Hands-on Gear Review

Smoke Hollow 205 Review

Smoke Hollow 205
Best Buy Award
Price:  $120 List | $92.44 at Amazon
Pros:  Great value, secure lid, good size and heat output, stainless throughout
Cons:  Burner easily disengaged, imprecise burner control
Bottom line:  This is the best value in a portable grill we've seen.
Editors' Rating:   
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Total BTU:  10,000
Weight (pounds):  17
Cooking surface area (inches):  205 sq in
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Leisure Products

Our Verdict

When it comes to the Smoke Hollow 205, the price is right. It's comparatively lightweight, yet still packs impressive power and and significant cooking surface area. We love the stainless look, and most of the grill is solid and durable. The lid comes with secure latches. Its main competition is the Cuisinart Petite Gourmet, which is a little lighter, more compact and durable. The Cuisinart also comes with the option of long legs. However, the Cuisinart lacks a warming rack, has a smaller surface area, and a smaller grilling area. We expect the Cuisinart to last longer. If you're tight on money, get the Smoke Hollow. If that price difference is not as big an issue, its a tougher call.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Portable Grills and Travel BBQs of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Chris McNamara

Last Updated:
Sunday
June 24, 2018

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Good performance at a good price is a hallmark of our Best Buy winners, across all categories. The Smoke Hollow handily fits that description. For the cost, this is a highly functional product.

Performance Comparison



Output Power


While 10,000 BTUs is less than half the BTUs of the Coleman RoadTrip LXX (but close to that of the Editors Choice Napoleon TravelQ 285) we still felt this grill had plenty of output power. We got it up to temperature in less than five minutes and had no problem keeping the grill hot, even when cooking burgers and dogs for ten people.


That said, when we first used the grill the burner was ajar and putting out very little heat. We thought it was defective. But after a bit of tinkering, we pushed the burner closer to the edge, and it started working just fine. Keep this in mind: the burner may move, and you will have to adjust it (better to do this when the grill is cold).

Control


We gave above average scores for control. We were able to keep the temperature in the range we needed, but it took some effort and time. This is where the other top scoring stoves outperform the Smoke Hollow. They give much more precise control and have burlier dials. The dial on the Smoke Hollow feels flimsy and delicate. It's not that precise.


When using the green 16oz canisters, we had some issues attaching them and knowing the dial was turned entirely off. These issues went away with more practice. As with most portable grills, we eventually switched to just using the Worthington 1-Gallon Propane Tank and had better results. The biggest advantage of a more expensive product like the Editors' Choice Napoleon TravelQ is in control. The dual tubular burners of the Napoleon offer much greater control than that of the Smoke Hollow.

Portability


At 17 pounds, this is one of the lighter grills we tested. Only the Cuisinart and Top Pick Eureka Gonzo Grill are lighter, both around 15 lbs. For those extra two pounds, you get 30% more cooking area than on the Cuisinart, a tradeoff that most people will gladly take. The Cuisinart also folds up much more compactly. Not only is the main body on the Cuisinart smaller, but it also doesn't have anything sticking out the sides. The Smoke Hollow has both an electric igniter and a propane valve that stick out a few inches. This means you need to give the Smoke Hollow around 30-50% more space when packing than the Cuisinart and you have to be careful not to damage the propane connector which feels a little delicate.


While this grill is the second lightest, it's not nearly as portable as the Cuisinart or Eureka Gonzo Grill. Unlike both of these, it has some delicate parts that stick out the side, so you need to give it extra room to account for this. The legs fold away, but oddly don't provide much more room. Don't get us wrong; it is still a small and light grill, it's just not as easy to move around as a grill on wheels or the much more compact Eureka.

Cooking Area


With 205 sq inches of cooking area, the Smoke Hollow is just above average in this metric. However, when you compare the weight per cooking area, the Smoke Hollow comes out on top. It has the most cooking area of any grill that weighs less than 30lbs. The Weber Q 1200 is almost double the weight and has less cooking area. Also, the 205 sq inches of cooking area does not include the 105 sq inch warming rack, which every higher-scoring grill in our review lacks.


Wind Resistance


We gave this above average scores. It's relatively enclosed, but breezes do get in there. At 10,000 BTUs, the wind can take a bit of the power out of this grill. For comparison, the Coleman RoadTrip LXX (22,000 BTUs) has a lot of extra power left over for windy conditions.


Best Applications


Bargain hunters tune in; this is the best balance of performance to price in our review. We wouldn't grant our Best Buy award to anything else.

Value


You choose this grill for its value. The function and price ratio is optimized. Other grills will perform better, but they are much more expensive.

Conclusion


We usually see this grill sold for less than $80. At that price and for its quality and features, it's easily our Best Buy Award winner.

Chris McNamara

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Most recent review: June 24, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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