The Weber Performer's standard features include a hinged cooking grate, one-touch cleaning, a worktable, a built-in thermometer, a lid catcher, onboard utensil and charcoal storage, and a gas-fueled ignition system. The gas ignition system uses disposable 14.1- or 16.4-ounce propane tanks. Coals are ready for cooking in around 10 minutes. The Weber Performer charcoal grill has 363 square inches of cooking space; if you want a charcoal grill that can cook for a crowd, the Char-Griller Outlaw (*Est. $240) offers more than 1,000 square inches of cooking area and also gets good reviews.
About.com's Derrick Riches includes the Weber Performer in his list of the top 10 charcoal grills for 2012 and provides a full-length review. His is the best professional review we found; on a segment from NBC's "Today" show, a professional reviewer names it the best charcoal grill but has little else to say about it. Amateurs are nearly unanimous in their praise of the Performer as evidenced by posts at Amazon.com and Buzzillions.com and in amateur video reviews posted to ExpoTV.com.
Derrick Riches, the About.com guide to barbeques and grilling, says of the Weber Performer: "This is about as close as you can get to the convenience of gas grilling in a charcoal grill." He ranks the Performer as one of the top 10 charcoal grills, although it's not entirely clear which top-10 spot the grill actually occupies. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Top 10 Charcoal Grills, Derrick Riches
Derrick Riches is the guide to barbeques and grilling for About.com. He says the charcoal-lighting system alone makes the Performer well worth the cost, even though it is essentially a variant of Weber's cheaper kettle grills. In his words, "This is as convenient a charcoal grill as you will find." Riches gives the Performer a perfect rating: 5 out of 5 stars. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Weber Performer Charcoal Grill Review, Derrick Riches
Lou Manfredini recommends the Weber Performer in this brief guide, though mentioning its gas-lighting system is the extent of his description. No testing criteria are mentioned. The site contains a segment from "Today" in which Manfredini displays his recommended grills and discusses their features.
Review: Need to Buy a Grill? Check Out These Top Styles, Lou Manfredini, June 8, 2007
About 80 user reviews of the Weber Performer are available on Amazon.com, but some apply to the version that comes without a gas ignition. Most reviewers feel the gas ignition is one of this grill's best features, so we've focused on the corresponding listings. More than 60 reviewers give the Weber Performer an almost perfect average score. The handful of contributors who do voice complaints focus on minor design choices or say newer versions (from 2005 on) aren't as satisfactory as earlier Performer models.
Review: Weber 1421001 Performer Charcoal Grill, Black, Contributors to Amazon.com
GrillsDirect.com marks the Weber Performer as a customer favorite, and for good reason. More than 50 reviewers give this grill a 4.9-star rating. They say it cooks efficiently, adds great flavor and has a large grilling surface. There are really no cons to mention.
Review: Weber Performer Charcoal Grill, Contributors to GrillsDirect.com
More than 70 contributors give the Weber Performer a 4.8-star average rating. All but one of them say they would recommend it to a friend. The chief complaints were design quibbles, including information about using the lighter system not appearing in the manual and a need for larger charcoal bins.
Review: Weber Performer Charcoal Grill with Touch-N-Go Gas Ignition in Black, Contributors to HomeDepot.com
Viewpoints.com isn't associated with any particular online retailer; instead, contributors submit survey-style reviews of products they own. The Weber Performer receives the most reviews, and one of the highest scores, with an average of 94 points out of 100 possible. The two biggest complaints were that the gas ignition didn't work properly.
Review: Weber Performer Touch-N-Go Gas Ignition Charcoal Grill 847001 Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com