Long term review of the Lotus Grill
As the season is coming up, a small article about the Lotus Grill
First of all, I am not affiliated with Lotus Grill in any way or form, I also bought the way cheaper knock off products and compared them side by side.
What is the "Lotus Grill"?
"Lotus Grill" fired up.
The Lotus Grill is a BBQ Grill that utilizes electronics to supply air to the coal during the process. It is supposed to be smoke-free, easy to clean and adjustable in temperature. The main goal is to bring gas-like performance to old-fashioned coal driven grills. We have used a Lotus Grill for the last two years and in my opinion the design is genius. Its a well thought out product that needs few care to survive and has some genius design elements that make it worth.
The construction is actually pretty simple: The Device has a base (the orange part) in which the electronics are housed. On the bottom of that base you will find the battery compartment (it takes 4 AA batteries) and the air intake for the fan. On the front of the base you find the dial that u can use to regulate the amount of air that is being pumped into the coal. The base never gets in contact with the food, grease or ashes so it needs few maintenance. There is a stainless-steel insert which is being put in place to shield the base from the heat which also means that in full power, the grill is touchable and transportable. Also it can be used on the dinner table without roasting the guests. As the insert is stainless-steel, it can be easily cleaned with a dish washer.
In the middle there is a nosel which goes through the stainless-steel insert and into the base of the coal net. The coal net itself, which can hold enough coal for one dinner, sits on top of a pan which is used to ignite the coals. For that, a flammable liquid or gel is being poured into the pan with the airflow turned up to maximum. The flames will be sucked into the coal net and ignite the coal smoke free. A great thing about the coal being in the middle of the grill is that oil and fat will never touch the coals which another reason why the grill is marketed as "smoke-free". However the smoke free characteristic is very much depending on which type of coal you are using. Also the fat which in theory should not come in contact with the coals does ignite if there is too much of it. NEVER USE A GRILL INDOORS!
With the dial the amount of air passing through the coals can be adjusted. With that also the heat output of the device changes. It is a great feature to keep stuff warm but also for vegetarian and vegan BBQ. Depending on the characteristics of the food, the heat can be turned up and down to get the best possible results. Its a feature you only get with gas usually. But if you like the taste of genuine coal smoke this a great feature.
- The Grill is portable and cools down quickly.
- Its easy to clean and it does not require a lot of Maintenance
- The build quality is amazing, all stainless steel and the fan works like new after 2 years of use.
- Under perfect conditions the Grill can be "smoke-reduced" which is great if you live in a close proximity to neighbors and use it on a balcony. However it is never really "smoke-free".
- Different temperature settings are great for vegan or vegetarian BBQ since the heat can be turned down for vegetables or bread which otherwise would burn.
- Its a cool gadget, it is definitely something that not everyone has around and it usually brings up conversations.
- There are a lot of original upgrades like a pizza stone and a fondue set. Also thai hotpot and K-BBQ is possible.
- The Lotus Grill is expensive. Especially for coal driven Grills. The prices start at 125€ online for the normal version.
- Coal briquettes don't work. I have tried it many times but the Lotus grill needs the loose coal for the airflow. Briquettes are too dense and the surface area of the coal is too small.
- You are depending on batteries. There is no (at least not in our version) way to power the fan through a wall plug or USB. Its a solution seen in some knock off versions but not in the original. So keep around some AAs.
- The "normal" Lotus grill is too small. There are 4 versions of the product. "S", "Classic", "XL" and "XXL". "XL" and "XXL" being the only ones I would recommend if you plan to use it for more than 3 people.
My experience with Knock-Offs.
Since we have the "classic" version which I consider as too small there was always the urge to buy a second one or a larger one. But sometimes you see knockoffs going for as cheap as 30€ online. We bought two but they never lasted longer than one season. One had the electronics melt under the heat and the other was just falling apart after half a year or so. The original is still as good as new after two years of use. Functionally the knock-offs do perform at a similar quality though.
So I would recommend the original for its upgrades and build quality, however like I said with a high price point it is worth comparing them to gas-driven products as they can be really good and last a lifetime starting in the 250€ price range. (WEBER Q1000)