The Weber Master Touch are wonderful 22 inch charcoal grills. If you buy a Master Touch then I am sure you will love the grill but there are some questions you need to answer before you spend your money:
- What is the Difference Between Weber Master Touch and Premium?
- Is the Weber Master Touch Worth It?
- Master Touch vs Performer?
Let’s do a Weber Master Touch review to get these questions answered for you!
What is the Difference Between Weber Master Touch and Premium?
There are significant differences between the Original Master Touch and the Premium model. Some of the differences are cosmetic but there are functional upgrades on the Premium that are interesting.
The major differences between the Master Touch models are given in the table below.
|Master Touch Differences||Original||Premium|
|Gourmet BBQ System||Yes||Yes|
|Lid Holder||Side Mounted||Hinged|
|Char Ring and Diffuser||No||Yes|
Let’s look at the features that matter.
The Premium Master Touch is only available in Black.
The Original Master Touch is available in Black and several other beautiful colors including:
- Spring Green
- Slate Blue
- Ocean Blue
The availability of color choices is worth noting because these grills are going to last you at least a decade which means that you are going to be looking at it sitting on your deck for a long time.
There is nothing wrong with a Black kettle but the one in Ocean Blue is stunning.
The Original Master Touch uses a “Slide Aside” lid bale that holds the lid onto the side of the grill when you want to open the lid to flip your burgers.
The Premium Master Touch uses a hinge system to hold the lid open. The hinge system can be removed for when you want to use a rotisserie.
Char Ring and Heat Diffuser
The Premium Master Touch comes with a charcoal ring like you get in a Weber Smokey Mountain and a Heat Diffuser like you get in a Weber Summit kamado style grill.
The charcoal ring and diffuser plate combination are intended to be used together to make “Low and Slow” barbecue cooking temperatures easier to achieve and maintain.
The customer reviews posted on the Weber Grills website are strikingly different with owners greatly preferring the Original over the Premium.
The biggest complaint about the Premium Master Touch is that, for some owners, the hinge mechanism doesn’t work very well.
Specifically, the hinge prevents the lid from completely closing which results in a significant air gap. The gap makes maintaining “Low and Slow” barbecue temperatures with the new charcoal ring and heat diffuser extremely difficult.
I suspect this is a temporary problem that Weber will soon resolve.
Is The Weber Master Touch Worth It?
I believe the Original Master Touch that costs about $220 is worth the money but the Premium Master Touch that costs about $320 is not. My concern about the Premium Master Touch has nothing to do with the faulty hinged lid mechanism and is more about the other options that are available at the $320 price point.
Value Case for the Original Master Touch
When you compare the Original Master Touch against a standard 22 inch Weber kettle you can see why you would want to make the upgrade to the Master Touch.
The standard Weber kettle, which is a flat out amazing grill, costs about $165 which is $54 less than a Master Touch.
One of the few problems with the standard kettle is that the lid holder mechanism sucks. You will want to purchase a “Slide Aside” lid bale that works like the lid holder on the Master Touch. The “Slide Aside” lid holder will cost you $20.
One of the best accessories for the standard kettles, that I recommend everyone get, is a set of charcoal baskets. The charcoal baskets come standard with the Master Touch but will cost you another $20 when you buy them separately for a standard kettle.
One subtle difference between the two grills is that the rods on the cooking grate for the Master Touch are a few millimeters thicker than the rods on a standard kettle. You should expect the cooking grate on the Master Touch to last at least one year longer.
So, when you spend ~$50 more for the Original Master Touch you get $40 worth of equipment upgrades, a longer lasting cooking grate and the convenience of getting it all in a single package.
Yep, that is worth it to me!
Premium Master Touch vs Weber Performer
The existence of the Weber Performer is the reason that I do not believe the Premium Master Touch is worth the money.
There are only two real problems with the basic 22 inch Weber kettle that costs $165.
- The first problem is that the lid holder on the basic kettle sucks. The Master Touch solves that problem.
- The second problem is that the basic kettle does not have a working side table. The Master Touch does not solve that problem.
The entry level Weber Performer, which has a side mounted lid bale and a cart mounted side table, solves both problems. And, at a price at $279, the entry level Performer costs less that the Premium Master Touch ($319). (See the full Weber Performer Review here.)
The fundamental question is, if you want to upgrade from the Original Master Touch, would you rather have a Charcoal Ring/Heat Deflector or a working side table?
I will take the working side table of the Performer every single day of the week.
The Char Ring and Heat Deflector on the Premium master Touch are functional and cute. You will probably use them about 20% of the time that you fire up your grill. There are about 10 different ways to set up a kettle for smoking meats and, truth be told, the Char Ring and Heat deflector on the Master Touch are nice but unnecessary.
In contrast, you will use the side table on the Performer EVERY SINGLE TIME that you grill.
If you have $300 to spend on a grill, buy the entry level Performer. You will be a very happy griller.