Nexgrill entered the griddle market in 2019 with two flat tops that look like clones of Blackstone griddles. In 2022 Nexgrill launched their next version griddles, the Daytona Series, that include a built in lid.
The Nexgrill products, sold exclusively through Home Depot, at first glance look like fine griddles. However, when you take a closer look at real world data it appears that Blackstone makes the better product.
The TL;DR version is that the original Nexgrill griddles appeared to have a problem with excessive warping and rusting. My belief is that these issues are cause by the use of lower grade steel (Hot Rolled) compared to what is used for Blackstone griddles (Cold Rolled).
Nexgrill Daytona Griddle Updates
The Nexgrill Daytona griddles come in three versions:
- 1 burner: 270 sq in, 12,000 BTU
- 3 burner: 630 sq in, 45,000 BTU
- 4 burner: 756 sq in, 60,000 BTU
Let’s take a closer look at the 3 and 4 burner options.
Still Use Low Grade Steel
The advertising literature still proudly states that the Daytona griddles are made with Hot Rolled Steel. I guess they think that it sounds sexy?
There are not a lot of reviews for these products on the Home Depot website yet but of the few that are there I saw the word “warped” mentioned in several of them.
If you want to learn more about Hot Rolled vs Cold Rolled steel then scroll to the bottom of this article for a more thorough explanation.
Poor Grease Trap Design
For some reason Nexgrill decided to ditch the tried and true rear mounted grease drain and replaced it with convoluted side mounted drains.
After reading the customer reviews on the Home Depot website as well as the comments from several YouTube videos it looks like folks are not crazy about the new design. The placement takes up griddle space, it is easy for food to fall in and the funnel that feeds the collection system is easily clogged.
The Lid is Nice
On the positive side, the Daytona griddles have a built in lid which is a nice touch and provides a level of protection for the griddle surface. I still would go ahead and buy a separate cover though as the lid does not appear to completely seal the griddle against the elements.
The Nexgrill Daytona Griddles look nice but I do not see a compelling reason to buy one instead of a Blackstone.
Original Nexgrill Griddles Overview (2019-2021)
These griddles are complete knock offs of the Blackstone 28 and 36 inch griddles which are pretty dang nice products.
The griddles have heavy steel cook tops (7 gauge for the 4 burner, 10 gauge for the 2 burner) that come pre-seasoned.
Just like the Blackstone these griddles have a rear grease drain for easy clean up.
The griddles come with a five year warranty on the burners and a limited one year warranty on all other parts.
4 Burner Griddle Overview
The 36 inch griddle offers 732 square inches of griddle area that is heated by four 15,000 btu/hr burners. That works out to a heating capacity of 82 btu/hr per square inch. Nexgrill says this is enough room for grilling 36 burgers at a time so you can easily feed over 20 people.
The four burners are straight tubes that let you dial in the exact temperature zones you want.
The griddle has two fixed caster wheels and two swivel wheels so it rolls about pretty easy but can be locked into place once you get it where you want it, has dimensions on 26 x 36 x 64 inches, and weighs in at 122 pounds.
Everything about this griddle LOOKS identical to the Blackstone four burner but there is a big difference in the griddle itself that makes the Blackstone better.
2 Burner Griddle Overview
The 28 inch griddle offers 514 square inches of griddle area that is heated by two 19,000 btu/hr burners. That works out to a heating capacity of 74 btu/hr per square inch.
The griddle has two fixed caster wheels so you have to lift one end up by the handle and push it around if you want to move it.
The griddle has dimensions on 24 x 33 x 46 inches and a weighs in at 68 pounds.
The dual burners are actually horseshoe shaped to enable a more even heating of the griddle surface.
The equivalent Blackstone griddle has two “H style burners” but other than that detail the Nexgrill LOOKS identical to Blackstone (but isn’t).
Nexgrill vs Blackstone
When you look at the real world reviews for these grills it is apparent that people like their Blackstone griddles more than they like the Nexgrill product.
I compiled all of the reviews for the Blackstone 36 and 28 inch griddles posted on the websites from Home Depot, Walmart, Amazon and Blackstone. I ended up with 1,776 reviews for the four burner griddle and 3,484 reviews for the two burner griddle.
I then compared the compiled Blackstone reviews with the reviews for the Nexgrill products posted on the Home Depot website. The amount of reviews for the Nexgrill products (190 reviews, 4 burner, 248 reviews, 2 burner) are lower than what I found for the Blackstones but I believe it is a large enough data set to make meaningful comparisons.
Here is what the data looks like (compiled and current as of June 17, 2020).
4 Burner Griddle Reviews
|4 Burner Griddle||Nexgrill||Blackstone|
Blackstone has a clear advantage in 5 star ratings at 81% vs 66% for Nexgrill. Even when you combine the reviews of all happy customers (5 Stars + 4 Stars) Blackstone still has the edge with an 89% positive rating compared to 83% for Nexgrill.
2 Burner Griddle Reviews
|2 Burner Griddle||Nexgrill||Blackstone|
The data for the two burner griddles is extremely similar to the data for the four burner griddles.
Blackstone has a clear advantage in 5 star ratings at 78% vs 6o% for Nexgrill. Even when you combine the reviews of all happy customers (5 Stars + 4 Stars) Blackstone still has the edge with an 89% positive rating compared to 78% for Nexgrill.
Why Do People Like Blackstone Better Than Nexgrill?
I dug through all of the negative (1 and 2 Star reviews) for the brands to find out what the problems were and two issues emerged.
The primary complaint about both brands is excessive rusting of the cooking service. While the complaint is common to both brands it appears to be a more common issue for Nexgrill.
The second complaint was unique to Nexgrill and especially for the two burner griddle. Several Nexgrill owners were unhappy because the griddle warped. Again, I did not see anyone complain about warping on the Blackstone.
I have two theories as to why the Nexgrill griddles occasionally warp.
Theory #1: There are three V Shaped Stiffening Bars underneath the griddle (both Nexgrill and Blackstone) that are designed to prevent warping. These bars are attached to the griddle by multiple tack welds.
I have visually compared the welds on the Nexgrill and the Blackstone and the welds on the Nexgrill do not look as strong. There is a chance that some of the welds on the Nexgrill stiffening bars are failing and allowing the griddle to warp.
Take that theory with a grain of salt as I have only inspected a few griddles and am not a welding expert.
Theory #2: The lower grade steel that Nexgrill is using for their flat tops is more prone to warping.
At first glance the steel used for both brands looks identical. The four burner griddles both use 7 gauge steel while the two burner griddles both use 10 gauge steel. The difference between the steel is not in thickness but in what the metal is and how it was processed.
- Blackstone uses Cold Rolled Carbon Steel for the cooktops.
- Nexgrill uses Mild Hot Rolled Steel for their cooktops.
The steel used by Nexgrill is a cheaper, lower grade material than the steel used by Blackstone. The lower grade steel has two main drawbacks that I am aware of.
Drawback #1: According to a 2008 University study, mild steel corrodes faster than carbon steel under acidic environments. Based upon the material of construction is it safe to assume that the Nexgrill cooktop would get attacked faster by acidic marinades (anything containing vinegar) than Blackstone’s.
Drawback #2: According to Reliance Foundry: “cold rolled steels are typically harder and stronger than standard hot rolled steels. As the metal is shaped at the lower temperatures, the steel’s hardness, resistance against tension breaking, and resistance against deformation are all increased due to work hardening.”
I cannot say for sure that Nexgrill’s warping and rusting issues are entirely because of the lower grade steel but it seems like the most probable cause.