Char Griller 980 vs Masterbuilt 800: April(2024) A Comprehensive Comparison.

Char Griller 980 vs Masterbuilt 800
Char Griller 980 vs Masterbuilt 800

In this article, I delve deep into a comprehensive comparison between the Char Griller 980 and the Masterbuilt 800.

To give you a clear picture, I’ve incorporated a comparison table highlighting their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Rest assured, I’ve made an effort to address most of the questions you might have.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in…!

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Comparison Table: Char Griller 980 vs. Masterbuilt 800

Feature/AspectMasterbuilt 800Char Griller 980
Usage of the unitGrill, Smoker, GriddleGrill, Smoker
Temperature Range (F)100-700200 – 700
Cooking Space800 sq inches980 sq inches
Dimension (H.W.L) 51″ x 55″ x 30”51” x 65” x 34”.
Cooking Grates MaterialReversible smoke/sear grates, Porcelain coated warming/smoking racksPorcelain-Coated Cast Iron Cooking Grates
Front ShelvesYes
Stainless Steel
Bottom ShelvesYesYes
Power Cord
Management Bracket
Drip Tray LocationUnder the grates or foodLower Front
Ash panYesYes
Weight204 pounds213 pounds
Triple Walled Insulated HopperDouble wallYes
Temp GaugeYesNo
Black treaded wheel with gray hub and spokes
Small rubber wheels
Inner WallsPorcelain-CoatedInsulated Lid and Grill Body
Check PriceCheck Price

The Char Griller 980 and Masterbuilt 800 stand out as top-tier insulated Gravity smokers. While they share many features, they also boast unique characteristics that set them apart.

We’ll delve into their similarities, differences, and any known issues. Additionally, we’ll highlight the upgrades and improvements that each smoker has undergone.
To provide a holistic view, I’ve gathered user experiences for both the Char Griller 980 and the Masterbuilt 800. This insight will offer you a real-world perspective on these smokers..

A notable feature of the Masterbuilt 800 is its two hooks on the controller shelf’s bottom, designed for storing or hanging the grill top when idle. In contrast, the Char Griller 980’s bottom shelf is ideal for manifold storage, but it’s not suitable for the warming rack, which tends to slide off during relocation..

# Key Difference

Cooking Space

Char-Griller Gravity Fed has 980 sq inches of cooking space while Masterbuilt Gravity 800 smoker has 800 sq inches of cooking space.

This difference indicates that the Char Griller 980 has a greater capacity for food than the Masterbuilt 800.

Cooking Grates

The Char Griller 980 features five distinct top grates, which are easily removable for cleaning.

In contrast, the Masterbuilt 800 Gravity Smoker is equipped with two porcelain-coated smoking racks that can be slid, repositioned, and stored.

Notably, the Masterbuilt 800 may have fewer racks than some competitors, but it compensates with a digital charcoal grill feature.

On the other hand, the Char Griller 980 doesn’t come with a griddle..

Dimensions (H:W:L)

Masterbuilt 800-(H.W.L) 51″ x 55″ x 30”
Char Griller 980-(H.W.L) 51” x 65” x 34”.

The Masterbuilt 800 has the following measurements: 55 inches wide, 51 inches high, and 30 inches deep.

Likewise, the Char Griller 980 measures 65 inches in width, 51 inches in height, and 34 inches in depth.

That means the Char Griller 980 is 10 inches wider than the Masterbuilt 800.

Although they have the same height, the Char Griller 980 is about four inches deeper than the Masterbuilt 800.


The Masterbuilt 800 weighs in at 204 pounds, while the Char Griller adds another nine pounds to the total weight to reach 213 pounds.

The Char Griller 980 is easy to move, although it is heavier than the Masterbuilt 800.

# Distinguishing Features


The Masterbuilt 800 boasts a double-walled charcoal chute, whereas the Char-Griller 980 impresses with its triple-wall insulated hopper.

This insulation in both units excels in heat retention and fuel conservation.

While the Masterbuilt hopper operates efficiently for 8 to 10 hours, the Char Griller’s hopper can last between 10 to 12 hours.

Front Shelves

  • Masterbuilt 800: Features a foldable stainless steel front shelf measuring 23 inches in width and 8 inches in depth.
  • Char Griller 980: Comes with a folding front shelf that spans 34 inches in width and 10 inches in depth.

Bottom Shelves

The Char Griller 980’s bottom shelf is solid with an imprint, tailored especially for manifold storage.

On the other hand, the Masterbuilt 800’s versatile bottom shelf can house the manifold when not in use or even store logs.

Temperature range

Char Griller 980: Offers a temperature spectrum from 200°F to 700°F.
Masterbuilt 800: Provides a range between 150°F and 700°F.

Notably, both smokers permit temperature adjustments in five-degree increments..

Temp Gauge

While the Char Griller 980 opts out of a temperature gauge, the Masterbuilt 800 Gravity smoker is equipped with one, ensuring accurate temperature readings and monitoring.

Construction (Wall)

The Char Griller 980 boasts a durable construction, ensuring longevity. It also features an insulated barrel lid.

In contrast, the Masterbuilt 800 gravity smokers are designed with porcelain-coated double walls.

# Similarities

Controller and the App 

Both the Char Griller 980 and Masterbuilt 800 are equipped with advanced controllers.

The Char Griller 980 features a PID controller, enabling precise temperature regulation.

Additionally, with its Bluetooth and WiFi-enabled LCD controller, you can monitor and adjust the temperature remotely via your phone.

Similarly, the Masterbuilt 800’s controller offers Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing you to oversee your cooking progress and manage temperatures from your device..

Slide Damper

Each of these grillers incorporates a slide damper, a mechanism that controls the influx of heat and smoke into the cooking chamber.

The smoke and heat remain stationary until you adjust this slider.

For optimal cooking, ensure the slider is positioned correctly before starting.

Meat Probe

For impeccable results and accurate temperature readings, both grillers come equipped with meat probes.

Mobility (Wheels) 

When it comes to transportation, both smokers are designed with two lockable swivel casters and two large wheels, facilitating easy movement around your patio.

However, a word of caution: if you relocate the Char Griller post-cooking, its grease tray may shift, potentially causing hot grease to spill onto the patio..

Warming rack

Both grills feature a removable warming rack or upper shelf, providing additional cooking space when needed.

Fuel Capacity

The Masterbuilt 800 and Char-Griller 980 are closely matched in hopper capacity.

The Char-Griller 980’s hopper can accommodate 12 pounds of Kingsford charcoal or 16 pounds of briquette charcoal.

In contrast, the Masterbuilt’s hopper can hold either 16 pounds of charcoal or 10 pounds of briquettes.

# Pros and Cons

Masterbuilt 800 Gravity Series:

What I Like:

  • Reversible Grates: Designed with dual functionality – one side for smoking and the other for grilling.
  • Probe Port: Simplifies the insertion of probe wires, ensuring accurate temperature readings.
  • Foldable Front Shelf: Provides additional space when needed and tucks away for compact storage.
  • Griddle Included: Enhances the versatility of your cooking options.
  • Built-in Timer: Especially beneficial for beginners, ensuring precise cooking durations.
  • Easy Assembly: Designed for a hassle-free setup.

What I Don’t Like:

  • Paint Durability: Some users have reported the paint on the Masterbuilt 800 Smoker beginning to peel over time.

Char Griller 980:

What I Like:

  • Expansive Grilling Surface: Offers ample space for cooking larger quantities or multiple items simultaneously.
  • Portability: Designed for easy movement and relocation.
  • User-Friendly: Intuitive controls make operation a breeze.

What I Don’t Like:

  • Assembly Time: Requires a bit more time and patience to set up.
  • Weight: Slightly on the heavier side, which might affect mobility for some.
  • Wheel Size: Could benefit from larger wheels for smoother transportation.

# Essential Accessories

For Char-Griller 980 Gravity Grill:

  1. Precision Control Fan Replacement: An upgraded fan to ensure optimal airflow and temperature control.
  2. Meat Probe Thermometer: Accurately measure the internal temperature of your meats for perfect cooking results.
  3. On/off switch Replacement Part: Ensure your grill’s power control is always in top condition with this replacement switch.

For Masterbuilt Gravity Series:

  1. Rotisserie Kit: Enhance your grilling capabilities with this rotisserie kit, perfect for even cooking of larger cuts.
  2. Hopper Lid/Door Switch: A vital component to ensure your hopper’s lid or door functions seamlessly.
  3. Temperature Gauge: Monitor your grill’s internal temperature with precision, ensuring your meals are cooked to perfection.

Frequently Asked Questions

# Can I use lump charcoal in the Char Griller 980?

Absolutely. Char-Griller recommends using lump charcoal for optimal performance. However, hardwood charcoal briquettes are also compatible.

# How long does the hopper last in the Masterbuilt 1050?

The hopper in both the Masterbuilt 1050 and 800 Gravity Smoker typically runs for about 8 to 10 hours.

# Is it possible to grill on a gravity smoker?

Yes, grilling on a gravity smoker is feasible. These smokers often feature reversible cast-iron grates, making them suitable for both smoking and searing.

# Can the Char Griller 980 be used in the rain?

The Char Griller 980 is constructed from durable, high-quality materials, allowing it to withstand rain and adverse weather conditions. However, for safety and longevity, it’s advisable to avoid using any grill in the rain. If it’s a brief spell and you’re cautious, occasional use might be fine.

# Can I use wood in the Char Griller 980?

Yes, wood is compatible with the Char Griller 980.

# Is it possible to use wood chunks in my Masterbuilt smoker?

Certainly, wood chunks can be used in your Masterbuilt smoker to infuse a rich, smoky flavor.

# How many racks of ribs can the Masterbuilt 1050 accommodate?

The Masterbuilt 1050 can comfortably fit up to 4 racks of ribs.

# Does the Masterbuilt 800 come with a griddle?

Yes, the Masterbuilt 800 is equipped with a griddle, enhancing its versatility.

# Conclusion

In the realm of outdoor cooking, both the Char Griller 980 and the Masterbuilt 800 stand out with their distinctive features.

The Char Griller 980 shines when it comes to accommodating larger gatherings, thanks to its expansive cooking space.

It’s perfect for those who love to experiment with a variety of dishes.

On the flip side, the Masterbuilt 800 brings to the table user-friendly attributes like intuitive temperature control and a clear digital display..

Ultimately, the decision between the two boils down to individual preferences.

Whether it’s the cooking capacity or specific features that sway your choice, both grills promise to elevate your culinary adventures outdoors.

No matter which path you tread, be it with the Masterbuilt 800 or the Char Griller 980, you’re in for a delightful grilling experience..