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Weber Original Kettle 22 Inch Charcoal Grill Review

The grill that started a grilling revolution, the original kettle from Weber. Barely changed from its initial design in many decades, and for good reason. See why we — and everyone else — loves it in our hands on review of this charcoal grilling classic. Do we still think its value for money?

Mark Jenner profile picture
Written by:

Last Updated: February 15, 2024

A Weber Original Kettle charcoal grill isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.

In this Weber Original kettle grill review, I look at the roots of home barbecue, and if they are worth getting back to? I examine its build quality, ease of use, superior heat control and its versatile cooking capabilities.

For the 21st century griller, there is a dizzying array of barbecues available. Natural gas BBQs, propane grills, charcoal, pellet, and kamado grills — and the list goes on.

Where do you even begin? Well, how about at the beginning with the first mainstream commercial BBQ brought into the world?

But, if we ignore all the romance and nostalgia, is it worth owning one still, or is a more “modern” barbecue a better choice?

That’s just one of the questions I’ll answer in this hands on review of the OG of Weber grills.

Ratings and Final Verdict

Close up of weber original kettle with chipped lid.
See that chip in my lid above? Storm damage in 2018, and it’s still going strong!
Scores Out of 5
Performance and Versatility 9.0
Ease of Use 8.0
Build Quality 9.0
Size and Portability 8.0
Temperature Control and Range 8.5
Cleaning and Maintenance 9.0
Value for Money 10.0

The Weber Original Kettle is a true classic that delivers on performance and simplicity. It’s a versatile grill that can handle everything from searing steaks to smoking low and slow with the right technique.

It performs well in traditional charcoal grilling, offering a generous cooking area ideal for dual heat zone setups for cooking a variety of foods. Its durable construction, easy ‘one-touch’ ash removal system, and top and bottom vents for highly effective temperature control make it a practical choice for regular use.

The grill’s quality enameled steel construction means it will last many years, and its ample cooking space is perfect for feeding a large crowd. And its easy-to-use ash removal system simplifies cleanup.

However, it’s not without its flaws; the placement of the thermometer and the quality of the wheels could be improved, and the addition of a side shelf would enhance its usability.

But these issues are minor compared to its overall functionality and affordability. The Weber Original Kettle offers exceptional value for money.

For over 20 years now, this grill — Or one of Webers more modern variations of it — is the grill I always strongly recommend to beginners who are just starting out in the world of BBQ. There’s nothing you can’t cook on it, and at the price it costs and the decades they can last, it’s hard to find better value.


  • Versatile: grills, sears, smokes, and roasts effectively once you truly learn this grill.
  • Classic design and shape that is proven to cook well, and is loved by all.
  • Quality materials and construction.
  • Ample grate space to cook large meals or for many people.
  • Easy cleaning due to the ash removal system and ash catcher.
  • Lid hook is good for keeping the hot lid off the floor.
  • Easy heat control with vents.
  • Budget-friendly.


  • Thermometer placement could be better thought out and on the side of the vent.
  • The wheels are small and not high quality.
  • A small shelf on the side would be useful.

Who Should Buy This Product

Two racks of lamb being seared on a plancha on a weber kettle grill.
One of the best accessories I’ve bought for my Weber Kettle is a solid griddle insert. Just look at the full face sear I got these lamb racks!

The Weber Original Kettle is a perfect match for the traditional enthusiast who revels in the authentic experience of charcoal grilling. It’s especially suited for those who appreciate the classic design and functionality that has stood the test of time.

If you enjoy the hands-on approach of managing a charcoal fire, creating different heat zones, and mastering the art of direct and indirect grilling, this grill is for you.

The Weber Original Kettle’s target market also includes people who have limited space, like those with smaller patios or backyards, since its compact design doesn’t sacrifice grilling area for footprint.

Finally, the easy-to-use ash removal system and durable construction ensure that maintenance is straightforward, making it an excellent choice for both beginners and seasoned grillers looking for a budget-friendly, versatile barbecue option.

On the flip side, the Weber Original Kettle may not be the best choice for those seeking the convenience and precision of gas grilling or the advanced features of modern pellet grills. If you prefer a grill that offers instant, precise temperature control with the turn of a knob, or if you’re looking for electronic ignition and a more hands-off grilling experience, you might find the manual heat management and lack of high-tech features in a charcoal grill to be a drawback.

Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill 22″

The Quintessential Charcoal Grilling Experience where Classic Design Meets Timeless Flavor

weber original kettle 22

Get the classic grilling taste with the Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill 22″. It’s built to last, easy to clean, and gives you lots of space to cook, as well as being versatile enough to grill, sear, smoke, roast, and more. Perfect for anyone who loves to grill and wants great flavor without the fuss.

Our Ratings Explained

Based on more than 20 years of on-and-off use of this grill, here is how I decided to score it and why.

Performance and Versatility

The Weber Original Kettle performs brilliantly in its primary function as a charcoal grill, offering a classic design that’s proven to cook well. It’s capable of grilling, searing, smoking, and roasting, making it as versatile as it gets. The ample cooking space allows for large meals or cooking for many people, for dual zone cooking setups and the ability to control temperature accurately through vents adds to its versatility.

Score: 9/10.

Ease of Use

This grill is straightforward to use, with a design that makes charcoal loading and heat zone creation easy. The learning curve for controlling heat with vents is manageable, making it user-friendly after a few uses. However, the absence of a built-in thermometer for precise temperature monitoring and the need for a separate purchase for a hinged grate for easier charcoal or wood addition during smoking slightly lowers the score.

Score: 8/10.

Build Quality

Weber’s reputation for quality is evident in the Original Kettle’s construction, featuring durable, porcelain-enameled steel that withstands time and use. The materials and construction quality ensure longevity, with many users reporting decades of use. The design includes thoughtful features like a lid hook and an easy ash removal system. However, the wheels and some components could be of higher quality for enhanced durability and mobility.

I’ve had my current one since 2016, and it’s still going strong. I kept the one I had before for about 12 years! I donated it to a friend as I have so many grills, and I hear that s still alive and kicking too!

Score: 9/10.

Size and Portability

The grill offers a generous cooking area suitable for large gatherings, yet its design remains relatively compact for its capacity. And it’s light enough to move around easily, increasing its portability. However, the small wheels and lack of a side handle for easier maneuvering slightly impact its portability score.

Score: 8/10.

Temperature Control and Range

With adjustable dampers on the lid and bowl, the Weber Original Kettle provides good temperature control, allowing for a wide range of cooking temperatures. This feature is crucial for both high-heat grilling and low-and-slow cooking methods. The challenge of adding more fuel for long smoking sessions without a hinged grate slightly affects the score.

Score: 8.5/10.

Cleaning and Maintenance

The One-Touch cleaning system simplifies ash removal, making post-cooking cleanup less of a chore. The porcelain-enameled surface is easy to clean and maintain. Regular maintenance is straightforward, contributing to the grill’s longevity. The need for occasional scraping off carbon buildup and the manual nature of some cleaning tasks slightly reduce the score.

Score: 9/10.

Value for Money

Considering its versatility, build quality, and the brand’s reputation, the Weber Original Kettle offers excellent value for money. It’s priced competitively, especially when considering its performance and durability.

This grill is a solid investment for both beginners and seasoned grillers, offering a superior grilling experience compared to many other charcoal grills in its price range.

Score: 10/10.

General Overview

Two differently rubbed lots of wings on the Weber Kettle charcoal grill, just about to start cooking.

The Weber 22-Inch Original Kettle charcoal grill is, as the name explains, a charcoal-fired grill. It’s a basic grill, as most charcoal barbecues are — no side burners, shelves, infrared, glowing temperature knobs, etc. It’s just you, the charcoal, and the food.

And with just one look at this grill, you know you’re dealing with a classic. This is a straight-up charcoal grill that would be right at home in a Norman Rockwell painting.

As with all charcoal grills, your briquettes or lumps rest near the bottom of the bowl on a grate that keeps them off the base of the pit to allow airflow. Up higher, food cooks on the food grate, and you top it all off with the dome-shaped lid to trap the heat and smoke.

Temperature is controlled with vents at the bottom of the bowl, and one up top on the lid.

The Original Kettle is a practical barbecue for straight-up grilling — searing and finishing steaks, chops, fish, veggies, and more. Plus, its generous size and ample room under the lid make it easy to roast large items over a longer period.

Although it’s not a purpose-built smoker, it is certainly possible to do some smoking on your charcoal grill with the help of the charcoal snake method and some good temp control via the vents.

It’s a fairly large grill with lots of primary cooking space. Grilling for a large family or a crowd of guests is no problem. We love this grill, and it always appears highly in our roundup of the best charcoal grills available.

Manufacturer’s Specifications

  • Dimensions (H, W, D): 39.5” x 22.5” x 25”
  • Cooking area: 363 sq. In.
  • Plated steel cooking grate
  • Heavy-gauge steel charcoal grill
  • Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl
  • Aluminum dampers
  • Aluminum ash catcher

Why You Can Trust Us and this Review

Owning and frequently using two Weber Original Kettles over 20 years has provided me with invaluable insights into its performance, setting the foundation for a review you can trust.

I’ve been BBQ-ing and grilling since 2005, and for almost all that time, I’ve had at least one Weber kettle, and at times as many as three different models. So not only do I own this classic grill, but I’ve also spent countless years cooking all sorts of meals on it.

I’ve also been testing and reviewing grills on this site since 2017, so I am able to compare the Weber Kettle Original’s features and performance against the scores of other grills and smokers I have used and owned in my life.

This ensures that my advice can be trusted and will help you make the most informed decision about this grill.

Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill 22″

The Quintessential Charcoal Grilling Experience where Classic Design Meets Timeless Flavor

weber original kettle 22

Get the classic grilling taste with the Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill 22″. It’s built to last, easy to clean, and gives you lots of space to cook, as well as being versatile enough to grill, sear, smoke, roast, and more. Perfect for anyone who loves to grill and wants great flavor without the fuss.

Deep Dive Review

In traditional style, let’s take it from the top where you’ll find a single vent offset from the center of the lid to help you control the out-flow of smoke.

And right at the peak of the dome is a nylon handle with a heat shield to keep you from burning yourself when you lift the lid.

Close up of weber kettle top vent, handle and heat shi.

And, what’s under the lid?

First, you’ll find ample space on the steel cooking great for a whole lotta food. You could readily cook half-a-dozen steaks at once or enough burgers to feed a baseball team, including the relief pitchers.

Down below is the steel charcoal grate upon which you place your fuel.

It’s a relatively large grill, which means it’s a versatile grill. You can arrange your coals for two-zone cooking, roasting, searing — anything you like! That’s the advantage of size.

What it’s not ideal for is smoking. Let me qualify that statement; you can absolutely smoke meat in this grill, but it is a bit of a chore.

Overhead shot of weber kettle, with a spatchcock chicken and some wood on the gr.

For starters, the bottom vent/ash dump isn’t really set up for precision control. And, even if you do manage to get your temperature where you want it, the one-piece cooking grate makes it virtually impossible to add more charcoal or wood. (If you plan to smoke, you’ll want to purchase a hinged grate separately.)

One feature you also don’t get with the Original Kettle is a thermometer in the lid.

But, that’s not a bad thing, in my estimation. Lid thermometers are seldom accurate, and they tell you the temperature at the top of the dome when you really need to know what’s going on at the grate.

Buy a wireless digital meat thermometer, you’ll be much happier over the long run.

Design and Build Quality

From an aesthetic standpoint, it’s hard not to like this classic-looking grill. It has changed very little since the actual original Weber… and why should it? Just to look at it is to conjure up memories of family cookouts and good times — even if you’ve never owned one.

Anyway, there are many appealing, well-thought-out features, despite it being a basic grill.

The lower shelf is nicely integrated into the simple stand/wheel assembly. It’s only a few wires so is’t up to much, but is sufficient to set your tool case down on, or a few pieces of smoking wood, or your next half load of charcoal.

Close up of Weber kettle ash catcher and storage sh.

Weber has used good materials in the construction of this grill, and while not what we’d call “heavy-duty,” it is durable porcelain-enameled steel that stands the test of time, and in the many Facebook groups dedicated to weber products, many people show off their 30 year+ old kettles. Incredible!

There’s a hook inside the lid for hanging on the bowl which helps prevent damage to it, and a special handle just for rolling the grill grate around.

The hook on inner lid of a Weber kettle, for hanging on the b.

Ease of Use

The Weber Original Kettle is no more difficult to use than any other charcoal grill. In fact, it’s probably easier than most, given how roomy it is.

It’s easy to load with charcoal, plenty of room to create different heat zones, and there’s plenty of room for food on the grill. (Weber says 13 burgers; I say more like 10, but I cook a big burger.)

Heat control is relatively easy with both top and bottom vents. There’s a learning curve, of course, when it comes to controlling heat on a charcoal grill, but once learned, it’s plain sailing from there.

Assembly isn’t too complicated, but you will need a few tools, including a hammer, a Philips screwdriver, and a wrench.

Still, you’ll have it up and running in no time, especially if you follow guide to using a charcoal grill that’s a complete A to Z that will help you master this form of cooking.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Inside the Weber Kettle Original grill with grates removed, showing the ash removal 'fans'.

Clean the cooking grate as you would any other grate — use a good grill cleaning tool to remove food debris (when it’s still warm), but don’t use anything metal. You may want to occasionally wash it with warm water and perhaps a mild soap. Similarly, you’ll probably have to scrape stuff off the lower charcoal grate, though possibly not after each use.

What you will have to do after each use is remove unused charcoal and ash that falls to the bottom.

Some of the ash will fall through to the ash catcher a few inches below the bowl. For the rest, Weber has equipped the Original Kettle with its “One-touch” ash removal system:

This system is a rotating group of three blades you turn with a handle projecting from near the bottom of the bowl. Turning the blades pushes the ash into three holes and down into the catcher. Just go heavy with it, turning back and forth, scraping and grinding the spent coals and ashes into pieces that fall into the catcher. It works well!

When it comes to cleaning the lid and bowl, burning charcoal and cooking food will cause carbon to accumulate on them. This is normal, and if you’ve used charcoal before, you’ve seen it; it looks like peeling paint. Just scrape this off gently on occasion to keep it out of your food.

Overall, it’s well-designed, well-built, and deserving of the Weber name.

Rotisserie Accessory

I feel I should talk about versatility via upgrades. And if I do, I’d be remiss not to mention the rotisserie accessory. It ups your grilling game by allowing you to spin anything from game birds to porchetta over a smoky charcoal fire, resulting in the tastiest, most moist self-basted meats that are incredibly juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside.

It opens up a whole new world of cooking, and I seriously recommend you get one. Just look at the photos of the picanha, partridges, and porchetta cooks I did above. I enjoy cooking this way, and the results are phenomenal.

What Others Say

At the time of writing, these are the collective scores from user feedback at a handful of major online retailers:

  • Rating: 4.7/5 from 2,176 reviews.
  •  Rating: 4.7/5 from‎ 2,684 reviews.
  • 4.7/5 from 6,793 reviews.

The review of the Weber Original Kettle 22-inch Charcoal Grill on carries a highly positive sentiment, underscoring the grill’s enduring appeal and versatility. The review’s positive tone is rooted in the grill’s ability to meet the needs of both novice and experienced grillers, emphasizing its straightforward design that doesn’t compromise on functionality.

The review highlights the grill’s simplicity and effectiveness without the need for complex features. The Weber Kettle is praised for its durability and flexibility in cooking methods, allowing users to easily sear steaks with a coal pile on one side or engage in 2-zone roasting. This adaptability, coupled with the grill’s robust construction, earns it the Gold Medal, a testament to its quality and performance.

Warranty and Support

Weber has a lot of confidence in its products, and they back it up with an exceptional warranty.

The bowl and lid are protected against burn-through and rust-through for 10 years. The one-touch cleaning system comes with a 5-year warranty, also covering burn-through and rust-through, plus you get 5 years on the plastic bits, not including fading or discoloring. Everything else gets a 2-year warranty.

If you need any kind of help with your Weber Original Kettle (or any Weber grill), the first place to go is the official website.

There you can search for help with your particular issue and browse an extensive assortment of FAQs and videos. Plus, you can download a copy of the grill’s owner manual and schematics — very handy to have on your phone sometimes! There’s also a form you can fill out, accessible via the “Leave us a message” button.

Just about every part can be ordered if you’ve broken or lost something, and you can send an email to ask just about anything. If you’re the type that likes to talk to actual people, give the toll-free number a ring. They answer the phones 7 days a week between 7 am and 8 pm Central Time.

Don’t forget to download the Weber app for lots of helpful info, subscribe to the newsletter and follow them on Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

Whew! Weber really, really, wants to be your friend.

Summary of Our Findings

Will it be a yay or a nay for this time-tested charcoal grill, and why? Here’s where it gets real.

What We Like

Cooking with charcoal is a pleasure, and this is one of the purest expressions of the craft. Other than a couple of convenience features, this is just straight-up grilling.

And, yes, I totally love those few features; not having to hand-scoop the ash is a blessing, and the lid hook will save you from dents and scratches. Plus, the size-to-weight ratio is fabulous; there’s a lot of grate space, but it’s light enough to move it around to wherever I feel like grilling.

Additionally, I can cook just about anything I like thanks to the ample diameter (22 inches, obviously) and the bulbous dome. Roast shoulder, whole chicken, or a small turkey? No problem.

I’ve used the charcoal snake to smoke on my kettle(s) many times. It’s a fun rewarding experience, though to be perfectly honest I now never smoke on this grill because I tend to always smoke on my Kamado Joes. However, you can smoke on it, and many people do very often.

charcoal snake set up on a weber kettle.

What Could Be Improved

Because of the kettle-shape design, there’s no practical way to include a secondary cooking surface for cooking delicate items, warming buns, etc.

I prefer the weber, coated cast-iron grates to the plated steel grates the Original Kettle comes with, but there are worse things, and the plated steel still cooks relatively well.

Finally, the lack of a side shelf is unfortunate. If a rounded barbecue like a BGE can have one, surely this could, too? At least you get a small shelf down in the legs, but I’d love a handy spot to rest my sauces, rubs, tools, thermometer transmitter, drink, and so on.

Will I Get Value for My Money?

If the Weber Original Kettle were a gas grill, at this price, we’d say, “buyer beware — surely it’s just too cheap to be good, right?”

But, that’s the beauty of charcoal; you can get a lot for a little because they’re so simple.

That doesn’t mean all charcoal grills are created equal, however. This is a superior grill to most on the market — it’s built to function and to last, and it’s worth every penny.

Is this a Recommended Product?

Heck, yeah it is!

There’s nothing quite like the simple pleasure of cooking over charcoal on a nice grill like this. If you’ve never cooked with charcoal before, the Original Kettle is an excellent grill for discovering this style of barbecue.

And, if you already know charcoal, but you’re looking for a better experience than what you’ve got now, you can’t go wrong with a Weber.

Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill 22″

The Quintessential Charcoal Grilling Experience where Classic Design Meets Timeless Flavor

weber original kettle 22

Get the classic grilling taste with the Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill 22″. It’s built to last, easy to clean, and gives you lots of space to cook, as well as being versatile enough to grill, sear, smoke, roast, and more. Perfect for anyone who loves to grill and wants great flavor without the fuss.

Alternative Products

If you’re looking for alternatives to the Original Kettle grill, maybe one of these two grills that bring a little extra to the kettle party will be just what you’re looking for?

Napoleon PRO22K-LEG-2 Charcoal Grill

Napoleon PRO22K-LEG-2 shot from the side, on a wooden decking.

The Napoleon PRO Charcoal Kettle Grill PRO22K-LEG-2 surpasses the Weber Original Kettle Grill 22″ with its innovative features.

Its WAVE™ cooking grids, made from porcelain-coated cast iron, offer better heat distribution and sear marks than Weber’s steel grate. The Napoleon’s hinged grids and lid improve access to the charcoal bed and remove the need to put the lid on the floor or balance it on the lower body. This all enhances control and convenience, unlike Weber’s less accessible design.

The Napoleon PRO Air Control system allows for more precise temperature adjustments, outperforming Weber’s damper control. The grill also includes an internal stainless steel heat diffuser for more even cooking and easier cleanup.

Priced as a premium option, the Napoleon grill offers advanced features for serious grillers seeking better control, convenience, and durability. BUT…you will pay more than double what you will for the Weber.

For more details, check out my hands on review of the Napoleon PRO kettle, and a few cooks I did on this excellent grill.

Slow ‘N Sear Charcoal Kettle Grill & Smoker

Slow 'N Sear Charcoal Kettle Grill & Smoker isolated on white.

The SNS Grills Deluxe Kettle Grill is a level above the Weber with its Slow ‘N Sear® Deluxe insert. It offers two-zone cooking for even heat distribution, a leap over Webers traditional grills. This feature ensures versatile cooking options, from smoking to searing.

It also includes a side shelf for prep and storage and a lid cradle for safety and cleanliness, enhancements missing in most kettle models. The grill’s 5 vent ash removal system eases cleanup, while a “Smoke Hole” and “Probe Port” improve airflow and temperature monitoring, making grilling more efficient.

Priced above the Weber Original Kettle Grill 22”, the Deluxe Kettle Grill’s higher cost reflects its superior features and construction, offering value to both new and seasoned grillers. It represents an investment in quality and grilling innovation.


The Weber Original Kettle is a classic that has stood the test of time, offering a straightforward, no-frills approach to grilling that many will find appealing.

Its ability to grill, sear, smoke, and roast makes it a versatile choice for the outdoor cook. However, it’s important to consider the limitations, such as the lack of a side shelf, thermometer, and the basic nature of its features.

Thank you for making it to the end of this Weber Original Kettle review. If you have any questions, or any words of advice to give others concerning the original kettle, please do drop them in the comments section below, I’ll be sure to answer every comment.

Happy grilling!

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Mark Jenner profile picture

Written By: Mark Jenner

I'm a BBQ fanatic and have been barbecuing and grilling since 2005. I founded FoodFireFriends in 2017 and have extensively written for the site since.

I love cooking outdoors over live fire and smoke whatever the weather, and I currently own over 30 grills and smokers of all varieties that I frequently cook on to produce epic food.

My goal with this site is to help as many people as possible enjoy and be good at doing the same.

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  1. Avatar for Kevin Hallam Kevin Hallam says:

    We like to barbecue in the Parks on the weekends and bring a portable charcoal barbecue with us. Does this easily break down for transportation. Also, we go camping in a tent, and we put our gear in our SUV and there isn’t a lot of room. How will this fare.

    1. Avatar for Mark Jenner Mark Jenner says:

      Hi Kevin,

      I’d say it’s too large, not really portable, doesn’t break down too well and because of its shape isn’t the easiest to pack too. I’d check out these portable charcoal grills.

  2. Timeless and very versatile. Endless accessories available from griddles to rotisserie.

  3. Avatar for James Synowicz James Synowicz says:

    Get a metal wood box, for smoking, or put the wood chips in Aluminum foil, been doing it for 45 years in Weber! Very easy, not hard to do!

  4. Great job , I completly agree.

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