pulling can rip the handle off the material especially if the latter is too thin.
This part is attached to the end of the straps and used as locks to secure the cover. I prefer buckles over Velcro because it offers more hold and it’s less likely to snap during storms and harsh weathers. But don’t shy away from Velcro locks. As long as it’s industrial grade, I think it would be a good option. I used to have one before and it performed pretty well.
If you keep missing utensils and grilling accessories, you might as well get one with pockets. This part doesn’t hurt the covering although it will bulge when you place much stuff inside. The only issue I have with pocketed covers is that there’s a chance that water may enter through the zippers. So what cover would be best for my grill? Make sure that what you’ll get are sealed and guaranteed to wick moisture.
Are you experiencing a Miami-like summer heat? Or do you feel like it’s the hottest day in Puerto Rico? Air vents will be excellent since it will make the drape breathable. Usually, covers come with sleeved vents with a mesh closure to dodge dust and other outdoor dirt. Just beware when it starts raining.
As much as you have the sturdiest and most durable cover, it will still wither away without proper maintenance. So if you want to make the most out of your investment, make that you practice the following tips:
➕Wash it regularly
The good thing about grill covers is it’s pretty effortless to clean. Using a hose and a little bit of detergent soap, wash the outer layer of the cover. This should remove a thin layer of dust and other grimes. But if the gunk had settled, you’ll need to do a little brushing. Just avoid using power washers, though, since the water pressure can damage the fabric or its coating.
➕Use it properly
Don’t force a single burner grill cover fit on a double burner type. Although this may work for generic types, it’s a different story for custom made drapes. Always measure the dimensions of your grill before purchasing. Also, check if it fits for indoor or outdoor use. Using an outdoor cover indoors is okay but doing it the other way around isn’t. Indoor covers are thinner and aren’t water-proof.
➕Don’t use chemical sprays
Some grill owners treat their covers with an insect-repellent spray to prevent the critters from harboring inside. But instead of cutting the harm the insects could bring, it’s actually a health hazard. Insecticides aren’t supposed to be applied to food preparation equipment. Even if you only spray it on the cover, the fumes may get inside the grill.
If pests keep on chewing on your cover, you might be using a lined piece. Stick to one with a PVC coating instead.
➕Fix snags right away
It’s normal for grill covers to sustain tears and snags over time. Strong winds, extreme temperatures, and other outdoor elements can take its toll on the fabric. If you spot tears, patch it up or sew it as necessary. You can also bring it to a repair shop if you’re afraid you’re going to ruin it even more.
➕Don’t use it on hot grills
No matter how pressing the need is to cover your grill, don’t slump the fabric if the equipment is still hot. Your precious cover will sustain damages which may not be amenable for repairs.
One last reminder:
When purchasing your grill cover, don’t settle on the first piece you’ll find. Scout various options and compare prices. This way, you’ll get the best value for the most competitive price tag.
Also, measure your grill. Estimates won’t do you any good when it’s time for fitting. Be as precise as you can, and if you have doubts, get a custom made cover specifically designed for the type of grill that you have.
Lastly, expensive doesn’t always mean durable and affordable doesn’t always mean cheap. Don’t be fooled by the price.
So what cover would be best for my BBQ grill? For me, it’s a cover that can withstand winds, rain, and sunlight without becoming brittle and thin. An affordable piece will also be excellent but I will never hesitate to invest more money if we’re going to talk about quality.
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