Why Are Drop-In Grills More Expensive? (A Closer Look)

Are you one of those who love entertaining guests in your backyard? Do you enjoy cooking and savoring mouth-watering barbeque dishes with your loved ones?

If so, you’re probably in the market for an outdoor grill to take your cooking game to the next level. But with so many different types of grills available, choosing the right one for your needs can be daunting.

In this article, we’ll focus on one type of grill – the drop-in or built-in grill. More specifically, we’ll explore why drop-in grills are more expensive than freestanding grills and whether they’re worth the investment.

We’ll discuss the factors contributing to the higher price tag and provide an example of drop-in and freestanding grills at different price points.

So, if you’re in the market for a new grill, read on to learn more about drop-in grills and whether they’re the right choice for your outdoor kitchen.

5 Reasons Why Built-In Grills Are More Expensive Than Freestanding

Many factors contribute to the higher cost, from materials and construction to advanced features and design. In this section, we’ll explore the top five reasons why built-in grills are typically pricier than their freestanding counterparts.

This article will use two grill models, Weber Summit S-460 and Spirit II E-310, as a comparison example between built-in and freestanding grills.

High-Quality Material

One significant factor contributing to the higher price of built-in grills is the use of high-quality materials. These materials are often more expensive to manufacture, which leads to a higher cost for the final product.

For example, the Weber Summit S-460 built-in grill uses heavy-duty stainless steel for its body and cooking grates. Stainless steel is a popular grill material due to its durability and resistance to corrosion, making it ideal for outdoor use. However, it tends to be more expensive than other materials.

In addition to the materials, the labor cost to make these grills in the USA also contributes to the higher price tag. Skilled workers must manufacture high-quality materials into the finished product, which adds to the overall cost.

While a freestanding grill may use similar materials, the built-in grill requires the custom installation and typically involves more complex design and construction. These factors, along with the use of high-quality materials, contribute to the higher price of built-in grills.

Though the higher cost may be off-putting, investing in a built-in grill made with high-quality materials can benefit the long run. These grills are built to last, and their durable construction makes them able to withstand the elements and regular use.

Furthermore, the better performance and more consistent results that come with higher-quality materials make the investment well worth it for those who take their outdoor cooking seriously.

High Performance

When it comes to grilling, top-notch performance is a must. Built-in grills offer an unbeatable level of performance, which is why they tend to be pricier. The higher BTU-per-hour input of built-in grills translates to more heat and faster cooking times.

Take the Weber Summit S-460 built-in gas grill, for example. This grill has a total 48,800 BTU-per-hour input, due to its four stainless steel burners. With this much power, you can whip up a delicious meal for your family and friends in no time.

On the other hand, the Spirit II E-310 freestanding gas grill has a total 30,000 BTU-per-hour input, with its three stainless steel burners. While it gets the job done, it takes more time to cook, compared to built-in grills.

BTU-per-hour input is not the only factor that makes built-in grills high-performing. Their built-in design and construction mean they have greater heat retention than freestanding grills.

Built-in grills are often made of high-quality stainless steel, which helps them store and evenly distribute heat across the cooking surface.

This means you get better searing and cooking results with built-in grills, as they provide a more consistent heat source.


Drop-in grills tend to be pricier than freestanding grills because of their design. They offer larger grilling areas and bigger sizes than freestanding grills.

For example, the Weber Summit S-460 has a grilling area of 580 square inches, whereas the Spirit II E-310 has a total grilling area of 529 square inches.

Though the difference may be slight, it makes a huge difference when it comes to accommodating more people. With the Weber Summit S-460, you can grill up to 20 burgers at once, whereas the Spirit II E-310 can cook up to 15 burgers.

Customization is also a major advantage of drop-in grills. They come in a variety of designs, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your needs.

Some even come with cabinets or other integrated features that make outdoor cooking more convenient. For example, the Weber Summit S-460 comes with stainless steel cabinets that provide additional storage space for grilling tools, plates, and utensils. This is especially useful if you have limited outdoor space.

Drop-in grills also have the edge when it comes to aesthetics. They often have a superior fit and finish, with a sleek design that blends seamlessly with your outdoor space. This is especially important if you have an outdoor kitchen or a well-designed backyard.

Having a drop-in grill boasting a great look and a perfect fit can increase the value of your home and make your outdoor area more inviting.

Advanced Features

When it comes to more advanced features, built-in grills really shine.

The Weber Summit S-460, for example, features a rotisserie system that allows you to evenly cook an entire chicken or roast – something that isn’t usually seen in freestanding grills. This system is also great for giving your meat crispy, juicy skin.

Built-in grills also often come with a smoker box, which is what the Weber Summit S-460 has. This allows you to add wood chips or other smoky materials to your grill, giving your food the perfect flavor of smoke. You usually must purchase additional accessories to have this feature on freestanding grills.

Lighted control knobs are another feature often found in built-in grills, making it easier to see the settings even in low light conditions – great for nighttime cooking. The Weber Summit S-460 has these, whereas the Spirit II E-310 does not.

Finally, you’ll find that built-in grills often have a Sear Station burner. This high-powered burner lets you quickly sear meat and create a delicious crust on the outside while keeping the inside moist and juicy. The Weber Summit S-460 has one, but the Spirit II E-310 does not.

All these features come with a higher price tag, but they can really enhance your grilling experience and help you create delicious meals.

Brand and Product Segment

When it comes to built-in grills, the brand and product segment are important factors in the cost. Renowned companies tend to have higher prices than up-and-coming ones – just like the difference between an iPhone and an unfamiliar Android phone.

Even within the same brand, there are varying prices amongst the product segments. For instance, Weber offers three: Spirit (smaller grills), Genesis (mid-size to large), and Summit (top-of-the-line). A 4-burner grill in the Summit segment will be much more expensive than the same one in the Spirit.

It’s worth noting that the cost gap between built-in and freestanding grills within the same segment is not significant.

For example, the Weber Summit S-460 built-in gas grill and the Summit S-470 standalone gas grill are almost identical but only differ in price by about $200. To make a fair comparison, it’s best to compare grills in the same segment.

Therefore, when selecting a built-in grill, consider the brand and product segment to ensure the cost is justified.

Built-In Grill Vs Freestanding Grill

This table highlights the main differences between built-in and freestanding grills, from the materials and performance to the price and versatility. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your needs and preferences, but hopefully, this comparison will help you make an informed decision.

Comparison FactorBuilt-in GrillFreestanding Grill
MaterialMade with higher quality materials such as stainless steelMade with a mix of materials, including some lower-quality options
PerformanceTypically offers better performance with more advanced features like rotisserie systems and smoke boxesMay offer good performance but often lacks advanced features
Cooking AreaOffers a larger cooking area, up to 760 square inches in some modelsMay offer a smaller cooking area, typically around 400-500 square inches
DesignOffers a sleek and modern design, often with options for customization like cabinetsTypically offers a more traditional design
MobilityBuilt-in grills are permanent fixtures and cannot be movedFreestanding grills offer more mobility and can be moved around your outdoor space
PriceBuilt-in grills are generally more expensive due to higher-quality materials and advanced featuresFreestanding grills are generally more affordable
InstallationRequires professional installation as it needs to be built into an outdoor kitchen or spaceCan be easily installed by the owner
VersatilityBuilt-in grills are designed specifically for outdoor kitchens and cannot be used as a standalone applianceFreestanding grills can be used in a variety of settings and are often more versatile

Conclusion – Are Built-In Grills Worth It?

In summary, drop-in or built-in grills tend to be more expensive than their freestanding counterparts due to the superior materials, high-powered performance, and attractive designs used in their construction.

They also boast larger cooking surfaces, making them perfect for outdoor entertaining. While these features come at a higher price, they can undoubtedly add value to your home.

Before making a purchase, weigh up the pros and cons of each type of grill to determine which one best suits your needs.

If you found this article useful, why not share it with your friends or leave a comment with your own thoughts? Let’s get grilling!

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