Char Griller 980 vs Masterbuilt 1050_Featured image

My Personal Take: Char Griller 980 vs. Masterbuilt 1050, July(2024), The Ultimate Comparison.

Understanding the differences between the Char Griller 980 and Masterbuilt 1050 is crucial, especially if you’re considering buying one.

In my experience, both smokers excel in their own right.

I’ve taken the time to highlight their strengths and weaknesses for you.

This insight will give you a clear picture of their major and minor distinctions.

Let’s dive in;

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-Enhance your grilling experience with these Char Griller Gravity 980 Mods
-Discover 10 Effective Masterbuilt 1050 Mods for a better BBQ session
-Uncover everything you need to know about the Char Griller Gravity Fed 980
-Compare and contrast: Masterbuilt 560 vs 800 vs 1050
-Learn the secrets of gravity smokers and find out what is the best Gravity Smoker
Masterbuilt 1050 vs Char Griller 980
Char Griller 980 vs Masterbuilt 800

Char Griller 980 vs Masterbuilt 1050 (In Short).

  • Both the Char Griller 980 and Masterbuilt 1050 grills perform exceptionally well. However, they differ in design and size.
  • Masterbuilt underwent several changes in both its interior and exterior designs due to some initial issues. One of its standout features is the hopper, which occupies about three-quarters of the grill, designed to hold your charcoal. This design innovation by Masterbuilt is truly commendable.
  • On the other hand, Char-Griller’s hopper is noteworthy for its unique ability to be lifted independently. What’s more, the Char-Griller hopper boasts a triple-walled insulation, ensuring better heat retention.
  • Both grills are versatile, allowing you to use both briquettes and lump charcoal. For added flavor, you can even mix in chunks of natural wood to produce additional smoke. They are also equipped with burn grates tailored to their respective sizes.
  • Masterbuilt’s burn grate is designed to prevent small charcoal pieces from falling through, a feature I genuinely appreciate. While Masterbuilt’s design is commendable, the Char-Griller’s burn grate, in terms of thickness, promises a longer lifespan.
  • Both brands offer ash buckets with their grills. While their sizes vary, the material quality remains consistent and reliable. A notable feature of both grills is the gasket seal they come with. This seal can be observed on the firebox door, lid, and even around the hopper’s top. However, the gaskets differ: Char-Griller uses a high-heat gasket, while Masterbuilt opts for a rubber-type gasket. If needed, these gaskets can be replaced, and you can refer to a modification post for guidance.
  • The locking systems on both grills are robust and user-friendly. With Masterbuilt, you have the added advantage of adjusting the tightness. I’ve used both grills extensively and haven’t encountered any significant issues.
  • When it comes to temperature control, I lean towards Masterbuilt. After testing both controllers, Masterbuilt consistently displayed accurate temperatures, making its air controller superior in my opinion. The Char Griller 980 features an additional heat diffuser, allowing for low and slow cooking across all its surfaces. However, Masterbuilt lacks a heat deflector, limiting the low and slow cooking method to its bottom grate.
  • In terms of searing capabilities, both grills excel, but Masterbuilt has a slight edge. Both grills come equipped with grease cups for easy cleanup. I’m particularly fond of Char Griller’s internal design for grease collection. Additionally, both the Masterbuilt and Char-Griller 980 can be modified to accommodate a rotisserie. For more details on this modification, you can check out another post I’ve written on the topic.
Masterbuilt® Gravity Series® 1050 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker with Digital Control, App Connectivity and 1,050 Cooking Square Inches in Black, Model MB20041220
  • Digital charcoal grill and smoker with 1050 square inches of cooking space
  • Reaches 225F in 8 minutes or 700F in 15 minutes to use as traditional charcoal grill or charcoal smoker
  • DigitalFan precisely maintains desired cooking temperature during grilling or smoking
  • GravityFed vertical charcoal hopper uses gravity to continually burn through fuel, allowing for 10lbs of lump charcoal or 16lbs of briquettes for up to 8 hours of use
  • Digital control panel to easily set desired cooking temperature for grilling or smoking
Cooking area of Masterbuilt 1050.
Cooking area of Masterbuilt 1050.

# Major Difference

  1. Cooking Space:
    Masterbuilt boasts a generous 1050 sq inches of cooking surface, while the Char-Griller Gravity Fed offers 980 sq inches.

    This means you can comfortably smoke ribs, chicken, sausages, and burgers in the Masterbuilt.

    Similarly, the Char-Griller is perfect for smoking baby backs, burgers, chicken wings, and boneless skinless thighs.

    Both grills excel in smoking, grilling, searing, baking, roasting, and more.

    However, if you’re planning a large gathering, the Char-Griller 980 might fall short in terms of capacity, whereas the Masterbuilt is more accommodating.
  1. Cooking Grates:
    Masterbuilt features three levels of cast iron grates, coated with porcelain for durability.

    These grates are slidable, making them easy to lift, replace, and store securely.

    On the other hand, Char-Griller offers five individual top grates, designed for easy removal and cleaning.
  1. Dimensions:
    Given that the Masterbuilt is larger than the Char-Griller 980, it’s no surprise that their dimensions differ. Here’s a breakdown:

Masterbuilt 1050: 52.16″ (H) x 61.02″ (W) x 33.07″ (L)
Char-Griller 980: 64.6″ (L) x 34.4″ (W) x 51.4″ (H)

  1. Weight:
    Interestingly, despite its larger cooking space, the Masterbuilt 1050 is lighter than the Char-Griller 980. Here are their respective weights:

Masterbuilt 1050: 202.90 lbs
Char-Griller 980: 213.0 lbs

In conclusion, while both grills have their unique features and advantages, your choice will ultimately depend on your specific needs and preferences.

# Other Difference

  1. Hopper Design and Capacity:
    Both the Masterbuilt 1050 and Char-Griller 980 have comparable hopper designs.

    The Masterbuilt 1050 can accommodate 10 lbs. of lump charcoal or 16 lbs. of briquettes. Its three-quarter design ensures efficient fuel utilization.

    On the other hand, the Char-Griller 980’s hopper can hold approximately 12 pounds of standard Kingsford charcoal.

    In terms of usage duration, the Char-Griller hopper lasts between 10 to 12 hours, while the Masterbuilt lasts 8 to 10 hours.

    However, it’s essential to note that achieving optimal results isn’t solely about hopper thickness.

    Factors like how frequently you open the lid and the type of fuel (Briquettes or Lump Charcoal) can influence temperature fluctuations.

    Notably, the Char-Griller hopper is triple-walled, insulated, and removable, with heat-resistant materials ensuring consistent temperatures.
  1. Front Shelves:
    The Char-Griller’s front shelf extends about ten and a quarter inches, while the Masterbuilt’s stainless steel shelf measures approximately eight and a quarter inches. Both shelves are designed to be foldable for convenience.
  1. Grill Wall Design:
    The Char-Griller features a cylindrical design, while the Masterbuilt adopts a box-like structure. Both grills come with double-walled insulation, ensuring heat retention and consistent cooking temperatures.
  1. Vent Design:
    The Char-Griller boasts an adjustable vent, a design feature that enhances its usability. In contrast, the Masterbuilt has a larger vent with a smaller slit at the back.

    This vent remains open, meaning it lacks a protective cover. As a result, users should shield it from external elements like wind, rain, and snow.

    Despite this, I’ve found its performance to be satisfactory and haven’t encountered any significant issues.
Cooking area of Char -Griller 980
Cooking area of Char -Griller 980

# Similarities between the Char-Griller Gravity 980 and Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 Smokers.

1. Controller and Connectivity:
Both smokers have their controllers mounted on the left side, accompanied by tool holders. Users can update with new firmware.

While Masterbuilt initially faced issues with their controller, they’ve since rectified them.

Both grills offer WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, though the Char-Griller 980 has some compatibility issues with 5G.

Additionally, Masterbuilt features a handy drawer at the back for storing fire starters and temperature probes.

2. Storage and Shelves:
Both grills come equipped with spacious bottom shelves, measuring eight inches, suitable for storing logs, charcoal bags, or utensils.

They also feature three-inch locking casters at the front, ensuring mobility and stability.

3. Slides (Damper):
Masterbuilt provides two sliders with a convenient holder near the hopper for storage. In contrast, Char-Griller offers a single slide, which can be stored at the back.

4. Temperature Gauge:
The Masterbuilt 1050 comes with an integrated temperature gauge.

For the Char-Griller Grand Champ XD, users have the option to add a temperature gauge.

For more details on modifications, including adding two gauges to the Char-Griller lid, you can refer to my other article..

5. Meat Probes:
Both grills feature designated spots for meat probes.

Char-Griller includes two probe ports, while Masterbuilt offers four.

However, only one probe is provided with each grill upon purchase.

In terms of accuracy, Masterbuilt’s temperature readings are more precise than Char-Griller’s.

6. Wheels:
Both grills are equipped with three-inch sturdy locking casters at the front for easy maneuverability.

7. Fuel Capacity:
Both the Masterbuilt 1050 and Char-Griller 980 can hold up to 10 lbs. of lump charcoal or 16 lbs. of briquettes.

8. Fans and Temperature Control:
Each grill features a digital fan regulated by a PID controller.

While Masterbuilt’s fan is located beneath the grill, Char-Griller’s is mounted under the box.

Notably, Char-Griller’s fan comes with a turbo button, allowing temperatures to reach up to 700 degrees.

With WiFi connectivity, users can effortlessly control the grill’s temperature..

9. Safety Features:
Safety is paramount, and both grills incorporate safety devices.

If the hopper is opened during operation, the fan stops, preventing heat transfer.

Masterbuilt has two safety devices—one on the charcoal hopper and another on top.

Char-Griller, on the other hand, has a single safety device positioned on the hopper’s top.

# Common Issues

Paint Durability:

Both the Char-Griller 980 and Masterbuilt 1050 smokers face challenges with paint longevity.

Over time, users have reported that the paint tends to peel off, particularly on the internal walls of the hopper lid.

It’s advisable to monitor this and consider touch-ups or protective measures to maintain the grill’s appearance and functionality.

What I Appreciate

  1. Char-Griller 980’s Heat Deflector:
    The Char-Griller 980 boasts an impressively effective heat deflector. Its wide design spans the entire heat manifold, ensuring that grease doesn’t come into contact with the flames. This thoughtful feature minimizes the risk of unexpected flare-ups during cooking.
  2. Masterbuilt 1050’s Temperature Accuracy:
    One of the standout features of the Masterbuilt 1050 is its precise temperature control. I’ve consistently found its readings to be spot-on, which greatly enhances the cooking experience.

Areas for Improvement

  1. Availability of Modification Equipment:
    I wish Amazon offered ready-made modification kits for these grills.

    Having access to items like vent slides, hopper cover kits, and stainless steel fireboxes would be incredibly convenient.

    Given my location, sourcing these components from other websites poses a challenge.

    The only modification accessory I can easily acquire is the gasket.

    I believe many others, like myself, would benefit from a more accessible range of modification tools and equipment.

# Conclusion

In the end, the Masterbuilt 1050 emerges as my top choice. While the Char-Griller 980 shares many similarities with it, the Masterbuilt 1050 edges out in certain aspects. It’s those subtle advantages that make the Masterbuilt 1050 a more appealing option for me.

# Recommended Accessories:

For Both Grills:

For Char-Griller 980:

For Masterbuilt 1050:


# What type of paint is suitable for the Masterbuilt?

You can apply Rust-Oleum’s Header Paint to the Masterbuilt for optimal results.

# How can I wrap the heat deflector parts in aluminum foil for easier cleanup?

For detailed instructions on wrapping the heat deflector parts in aluminum foil, refer to the “Diffuser Modification” guide.

# Is it okay to leave unused charcoal in the Masterbuilt hopper?

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to leave the remaining charcoal in the Masterbuilt hopper after use.

# Does Masterbuilt offer a cold smoke accessory attachment?

No, as of now, Masterbuilt does not provide a cold smoke accessory attachment..

# How often should I clean my grill?

It’s recommended to clean your grill grates after each use. After cleaning, apply a light coat of oil to maintain them.

# How do I perform the burn-in procedure for the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050?

Follow these steps for a successful burn-in:

  • Fill the hopper with charcoal and securely close the lid.
  • Remove the dampers.
  • Ignite the charcoal.
  • Open the firebox door and position the fire starter.
  • Light the fire starter and shut the door.
  • Turn on your smoker.
  • Press the power button.
  • Set the temperature to 250 degrees.
  • Let the temperature increase to 400 degrees.
  • Once all the charcoal is burned out, allow the smoker to cool.
  • Spray cooking oil inside the cooking chamber.
  • Your Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 is now ready for cooking!


While the Masterbuilt 1050 and Char-Griller 980 are both excellent in their own right, the Masterbuilt 1050 has better overall design and temperature management.


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