A grill is one of the most significant investments for your home. You can cook simple and easy meals for your family, or you can throw on large chunks of meat or a ton of burgers and hot dogs for your next party! Like any investment, your grill requires care and maintenance. The best way to prolong the life of your grill and make maintenance much simpler is to purchase a high-quality BBQ cover. But how do you select the right cover? Are there materials that are preferable for protecting your grill?
How Do I Choose a BBQ Cover?
You have many options at your disposal for choosing a grill cover, and these can be a bit overwhelming. Before deciding on the best material, here are several questions you need to consider:
- What is the Size and Shape of My Grill? – Grills come in a variety of sizes. Your owner’s manual will give you suggested recommendations for BBQ covers, but make sure you pay careful attention to the dimensions you will need in your cover.
- Do I Have to Buy a Cover Made by the Same Company as My Grill? – The short answer is no. Most grill companies make covers, but as long as you select the proper size, any brand of BBQ cover will work with any grill.
- Are There Any Special Features I Need for My Cover? – Helpful features includes handles, straps, or cords that allow you to tighten down and more easily place and remove the cover. As you’ll see below, different materials possess specific features that are important for consideration. Outside of these features and preferring a certain color, keep it simple as you shop around.
What Are the Best Materials?
Your top consideration is deciding which material works best for you. The material you choose is dependent on where you store your grill (i.e., indoors, under the shade, in direct sunlight) and how extreme the weather conditions are where you live. Keep in mind that factors such as humidity and proximity to a coastal breeze have a great impact on the material you choose as well.
Cost is another factor. The most expensive grill covers are not always the best, but you can get in trouble with some covers when you purchase the cheapest (and least durable) versions of that material. This is especially true of synthetic materials. Here are the best materials to consider for your BBQ cover:
Vinyl is a relatively cheap and effective material for BBQ covers. In addition, vinyl (in PVC form) is often used as a waterproof liner to insulate other types of grill materials. The most important consideration for vinyl is not to skimp on its thickness. Do not use anything less than 12-gauge thickness if you go with a vinyl BBQ cover.
- Vinyl is waterproof.
- It is less flammable than other synthetic materials.
- Thin vinyl tears easily.
- Even when coated with UV protection, vinyl can deteriorate more rapidly to regular direct sun exposure than other materials.
Polyester is one of the most common BBQ cover materials. It possesses a combination of features that make it an outstanding choice to protect your grill.
- Polyester is lightweight.
- It is durable against weather extremes, particularly to extended exposure to direct sunlight.
- Polyester is pliable and resistant to tearing.
- Polyester is not very breathable, so a cover needs air vents.
- It is not waterproof (many covers come with a PVC lining for that purpose, but don’t expect protection from moisture without the lining).
Nylon is a great option for your BBQ cover. It provides the versatility of being both durable and easy to handle.
- Nylon is light in weight but a very strong and tough material.
- It is more breathable than polyester.
- Nylon does not hold up well in direct sunlight
- Nylon covers tend to be more expensive than most other types of materials.
If you believe that people don’t make things today like they used to, you might want to consider a canvas cover. When BBQ grill covers first came about, they were almost exclusively canvas. A true canvas cover is a cotton, meaning that it is a natural material that can absorb the best of what nature – and your grill – can throw at it!
- Canvas covers are highly resistant to normal wear and tear and are even fire-resistant.
- Canvas is very breathable, preventing moisture from building up under the cover.
- It can hold up well under extreme heat and cold.
- It is cheaper than the most common type of grill cover, polyester.
- Canvas is not naturally waterproof.
- It is extremely heavy and bulky.
While it is more difficult to find, Oxford Cloth/Fabric is one of the best selections for your BBQ cover. This is a popular material for dress shirts because it has a “hearty feel”, possessing durability with nice texture. Oxford Cloth is waterproof, resistant to tears, and even has an innate resistance to UV rays. The only negative for Oxford Cloth covers is that they are expensive and not as common, but they are worth the investment if you can find one.
Polyester Canvas Fabric
This material combines the best of both polyester and canvas. At its base, it is simply polyester. But the difference is that the plastic threads of the polyester are woven into a crisscross formation much like how cotton is woven into canvas material.
While it is not as durable as actual canvas, it is substantially more durable than “regular” polyester. You can often find 300 denier polyester canvas, a thickness that maintains the lightweight nature of polyester while providing extra toughness. It still possesses the weaknesses of polyester in that it is not very breathable and not particularly waterproof on its own. But it will provide a stronger and longer-lasting option than a plain polyester cover.
If you give thought to where your grill is going to stay, it makes it easier to determine what type of material to use for your BBQ cover. The cost, durability, and accessibility of grill covers help in the determination, but ultimately the decision comes down to the best type of protection your grill needs in its environment. The good news is that all of these materials can extend the life of your grill substantially. Whatever type you pick from this list, your grill will thank you for remembering to keep it protected so that it can take care of you at your next barbecue.