Stainless Steel vs Powder Coated BBQs

Stainless Steel vs Powder Coated BBQs

When you purchase a Heatlie BBQ, you'll have a few decisions to make as to how your BBQ is going to look. This includes the makeup of the body. We offer a strong, heavy-duty powder coat in either black or claret or a sleek and shiny brushed stainless steel finish. So what's the difference, and what do you need to know when it comes to making the right decision for your purchase?

Powder coating

Powder coating is applied by spraying fine particles of resin over a treated steel base. The particles are then baked on in an oven at around 180°C - 240°C. This helps them bond and apply themselves to the metal, creating a thick, solid layer of coating. With high-quality powder coats, it's almost impossible to break through and damage, which is why powder coating is such a common application. Powder coating is water and rust-resistant, as long as the coating stays intact. If something manages to scratch and open up the layer, all it takes is a little bit of moisture, or particles of foreign matter, and rust will develop.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is common in a lot of metal applications due to its durability and corrosion resistance. It's steel with chromium mixed in to form an alloy. BBQs often throw around a lot of fat, moisture and all other sorts and this can sometimes cause problems with corrosion and rust. Out of all the materials a BBQ can be made of, stainless steel has the best chance of withstanding this battering along with air-born corrosive attacks from salt and chemicals. It can however still rust and needs to be maintained by cleaning and covering.


It's fairly universally known that stainless steel is the most expensive option when it comes to metal finishes, and that extends beyond BBQs. This is simply because it's more expensive to make and import, and is very valuable due to its usefulness and durability. Powder coating is the next best thing, and a lot cheaper.


As mentioned above, both powder coating and stainless steel hold up strongly to corrosion such as rust, salt, and chemicals. However, stainless steel should always be the first option when the BBQ is being used and stored anywhere near the beach or in a generally wet area. Powder coating itself won't corrode or rust, but if the steel underneath it is exposed to moisture and salty air, it can start to cause problems.


Powder coating will stand up to the test of time due to its high-density particles that form a sort of laminate over the metal. This protects from dings, scratches and flecks and most importantly it stops UV discolouration over long periods of time in the sun. This is contrary to traditional paint, which will flake, crack and discolour under intense sun exposure.

Stainless steel holds up well to sunlight, but it can start to develop bronzy discolouration over time when it comes in direct contact with heat from the BBQ. Although it is easy to clean, it will require regular cleaning.


One big benefit of powder coating is the ability to have different colours. Here at Heatlie we only offer black and claret, but we have dabbled in some other colours in the past like white, orange and blue. Heatlie Letterboxes, which we run out of the same factory, uses a whole wide range of COLORBOND® powder coating colours for letterboxes. At this point in time though, Heatlie is sticking to the classic black or claret, for now. Stainless isn't available in colours and only comes in horizontal brush finish. 

How to Choose the Best Material for Your BBQ

There are many factors to decide on when choosing between stainless steel and powder coated barbecues. It may seem like a simple decision or one that isn't too important, but it does have a big impact on the longevity of your BBQ and your Heatlie experience over the decades that your BBQ will stick with you.


How much is it going to be used, and what sorts of things will you cook on it? If it's for basic domestic use every now and then, there's no harm in keeping it powder coated for a basic, no-frills BBQ. On the other hand, if you're going to be using your BBQ for several hours a day every day, at a club for large events, a stainless steel body might stand up better to the rigours of such use.


As previously mentioned, if you're using and storing the BBQ near the beach, where the air is salty and harsh, stainless steel is the way to go. If you're anywhere inland, this is not much of an issue and you're free to choose whichever you like. Note that it is important to keep your BBQ covered and away from any weather, regardless of its material. 


Let's be honest, stainless steel usually looks much nicer than powder coat, and a lot of people may not be a fan of either black or claret colours. This is obviously a personal choice, so think carefully about it, because this is Heatlie - whatever you purchase will stick with you for life.

heatlie bbq 850 black powder coat on legs

Black Powder Coat

heatlie bbq 700 claret powdercoat

Claret Powder Coat

heatlie bbq 1150 stainless steel on legs

Stainless Steel


Stainless steel is a lot more expensive, so powder coating is a more affordable option. There's no judgement from us if you take the PC route because of cost, we have confidence in all our products no matter what material they're made of. So even if you need to save a few bucks and go for a powder coat, you're still getting one of the highest quality BBQs on the market.

Best of all it's all Australian made right here in our North Plympton factory in Adelaide. Heatlie always strives to make every BBQ with the utmost precision and perfection.

Check out our range here, and contact us today by phone, email or Facebook messenger if you have any questions or queries!

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