I think the standard Weber Master Touch is the better version because it includes a warming rack and is compatible with the Gourmet BBQ System (GBS). The GBS unlocks your grill, allowing you to cook pizzas, stir-fries, and more. You’ll pay an extra $90 for the grill, though, and more accessories, so go for the Premium if you’re on a budget.
I’m a Weber fanboy, and the Weber kettle grill is many people’s first charcoal grill. (Including mine!) I think they make some of the finest grills around, and they’re priced to move.
But navigating which grill to choose can be confusing – I’m here to help you make the right choice! Let’s figure out which Weber kettle is right for you. We’re going to take a deep dive and cover everything you need to know about the Weber Master Touch vs Premium Kettle Grills.
The Original Premium Grill is a more affordable, slightly smaller, and more simplified version of the Weber Master Touch. Meanwhile, the Master Touch kettle boasts the ability to add GBS inserts. They are both charcoal-fuel grills.
There is a roughly $90 difference between the two, depending on what color you select. Let’s take a peek at the key differences in features.
The biggest and most important difference (besides cost) between these two grills is the GBS compatibility. The Weber Kettle Master Touch has GBS compatibility. The Original Premium does not.
If you’re serious about grilling and BBQ, investing in the Master Touch and GBS is definitely worth considering. It’ll unlock your grill in a ton of exciting ways – more on that in a bit.
It’s also worth noting that the total cooking area of the Original Premium kettle is smaller than the total cooking area of the premium Master Touch model, even though they have the same 22-inch diameter bowl size. The Master Touch has 443 square inches of total cooking area. Meanwhile, the Weber Kettle Premium version has 363 square inches.
The extra cooking space on the Master Touch is due to the secondary warming rack, which the Original Premium lacks.
Let’s talk about the GBS, also known as the gourmet BBQ system. There’s a removable grid in the center of the Master Touch grill grate, which allows the installation of multiple cooking accessories, including: a pizza stone, chicken rotisserie, searing grid, or cast iron dish (and more). Only one accessory can be used at a time.
Cost, cooking area, and GBS compatibility are the three main factors for me. There are a couple of little differences between the Master Touch and Original Premium worth noting, as well.
The Master Touch is a couple of inches taller than the Premium. If you’re a tall human, you’ll need to bend over less on the Master Touch.
The Master Touch has a hinged lid, so it opens and shuts with ease. These hinges mount the lid to the grill with bolts and thumbscrews. The Original Premium lid can be removed completely and can be suspended from the body of the grill by a small hook that’s welded to the lid.
Also, the Master Touch has an insulated vent on the lid. This limits the risk of burns when you want to adjust the airflow. The vent on the Original Premium is metal – wear heat-resistant gloves when adjusting, or tap it with the business end of a pair of tongs.
The Original Premium is available in 3 colors, while the Master Touch is available in over a dozen colors.
Finally, both grills have the One-Touch cleaning system and hinged cooking grates.
Let’s dive into what you need to know about the Weber Original Premium grill.
The Weber Original Premium, like the Weber Master Touch, is known for its iconic kettle shape. Both grills are fueled with charcoal briquettes. They both have roughly the same dimensions: they are compact grills that look great in any backyard.
The Original Premium grill has a plastic handle on the lid that protects your fingers from heat. There’s a hook inside the lid that allows it to hang from the grill’s lip. The bowl handles are also plastic and have integrated tool hooks where you can hang your grill tools.
The Original Premium is currently available in three colors.
Two weather-resistant wheels make it easy to move. The grill grate has hinges on the sides that allow you to add coals and wood chunks when you need to.
It’s a compact grilling machine. While it lacks the bells and whistles like the Gourmet BBQ System, hinged lid, and warming rack, it’s a dandy, affordable grill that can be the workhorse of your outdoor cooking.
If you’re someone who only grills on the weekends, and most of your cooks are traditional backyard fare – hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, and the like – then this is the grill for you. It’s reliable, extremely durable, and affordable.
Once you learn to manage a fire (use a chimney to start your coals, open the vents to increase the heat, and close them to cool things down), you will be cranking out food fit for kings and queens on the Weber Original Premium.
The standard Master Touch is 22 inches (or 56 centimeters) in cooking diameter. It has a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid. It’s equipped with an all-weather lid handle and bowl handles as well. On the bowl handles, the smart engineers at Weber added integrated tool hooks. You can hang your grill tools directly from the bowl handles. Genius!
It also comes with a lid thermometer and a rust-proof lid vent. It’s available in a rainbow of colors.
Let’s dive into what the GBS cooking grate can do.
The GBS is a removable insert in the center of the Master Touch. This is a modular cooking system on which it is possible to cook both scrambled eggs and a Neapolitan pizza on the same grill. It’s an engineering marvel.
The GBS allows you to use any of the Gourmet Barbecue System accessories. These include a pizza stone, sear grate, wok, griddle, poultry roaster, and more. Head to the GBS accessories section on Amazon or any of your favorite stores to see all the available accessories. These accessories need to be purchased additionally.
The Master Touch also has a convenient hinged cooking grate which gives access to your charcoal during cook times. This is great if you need to add more coals for a long cook or throw some wood chunks on for a smoke.
There’s also a secondary warming rack on the Master Touch that offers more cooking space. It’s handy if you’re cooking meats that are slightly different sizes, like chicken thighs. Stick fully cooked chicken on the rack to keep it warm while the rest of the pieces come up to temperature.
You can also buy charcoal baskets for the Master Touch. Pitmasters use these to cook over indirect heat – simply pour coals on the baskets, place the baskets on the sides of the grill, and put whatever you’re smoking in the center. If you’re a cheapskate like me, skip the baskets and use a grill tool to pile those briquettes to the sides.
The Master Touch features the enclosed ash management system, too. The ash collects in the bottom “One-Touch” basket, which can be removed and dumped with one hand. Just give those coals time to cool before disposing!
The Master Touch comes with two all-weather wheels. They should last decades.
The Master Touch is a dandy grill with all the bells and whistles. If wood-fired pizzas, stir-fries, and griddle cooking are things you like to cook up, this is the grill for you.
This is a great grill, but it’s not available in the United States yet – stay tuned. But if you live in Canada or Europe, this might be your next grill.
This grill is ideal for low and slow cooking. It comes with a stainless steel heat deflector and a charcoal ring to help keep your charcoal all together if you’re doing like the snake or minion method. You also get your charcoal holders as well.
You also get a nice little heat guard on your ash capture. You can remove the hinge on the Premium if you want to use the charcoal rotisserie. You just unscrew it and slide it off.
I’m introducing this because it boasts features that a lot of the Master Touch and Premium users were asking for.
The Weber Master Touch E5770 has a lot of other features and differences from the standard Master Touch or the Original Premium series.
So, the first key difference between the Master Touch GBS is the hinged lid. While the Master Touch has a rollback lid, the GBS Premium has a heavy-duty hinge mounted to its exterior. The hinge is spring-loaded which allows the kettle grill lid to be opened and closed quickly.
The lid can also be removed from the hinge quickly and easily with just a few turns of the black screw cap. This means that it is still possible to use grill accessories such as a rotisserie spit or pizza ring.
The heat diffuser plate is probably familiar to you if you’ve got a ceramic grill. In ceramic grill land, it’s known as a deflector stone. On the Weber Master-Touch GBS Premium, the diffuser plate fulfills exactly the same purpose: it deflects the heat, creating an indirect cooking environment.
It’s great for indirect grilling or smoking and allows you to utilize almost 100% use of the cooking grate.
Also known from other Weber grills is the new Char Ring, a porcelain-enameled charcoal ring.
In combination with the diffuser plate, the Char Ring is the ideal setup for smoking, low and slow cooking, and baking.
The charcoal ring can be used in two ways: either you put the briquettes around the outside and work with the minion ring method, or you fill the inner area with briquettes, add smoking chips and place the diffuser plate over it.
I recently tested and analyzed the difference between the Weber Performer Deluxe and Premium grills. If you’re looking for a grill with a cart and table, check out that review and the Performer Deluxe.
For an additional $90, you get a GBS-compatible system, a larger cooking space, a very good hinged lid, and an insulated vent. The additional cost to upgrade from the Original Premium to the Master Touch kettles is well worth it if you grill frequently, or you would make use of the GBS accessories..
The Original Premium kettles are definitely worth the price they’re sold for. If you’re on a budget, the Original Premium will handle almost anything you throw at it.
It’s the grill that I started with, and it’s great for the entry-level grill master. It’s a classic for a reason – it’s the grill that started it all. It’s convenience and simple assembly are amazing. That’s why it’s more popular than the standard models.
But you have to note that it lacks a warming rack, and GBS compatibility, and has a smaller cooking space.
All in all, the Master Touch grill is my choice. It’s got all the nifty features that you’d want from a charcoal BBQ. People seem to really love it. The Original Premium may be the more popular for the reason that it’s $90 cheaper. But it doesn’t feature GBS compatibility. It’s a matter of what your budget is and what you need your grill to do.
I’d urge you to go for the Master Touch if you’ve been bitten by the grill bug. This grill is capable of doing almost everything.
However, if the GBS doesn’t interest you, or you don’t have the extra budget to get GBS accessories, you can, of course, choose the Original Premium model. It’s a mighty fine piece of grilling equipment.
I would have chosen and recommended the newer E5770 as my overall best because of the extra features. Unfortunately, while it’s currently available in Europe and Canada it’s not yet available to US customers.