4 Reasons Why You Need A Grill Cover ASAP

photo of grill with cover on

When I bought my Weber grill a few years back it came with a great cover, it was easy to put on and even had a small pouch attached to it to store it while I was using my grill. It has served me well but has become long in the tooth. It’s pretty faded and the velcro used to keep the cover tight to the grill is barely holding on. I then was wondering if I even needed a grill cover. The short answer is yes!

If you own an outdoor grill, you need a grill cover to protect it from poor weather, rust, plant debris, and animals. A grill cover can be used to protect the grill from deteriorating, and generally increases the life span of the grill, grill grates, and attached accessories.

Grill cover use, though, may not be as straightforward as it may seem. This is because grill cover use may depend on your grill’s make, your surroundings, and your local climate. Let’s take a closer look at all the reasons why you would need a grill cover.

What Grill Covers Help Protect

Outdoor barbecue grills are made of many different materials, including aluminum, cast iron, steel porcelain-coated iron, stainless steel, and porcelain-coated steel. This applies to grill exteriors as well as interior grates. Because of this, grills — whether they are charcoal, gas, or otherwise — have the potential to deteriorate over time. In the case of cast iron-based grills, especially, their interiors may rust due to cooking conditions and exteriors may corrode due to exposure to outdoor humidity and moisture.

Grills with stainless steel exteriors are not immune from outdoors-induced damage, either. Though these types of grills may be somewhat more water-resistant than grills with cast-iron exteriors, stainless steel is known to scratch easily — a potential problem if there are nearby animals or trees around.

Finally, the older porcelain enamel-exterior grills are resistant to scratching (mostly) but they are subject to rusting and corrosion over time. While cleaning these types of exteriors is possible, it can be a costly and time-consuming process.

Grill covers are a practical preventative solution for outdoor grill exterior damage. They protect your grill from many things — including the weather, rust, plant materials, and animals.

Protecting Your Grill From The Weather

Grill covers are used primarily as a protective cover from elemental damage. This includes damage from the sun, rain, wind, snow, dew, and freezing conditions. As conditions can vary highly from place to place, grill covers are designed to accommodate a wide range of common climates.

The climate in North America, for example, ranges from absolutely dry desert climates like in Nevada where I live or to the east coasts cold and wet winters. You also have rainy forest climates or subtropical climates with a lot of sunshine and humidity.

For the different weather conditions these climates can bring, you’ll need a grill cover to withstand the rust-causing, weathering damage of rainstorms, snow, sleet, and even hail. For those living in hotter, drier conditions, sun damage may cause your grill’s exterior to fade or crack.

Fortunately, grill covers — typically made of polyester, vinyl, oilcloth, or nylon — are designed to account for these different regions. The most durable covers are UV and water-resistant, and can stand up even to the worst freezing conditions.

Preventing Rust On Your Grill

photo of rusted grill grates

Without a grill cover, the weather can potentially rust a grill’s exterior and interior. The likelihood of this happening increases if the exterior is made of cast iron or other iron-based materials as iron is very susceptible to rust. Even if your grill’s exterior is not made of iron, its grilling surface may be. Any water that seeps into a stainless steel grill may cause its interior cast-iron grilling surface to rust (or corrode) if it is exposed to precipitation or high humidity.

A grill cover is the most practical way to minimize the potential of rust damage. This will keep the lengthy process of cleaning your grill of corrosive oxidized metal — inside and out — to an absolute minimum.

Tip: Going grill cover shopping soon? If rust protection is your major concern, make sure the cover does not trap moisture and ideally contains a hydrophobic coating.

Reducing Plant Materials

In most temperate areas, the spring is the time for plants to produce pollen or grains of a few cells that help certain plants produce seeds and fruit (I still have nightmares about that North Carolina pollen!). These pollen grains can get everywhere, and their yellow-greenish appearance is common on buildings, roads, the ground, and car surfaces.

Your grill is not exempt from getting pollen on its surface — and it also can get pollen (and other plant debris) inside. Besides causing potential allergies and food contamination, pollen can also have a high moisture content if in humid conditions. This moisture can potentially cause corrosive rust damage inside and outside of your grill. In the same vein, fallen leaves may be heavy with water in the fall or winter — causing similar problems.

Because of this, you will need a grill cover that can adequately protect against these plant materials. Many modern grill covers, fortunately, are well-fitting and heavy enough to keep pollen, leaves, and other plant materials out.

Keeping Animals Away

As thoroughly as you may think you clean your outdoor grill, there is always a chance that you missed a small spot. This has the potential of attracting smaller mammals, birds, and insects to it — making it unsanitary at best and unusable at worst.

Wild animals are not the only animals you might have to worry about, either. Your fun-loving dog, or the neighborhood cat, has the potential to bite, scratch, and chew your grill’s exterior. Stainless steel surfaces, since they are scratchable, are particularly vulnerable to this.

photo of a dog next to grill

Because of these animal interactions (not to mention the occasional bird droppings), you will need a grill cover that will be heavy enough to withstand some abuse from larger animals. A good grill cover will definitely consist of heavy-duty fabric to keep insects and spiders out year-round.


If you want to protect your outdoor grill from different weather conditions, rusting, and damage from plants and animals, I recommend getting a grill cover for it. A properly heavy but breathable grill cover will account for poor weather conditions and the buildup of moisture on humid days, as well as saving the grill from environmental abuse be it a pollen attack or a doggo attack. This way, you can protect even cast-iron or similarly vulnerable surfaces from corrosion, scratches, and deterioration. A decent grill cover will keep your outdoor barbecue grill safe for years to come.

Related Questions

How early should I put a grill cover on after using the grill?

The grill needs to come back down to ambient temperatures before putting a grill cover back on. This ensures the cover does not melt or catch fire when it touches the grill lid. The grill cover manufacturer usually has a warning about this in the covers user manual.

Is it okay to use a grill with rust on it?

Using a grill with rust on its grill grate is not safe, the rust may contaminate the food, and ingesting rust is not good for the digestive system. A grate with minor surface rust can be cleaned and continued to be used. A grill with rust on its exterior is generally ok to use so long as it is not loose rust, as this may still make it into the interior of the food.

Michael Carpenter

Hi, I'm Mike. I grew up in North Carolina having a blast on trampolines, go-karts, and just sitting on the porch with my friends. I have since moved to Las Vegas with my wife, 2 children, and 3 dogs. When I'm not chasing the kids around the house, I am probably chasing them around the backyard!

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