What’s Hot: The Napoleon TravelQ PRO285’s high-quality materials and high-end features will tickle the fancy of any flame master.
What’s Not: The out-of-the-box propane hose is short, and disposable propane tanks are not compatible.
The Bottom Line: The TravelQ PRO285 is big on quality and shines when used on balconies or in small back yards.
About the Napoleon TravelQ PRO285 Portable Grill
The Napoleon PRO285-BK is a tabletop grill marketed as a portable grill for gourmet grilling. Napoleon claims that it’s a ‘professional’ portable grill that isn’t limited to cooking burgers and hot dogs but invites you to stretch your culinary horizons with turkeys and prime rib.
Its sleek matte black cast-aluminum finish with chrome detailing brings a little class to the world of portable grilling. In addition, extra accessories purchased separately, such as the warming rack and griddle grate, can make the PRO285 feel even more versatile.
The Napoleon PRO285 is known most notably for its construction. It includes a cast aluminum body & lid for durability and heat retention. Two stainless steel burner tubes won’t rust out and require only a little maintenance. The cast-iron cooking grates will never melt or warp, but they will sear beautifully.
Another noteworthy feature is that the PRO285 hooks up to bulk propane tanks instead of disposable propane bottles. If you prefer using a 20lb tank over the little 1lb Coleman LP bottles, this is a great feature, but there are a few drawbacks, which I cover later in this review.
The JetFire ignition is a cross between a regular piezo igniter and a bbq lighter set to flamethrower. It operates just like a gas range because when each burner is set to the ‘hi’ position, you hear a slight ‘clicking’ noise and suddenly your burner lights. Each burner has its own independent JetFire ignition. Batteries are not required.
Other Noteworthy Features
- 12,000 BTUs over two burners can reach temperatures over 600°F quickly
- Chrome-embellished hood thermometer and burner controls
- 285 square-inch grill has enough room to fit 15 burgers comfortably
- A tall lid leaves enough room to roast a whole chicken
- No hot spots
- Supports indirect cooking methods when one burner is turned off or with accessory warming rack
In-Depth Napoleon TravelQ PRO285 Review
Though the PRO285 is marketed to be a professional portable grill, the professionalism ends with its size. You won’t be grilling anything more than hamburgers and hot dogs to crowds greater than a group of four. However, it’s a beautiful grill to try out that new beer brined spatchcock chicken recipe when grilling for smaller groups.
Napoleon is a lesser-known grill manufacturer that started in Canada in the 1990s. They’re known for making high-end grills backed by some of the best warranties in the business. While the PRO285-bk doesn’t carry one of their typical warranties, it’s still one of the best in the portable grill class, with some parts warrantied for up to 10 years.
How Portable Is It?
Overall, the Napoleon PRO285-bk is moderately portable. I like it for small back yards, patios, and balconies best, as the small footprint is ideal for small spaces. An optional stand is available, with neat features like a shelf for beverages and a built-in bottle opener. Choosing a small, weather-resistant table to place it on would also work just fine.
It’s also a good choice for avid RVers and campers that can spare space. RV owners will want to use the RV adaptor kit that allows for quick connection to their onboard propane system.
Double-check your space first, as the PRO285 is a bit big. The dimensions are 14.75″ high x 29″ wide x 18.5″ deep. You will need a storage space larger than those dimensions.
While it is small and easy to handle, it lacks some important features that would make it more portable:
- It’s heavy – around 35 lbs with grill grates.
- The lid doesn’t have a latch or lock to keep it closed while in transit.
- It needs to be carried by side handles, which takes two hands.
- It is configured to only use bulk propane tanks.
Bulk Fuel Tanks
Bulk propane tanks are a blessing and a curse when used with a portable grill. They’re a much more economical way to run your grill, but they’re heavy and awkward. Most portable grills use the green Coleman propane bottles out of the box and can use adapters and hoses to use bulk tanks if wanted. But, disappointingly, this is not the case here. The PRO285-BK is designed for bulk tanks, as there is not enough clearance for a 1lb bottle. Though this makes it less portable, it has the benefit of being MUCH cheaper to run. Napoleon doesn’t recommend converting it for use with 1lb bottles and offers no adapter to make the change.
Weight and Mobility
At 35 lbs, it’s going make for a slow half-mile trek to that quaint beach spot. Not to mention that it needs two hands to carry it. And another trip to bring the 20lb propane tank. While these are marks against its portability, this problem is solved with a folding wagon.
The Napoleon PRO285 is almost as good at grilling as a full-sized grill, which was the aim of Napoleon. I like lighting the grill, as all you have to do is turn the burner knobs, and it lights itself with a built-in mini-flamethrower.
There is plenty of heat, too. Two looping burners run under wavey cast-iron grates that make sure there will be no cold or hot spots. With the lid down and both burners set to high, it will take roughly 10 minutes to get up to proper grilling temperatures of 500-600°F. Of course, the lid has to stay down to keep the grill hot enough for searing meats.
A tall, dome-shaped lid creates a large cavity to trap heat, which is ideal for roasting, or indirect cooking with one burner turned off.
Accessory griddle grates are available as well. Griddle up some mushrooms and onions for steak and burger toppings. Or have at the ready for making delicious breakfasts that include pancakes, bacon, and eggs.
Wind may be a factor, but it has to be a pretty strong wind to stop the grill from maintaining its temperature. I found that placing a tiny windbreak near your grill or even turning the side of the grill into the wind will help retain heat.
Overall, the Napoleon PRO285 cooks and grills very well.
A good grill brush is necessary for cleaning the cooking grates of any grill, of course, but you will also want a good brass wire brush. Napoleon recommends these brushes to clean out the inside walls of the grill’s base and clean out clogged holes in the burners.
One of the cleaning tidbits I found in the manual was that the grill grates need cleaning before each use instead of after. The manual suggests spreading vegetable shortening on the grates with a cloth, preheating, and then brushing off the grates with your grill brush. This cleaning method will also help to keep your grates seasoned.
A small grease pan found at the bottom of the grill will catch any grease and debris while grilling or cleaning. Almost all portable gas grills have some variation of this grease pan.
While aluminum liners are available, they are not at all necessary – the manual only mentions them in the parts list.
Though you may want to line the drip tray with aluminum foil, the manual expressly warns against doing so. Instead, scrape the tray out after every use.
The grill’s exterior wipes down with warm, soapy water.
Overall, the Napoleon PRO285 cleans up very quickly.
The PRO285 gets top marks for quality. Every part of the grill looks and feels solid. Materials include cast aluminum, stainless steel, and heavy-duty plastic. None of these materials will rust or deteriorate.
The firebox and lid are both made of cast aluminum. Cast aluminum is the primary material of choice in higher-end portable grills because it is incredibly durable and can take quite a bit of heat without the weight of cast iron or the flimsiness of pressed steel.
While the grill’s exterior is painted and can get scuffed up over time, cleaning it up is as simple as a bit of sanding and an application of high-temp bbq paint.
The burners are made out of stainless steel and won’t rust, though they will need a good brushing once in a while. They can also discolor over time, but that won’t affect their longevity.
This is an excellent choice of grill for anyone who lives or regularly vacations near the ocean, as salt won’t ruin it.
Of all the parts that might fail, the Jetfire ignition is the most likely, because igniters fail for seemingly no reason. If the Jetfire ignition fails to work, use the included lighting rod/matchstick holder to light the burners.
The strongest warranty that I’ve seen to date. There are rumors that Napoleon insists on proof of adherence to their maintenance schedule if the grill needs warranty work. Keep a small notebook to journal maintenance tasks and dates.
|Aluminum Castings||10 years|
|Stainless Steel Burner Tubes||5 years covered, plus 50% off replacement until 10th year|
|Cast Iron Cooking Grids||5 years covered, plus 50% off replacement until 10th year|
|All other parts||2 years|
See the manual for complete warranty information.
What’s in the box?
- Fully assembled grill
- Two grill grates
- Drip pan
- 20-inch long propane hose
While it’s true that the PRO285 comes already assembled, there is a bit of work to do before grilling your first meal.
The cooking grates need to go through a seasoning process, like a cast-iron frying pan. To season, you will need vegetable shortening and some time. Between preheating the grill, baking the grates through the seasoning process, and then cooling the grates, plan to use at least an hour and a half before grilling your first grilling session.
Expect a bit of a stinky smell for the first half-hour. This is because the paint and grease left on at the factory will need to be burned off. It stinks a bit, but the smell will go away quickly.
You may find that the hose is too short, and I agree. At about 20 inches long, it looks like it’s the perfect length for using with the stand that Napoleon sells separately. Placing the tank on a crate might be an option.
Napoleon TravelQ PRO285 Accessories
|Cast Iron Reversible Grill Griddle||This is a half-sized griddle. It’s double-sided so it can be used on either side of the grill.||See it at Amazon|
|Grill Cart with Side Shelves||Great for using your grill when you are not on the go.||See it at Amazon|
|Grill Cover||Protects your grill from dust, dirt and weather damage.||See it at Amazon|
|Smoker Starter Kit||Includes a smoker pipe and four wood chip samples to give a bit of smoky flavor.||See it at Amazon|
|RV Adaptor Kit||Take advantage of your RV’s propane supply with this hose and adapter.||See it at Amazon|
|Chrome Plated Steel Warming Rack||Great for indirect cooking or for keeping food warm and away from the flames.||See it at AJ Madison|
|Disposable Grease Trays||Simple way to collect and dispose of grease.||See it at AJ Madison|
Pro’s & Con’s
- Arrives preassembled
- Uses bulk propane tanks instead of small disposable propane bottles
- Made from high quality, non-rusting materials
- Much smaller and lighter than a normal grill
- Great for traveling by vehicle or using in a small back yard
- Grill needs to be seasoned and kept seasoned
- Short propane hose limits where/how you use/place your grill
- No locking mechanism for the lid
- Too heavy to carry even moderate distances, especially with a bulk propane tank
Ratings & Recommendations
While there are not many customer ratings out there, those that do exist are remarkably interesting. Higher than average customer ratings come from happy owners who love its design and cooking capabilities. The quality was something that was mentioned over and over again.
Overall, I found less than 100 genuine customer reviews, which isn’t a huge pool from which to draw. However, out of those reviews, 84% were positive, and only 11% were negative. The other 5 percent were firmly seated in the middle.
The majority of negative reviews focused on the length of the propane hose, which I mentioned earlier. Though I feel that the hose should be longer, Napoleon does not recommend or offer a longer hose. So be prepared to prop up your propane tank.
Just Portable Grills Rating
The Napoleon PRO285 works best as a backyard or balcony grill. As far as small grills go, it’s built very well and has some unique features like the JetFire igniter that make it work well. Consider investing in the cart and a cover.
It would also be a good fit for RV and campers, but vehicle campers and tenters would need to consider the space required to store and transport it.
Those looking for a good tailgating grill might like it because of its bulk tank, but if your destination is down any pathways or distances from the parking lot, consider something a little easier to transport. The need to carry a larger bulk tank around is not ideal.
There are other configurations within the series. A more portable option is its sister model, the Napoleon TravelQ PRO285X, which has a scissor cart with latches and wheels and runs off of 1lb disposable bottles out of the box. See it at BBQGuys
A better option might be the Weber Q2200 because it is made of similar materials and has a similar-sized grilling surface area. It also has side tables and can use disposable propane bottles. The Q2200 is slightly lighter and less expensive than the PRO285-bk but has only one burner and feels like a slight downgrade overall. See my Weber Q Comparison Chart, or See it at BBQ Guys
Prices & Where to Buy the Napoleon TravelQ PRO285
[Spring 2021] It looks like the TravelQ PRO285 is out of stock in many places. I’ve had some luck finding it sporadically at Amazon, but most recently I’ve seen it in stock at a reasonable price at Appliances Connection with free shipping.
Click the logo to see current price and availability
Commissions may be earned from these links.
|Model Name:||TRAVELQ™ PRO285|
|Grill Height:||14.75 inches, 25.25 with lid open|
|Grill Width:||29 inches|
|Grill Depth:||18.5 inches|
|Weight:||28.5 lbs without grates|
|Main Fuel Source:||Propane Gas|
|Default LP Bottle Size:||Bulk Propane tanks with qcc1 fittings|
|Upgrade to larger bottle?:||N/A|
|Cooking Surface Area:||285 square inches|
|Grill Materials:||cast iron|
|Body Materials:||cast aluminum|
|Burner Materials:||stainless steel|
|Number of Burners:||2|
|Built In Temperature Gauge:||Yes|
|Stand:||Available seperately, or in different model|
|Warranty:||Limited 10-Year Warranty|
- Napoleon – Company History – Wikipedia
- Napoleon TravelQ PRO285 Manual (Oct 2019)