The Skinny:
  • Rock-solid quality and lifetime warranty put it near the top of the Practical grill class
  • Thick, tent-shaped flame tamers hold up incredibly well for worry-free grilling
  • Infrared side sear burner delivers steakhouse results and unexpected versatility
  • Included rear infrared burner and rotisserie kit expand cooking options for entertainers
  • Phantom model features eye-catching matte black finish and a few notable upgrades

Napoleon has long been one of the top names in grilling, offering a combination of quality and affordability that few have been able to beat. Perhaps the best example of Napoleon’s incredible value is the Prestige 500 gas grill, a star of the Practical class that immediately became a favorite among our experts. From its impressive construction and warranty to strong performance and comprehensive features, the Napoleon Prestige 500 is designed with all the right things in mind. But you know how we do things around here: we had to get Chef Tony under the literal hood to see if our suspicions were correct.

Chef Tony’s Napoleon gas grill review included all the usual tests to measure quality, performance, and features, the 3 factors we use to determine any product’s value as it relates to cost. There are XRF and caliper tests on materials, thermocouple measurements and real-world grilling trials to gauge performance, and a watchful eye on the convenience of features throughout the whole process. This review was conducted on the freestanding Prestige 500 RSIB (rear and side infrared burners) model; there’s also a built-in option for outdoor kitchens, along with freestanding units that lack the pair of infrared burners. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Phantom model, which has a standout matte black finish along with upgraded cooking grids. Let’s get to it!


The Napoleon Prestige 500 sets a high bar among Practical grills with both dependable construction and a lifetime warranty on most components.

As usual, Chef Tony’s first order of business was checking every part of the grill for steel quality and thickness. His XRF gun clocked 300-grade stainless steel in the following components: the exterior hood, control panel, cooking grates, flame tamers, tube burners, and drip pan. The interior hood liner, meanwhile, proved to be galvanized steel, while the firebox graded as rust-proof cast aluminum. The Prestige 500’s collection of materials left Chef Tony impressed and confident in the grill’s overall durability.

Chef Tony’s caliper measurements only reinforced that belief, starting with the exterior hood, which turned out to be 20-gauge stainless steel. He clocked 18-gauge stainless steel for both the flame tamers and front control panel, another reassuring sign of this grill’s durability relative to other Practical models. The solid stainless steel rods that make up Napoleon’s iconic wave cooking grids measured 7.5mm in thickness, and the tube burners below were an impressive 1.84mm thick — in Chef Tony’s words, “very heavy for a Practical-class grill.” The 3.5mm-thick firebox also caught his eye, but the real showstopper is the Prestige 500’s warranty. Napoleon offers lifetime coverage on the main components, along with a 15-year warranty on all other parts. “Not very common for a Practical-class grill,” Chef Tony says. “That’s pretty solid.”


Good temperature metrics gave way to great real-world results, especially for the Napoleon Prestige 500’s hard-working flame tamers.

After coming away pleased with the Napoleon Prestige 500 gas grill’s quality, Chef Tony turned his eyes toward performance. He hooked up thermocouples across the cooking surface to measure temperature evenness, starting with a low-temperature trial that saw all burners on their lowest setting for 30 minutes. The average overall temperature was 343°F, which Chef Tony acknowledged was a little high before adding a caveat: “Keep in mind this test is run with all burners set to low; you can get a lower temperature by turning some of the burners off.” Next was the 15-minute preheat test with all burners on high; the average temperature hit 522°F, more than enough to achieve effective searing with a standard preheat. Finally, the high-heat experiment yielded an average temperature of 578°F after 20 minutes with all burners on high.

Those were solid numbers, but temperature deviation matters just as much as overall heat. Chef Tony observed which thermocouple produced the greatest difference between its individual readout and the overall grill temperature, noting its location as well. The largest low-temperature deviation occurred in the front-right corner of the grill, about 70°F shy of the 343°F average. The remaining 5 probes were within 36°F of the overall average. For the high-temperature test, the front-right quadrant once again featured the largest difference, checking in at roughly 150°F below the 578°F average. The other thermocouples fell within about 50°F of the grill’s average, which Chef Tony described as a “good range” despite the relatively large maximum deviation.

Numbers don’t tell the whole story, though. The trusty burger tests always sheds light on real-world performance, so Chef Tony loaded down the Napoleon Prestige 500 with beef patties and got to grilling. This experiment confirmed that the front of the grill burned a bit cooler, “but not to a deal-breaking level” for Chef Tony, who merely had to cook the burgers in that area for an extra minute or so. Through it all, Napoleon’s flame tamers exceeded expectations thanks to their tent shape that quickly rolls drippings down and away from the burners to reduce flare-ups. “There were plenty of flames broiling our burgers, but there weren't any that lost control or had to be extinguished,” Chef Tony says. “This was pretty impressive for a Practical-class grill, and certainly not something you see from the majority of them.” A round of grilled kebabs and veggies reaffirmed the effectiveness of the flame tamers. Overall, the Napoleon Prestige 500’s performance earned medium-high marks from Chef Tony. “This grill is an example of how sometimes a thermocouple test can look somewhat off, but the real-world test where you have fat rendering and all those things happening in the system shows a completely different outcome.”


An infrared sear burner, rotisserie capabilities, and SafetyGlow knobs highlight a well-rounded package of experience-enhancing features.

The first feature that jumped out to Chef Tony was Napoleon’s 14,000-BTU ceramic infrared side burner. These burners are ideal for all-over caramelization, but the Prestige 500’s stands out because of its adjustable cooking grate that can be raised for better searing or lowered to accommodate woks or pots and pans. When not in use, the burner lid can be closed to create additional prep space. Say Chef Tony: “Definitely a really cool feature for a Practical-class grill.” So is the 18,000-BTU rear infrared rotisserie burner, which pairs with the included rotisserie to present cooking options beyond traditional grilling.

At first glance, Napoleon’s SafetyGlow control knobs appear to be all style. But as their name suggests, they bring an important safety feature to the table — burners that glow blue when they’re off and red when they’re lit, allowing you to confirm from a distance that your grill is shut down. Chef Tony found the brand’s quick and reliable Jetfire ignition system to be equally helpful, with rear crossover channels that enabled him to light the entire grill from just a single lit burner. He also liked seeing secondary ignition in the form of a long metal match-holder clip for manual lighting, not to mention a full-width, slide-out drip pan that simplified grease management and cleanup. For those who choose the freestanding model, there’s much more to love in the cart itself: fully enclosed storage to stow propane tanks, a pair of side shelves with tool hooks and storage wells to keep grilling essentials close, and fold-down functionality on the right shelf to save space when storing the grill.

Though not necessarily a “feature,” the Napoleon Phantom Prestige 500 gas grill deserves a mention here. This special model includes everything we’ve noted for the original Prestige 500, but coated in a matte black finish that oozes luxury and mystique. Napoleon also upgraded their distinct wave cooking grids to cast stainless steel, while also swapping out the standard warming rack with a multi-functional rack featuring cutouts for wings and other appetizers. Phantom or original, freestanding or built-in, Chef Tony had high praise for the Napoleon Prestige 500 gas grill. “Overall, I definitely enjoyed testing and grilling on this Prestige,” he says. “For anyone who has been seriously considering this grill versus possibly other grills, I would say it definitely belongs on the top of your short list.”