Weber Performer Deluxe vs Premium: Which to Choose? [2020]

Weber has been churning out quality grills since the 1950s, so it can be difficult to keep track of all their products. As the competition grows more fierce, the company is still an industry leader, keeping abreast of all the changing technologies in the field. Here’s a head-to-head matchup between two of their top models: The Weber Performer Deluxe vs Premium.

Shopping for a Weber Grill: What You Need To Know

The grills in the Performer series are charcoal-burning units. That means that they use charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal as fuel. If you’ve used a charcoal grill before, you’ll know that it takes a while for the coals to heat up—usually about 20 to 30 minutes. You may also have noticed that these grills are usually less expensive than gas- or pellet-fired models.

While the authentic smoky taste of a charcoal fire is invaluable to many grillers, some people prefer the instant gratification that a gas-powered unit provides. If you like to fire up your grill at the last minute, then a Weber Performer model might not be the best fit for your lifestyle.

Also, be aware that the grills in this series are more sophisticated than some of their counterparts. This difference is reflected in the price tags, which are significantly higher than most charcoal grills.

Should you decide to invest in one of these grills after all, here are some of the qualifications you should keep in mind while shopping.

Value

Determine your budget. Remember that this is a significant investment, so you should try to find the best grill that you can afford. There’s no point in purchasing a low-quality unit that will only last for a year or two.

Size

How many people do you usually cook for? Will you be using the grill to host large gatherings on a regular basis? As a rule of thumb, you should plan on about 72 square inches per person.

Also, consider how much prep and storage space you’ll need. Do you prefer to keep all your ingredients close at hand while you cook? Will you take full advantage of any additional shelving that the unit offers?

Construction and Durability

The cooking chamber should feature a durable steel construction, with grilling grates made of plated or porcelain-coated steel.

Special Features

A built-in thermometer is always a huge plus, especially if you’re planning to extend your grilling menu beyond the usual burgers and hot dogs. Side tables, shelving, temperature probes, and digital timers might also be included.

Warranty

Make sure the company stands behind its product with a guarantee of at least one year. Remember that these warranties usually apply only to parts that were defective right out of the box.

Weber Performer Deluxe vs Premium: Product Specifications

Weber Performer Deluxe

  • Kettle-style grill with porcelain-enameled steel bowl and lid
  • Open cart-style design with wire rack, two all-weather wheels, and two locking casters
  • Hinged grilling grate constructed of plated steel
  • Charcoal grate with heavy-gauge steel construction
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Side table
  • Ash removal system with weather-protected storage container
  • One-Touch cleaning system
  • Electronic ignition system
  • LCD cooking timer with backlighting
  • Three built-in tool hooks

Pros:

  • Excellent heat retention
  • Generous work surface
  • Multitude of storage space
  • Push-button ignition
  • Easy to assemble

Cons:

  • Plastic coal bin gets very hot
  • Relatively expensive for a charcoal grill
  • Some shipping issues reported

Weber Performer Premium

  • Kettle-style grill with porcelain-enameled steel bowl and lid
  • Open cart-style design with wire rack, two all-weather wheels, and two locking casters
  • Hinged grilling grate constructed of plated steel, with removable insert
  • Charcoal grate with heavy-gauge steel construction
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Side table
  • Ash removal system with weather-protected storage container
  • One-Touch cleaning system
  • LCD cooking timer with backlighting
  • Three built-in tool hooks

Pros:

  • Gives superb smoke flavor
  • Generous amount of storage and prep space
  • Durable construction
  • Easy to assemble
  • Removable grilling insert adds versatility

Cons:

  • Some missing parts reported in initial shipments
  • Rotisserie ring doesn’t fit properly
  • Hardware for table component is on the flimsy side

Weber Performer Deluxe vs Premium: Features & Benefits

Now that you know what you’re looking for in a charcoal grill, let’s see how the units in the Weber Performer series compare.

Weber Performer Deluxe

Value

The Deluxe is set at a higher price point than you would usually expect for a charcoal grill. However, as we mentioned earlier, it also represents a step up from the traditional kettle-style Weber. If you love the taste of food cooked over a charcoal fire and are looking for a unit that will stand the test of time, then you should consider the Weber Performer Deluxe.

Size

This unit offers a total of 363 square inches of cooking space—enough to serve four to six people on a regular basis. That’s a fairly standard size for a kettle grill. What sets the Weber Performer series apart is the inclusion of a painted metal table, which can be used for prep and storage space. This eliminates a great deal of the juggling that usually occurs with kettle-style charcoal grills.

Be forewarned, though, that the additional space comes with a larger footprint. If you don’t have a lot of room to devote to your new grill, then you might want to look beyond the Performer series.

Construction and Durability

The bowl and lid on the Performer Deluxe are composed of heavy-gauge porcelain-coated steel for longevity, while the grilling grate is made of plated steel. The charcoal grate doesn’t feature the same plating, but it isn’t really necessary in this case, since you don’t have to worry about food getting stuck to it during cooking.

We especially appreciate the fact that the grilling grate on this model features a hinge design. This makes it easier to add fresh coals, meaning you can cook for longer periods of time. The open-cart design offers two large all-weather wheels on one side and locking swivel casters on the other. Three built-in tool hooks give you a place to hang your tongs and brushes while the food cooks.

There’s also a wire rack along the bottom, which is suitable for storing larger items. The configuration of the ash catcher and storage container make it difficult to fit a full bag of charcoal down there, but it’s a good place for bowls or other utensils. You could also try putting a small cooler

Special Features

Unlike most charcoal grills, the Weber Performer Deluxe offers an electronic propane-fueled ignition system. This means that you can fire up the grill with the touch of a button, no matches or lighter required. This is a great perk for grillers who often find themselves chasing down their friends or family members to get the fire started.

This model also offers a built-in thermometer and a removable backlit LED cooking timer. Both of these features give the unit a versatility that’s lacking in many charcoal-fired units. You can use the Deluxe grill as a smoker, or whip up a batch of cornbread to go with your barbecued pork ribs and baked beans.

Warranty

Weber offers a generous warranty package on the Performer Deluxe. The bowl and lid are under warranty for 10 years following the date of purchase. The patented ash cleaning system and plastic components are covered for five years. All other components come with a two-year warranty. With a guarantee like this, you can expect that your Weber Performer Deluxe will last for years to come.

Weber Performer Premium

Value

The Performer Premium isn’t quite as expensive as the Deluxe, but it’s still pricier than most kettle-style charcoal grills. If you have your heart set on a grill in the Performer series and cost is a major issue, then you should consider the Premium over the Deluxe.

Size

This grill offers 363 square inches of cooking space, the same as the Deluxe. The company claims that it can hold 13 burgers that have been formed using the Weber burger press, but we would suggest giving them a little bit more space if you want them to cook evenly. Since the hinged cooking grate makes it easy to add more charcoal throughout the cooking process, the Performer Premium is suitable for large gatherings.

Construction and Durability

Like the Performer Deluxe, the Premium is constructed of porcelain-coated steel for the bowl and lid, with a plated steel grilling grate. The center of the main cooking grate can be removed and replaced with a different insert, several of which are available from Weber at an additional price. Options include a pizza stone, a poultry roaster, or a flat griddle. This feature gives the Premium a major boost in the versatility department.

Aside from that, the open cart-style design is pretty much identical to the Deluxe. There’s even a built-in painted metal side table and lower wire shelf for storage.

Special Features

In addition to the removable grilling grate insert, the Premium offers a “One-Touch” cleaning system with a removable ash catcher and weatherproof storage bin. A removable LED timer with backlit display makes it easy to tell how long your food has been cooking. The lid also features a built-in thermometer.

Warranty

The same excellent warranty package is in place for all Weber charcoal grills: Ten years for the bowl and lid, five years for plastic components and “One-Touch” cleaning systems, and two years for any additional components. Note that fading and discoloration of plastic parts are considered normal, and aren’t covered by the warranty.

On the Road with the Weber Performer Deluxe

What are customers saying about the Weber Performer Deluxe?

Most of the responses we found were positive ones, matching up with our own findings in many respects. The user-friendly nature of the grill was mentioned, with one consumer claiming that it’s easy to add wood chips to the fire for smoking. The propane ignition system is another major plus—users claim that this benefit helps to offset the high price tag. Many satisfied customers were still using their Performer Deluxe grills more than a decade after their initial purchase.

On the Road with the Weber Performer Premium

Does the Weber Performer Premium hold its own in the customer satisfaction department? Happily, signs point to yes. Consumers praised the durability and sturdiness of the model, particularly the side table. The Premium seems to be a popular and well-received Father’s Day gift. Many recipients reported that the grill is more versatile than many kettle-style models, with the ability to roast whole chickens and bake batches of meatloaf, in addition to the usual grilling applications.

The Verdict

Both grills in the Performer series have plenty to offer. With their sturdy construction, extensive prep space, and built-in thermometers, they’re a cut above the traditional kettle-style grills on the market. The question is, does one of them earn higher marks than the other?

While we would be perfectly happy with either one of these models, we think the Premium is a better choice in most respects. Why? First of all, it won’t hit your wallet quite as hard as the Deluxe, but it should last just as long. Secondly, the removable grill insert gives you more flexibility in the types of food you’re able to prepare. Finally, the most distinctive difference between the Deluxe and the Premium is the push-button ignition in the Deluxe models, and we don’t feel this is significant enough to warrant the boost in price. If you’re a die-hard charcoal griller, you should appreciate every aspect of the Weber Performer Premium.

We wish you the best of luck in all your grilling adventures!

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