When looking for a charcoal grill you may find it hard to distinguish between what’s available. You of course want one that will do the job, and you may have specific requirements in mind, but how to tell them all apart? This can be made even harder when looking at grills from the same brand.
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a Weber when looking for a kettle-style charcoal grill. The founder of Weber actually invented this type of grill, and Weber is one of the most popular and reputable brands out there. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at the Weber 22” and 26”, break their features down, and compare the two so you can find your next grill!
- Specifications: Dimensions-39.5″ H X 22.5″ W X 27″ D (with lid closed)
- Diameter-22 inches
- Total Cooking Surface-363 square inches
- Grilling Grate-Plated steel
- Charcoal Grate-Heavy-gauge steel
- Warranty-10 years (bowl and lid)
What we like about the Weber 22”: It’s a good option for beginners, as it is very easy to use. It is also sturdily built and has a durable construction. It’s also impressive when it comes to retaining heat, and it has a handy ash management system.
What we don’t like about the Weber 22”: While it is fairly easy to use compared to other grills out there, temperature control can be quite complicated, especially for low-and-slow cooking applications.
Its bowl configurations also mean you have to remove the top grate in order to use a chimney starter.
- Specifications: Dimensions-42.9″ H X 27″ W X 33″ D (with the lid closed)
- Diameter-26 inches
- Total Cooking Surface-508 square inches
- Grilling Grate-Stainless steel
- Charcoal Grate-Heavy-gauge steel
- Warranty-10 years (bowl and lid)
What we like about the Weber 26”: We really appreciate how versatile the Weber 26” is. It offers plenty of grilling space and has a built-in lid thermometer. Its One-Touch Cleaning System with a high-capacity ash catcher also makes cleaning up easier.
What we didn’t like about the Weber 26”: The unit of the Weber 26” can be hard to find, and set-up can also be quite difficult as the legs are quite tricky to attach when assembling the grill.
Let the battle commence!
Now that we’ve covered the basics of each model, let’s take a closer look at their features and compare the two.
The bowl and lid on both the 22 and 26-inch models are made of porcelain-enameled steel. This material is not only easy to clean and wards off the rust but also holds heat well. This means very little need to frequently add coals.
The removable ash catcher featured in the Premium series is made of aluminum and not only reduces the amount of time spent emptying the grill but also gives the grill a sleeker appearance.
Both units come with glass-reinforced nylon handles on the bowl and lid. You won’t need oven mitts when checking your progress, as the lid handle is protected by a heat shield. Both lids also contain rust-resistant aluminum dampers.
In terms of durability, both models are evenly matched.
While the charcoal grates Weber offers are of heavy-gauge steel construction, their cooking grates are a tad different.
The Weber 22” model has a cooking grate made of plated steel that is easy to clean as well as being durable. Meanwhile, the 26” model has regular stainless steel grates. However, both models are hinged so you can add more charcoal to the fire while you’re cooking.
If you look after your grill, the grates should last for several years. However, the 22-inch model wins this round as its cooking grids have an extra layer of protection.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the best aspects of the Weber 26” is how spacious it is. If you need a grill with plenty of cooking space, the 26” may be the grill for you.
The 26” model has a cooking space measuring 508 square inches in total. This gives you enough space to cook about 25 average-sized hamburger patties.
Meanwhile, the 22” model is just 363 inches and will fit about 17 patties. When not in comparison to the 22” model this is pretty impressive, but it definitely falls short of the 26” capacity. A larger cooking space also means a wider range of cooking options. With a cooking space as large as the 26” model, you can easily cook large cuts of meat like beef brisket, or grill slow-roast whole chickens.
Because of this, the 26” is the clear winner here.
Ash Management System
Weber’s One-Touch Cleaning System is available for both these units and consists of high-quality damper blades and damper control rods that make for easy ash removal.
The components of this system are made of aluminized steel on the 22” model, while on the 26” model this system is made of stainless steel construction.
While aluminized steel conducts heat better than stainless steel, this is irrelevant when it comes to the grills’ damper system. However, as stainless steel is stronger than aluminized steel this does give the 26” the edge.
Make sure to clean the bowl of the kettle grill regularly, to keep the One-Touch cleaning system running at peak performance. Small pieces of charcoal that fall through the grate will clog the system, causing the blades to curl upward when you apply pressure to the handle.
If you feel any resistance when you push the cleaning handle, carefully turn it in the other direction. This should free up the blades and let you remove whatever is clogging the system.
Heat Retention and Temperature Control
Unlike other kettle-style grills on the market, both the 22” and 26” feature a built-in lid thermometer. This helps you monitor the internal temperature while cooking, and is especially useful during indirect cooking applications.
The top-quality construction and design of Weber kettle grills help the units retain their heat for a very long time indeed. The air vents made of rust-resistant aluminum can be moved easily, which gives you even more control over the temperature.
However, the 22” also offers a low and slow vent setting, which means it doubles up as a smoker. While this system can be difficult for beginners to get their heads around initially, it is still an impressive feature that gives the 22” greater versatility.
On the whole, assembling a charcoal grill is fairly simple. Usually, you know which parts go where.
This applies to the Original Kettle Premium series, but the 22” and 26” grills use a spring clip/push pin leg assembly which is meant to make set-up even easier. This is certainly true of the 22” but on the 26” it can sometimes require a bit of fiddling around. We can’t say for sure why this may be. It could be due to the 26” being slightly bigger, or just a design flaw.
Nonetheless, the 22” is easier to set up than the 26.”
There is no difference between the warranties on the 22” and 26.”
They both come with a 10-year warranty on the lid and bowl. If either of those components should burn or rust within 10 years then you will be entitled to free replacements. As far as charcoal grills go though, this is very impressive. Meanwhile, the One-Touch Cleaning System has a 5 year warranty period.
Plastic components are under warranty for 5 years following the date of purchase. However, this does not include cosmetic damage such as discoloration or fading. All other parts have a 2-year warranty.
What sets them apart?
Besides the obvious difference in size, these two grills are practically identical. Especially in the aspects that matter. But there are some slight differences between the two to keep in mind.
For one, the Weber 22” has an angled lid hook, which is found inside the lid of the grill to allow for easy storage. The Weber 22” is also available in black, green, crimson, and copper.
Meanwhile, the Weber 26” has a tuck-away lid holder, and char-basket charcoal fuel holders. The latter makes it easier to arrange the coals for either direct or indirect heating. The Weber 26” has fewer color options than the 22”, and is only available in black and glen-blue.
As we have seen, both the Weber 22” and the Weber 26” have many great features that make them evenly matched. So which one should you choose? Well, it all depends on what you’re looking for in a kettle-style charcoal grill.
We would recommend a Weber 22” if you’re looking for cooking grates that are easy to clean, you cook for a small group of people regularly (3-4), you would like to use the grill as a smoker too, and if you want a wider selection of color to choose from.
However, we recommend the Weber 26” if you frequently use indirect heat when grilling and if you require a lot of cooking space.