The Weber SmokeFire pellet smoker is one helluva cooker. It can do low-and-slow as well as high heat searing, but it does have quite a few serious drawbacks that has become more and more irritating the longer we’ve owned and used this grill. This is why we want to talk about two aboslutely MUST HAVE Weber SmokeFire upgrades that will change your ownership experience with this amazing grill.
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Weber is a well-known company that produces high-quality grills and other outdoor cooking equipment. They were originally known for their charcoal grills, which have been popular for many decades. However, in recent years, they have expanded their product line to include pellet grills.
Their first grill was a round kettle style charcoal grill introduced in 1951, but their first entry into the pellet grill market was the SmokeFire line introduced in 2020. Of course, we wouldn’t be talking about this grill here if it was only a great grill, right? That’s right the weber SmokeFire pellet grill is also a smart grill with the ability to control its functions remotely via your mobile device or tablet through the Weber Connect app.
The ability to sit in the comfort of your home, or even to go run errands and come home to pretty darn amazing BBQ makes the pellet smoker a must-have for backyard warriors providing for hungry mouths in the family.
This brings us to the first must-have Weber SmokeFire upgrade – better casters. The original casters that came with the Weber SmokeFire would be best described as “barely sufficient” and that would be us being nice. At this price range, Weber should definitely NOT have skimped on this component, it just cheapens the entire grill.
No matter if you have the gen 1 or gen 2 Weber SmokerFire (EX4 or EX6 model) the casters that they come with are terrible. There is no way to sugar coat this, they are just plain bad. It’s a miracle they even roll to begin with!
In our opinion, the wheels are too small to effectively navigate the backyard (unless your backyard is made of smooth marble rock), and the locking mechanism is so tough to engage that every time we step on the lever, it causes the caster to skew. The lever is so hard to engage that we’ve even had Weber send us a new set (which worked OK for a short period of time) but after some use, we encountered the same issue.
If this sound familiar to you, then you must do this first upgrade ASAP! Get better casters!
The standard casters on the SmokeFire uses a 1/2-13 UNC thread pattern bolt, so that is what you need to verify when looking for replacement casters. For anyone who’s curious, the 1/2 means half-inch and refers to the screw diameter. The 13 is the pitch which measures the spacing between each thread. If your replacement casters do not have these thread dimensions, it will not install properly.
Weber SmokeFire Upgraded Casters
Of the two Weber Smokefire upgrades we will be discussing today, it is our opinion that the casters make the biggest impact. The ones we ended up using are these ones from Amazon:
Installation is quite straight forward, but you may need some help to apply a lifting force onto the grill while another person works on the casters. We were able to do this job with one person, but it required a great deal of strength and some perseverance.
You may also need a set of plumbers slip nut wrench in order to loosen the original casters. The spacing between the caster and the legs is very narrow so you won’t be able to get a normal set of spanners in that tight space.
We picked ours up from Home Depot, which we ultimately decided to keep around in case we need to use it for actual plumbing purposes. You can find a similar thing on Amazon which will work exactly the same.
Ideally you should be able to loosen the original casters just with your fingers assuming it hasn’t seized up. Maybe some WD-40 will also help in the process. We didn’t need to use any, we were able to loosen 2 by hand, and 2 required the wrench.
If your casters are seized, take the plumbers split nut wrench and wedge it in between the leg and the nut sitting on the top of the caster (it’s a thin plate nut), dial in the jaw to the right diameter and loosen by applying pressure clockwise. Normally it would be the “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey” rule, but in this case it is the opposite due the direction we are working in.
Once the nut was loose, we were able to lift the leg up and hold it up with one hand, while unscrewing the caster all the way with the other hand. This took some trial and error to get the right grip and to apply enough force to keep the grill lifted while unscrewing.
Once you have the original caster removed, you will need to lift the same leg up even higher to get the new caster in. Since we went with the 4″ caster upgrade, it wasn’t too bad. If you go with a 5″ upgrade, it will definitely require a lot more force.
Reinstalling the new caster involves first aligning by hand and twisting a few threads in first. Once you have a few threads in (3-4 full turns) you can probably take a break and catch your breath before tightening it up all the way using the included wrench.
The upgraded caster is so much easier to wrench tight because there is a full sized nut on the stem rather than the thin flat nut on the original caster.
Once the first caster is in, just work your way around until you get the rest of the casters replaced in the same manner. If you need help, drop the ego and grab a friend. Once you’re done, sit back and admire the end result!
We love how the black and orange theme turned out. Initially we were thinking of going with completely blacked out casters to mimic the SmokeFire Stealth edition, but then we decided against it and went with the orange casters to stand out. The end result turned out pretty spectacular!
We’ve put together a small gallery for your viewing pleasure.
Now your grill can actually properly roll around decently well. It’s no off-roader, but we think these casters will do just fine in the backyard of most people.
The best part about this is the proper locking mechanism on all 4 wheels. Overkill? Maybe! But it can get quite windy where we live, and we’d rather not risk waking up to find our $1200 investment slammed up against the wall of our home.
Upgrade your casters, it’s a small price to pay for improved aesthetics, better functionality, and a piece of mind.
And that’s a perfect transition to our second must have Weber SmokeFire upgrade – a proper grill cover. When we say proper grill cover, we’re not talking about those generic ones that just drape over the top. We’re talking about a form-fitting, sexy, weather resistant one made specifically for this grill.
The Weber SmokeFire has a very unique shape and the pellet hopper is on the back of the barrel, and it off centered to accommodate the control unit and side table protruding from the right of the cooker. This lopsided shape, makes generic grill covers fit like rubbish.
From our experience and a few different generic ones we tried, they’ve either sagged too low (and the casters would run over the bottom of the cover), difficult to wrap around the grill, or didn’t hold well against the elements.
Hence we’ve searched in the interwebs for an alternative to the $90+ offered by Weber themselves. For us, it’s not that we mind spending the money, it boils down to is it worth the money or are we just paying for logo plastered onto the same product essentially?
Weber SmokeFire Upgraded Grill Cover
Now, we have never purchase the original Weber grill cover for the SmokeFire so we will not be doing any kind of comparison in this article, however the product we did stumble upon is this grill cover by iCOVER. At almost 1/3 of the price, it just got us asking ourselves “what are we paying for with that extra $60 that weber is charging?” so we pulled the trigger on this one to try it out.
Here’s the end result.
We really like the way the cover fits. From the pictures that Weber provides, the OEM one probably fits more snug, but we don’t feel like the extra $60 is justified in this case.
This $36 grill cover (at the time of writing this article) fits very snug, feels very durable and weather resistant, and has some nice velcro to keep it from being blown off in strong winds.
We are very pleased with the way this grill cover turned out. Price seemed too good to be true, and maybe it is since we haven’t let mother nature run its course, but for the price, we could technically buy 2 more for the same price of the OEM one that Weber offers.
Nothing wrong with the OEM one, and it is probably an extremely solid product, so if you are a die-hard Weber fan and you must have the brand name, then the OEM one would be your way to go.
Now that you’ve come this far, we hope you decided to pull the trigger on both of these must-have Weber SmokeFire upgrades. With better casters, and a premium grill cover, your cooker is bound to last you a long long time and provide you meal after meal of delicious BBQ.
With these upgrades, the Weber SmokeFire pellet grill can finally be a feature piece in your backyard BBQ kitchen.
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