The Master Touch was the charcoal grill everyone wanted years ago. When Weber replaced them with the Performer models, Master Touch fans didn’t know if their favored grills would ever make a comeback.
Fortunately, in 2015, Weber came out with a new Master Touch model. This grill is versatile and user-friendly while maintaining the style and comfortable look of the traditional Weber Kettle.
In this review, we will go over some numbers and specs to get you more acquainted with the grill, talk about some pros and cons, and then move on to comparisons of the Master Touch and other similar Weber charcoal grill options.
Specifications and Dimensions
To get a better idea of this grill’s identity, let’s take a look at some numbers.
- Grilling Area: 363 square inches of primary cooking space with an additional 80 inches in the form of a warming rack for a total of 443 square inches
- Grates: Gourmet BBQ system plated steel hinged cooking grate, heavy-gauge steel charcoal grate
- Dampers: 1 rust-resistant aluminum damper
- Materials: Porcelain-enameled bowl and lid, lid handle with heat shield, and aluminum ash catcher
Heat Source: Charcoal
- Dimensions (with lid on): 42”H x 24”W x 29.5”D
- Color Availability: Black
- Warranty: 10 years no rust through or burn through on bowl and lid, 5 years no rust through or burn through on one-touch cleaning system, 5 years excluding fading or discoloration on plastic components, and 2 years on remaining parts
On Weber’s website the Master-Touch received 70 reviews with 94% being 5 or 4 stars and only .03% being 1 or 2 stars.
The negative reviews on this grill are few and far between, and all seem to be focused less on the grill itself and more on shipping and handling. Unfortunately, it’s hard to control how well a box is handled in transit, but the comments back from the Weber team appear to give excellent assistance to fix the problems.
Why you should consider the Master Touch
This grill has an ease of use and versatility that grillers will love. It is a great middle ground between the Original Kettle and the Performer series. The Master Touch comes complete with a built-in lid thermometer, a large ash catcher with Weber’s One-Touch cleaning system, and high-quality parts that will last for a long time.
It can be confusing to figure out the details of what makes the Master Touch different from the other 22.5 inch Weber kettles. Here is a great video that shows the differences in detail.
The Gourmet BBQ System cooking grates are steel plated and hinged. They also feature a removable center that can be replaced with other Weber accessories such as a pizza stone or smoking chimney, or even an Ebelskiver pan. The accessories range in price from around $35 to around $55 and are sold separately.
Another thing I love about this grill is the heat shields that block the handles from becoming too hot to touch without a hot mitt. This is a great feature not offered on every charcoal grill in the Weber lineup.
Finally, the tuck-away lid holder and 8-inch rubber wheels create a simplicity to moving, cooking, and cleaning this grill that will help to make the grilling experience fun, rather than a chore.
With the availability of iGrill3 from Weber, I have to wonder why the Weber team would still choose to have the simple bi-metal thermometer on the lid. Even an LCD would help you to be sure of the grill’s temperature for optimum results.
The price is also something that you will have to work through. If you like the extra features that come with the Master Touch then the price is fully justifiable. If you are on a budget then take a look at the other models.
Versus the Original Kettle
With the same primary cooking space as the Master Touch and a much lower price tag, some may wonder why the Master Touch is even an option. The answer is the versatility and accessories.
If you are looking for a solid charcoal grilling experience with ease of use, but don’t need all of the bells and whistles, it’s not a bad idea to check out an Original Kettle over the Master Touch. However, you’ll be missing out on some great features.
The Original Kettle does not feature the Gourmet BBQ System grates that the Master Touch has, and it does not have a removable center section for added accessories either. Although both grills do come with the one-touch cleaning system, the Master Touch is simply a more adaptable option.
Versus the Performer 22” Charcoal Grill
For a slightly higher price, you could trade your Master Touch up for a Performer model. There are many models within the Performer series, but for now, we will focus on the most basic.
The primary cooking area on both grills is the same: 363 square inches. They have the same easy to use and remove lid design, and the same high-end features like the one-touch cleaning system and the Gourmet BBQ System grates. After you get past these features, though, the grills start to look a bit different.
The Master Touch fails in its three-legged design, where the Performer comes with four legs and is easy to move with its two wheels and two castors. The performer also features a folding side-table to add a prep space to your grilling station.
The Performer is a step up from the slightly simpler design of the Master Touch, but the extra $80 plus that you will spend to upgrade to the performer model may be unappealing to some. Since the additions available on the Performer are mainly cosmetic, I’d still recommend trying out the Master Touch.
Versus the Summit 24” Charcoal Grill
If we’re talking about bells and whistles, there is no way we can ignore the Summit series. This grill can be easily converted from grill to smoker to create the perfect meal for the moment. Also, its gas-ignition system means you won’t have to fuss with matches and starter fluid ever again.
The Summit has just under 100 more square inches of cooking space when compared to the Master Touch. Although it still sits on three legs, the addition of the castor on the third leg means more stability as you use and move this grill.
It includes an air insulated, double walled, porcelain-enameled lid and bowl to help keep the heat in. It also has all of the high-quality features of the Master Touch and then some, making it a top-of-the-line product.
The downside to the Summit grill is its price. At over $1000, it far exceeds the price tag of the Master Touch and even the Performer series grills. The price reflects your purchase of a two-in-one machine but is still a bit over the top considering you can buy the simple chimney to turn your Master Touch into a smoker as well.
Overall I think the Master Touch is going to give you the best value for your dollar. The Summit should be something you only buy if you are looking to be the envy of the neighborhood and for all of the bells and whistles Weber has to offer.