The Performer charcoal grills are some of the most popular grills in the Weber product line. The Performer series provide the classic grilling experience of cooking on a Weber kettle while also solving the two biggest problems of a standard kettle which are (1) Where to put the lid and (2) Lack of work space.
There are three models in the Performer series and a lot of folks struggle to understand which upgrades come with which grills. This article is going to show you the differences between the different models and the results of over 5,500 customer reviews so you can decide which grill is right for you.
This article is meant to help you figure out the differences between the different Performer charcoal grills. However, there are a few things I want to mention before we get into this guide just to let you know where I stand with these grills.
- There are ZERO affiliate links in this article.
- This review is NOT sponsored.
- I get ZERO financial benefit if you buy a grill.
In short, I want to give you the best information possible but do not care whether you buy one of these or not.
Let’s get started!
Features of the Performer Models
All Performer grills are 22 inch kettles that have the standard One Touch cleaning system, high capacity aluminum ash catcher and lid thermometer. The most obvious differences between these grills and a regular Weber kettle is that the Performer grills are cart mounted and have a side table.
Here is a quick summary of the different upgrades you will find on the Performer grills.
|Tuck Away Lid Holder
|Gourmet BBQ Grate
|LCD Cook Timer
|Charcoal Storage Bin
|Touch N Go Gas Ignition
|Multiple Color Options
The warranty on these grills covers the bowl and lid for ten years, the One Touch Cleaning System and all plastic components for five years with the remainder of the grill being protected for two years.
The Deluxe model grill is available in black, green or copper while the Standard and Premium are only available in black.
Since these are 22 inch grills they can all accept the wide variety of kettle accessories such as the rotisserie, Slow N Sear, Ribolater, etc.
Touch N Go Ignition System
While the table above shows many differences between these grills there is only one that really matters, the “Touch N Go” gas ignition system on the Performer Deluxe.
The Touch N Go ignition system on the Deluxe consists of a stainless steel burner tube sitting underneath the charcoal grate that is connected to a small propane bottle. You can press an ignition button on the right side of the grill to light the propane and the propane lights your charcoal.
There are multiple ways of using the igniter to light your charcoal. You can simply make a pile of charcoal directly over the burner, use the charcoal baskets for more even lighting or use the burner to light a charcoal chimney full of briquettes.
Tuck-Away Lid Holder
One of the most frustrating things about using a regular Weber kettle is not having anywhere to put the lid when you want to work the grill. And yes, I know about the hook inside the lid but it is not a good solution.
The Performer series have a wire frame on the left side of the grill that lets you slide the lid off to the side and store it when you are flipping burgers.
Built in Grill Table
Another massive pain point of using a regular kettle is not having a work surface. The Performers come with a painted metal side table that is plenty large enough to hold a couple of slabs of ribs.
The side table on the Standard Performer is smaller than the table for the Premium and Deluxe models and is collapsible. The smaller, collapsible side table on the Standard makes it a good choice for people who are short on space on their patios.
The combination of the lid holder and grill table is extremely nice and makes grilling on a kettle a really enjoyable experience.
Gourmet Barbecue System (GBS) Grate
Another upgrade that comes with these grills is the Gourmet Barbecue System grate. The rods on this grate are thicker than on a standard grate and it has a removable center insert that accepts some cool accessories.
You can place your charcoal baskets full of coals directly under the insert and have some serious high heat grilling fun with the available wok, sear grate, pizza stone or cast iron griddle. All of the accessories are sold separately.
Other Features of Note
The following features are available on the Premium and Deluxe models but not the Standard.
These grills come with a large charcoal storage bin under the table. While the bin is designed for charcoal don’t be surprised if you find yourself using it primarily as a handy little trash can. Also included are over sized wheels for easy rolling across your deck, a set of charcoal baskets and a removable LED cook timer.
Weber Performer Reviews
The Performer series has been extremely popular and there is a tremendous data set of customer reviews. I pulled all of the customer reviews for each model, Standard, Premium and Deluxe, from Home Depot, Lowes and Ace Hardware and ended up with 5,584 real world customer ratings.
The reviews all used the “5 Star” system and are given below (Current Jan 11, 2021).
The reviews for all three models are virtually identical.
- Standard: (81% 5 Star) + (15% 4 Star) = 96% Satisfaction Rating
- Deluxe: (81% 5 Star) + (14% 4 Star) = 95% Satisfaction Rating
- Premium: (82% 5 Star) + (12% 4 Star) = 94% Satisfaction Rating
Almost everyone who buys a Performer, regardless of the model, loves their grill.
Most of the reviews that were critical of these grills fell into the standard categories of “damaged in shipment” or “missing parts”.
A category of complaint that showed up a lot in the 3 Star reviews and is worth mentioning is quite a few buyers thought the Gourmet Barbecue System grate is quite simply a horrible idea. Either the center section kept falling out or the owners felt like all of the accessories were expensive gimmicks that brought no value to the grilling experience.
When I was compiling the overall reviews it was obvious from the number of reviews that the Premium is the most popular model. The Premium model has over three times as many reviews (3,453 reviews) as either the Standard (965 reviews) or Deluxe (1,166).
Is A Performer Worth The Money?
The combination of having a side table for work space and having somewhere to place the lid really are game changers. These simple details might not sound like much but trust me, they make grilling so much more enjoyable.
The big question is whether you should get the Deluxe model with the propane assisted charcoal ignition system. The Deluxe is far and away the most popular model so if you go that route then you will be in strong company. The Deluxe is only about $50 more expensive than the Premium and I think the upgrade would be money well spent.
If you are on the fence about whether or not to buy a Performer then I am going to encourage you to make the purchase. The Performer grills are expensive, but like most Weber grills, they are worth it. If the price tag of a Performer is too steep for you then you should check out a Weber Master Touch. The Master Touch is a nice upgrade from a standard kettle and costs a lot less than a Performer.