The Bottom Line
- Full featured grill
- High heat output
- Has problems if the wind is blowing to the front or rear of the grill
- "Anti-Flare" system can cause large flare-ups with fatty foods
- Comes with a rotisserie burner but not a rotisserie kit
- Glass front doors are vulnerable to damage
- Four 13,000 BTU stainless steel tubular burners
- 460 square inches of primary grilling space for a total cooking area of 756 square inches
- 52,000 total BTU output from the main burners
- 12,000 BTU infrared side burner under a flush mounted cover
- 12,000 BTU rear mounted infrared rotisserie burner (rotisserie kit sold separately)
- Stainless steel rod cooking grates
- Brick lined fire box with "Anti-Flare" cooking system
- Internal Halogen lights (require the grill be plugged in to work)
- Propane tank, cover and rotisserie kit sold separately
- Made in China by Sure Heat exclusively for Lowes
Guide Review - Sonoma by Altima 4-Burner Gas Grill Model# PF30LP
First of all Altima is not a company. It is a brand name of grills made by Sure Heat Manufacturing. It was one of the most respected of the high end gas grills once upon a time. The Sonoma brand has been a line of mass market grills sold through a number of retailers over the years. So to say Sonoma by Altima is like saying Buick by Cadillac. I just wanted to be straight about this because I think that companies should use their own names and not try to fool consumers.
This fully loaded gas grill is based on some of the more inventive features that Sure Heat has used over the years. First of these is the brick lined firebox. This lining acts to reflect heat towards your food, stabilize temperatures and give this grill a more oven like cooking quality. While this is a nice feature it helps to make this a very heavy grill but doesn't really make a serious improvement to the grills performance. It does add to the high temperature output of this grill. Of course the 52,000 BTUs under 460 square inches of primary cooking space does a lot more. This grill really can pump out the heat. This means you will need to learn to control this heat.
Add to this grill both an infrared side burner and rotisserie burner (though you have to pay extra for the rotisserie kit) and you have a full feature grill for a relatively good price (around $680USD). The extra features like the "Anti-Flare" screen is a little less straightforward. This screen sits between the burners and the cooking grates. The idea is that drippings are broken up and the amount of oxygen under the screen controlled to reduce flare-ups. In practice, if you are grilling up something with a lot of fat to it, like some full fat burgers, the grease drips onto the screen and causes flare-ups. This grill might just work better without the screen.
One of the biggest problems of this grill is its inability to handle the wind. Wind is your biggest enemy when cooking outdoors but this grill seems to have particular problems with it. If the wind is blowing towards the front of the grill it draws heat out the back very quickly and can actually extinguish the burners. If the wind is blowing towards the back of the grill it pushes the heat of the grill forward and can melt the plastic control knobs. The manufacturer suggests turning your grill so that the wind hits the side. Great solution. Test for wind direction, turn grill accordingly, and light.
Aside from these issues this grill is loaded with features for a good price. This means thin metals and lower quality components. While not as bad as other grills, this unit life expectancy isn't that long. Considering the investment you might want to look for something with better quality construction and less bells and whistles.