Home Reviews The 7 Best Kamado Grills for 2019

The 7 Best Kamado Grills for 2019

by Burning Brisket
Best Kamado Grills and Smokers

From smoked brisket to grilled tri tip, authentic pizza and even dessert. There’s not much that a kamado grill and smoker can’t do! Made from thick ceramic or similar materials, the egg-shaped kamado that we know and love is based on ancient earthenware cooking ovens that were used to grill, smoke, roast and bake. The insulating, heat-retaining walls create a highly efficient 360-degree cooking environment that makes it easy to whip up your favorite meals.

If you’re in the market for a top kamado grill and smoker, you’ve probably noticed that they all look pretty similar from the outside. So, what makes a good kamado great? In this guide, you’ll learn what to look for when buying a kamado grill, as we review the best kamado grills 2019 has to offer.

Things to Consider When Buying a Kamado

When it comes to the top kamado grills, it’s not just about which kamado grill is best. What works for you depends on your needs. So, before you buy think about these things:

1. What You’ll Be Cooking

Do you want to slow-smoke large cuts of meat? Grill perfectly crispy pizzas in your backyard? Quickly sear up some seafood? Turn you kamado into a rotisserie? Or, do it all? What you want to cook impacts the size of kamado that you need. But, it’ll also influence the optional accessories you’ll need to invest in to kit out your kamado. Look for inclusive packages or throw together your own.

2. Where You’ll Be Using It

Kamado’s are heavy and, depending on what they’re made of, are fragile too. So, you’ll ideally want to be able to store your new kamado right where you’ll be cooking with it. How much space to you have available? Do you have a workbench or will you need a stand-alone? Could you build it into an outdoor kitchen? If you want to be able to move your new kamado around or use it tailgating, look at the lightweight options below.

3.  Other Important Features

Kamado’s have come a long way since their ancient beginnings. Consider what other features might be important to you. Could your kamado benefit from a built-in shelf? Would you like a quality ceramic build or is steel a better option for you? Is easy to clean a must? Want to be able to swap out to gas-powered as well? And, lets not forget, what’s going to look the best sitting on your deck or outdoor area?

4. Investment

Oh, the budget question! Yes, spending more USUALLY will get you a better-quality, longer-lasting kamado with more features and extras, but, isn’t having a barbecue better than not having one? 2019 kamado smokers start at about $300 USD and range up to a few thousand dollars. So, how much do you need to spend? We suggest as much as you can afford to get the features and quality that you’d like. Don’t forget to add in the price of covers and accessories too.

Best Value Kamado:

Kamado Joe Classic II

Any discussion of kamado grill reviews couldn’t be complete without mentioning this egg. The Kamado Joe Classic Joe II is one of the best kamado grills on the market. Not only for 2019, but for every year. Because, simply, it does everything right! Not only does this baby look good, it’s a quality, carefully designed barbecue that comes stock standard with a number of innovative features that takes classic to the next level.

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. While this quality does make the kamado heavy, Kamado Joe’s breakthrough air lift hinge means that it’s weight is no longer a negative. Their new counter-balanced technology reduces the dome weight by 96%. This means that you can open it with one finger if you’d like, and, it’ll stay there. No more hot, hard to open kamado lids!

Kamado Joe have also addressed the common issue of poor-quality, leaky vents with their patented Kontrol Tower. It’s made of aluminum so it won’t rust. It’s also weather-proof and easy to adjust giving you ultra-precise control of the airflow.

If you plan on running your kamado hot too, the Kamado Joe Classic has a clever multi-panel firebox. Essentially, it’s already broken into six even chunks to allow for expansion which minimizes the risk of cracking due to high heat.

Inside the Kamado Joe Classic II 18 inch, you’ll find the clever Divide & Conquer flexible cooking system. This is basically a system of half-racks that you can set up on multiple levels to double the cooking space. There’s also a Kamado Joe expander if you want even more space, as well as a range of additional cooking surfaces including the cast-iron grate, reversible griddle and soapstone.

To seal the deal, the Kamado Joe Classic has a double-thick wire mesh fiberglass gasket. It’s an industry leading design that should last 10 years longer than normal kamado seals. Throw all of that in with a built-in thermometer and a cast-iron stand with folding side shelves and, seriously, what more could you want?

Stats for the Kamado Joe Classic II 18 inch

Barbecue material: Glazed ceramic

Grate material: 304 stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 256 sq. in. in basic setup, 407 sq. in. with grill expander, 508 sq. in. with 2 sets of grates or 660 sq. in. with 2 sets of grates and expander

Fuel type: Charcoal

Heat Range: 225°F – 750°F

Model: KJ23RHC

Dimensions: 46.5″ W x 48″ H x 28″ D

Weight: 188lbs

Warranty: Lifetime on ceramics, 5 years on metal parts, 3 years on heat deflector and pizza stone, 1 year on thermometer and gasket

Pros of the Kamado Joe Classic II:

  • Strong, sturdy shell that’s guaranteed for life
  • Air lift hinge means you can open the very heavy lid with just one finger
  • The fully stainless steel metals won’t rust
  • The unique vent design is weather-proof, won’t rust and allows for excellent control of heat and smoke levels
  • Comes with a whole heap of extras you’d usually pay more for
  • Expandable grate system gives you loads of options for what you want to cook
  • The double-thick wire mesh fiberglass gasket works extremely well to seal the Kamado Joe
  • The gasket claims to lasts 10 times longer than most other kamado gaskets
  • Uses a six-piece firebox design to reduce the chance of damage or breakage from high heat
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Comes with a heavy-duty cast-iron cart that’s on wheels making it easier to move
  • The slide-out ash draw makes it easy to clean

Cons of the Kamado Joe Classic II:

  • The Kamado Joe Classic II is reasonably pricey. But, we think it’s a great deal considering it comes standard with so many extras.
  • If the Classic II still doesn’t have enough space for what you want to do, try the Kamado Joe Big Joe II

Best Dual-Zone Kamado Grill and Smoker:

Primo Oval LG 300

If you’re used to cooking on a larger barbecues like an offset smoker or gas grill, going to a kamado can be a bit of an adjustment. But, the Primo Oval LG 300 with it’s, you guessed it, elongated, 300 square inch oval shape, means that you can easily cook whole racks of ribs and extra large cuts of meat.

What’s also great about the shape of this kamado, is that you can create different heat zones. Simply put the charcoal on one side and you’ve got direct heat for searing, and indirect heat on the other for slow cooking. The only downside to that is that you’ll need the optional cast iron firebox divider that’s sold separately.

Unlike the Kamado Joe, most of Primo’s accessories don’t come with the kamado itself. This includes the extended cooking rack for added space and the heat deflector plates for low-and-slow smoking. It’s not a biggie if you take these extra costs into account when you first purchase a Primo but can be a bit annoying if you’re expecting these as part of the package.

In fact, unless you purchase a kit, your kamado won’t come with a stand either. So, if you’re not building it into an outdoor kitchen, check out the Primo Oval LG 300 All-In-One that comes with a cart and island top. If you like the timber look, Primo also make cypress tables for their kamados.

However, regardless of how it comes, this American-made top kamado grill is quality.

Heavy glazed ceramic with a cast-iron top vent gives it the ability to handle temperatures up to an impressive 850°F. There’s also a spring-loaded hinge to make lifting the lid easy and reversible porcelain-coated grills for longevity.

Stats for the Primo Oval LG 300 Smoker

Barbecue material: Glazed ceramic

Grate material: Porcelain-coated

Cooking capacity: 300 sq. in. with basic setup, 496 sq. in. with optional rack system

Fuel type: Charcoal

Heat Range: 150°F – 850°F

Model: 7500

Dimensions: 24″ W x 25.25″ H x 18.5″ D (without stand)

Weight: 250lbs

Warranty: Limited lifetime plus 20 years on ceramics

Pros of the Primo Oval LG 300 Grill and Smoker:

  • Quality USA-made ceramics
  • Oval shape allows plenty of space for ribs and larger cuts of meat
  • Reversible, rust-resistant porcelain-coated grates increase their lifespan
  • Able to use different heat zones to cook multiple ways
  • Very large temperature range
  • The cart that comes with the all-in-one has wheels to make moving your kamado easy
  • Built-in thermometer to make it easy to monitor the heat
  • Great warranty for peace of mind

Cons of the Primo Oval LG 300 Grill and Smoker:

  • Accessories are sold separately so you’ll need to factor what you want in to the original cost price
  • The top vent isn’t weather-tight which is only an issue if you live in and plan on cooking in less than ideal conditions

Best Upgrade of an Old Favorite:

Weber Summit Charcoal Grill

What do you get when you take a tried and true barbecue classic and make it even better? The Weber Summit Charcoal Grill.

It’s been called the peak of perfection and it’s not hard to see why. Weber’s always been a house name in top barbecues and although you’ve always been able to smoke on the original kettle, the Summit Charcoal Grill makes it a whole heap easier.

While Weber don’t call it so, the Summit Charcoal Grill is essentially a kettle kamado. Instead of traditional ceramic, it’s made from dual-walled, porcelain-coated steel. This result? A lightweight, crack-resistant kamado that’s able to retain heat due to the insulating layer of air between the two steel walls. That makes it easy to move, but how is it easy to use?

Over the years, Weber have heard our pain when it comes to getting charcoal going. So, they incorporated a gas ignition which makes it possible to light the grill with just the push of a button. Then, there’s the two-position charcoal grates that allow you to quickly raise or lower the fuel for searing or smoking, a hinged for easy access stainless steel diffuser plate, a quality rapid-fire lid damper and a removable, large ash catcher.

And, just when you thought it couldn’t get any easier, check out Weber’s Gourmet BBQ System. These optional accessories perfectly fit the Summit Grill allowing you to bake pizzas, roast chicken, sear steaks, flip pancakes and even cook your own stir fry.

It’s an excellent all-rounder backed by a solid name that’s definitely earned it’s spot among the best kamado grill reviews 2019.

Stats for the Weber Summit Charcoal Grill

Barbecue material: Double-walled porcelain-coated steel

Grate material: Stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 452 sq. in.

Fuel type: Charcoal

Heat Range: Not specified

Model: 18301001

Assembled size (in): 45.5″(H) x 39.5″(W) x 35.8″(D)

Weight: 111lbs in box

Warranty: 10 years on bowl and lid, 5 years on grates and plastic, 2 years on everything else

Pros of the Weber Summit Charcoal Grill:

  • Quality barbecue backed by the Weber name
  • Large cooking capacity
  • Gas starter makes it really quick to fire the kamado up
  • Two-position charcoal grills works well to adjust heat for searing and slow-cooking
  • Hinged grate makes it easy to add charcoal
  • Much lighter than ceramic kamados making it easier to move
  • Steel won’t crack like ceramic can
  • Made from rust-resistant materials for durability
  • Maintains the cool Weber look
  • The removable ash tray makes cleaning easy
  • Great system of made-to-match Weber accessories

Cons of the Weber Summit Charcoal Grill:

  • If you’re using the gas charcoal ignition then the canister eventually need replacing

Best Easy to Use Kamado Grill and Smoker:

Vision Grills Professional C-Series Kamado

Even we’ll admit that barbecuing can seem a little intimidating sometimes. But, if all the technical talk and barbecue slang has put you off getting your own kamado, the Vision Grills Pro could be the one for you. This kamado smoker is the real deal. But, it’s got a few features that make it super simple to use.

To fire this kamado up, you can light the coals manually, or simply slide the electric starter (sold separately or as part of some packages) into Vision’s ProZone starter port. Once you’ve got it going, adjusting the temperature couldn’t be easier. Both the top vent and bottom ProZone have separate calibrated control systems that let you choose exactly how much heat you’d like when smoking and grilling.

With a quality, glazed ceramic body, the Vision Grills Pro will effectively hold the heat, smoke and moisture in for mouthwatering results with minimal effort. You can even buy an optional gas insert to convert this kamado to a gas grill as well! What’s wrong with making something great, so easy?

Stats for the Vision Grills C-Series Pro

Barbecue material: Glazed ceramic

Grate material: Stainless steel dual flip grates with handles

Fuel type: Charcoal

Cooking capacity: 596 sq in

Heat range: 200°F – 700°F

Model: CF1F1

Assembled size (in): 47(H) x 22.5(W) x 28.8(D)

Weight: 252lbs

Warranty: Lifetime on ceramics, 5 years on metal, 90 days on shelves and temperature gauge

Pros of the Vision Grills Professional C-Series Kamado:

  • Electric starter saves time on lighting coals
  • The calibrated ProZone makes it so simple to select the heat level you require for whatever you’re cooking
  • Stainless steel grates have handles to make it easy to add charcoal (just be sure to use gloves when moving hot grates)
  • Multi-level grates for increased cooking capacity
  • Comes with a cart with lockable wheels making it easy to move around your backyard
  • Integrated thermometer
  • Removable ash draw making it easy to clean
  • Optional gas insert so that you can use your kamado as a gas grill
  • Available in a range of colors
  • The timber side racks look great
  • Package available that comes with electric starter, cover, etc.
  • Backed by a solid warranty

Cons of the Vision Grills Professional C-Series Kamado:

  • Reports of smoke sometimes leaking around the ash tray

Best Budget Kamado Grill and Smoker:

Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker

Char-Griller are always a good option if you want a budget-friendly barbecue that’ll get the job done. And, the Akorn Kamado Kooker is no exception.

Although it’s one of the cheapest kamado options on the market, you still get a decent 314 square inches of cooking space inside triple-wall steel. The design won’t insulate as well as a top kamado but it’ll hold a lot more heat, moisture and smoke in than a regular charcoal barbecue. To control the heat, simply adjust the top and bottom dampers and you should be able to achieve a range of 400°F – 700°F.

Included with the kamado is a tubular steel cart. Again, it’s not as strong as others, but it’ll do the job with rubber wheels and a locking caster making it easy to move. There’s also two metal shelves, an ash pan and a built-in thermometer.

If you’re looking for a beginner kamado or want something inexpensive and light to take camping, the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker is definitely a decent option.

Stats for the Cha-Griller Smoking Pro

Barbecue material: Triple wall steel with a porcelain-coated interior and powder-coated exterior

Grate material: Cast-iron

Cooking capacity: 314 sq. in.

Fuel type: Charcoal

Heat Range: 400°F – 700°F

Model: 16620

Assembled size (in): 47(H) x 31(W) x 45(D)

Weight: 97lbs

Warranty: 1 year

Pros of the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker:

  • Inexpensive
  • Decent cooking capacity
  • Has additional warming rack with 133 square inches of space
  • Light and easy to move
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Comes with cart and shelves
  • Long-lasting cast-iron cooking grates
  • Numbered dampers are ideal for learning how to cook on a kamado

Cons of the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker:

  • Not as long-lasting as better quality kamado smokers
  • The triple wall design does lose a decent amount of heat while cooking
  • Cast iron grates require regular maintenance to stop them from rusting (but are always fixable if they do rust)
  • Some people report having trouble with the coating flaking off and rust in the kamado body

Best Tailgating Kamado Grill and Smoker:

Broil King Keg

When you’re tailgating, do you want to take an egg or a keg? If your answer is keg then listen up!

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 (126lbs), 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, but lets you hook it up and drive away.

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

Stats for the Broil King Keg

Barbecue material: Insulated steel with a porcelain-coated interior

Grate material: Cast-iron primary grate, chrome-plated steel secondary grate

Cooking capacity: 480 sq. in.

Fuel type: Charcoal

Heat Range: Unspecified

Model: 5000

Assembled size (in): 47(H) x 41(W) x 27.5(D)

Weight: 126lbs

Warranty: 10 years on body, 2 years on everything else

Pros of the Broil King Keg:

  • Portable
  • Large capacity for a more portable-style kamado
  • Less prone to breaking
  • Cast-iron grates are reversible to increase their lifespan
  • Basic package has everything you need to get started minus the meat and beers
  • Looks the part!
  • Backed by a reputable company and decent warranty

Cons of the Broil King Keg:

  • The resin handles and tables generally wear quite easily
  • Cast-iron grates are susceptible to rusting but with proper care can last a lifetime

Best High-End Kamado Smoker:

Caliber Pro Kamado Grill

The Caliber Pro Kamado definitely isn’t your ordinary ceramic cooker! This shiny egg is actually a triple walled design with two 304-grade stainless steel panels sandwiching a high-quality ceramic insulation. The result? A lightweight kamado that offers exemplary insulation for minimal fuel usage while still being rust-resistant. It’s estimated that the Caliber Pro uses 40% less charcoal than most kamados on the market so there’s no reason not to break out this ‘cue every night of the week.

But, that’s not all the fancy features you’re getting here! The Caliber Pro Kamado also makes use of a parent-pending flue-way design. This recirculates heat within the grill for a consistent cook while the high-quality air vents allow for incredibly precise temperature control that totally satisfies our inner perfectionist.

Also included as standard with this kamado is their patent-pending rotisserie system. This perfectly fits the egg and allows you to roast a whole chicken in just one hour. It’s even designed to naturally collect the juices for basting while stopping burn-inducing flare-ups.

Offering a reasonable 315 square inches of cooking space and the option to up that to 500 square inches with the Step Up Grill Rack Accessory, this is a kamado you won’t grow out of any time soon. With a large temperature gauge, a well-sealing gasket and a heavy-duty cart with side tables and wheels, it’s a worthwhile investment that’ll take your grilling, smoking, baking and roasting to the next level.

Stats for the Caliber Pro Kamado

Fuel type: Charcoal

Barbecue material: Dual layered 304 stainless steel with ceramic insulation set in between

Grate material: 304 stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 315 sq. in. as standard, 495 sq. in. with Step Up accessory (sold separately)

Model: Caliber Pro Kamado

Assembled size (in): 25.2″ W x 46″ H x 27.5″ D (with cart)

Weight: 75lbs

Warranty: Lifetime on racks and body, 5 years on powder coated parts, 1 year on gasket and wood components

Pros of the Caliber Pro Kamado:

  • Lightweight, rust-resistant triple layered stainless steel and ceramic construction offers superior heat retention
  • Uses 40% less charcoal than other kamados on the market
  • Less susceptible to cracking than pure ceramic cookers
  • Easy to move
  • Patent-pending flue-way design does a great job at evening out the heat for a consistent cook
  • Great air vents make it easy to precisely control the temperature
  • Comes with a rotisserie accessory for easy roasting of chickens and small turkeys
  • Cooking capacity can be expanded with the Step Up Rack Accessory
  • Excellent gasket prevents heat and smoke leakages
  • Available in a range of colours, or, plain stainless steel
  • Easy to clean
  • Choice of cart model or stand-alone
  • Lifetime warranty on body

Cons of the Caliber Pro Kamado:

  • We don’t have anything to complain about – it’s seriously great!

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