Weber Q 1200 Review
Cons: Heavy, no lid latch, disposable aluminum grease trap inserts fly away in the wind, can be challenging to attach disposable propane canister at first
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Weber Q 1200 is a strong contender. Service, sales, and parts are widely available for this popular brand. Our experience with the Q 1200 was largely favorable. We tested a number of products that exceed it in one way or another, but you should certainly consider the Weber.
The Q 1200 has one stainless steel burner tube that delivers a claimed 8,500 BTU's. It heats up quickly, cooks evenly and leaves beautiful char marks. We found that cooking time on this grill was less than expected for such a small product.
The Q 1200 makes grilling simple and fun. Its push-button electronic ignition starts with just one press of the button every time. It has an infinite control burner valve that allows the flame to be adjusted to clear low, medium and high settings, and the built-in temperature gauge allows for even greater temperature control. This grill does cool down quickly when the lid is open though, so when you're doing your flipping, make it quick. The regulator is attached snugly, and the grease trap is large, easy to take on and off, and comes with a disposable (or reusable) aluminum insert.
At 31 pounds, this is heavy for a tabletop grill. The other tested table top grills are up to 21 pounds lighter. This grill has a cast aluminum lid and body which means no rusting or flexing, and a glass-reinforced nylon frame. This grill is sturdy and durable and will likely last a very long time.
This grill is both simple and challenging to transport at the same time. You can grab it and put it in your trunk and then place it on a picnic bench which is simple enough, but you do have to carry it in hand (vs. rolling something like the cart style grills in our test). It is closer to average weight if you consider all of the contenders tested, but that's including the rolling, cart style stand-alone versions we tested as well.
Weight is not the only challenging thing with this grill. The Q 1200 is built with the regulator positioned directly underneath the right handle. This means that with a small disposable propane bottle attached it is nearly impossible to wrap your hand around the handle. Even with the propane bottle not connected, you still cannot grab onto the middle of the handle; you can only grip a small portion on the top (or side furthest from the front) which makes carrying it slightly awkward.
Lots of folks seem to have trouble attaching a small disposable propane bottle to the regulator on this grill. When connecting the bottle, the neck of the propane canister fits easily into the regulator but doesn't seem to thread at first — just spinning and spinning and frustration. But then we discovered a trick. You must slightly pull the regulator away from the main body of the grill, which allows for the perfect lineup and threading between the canister and regulator. At first, we thought this was inconvenient and slightly annoying, but it quickly became apparent that this secure connection was an asset when lifting or moving this grill from one cooking surface to another (not travel mode, say just from one picnic table to another). The propane canister is so securely attached you can do so without worrying about it flopping around.
The Q's side tables fold inside for travel effortlessly, but you will want to make sure that it's completely cool before you do so as they are made out of plastic and could melt. We wish this model came with a latch on the lid. The lid is heavy, so it doesn't do much moving around, but if you're going four-wheeling to get to your BBQ site, consider using a bungee cord.
This product has 189 square inches of grilling space on top of porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grates. Did we mention how much we love the porcelain-enamel? It's the bomb. It's a breeze to clean with a grill brush or a sponge and soapy water. It can even be put in the dishwasher. It's also dreamy to grill on and wonderfully non-stick. No worrying about non-stick sprays or oiling of cast iron — it will never rust. But don't use a metal or wire brush to clean it or you'll ruin the surface. Use a soft bristle or nylon brush.
The 189 square inches of grill space holds a surprisingly large amount of food. We were able to load it up with enough meat to easily feed 3-4 people.
The Q also has some pretty snazzy side tables which at first we didn't think were a super bonus because after all, it is a tabletop grill. Then we took it to spots without picnic tables and, while perched on top of a cooler, they were a bonus. We also took it tailgating and unless you keep the back of your truck spotless, you'll find they come in handy. If your tailgate has carpet or some other kind of material that you might not want to get BBQ sauce on, then you'll find them useful as well. When we did use this grill on a super crowded tabletop, we found that we used the side tables and space underneath and appreciated them in this situation as well.
The Q is almost perfectly wind resistant. Almost. High winds did not affect the flame at all on any setting, nor did they affect lighting the Q, and the heavy lid was never at risk of being slammed shut. The only thing that was not wind resistant was the disposable aluminum insert that goes into the grease trap. It flies away in high winds. But you could always do without it completely and use something else, or you could do what we did and just put a rock in it.
The price tag here, for a smallish and not super light grill may seem steep, but the Q won't let you down. It's likely worth it for those that want a portable grill that doesn't just work, but works extremely well.
Overall, this is a great, reliable grill. It performs right up to par with the best portable grills we've ever tested. We appreciate the side tables, the exemplary non-stick surface of the grill, and its great wind resistance. Though heavier than other contenders, this is a solid product that we think most grillers would be happy with.
— Aaron Rice and Valentine Cullen