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Best Kamado Grills: All Eggs Aren’t Equal! Our Top 9

BEST OVERALL

Kamado Joe Classic II
Kamado Joe Classic II
4.7/5

BEST VALUE

Pit Boss Kamado
Pit Boss Kamado
4.5/5

BEST DUAL ZONE

Primo Grills All-in-One Oval XL
Primo Oval XL
4.3/5

BEST NON-CERAMIC

Weber Summit Kamado E6
Weber Summit
4.6/5

BEST BUDGET

Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker
Char-Griller Akorn
4.4/5

BEST BUILT-IN

Blaze Cast Aluminum Kamado
Blaze
4.6/5

There’s no single barbecue that does a better job of low and slow smoking and high heat grilling as a kamado. From smoked brisket to grilled tri-tip, authentic pizza, and even dessert, there’s not much that a kamado can’t do!

Add fuel efficient and easy to use to the mix and you’ve got yourself one incredible barbecue.

But, we’ve got to be honest, from the outside, they all look pretty similar… So, instead of taking a punt on what’s not a cheap setup, grab one of our tried and tested favorites.

Here you’ll find our top picks when it comes to the best kamado grills. We’ve tried to hit all the different price points to give you something that matches your budget. There’s a built-in model, non-ceramic option, and even a couple of portable kamados too.

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How We Tested the Best Kamado Grills and Smokers

We can’t stand behind our recommendations without having hands-on experience with them.

So, to test the best kamado grills and smokers, we first scoured the market for a wide range of popular and lesser known kamados that might be good. Then, we buy each one and go about testing them, making notes on the following points:

Kamados are one of the most expensive types of barbecues. And, they usually last a long, long time.

So, by buying a quality one, you’re investing in a smoking and grilling setup that can last a lifetime. Because of that, getting good quality is very important and we take note of it.

Good quality kamados hold the heat really well which is a plus. But, you want to also have a good system of dampers to adjust the temperature easily so you don’t accidentally overshoot the temperature when it’s hard to bring it back down.

In testing the best kamado grills, we saw how easy or difficult it was to adjust and maintain a steady temperature at both low and slow and high heat ranges.

A well insulated kamado can be extremely fuel efficient, costing you less in the long run.

You may see it noted in this review how long you can expect one load of charcoal to last you. We’ve done this to give you an idea of how much that particular model will cost to run.

It’ll also give you an idea of the maximum smoke time without needing to add more charcoal which can be difficult to do on this type of smoker.

Kamados are generally very good at grilling.

We tested these models to assess how good they are at cooking steaks, burgers, sausages, and other meats in a high-heat, open flame situation.

All great kamados should also double as an equally as good smoker.

These models were all tested at low and slow temperatures to cook at least three different cuts of meat including pulled pork and pork ribs.

For consistency, we followed the same general technique, wrapping in butchers paper when a certain internal temperature was reached, and  unwrapping for the final hour. We also kept the seasoning the same with our favorite Hardcore Carnivore Dry Rubs.

If the particular model of kamado could be used for a dual-zone temperature setup, we tested it.

If it came with charcoal baskets or dividers, those were used to hold the charcoal to one side of the grill. If they were an added extra, we did not buy them for the purpose of this review.

We live in a cold climate which means you get barbecues tested in adverse weather because most of the year, that’s what we’ve got.

Luckily, a quality kamado should perform very well in cold conditions so these models were run up in low temperatures, with high winds, and rain.

We did not test them in snowy conditions though.

Some kamados come with everything you need to grill and smoke while other brands make you buy everything separately.

Here, you’ll see notes about what was and wasn’t included in the single purchase price so you can make a more informed decision as to how much each model will cost.

Pit Boss K22 Kamado In Use

Note, we do not have hands-on experience using the Kalamazoo Shokunin kamado. Unfortunately, this is way out of our budget and we have not yet been able to get to the Kalamazoo headquarters to experience this kamado in person.

As such, that review and recommendation is based on extensive research including manufacturer product information, numerous videos, real-user feedback, and other professional assessment.

Table of Contents

The Best Kamado Grills: Our Top Choices

These days when you’re looking for a new kamado, there’s so much more than the Big Green Egg!

Here you’ll find the round-up of our favorite kamados on the market. Instead of giving them an arbitary order, we’ve given these favorites a title so that you can easily jump to the feature you’re most looking for e.g. best budget kamado or best tailgating kamado. But, there’s a little something for everyone here.

BEST OVERALL

Kamado Joe Classic II

4.7/5

BBQ type: Kamado

Material: Glazed ceramic

Grates: Stainless steel

Capacity: 256 sq inch

Heat range: 225°F-750°F

Dimensions: 46.5″ W x 48″ H x 28″ D

Price guide: $$$

Model: Classic II

Warranty: Ceramic lifetime, 5 yrs metals, 1 yr other

The Kamado Joe Classic II is hands-down our favorite kamado out there.

Not only is this barbecue great quality, it’s got some of the most innovative and actually useful features of any other kamados.

Starting with high-fired ceramic walls, the Kamado Joe Classic II effectively locks in heat, smoke and moisture to create the perfect cooking environment. The outside is then finished with a porcelain-glazed, heat-resistant shell that keeps the kamado reasonably cool to touch.

To counter the heavy lid that any ceramic kamado has, Kamado Joe added their counter-balanced Air Lift Hinge which reduces the dome weight by a significant 96%. You can literally open it with one finger, it’s that good.

Kamado Joe Air Lift Hinge

Inside you’ve got the AMP (Advanced Multi-Panel) firebox. This thing is basically a firebox that’s already broken into chunks and held together with a metal rim. This lets it expand and contract as the ceramic heats and cools, reducing the chance of breakage. Because, the firebox is the most common thing to go on a ceramic kamado.

Kamado Joe AMP Firebox

Above that you’ll find the 2-tier Divide and Conquer cooking system. Some other kamados do have similar setups to maximize the space. But, we like Kamado Joe’s because the half moon plates let you really customize your setup to suit exactly what you want to grill and/or smoke.

It’s flexbility at it’s finest and adds a decent amount of extra cooking space.

Example of a 2-tier setup on the Kamado Joe Classic II

To adjust the temperature, you’ve got Kamado Joe’s patented Kontrol Tower top vent.

This thing is worth it’s weight in gold in terms of making the cooking easier. There’s two separate dampers to really fine tune where the heat’s at. It’s clever design keeps most of the weather out which is essential where I live, and it actually stays in place so you don’t lose your heat settings when you open and close the lid.

Kamado Joe Kontrol Tower

Sealing the deal you’ll find the high-quality wire mesh fibreglass gasket. This should last 10 years longer than your regular felt type while giving better cushioning between the lid and the body.

In terms of performance, this thing can cook some incredible food. It’s easy to use, easy to clean, and, check out the price! It’s also one of the best value options out there. Everything you need to grill and smoke is included. Although Kamado Joe sell an incredible range of add-ons, you’re good to go with this one.

For more on this kamado, read our full review of the Kamado Joe Classic II.

Pros
Cons
BEST VALUE

Pit Boss Kamado

4.5/5

BBQ type: Kamado

Material: Glazed ceramic

Grates: Stainless steel

Capacity: 573 sq inch

Heat range: Smoke & grill

Dimensions: 21″ W x 52″ H x 46″ D

Price guide: $$

Model: K22

Warranty: Ceramic lifetime, 5 yrs metals, 1 yr other

It’s one of the cheapest cereamic kamados on the market, and this thing is actually pretty darn good.

You’ve got your typical high-fired, heat retaining, porcelain-glazed ceramic sides (in a nice black finish that everyone always comments on I will add…) There’s a slit in the firebox to help reduce the chance of it cracking. A shock absorbing plunger to protect against slammed lids. And, a two-tiered cooking system with the heat deflector included.

Smoking on the Pit Boss K22 with heat deflector and 2 grates

Our biggest peeve with the Pit Boss Kamado is that we don’t like how the heat deflector sits in there.

It’s at an odd height. You can set it so it sits very close to the grate or flip it so it sits further down. Neither work that well, you’ve got to be careful of where you position the hinged grate, and like some other brands, there’s large gaps between the side of the kamado that let a lot of heat through.

Also don’t sit anything hot on those shelves. Ours has a melted ring it it from setting hot stuff down.

Other than that, this thing cooks so great food.

Tomahawk Steak on the Pit Boss K22

The temperature is easy to adjust. It works well in really cold weather. The cart is good quality. And, it’s everything you need to smoke and grill at a really great price.

For more on this kamado, read our full review of the Pit Boss Kamado.

Pros
Cons
BEST XL

Primo Grills All-in-One Oval XL

4.3/5

BBQ type: Kamado

Material: Glazed ceramic

Grates: Stainless steel

Capacity: 400 sq inch

Heat range: 151°F – 850°F +

Dimensions: 21.5″D x 28″W x 27.5″H

Price guide: $$$$

Model: ‎Oval XL

Warranty: Ceramic lifetime, 5 yrs metals, 1 yr other

Most kamados have a somewhat limited cooking capacity. Even with multiple vertical racks, there’s only so much you can fit in the rounded shape.

So, Primo have opened up the kamado to an oval shape that actually allows you to lay racks of ribs, briskets, and a whole heap of other meat sideways in what’s our favorite kamado for anyone who wants to maximize space.

But, what’s also great about the shape of this kamado, is that you can create different heat zones better than you can on a rounded kamado.

Simply use the included in this package, firebox divder to put the charcoal on one side and leave the other side empty to create direct heat for searing in one half, and indirect heat for slower cooking on the other.

We’ve tested the heat distribution as well. And, when you want to, you can create a remarkably even temperature across the whole kamado. But, dividing up the firebox really does work well in creating those different heat areas.

Meat on the Primo Oval XL with dual zone temperatures set up

While we don’t like Primos top vent quite as much as KJ’s Kontrol Tower, this one does provide you with some weather protection and it’s easy to adjust the temperature as well.

There’s an easy lift hinge that reduces the dome weight by 70%. It’ll still feel heavier than a Kamado Joe but, it’s not bad when you’re using it by itself.

Primo don’t always include all the accessories with their grills. So, for the stand, grates, folding side tables, grate lifter, head deflectors, and firebox divider, you need to go for the All-In-One package. Then, it’s pretty decent value for a large, very usable kamado.

Pros
Cons
BEST NON-CERAMIC

Weber Summit Kamado

4.6/5

BBQ type: Kamado

Material: Enameled steel

Grates: Stainless steel

Capacity: 452 sq inch

Heat range: Smoke & grill

Dimensions: 30.6″D x 36.8″W x 29.3″H

Price guide: $$$

Model: ‎Summit E6

Warranty: 10 years

Ceramic is great in that it’s a really good insulator and lasts forever with proper care. But, there’s also a few benefits that come with a non-ceramic kamado in that it’s not as heavy and can’t crack.

And, if you’re looking for a non-ceramic kamado, the Weber Summit is our favorite.

It’s pretty much a double-walled, upgraded version of Weber’s tried and true kettle grill. But, it’s not just set up for grilling. With two levels to pop the charcoal up for high-heat or down for smoking, and the included metal heat deflector, this thing was made for low and slow as well.

Meat smoking on the Weber Summit Kamado

The air-insulated, double wall metal design doesn’t insulate as well as ceramic. But, it’s still enough to keep a steady temperature and hold most of the heat in for a fairly efficient burn. You should be able to get up to about 24 hours of low and slow time from one load of charcoal in good weather conditions.

And, while the Rapidfire lid damper doesn’t keep rain out, it’s easy to use to adjust the temperature which is it’s main job.

I actually wouldn’t recommend using the Weber Summit in the rain anyway. It does struggle with temperature a bit and it’s best to keep this grill dry to prevent rust.

The larger than most 24″ grate size fits a really reasonable amount of food. It even comes with two charcoal basket so you can set up two different heat zones which work well if you want to grill on one side and bake or even smoke on the other.

But, if you love kitting your barbecue out with accessories, the Summit is a great match.

It’s compatible with Weber’s Gourmet BBQ System which gives you a whole heap of extras you can add on including a pizza stone.

Pros
Cons
BEST BUDGET

Char-Griller Akorn

4.4/5

BBQ type: Kamado

Material: Enameled steel

Grates: Cast iron

Capacity: 314 sq inch

Heat range: Smoke & grill

Dimensions: 45″D x 31″W x 47″H

Price guide: $$

Model: ‎Akorn

Warranty: 5 years

If you just can’t justify the cost of buying a kamado, the Char-Griller Akorn is so worth the money!

This kamado isn’t as well-built as they others. It will rust if you don’t look after it properly. And, the triple walled steel design doesn’t hold the heat as well as a heavy kamado would either.

But, for a much cheaper than usual price, you’re getting 314 square inches of smoking and grilling space with nice, cast iron grates and top and numbered bottom dampers that make it easy to control the temperature, and remember setting you used for next time.

Grilling on the Char-Griller Akorn kamado

Because it’s made from steel instead of ceramic, the Akorn is also a lot lighter and less fragile than more expensive models.

Our temperature gauge doesn’t read accurately which others have reported as well. But, we do use the MEATER 2 Plus to monitor the ambient and internal temperature of our meat anyway so we rely on that reading instead of what it says on the lid.

The heat deflector Char-Griller call the smoking stone that you do need for smoking isn’t included in the base price. You’ll see an option to buy the grill with the stone by following our Amazon link. But, you will need this if you want to low and slow anything on the Akorn.

Ribs smoked in the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado with Smoking Stone

In the picture above, you can see how the smoking stone is quite small compared to the cooking grate’s diameter. It’s not the best design as you don’t get full protection from the heat all the way around your meat.

But, most importantly, the food cooked on the Akorn turns out really well. We get good smoke rings, nice flavor, and it retains moisture nicely as well.

The whole bottom of the kamado pops off so you can empty the ashes. It’s a little awkward to do the first time but you do get used to the system and it’s an effective way to empty the egg.

For a fraction of the cost of a more expensive kamado, we think this one’s well worth it. Just look after it well, and store it out of the rain or with a cover. You might need to replace it after 5 years +. But, you can buy quite a few of these before you’re at the same cost of a recommended cereamic model or the Weber Summit so we call that winning.

Pros
Cons

BBQ type: Kamado

Material: Solid cast aluminum

Grates: Stainless steel

Capacity: 314 sq inch

Heat range: Smoke & grill

Dimensions: 27.87″D x 21.87″W x 33.87″H

Price guide: $$$$

Model: ‎BLZ-20-KAMADO

Warranty: Lifetime

The Blaze Kamado definitely isn’t your ordinary ceramic cooker!

This stylish egg is actually built from solid cast aluminum offering superior durability to match it’s lifetime warranty which is perfect for a grill to permanently build into your outdoor kitchen.

Blaze kamado set up in outdoor kitchen

The walls are up to 1 1/4″ thick, giving heat retention that outdoes the standard ceramic. And, because aluminum is non-porous and naturally rust-proof, it won’t rust or absorb any residue over the years.

But, the quality doesn’t just stop at the body.

Inside you’ve got 12mm thick, hex-shaped stainless steel grates. These are one step up from your regular stainless grate in terms of heat retention and the sear marks that they leave. The top grate is hinged for easy access down below. And, there’s a second grate where you can sit your heat deflector, water pan, or charcoal basket for other setups below.

To control the temperature, you’ve got a cast aluminum and stainless steel top and bottom vent. Both are really easy to adjust and we find it easy to fine tune the heat levels for both low and slow and high heat grilling. The bottom vent can even be completely flipped open for maximum air input directly at the fire.

When it comes to empyting ash from the Blaze, there’s an included ash pan instead of a door. It’s a little annoying to use because you do need to lift all the grates out to empty it. But, it’s not a major negative.

Performance-wise, the Blaze does an excellent job. The lid is spring hinged to minimize it’s weight as well. It’s a really premium kamado and for what you’re getting, we feel like the price is a real bargain!

Blaze kamado loaded up with meat

If you enjoy a rotisserie chicken, the Blaze rotisserie kit is a worthwhile addition as well.

Pros
Cons
BEST HIGH-END

Kalamazoo Shokunin

4.9/5

BBQ type: Kamado

Material: Stainless steel

Grates: Stainless steel

Capacity: 432 sq inch

Heat range: Smoke & grill

Dimensions: 29″D x 38″W x 48″H

Price guide: $$$$$

Model: KSHOK430

Warranty: 25 years

For one extra special kamado that’ll really make your backyard something else, there’s the Kalamazoo Shokunin.

The price is right on up there for this one! It’s truly high-end and a premium product. But, even if you don’t have the budget for it, check it out for a minute because this is one unique piece of barbecue art.

Crafted from high-quality stainless steel with a generous two inches of glass fibre insulation sandwiched in between, the Shokunin is so efficient you can run it for up to 65 hours on 12 pounds for charcoal.

The temperature stays impressively even, you’ve got four air shutters to give even more control over that cross-ventilation. And, there’s 1/10th markings etched into the steel so you can easily see and remember exactly where you had it.

Kalamazoo Shokunin kamado being used

But, the inside grate system is what we really love.

Firstly, the rectangular shape gives you more actual cooking space than a typical rounded kamado. It fits nicely into a built-in kitchen although this model’s freestanding. And, the flip up 1/4 inch thick stainless steel grates give you a lot of flexibility in how you want to set up your cook.

Kalamazoo Shokunin Flexible Grate Setup

Use the lower grate for your charcoal fire, or set the charcoal on the mid or upper level for higher-heat grilling. You also get two charcoal fences included so that you can create dual-zone temperature setups for reverse searing.

Made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA, the quality is truly impeccable. With Kamalazoo, you’re getting the very best.

Pros
Cons
BEST TAILGATER

Broil King Keg

4.2/5

BBQ type: Kamado

Material: Coated steel

Grates: Cast iron

Capacity: 480 sq inch

Heat range: Smoke & grill

Dimensions: 18.5″D x 18.5″W x 18.5″H

Price guide: $$

Model: ‎Keg 5000

Warranty: 10 years on body, 2 yrs other

A kamado is definitely not the first type of barbecue you think of when you’re looking for portable. But, being the super versatile, they’re perfect for cooking whatever you and your friends feel like. And, even better than an egg is this keg.

Made from insulated, porcelain-lined steel, the Broil King Keg is lighter than most kamados, and is, of course, less breakable too. This means that although it’s still kinda heavy, you can safely take it tailgating, camping, or just around to a, less fortunate, mates house. There’s even a trailer hitch adapter that’s sold separately that lets you hook it up and drive away. It’s not very expensive and doesn’t get easier than that.

Broil King Keg loaded to pickup truck with hitch adapter

But, aside from the awesome portability of this top kamado grill, it does a good job of cooking too.

The insulated double-walled steel grill body does a respectable job of keeping the heat in, even in cold conditions. We’ve got up to about 12 hours out of a single load of quality lump charcoal.

The 19 inch cast-iron grate gives you 280 square inches of cooking space. There’s also a secondary chrome-plated steel rack too that adds an additional 200 square inches if you need it.

Broil King Keg with 2 racks loaded up

The second rack sits above the main grate and rotates out of the way so that you can still get in there to baste your dinner below even if the top rack is full.

You’ll also get all the standard features you’d expect from a quality kamado including cast-iron and aluminum dampers, a built-in thermometer and a removable ash draw.

Packaged together with a bottle-opening stand, the Broil King Keg a great deal for anyone who wants to make outdoor cooking epic.

Pros
Cons
BEST PORTABLE

Kamado Joe Jr

4.6/5

BBQ type: Kamado

Material: Glazed ceramic

Grates: Stainless steel

Capacity: 150 sq inch

Heat range: Smoke & grill

Dimensions: ‎19.75″ D x 20.75″ W x 27″ H

Price guide: $$

Model: Joe Jr

Warranty: Ceramic lifetime, 5 yrs metals, 1 yr other

For a small kamado you can take on the go, or even use at home when you’re cooking for one or two and don’t want to use a lot of charcoal, the Kamado Joe Jr is our favorite.

It’s suprisingly spacious for what it is. The 150 square inches of cooking grate fits can fit 2 whole chickens, up to 10 decently sized burger patties, or a brisket cut in half.

Grilling on the Kamado Joe Jr

It’s fairly easy to get the temperature to hold steady for long smokes, the heat deflector is included, the heat soars high for open flame grilling, and the ash door and included tool makes cleaning really easy.

You don’t get all the innovative Kamado Joe features on the Jr model though.

There’s no Kontrol Tower top vent, it’s their more basic, cast iron version, the gasket is standard felt, and the hinge is your regalar spring-loaded.

But, all the basic quality is there for a great performing small kamado.

When it comes to moving the Joe Jr, you can do it by yourself, and it’s easier with two people.

Moving the Kamado Joe Jr

Although it definitely doesn’t compare to a full-sized kamado in terms of weight, it’s still very heavy and you do need to be careful not to drop it. The ceramic will crack and/or shatter which the lifetime warranty won’t cover you for.

Nevertheless, we love the Joe Jr and use it regularly for cooking smaller meals to save on charcoal.

Pros
Cons

What is a Kamado Grill?

Archaeologists have found versions of the kamado grill in many early civilizations.

While popular in China 3,000 years ago, they were also used as tandoors in India, and rice steamers in Japan. However, the kamado we know today descends from the Japanese ‘mushikamado’, which means ‘cooking range’ or ‘stove’.

During World War II, the Americans had to make do with using locally available resources.

After being understandably impressed with these charcoal burners, the concept was brought back to the United States.

There, entrepreneur Ed Fisher, began manufacturing and selling the modern-day kamado that he branded as the Big Green Egg.

Nowadays, kamado grills and smokers aren’t just a basic clay dome.

Instead, they’re a circular or oval-shaped cooker that’s usually made from high-quality ceramic. Built-in thermometers, dampers and stands have been added to improve their efficiency and ease of use.

Additionally, there are a whole host of optional accessories that broaden the kamado’s cooking ability so that you can grill, smoke and bake on the one apparatus.

How Do Kamado Grills Work?

Inside a kamado, the bottom section is reserved for the fire. Here, coals sit on a small grate so that the ash can fall and collect below. Above that you’ll find a cooking grate that’s topped with what should be a tightly-sealed, heat-retaining lid.

Kamados are typically very well insulated with thick ceramic walls or another material that mimics this level of heat retention. This creates a 360-degree cooking environment that grills from all around and the results are impeccable.

To adjust the temperature, you simply open or close the vents in the top and base of the kamado. The bottom vent is used to make larger adjustments as it’s closer to the fire while the top vent lets you fine-tune the heat to precisely where you want it.

Can You Smoke on a Kamado Grill?

Kamados do a really great job of smoking meat.

Because the thick, insulated walls hold the heat in well, and you’ve got multiple dampers that allow you to crank the temperature right down low, you can load up one lot of charcoal and simply leave it to burn at a low and slow rate for hours without having to add more fuel. They’re very efficient.

As well as that, a kamado locks in a lot of the moisture while circulating the smoke around the domed shape for exceptional flavor and moist, tender meat.

To smoke in a kamado, you do need a heat deflector. This is a basic plate that’s usually ceramic as well and acts as a heat shield and sink, retaining and radiating indirect heat onto your food to prevent burning over the extended low temperature cook time.

Kamado manufacturers sometimes include a heat deflector in the package price. Others sell it as an optional accessory. But, you should be able to buy a heat deflector for every kamado sold because smoking is half of what they’re good at.

Advantages of Using a Kamado Grill

A kamado is one of our personal favorite types of barbecues because of these reasons:

Kamados are one of the most versatile barbecues. They can do low and slow, high-heat open flame grilling and anything and everything in between.

That means you can grill a steak, smoke a rack of ribs, roast a whole turkey, bake a pizza, or even do yourself up some incredible backyard dessert.

Size is the only limit on what a kamado can do.

With at least two dampers to adjust and fine-tune the heat levels and excellent heat retention that creates a fairly stable cooking environment, once you get the hang of it, cooking on a kamado isn’t hard.

While a kamado isn’t a set and forget smoker, you don’t need to do much in the way of maintaining it’s temperature throughout the cook.

They’re also designed to run off of one load of charcoal at max so you shouldn’t be out there stoaking the fire every hour or so.

Instead, enjoy the company of your guests, get some work done around the house, or play with the kids. A kamado doesn’t own you.

With excellent heat retention and insulation against the cold also comes incredible fuel efficiency.

Grilling, baking, and smoking on a kamado doesn’t use a lot of charcoal and they’re one of the most fuel efficient types of smokers out there.

Most kamados are built very well out of durable materials that don’t just last a few seasons.

From one of the best kamado grills, you should be looking at 1o, 20, or even a lifetime of use as long as you look after it properly.

Kamados don’t require a lot of cleaning. In fact, most have some sort of easy empty ash system where you can pull out a tray of ash once it’s cold and dump it in the trash can.

Of course you need to clean the grates. But, depending on the type, there’s not much more to maintaining them than that.

The versatility and durability of a kamado makes them perfect for outdoor kitchens and a lot of the best manufactueres have stand-alone versions that can be built into a permanent backyard setup.

Disadvantages of Using a Kamado Grill

While kamados are incredible, nothing’s ever perfect. The downsides to kamado cooking include:

The rounded shape of kamados naturally limits the cooking capacity of them.

Some brands have created multiple cooking rack systems so that you can take advantage of the vertical cooking space. But, many don’t have enough space to say, cook a whole brisket laid out flat.

The thick walls of kamados usually take a while to heat up properly. It’s definitely a longer wait than your typical gas grill.

As well as talking a while to heat up, kamados take a long time to cool down too.

And, this isn’t necessarily a problem unless you accidentally overshoot your target temperature and then get delayed while that nice, thick, heat retaining material slowly cools down.

While being durable and heavy-duty, ceramic also cracks and breaks quite easily.

The firebox’s on kamados are known to be a bit of a problem area where quick temperature changes (like dropping a lit chimney full of charcoal into one), can cause cracks that will damage and/or break the barbecue.

Of course if you move it and accidentally drop it, your kamado won’t just end up with a dent or two. And, closing the heavy lid too quickly can also cause cracks as well.

A full ceramic kamado weighs a lot. And, while a lot of the best kamado grills do have clever hinge designs that reduce the dome weight, try moving one and you’ll understand what I mean.

These things are a beast and a half. And, they’re large and awkward too.

Kamados are one of the most expensive types of barbecues out there.

It makes sense, they’re great quality, made from heavy-duty material, and are designed to last a really long time. But, when you first go to buy one, a kamado can seem like a heafty expense.

What to Look for When Buying a Kamado Grill

While most kamado grills look similar, there’s more to them than just a heavy, egg-shaped barbecue. So, here’s the features to look for when buying a the best kamado grill and smoker:

Ceramic is generally the gold standard when it comes to the best kamado grills. But, it’s not the only good option.

Insulated metal designs can work comparitively as well and can’t be cracked or shattered if dropped. They can, on the other hand, rust and not be quite as good natural insulators.

Watch out for cheap metal fittings that might rust and joinery that doesn’t seal properly.

Poor quality thermometers can give inaccurate and inconsistent readings that make it difficult to understand why your low-and-slow meats aren’t cooking right or your pizza lacks that crispy crust.

To hold the kamados heavy weight, you need a cart that’s strong or sturdy.

Look for a welded design with quality welds, or something that screws together with heavy-duty hardware for a steady hold.

Not having enough room to cook a rack of ribs, tri-tip or brisket is a bit of a fail if you’ve already invested in buying the best kamado grill and smoker.

Have a good think about which cuts of meat you want to cook and how many people you’ll be cooking for before buying your kamado.

While some models maximize cooking space by having multiple racks vertically, most aren’t going to fit a whole brisket and some can’t fit a large turkey. To do extra large cuts, you’ll need an extra wide kamado like the Primo Oval XL or the KJ Big Joe.

Some kamado manufacturers don’t include things like multi-level racking systems, heat deflectors, and charcoal baskets.

Carefully check what is included with any kamado before you buy it. If the accessories you want aren’t included, factor these into the purchase price.

If you’re dreaming of rotiserrie chicken, or doing pizza in your kamado, you’ll need a kamado that has an accessory for that.

Even if you’re not planning on buying it now, check out the cost so you can factor that into your investment.

A good quality kamado should be backed by a long warranty.

We’re not talking about 1, 2 or 5 years, some will have 25 years on their ceramics or even a limited lifetime guarantee.

But, also check out the warranty terms for individual components. Kamados usually guarantee things like the metal components and any plastics for a different time period than the ceramics.

FAQs About the Best Kamado Grills and Smokers

With the right gear you can cook almost anything on a kamado grill!

From low-and-slow smoked meats to pizzas, seared skirt steak and even desserts. The versatility is one of the best things about using and buying a kamado.

If you want a single barbecue that’s excellent at grilling and smoking without having to choose or priotitize one type of cooking over the other, a kamado is absolutely worth it.

They’re an incredibly versatile barbecue, and a good one should last you a lifetime.

Our top choice for the best budget kamado grill is the Char-Griller Akorn.

This affordable model has a triple layed steel design that provides pretty decent insulation for the price, the temperature is easy to control, and it’s remarkably durable for a bbq in this price range.

Lump charcoal is recommended over charcoal briquettes for use in a kamado for two reasons.

The first is that lump charcoal contains absolutely no additives that can leach into the semi-porous ceramic dome. Secondly, lump charcoal produces less ash than briquettes and too much ash in a kamado can block the fire.

Choose from one of our favorite lump charcoals.

Or, to learn more about how the different types of charcoal compare, read our lump charcoal vs briquettes comparison.

The kamado is a unique type of barbecues in that it grills and smokes excellently. A lot of the other types of barbecues are designed more for smoking or grilling while a kamado excells in both of these heat ranges.

They’re also really durable and very easy to use.

Kamados are one of the most expensive types of barbecues because they’re made from really good quality materials that cost a lot.

But, because they’re so strong and durable, a quality kamado like one of the ones recommended above should last many, many years if not a lifetime.

You’ll see 25 year and lifetime warranties on a lot of the best kamado brands as well, giving you some assurance that a bit of money spent now will give you great grilling and smoking for a very long time to come.

Jared Brown, an avid lover of all things meat has a fearless enthusiasm for experimenting with anything that's grilling, smoking or outdoor cooking. With a wealth of experience across a range different barbecue types, Jared's got a real knack for helping others make a decision they're happy with, ensuring they find the perfect fit regardless of conventional notions of the 'right' choice. This unique approach has made Jared a trusted guide in the world of barbecue.

About Burning Brisket

Burning Brisket is one of the leading, independent authorities on all things barbecue. Family-owned and run, it's our mission uncomplicate the art of smoking to help you enjoy making incredible food at home for your family and friends to create memories over.

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