Attention To Detail: Saber Grills (Part 1)

The details are not the details. They make the design.–Charles Eames

Saber-Grills1A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Saber asking me if I’d like to take a look at their new grill. What I found really interesting about their offer was they didn’t ask for any type of commitment that I would actually write about their grill on my site.  Two thoughts flashed through my head as I contemplated the offer.  Either they just forgot to ask about reviewing the grill or they were confident the grill would work as advertised.

I first heard about Saber grills while working for a sister company at Memphis In May in 2010.  Early rumors were the new Saber grills were going to be top of the line grills designed and built with quality as the most important factor. I have been eagerly anticipating this product line hitting the market.  Needless to say I accepted their offer.  The chance to get my hands on this grill was something I was not about to pass up.

The review of my new Saber grill will be in several parts. I thought it best to go into more detail than I ever have on a grill review.  I’ve recommended grills in the past, only to have some small detail fail later on.  I want to make sure I have a good basis for any recommendation I should make from here on out.

This first part goes into the unpacking and building of the grill.  You may find yourself wondering why in the world the average grill buying consumer would care about packaging since most take deliver of an already constructed grill.  I learned several years ago with my last gas grill that how the grill is packaged, ultimately is a sign of the over all quality.  The details are the details…and a company that puts a lot of care and attention into the little things, like packaging, probably paid a lot of attention to the  big things too.

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The first detail I noticed when I opened the box was how well all the parts are wrapped and packed with thought.  It was obvious they paid attention to how the grill is shipped.  (Left) Not only was the packaging extra thick, the corners are re-enforced with thick corrugated cardboard.  (Right) You can see the inside corners are protected with cardboard on the inside of the foam packaging.

Saber-Grills7 Saber-Grills4Have you ever unpacked something you just bought, looking forward to putting together your new toy, only to find yourself digging through the trash looking for the part you tossed in the trash because it was stuck in some corner of the packaging and you missed it?

No? Well it’s happened to me, more than once.  Empty boxes, used for packaging, are marked as were the compartments where the little parts kept.

You might find yourself asking what difference it makes but in my mind the detail put into the packaging is a sign of quality.

Saber-Grills10 Saber-Grills12Another feature I like about the Saber grill are the wheels.  Many of the grills I’ve worked with have really cheap wheels that often don’t actually roll for very long.

The wheels on the Saber are heavy-duty and mount securely into the 1 inch tubular steel frame so they stay sturdy.

Best of all, in my book, all four wheels pivot.  It’s so frustrating when a grill maker only gives you two wheels that pivot.  Having all four pivot will make it easier to move the grill.  There are also locks on all four wheels.

Saber-Grills11 Saber-Grills13Ball bearings make the wheels pivot easily and the locking mechanism on the wheels is built well.  I’m anxious to see how the wheels hold up, especially after being outside over the Winter.

Saber-Grills15 Saber-Grills14Two of the dumbest features on many gas grills are the internal “warming” shelf and thermometers in the lid.

Often times grill makers add a shelf inside the lid for keeping food warm or so you can cook things over indirect heat.  The problem is these shelves are normally useless.  You can tell they added the shelf because it is a feature that’s expected to be included, but the design, normally some kind of swinging, flimsy shelf is completely worthless.

The shelf on the Saber sits on a brackets mounted inside the grill and not on the lid.  It doesn’t swing and appears to be strong enough to actually cook on.

I was happy to see thermometers installed in the base of the grill, at grate level, instead of in the lid, where for the most part they don’t provide useful temperature information. This feature tells me someone who actually uses grills was involved in the design instead of someone designing for a price point.

Saber-Grills17 Saber-Grills18The side burner has a grate that is actually meant to hold something heavy.  I might actually use this for something other than lighting my charcoal chimney.

And the heavy-duty rubber grommets on the lid are nice too because the lid is rather heavy.  Heavy in a good way because it’s build sturdy, no flex at all.

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The other side shelf has a towel rack and places to hang your grilling tools.  Two nice features that I appreciate.  I’m always looking around for where I sat my towel down.

And a small shelf inside the cabinet gives you a little extra useable space for storage.

Saber-Grills21 Saber-Grills22Last and certainly not least the grill comes with its own grate cleaning tool.  I’m not sure just how useful this will be, but I like that they thought of it.  And they thought enough to include a place to keep in on the side of one of the cabinet doors.

This is a rather long post, it didn’t start out to be this long.  But I felt it was important to detail this process for my readers.  I think knowing up front how a grill is built is important.  Almost any grill will do well for the first season you have it, but only those well-built will perform for years.

Next up: How Well Does It Actually Cook?

NOTE: I was provided the Saber grill gratis.  As always the opinions here are my own.  If I don’t like something I’m going to tell my readers.

2 Comments on Attention To Detail: Saber Grills (Part 1)

  1. Larry M // May 20, 2013 at 9:59 pm //

    These grills do seem pretty cool. I’m a novice and was attracted to the ease of use and technology and after buying one over the weekend, seems to have a lot of potential. Definitely way more power than your typical entry level grill. Unfortunately the retail experience has a number of pitfalls. If you’re reading this, you’re probably like me, and doing your online research before walking into a local dealer to purchase. You’ll see certain prices quoted in a number of articles on about.com, blogs, retail websites etc. which I guess are not necessarily accurate. Each model has a “cast” and “stainless steel” version which carries a price premium. I would encourage potential buyers to look carefully at the model # before purchasing. Since I’m a novice, I’m relying heavily on honest merchants to help me make a good decision. The only dealer of Saber here in Portland, OR, Ludeman’s, quoted a price of $999 on a grill they told me is “all stainless steel” which is partially true because of these model levels. Although their pricing of $999 and tag stating it was the “R33CC0312 SS” and verbal claim led me to believe I was purchasing the premium SS model, it turns out I was not. The resulting customer experience, needless to say, was less than desirable (if you are curious, read more here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/ludemans-patio-furniture-and-bar-stools-beaverton#hrid:xAMMjcP2u4x3-60MuXTj6A)
    and led to quite a bit of hassle. In the end I am no longer a Saber grill owner, and while my experience can not speak to the nation wide dealer network as a whole, I would urge potential buyers to be diligent about the model and with your dealers as there can be a bit of a confusion.

  2. Larry M,

    Thanks for taking the time to share your concerns about your recent attempt to purchase a Saber Infrared Grill with our good friend and BBQ expert Larry G. Larry knew my team and I would be interested in your observations, experience and comments and passed your email on to me.

    My team and I passionately believe we built “a better barbecue” and part of that is the consumer purchasing and ownership experience. I’m sorry we did not live up to that ideal during your recent buying experience. I’ve asked our local field Saber Representative, Frank Walsh, to reach out to you and see how we can make it right and you can start to enjoy the benefits of owning a Saber Infrared gas grill.

    My staff and I are also consumers. We know that consumers have a wide variety of options to choose from. We know every transaction is not perfect and appreciate it when a consumer takes the time to provide us with feedback and the opportunity to learn and grow.

    I am confident that Frank will take fantastic care of you. Again, thanks for the second chance! I hope you enjoy your new Saber Infrared gas grill and look forward to you sharing some photos of your results on our Facebook page: at https://www.facebook.com/saber.grills

    Rob Schwing
    General Manager
    Saber Grills

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