Consumer Reports: Save money by outsmarting a smart grill

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There's an app for almost everything, including some new grills. (WLS)

There's an app for almost everything, including some new grills. New high-tech gadgets claim to take the guesswork out of grilling. But are they worth the price? Consumer Reports reveals whether or not smart grills are a smart choice.

If grilling is your thing but you're stumped by when the food is finished two grills claim to take out the guesswork. Consumer Reports just tested both.

Weber's iGrill 3 is a $100 add-on feature that works with any Weber Genesis II grill. It uses Bluetooth technology to send alerts and updates to your smartphone or tablet.

"Our testers said that the iGrill 3 installed in about ten to fifteen minutes and that it was very straightforward," said Paul Hope, Consumer Reports home editor.

If installation isn't your thing, the $800 Char-Broil SmartChef comes ready to go and uses a Wi-Fi signal to send alerts to your device. However, our testers found the signal needs to be strong and to use the main grill at all it needs to be plugged in.

Both grills use apps that ask similar questions like -- "What are you cooking? How do you like it cooked?"

For this test it was steak, medium rare. Both grills use preset temperatures to determine when the food is finished.

Testers used temperature probes to check how accurate the grills were at alerting when the food was ready.

"In the end both grills did really well in our tests and we found their temperature probes were accurate," Hope said.

But Consumer Reports says you can create your own "smart grill" with a good wireless meat thermometer. Consumer Reports recommends this $40 Oregon Scientific meat thermometer. It's easy to read, has a timer and also comes with preset meat temperatures.

And if you want to skip all the bells and whistles just buy a regular meat thermometer. This ThermoWorks for $20 was very accurate in Consumer Reports tests.
If you're in the market for a grill Consumer Reports says the $270 Nexgrill from Home Depot is a great choice for the money. It's big enough to cook for a crowd and excels at keeping temperatures even across the cooking surface.

Thermometers mentioned:

Oregon Scientific - Wireless BBQ/Oven AW131 meat thermometer - $40

ThermoWorksPocket RT600C2 - $20

Grill in O/C Close:
Nex-Grill 720-0830H - $270


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