Weber Smokey Mountain 18 vs 22: Supersize Me?

Weber Smokey Mountain 18 vs 22

It’s almost time to get a new smoker!! Woohoo! But, just to decide on which size first… You’ve made a good choice going for a Weber Smokey Mountain. And, the fact it actually comes in a few sizes is actually an added bonus.

You, understandably, only want to buy one once. So, lets help you decide how much space you actually need before you’re just paying more for the grill and higher running costs.

In this article, we’ll go over the differences between the Weber Smokey Mountain 18 vs 22. And, we’ll break it down into three important factors that’ll help you choose which one’s right for you.

Before we get started, keep in mind that the only difference between the 18″ and 22″ Weber Smokey Mountains is the size. They’re otherwise pretty much identical. So, either way, you’re making a good choice.

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The Quick Version: Weber Smokey Mountain 18 vs 22

The 18″ Weber Smokey Mountain and the 22″ version are practically identical. The major difference is their size.

The 18″ WSM houses 481 square inches of cooking space while the 22″ gives you almost 50% more with a total of 726 square inches. Both areas are split over 2 vertically stacked grates. And, while the 18″ is big enough to fit a smaller rack of ribs laid flat, the 22″ is what you need if you want to lay out a whole brisket.

Price-wise, there’s not a huge difference between the 18″ and 22″ Weber Smokey Mountains. Both are extremely good value for money. But, keep in mind that fueling the larger 22″ smoker will cost you more as you’re heating a substantially bigger space. If you’re using it all, it’s still worth it.

Whichever size you choose, you can’t go wrong! The WSM is a solid barbecue that can take you all the way from beginner to competitor. It’s well-built, durable, and, easy to use, making it ideal for anyone who loves that charcoal-smoked flavor.

A Bit About the Weber Smokey Mountain

Since you’re looking for info about which size Weber Smokey Mountain you should buy, it’s probably safe to assume to know what they are and why they’re such a good smoker. If so, feel free to skip over this section.

But, as a super quick intro, the Weber Smokey Mountain (also known as the WSM) is one of the most popular dedicated charcoal smokers on the market.

Industry leader, Weber, took their tried and true kettle barbecue and modified the shape to make an easy to use smoker that’s got the same high-quality finish as all of Weber’s products and an attractively low price.

The vertical design of the WSM makes them relatively fuel efficient. And, the results you can get cooking on one of these can definitely be competition worthy.

Regardless of size, inside the Weber Smokey Mountain you’ve got 2 cooking grates, stacked one over another. Below that is a water pan and charcoal grate that can both be accessed through the separate fuel door. This makes it easy to add charcoal, wood and water without having to move what you’re cooking above.

Overall, the Weber Smokey Mountain promises great performance and excellent quality. It’s a solid choice for anyone looking for a charcoal water smoker whether it’s your first time smoking or your 20th year around the block.

For more information, read our full review of the Weber Smokey Mountain here.

What Sizes Does the Weber Smokey Mountain Come In?

The Weber Smokey Mountain comes in 3 different sizes; the smaller 14″, mid-sized 18″ and super-sized 22″.

You might have also heard people talking about the WSM 14.5, 18.5 and 22.5. They’re the same thing. It’s just discrepancies over the actual size. But, because Weber call them by their whole numbers, we’ll run with that too.

The number size of the Weber Smokey Mountain refers to the cooking grate diameter. That’s the largest distance from one side of the cooking grate to the other.

If you’re a stickler for all the facts, the grate diameter isn’t actually a whole 18 or 18.5 inches. The diameter of the whole unit isn’t that either. But, the inch measurements do give you a good rough idea of how much cooking space you get on each of these models, plus, how much of a jump it is to the next size up.

The table below gives a run-down of big and how much cooking space you get on each of the Weber Smokey Mountain’s.

Model

Cooking Capacity

Overall Dimensions

Price

WSM 14" Cooker

286 square inches

31.4"H X 14.7"W X 14.7"D

WSM 18" Cooker

481 square inches

41"H X 19"W X 21"D

WSM 22" Cooker

726 square inches

48.5"H X 23"W X 24"D

What Are The Differences Between the WSM 18 and 22?

While the WSM 14″ has a slightly different design, the ONLY notable difference between the 18 inch Weber Smokey Mountain and the 22 inch Weber Smokey Mountain is the size.

The 18″ cooker gives you 481 square inches of cooking space, split over two grates. And, the 22″ cooker steps it up to 726 square inches over both grates.

The bigger cooking space logically means the whole barbecue unit is larger as well. And, it’s heavier and a little less portable.

You also might have noticed that the larger 22″ version has a second handle at the front of the lid to help you negotiate the increased size. Other than that, they’re pretty much identical.

So, What Size Weber Smokey Mountain Should I Get?

When you’re deciding between the WSM 18 and 22, you’re really looking at 3 different things:

  1. How much food are you going to cook each time? And, are you cooking larger cuts?
  2. Will you be using it as a portable smoker?
  3. What’s your budget?

We go into more detail below…

Cooking Capacity

The mid-sized 18 inch Weber Smokey Mountain gives you 481 square inches of cooking space split over the two racks.

What does that look like in terms of food? You could fit 4 smaller pork butts, 4 smaller chickens or even 4-6 smaller racks of ribs. That should feed about 8-10 people from a single smoke, depending on their appetite and the sides you serve with it.

The 18 inch grates will fit smaller racks of ribs laid flat (you’ll still save space by using a rib rack). But, the only way you’ll get a whole brisket in is by draping it over a chunk of wood or small bowl. It’s a bit half-assed. But, it does work, and, if you’re not keen on chopping a brisket in half, it’s the only option on the 18 inch.

You can cook smaller turkey’s though. Just remove the top rack for the extra height. 

Then, the supersized 22 inch Weber Smokey Mountain steps things up quite a bit. On it, you’ll get 726 square inches of cooking space over both grates. That’s an increase of just over 50% more space.

You’ll definitely be able to fit 2 larger cuts on each grate. Sometimes, there might be a bit of space leftover to throw a few sausages or other small things.

But, the main advantage of going for the 22 inch over the 18 is that you can actually lay a whole brisket flat. It does use a lot more fuel! But, if you’re doing large cooks regularly, the extra charcoal usage is justified. If not, the 18″ is definitely more efficient.

Like the 18″, you can do whole turkeys on the 22 WSM. Just remove the top rack. The extra grate width will fit a decently large turkey.

Portability

One great thing about all sizes of the Weber Smokey Mountain is that they break down into 3 sections; the base, mid and lid. So, you can even fit the 22 inch in a 4 door sedan.

But, the 22 inch is pretty big. It’s definitely not what you’d typically classify as ‘portable’ and it will take up a lot of trunk space.

So, if you’re dreaming of tailgating, showing it off at a friends house, or, it being your new camp cooker, lean towards the 18 inch. Not only is it smaller, at 39 pounds versus 68 pounds, it’s substantially lighter too.

Budget

As far as smokers go, the Weber Smokey Mountain is really one of the best value for money smokers out there. It’s great quality, should last you years, and, won’t limit your results as you gain more experience.

But, of course, going for the larger WSM is going to cost you more. Not only is the initial purchase price a bit higher, it’ll cost you more to run because you need more fuel to heat the larger space.

That being said, the step up from the 18″ to the 22″ Weber Smokey Mountain is about $100 USD (be sure to check the current prices). It’s not a lot, and, for it, you’ll get a lot more space.

So, if you need the space, it’s worth spending that extra money. It’s a lot cheaper to do that from the start than buy a new larger one down the track. But, if mid-sized is enough for you, enjoy the cheaper price tag and save your charcoal.

Our Verdict on the Weber Smokey Mountain 18 vs 22

With 481 square inches of smoking real estate, the 18″ Weber Smokey Mountain is a great quality, value for money, mid-sized smoker. Being able to cook for at least 8-10 adults, it’s suitable for most users and is ideal for medium-sized families who want to be able to use it for entertaining every now and then.

But, if you’re the kind of person who thinks that bigger is always better, the 22″ Weber Smokey Mountain is one beast of a barbecue! Being able to lay whole briskets down flat on 726 square inches is it’s main attraction. And, there’s no doubt about it that this smoker can hold a serious amount of meat. For larger families, people who love to entertain, or, anyone who likes a fridge full of leftovers, it’s the WSM option that doesn’t have the size limits.

But, at the end of the day, whichever size of WSM you go for, you’re getting a top notch smoker! Be confident knowing that this barbecue will give you years of enjoyment. And, it’s got a solid warranty to match.