The best kamado grills offer you an incredibly versatile approach to grilling and smoking food, but what are these strangely-named grills, and what’s in it for you?
A kamado grill is typically made from ceramic, a material chosen for its exceptional insulation properties.
Charcoal-fueled, kamado grills offer you a hybrid grill/smoker combo. If you opted for a straight-up BBQ smoker, though, you’d end up with something much more limited in scope.
With a kamado in your corner, you can do much more than cook slow and low. You can also confidently grill and roast meats, veggies, and seafood in a kamado grill, and you can ever rustle up a first-class pizza. As an added kicker, most kamados allow you to cook at temperatures up to 750F, ideal for searing your filet mignon.
The concept of kamado grills harks back to the Indian tandoor oven, and it uses the exact same principle. This type of grill started penetrating American homes in the aftermath of the second world war.
Using a kamado grill couldn’t be much easier. Load fuel in the form of charcoal into the chamber. Once your grill is up and running, add your cooking racks and any other accessories like rotisserie spits. Next, spread out your food on the cooking grates. Expect the food to be positioned a little further from the charcoal than with a traditional charcoal grill.
To adjust the temperature on a kamado grill, manipulate the vents above and below. As soon as you reach your desired temperatures, these grills are designed to efficiently maintain their temperature.If you have no idea what you’re looking for in the best kamado grill, focus on the following pointers before whipping out your credit card
OK, with those pointers in place, you can now investigate our showcase of all the best kamado grills. We’ve deliberately chosen grills across a broad cross-section of price points. While some kamado grills are outrageously pricey, other are well within anyone’s budget. We bring something for everyone today, so dip into our kamado grill reviews for an impartial lowdown.
1. Our #1 Pick: Kamado Joe Classic II Charcoal Grill
- Grill diameter: 18 inches
- Total surface area: 245 square inches
- Dimensions: 26.4 x 26.4 x 36 inches
Our overall pick from today’s showcase of the best kamado grills comes from industry specialist Kamado Joe. This iteration of their grill is the Classic II, so what do you get for your money?
Well, this is a mid-range grill, so while you’ll still need to dig very deep, it’s available at a much keener price point than the Classic III.
Finished in a fire hydrant red, this kamado makes a commanding addition to your deck or patio.
The grill comes mounted on a cart so you can more easily shift it around the yard or campsite. The strong and stable legs come with lockable casters to further improve maneuverability.
Measuring 18 inches across, the Classic II gives you 245 square inches of cooking area. One of the main selling points of this grill among a sea of benefits is the split-tier cooking system. Create separate cooking zones in one compact grill with absolute ease.
You get plenty of flexibility with temperature. Cook your foods slow and low or smoke them at 225F. If you want to ratchet up the heat, you can sear food at up to 750F with this grill.
The ash catcher slides out for seamless disposal and maintenance. The fire box is designed in several pieces to prolong lifespan and improve efficiency.
As with all Kamado Joe grills, you get a ceramic chassis and cast iron cooking grates, giving you the optimum grill for a wide range of applications, including smoking your food.
While this certainly isn’t a cheap kamado grill, the Kamado Joe Classic II is arguably the very best in a crowded class of grill.
2. Budget Pick: Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Grill
- Grill diameter: 22 inches
- Total surface area: 447 square inches
- Dimensions: 26.6 x 24.8 x 21.7 inches
If you’re shopping for kamado grills on a budget, you have more limited options. One of the very best at your disposal is the keenly-priced Char-Griller Akorn. How does this thing shape up, then?
You’ll first need to choose which configuration makes the best fit. This base option gives the combined grill/smoker only. Other configurations bundle charcoal, a smoking stone, a starter, and a cookbook. Pick which makes the neatest fit.
Tipping the scale at just under 100 pounds, this is a pretty heavy and bulky grill. The traditional cart layout with a pair of oversized wheels takes all the sting out of moving it around, though.
A generous total cooking surface area nudging 450 square inches means you’ll enough latitude for larger cookouts.
The body of this grill is constructed from hardwearing powdered steel, known for its heat retention properties. The grates are cast iron for optimum grilling and ease of care.
You can cook at temperatures from 200F to 700F. Adjusting the temperature on this grill couldn’t be easier. The indexed nature of the dampers lets you dial in your cookout with precision.
Most user reviews of this grill are positive, but we found a few gripes about build quality and lifespan issues. We feel you need to make some sacrifices at this price point, but if you are buying with durability uppermost in mind, we would recommend paying a little more and exploring some of the more heavyweight kamado grills we review today.
For anyone looking for a bargain, on the other hand, the Char-Griller Akorn is one of the best kamado grills on a budget.
3. Upgrade Pick: Kamado Joe Big Joe III Charcoal Grill
- Grill diameter: 24 inches
- Total surface area: 452 square inches
- Dimensions: 34 x 58.13 x 54 inches
If you’re shopping for kamado grills with a much more fluid budget, the Kamado Joe Big Joe III is ruthlessly expensive, but built to last for decades. If you can stretch to the steep price tag, what do you get for your money?
Weighing in at almost 400 pounds, this is not a grill for the fainthearted, or for anyone with limited space in the back yard.
That size comes into its own, though, if you regularly cook for large numbers and you’re looking for a grilling solution that makes your life super-simple.
The total cooking surface area is over 450 square inches. This is arranged over a triple-tiered cooking arrangement allowing you to cook multiple dishes at the same time when you’re grilling out.
Made from powder-coated cast aluminum, this grill not only looks great, but it’s built to return years of faithful service.
You can cook at up to 750F at the upper end in this grill, giving you enormous flexibility when you’re grilling. You can also cook your food slow and low inside this thing, and you’ll get great result from smoked brisket, too.
You manipulate the vent on top of this grill to dial in the temperature. Once you master this simple skill, you’ll be grilling like a pitmaster in the Big Joe III, even if you need to pay dearly for the privilege.
Almost all user testimony concerning this kamado grill is positive, but we found a number of complaints about the quality of customer care. Setting this aside, you’re getting one of the best kamado grills from an industry legend. What’s not to love but the price?
- Grill diameter: 19 inches
- Total surface area: 596 square inches
- Dimensions: 32.5 x 28.8 x 47 inches
Vision Grills is a young company with an impressive bench of grills, including this classic kamado model.
Here, you’re getting a traditional kamado that gives you everything you need and nothing you don’t for far less than you might imagine.
Unlike most grills, Vision offers you a choice of vibrant colorways to add some brightness to your back yard.
Once you’ve picked your color, you’ll also need to choose from a handful of sizes to suit. This Large model delivers almost 600 square inches of cooking real estate, perfect for hosting large gatherings.
The lidded grill keeps your cooking environment nicely insulated and contained, so you’ll experience far fewer flareups, and you’ll also eliminate the hot spots and cold spots that mar results with some cheaper grills.
You get a broad band of temperatures at your fingertips with this grill capable of cooking from 200F through 700F. You can shift from the lower to the upper end of this scale in minutes flat, giving you a remarkably versatile cooking companion.Backed by a robust warranty, Vision may not be the first name that springs to mind when you’re considering kamado grills, but this model is well worth a second glance. Aside from a few reports of quality control issues, there’s nothing much to knock about this classic kamado grill from Vision.
- Grill diameter: 20 inches
- Total surface area: 155 square inches
- Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 inches
As we reach the midway point of our collection of kamado grills, Char-Griller serves up the Akorn Jr, a compact grill that’s ideal for use at home or on the road.
This short, squat kamado grill weighs just 30 pounds and is small enough to pop in the trunk of most cars. Its compact footprint lend well to travel grilling, whether out in the RV, on the boat, or on the campsite.
Alternatively, join legions of other Char-Griller fans and install the Akorn Jr on the patio or deck ready for plenty of grill outs this fall and beyond.
Despite the small form factor, you get a reasonably spacious 155 square inches of cooking real estate. This might not be enough for a large cookout, but you’ll easily rustle up grilled snacks for a small family on this thing.
The body of this grill is made of a robust powder-coated steel. This promotes heat retention and distribution both.
The grill grates are cast iron so you shouldn’t end up with food splattered all over them. These are removable and super-simple to hand wash with some warm soapy water. Make sure you dry them thoroughly before replacing them, wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth, and that’s about the extent of the required upkeep with this grill.Whether you’re looking to cook meats low and slow or sear your steaks to perfection, this hard-hitting kamado grill lets you do that and much, much more.
- Grill diameter: 18.5 inches
- Total surface area: 480 square inches
- Dimensions: 41 x 27.5 x 47 inches
As we near the end of our search for the best kamado grills, we have a compact grill from Broil King that also serves up a commendable total cooking area. How does it stand and fall, then?
The first thing that strikes you about this grill is the low-key good looks. The stainless steel drum is finished in a muted charcoal, giving you the optimum combination of aesthetics and performance married to enviable lifespan.
As you would expect from a grill built to such high standards, the Broil King isn’t cheap. When you invest in a great kamado grill, though, you can expect years, even decades of faithful service.
The body of the grill is highly insulated. You get a cast iron damper above and an aluminum damper below to help you efficiently manipulate the temperature when you’re grilling. Although this involves mastering an initial learning curve, it’s not hard once you get to grips with it.
A swing-away secondary rack is ideal for prepping or serving food, and you can then push it out of the way when you’re done.
The ash catcher is removable so ditching the contents is clean and hassle-free.
Mounted on a cart so you can more easily shunt this grill around the yard if required, the wheels lock into place when you’re ready to cook.
A class-leading 10-year warranty on the body of this grill allows you to buy with complete confidence, even if this is not the cheapest kamado grill you’ll find.
- Grill diameter: 27 inches
- Total surface area: 469 square inches
- Dimensions: 27.1 x 43.8 x 45.8 inches
Nearing the end of our kamado grill reviews, we still have time for a couple more models, including this charcoal grill from industry legend Char-Broil.
The Kamander is a kamado-style grill that gives you similar functionality to a traditional kamado, but without the prohibitive pricing.
You get a sprawling 469-square inch cooking surface area. This is split over a primary and secondary cooking area with porcelain enamel grates. These are not only perfect for grilling, but they’re also remarkably non-stick and easy to keep clean.
You won’t get any mess from the ash pan either. This is removable, meaning all you need to do is dispose of the ash and then slide it back inside.
With no openings at all at the bottom of this cooker, you’ll benefit from a completely sealed cooking environment with no leaks.
A large stainless steel shelf folds down from the side when you need to prep or serve food, and then you just tuck it out of the way when you need more space.
Tweaking the temperature on this grill couldn’t be easier, and you get a gauge baked into the lid so you can monitor the internal temperature of your food without breaching the storage environment.
Most user reviews of this grill are positive, but we found a few complaints about how much you need to monitor this grill when you’re cooking. If you were hoping for a seamless experience, we would recommend exploring some of the other kamado grills we review today.
- Grill diameter: 22 inches
- Total surface area: 662 square inches
- Dimensions: 45.9 x 29.1 x 52 inches
Last but by no means least in our collection of the best kamado grills comes this model from Pit Boss, a household name in this vertical.
This 22-inch grill is a big and weighty model, so make sure you have the space in your back yard to accommodate without the Pit Boss dominating.
The body of the grill is made from ceramic, the most common material for authentic kamado grills. This promotes the ideal environment for burning your charcoal and imparting that authentic smokiness into your food.
The cooking grates inside the grill are made from cast iron, encouraging the ideal conditions for grilling, while remaining incredibly easy to keep clean.
Bamboo side shelves give you a little more room for maneuver when you’re prepping and serving your grilled treats, and they fold away when not in use.
The generous total cooking area of over 660 square inches gives you the confidence to cook for larger gatherings without needing to spend your whole day chained to the grill.
You get a twin-tier cooking environment here, giving you the latitude to make a variety of dishes simultaneously without feeling overcrowded.
Almost all feedback related to this kamado grill is positive, but we found a variety of complaints about damaged packages and quality control issues. As long as you check the contents of your delivery, you should end up with one of the best kamado grills out there.
1) How does a kamado grill differ from a regular charcoal grill?
Kamado grills usually have ceramic bodies, meaning they will retain heat more effectively than a traditional charcoal grill. A kamado is an enclosed grill, so all the smoke and moisture is locked inside. You will find it much quicker to get a kamado grill ready for grilling than a conventional charcoal grill. You could be ready to grill in as little as 15 minutes.
2) Is it easy to use a kamado grill?
Yes! As long as you don’t mind mastering the simple technique of adjusting the air dampers to regulate temperature, you’ll soon be using a kamado grill like a seasoned pitmaster, even if you’re a first-timer.
3) Is it possible to grill on a kamado?
It’s possible, but it’s not ideal. A kamado comes fully to the fore when used as an oven or smoker. Once these things are hot, it takes some time for the temperature to come down, a quality rendering them unsuitable for many grilling duties. The best way around this is to look for a split-tier kamado grill. These allow you to create multiple cooking zones with different temperatures.
4) How do I get my kamado grill going?
First, you need to open the vents at the top and the bottom. Insert a fire starter. Light this and allow it to start burning. Add a few large lumps of charcoal. When these begin burning, add some more. When the coals are glowing, load in your racks and accessories and grill out!
5) How do I add charcoal to a kamado grill?
Clean the fire box first. You’ll then need to decide whether you’ll use charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal. Always stack your coals over the fire grate. If you do this, none of the smaller pieces should fall into the airflow. Ensure the smaller lumps of charcoal are on top. You don’t need to completely fill the fire box with charcoal, simply add enough coals to fuel your planned cookout.
Hopefully, today’s comprehensive guide to choosing the best kamado grill should have left you with plenty of options.
There is no getting around the fact most kamado grills are expensive. Indeed, some cost a small fortune and are priced beyond many people’s budgets. We understand everyone has wildly different needs and expectations, so we have included some upscale kamado grills from the big guns, and we’ve also thrown in some much more affordable options.
Now, while a kamado grill isn’t cheap, if you look after these ceramic gems, they should last for decades. When you consider the likely lifespan alongside such cooking convenience, a kamado suddenly doesn’t seem quite so expensive.
Before you head off today, we’d suggest you take a moment to bookmark Hempen Hill. We are currently undergoing an expansion so we have a great deal of exciting content coming your way over the coming weeks. Be sure to pop back soon and don’t miss out.