The head to head comparison of the Weber Performer Deluxe vs Premium is pretty simple. The Performer Deluxe has the “Touch N Go” gas ignition system and the Performer Premium does not. This one feature results in the Deluxe costing about $50 more than the Premium.
The question is, do you really want the Touch N Go gas ignition system?
Let’s take a quick look as the ignition system.
The ignition system on the Deluxe is a burner tube sitting underneath the charcoal grate that is connected to a small propane bottle. The ignition button lights the propane and the propane lights your charcoal.
There are multiple ways of using the igniter to light your charcoal. While you can simply make a pile of charcoal directly over the burner the briquettes will not light evenly. It is better to load up the charcoal baskets that come with the grill.
Many people prefer to use the gas burner as a way to light the charcoal in a standard chimney. You can take a peek at this technique in the short video below.
I have always had mixed feelings about the Deluxe. On one hand it just seems wrong to hook a propane bottle up to a charcoal grill. On the flip side, for many people the difficulty of starting charcoal is what keeps them from grilling on a kettle. If this is what it takes to get more people using charcoal then I guess it must be a good thing.
Other Performer Deluxe and Premium Features
Other than the gas ignition everything else between these two grills is the same. They are both 22.5 inch kettles that have been adapted to fit onto a cart instead of the original tripod design of a classic Weber kettle. Let’s look at some of the features these beauties have to offer.
The two most important features of these grills is the built in work table and the Tuck-Away lid holder.
Tuck-Away Lid Holder
One of the most frustrating things about using a standard Weber kettle is not having anywhere to put the lid when you want to work the grill.
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 standard 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 combination of the lid holder and grill table is extremely nice and makes grilling on a kettle a really enjoyable experience.
Another upgrade that comes with both of 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. Here is a video showing this grate system in action.
It is important to note that neither grill comes with any of the inserts as those must be purchased separately.
Both grills also 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.
The final notable feature on these grills is that they have a built in slot that stores a removable electronic timer. I am not sure why you would ever need a timer but, hey, you will get one.
Since the actual kettles are the standard 22.5 inch design they are able to accept all of the cool accessories like a rotisserie or a Slow N Sear.
Both the Performer Deluxe and Premium are amazing grills. It is worth buying either one just to get the Tuck-Away lid holder and the large painted metal work table.
The Touch N Go gas ignition system is available exclusively on the Performer Deluxe and for an extra $50 I think it is worth the money.