Weber Grill Review
Ducane was a family owned business located in Barnwell, South Carolina that manufactured both home
heating systems and barbecue grills. The Ducane grills were pretty high end affairs that competed directly
with Weber grills. You could buy a lifetime warranty on a Ducane grill and have a Ducane representative come
to your home and assemble it for you.
Unfortunately for Ducane they made the decision to invest in a new manufacturing facility in 2000 which is
about the same time the economy started turning south. They suffered another massive blow when three of
their national distributers were liquidated leaving behind millions in unpaid invoices. This situation was
described in one press release as “being caught on the wrong side of three freight trains”. Ducane was
unable to pay their bills and filed for bankruptcy in December of 2003.
In March of 2004 all assets and brands associated with Ducane grills were purchased by Weber for $13.6
million dollars. Weber did not purchase any liabilities associated with Ducane which essentially terminated the
lifetime warranties that had been purchased for these grills. At the time of purchase Weber indicated that the
Ducane grills would continue to be manufactured in the US at Ducane’s South Carolina facility. While that
statement may have been well intentioned it was not accurate.
The acquisition of Ducane allowed Weber to accomplish two important objectives. The first was that Weber
was able to eliminate a competitor for their high end grills. This was accomplished by eliminating the Ducane
Meridian grill (a direct competitor for the Weber Summit and now discontinued Vieluxe) and cheapening the
Ducane Affinity grills (a direct competitor to the Weber Genesis).
Weber lowered the quality of components on the Ducane Affinity and outsourced production to China. These
two moves allowed Weber to cut the cost of the Affinity in half by 2006. As of this writing it was possible to
buy a new Ducane Affinity for less than $300. The cheaper Affinity grills allowed Weber to finally participate in
the low end gas grill market (the largest market segment) without tarnishing the high quality image associated
with Weber gas grills.
The Ducane Affinity is available in three models; a three burner 3100, a four burner 4100 and a four burner
4200 that comes with a side burner. These grills are available through Wal-Mart, Amazon, etc.