I have been lurking around this site for a couple of months...and your post inspired me to register and come out of the perpetual forum closet.
With that said, I went back and forth for months...and that was after I figured out that I wanted an IR grill. It was months before that just to talk myself into IR. I won't go into the whole name things, cause a previous poster has it completely nailed. When I searched this forum I found that there were a LOT of very happy Home Depot - Gourmet Tru Infrared users, but didn't find as many post about the Lowe's Commercial Tru Infrared. So instead, we (hubby and I) became "those customers" we went to both Lowe's and HD about half a dozen times and asked a million questions that usually resulted in a sales person wanting to upsell us to a Weber.
Here is were we netted out and the reason's why. I will preface this by saying a couple of things first: This is my first grill, in our first home with a small patio backyard, this won't be my last grill, I am an avid cooker not my hubby, we were on a budget (I hate that word) but with a new house its our reality, I cook every kind of meat, fish, vegi you can imagine. Not someone that does rotisserie or smoking of meat (I will get a smoker for that later).
Okay, here we go. I bought the Lowe's Commercial Tru Infrared - 2 burner with a side burner (this is a new model and could not get on the Gourmet at HD at the time we purchased 3 weeks ago).
I wanted a Stainless Steel grill and not enamel coated cast iron/steel (that I think the HD model has) seasoning the SS did not concern me, but the enamel did from some reviews. I like that the more I season the SS the better they perform and I knew that enamel wouldn't give me the same performance I was looking for from SS. I get why the trough/Infrared on the Gourmet/HD emitter plate is needed if you want to do rotisserie, but I knew I wasn't. What I didn't like about the trough is that I couldn't see how the heat temp would be even if the 1 burner was under the trough and only a Gourmet owner can speak to it. The emitter plate on the Commercial/Lowes version is right above the each burner (within a inch and half) and there have been absolutely no hot spots or temp issues. My grill is crazy hot and leaves the most amazing grill marks that really ads to the finish taste, but I can control it if I need too. The SS grates also heat up very fast, nothing fall through because the plates are right under them. I have used wood chunks, I just place them at the back of the grill, not fuss. Side note: the picture posted is a bit misleading for the Quantum/Commercial, each "knob/section" of the grill has it's own burner, so if you have a 3 burner, you would have 3 of those plates with its own burner. The Gourmet, however only has one burner that runs from left to right at the under the trough but can be controlled by its knobs.
A couple of things, I find myself seasoning my SS before every use, a bit more time but I don't mind as I can see the benefits of the non-stick properties. Also, my hubby went the extra step before we used the grill the first time and sanded down the back side of the grates and the emitter plates, they have some very sharp edges and you could really cut yourself. Lastly, I think this model does require a bit more cleaning (brushing with a metal brush) as the emitter plates catch so much (sauce, ash, etc), I have to believe that the trough design on the Gourmet allows for a bit more collection before you have to clean everything maybe every other time? I also like that each knob has its own thermometer and the Gourmet has a single one on the hood. I have used my several times and it has been fairly accurate.
I have done every vegi that is in season right now and they are fantastic, spare ribs were tender andjuicy, steaks like a steak house, chicken with and without bones perfect, fish and hamburgers...did I mention that I cook a lot?
Would I change my choice, NO, I really love the performance of the Commercial/Lowe's version. I do regret that I didn't purchase a 3 or 4 burner every time that I use it. Mostly, cause I love using it so much, if you are only cooking meat for 2-3 people you will be fine, but if you add vegi's to that I find myself having to cook in batches and something ends up having to cool off while the other is finished.
I hope this helps...I know I feel like all my research didn't go to waste...maybe someone will benefit...
Okay...I need a nap too now...