Weber SmokeFire Sear+ ELX4 & ELX6 (Gen 3?)

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There are a new couple of Weber SmokeFire models coming onto the market, the Sear+ ELX4 and ELX6. The question that I’ve been asked is, are these models the third generation/Gen 3 SmokeFire pellet grills? As I’ll discuss below, I don’t regard them as a generational leap, maybe a Gen 2.5. It appears the Weber SmokerFire Gen 2 EX4 and EX6 are going to be sold alongside the Sear+ ELX4 and ELX6. So what I wanted to discuss is which offers the better value?

Weber SmokeFire Sear+ ELX4 & ELX6
The new Weber SmokeFire Sear+ ELX4 & ELX6 feature more matt black and less chrome than previous models: Images –

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Introduction To The Weber SmokeFire Sear+ ELX4 & ELX6

So first, a little Weber SmokeFire history lesson. The Weber SmokeFire Gen 1 launched in early 2020 to much fanfare and anticipation that Weber would offer one of the best pellet grills on the market.

It was clear that the Weber SmokeFire was indeed an excellent pellet grill. However, the pellet smoking side of things came with a few issues/complications when it came to grease fire risks.

There were also a couple of other technical problems that Weber needed to address, and for the most part, the Weber SmokeFire Gen 2 addressed those issues.

When it comes to the grease fire risks, Weber does recommend a solution, as I discuss in my linked article above on the SmokeFire Gen 2. However, I don’t think Weber addresses the issues sufficiently.

Anyway, my linked articles above on the Gen 1 and Gen 2 SmokeFire discuss those previous issues. What about these new ELX4 and ELX6 models? First, let’s look at the new additions.

New Additional Features/Improvements

As I stated in the intro, I don’t regard the SmokeFire Sear+ ELX4 and ELX6 as Gen 3 models.

The reasons are the core fundamentals (cooking chamber, combustion system, control panel) are the same as the EX4 and EX6.

However, there are a few additional features, and as stated in the image caption above, if you like a black finish to your grill and you hate chrome, you’re in luck.

I found the video below from Ace Hardware discussing the new features of the SmokeFire Sear+ ELX4, and its a nice short/concise video at just 2 minutes, so I thought I’d add it to the article.

A quick run-through of the new features of the SmokeFire Sear+ ELX4 also applies to the larger ELX6: Video –

So let’s quickly run through the additional features of the Smokefire Sear+ ELX4 and ELX6 models, which include…

  • Additional side shelf replacing the left handle
  • Additional internal front heat deflector
  • Larger folding upper rack
  • Repositioned hopper pellet sensor
  • Internal cooking chamber light
  • New light-up control panel knob
  • Weber Crafted System with cast-iron sear grate
  • Weber Crafted rack can accept other accessories (griddle, wok etc)
  • Black exterior finish on the side self etc

Of all the additional features/improvements above, its the Weber Crafted system which is really the key difference between an EX4 and ELX4 and the EX6 and ELX6, so what is it?

Well, essentially, the ‘Sear+’ branding of the new SmokeFire ELX4 and ELX6 referees to the new cast-iron grate that comes included, which is part of the Weber Crafted system.

Weber Crafted System
On the left is the removable cast-iron grate, on the right is the standard grate, and you can see the round support for a Wok: Images –

There is also a griddle you can get and a stainless steel basket for cooking vegetables and other small food (shellfish etc) that are not practical to cook on standard grates.

Sure, the Weber Crafted accessories offer some nice additional utility. However, there is a price to pay, obviously, and is that additional cost providing sufficient value?

To answer this question, let’s start with a table of the features of the various SmokeFire models now available and, importantly, their respective price points.

SmokeFire EX4/EX6 vs ELX4/ELX6 Comparison

Below I’ve produced two tables to make the comparison easier to understand. The first table is the SmokeFire EX4 vs the Sear+ ELX4, and the second is the SmokeFire EX6 vs Sear+ ELX6.

Weber SmokeFire EX4 vs ELX4
On the left is the original SmokeFire EX4, and on the right, the Sear+ ELX4: Images –
FeaturesEX4Sear+ ELX4
Total Cooking Area672 sq.in771
Main Grate432 sq.in432
Upper Shelf240 sq,in339
Temperature Range165 to 600 F165 to 600 F
Hopper Capacity22 Lbs20 Lbs
Interior LightNoYes
Left Side ShelfNoYes
Cast Iron GrateNoYes
Typical Price$1,099$1,399

Weber SmokeFire EX6 vs ELX6
On the left is the original SmokeFire EX6, and on the right, the Sear+ ELX6: Images –
FeaturesEX6Sear+ ELX6
Total Cooking Area1,008 sq.in1,157
Main Grate648 sq.in648
Upper Shelf360 sq,in509
Temperature Range165 to 600 F165 to 600 F
Hopper Capacity22 Lbs20 Lbs
Interior LightNoYes
Left Side ShelfNoYes
Cast Iron GrateNoYes
Typical Price$1,299$1,599

Which Weber SmokeFire Version Is The Better Value?

So from the tables above, you should notice a couple of things. While the cooking areas overall are larger on the ELX4 and ELX6, that’s due to the new expandable upper rack.

The main grates are the same size on the EX4/ELX4 and EX6/ELX6. Therefore, when it comes down to it, the core functionality of these Sear+ models is the same as their cheaper SmokeFire siblings.

Yes, I’m sure the cast-iron grate will improve searing performance further on these Sear+ models. However, grilling/searing was never a weakness of the Weber SmokeFire pellet grills.

What really disappoints me is Weber still doesn’t appear to be including the ‘Wet Smoke Kit‘ as standard with these new SmokeFire models to help users avoid grease fire issues.

With regards to pricing, moving up from an EX4 to an ELX4 or an EX6 to an ELX6 is a $300 premium. Personally, I don’t think the improvements/additional features justify the additional cost.

My Finally Thoughts On The Weber SmokeFire Sear+ Models…

Let’s put the new full-black appearance of the new SmokeFire Sear+ ELX4 and ELX6 to one side for the moment. Let’s focus on the new features and new price points.

Weber has basically taken an already good pellet grill and made it a little bit better at grilling/searing with the new cast-iron grate.

As I’ve stated above and in my previous articles, grilling was never an issue on the SmokeFire. Their weakness has always been dealing with grease build-up in the base of the cooking chamber.

The new ELX4 and ELX6 do not address this issue, and for some bizarre reason, Weber continues to provide the Wet Smoke Kit to catch the grease as an optional accessory.

Personally, I would go for the cheaper SmokeFire EX4 or EX6 and use that spare $300 to buy a set of GrillGrates and the Wet Smoke Kit and still have around $100 in my pocket.

That’s it! Thanks for reading. I hope you found the above interesting/useful. Please check out my Pellet Grill Guide and Smoking/Grilling Guide for more of my articles. 🙂

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