Costco KitchenAid Grill

Costco KitchenAid GrillThe 2013 Model 304 Costco KitchenAid Grill is a great looking outdoor appliance, but how well does the cooking and overall performance of this expensive beast measure up to it’s attractive appearance?  Since we had a larger deck built this April, I figured it was time to splurge on a bigger and better grill to take advantage of the extra room.  I looked at the heavy, durable Weber Grills for $600 at Home Depot and Lowes, but was disappointed that they only had 3 + 1 burners. For $700, the Costco Kitchenaid Grill has a total of 5 burners, including the side unit and looks and feels every bit as rugged, durable and sturdy as the Weber grills. The Kitchenaid is an attractive grill made with heavy-gauged, brushed, stainless steel.

Costco KitchenAid Grill


At 130 lbs, this was by far the biggest and heaviest grill I’ve ever owned and it was no small task loading into our Home Depot rental truck and taking it home. The grill is well packaged inside a crate. Fortunately, the wheels made it possible to move it even while it was still inside the box. It took as long getting the grill unpackaged as it did assembling it. The Costco Kitchenaid, for the most part, is pre-assembled. You only need to add a few knobs and a couple of hoses and attach your propane tank and you’re ready to grill. The downside of a preassembled appliance is that you really will need a truck or van to take it home. Costco does not offer delivery. With the grill assembled, I was anxious to fire it up and test all of the burners.

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Gas Grill Rotisserie

Gas Grill RotisserieA gas grill rotisserie has been on my wish list for a long time – too long as it turns out. The first time I attempted to cook a large pot roast on the gas grill without a rotisserie, it didn’t come out so well. Parts of the roast were tough and over-charred while other parts were extremely rare. A whole chicken is extremely difficult to cook on a gas grill. Chickens are very juicy with delicate skin on the outside which is very easy to burn. Black, burnt chicken skin doesn’t taste so good. I was able to get better at roasting large meats on the gas grill, by charring them for the first 15 minutes then turning off 1 or two burns and cooking slowing on the high rack with indirect heat. It works okay, but is still not very convenient. I’ve known for a long time that they make universal grill spits (rotisseries), but for $75.00 to $100.00, I was in no hurry to actually try one. That is, until Walmart came to the rescue.
I found this grill rotisserie at Walmart for just $25.00, about 1/3rd the price of the advertised Weber grill rotisserie specials I’ve seen advertised online. The truth is, this one looks like the very same gas grill rotisserie at a fraction of the price. For only $25.00 I was a little skeptical of the quality, but figured the risk at that price is very little.

A Gas Grill Rotisserie Makes a Perfect Roast

What’s in the Box?

The Electric Rotisserie unit consists of six parts and could not possibly be easier to install and use. There is a left and right bracket which installs on your grill. There is an electric motor with cord; two long rods which screw together for the spit; two forked prongs for holding the meat together and and a screw-on sleeve for holding it into proper place on the grill. Plug the unit into a three-pronged 110v electrical socket, insert spit through meat, then inside motor housing; and place handle on other end of grill. Once it’s positioned securely turn on the switch and watch your roast rotate perfectly on the grill. It’s that simple.

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Char Broil Electric Grill

Char Broil Electric GrillI bought this impressive looking Char Broil electric grill for Mom on Mother’s day this year. It turns out Dad will appreciate this mother’s day gift every bit as much if not more, without having to wait for Father’s day. The Patio Bistro is a well made machine ; runs on 100% electricity and has a large enough cooking surface to grill a meal for an entire, small family. My parents own a home with a small yard and patio and didn’t want to deal with the hassles of buying and replacing propane tanks. Electric grills have one major convenience: They are completely, 100% plug and play. There are not a tremendous amount of electric grills to choose from. After some research, the Char-Broil electric grill became my choice for a couple of reasons: First, it has rated high for cooking outdoors without drying out the meat. Second, but not least of the two buying reasons is the Char-Broil is one of the only electric grills you can actually find in your local stores. The rest of the electric grills I reviewed all had to be ordered online. I didn’t have time for that, so I chose the Char Broil Patio Bistro.

Char Broil Electric Grill verses Other Brands

Unlike other, cheaper electric grills, the Patio Bistro, Charbroil Electric Grill uses infra-red heating technology to prevent your food from drying out while cooking. The round surface of the Patio Bistro is thick and sturdy and very easy to distinguish from other, cheaper, outdoor electric grills and will accommodate 8 to 12 hamburgers, depending on how large you like to make your patties. There are a couple of other key features the Char Broil has over many of the other electric grills I previewed online: a Temperature Display and wheels for rolling it around just like a real, gas grill! Perhaps, the most important feature of them all is that the Electric Patio Bistro has 1720 watts of grilling power, which is 220 greater than any other product in this price range. The Patio Bistro will plug into any 120V wall outlet. Nothing is perfect, of the hundreds of users who rated this unit there were some complaints.

Char Broil Electric Grill Experience


One of the few complaints with Char Broil’s patio bistro is that it is difficult to assemble. When I opened up the box and saw that it had relatively few parts, it didn’t seem difficult at all, especially in comparison of a recent, dual-chamber Compost Bin I put together for my wife a  few weeks ago. The instructions and assembly are straight forward enough, but I did struggle a little bit with the limitation of two hands and trying to use the wrong bolts at the very beginning of the process (my own fault).  With the help of a second person and careful reading of instructions, the Patio Bistro is not all that difficult to assemble. I had it together in about 1 hour.

Operation and Performance

The instructions recommend preparing the unit by heating it up all the way for 20 minutes. This was a good way to test the performance of the Char Broil electric grill before bringing it over to my parents. We took it out on our back deck and turned the knob on all the way. I did have to verify on the instructions it was turned on to its highest setting. The direction and number placement of the heating knob seemed a little counter intuitive, but maybe that’s just me. At any rate, we tried this unit out fully at my Mom’s house for Mother’s Day dinner. We had a nice little dinner that included a mixture of polish kielbasa  blood sausage, German smoked sausage and brats.  With the electric grill turned up to about 450 degrees, we put put the blood sausage in a cast iron pan on top of the char broil grill. There was plenty of room left to layer the German sausage and brats around the pan. Everything was cooked perfectly and even. There was literally no burning or over compensation of one side of the grill to the next as you would get with most propane grills. The dinner came out perfect and that was in great part thanks to the Char Broil Patio Bistro Grill. Not much else to say. Highly recommended for anyone who needs an outdoor grill and doesn’t have time to hassle with propane or worrying about burning their food outside.

How do you rate the Char-Broil Grill?

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Ryobi 40-Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Grass Trimmer

Ryobi Lithium ion 40-Volt Grass Trimmer

The Ryobi RY40210, 40-Volt Lithium-ion Cordless String Trimmer/Edger is a beast. I have struggled with a Black & Decker, Ni-Cad, cordless grass trimmer for the last 7 years. My main complaints were low-power and short battery-life. Still, I tolerated it because I enjoyed the convenience of cordless, no-gas, easy and less, time-consuming start-up times. My third complaint, however, is something I have with 95% of all grass trimmers: the string line doesn’t always feed properly and seems to disappear way too quickly. My prior, gas-powered trimmer was way too heavy and burdensome, so I actually considered getting another electric, corded weed trimmer. Then, I asked myself a question: Do they make a lithium, ion cordless grass trimmer that is as powerful and impressive as the Milwaukee Impact Driver and Drill I purchased last February? Wouldn’t a battery-powered weed eater that was powerful and long-lasting enough be the perfect solution? Do they make such a thing?

Battery Powered Trimmers vs. Electrical Cord Grass Trimmers

The Ryobi 40-Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Grass Trimmer is replacing my Black and Decker Hedge Hog which just doesn’t hold much of a charge any more. My initial guess was that it would be more difficult to keep a grass trimmer running long and powerful enough since it requires more consistent operation than a drill or impact driver. With a drill or driver, you’re using only quick bursts of power where-as a grass trimmer requires long, sustained operation. I did some research and was surprised to find that there are a number of lithium-ion powered grass trimmers on the market that advertise a full 20-40 minutes of uninterrupted, full-power, grass-trimming operation. My Ni-Cad, Black and Decker only lasted 10 minutes per battery and was never all that powerful at full charge. But, if I could get a high-powered, long-lasting cordless trimmer, I concluded that was the superior way to go! Besides, I really only needed a good 30 minutes of full power to get a flawlessly trimmed lawn…or, so I thought. That was before I discovered the 40-Volt RY40210 trimmer by Ryobi.

Long Lasting Lithium Battery Power

To tell you the truth, I am unsure how long this battery will last because I have yet to even come close exhausting it. I spent at least 45 minutes using it on full power the first day I used it. After 45 minutes, the battery indicator was still at full charge. Length of battery-charge was not the first thing that impressed me with the Ryobi grass trimmer, however.

40-Volt Lithium Ion Battery offers Unprecedented High Powered Performance

I was almost shocked by the high-speed growl when I first pulled the trigger switch all the way down on the RY40210. I cannot imagine a gas engine providing more horsepower. The Ryobi gives you an incredible amount of RPM – more than you’ll ever need for basic grass trimming tasks. In fact, I was so taken-aback by the sheer, raw power of the 40-Volt engine that it took me a while to actually learn how well it operates.

Setup an Operation of the Ryobi 40-Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Grass Trimmer

Thanks to my absent minded ways, the Ryobi grass trimmer did probably take me longer to assemble than the average person. Still, it was a relatively easy and pain free experience and I was up and running in about 25 minutes. The remarkable power of this unit fascinated me so much that I didn’t read the instructions as clearly as I should have. I didn’t realize that I needed to release the power trigger a full, 2 seconds in order to allow the string to feed. Consequently, I ended up losing all the string inside the reel. Dreadfully, I had to open the spool and that is when I had the old familiar mess of tangled line. Once I got the thing re-strung and working properly, I began to get the hang of using the machine properly. The Ryobi RY40210 pivots for edging and has a wheel to help guide you along the edge of your line. I must say it works far better than any other dual-purpose grass trimmer that I’ve used for edging in the past. As a grass trimmer, standard, long blades of grass and weeds are no challenge for the powerful 40-Volt motor of the RY40210. Nothing can get in the way of this machine. When I think back to those down the aisle at Home Depot, who picked out gas trimmers that cost $100 more, I can’t help but to think they made a huge mistake. All is not perfect with the Ryobi 40-Volt Lithium ION Trimmer, however:

I still have my doubts and concerns with the old-fashioned, spool and string. I get the cold sweats every time I have to think about re-stringing a weed trimmer. This one appears to be no different than the other one that I had problems with, but then again, that could be said about any trimmer. My other slight, complaint is the weight and size of the 40-volt battery. There is a reason it lasts so long and provides so much power and you can feel it on your back after you’ve used it for a significant length of time. On the other hand, could the weight of the battery possibly be any worse than lugging around a gas engine? Last, I am disappointed that Ryobi does not make a more powerful grass blower for use with the 40-Volt battery. It would be the perfect compliment to the extra charge that is still available to me after trimming the lawn. Ryobi does make a leaf blower that works with the 40-Volt battery, but actual users complain that the power of the unit is disappointing and completely under utilizes the strong capabilities of such a strong, impressive lithium ion battery.

Conclusion and Final thoughts on the Ryobi RY40210 Grass Trimmer

If not for the few complaints above, I would give the Ryobi 40-Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Grass Trimmer a perfect, 5 stars. Still, I cannot imagine a grass trimmer/weed-eater/lawn edger that would satisfy my needs better than this one. I’ll take a high-powered, long-lasting battery over a cord or gas engine any day. The Ryobi Lithium-Powered Weed Eater and Edger is one of the better outdoor tools I’ve purchased in many years. I highly recommend.

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Scotts Lawn Mower

Is Scotts Still Making Lawn Mowers?


scotts lawn mower

I was looking for lawn mowers online a while ago when I read some confusing and somewhat conflicting information about Scotts Lawn Mowers. I knew that the Scotts Lawn Mower at one time was made by Murray. I also knew that the Scotts Gas Powered Mowers used the popular Briggs & Stratton engine. What I didn’t know was that the John Deere Tractor Company purchased Scotts and began designing the mowers themselves. This would seem like a natural fit, especially for the Ride on Lawn Mowers which share much of the looks and characteristics of tractors and have given many homeowners of large lawns some of the enjoyment of being a farmer. John Deere is one of the few American companies left known for making high quality machinery. Not having a large enough lawn to need a Ride on Lawn Mower, I thought I would look into the regular push-behind Gas Powered Scotts Lawn Mower. I got tired of replacing broken parts on the last couple of lawn mowers I owned. My previous Briggs & Stratton needed a new carburetor. So, I wanted to find something well made. I found plenty of the non-powered, push-reel lawn mowers by Scotts, but there were few, if any Gas Powered Scotts Mowers to be found! I stumbled upon a website that explained that John Deere decided to stop making the gas powered lawn mowers.  So, I thought, ‘hmmm..why not buy the real thing? A John Deere Lawn Mower would be an excellent quality mower, right? Not so fast, John Deere only makes a Ride on Lawn Mower!

Scotts Lawn Mower: Reel Push

In my search for a Scotts mower, I heard such raving reviews about their push behind reel mowers, that if  not for my mulching requirement, I would buy one of these to replace my gas powered mower. However, I am still considering a Scotts push-behind reel mower for my small back yard. Users say that the blades are incredibly well made; sharp, durable, strong and do a great job of making an evenly manicured lawn.

John Deere Ride-On Lawn Mower

Before, I explain what I eventually bought for my larger front yard, I have to tell you about my shopping diversion. I became so impressed reading about the life-lasting quality of John Deer Ride On Mowers that I wished I had a large enough yard to justify buying one.

Yardman Lawn Mowers

I have a couple of friends with large acreage lawns, but rather than the John Deere brand, they were using Yardman Lawn Mowers. Like John Deere, Yardman Lawn Mowers are made in the USA. The Yardman Lawn Mower is also based on the Briggs & Stratton engine, so perhaps it would make a suitable alternative to the extinct Scotts Gas Powered brands? While, they seem to be known more for Ride-On Lawn Mowers, the Yardman does make some high quality push-behind, gas-powered mowers. They range from $275 – $350 for a 19” to 21” model at Sears.  I gave some serious consideration to a Yardman Lawn Mower like the ones below:

Which Lawn Mower did I buy?

I reluctantly took my old lawn mower into my local repair shop in Arvada to see what it would cost to repair it. I was told it would be about $50. That seemed reasonable, but then the sales person told me had several ‘near-new’ mowers he could sell me for that same price of repairing the old one. For $70.00 I got what seemed like a brand new Briggs & Stratton 21” Mulching Mower. The salesman explained to me that technically most of these refurbished mowers have been used one time for home sales, shows, etc. Judging by its appearance, he told me that the mower had never been used. I bought it and love it; it is far superior to my old lawn mower in every way and it starts effortlessly on the first try, without the need to choke. After a long rest in the winter, I got it out this weekend, and it started up after only 3 or 4 easy  pulls. $70 is a bargain. The John Deere or Yardman Lawn Mower can wait until I either get a bigger lawn or buy some cheap land somewhere just so I can satisfy the itch to pretend I’m a farmer.

Husqvarna Lawn Mower

If you want a quality piece of machinery for your front and back yard, the Husqvarna Lawn Mower is one that learned about just after my shopping experience above. Husqvarna Lawn Mowers come equipped with either a high quality Honda or Briggs & Stratton Engine. Husqvarna is a high quality lawn mower; well worth your consideration:

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