Product Review: Weber "Baby Q" Grill

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June 10, 2008


Airstream RV Blog #69 – Weber “Baby Q” Grill from Sean Michael on Vimeo.

Camping and grilling go together like juicy hamburgers and freshly cut French fries. Yet most campground grills (when available) leave much to be desired. Either they are falling apart from neglect, or they are gargantuan devices apparently designed by Cro-Magnons for the roasting of freshly slain woolly rhinoceros.

Enter the Weber Q100 “Baby Q” Grill. This is an excellent travel-sized, propane-powered grill. It works so well, you may find yourself using it at home as your primary barbecue grill of choice.

The Weber is built of solid cast aluminum, so it won’t rust. It’s thick and sturdy, so it won’t fall apart. It has a substantial 189 square inch cooking surface, so when cooking for 2-4 people you won’t run out of room.

It not only gets hot fast, it gets hot evenly (which is more than I can say for the relatively expensive Hyundai-sized grill at our home). The Baby Q imparts superb sear marks on steaks and other meat.

The Baby Q is an ideal size for camping and tailgating. There’s an optional canvas carrying case that fits the grill like custom luggage. We usually haul our grill in the bed of our pickup truck SEEMORE, though it also easily fits in the back seat.

Build quality is high. In an era of cheaply made plastic products, the Weber seems to be built like a cast aluminum tank. Properly maintained, one suspects it will last many seasons of grilling.

The design is downright curvaceous and attractive. It’s also functional, with a built-in removable drip pan that collects most of the mess. This makes clean up a cinch.

There’s one major problem with the Weber, and that’s the required propane tank. For some strange reason, Weber opted to use 14.1-ounce propane tanks instead of the standard 16-ounce tanks you find in most camping supply stores.

One can imagine the scene in a Weber corporate conference room, as the design team meets with the engineers…

“We’ve designed our grill to use this skinny, little, blue 14.1-ounce propane tank,” says the perky, youthful Design Team Leader. “Isn’t it cute?”

“But…” says the grizzled, grumpy old Product Engineer, a frown scrawled across his face. “That there’s a weldin’ tank. The campin’ propane tanks are 16-ounce canisters.”

“Those camping ones are FAT,” replies the Design Team Leader. “And they’re an UGLY shade of green.”

“But that one is for WELDIN’,” says the Engineer. “And it’s found in the PLUMBIN’ section of most stores.”

“But this one is BLUE!” exclaims the Design Team Leader. “And it’s CUTE!”

Cute won the day. This fateful decision, no doubt, has resulted in thousands of Baby Q owners buying those standard fat, green propane tanks, and cursing shortly thereafter. The standard tanks won’t fit, at least not without taking apart certain sections of your grill.

Have no fear. The 14.1-ounce tanks are readily available if you know where to look. They are generally located in the plumbing and welding area of your local hardware or home supply store. We’ve bought our tanks at Ace Hardware, but I’m told they exist in Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and the rest.

Weber makes a number of optional accessories for these grills, including a propane hose adapter kit. The kit will allow you to use any propane tank, not just cute blue ones.

Despite the 14.1-ounce chink in its armor, the Weber Baby Q is a fantastic little grill. Highly recommended.

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11 comments

  1. Hi Sean,

    We’ve been using the Baby Q for a few years now. The spring holder that they supply with it to hold the 14.1 oz tanks can easily be stretched to hold the wider 16oz cannisters. I just pull on one side of it as I screw in the canister–works great!
    MIke.

  2. Thanks Mike, I will try the “spring holder stretching” technique. I’ve also heard of some people completely removing the bracket that’s intended to support the propane tanks. So far we haven’t modified our grill, although during our first few weeks of ownership we were aimlessly searching for the correct tanks.

    I assume you are still using your original Baby Q? It really appears to be a well made product that is built to last.

  3. Hi Sean, again a great review. On our first baby Q I removed the wire bracket to use the fat and less expensive tanks. I did put a nylon tie strap around the regulator and handle for support. We just bought a second baby Q for use at home and it has been redesigned so no mods are needed to use the fat bottles. We’ve had our first for more than a year and like it just as much as the day we got it. The one at home we hook up to a large propane tank with a hose so we don’t have to mess with the little bottles.

  4. Thanks Darrel, it’s interesting to hear that Weber has redesigned the grill to accommodate the more common tanks. When we first got our Baby Q last year, there was a lot of confusion at the retail level concerning the tanks. Some people told us that Weber had not yet released the proper tank, which resulted in us waiting a few weeks to use our grill! Anyway, it’s good to hear that they’ve sorted things out. Who knows, maybe we will remove the wire bracket on ours.

    Overall I think the Baby Q is a great little grill; we often use ours at home because it works so well.

  5. Hi Sean, we agree-extremely well built and easy to disassemble and clean. We noticed the larger grills were being sold with the side “tables” and we felt left out! When we purchased ours the plastic folding side tables were not an option. After calling Weber a couple of years ago they said depending on the amount of phone call requests they received they might consider offering them as an option for the Baby Q. After about a year of waiting lo and behold they offered them so needless to say we purchased a pair. Great for temporarily setting down your plates and utensils. They fold up as well so the entire grill can still fit inside their smallest rolling bag with room for a few propane canisters as well. As a follow up to the previous post the spring holder does not need to be removed for the wider bottles, it will just fit tightly which is fine–peace of mind!

  6. Julie Rea

    We had just bought our Weber Baby Q, had not even taken it out of the box, when I saw your review. We very carefully unpacked it, thinking we would take it back and get one to use the green cannisters. We wanted to see if our hose to our larger propane tank would work, which it did. BUT, we double checked the green cannister, and it fit with no problem! Perhaps the new models have been modified?

  7. Julie, yes, that is what Darrel was reporting. Apparently Weber has REDESIGNED the new grills to accomodate the larger green tanks. We received our grill last year (as a wedding present!) and thus it boasts last year’s design. I suspect Weber received a few (like maybe 200,000 or so) complaints about the propane tank issue. To their credit, they responded with a redesign and eliminated everyone’s one complaint about the grill.

    Mike, I know what you mean about “Grill Envy.” Weber makes some cool accessories for the Baby Q. Kristy has had her eyes on those folding side tables, too…

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  9. Naomi, thanks for the tip. We will pick up one of those hose attachments also. I agree that the small tanks are wasteful (in more ways than one).

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