Kamado is no ordinary grill. From looks to materials to versatility, it does everything your grill does, and then some. Baking, smoking, grilling, you name it. It became quite popular in recent years, but the origin goes way back.

Quick Navigation

The kamado design originates in Japan, over 3,000 years ago. The ceramic vessel was used for cooking rice at first, but it actually has many other applications. Nowadays, it’s one of the most versatile pieces of cooking equipment you might get. If you’ve set your mind on buying one of those, but don’t know what to look for, this is the guide for you. We’ve gone over all the important features a kamado grill should have, and picked the best options on the market.

In a hurry? This is our winner!

Runner Up

Best Kamado Grills – Comparison Table

Best Kamado Grills – Reviews

Our Pick

 

Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill, 18 inch, Blaze Red
Our rating:

Kamado Joe grills have a unique, red ceramic design that stands out in every backyard. These grills are costly, but worth every penny. Classic II is their most popular model, and 18 inches of the cooking surface parameter is the perfect size for an everyday grill. It’s egg-shaped, like other kamado grills, but its features make it stand out from the crowd.

The model comes with a Divide & Conquer rack system. It has stainless steel grates that are half-moon shaped, and you can place them on two different rack levels. This means you can cook different food at a different temperature at the same time. If you need an indirect heat zone, you can place a diffuser stone on the bottom level. Underneath the grates, there’s an accessory rack, where you can put the water pan when you’re smoking food. Furthermore, you can place the accessory rack at the top, thus creating a baking setup. What’s better than a grill that can also make pizza?

This grill has a multi-paneled ceramic firebox, which is great at holding the heat, so you don’t need to add a lot of charcoal to keep the temperature at the desired level. The bottom part of the firebox is a removable, perforated charcoal grate. Underneath, there’s a stainless steel ash tray. The model also comes with a firebox divider, so if needed, you can pack charcoal and grill on only one side. 

Another unique Kamado Joe feature is the air-lift hinge. Ceramic lids are heavy, but not this one. The hinge reduces the lid weight by 96% -you can lift it with a finger! For a tight seal, there’s a self-activating latch. 

This grill has side shelves and a cart. Plus, there are multiple accessories you can purchase individually like a pizza stone or a griddle. Basically, you’ve got everything you need.

Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill, 18 inch, Blaze Red
  • Premium 18″ Ceramic Grill with Cast Iron Cart & Locking Wheels – The Kamado Joe Classic II gives the perfect cooking size of 18 inches along with its Premium cart that comes with the purchase of your grill, including locking casters and wheels.
  • 2-Tier Divide & Conquer - Divide & Conquer Flexible Cooking System transforms the humble grill grate into the most powerful cooking tool in your arsenal. The revolutionary multi-level, half-moon design frees you to cook different foods in different styles at different temperatures—all at the same time
  • Kontrol Tower Top Vent - Maintains consistent air setting for precise airflow management during dome opening and closing. Constructed of powder coated cast aluminum, the patent pending dual-adjustment top vent is rain and mold-resistant and allows you to smoke from 225F all the way to searing at 750F.
  • Patented Air Lift Hinge – Reduce dome weight by 96% with the Patented Air Lift Hinge. The grill dome can be lifted with a single finger giving the most comfortable grilling experience there is.
  • AMP (Advanced Multi-Panel) FireBox – The patent pending six-piece design eliminates breakage and increases grill efficiency.

Last update on 2020-07-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


 

Pros
  • 2-tier rack system allows cooking at different temperatures
  • Firebox divider for grilling on one side
  • Easy-to-lift lid
  • 5-year warranty
Cons
  • Pricey
 

Char-Griller E56720 AKORN Kamado Charcoal Grill, Pack of 1, Blue
Our rating:

Not all kamado grills have to cost a whole month’s salary. This Char-Griller model proves that. It’s not ceramic, but it’s premium quality at an affordable price. 

This model has a steel body, and the interior part is porcelain-coated. It’s triple-walled, well insulated and maintains the temperature from 200 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. The grill features 314 square inches of cast iron cooking area, and there’s also a removable warming rack of 133 square inches. That’s enough to make 27 burgers at a time.

The middle part of the grid is removable, which allows you to add coal. It’s a bit inconvenient to use when the food is on the grid, but the grill holds the temperature long enough so you probably won’t have to do it in the midst of cooking. The bottom part features a removable ash pan, which makes the cleanup an easy task.

The grill comes with two side-shelves, which you can fold when not needed. On each shelf, you have several utensil hooks which are always a nice addition. The cart has large 8-inch locking caster wheels for easier mobility. Below the grill, there’s a bottom shelf, perfect for storing charcoal bags.

Adjustable dampers are located on top and bottom part of the grill, and they help with precise temperature control. There’s also a built-in thermometer on the lid, but those things aren’t very reliable. Besides that, this grill has a lot to offer for a modest price.

Char-Griller E56720 AKORN Kamado Charcoal Grill, Pack of 1, Blue
  • 314 Square inches of primary cooking space, warming rack 133 Square inches for a total of 447 Square inches
  • Insulated design means more heat uses less charcoal and less airflow means insulated heat for juicy meat
  • Cooking surface is cast iron, body is constructed of 22 gauge Steel, exterior finish is powder coated Steel, interior finish is porcelain coated steel
  • Cart is constructed of tubular steel W/rubber wheels, locking caster on front, indexed damper is numbered so you can note the position of the damper
  • Features locking lid, 2 folding Black metal shelves, Easy dump ash pan, double wall insulation, heat gauge

Last update on 2020-07-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


 

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Removable warming rack
  • Caster wheels for easy mobility
Cons
  • Not as long-lasting as ceramic
  • Only a 1-year warranty
 

Kamado Joe KJ23RHCI-A, Classic Joe III Charcoal Grill
Our rating:

You might be thinking – why is there another, upgraded version of the same model on this list? Furthermore, why is that not the top pick? Well, although Classic III comes with more features, they are all situational. And since this model costs about half the price of a Classic II, it really depends on what features you really need and how much you want to pay for a grill.

Classic Joe III comes with all the features as its predecessor, and a few upgrades. The Divide & Conquer system has an additional, third level, which allows preparing food at an even bigger temperature difference. 

While Classic Joe II had a charcoal grate, this model has a charcoal basket. It locks into a cooking system grid, and allows even better airflow, warming up the grill in no time. Furthermore, the basket makes cleaning even easier. This is a nifty upgrade, however, the basket can be bought separately and used with the Classic II model.

The biggest upgrade Classic III has is the SloRoller smoke chamber. It spreads smoke and heat in circulating waves, which surrounds the food, making it juicy while cooking evenly. 

This model’s cart is made out of heavy-duty galvanized steel, which is much sturdier than cast iron cart from the Classic II. It also has a bottom shelf for more storage space. Side shelves are upgraded too. They are made out of powder-coated aluminum, whether Classic II has HDPE plastic-coated shelves. 

All Classic III upgrades are dandy and well-thought, however, it’s hard to say whether the price tag on the model is worth it. Kamado Joe grills are already on the pricier side, and there are plenty of accessories you can buy and enhance your Classic II, for a much friendlier cost.

Kamado Joe KJ23RHCI-A, Classic Joe III Charcoal Grill
  • Premium 18” ceramic grill
  • Heavy-duty Galvanized steel rolling cart
  • Patented slōroller hyperbolic smoke chamber
  • 3-Tier divide & Conquer flexible cooking system
  • Air Lift hinge

Last update on 2020-07-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


 

Pros
  • 3-tier Divide & Conquer system
  • Charcoal basket is easy to clean
  • Better smoking taste with SloRoller cooking chamber
  • Sturdy cart and shelves
  • 5-year warranty
Cons
  • Very pricey
 

Char-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr, Red Charcoal kamado Grill
Our rating:

This grill is one of Char-Griller’s best selling models, and for a good reason. Like its big brother we reviewed above, this grill is made out of triple-walled 22 gauge steel. The inside of the grill is porcelain-coated, while the exterior is powder-coated. It comes in black and red color, and the design resembles the traditional egg-shaped ceramic kamado. 

The cooking surface is 153 square inches, which is half the size of the original Akorn model, but it’s also half the price. For a small family dinner, this grill is just what you need. The grill comes with cast iron grate, which maintains the heat much longer than the steel one would. The porcelain-coated interior holds a steady temperature for a long time, which makes it great not only for steaks and burgers, but even for pizzas and bread. 

For many people, portability is an important factor when buying a grill. This model doesn’t come with wheels like the bigger model does, but it weighs only 37 pounds. It has two side handles which means you can easily lift it and put it in your trunk. This is the kamado grill you actually can bring on a camping trip. 

This grill is made out of quality materials, it’s easy to use and clean, and the food is cooked evenly and it’s delicious. If you’re looking for a low price tag and high quality, this is a great option for you.

Char-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr, Red Charcoal kamado Grill
  • 153 Square inch primary cooking area with cast iron grates
  • Kamado style grills promote even heating to enhance flavor
  • Easy dump ash pan for fast and simple cleanup. Ignition Type-No Ignition System
  • Top and bottom air dampers for easy and precise temperature control
  • More durable, affordable, and lighter weight than ceramic grills - great for tailgating, camping or going to the park

Last update on 2020-07-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


 

Pros
  • Triple-walled steel maintains a steady temperature
  • Very affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Depending on your needs it might be too small
  • No wheels
  • 1-year warranty
 

Char-Broil Kamander Charcoal Grill
Our rating:

Here’s another steel kamado grill option for an affordable price. Kamander comes with 327 square inches of primary cooking area, and a swinging warming rack adds another 142 square inches, which is more than enough for a family dinner. 

The unique thing about this grill is the vent system. The intake damper is located on the side table, and it’s connected to the grill through the duct. That way, the air will flow from the bottom to the top of the grill, transferring heat around. The position of both dampers is high enough so you don’t have to crouch or bend every time you want to adjust the airflow, and your back is happy for that. Furthermore, dampers have numeric settings, ranging from 1 to 5, which is a nice touch for more precise heat adjustment.

The side shelf is large enough for a plate and food seasoning, and it also has utensil hooks. That way, you have everything you might need close at hand. When not needed, it can be folded down. Underneath the grill, there’s a wire shelf for some extra storage. 

The ash pan on Kamander is removed from the top. There is no bottom door, and that way, you don’t interfere with the airflow and the temperature inside the grill. The porcelain-coated grate has a small removable piece through which you can add charcoal during cooking time. It’s not as practical as the charcoal door would be, and if you’re using a water pan, that’s undoable.

Char-Broil Kamander Charcoal Grill
  • 327 Square inch cooking area with 142 Square inch secondary cooking area
  • Ultimate versatility- smoke, roaster or grill all on one unit
  • Unique intake channel and top damper provide easier heat and cooking control
  • Ash pan removes from the top- no bottom openings to prevent potential air leaks
  • Features double-walled Steel construction and large Folding side shelf

Last update on 2020-07-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


 

Pros
  • Large cooking area
  • Practical vent system
  • Large additional surface
Cons
  • No charcoal door
  • Limited 1-year warranty
 

Best Kamado Grills – Buyers Guide

A kamado grill is a great option if you’re looking for versatile outdoor cooking – whether you want smoked ribs or a wood-fired pizza, kamado grill extends at making both.

As you’ve noticed from the list above, kamado grills are made out of two materials – ceramic and steel. But which one is better? Here, we’ll take a closer look at their differences in order for you to make the best choice.

 

Durability

How long a grill would last you depends on how well you take care of it, of course. But besides that obvious fact, there’s a difference in longevity when it comes to the material it’s made out of.

Ceramic is fragile. If you accidentally knock over your kamado, the body will probably crack. However, if you take good care of it, it’s a good chance your kids will inherit it.

On the other hand, steel, while it’s a sturdy material, gets worn off by fire in the long run. No matter how well you take care of it, it will become stained from rust over time. A time will come when you simply have to throw it away and get a new one.

Price

There’s a huge price gap between steel and ceramic kamado grills. It makes sense though, as a ceramic one could last you a long-time if taken good care of. 

However, a good ceramic kamado grill can cost as much as a whole one month’s salary, and that’s quite an investment. Therefore, it really depends on how much you’re willing to invest in a grill.

Weight

Ceramic is a heavy material. The thicker the ceramic grill walls are, the better it retains the heat.  A standard-sized kamado, like Kamado Joe 18-inch models, weight over 250 pounds. That’s heavier than a regular sofa. 

Compared to that, steel kamado grills are featherweight. Kamander weighs around 120 pounds, while Akorn weighs only 89! 

In the end, it comes down to what your priorities are. If you want a long-term investment, the ceramic kamado is what you want. But, if you’re trying out a different type of grill, then a steel kamado is great for starting out.

 

Final Thoughts

A kamado grill is a versatile piece of cooking equipment every bbq lover needs. It grills, smokes, bakes – whatever you want. Furthermore, it’s an eye-catcher on your patio, and all of your guests will ask you about it so much, you might as well write your own kamado FAQ. 

 

If you plan on spending a pretty penny for something that you’ll pass on to your kids, Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II has everything you, and them, will need. If you’re a first-time kamado grill buyer, or if you simply don’t plan on spending so much on a grill, Char-Griller E56720 Akorn has everything you need, but for a friendlier price.

 

Hope this guide has helped you choose the perfect grill for you. Whichever kamado you go with, we’re sure you’re going to enjoy everything it has to offer.