Member Tutorial - Which WSM and Why?


Lew Newby

R.I.P. 1/26/2024
A lot of folks ask about the attributes of the different size WSM so I thought maybe they would like to read our members thoughts on one thread.

My new WSM is the baby. I have the 14.5 to cook for me and my wife which is most of my cooks. I like the light weight, I can clean the components in the sink, the small amount of charcoal it burns, and storage is easy. Ribs need to be cut in half and only 1 pork butt fits on the cooking grate. Mine gunked up fast so I didn't have to do anything to seal it better. My 14.5 is flat out fun.

My first WSM was the 18.5 because i didn't think I needed the "new" 22.5 and it cost $100 less. The 18.5 replaced an El Cheapo Brinkman (ECB) and suddenly BBQ was a lot less hassle. St. Louis cut ribs fit on the cooking grate or I could crowd three 8 lb. port butts on each cooking grate if I stood them on end and skewered them together for support. Capacity was great, charcoal consumption was good, and temp control was easy. I could wash the water pan in the sink. Mine was tight when I got it and it gunked up quickly so air leakage was never a problem. It went to my daughter when my son offered me his 22.5 but I would take it back if she decided she doesn't want it.

The 22.5 works great when I'm cooking for a big crowd but that's not often. When my son offered it I accepted. To be honest I knew I didn't "need" the extra capacity but I wanted the big cooker. It was a totally unreasonable decision but I don't regret it. The 22.5 is heavy for a 76 year old man but it's doable. The 22.5 burns a lot of charcoal but I don't care. My 22.5 leaked a lot of air but gaskets solved that problem. The 22.5 parts get cleaned in the garage deep sink and that's not as convenient as the kitchen sink especially when it's hot outside (most of the year). About 10 times a year I cook for 15 to 18 people and with the 22.5 that's easy even if I'm doing boneless skinless chicken parts.

If I could only have one (for my situation) I would have the 18.5" WSM. Fortunately, my bride of 53 years likes BBQ.

That's my thought on this and I hope a lot of you toss in your thoughts and experiences. Merry Christmas!!!!
I got the 14.5" as that was the only one going for a slightly reasonable price around here.
I like it, it is plenty big enough for my use.
I find it very easy to operate and like the fact that it is light. It's easy to remove the top and middle section, even when it is loaded with meat.
It's charcoal consumption is absolutely amazing!
Sofar, I have only used the top grate as it holds plenty food for 4-6 pax.
If I need more. there's still the bottom grate and I have an 18.5" weber kettle and a 22" cadac kettle (and a stove and a half drum and a toscan grill, and and and).

I wouldn't mind getting an 18.5" as well, for multifunctional use. It could also take my rotisserie ring. But frankly, it would be overkill for me
I only have a 22.5", but have been toying with maybe getting a 14". With the 22 I find that I have to cook more meats to justify using it. No complaints really since all extra pulled pork gets vacuumed sealed for winter meals when the BBQ bug hits.

With a 14 I think I could just do 1-2 chickens and some burgers and be done with it.
There's no doubt the 18.5" WSM is the best size for my needs. Easy to use, move, and easy on the charcoal, and I can smoke for a large crowd when needed. I do 60 to 80lbs of pork butt at a time and vacuum seal 2lb packages for use later. The 2lb packages also make great gifts and those who have been given some packages always hope for more!
I bought my 18.5 in 2003, its still goin strong. I only added the 22 two years ago and I really did not need it. But I do enjoy the larger grill space. I like laying rib racks flat on the grate. I like the extra room for brisket. My 22 leaked but gaskets solved that for me also ( now , I think it may be too air tight ) .

But if I had to pick just one, I would stick with the 18.5.

Thinkin bout selling the 22 and adding a stick burner.

And I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas :)
Lew, good topic!
I started with the 18.5" in 08, love it and used it everyday for about 4 yrs ( I was laid off ) Got back to work and got a sweet deal on a gently used 22.5" in 2012.
I bought that mostly for laying ribs flat ( like Lynn ) and for big parties.

In all those years I prolly only fired it up a dozen times. Do I think it was a waste of money to buy it?, no not really. I think about it more of a convince as having the right size for the job.

What really gets me is seeing a small roast on the big WSM. I said it in another thread and I'll repeat it. It's easier to cook more on a smaller WSM then less on a bigger WSM.
So Folks think about what you're going to cook on a daily basis, or once, twice, three times a week before you choose a size.

I only have the 18.5. I myself will probably never have more than one smoker. And to me,if you only plan on hiving one,the 18.5 is it. I did a brisket today,and i can't see gettin that on a 14.5. I did a pork butt a few weeks ago. i sure couldn't see firing up a 22 for a Pork butt. the 18.5 really isn't that hard on charcoal,and if you wrap and do the last of a cook in the oven. you can close the vents and have charcoal leftover.
I have a feeling the 18.5 is the most common one you see at contests also. small enough to travel with. but big enough to compete.
I have issues and have always thought bigger is better but after doing this for some time now I agree that smaller is better however, Weber seems to make more gadgets for the 22.5. So I do enjoy both the kettle and smoker in the 22.5. I bought the Cajun Bandit rotisserie which fits and converts to either the smoker or kettle. My first Weber product was the bahemouth 27.5” I bought the creators for it but stumbled across a damaged 22.5 at Wally World after a severe wind storm and gout it for half price. Weber being the great people they are sent me all the replacement parts, no charge. This customer relations moment made me a Weber kiss @$$ and still am. So my toys are a 22.5” silver kettle, 22.5” smoker and a 27.5” OTG (which is for sale) and many Weber and other toys to go with the 22.5’s. It is just my wife and myself and I have not been able to Q as much as I would like to but I’m happy with the 22’s. So, there my opinion and thanks for starting this thread.
I have the 18 & 22" WSM, but am looking at a new in the box 14" I can probably get for less than $100. I cook for two of us and it might be the ticket for every day stuff. I really like the bigger grills as I cook a lot and freeze it with vacuum sealing bags.

Should I snap up the 14"????????
Rparker, I would get that 14" asap. I have all 3 WSM's. My wife thinks I'm crazy, but I've used all 3, at the same time, numerous times this summer hosting parties for family. Even then I was wishing I had one more.
That's a great find. Do you already have it?

Rparker, I would get that 14" asap. I have all 3 WSM's. My wife thinks I'm crazy, but I've used all 3, at the same time, numerous times this summer hosting parties for family. Even then I was wishing I had one more.

No I didn't get it. It's not the $$ as it is much cheaper than my other past times.:p

Storage becomes an issue. I have an attached 30 x 40' heated garage, a detached 24 x 32' heated garage and a real nice garden shed, sadly toys fill up everything right now.

This has been on CL for over a month. It started at $95, then they raised the price to $120 and now it's $110. I am sure $95 would get it for sure.
Last edited:
My wife just came in the room and chastised me for still fretting about this WSM, she said, "just get it and quit fretting". I sent them an offer of $90 buckees so we will see.
I have the 18.5 & the 14.5. If I could only have one, it would be the 18.5 because of it's capacity.
However.... it rarely gets used as the 14.5 gets the cook 95% of the time.

I might add that I've made accessories for the 14.5 that are not available (to my knowledge) commercially: stackers, hanging rack, rotisserie ring, rotisserie basket & a short gender changer. It's giant killer - can hang full racks of ribs, small briskets, chickens... rotisserie a chicken, a rack of ribs, thighs, pork chops... lots of things. Can grill like a SJ. And fuel consumption is miserly.

I've added a rotisserie ring to the 18.5 to accommodate items that are too big do on the 14.5, so it's seeing more use of late.
Last edited:
Robert R

I kind of figured I would use the 14.5" small one more because I only fire up the other ones when there is a lot to cook. I use the gas Q grill a lot now and would use the 14.5" more for all the reasons you mentioned.
Well, got the 14.5", NIB. Now I have the whole fleet of WSM's.

Going to season it this afternoon.
Great article Chris, kudos!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This line cracks me up, and you haven't met me either.

If you're the kind of person that when buying a new car insists on a V-8 engine when a V-6 will do, or you buy a big pickup truck to tow a trailer just once a year, then you might as well stop reading this article and buy the 22.5" WSM now.

FWIW, for hauling/towing I have an F250 crew cab with 8' box for a truck.

Last edited:
Chris, thank you for a very informative article. I have no experience with the WSM but look at them from time to time. I have always figured that if I ever got one I would go large, but your article makes me look at the 18.5 as a better option for me. Sometimes some pretty nice ones come up on OfferUp or Craigslist.
I have an 18.5 and 22.5 WSM. I love the space of the 22.5 for large cooks but find the 18.5 works for a big group as well. I can certainly see where an 18.5 would be a good compromise between the three sizes. I have never used a 14.5.