The Performer Gold from last year was replaced by the Premium model, and there’s very little difference between them. You won’t find the Touch-n-Go ignition gas assist in the Premium grills, although they’re featured in the Performer Deluxe (replaced the Performer Platinums). It’s an upgrade I don’t feel is convincing than if you were coming from a chimney starter.
Pardon if this is something you’re already familiar with, but here are the parts that have been upgraded:
-Lid and handle
Otherwise, the 2015 batch uses the same panel, cart, charcoal bin, clock, tool hooks, and other miscellaneous features as the 2014 Performers, so the changes listed above are what I’ll be focusing on.
How this Year’s Changes affected the 2015 Weber Performer Premium
The Lid and Handle- Off-Putting?
If you’re one of those purists, you’ll likely miss the welded, old handles. If you look at the lid, holes are on it, and the new handle is attached through them, using a combo of washer-bolt pieces that’s rather intriguing. A plastic, soft socket wrench is provided to torque them down.
The lid is held on by bolts that flare to a washer of sorts and have a soft, rounded shape, and it’s a soft wrench, basically making it not possible to overly torque the lid attachment. When it’s mounted, it solidly feels attached.
Now the handle is taller (considerably) than the older previous one and the plastic is now protected by a “taco holder” curved heat metal shield so it stays cool enough.
The reality of it is it does well, quite so, and gripping it is kept comfortable even with a fire raging below. Was it necessary? Not so sure, but you can’t object with the handle’s redesign.
➡ Both the vent and thermometer have been moved. Honestly, I’m not happy with either location. The thermometer and vent now sit on the handle’s sides opposite each other, and there’s always going to be one facing you.
I don’t want the vent sitting to my left, but on my right, with the thermometer facing me, as it is with the 2014 Performer models.
Few will be pleased or indifferent with the relocation of the vent. This was a change they didn’t need to make, but the plus side is it’s still offset a bit from the upper point of the lid.
If you’re about 6 feet tall, and keep busy with your grill, you’re probably in there often checking the temp and getting kebabs flipped, and whether or not you owned one of the previous Performers, it’s Pac-Man styled lid angle would often get in the way.
The redesign of the lid bail is not just good, it’s great.
Now the lid is held at an angle that’s just about vertical, around 85 degrees, and the cooking surface is entirely exposed and not at all hard to get to even for guys of a taller stature.
The angle now makes every part of the grill much more ergonomic and usable. Can a change like that make a guy any happier? It will convince many to buckle down for one of the new Performer Premiums.
But why didn’t it go 5 more degrees with the lid and hold it at 90 degrees?
The Ash Catcher
As the updated ash catcher has been advertised, it’s less difficult to get off and on. You just need to have the handle squeezed and down it swings and exits. To get it replaced, you take two of the metal pegs and slot them on the ash bucket side into the metal collar slots. Then with the handle squeezed it gets levered up. Then again, with the handle, there’s a lot of required effort to squeeze it. You’re probably stronger than me, but if you have something like arthritis or a similar issue it might not be that easy getting the ash catcher (the new one) disengaged.
The table is so pretty. Yea, I said it. It’s heavy-gauge, thick steel with a finish of hammertone black-gray (quite handsome). Obviously, it’s very easy to clean, is heatproof, and durable- and it’s got the looks to match- all loss of points to the plastic, gray old table top. It’s compatible as well with paper towel holders, grill lights, magnetic hooks, and other thrown together (deceptively attractive, perhaps?) features. For anyone that’s ever had a scratch, crack, or oil stain on the older table will take this upgrade with appreciation.
The design of the timer and wheels has been slightly redone as well for 2015, in ways that aren’t of significance. Like the timer. Its face isn’t as big. That can be done using your phone anyway.
So, should you buy the new Performer Premium?
If there’s a hole getting burned in your pocket because of $400, then have at it. For the most part, this upgrade is huge from 2014’s Weber Performer, in aspects that build upon the usability, ergonomics, and durability of the grill. For someone that grills at least 3 to 5x per week, that’s important to actually get enjoyment from it. Then again, the ways Weber changed the lid didn’t really need change to begin with, and the lid actually had more functionality than now. Not many points are lost there, but it’s one that should be given attention.
Where you should buy a Weber Performer Premium
I’ve had more luck at Amazon than Home Depot. I remain loyal to Amazon, and they give refunds for things that don’t ship in one piece. Things like that. There isn’t usually any difference in the price at Amazon or elsewhere online ($350 or so as of June 2016).