Updated for 2015, the basic 22.5” Weber kettle is nearly identical in all three Weber grills. In our recent review of the Weber Performer Charcoal Grill we touched on each Weber kettle, but we’ve been getting a lot of emails asking which one is the best buy. We’ve given pros and cons of each and included recommendations, based on your use and priorities.
The Weber Silver One Touch Charcoal Grill
At just under $100, the Weber Silver One-Touch 22-1/2-Inch Kettle Grill is
Weber’s most basic charcoal grill, and has been a backyard favorite since the 1950s. It continues to be Weber’s #1 Best Selling charcoal grill.
The kettle made of steel, pressed into one piece with no welds or surface seams to rust or separate. It’s coated with baked-on porcelain that, and this is speaking from personal experience , will last for over 20 years with just an occasional light cleaning.
From the bottom up there are three legs with two wheels for portability and sturdiness, a saucer-shaped ash catcher, a bottom draft, a sturdy plated steel charcoal grate, a 22” plated steel grill, then the dome shaped lid, a top draft, and that’s it. There’s not much that can go wrong. You’ll probably have to replace the cooking grate every 5 -8 years as they will start to rust.
For occasional use, the Weber Silver One Touch Grill for under $100 cannot be matched for quality, longevity, utility, and price by any competitor. However, there are a few strongly recommended accessories to ensure a great outcome, and to make grilling easier and less time consuming:
Recommended accessories for the Weber Silver One Touch
1. Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter
Weber’s #1 selling accessory, the Rapid Fire Chimney Starter eliminates the need for charcoal lighter fluid. The chimney holds a full load of charcoal for a 22.5” grill, and is simply loaded and placed over a newspaper or fire starter flame to start the charcoal burning. A must have, as no one wants to taste your lighter fluid on their burgers.
2.Taylor Weekend Warrior Grill /Smoker Thermometer
It’s insane to sell any grill or barbecue without a thermometer that tells you how hot your grill is so that you know your fire is at the right temperature for your food, but Weber doesn’t include this mandatory item in the Silver One Touch.
If you don’t mind drilling a hole in the lid, this Taylor Weekend Warrior Grill Thermometer for about $15 will be as good and probably better than the included grill thermo in the next model up. Regardless of what dome thermometer you buy, they won’t be very accurate. A better idea for any grill or smoker is a combination digital meat and grill temerature unit ,like this Maverick ET-732 Remote Bbq Smoker Thermometer
That’s an expense that a casual user might not want; we understand that, but want you to understand the limitations of any dome thermometer. It’s not unusual to find them 20 to 30 degrees off the actual grill temperature.
3. Weber Hinged Cooking Grate
For under $20, this is a must have too for adding briquets. Without this plated steel hinged grate you have to remove the entire grll, laden with food, to add charcoal.
Weber Silver One Touch Summary:
Recommended For: Economy-driven, casual weekend grillers who want a long lasting, quality grill and prioritize cost over convenience and features.
Advantages: Same Weber quality as all Weber kettles, very inexpensive, long lasting, easy to use, low maintenance.
Disadvantages: Too basic for anyone who takes outdoor cooking seriously or anyone more than a very occasional user. The cost of accessories we consider mandatory puts it slightly above the price of the Premium, so it’s hard for us to recommended it.
Approximate Price Without Accessories: $100
Estimated Cost With Recommended Accessories: $152
Weber Rapid Fire Chimney Starter: $15
Taylor Thermometer: $17
Hinged Grill: $20
Total Estimated Accessory Cost: $52
The Weber Premium Charcoal Grill
The Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill(formerly known as the Gold One Touch) has all the features of the Silver One Touch above, but adds two critical features: 1) a built in dome thermometer, and 2) the Weber hinged grill. Those two items alone add about $34 to the Silver One Touch cost, bringing it at a cost of $2 less than the cost of the $100 Silver One Touch.
If that small difference isn’t compelling enough to bump you up to this model, consider
that the Premium includes the addition of a handy combination enclosed ash catcher and draft adjustment, identical to the $400 Weber Performer Deluxe, that eliminates the worry of unprotected ashes starting a fire in dry grass in windy conditions.
Based on the price to features matrix, we love the Weber Premium for just under $150. You’ll still need the Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter for $15, but the other two items are included. For about $2 less than the basic Weber One Touch Silver, the Premium is a great buy.
Weber Premium Summary:
Recommended For: Casual weekend grillers who want a long lasting, quality grill with creature comforts to make grilling easier and more enjoyable than using a strictly basic unit.
Advantages: Same Weber quality as all Weber kettles, inexpensive, long lasting, very easy to use, low maintenance.
Disadvantages: No work table, no gas lighter
Estimated Cost Without Accessories: $150
Estimated Cost With Recommended Accessories: $165
Weber Rapid Fire Chimney Starter: $15
Total Estimated Accessory Cost: $15
The Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
In our review of the Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill, we think it’s a best buy for anyone taking outdoor cooking seriously and who is, or could be a frequent user. Here’s why:
The Weber Performer Deluxe adds two pillar features that set it apart from the above Weber charcoal grills. One, a food prep work table, and two, a gas charcoal lighter. To set up the Weber Performer Deluxe Grill properly, your cost over the Weber Premium is about $250 more. Whether the additional features provided in the Performer Deluxe is worth the extra money depends on 1) your frequency of use, and 2) the importance you attach to convenient usage.
The Weber Performer Deluxe kettle unit is nearly identical to the Weber Premium. The Performer adds a stainless steel grill, a minor benefit. However, our review focuses largely on the gas lighter feature which essentially turns the grill into a hybrid; it gives you the high heat and great taste of charcoal grilling, and the convenience of the effortless starting of a gas grill. The work table is something you’ll need; some backyard grllers like to build their own or just use a nearby table. We like it attached; it’s instantly portable and always ready for use when needed.
The only highly recommended accessory is an under $20 Coleman Propane Hose and Adapter that converts the tiny camping size propane cylinder connection to a full size 20# gas grill-style propane tank. If you don’t have a tank, that’s another $30. The availability of plenty of gas when you need it is, in our opinion, a mandatory modification to the Performer.
Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill Summary:
Recommended For: Frequent grillers who want a long lasting, quality grill with advanced features to encourage greater year around use.
Advantages: Includes charcoal lighter, washable work table, charcoal bin, stainless steel hinged grill, dome thermometer. 90% as easy to use as a gas grill with all the advantage of charcoal grilling.
Disadvantages: Total cost approaches $400
Estimated Price Without Accessories: $400
Estimated Price With Recommended Accessories: $420
Coleman Propane Hose and Adapter: $20
Total Estimated Accessory Cost: $20
Be sure to read our complete, detailed review on the Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill, and learn how to turn any of these grills into barbecue smokers too!