Napoleon LEX 485 Infrared Gas Grill

Editor rating

4.5/5 on September 2, 2016

User's rating

24 reviews

PROS

Solid stainless steel construction
Infrared side burner for searing
Looks great, cooks great

CONS

Challenging to assemble
Pricey

VERDICT

A true luxury grill, Napoleon has built a good looking, high performance grill that, while it lives up to its price tag in quality and craftsmanship, may not be justified depending  on your budget.

Napoleon LEX 485 Infrared Gas Grill Review

Introduction

The Napoleon LEX 485 Infrared Gas Grill uses high quality stainless steel that gives the look and durability of the most luxurious grills, but at a more affordable price. It features three stainless steel burners, each with its own backlit control knob, an infrared rear burner for rotisserie cooking, and an infrared side burner for high heat searing. The large stainless steel side shelves provide extra real estate for food prep and utility space, with an integrated ice/ marinade bucket and cutting board on one side, and the infrared burner on the other.  With lots of cooking features, good looks, and gadgets, is this grill all show or is it worth the dough?

Napoleon LEX 485 Infrared Gas Grill Key Features

  • Double walled easy-lift stainless steel lid provides for great insululation which allows for consistent heat
  • Jet fire ignition system with stainless steel wave cooking grids gets the grill lit fast, and heats your food evenly
  • Engaging I-GLOW backlit control knobs for late night entertaining allows you to adjust the flame even in low light conditions
  • Stainless steel side shelves with integrated tool hooks and condiment holders for added convenience
  • Ceramic infrared rear burner, integrated ice/marinade bucket and cutting board for maximum flexibility for any type of meal
  • 74,000 BTUs, 815 sq inches of cooking area delivers the power you need and the space to cook your meal

Out of the box

This unit came in a very large, very heavy box at 175 pounds.  The box was double-walled and very sturdy, so it seems to give good shipping protection.  Inside, the unit was packed carefully and quite well.  We didn’t see any shipping damage to any of the parts, and the community rarely reports any shipping damage.

Setting up

It took about three hours to assemble this grill, making this one of the longer assembly periods we’ve ever had.  Part of this is because the instructions are not the best.  Napoleon has tried to use illustrations for an IKEA-like user manual, but it lacks much of the detail that the user needs in order to properly select the correct components.  This is especially the case with the blister pack full of screws and other fasteners, where it is quite difficult to find the screw that you want.  One bit of advice we can give you is to read through the manual all the way so that you can see where you’re headed with the individual steps.  If you try to do it one step at a time, you will invariably use the wrong screw at some point and be frustrated/confused later on.  The grill fits together very nicely, but the back plate is difficult to align and install correctly.  The heat-intensive areas of the grill are all heavy gauge steel that felt very solid, and the non-heated areas are a thinner gauge with a powder coat (and probably not stainless steel, but we can’t be sure).  For the price we paid, we’re a little disappointed with the plastic door knobs on the cabinet doors.  With the build quality being generally very high for the rest of the grill, the handles quite conspicuously stick out as cheap.

Performance

The Jet Fire ignition system more resembles a flame thrower than what we generally see on the best gas grills.  The jets throw the flame along the burners, ensuring that if there’s gas there, it’s getting lit.  The infrared side burner gets over 700F, and uses a cast iron grill.  Needless to say, it sears very well, and very quickly.  We can’t say that we used the other utility shelf for marinades or anything else that needed to be iced, but the build quality looked good and the shelves were solid.  The grilling surface is covered with wave-form grills.  It heats up quickly, and cooks well, hot, and clean.  All of the grilling surfaces have grease shields that help prevent splatter to the inside surfaces, and help divert the grease to the trap.  There are also shields over the burners that perform a similar task.  All of these grease abatement features make this a safer grill to use and easier to clean.  The backlight on the knobs is “cool,” and aids in low light scenarios.

Conclusion

There were a lot of things about the Napoleon LEX485RSIBPSS Propane Gas Grill that we liked.  The searing side burner was a great feature that worked well, the construction was solid, and it handles grease really well.  As for the most important attribute of a grill, how it cooks, it performs superbly.

Everything came off the grill thoroughly cooked, and the hot spots were minimal. The grill looks great with a clean presentation, except for the plastic cabinet knobs.  Our biggest complaint about this grill is the assembly process, which could be fixed by simply writing a better manual, and perhaps a little more intuitive design.

At $1000, this is probably at the lower end of the premium grills, in terms of price.  Even though it’s only a 3-burner grill, the Napoleon LEX 485 may be the best gas grill under 1000 dollars.