Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub Review: Next Generation Smart Thermometer Greatly Improves on its Predecessor
Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub
A solid wireless thermometer from Weber, the grilling company. Rechargeable batteries, easier-to-access ports, and Wi-Fi make up for the utilitarian design. Works great, and easy to work with.
Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub Review
I have had an iGrill thermometer for years. Every spring when the skies clear (well, summer here in Seattle), I bring it out to the Weber Genesis to ensure my steaks and ribs, salmon and roasts, chicken breasts, and thighs get grilled to perfection. Truth is, I also use it in the kitchen regularly with dishes on the stovetop and in the oven.
Over the years the iGrill started showing its age. Some of the probes stopped trickling signals up to the sensors. One of the sensors gave out. But I kept using it.
That was until the last few weeks when a new Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub arrived for review. I may still bring out my iGrill if I’ve got two barbeques going, but the updated, and mostly superior Weber Connect will be taking its place next to my Star Trek Enterprise BBQ tongs next summer.
What we like
Beyond LEDs and ports for probs, the Weber Connect shares little alethically with its predecessor. Rather than chrome and glass a rubber, the new Connect is a black box, slight bulging at the top to elevate the probe ports. It is much easier to insert probes than on the previous model.
Turning it on took me a minute. It showed a push on the middle of the device’s front. The original iGrill’s power button was touch-sensitive. Touch it long enough and it turned on. I thought I had a dud for a while until I pushed a little harder in frustration and realized the switch was actually built into a spring-loaded base. Pushing the front center of the base turns it on. It does not include touch-sensitive switches.
Once on, it paired with my iPhone. Use the app for this, not the Bluetooth settings. The Weber app will make the connection work. Wi-Fi is a great improvement over the previous iGrill, generation, complementing Bluetooth, and extending monitoring range up to the edges of the Wi-Fi signal. That means slow-roasting success can be communicated while power washing the driveway, through the house, and a hundred feet or more from the barbeque.
The app extends the previous version’s cooking programs and temperature alerts, and timers with temperature ranges and recipes. The ranges are used to monitor the ambient temperature of the oven or grill.
The other big leap over the previous units comes in power, which now arrives from rechargeable batteries.
There is nothing complex to putting the Weber connect Smart Grilling Hub to work. It is simple and does its job accurately. That’s all you can ask from a wireless thermometer.
What could be improved
One negative to the new model is the lack of a magnetic base. I liked that the iGrill would adhere to the surface of my grill. I didn’t need to worry about it falling into the gravel below, but it did mean a fixed in location. The Weber Connect stands freely anywhere. Place it on a stable surface as it does not appear made for impacts.
Weber has also figured out how to eke out a bit more margin The Weber Connect comes with an ambient temperature probe to solve the problem of notoriously inaccurate physical thermometers on grill hoods and a single food probe. The iGrill shipped with four probes. The original iGrill still sells for about $110, while the new unit sells for around $130. Individual probes run $16.50 each. The choice of reducing probes in the box looks like an early Weber decision following the acquisition of the device from home automation manufacturer iDevices.
While I would like to see the paper instructions printed in a larger font and with more detail, the included QR code slip takes owners to an instructional site that offers step-by-step setup and use processes.
Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub: The Bottom Line
I spent years overcooking a lot of things. Quick probes at the end of BBQ forks often reported inaccurate temps. I don’t overcook anything now. For years my original iDevices thermometer worked tirelessly to deliver food at the optimal temperature. It will now give way to the Weber Connect Smart Grill Hub. It may cost a bit more, but so does everything else (do keep in mind that they moved to rechargeable batteries and added Wi-Fi). It doesn’t have the kitcheny design flair of the iDevice unit, but the device is all about data, not looks.
The new Weber Connect Smart Grill Hub is more functional than its predecessor and appears ready for years of service. Many manufacturers sell wireless thermometers with probes, but I’m trusting my food to a brand that built my natural gas barbeque and my charcoal barbeque. There are some tools where name brand still matters.
Weber provided the Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub for review. Images courtesy of Weber.
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Daniel W. Rasmus
Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.
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