All stainless steel burners are not created equal. When comparing burner systems, there are a few key points to look for. Most manufacturers use stainless steel sheet metal to make their burner systems. The downside of sheet metal burners is that they are prone to a process called burn-through. The manufacturer's warranty covers sheet metal burners against rust-through, but does not cover against burn through. To combat burn through, select manufacturers use CAST stainless steel burners. The warranty on these burners does cover burn-through as well as rust-through, twisting, warping and any other problems.
Compared side by side it is plain to see by our photos at Gas Grills Now, that where a sheet metal burner is not as thick as a U.S. quarter, a cast stainless steel burner is a full ¼ INCH thick. Along with being thicker, note the placement of the burner ports on the side of the burner. On the sheet metal burners, the ports are exposed to grease drippings, and food particles, which can clog the ports and speed up the burn-through process. The cast burner is designed with a protective ridge, so that drippings cannot contact the ports.
There are several choices offered to the consumer: Cast stainless steel, Tube stainless steel, Sheet stainless steel, porcelain, cast iron and chrome burners.
* Stainless Steel: Sheet Metal burners are the least expensive. They are mainly used on grills under $800. A tube burner is better than sheet metal, but is still very thin compared to cast. The tube burner is a great place for high end grill manufactures to cut costs. They are not even as thick as a quarter. As far as I know, all tube burners do not cover burn through.
Cast Stainless Steel is the best. Look at the burner pictures and you will see that the cast is 1/4 inch thick.
Warranty covers burn through!
* Cast Iron: Cast-iron conducts heat better which makes it the preferred cooking surface for many cooks. To protect against the natural rusting process, cast-iron cooking grids have a porcelain finish which requires special maintenance.
* Porcelain: Porcelain enamel is essentially a highly durable glass which, with coloring oxides and other inorganic materials, is fused to metal at extremely high temperatures. Most grids are made of steel rods; some are coated with porcelain to make them rust resistant and easier to clean.
* Chrome: Chromium is a silver-gray, lustrous, brittle, hard metal that can be highly polished. It does Not tarnish in air, but burns when heated, forming the green chromic oxide. It is used in plating other metals because of its hardness and non-tarnishing properties. In alloys with other metals it contributes hardness, strength, and heat resistance. This is quicker to burn through. It takes about 1 to 2 years.