About this time every year I start to wonder whether I should replace my old Weber kettle and upgrade to a Weber Performa for $299.99 which basically seems like it's the Weber kettle with an easier cleaning device, a hinge to rest lid, a side table and the automatic ignition (I use a chimney starter which is very easy). The Weber kettle is great and I normally only have to replace the stainless steel grill every couple of years for about $20. Any opinions?
I have owned this grill for 7 years and have rebilt it once, The older version uses a 5lb propane container for ignition, the new version uses 1lb containers of camp stove gas you find at your local sports stores. The charcoal holding baskets used to be stainless but the newer ones are stamped galvanized steel. The Performer is a fine choice for the price, not so much because it has the ignition system,but for all the storage, the stainless work surfaces, and because it's a Weber.My propane bottle lasts about 2 years of year round grilling, but I still keep a chimney around to have a constant supply of hot charcoal . The Performa was the featured grill in the William's Sonoma catalogs for many years but was dropped when Weber redesigned it. I personally love this grill and ordered enough spare parts to keep her going for another 10 years.
I've had my Performa for 13 years. I had to replace the grill every few years, the igniter twice and the tank once due to the change in valves. Last year I gave in and went back to a gas grill as my primary grill and kept the Performa as a back up for when we have larger parties. Sometimes it's just easier not having to worry about adding more charcoal.