Usually, when you purchase a grill that can do several things, you have to sacrifice something else.
Thankfully, this is not the case with Kamado barbecues.
There is evidence that these ceramic charcoal grill/smoker hybrids have been in use for more than three thousand years. Contrary to popular belief, however, they are not just great for smoking meat.
short on time? The Kamado Joe Classic II, although not as as well-known as the porcelain Big Green Egg, is our pick as the greatest all-around barbecue pit. Char-Griller Akorn, at a quarter of the price, is a fantastic low-cost option.
Nevertheless, there are many more Kamado brands to choose from, so to simplify your search for the finest kamado grill, we have compiled the top picks in each price range.
We’ll also tell you all you need to know to get your new Kamado grill set up and cooking right away, so let’s get started.
Review of The Best Kamado Grills in 2023
1. Best Overall Kamado Grill – Kamado Joe Classic II 18″ Charcoal Grill
Kamado Joe is well-known for producing cutting-edge, high-quality grills.
The idea of a kamado grill dates back thousands of years, but it hasn’t stopped one firm from striving to perfect the design.
It’s for this reason that even some die-hard Big Green Egg supporters have been won over by Kamado Joe’s latest products.
Some neat improvements may be found in the Kamado Joe Classic II 18′′ Kamado, such as the airlift hinge that cuts the dome’s weight by almost 96%.
The Classic II’s six-piece firebox and double-thick wire-mesh fiberglass gasket are two other notable upgrades.
The updated Classic III from Kamado Joe features a few great upgrades, like as the SlowRoller hyperbolic insert for better heat and smoke dispersal. Check out our Kamado Joe II Vs III guide for a full breakdown.
It’s a superior device overall, but the price increase is substantial enough that we believe most customers would be better off with the Classic II.
Additionally, the Kamado Joe Classic has a multi-tiered “divide and conquer” cooking mechanism that lets you cook various meals on separate levels. This not only increases the unit’s adaptability, but also its usable kitchen space by a factor of two.
If you want to know how it works, here it is. The standard complete rack of a grill has been replaced with two half racks at varying heights.
This creates distinct temperature zones, allowing you to cook a variety of foods at once at precisely the right temperature for each.
This barbecue can maintain temperatures between 250 and 750 degrees Fahrenheit. The top vent is corrosion and weather resistant and controls the more nuanced temperature settings.
The build quality and versatility make the Kamado Joe our favorite grill smoker combo.
Other features include an easy clean, slide out ash drawer, redesigned 6 piece firebox which has a reduced risk of breakage, and a double thick, wire mesh fiberglass gasket which promises to be longer lasting than its predecessors.
What we like:
- Building and planning: The cast-iron cart and locking wheels are only two examples of the careful design and construction that went into this barbecue.
- Multi-tiered grilling to separate and conquer: An impressive creation that addresses the issue of cooking in two distinct areas when using a conventional circular kamado.
- The hassle-free ash removal mechanism: It does what it’s supposed to do, making a chore that’s often a pain in the neck much easier.
- Added equipment is not necessary: Unlike the Big Green Egg, you won’t need to buy any additional attachments to use this machine as a smoker or grill; it comes with a stand on wheels, two flip-up tables, an ash drawer, and an ash tool.
What we don’t like:
- Cost-effectiveness analysis: A lot of money for a grill that only has 406 square inches of room to cook on.
The Big Joe Classic II is a fantastic substitute for the popular Big Green Egg.
That there is so little more to criticize about the Classic Joe II attests to the product’s high quality. It’s enough for feeding a moderate family or group of friends. It’s possible that you’ll want more storage capacity, in which case the Big Joe II is the way to go.
Superiority extends to the warranty, which comes in a variety of levels according to the component in question. The ceramic component has a lifetime guarantee, while the metal components have a 5-year guarantee, the heat deflector has a 3-year guarantee, and the thermometer and gaskets have a 1-year guarantee.
While the Joe comes with all the essentials for grilling and smoking, there are several accessories available for the Kamado Joe that can be purchased separately. These include a rotisserie (called a “JoeTisserie”), a stainless steel table, and a WiFi module (called a “iKamand”).
2. Best Budget Kamado Grill – Char-Griller Akorn Kamado
Costing far more than your average charcoal barbecue, kamado grills are a specialty item for serious grillers.
If you’re looking to buy your first kamado grill but are hesitant to spend a lot of money before giving them a try, the Char-Griller Akorn is a great alternative.
Char-primary Griller’s goal is to provide reasonably priced grills to the market. Although the quality of their goods isn’t quite “top of the line,” they strive to provide affordable grills that are dependable and perform the job well.
Akorn’s body is built of 22 gauge steel, and its grill grates are cast iron. Both the outside and inside of the device are covered with powder and porcelain, respectively.
The shelves may be folded down out of the way, however the quality of the material is questionable.
The charcoal grate’s detachable ring is a nice touch. Charcoal may be easily added at any point in the cooking process.
The ashtray is removable and the temperature gauge is simple to see, despite this model being the starting level.
Double walls provide further insulation in the Akorn. A locking mechanism on the lid ensures that no warm air may escape through the door seal.
There is 314 square inches of primary cooking area and an extra 133 square inches of warming rack space.
What we like:
- Cost-benefit analysis: There isn’t a comparable kamado on the market that comes close to matching this one’s low price. In addition to this benefit, the grill is dependable and will allow you to experience cooking with a kamado before you commit to a more costly one (if you chose to do so).
- Inflexible; not easily broken: This one is constructed of steel rather than the porcelain often used to make kamados, which helps keep the price low. This ensures that the device will not break if it is accidentally dropped. True, it’s not easy to “drop” anything that’s too heavy to carry, but you’d be surprised at the variety of mishaps that may occur in your own garden.
- Performance in terms of fuel economy: You’ll save money on fuel costs in addition to the initial purchase price since this grill is more efficient than its competitors.
What we don’t like:
- Quality control that is inconsistent
It is important to double verify that all of your Akorn’s components have arrived in good condition if you are having it sent to you. If you ever have to send anything back, you won’t have to spend as much time as usual disassembling the device. To the contrary, this is a fantastic set provided that everything arrives in excellent shape and as stated.
All steel kamados corrode over time. You can get the most use out of your Akorn if you take care of it correctly by seasoning the grill grates, keeping it dry, and storing it somewhere out of the weather.
Don’t forget that the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado units are more expensive since they won’t last as long as a ceramic kamado would.
Despite this, it is still an excellent choice for a first kamado grill.
Following the included directions and using a 7/16-inch nut driver, assembly shouldn’t be too difficult.
Manufacturers have priced it affordably because they know it won’t endure as long as the more costly ceramic alternatives, which may be passed down from generation to generation.
However, it is worth noting that this grill works well and has the potential to turn you into a kamado fanatic.
3. Best Small Kamado Grill – Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker
The cost of this Akorn Jr. is quite low compared to similar products on the market. Yes, it’s little, but don’t let that put you off.
This is the ideal portable kamado grill for those who are short on storage space, are always on the go, or who want to take their grill camping.
Like the Akorn we discussed in the preceding review, this one is also produced by Char-Griller. Manufacturers of similar goods strive to create low-priced, high-quality items based on a fundamental design.
This unit’s sturdy steel construction ensures its reliability. This is significant, since there is a danger that the small kamado will be dropped if you take it with you on the road.
We warned you that it’s a compact grill. A grate of 14 inches in diameter sits atop a structure that is 25 inches high and 21 inches across. You shouldn’t buy this grill if you need to feed a large group or if you want to use the two-zone cooking technique.
If you just need to prepare food for two people, the Akorn Jr is the way to go.
Nonetheless, the unit’s bulk is offset by the presence of two vents for superior temperature control and triple wall insulation to keep warm air in. This implies that temperatures from 200 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit may be reached on this little grill, exactly as on the larger models.
What we like:
- Ready to use in a short amount of time: This machine is ideal for a quick weeknight supper because of its compact size and high heating efficiency. Even though it uses less fuel than larger units, the Akorn Jr. can produce temperatures on par with those produced by its more powerful counterparts.
- Designed to be carried about easily: The decision to use steel is a good one. When compared to steel, ceramic units break and fracture readily, making them unsuitable for a portable barbecue.
What we don’t like:
- Inspecting for flaws before they’re released: Similarly to the adult version, the Akorn Jr. might have problems with quality control. Be sure that all of the grill’s components are there and in excellent working order if you have it sent to your home.
- Longevity: A ceramic kamado will outlast this device by a significant margin.
This kamado, like the Akorn above it, is a good choice for those just starting out. Because of its compact size and low weight, this kamado is great for use by two people or a small camping party.
Because of its sturdy steel structure, you won’t need to worry if it takes a few knocks while you’re out and about.
4. Runner up – Pit Boss 22″ Kamado Ceramic Grill
As an alternative to the more expensive Kamado Joe, the Pit Boss Kamado Grill will serve you well.
You may save some money while still enjoying all the benefits of a high-end kamado grill, such as the durable ceramic structure and precise temperature regulation.
The Pit Boss can reach temperatures of up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, making it ideal for searing at both moderate and high intensities.
The grill’s heat is controlled by a cast-iron tamper located at its peak.
The heat deflector is an essential accessory for smokers and others who prefer indirect cooking methods.
Two foldable bamboo shelves are included with the grill.
The Pit Boss can be moved about with ease and locked into place thanks to its sturdy swiveling casters.
Using the two levels of stainless steel grill racks, you get 662 square inches of cooking area.
What we like:
- Value that is second to none: Superior value for the money when compared to other ceramic cookers like the Big Green Egg or even the Kamado Joe.
- Regulating and maintaining body temperature: As a general rule, every Kamado you buy will have great efficiency and heat retention. The Pit Boss’ ceramics seem to be on par with those of more expensive alternatives. As you can see, the Pit Boss is much more than a giant green egg with a horned face. Unlike other smokers, this one won’t need any special attention from you.
- Wheels for heavy loads: The grill is readily portable thanks to the swivel caster wheels that travel smoothly and lock into position.
What we don’t like:
- Replacement gasket for the bottom vent: It may need some adjustment to provide a leak-proof seal.
- Invest on a heat shield: The heat deflector is an essential accessory for every Kamado grill; I wish it came standard with every unit.
Alternative ceramic and egg grills to think about
There were many candidates for the greatest kamado grill that we just couldn’t include. Here are a few of the highlights that didn’t make it into the comprehensive guide.
6. Kamado Joe Joe Jr
The Joe Jr. is a great choice if you need a compact ceramic grill. Because of its superior mobility, the Char-Griller was deemed the best compact ceramic grill we tested. The Joe Jr is an excellent option, however, if you care that much about the fact that it is entirely made of ceramic.
7. Pit Boss Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill
A striking feature of the Pit Boss is its striking resemblance to the Grilla Kong. These two barbecues are almost identical down to the fold-out bamboo side shelves. This is because they are made by the same company.
8. Primo Oval Ceramic Grill
This ceramic barbecue has a 300-square-inch cooking surface and can support 250 pounds. The oval form sets this ceramic grill apart from the many other circular options we’ve seen. Its unique design allows you a little more space when roasting or baking heavy foods.
9. Broil King Keg 5000
Although Broil King is most known for its gas grills, they do make a small number of egg grills. The Broil King Keg, like several of the more affordable kamado-style cookers in our book, use insulated steel and cast iron for the grill instead of ceramic. This reduces the likelihood that it may fracture. The grill gets very hot very fast and may be used as a fantastic smoker or oven. Two-zone cooking will be difficult to set up, and if the oven is hot, it will be difficult to cool down. However, same problems are shared by all egg-style grills, not only the Broil King.
The Features You Should Search for in a Kamado Grill
When investing in something as important as a kamado grill, it’s crucial to not only consider the product’s build quality, but also to have a firm grasp on your own requirements and tastes.
If you’re in the market for a kamado grill, we’ve laid down several considerations and red flags to keep in mind.
I was wondering how many people you planned on feeding. A large-sized kamado should be your goal if you often feed a group of 6-10 people or if you want to use the two-zone cooking technique.
More features and attachments are desirable in a model if you want to experiment in the kitchen. Although these extras may increase your overall budget, they are well worth it if you like preparing a broad range of meals.
Be sure to inquire about the warranty, and not only focus on the amenities. Some manufacturers even back their grills with a lifetime guarantee. You should definitely inquire about this since quality kamados should last you a lifetime.
Cans for Ash
Kamado grills may suffer from ash accumulation, as was described before in this article. Examining the ash disposal and cleaning procedures is crucial. In the long term, this will make things much simpler for you.
Structures and Elements
Stainless steel hinges and lid bands will last longer than their powder coated counterparts, although the latter may appeal to you more aesthetically. Both the hinges and the bands are often made from the same material, however if you have a strong preference for one over the other, you may want to double-check this. Some models may only be available in one material, while others may give you the option to choose the one you like most.
Even while porcelain-glazed ceramic kamados have been the norm for quite some time, steel versions have lately emerged. Steel units won’t break if dropped, and they’re sometimes a touch lighter than the conventional alternatives, so this could be something to think about.
However, they don’t last as long as ceramic kamados since they rust. The good news is that their low cost accounts for this, making them a fantastic choice for beginners.
Fires Become Ashen
The bottom grate of a fire pit is often made of ceramic, powder coated steel, or cast iron. In most cases, any of these materials would suffice, but if you have a preference, you should definitely take a look.
Grates, for Use in the Kitchen
Examining the cooking grates’ construction materials and whether or not they are hinged are the two most important things to do.
Typically, they come in enameled steel, however 304 stainless steel is an option in certain versions.
Find out whether the grilling grate you’re considering has a hinge. The space beneath the cooking grate may be reached without removing the grate entirely, thanks to the use of hinges. This is useful for a variety of reasons, including the necessity to add extra smoking wood while the food cooks.
Inspecting whether or not the vent has a single or double wheel may be a good idea. Either will work, although twin wheels may provide you more precise temperature control.
These technical considerations out of the way, all that’s left to do is pick on a color for your kamado! However, there is usually not much of a selection since most brands only sell their products in a single shade.
You will probably have to choose between a kamado that serves its purpose and is convenient for you and one that is aesthetically pleasing. For me, the former is obviously crucial.