Welded ports mean that you won’t be messing with leaky weldless kits or trying to drill a hole in your kettle. These are 1/2″ NPT, already installed and leak free.
The ports are also full ports, meaning the are accessible and threaded on both the inside and the outside of the kettle. For the bottom port, that means you can install both a ball valve (on the outside) and a pickup tube or bazooka screen (on the inside). Most people probably use the top port for a thermometer.
You can also get the kettle know with an eye to upgrading to in the future. Just get a 1/2″ NPT plug (along with some teflon tape) to seal these off.
As of this posting, AIH has this is on sale for just $53.99. Check the product page for current price and availability.
More: Recent AIH Finds