Weber Kettle Comparison – Original Kettle, Original Kettle Premium & Master Touch – BBQGuys.com


Hi, I’m Chef Tony Matassa. Today we’re checking
out these three weber kettles, and although they look fairly similar, they have some different
features. So we’ll take a closer look at that because we get a lot of questions on that
and hopefully we can answer those. To my far right we have Weber’s original kettle, this
is the original premium, and of course to my left we have weber’s master touch kettle.
We’ll begin with the original…. Which is available in 18 inches as well as
22 inch models. The exterior of the kettle is Porcelain enameled
steel, allowing the grill to resist corrosion, and the two exterior handles are glass reinforced
nylon, wich is also perfect for resisting the elements. For temperature control, the
lid features a no rust aluminum vent, allowing you to create the perfect environment from
searing to smoking. Let’s take a look at the inside, the cooking
grids are plated steel, and each side features a handle for easy removal. Below the cooking
grids, you will find the charcoal grate which separates the coal from the ashes at the bottom
of the grill. The bottom of the grill features Weber’s Patented One-Touch cleaning system.
In addition to precise airflow control, these blades actually sweep the bottom of the grill,
making cleanup hassle free. The ash falls into the collection pan at the bottom of the
grill, which is easily removable. For easy portability, the Weber original kettle has
all weather crack proof wheels. Next, we will take a look at the Weber Original
Kettle Premium, which is available in both 22 and 26 inch models. This 22 inch grill
is also available in a range of color options, which is nice. The lid features a built in
thermometer, for ease of temperature monitoring. In addition, The lid handle of the Kettle
Premium features a heat shield, which protects your hand from the heat rising from the grill.
Of course the lid also features the vent wheel as we saw on the original kettle. Let’s have
a look at the inside.. The cooking grates of the Weber Original Premium are hinged on
2 sides, allowing you to easily add charcoal and smoking woods without having to remove
your food from the grill. The sides of the cooking grids feature handles for easy removal,
and below the cooking grids you will find the Charcoal Grate and One Touch cleaning
system as we saw on the Original Kettle. Below the grill, the premium kettle is set apart
by the high capacity ash catching system. Simply sweep your ashes from the grill with
this lever, and easily empty this container as needed. The Weber Original Premium comes
with crack proof wheels, and the added feature of BBQ tool hooks on the side handles.
Now let’s take a look at the Weber Master Touch kettle… This is a 22 inch kettle,
and it comes in black. The lid features a built in thermometer for precise cooking temperatures,
and the lid handle also features the heat shield. The vent wheel comes with the addition
of an easy grip heat guard, making adjustments of the vent a breeze. The side of the Weber
Master Touch features this lid cradle, allowing for a convenient place to put the lid when
removed, and could also function as a windbreak. The interior of the master touch comes with
a removable warming rack, for expanded grill real estate, and the grids feature the hinged
sections for easily adding charcoal and smoking woods to the included char basket fuel holders.
In the center of the cooking grids, you will find what really brings the cooking versatility
of this grill to the next level. Simply remove this piece of the grate, and you are ready
to pop in any of the Weber Gourmet BBQ System accessories. For example, here is the Cast
Iron Wok that is part of the Gourmet BBQ System. In addition to the Wok, Weber also offers
a wide variety of other accessories in the Gourmet system ranging from a Poultry roaster
to searing grate. Under the cooking grates, the included char
basket fuel holders come in handy when you want to easily move and concentrate your charcoal
heat source for searing, or bank them on either side of the grill for indirect cooking. Of
course, below the baskets you will find the charcoal grate and the One Touch Cleaning
system at the bottom of the grill. The Weber Master Touch also features the large capacity
ash catcher at the bottom. For smooth Portability, it also features 8 inch rubber molded wheels.
Finally, the side handle of the grill features Weber’s convenient BBQ tool hooks. I hope that today’s overview has helped
to clear up any questions you have between the kettles, if you have any other questions,
please give us a call or check us out online.. I’m Chef Tony Matassa, and remember.. at
BBQGuys.com, we SMOKE the competition!

83 comments

Tony that was a real nice review on the weber kettle grill.this is an inexpensive grill that has so much versatility.you sear,you can smoke, you can cook indirect.its an awesome grill for the money and they last. my dad has had his weber seriously like 35 years no rust .he did finally burn out the ash cleaner,but thats replaceable.I bbqed on his very same Weber when I was 16 years old. I personally own 2 and I love them both.I reccomend this inexpensive grill for anyone getting started or a seasoned bbqer as these grills have there place…NO I dont work for Weber,they just got a free shameless plug..Ha    for those thinking about grilling this is a good one I would get the 22.5 inch. NOW GET OUT AND GRILL.

The Weber 22" Original Kettle is number one on this list- http://outdoorgardenliving.net/best-charcoal-grills-of-2015-weber-14401001-vs-the-competition/ of the charcoal grills in 2015 considered to be some of the best choices (it's actually the updated version from the One-Touch Gold 22.5")

Thank you so much for this! I was watching this with my mom and a home depot employee at the store LOL came in for the Premium and left with the Master touch. The lid holder, warming rack, charcoal holders, and the gripped heat guard on the vent wheel seem like they're worth the $50 upgrade, especially since we plan on having this grill for a long time.

Thanks for the review.  Have you any idea what the difference is between the Master Touch model 2014 and 2015.

@dirk Van Winckel, Glad you enjoy the review!  I don't think the Master Touch has changed from 2014, to 2015, but here is a cool article on the comparison of the current Master Touch to the oldschool one: http://weberkettleclub.com/blog/2014/12/08/the-return-of-the-master-touch-full-review-and-head-to-head-showdown/

I don't understand why weber decided to move the location of the thermometer and vent! Why would the put the thermometer on the opposite side of the vent?! If you are cooking indirect you will have the vent over your food so that places the thermometer over the coals.

The original Weber kettle had 3 round vent covers on the bottom , ( 9 small holes for air to flow ).. Those were the best ..and the best made!!! The original ones were dipped in paint ….Later they were sprayed,,, but still great!!! The early ones were built with metal handles and looked thicker…The last production run of them employed wood handles … The kettles in this video are all newer

Good review man. This year's MT are available in Canada in some funky colours. Nice grill but myself I'm hard pressed to find the extras in the MT over the OTG worth the added bread – just my 2 cents.

I swear by Weber's; I grew up watching my dad grill on the old school 18 inch Weber with the old wood handle, he later gave that grill to me and I still have(and use) it to this day,along with my One Touch 22.5 and my small portable Smokey Joe if I'm camping out(or just want to grill up a steak for myself). Just purchased a 22 inch Weber Smokey Mountain and I can't wait to start cooking low and slow here soon

question I have is with the thermometer placement, on my Jumbo Joe I use a brick to indirect cook and put my thermometer in front just below my upper vent where the meat is, that said why do people put the temp gauge where the heat is, in the back away from the vent!?

Unfortunately it seems the local variant of the MasterTouch kettle I picked up, does not come standard with the warming rack, or the char-baskets, but instead includes the cheaper charcoal rails. Be sure to double check before purchase.

Can someone confirm that new Webers are made in China now? That would be a deal breaker for me for sure.

I got rid of my Weber a few years ago when I downgraded to a Charcoal/Smoker/Gas grill. I really wish I hadn't. There's something about the design of the kettle that keeps the air flow circling and a consistent temperature. It looks like I may have to upgrade in the near future.

Is the lid any taller on the Master Touch vs the Premium? ie: the distance from the cooking grate to the top part of the lid. I've maxed out on turkey size on my original from 1985 and it is time to replace it. I can live with the same size, but an inch or 2 more inside would allow for a bigger turkey for Thanksgiving.

The master touch…..me likey!!! My father has the very, very original Weber Kettle, came with wood handels that were replaced with plastic handles off of one of my damaged Weber kettles. His grill is probably well over 30 years old. The gage of metal back then was a huge difference from the (poorly constructed) ones now. However any Weber Kettle is priceless . Even my Weber Jumbo Joe kicks some serious a$$!

I went with the original premium, I couldn't see myself using all the gourmet accessories. Why do weber now pet the thermometer on the opposite side to the vent? surely it should be on the same side as the vent as that's where the food is?

please do a full comparison on the 57 compact vs the original kettle vs the premium kettle vs the master touch vs the summit charcoal

Id like to know why Weber doesn't put a hard plastic cover on the vent control so the consumer doesn't burn their finger while using the vent control. If they offered one for sale I'd be willing to bet that they couldn't stock enough for their current customers.

I've just bought the Master Touch myself – one awesome looking grill!! One thing I don't understand though is why they only include one handle at the front of the grill – would it not have been better to have 2 handles on either side of the grill instead? Additionally, I think Weber alter the contents of their BBQ grills depending on countries as the MasterTouch (£239 for the 57cm one), in the United Kingdom does not come with the warming rack as standard – it is an additional accessory you can buy.

I often wondered why Weber puts the thermometer on the other side of the vent. It suddenly occurred to me through the science of convection…

If the vent is over the coals and the coals are radiating a 250 degree temperature, then one would assume through convected heat that the whole kettle is heated uniformly.(as long as you don't lift the "friggen" top of the kettle. Hence the openings in the top and the bottom of the kettle that allow you to control the temperature inside the kettle.

If you set your coals up correctly and maintain the air circulation, it doesn't matter what the temperature on top of the Weber kettle is…the prong from the Weber gauge is not anywhere close to the coals. This is usually an accurate indicator of the true temperature throughout the low and slow process.

If you don't trust this method, at least try it out by inserting another thermometer through the top openings just for grins.

I have done this. The readings are remarkably similar.

Weber Master touch owner, with a "Smoke Eze" addition. Is there anything else?

We are eating meat!

I don't know if something changed over time but I got the original premium last year and the vent wheel came with the easy grip heat guard.

I called Weber hoping to get a bit of info on these models and the rotisserie accessory.
They were totally stumped. Weber knows nothing about their own products.
BBQ Guys know about the products they sell. Kudos for that!

Does anyone know if the Premium and Master Touch have solid stainless steel grills? I know the original has a “plated steel” grill. Just wondering if we get the upgraded steel grates on the higher end models.

Thank you for that comparison, Too many vendors don't really get into the detail that allows you to know the difference and value you are looking for.

I bought the original and added a nice thermometer to the lid on the vent side and a hinged grate. Very nice basic setup.

I have had my Weber for 20+ years. Had to replace a couple parts over the years but it still cooks like a champ.

The original Weber Kettle grill and Kingsford charcoal, is an american standard. You can still buy that perfectly designed grill (that hasn't changed much since it's inception), for under a hundred dollars. For big parties it's too small, but for a family of four it's perfect.

Potential Weber Buyers:  Weber makes a great grill,  Unfortunately, some are now being made in China and they are NOT as good as those made in the USA.  Double-check that you are buying an American grill and not cheap Chinese crap.

I have Premium, question is if I purchase the accessories that come with the master(bbq set and charcoal holders) wouldn't tha make them very similar?

I have an original and love it. Tough to beat a Made in America Weber grill! I've used mine every week or two for years and is still perfect. Thinking of getting a propane Weber as a companion for when we want to cook on gas. Tough to justify though, the Weber kettle is perfection.

I would recommend the master touch. The thing to hold the top is incredibly useful and probably one of the best upgrades. Also the plastic handle for the lid vent is real nice too.

In 2018 Weber moved much of its production to China. I purchased one of the gas grill early spring of 2018.
Well built but they no longer put doors on the bottom cabinet and changed the wheel configuration. This grill was $800. No doors are a problem because you can’t store grill supplies underneath so you just stack your stuff on the open leg cart which is inconvenient and messy. The new wheel layout does not allow tight turns in confined situations. And the kicker is this comparable unit costs Weber 30% less to make and there are less features on the Chinese model! Plus on the charcoal Weber they need to redesign the flimsy wheels. They have been a problem forever.

I just picked up a Master-Touch GBS yesterday. The store had the wrong price tag displayed over two boxes (it had their price for the Original Kettle Premium), and the correct — higher — price over three boxes. I pointed out the discrepancy to a manager, who quickly tore off the wrong tag…but he went to the cashier with me and told them to ring up the lower price. I was very happy. I'm actually assembling it right now as I'm watching tis video. I didn't even know what the GBS (Gourmet BBQ System) was; I just got this one because I'm unusually tall, and the display sample at the store was taller than any of the others!

I noticed that the cooking gauge varies from the model the original Weber has a thinner gauge from the master touch.

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