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Kamado Joe II vs III

by Burning Brisket
Kamado Joe II vs III

So, you’re buying a Kamado Joe and you’re not sure if you should fork out the extra for the top of the line Classic III or Big Joe III? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Here at BurningBrisket.com we love all things KJ. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean the premium model in their line up is the best for you (…we have budgets too!). In this comparison of the Kamado Joe II vs III, we give you the low-down on the upgrades, what’s the same and what’s different between these two ever-so-popular, top-rated kamados. In other words, we’ll help you choose the one that best matches your needs, wants and budget instead of just trying to sell you the top dollar.

Please note that everything in this article applies to both the Kamado Joe Classic and Big Joe models. The Big Joe is simply a larger version with a 24″ diameter grate compared to the Classic at 18″.

This review does contain affiliate links. So, if we’ve helped you out today and you do want to buy, please complete your purchase through one of our links to say thanks! You won’t pay any extra.

A Quick Comparison of the Kamado Joe II vs III

What’s Different?What’s the Same?
SlōRoller hyperbolic chamber insertThick ceramic body
Upgraded Divide and Conquer Cooking SystemAir Lift Hinge reduces dome weight by 96%
Heavy-duty cartKontrol Tower keeps rain out
Stainless steel charcoal basketAdvanced-multi-panel firebox
Elongated ShapeIndustry-leading gasket with stainless steel latch
Optional accessories
Warranty

What's New With the Kamado Joe III?

The Kamado Joe Classic III and Big Joe III are the third generation of this best-selling kamado grill.

And, a lot of people have asked, how is it that they’d be able to make this high-fired ceramic, traditional and versatile barbecue any better than it’s predecessor, the Classic II?

But, in a brand that prides itself on continuous innovation, their top of the line model does deliver some notable changes and superior features that improve it’s performance even more. So, here’s what Kamado Joe have updated with the Classic III model.

SlōRoller Hyperbolic Smoke Chamber Insert

Kamado grills have always been good for smoking. But, the Classic III’s most innovative new feature, the SlōRoller, uses patented Harvard science to transform the kamado from primarily being a grill first to being equally as capable as a smoker as well.

By changing the air pressure, this hyperbolic smoke chamber circulates heat and smoke in a cyclonic ring to give you up to 20 times more smoke for stronger flavor and more even heat distribution than you’d get in the Classic II.

Just be aware though, you do need to keep the temperature below 500°F when using the SlōRoller. This is to keep the Teflon coating on the cast aluminum insert from degrading. Your kamado shouldn’t be this hot for smoking anyway. So, keep it low and slow and you’ll really see the difference the SlōRoller makes to your smoked meats.

3-Tier Divide & Conquer Cooking System

While the Classic II featured the 2-tiered Divide and Conquer Cooking System, the Classic III updates that to a 3-tiered design to give you even more options. Along with it’s elongated new shape, this means that on the Classic III you’ll have up to 510 square inches of cooking space while the Big Joe III gives you a whopping 864!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kamado Joe’s Divide and Conquer Cooking System, it’s a flexible system that’s made up of half racks that allows you to arrange different cooking surfaces at different heights depending on what you’re cooking.

There are a tonne of options! But, one example of what this might look like is a cast iron grate to sear steak close to the open flame, a heat deflector and soapstone non-stick for seafood and a stainless steel grate furthest away for cooking vegetables in the residual heat.

At it’s max, the Kamado Joe Classic III can hold 6 half-moon cooking grates and 2 half-moon heat deflectors. Or, 4 half-moon grates with the SlōRoller smoking insert. But, out of the box, it comes with the 3-tiered cooking rack, 1 accessory rack, 2 half-moon grates, 2 half-moon heat deflectors and the SlōRoller. So, you can add another 4 half-moon plates if you want to.

The Classic III fits the same accessories as the Classic II does. So, you can choose from these:

Stainless Steel Charcoal Basket

Also new to the Classic III is the stainless steel dividable charcoal basket. This handy feature improves fuel efficiency by holding the coals closer together. But, it also allows you to split your charcoal to place more or less on each side when using the Divide and Conquer Cooking System.

It also naturally filters the ash through the bars into the ash drawer for easy clean up.

Heavy-Duty Cart

Along with all these added features, the Classic II’s simple cart also got a major design upgrade. Made from heavy-duty galvanized steel, we love the look of the thicker, sturdier legs that still have the same great castors to make moving this heavy kamado grill around possible.

There’s also an added shelf for extra storage.

And, the side shelves on the Classic III are powder-coated aluminum, a stronger and more heat-tolerant upgrade to the HDPE shelves on the Classic II.

What's the Same On the Kamado Joe II vs III?

Kontrol Tower

The Kamado Joe Classic III and Big Joe III feature the same Kontrol Tower top vent as the generation II models.

Made from rust-resistant aluminum, it’s an easy and effective way to control the temperature inside. But, what’s unique to Kamado Joe is that the Kontrol Tower cleverly reduces the amount of rain and wind that can get in through the top vent, reducing the impact that bad weather will have on your barbecue.

Plus, the Kontrol Tower also stays exactly where you left it after opening and closing the lid again. It’s seems small but can be a big annoyance when you have to reset your vent every time you open the top.

Air Lift Hinge

Ceramic kamados are heavy! But, Kamado Joe lids don’t feel heavy thanks to the Air Lift Hinge. This ever-so-handy innovation reduces the dome weight by 96%. It’s not just to save your arms, it also helps to reduce the risk of cracked lids from accidentally being slammed down.

And, you’ll get one whether you buy the Kamado Joe II or III.

AMP Firebox

One of the most common problems people have with kamados is the firebox cracking from high heat. But, Kamado Joe have combated this with their Advanced Multi-Panel firebox (AMP).

Instead of having nowhere to expand to when heated up, the AMP is already broken into 5 ceramic sections so they can expand and contract without cracking.

Wire Mesh Fibreglass Gasket with Stainless Steel Latch

Another feature that didn’t need updating on the Kamado Joe II vs III is the industry-leading wire mesh fiberglass gasket. Coupled with a high-quality stainless steel latch, this gasket provides an air tight seal to lock in heat, moisture and smoke for better results and increased fuel efficiency.

But, what’s so great about Kamado Joe’s gasket vs the competitors is that it’s designed to last at least 10 years longer than the average. That means less maintenance and lower cost over time too.

Optional Extras

If you’ve already got a Kamado Joe II, you’ll be pleased to hear that all the same optional extras work with the generation III as well.

There’s the JoeTisserie that converts the kamado into an automated spit.

The DoJoe that helps you turn out professional quality pizzas one after another.

Or, the iKamand which gives you remote control over the temperature and smoke levels for hands-off cooking.

Specs for the Kamado Joe II vs III

Kamado Joe Classic II

Model: Classic II

Barbecue material: Glazed ceramic

Grate material: 304 stainless steel

Fuel type: Charcoal

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

Heat Range: 225°F – 750°F

Dimensions: 46.5″ W x 48″ H x 28″ D

Weight: 188 lbs

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

Kamado Joe Classic III

Model: Classic III

Barbecue material: Glazed ceramic

Grate material: 304 stainless steel

Fuel type: Charcoal

Cooking capacity: 256 sq. in. in basic setup, 510 sq. in. with Divide & Conquer

Heat Range: 225°F – 750°F (500°F max with SlōRoller)

Dimensions: 46.5″ W x 50.5″ H x 30″ D

Weight: 262.5 lbs

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

Kamado Joe Big Joe II

Model: Big Joe II

Barbecue material: Glazed ceramic

Grate material: 304 stainless steel

Fuel type: Charcoal

Cooking capacity: 452 sq. in. in basic setup, 604 sq. in. with grill expander, 904 sq. in. with 2 sets of grates or 1,056 sq. in. with 2 sets of grates and expander

Heat Range: 225°F – 750°F

Dimensions: 50″ W x 54″ H x 31″ D

Weight: 250 lbs

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

Kamado Joe Big Joe III

Model: Big Joe III

Barbecue material: Glazed ceramic

Grate material: 304 stainless steel

Fuel type: Charcoal

Cooking capacity: Up to 864 sq. in. with 3 Tier Divide & Conquer®

Heat Range: 225°F – 750°F (500°F max with SlōRoller)

Dimensions: 58.4″ W x 53.7″ H x 35.8″ D

Weight: 487 lbs

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

Our Verdict On The Kamado Joe II vs III

The Kamado Joe II is a great all-round barbecue that includes everything you need to get started with a kamado for a really great price.

The upgrades that the Kamado Joe III offers make it better at smoking, give even more flexibility in terms of cooking configurations, and, increase the durability of the unit with an improved stand and shelves.

So, when it comes to our verdict on the Kamado Joe II vs III, you honestly can’t make a wrong choice.

But, because of the SloRoller technology, we generally recommend the Classic III for people who want to smoke a lot! With an improved smoking setup, the Classic III definitely takes kamado barbecue to the next level and is easier to do so.

On the other hand, if grilling is your main thing but you’d still like to be able to smoke every now and then without having a separate smoker, the Classic II is unbeatable value for money and a complete package that’ll also last for years and years to come.

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