The 8 Best Kamado Grill Models to Elevate Your Grilling Experience

August 9, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

The top kamado style grill is the Large Big Green Egg. It has great heat retention which boosts its grilling and smoking performance. The grill is also easy to use.

I was only introduced to kamado grills a few years ago but I fell in love with it. So, when my charcoal grill finally gave up the ghost, I decided to replace it with a kamado grill. I decided to document my experience along the way!

In this post, I will introduce you to the best kamado grill as well as show you the top runner up options. I have included a buyer's guide as well!

best kamado grill

Comparison of the Best Kamado Grills

Product Cooking Area (Sq. Inches) Dimensions (Inches) Weight (lbs) More Information
Large Big Green Egg
Big Green Egg Large
262 22 x 27 x 31 162 Buy on Big Green Egg
Kamado Joe Classic II
Kamado Joe Classic II
250 18 x 18.11 x 36 250 Buy on Amazon
Char-Griller AKORN Jr.
Char-Griller AKORN Jr.
155 20 x 20 x 26 33 Buy on Amazon
AOXUN Kamado Grill
AOXUN Kamado Grill
84.9 10 x 13 x 14.57 52.8 Buy on Amazon
Kamado Joe Joe Jr.
Kamado Joe Joe Jr.
150 19.75 x 20.75 x 27 75.6 Buy on Amazon
Weber Summit Kamado
Weber Summit Kamado
452 30.6 x 36.8 x 29.3 132 Buy on Amazon
Pit Boss 71240
Pit Boss 71240
662 48.5 x 30.3 x 53.1 220 Buy on Amazon
VESSILS Kamado Grill
VESSILS Kamado Grill
75.4 12.6 x 12.6 x 22.8 48.4 Buy on Amazon

The Best Kamado Grills

Here are the best kamado grill models for you to choose from:

1. Big Green Egg Large

Best Overall

Specs

  • Cooking Surface Area: 262 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 22x 27 x 31 inches 
  • Weight: 162lbs 

Great Grilling Performance

One of the reasons that this is the overall best kamado grill is because it is so good at grilling. Now, most grills can get up to around 600 or 700 F. The Big Green Egg, however, is capable of reaching temperatures of over 1000 F.

Due to this, you can use the Big Green Egg to grill and sear almost any food that you want, even larger cuts of meat. This is not all, being able to reach such high temperatures also makes the Big Green Egg a very versatile grill. You can even use it as a pizza oven if you like!

The only downside of the Big Green Egg is regarding how expensive it is. Not only is this an expensive grill but any additional features, including the stand must be bought separately, resulting in more cost for you.

Great Smoking Performance

Considering how hot the Big Green Egg can get, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how good this ceramic grill was at smoking! You can adjust the temperature on the Big Green Egg so that it can reach a little bit under 200 F, making it perfect for smoking even more delicate foods.

Great Heat Retention

One of the standout features of the Big Green Egg is the double walled frame. This ensures that the heat remains inside the Big Green Egg during the cook. In turn, this works to maintain temperature control throughout the cook.

This feature makes it really easy to cook food at a consistent level.

Green Kamado Style Outdoor Grill

Easy to Use

The Big Green Egg can look intimidating but it is actually really easy to use. In particular, temperature control with this grill is an absolute breeze, no pun intended. You simply use the vents to adjust the temperature. Even if you don't have much experience with ceramic grills, you are sure to figure out how to use this grill soon enough.

Pros

  • Great grilling performance
  • Great smoking experience
  • Great heat retention
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Expensive

2. Kamado Joe Classic II

Runner Up

Specs

  • Cooking Surface Area: 250 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 18 x 18.11 x 36 inches 
  • Weight: 250lbs 

Precise Temperature Control

One of my favorite things about the Kamado Joe Classic II is its precise temperature control. This is all thanks to the Kontrol Tower top vent. For one thing, it allows you to set the temperature from between 225 to 700 F, making the Kamado Joe Classic II excellent for both grilling as well as smoking.

The other perk is that the Kamado Joe Classic is a set it and leave it ceramic kamado grill. Due to this, once you fix the temperature you have peace of mind knowing that it is going to remain there for the entirety of the cook.

The only real problem with the Kamado Joe Classic II is that there are some quality control problems like dings and missing screws. So, sometimes you need to sort these out before you can use the grill.

Double Tier Cooking Setup

Another feature that I really like with the Kamado Joe Classic II is that it has a two tier Divide and Conquer setup. This means that you have two levels of your grill grate. One of the advantages here is that you get to maximize your cooking space.

The other benefit is that you get to cook your foods at two different temperatures at the same time. This is a great feature if you want to cook two types of food at once.

Easy to Clean Out

Another thing that I was impressed by was the fact that the Kamado Joe Classic II was rather easy to clean. This is thanks to the easy dump ash pan that lets you get rid of all the ash at once.

As cleaning kamado grills can be fairly tricky, I really did appreciate this feature.

Easy to Manage

The Kamado Joe Classic II, like a lot of kamado grills is pretty heavy. As a result, you often have to deal with a heavy lid too. Thankfully, this grill comes with the Air Lift hinge. This reduces the weight of the lid, making it really easy to open and close during the cook.

Pros

  • Precise temperature control
  • Double tier set up
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy access

Cons

  • Some quality control issues

3. Char-Griller AKORN Jr.

Best Portable Kamado Grill

Specs

  • Cooking Surface Area: 155 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 26 inches 
  • Weight: 33lbs 

Portable Design

As you are probably aware, kamado grills can be pretty heavy. So, it isn't easy to carry one around. This kamado grill, however, changes all of that. Not only does it have more compact dimensions, but it is actually pretty light.

So, if you do want to pack up and grill somewhere else, then this is the grill for you.

The only complaint that I have about this kamado grill is that it is a bit tricky to assemble, especially if you are new to kamado grills. Due to this, it is best to carry around the kamado grill intact.

Great Temperature Control

Considering its size, I was wondering how this kamado grill would function when it came to temperature control. However, it worked beautifully - which makes sense as it is the smaller version of the Akorn kamado charcoal grill. The dual dampers made it a breeze to set the temperature anywhere from 200 F to 700 F.

On top of this, the design for this kamado grill is pretty insulated. As a result, the heat remains trapped inside the ceramic grill for the duration of the cook, making a lot easier to maintain the temperature.

Blue AKORN Jr. Kamado Charcoal Grill

Easy to Clean

This kamado grill is equipped with an easy dump ash pan that allows you to clean up the grill within minutes. This definitely comes in handy if you are using the grill away from home as it allows you to get done with the clean up process a lot more quickly.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Great temperature control
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Tricky assembly

4. AOXUN Kamado Grill

Best Budget Kamado Grill

Specs: 

  • Cooking Surface Area: 84.9 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 10 x 13 x 14.57 inches 
  • Weight: 52.8lbs 

Affordable

As you know the best kamado grills can cost quite a bit of money. So, if you are not sure if you want to make that kind of investment, then this is the kamado grill that I would recommend to you.

Not only is it affordable, but its performance puts it a step above many other charcoal grills you can find on the market.

Portable Design

The other benefit of this kamado grill is that it is quite small and fairly light. So, if you are looking for a grill to carry around with you, this will be a great option for a camping trip or a cookout in a different destination.

The only downside is that the small dimensions make for a very small cooking space. So, it only really works for one person, maybe two.

Good Temperature Control

I was actually really surprised to see how good the temperature control was with this grill. However, it was really easy to adjust the temperature thanks to adjusting the vents. What's more, I found that the temperature stayed at the point that I set it at making this a pretty reliable option.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Portable
  • Good temperature control

Cons

  • Very small cooking area

5. Kamado Joe Joe Jr.

Specs

  • Cooking Surface Area: 150 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 19.75 x 20.75 x 27 inches
  • Weight: 75.6lbs 

Compact Design

If you are looking for smaller kamado grills because you are just cooking for you and maybe one other person, then this is a great option for you. Despite its compact size, the cooking area is decent so you can cook anything from steak to smaller cuts of meat.

The only downside is that while this grill is compact, it is not very portable as it weighs over 75lbs! So, if you are planning on carrying it around, you will need some help.

Great Temperature Control

Considering the size of this grill, I wasn't expecting much in the way of temp control but I was pleasantly surprised. The cast iron vent at the top of this ceramic kamado makes it an absolute breeze to set the temperature.

And, the grill is incredibly accurate at achieving this temperature as well. Due to this, everything I cooked on this grill turned out perfectly.

Great Heat Retention

The other thing that I really liked about this grill was the thick walls that are ideal for heat retention. This is one of the reasons that this grill is so good at maintaining a steady temperature throughout the cook.

The other perks of having such thick walls is that the grill also traps moisture and smoke instead, resulting in more succulent and tasty food.

Person Carrying Kamado Joe JR Grill with Cast Iron Stand

Simple to Clean

Last, but certainly not least, is how easy it is to clean out such a small grill. Thanks to the fact that the ash collection pan can be removed so easily, you can get rid of ash and debris in no time at all.

The stainless steel cooking grate is pretty easy to clean up as well and the food debris comes off fairly quickly.

Pros

  • Compact
  • Great temperature control
  • Great heat retention
  • Simple cleanup

Cons

  • Very heavy

6. Weber Summit Kamado

Specs

  • Cooking Surface Area: 452 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 30.6 x 36.8 x 29.3 inches
  • Weight: 132lbs 

Large Cooking Area

Many kamado grills tend to be on the smaller side and have smaller cooking surfaces. This doesn't work if you have a larger family or are someone who likes to grill or smoke a lot of food at once.

Well, this is where this grill comes in. It has almost twice the amount of cooking space compared to the other grills on this list. So, if you are looking for a greater surface area, this is the model for you.

Versatile Cooking Performance

This kamado charcoal grill is equally good at grilling as it is smoking. This is due to the adjustable grill grate. You can place it higher or lower, depending on the temperature that you want to cook your food at. So, it really is a versatile kamado grill.

Great Temperature Control

The other thing that I really like with this grill is that it has excellent temperature management. Now, this is partly to do with the RapidFire lid damper. This allows you to increase or reduce the airflow into the grill to adjust the temperature.

The other reason that the temperature control is so good has to to do with the fact that the walls are thick and hep to trap heat and moisture inside the grill. In doing so, it works a lot better at maintaining the temperature inside the cooking chamber.

Durable

The thing with ceramic kamado style grills is that they can be a bit delicate. Due to this, you have to work hard to not crack it. This isn't something that you have to worry as much about with the grill.

This kamado charcoal grill is pretty durable which means that it will last you a long time.

Now, this is a good thing as this grill is pretty expensive. So, you will definitely be making an investment if you get it.

Easy to Clean

Another feature that I really like with this grill is that it has a One Touch cleaning system. So, you simply remove the pan from the bottom of the grill and it contains all the ash and debris from cooking. Clean this feature out and you are practically done.

Pros

  • Large cooking area
  • Versatile cooking performance
  • Good temp control
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Expensive

7. Pit Boss 71240

Specs

  • Cooking Surface Area: 662 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 48.5 x 30.3 x 53.1 inches
  • Weight: 220lbs 

Large Cooking Surface Area

Do you want to cook large quantities of food at once? Or, do you want to cook different types of food at one time? If so, you will find that this ceramic kamado is especially accommodating. This is because it has so much of cooking space. You will be able to cook for a large crowd without any problem.

Also, the layout of the cooking space makes it a breeze to cook both delicate and tougher cuts all at once.

Dual Cooking Options

One of the cool things about this charcoal grill is that it comes with dual cooking tiers. This means that you can cook different foods at once without having them touch. This setup also works if you want to have a direct and indirect cooking zone.

This is because the lower tier is closer to the flames and the upper one has more shielding for more delicate foods.

Great for High Heat

If you are looking for a grill that can help you sear your food, then this is definitely the model to consider. This grill can easily reach up to 700F, allowing you to cook even the toughest cuts of meat a little faster.

Now, the only issue here is that it isn't as easy to maintain a lower temperature. This is because the bottom vent is a little bit loose and tends to let in a bit more air. So, if you do want to smoke food then you do have to keep a close eye on the temperature inside the cooking chamber.

Pit Boss 71240 Ceramic Charcoal Grill

Good Storage Features

I have to say that one of my favorite things about this ceramic kamado grill is that it has two side tables or selves that are given with no extra cost. This is great for storing food that has to go into the grill or has just come out of the cooking chamber.

I also really like the fact that the shelves can be folded so that it is easier to store the grill when it isn't in use.

Pros

  • Large cooking surface
  • Dual cooking grates
  • Great for grilling and searing
  • Good storage features

Cons

  • Tricky to maintain lower temperature

8. VESSILS Kamado Grill

Specs

  • Cooking Surface Area: 75.4 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 12.6 x 12.6 x 22.8 inches
  • Weight: 48.4lbs 

Compact Design

If you are cooking for just one, perhaps two people, then this is the grill for you. It has a smaller cooking surface area but its size also means that it is a lot easier for you to store this grill when it is not in use.

Now, the only complaint that I have here is that despite its small size, this grill is pretty heavy. Due to this, it isn't as easy to move around as you might like.

Great Temperature Control

As this isn't a well-known brand, I was curious to see what kind of temp control this grill had to offer up. It was great to see how easy it was to manipulate the vents to get the temperature just right.

Also, once set, I made a note of the temperature inside the cooking chamber throughout the cook. It remained consistent with very few fluctuations in between.

Good Cooking Performance

I was impressed with the cooking performance of this grill. I tried grilling steak, smoking pork, and the results were consistent and the food tasted fantastic each and every time. So, if you are looking for a good value grill, this is certainly it.

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Great temperature control
  • Good cooking performance

Cons

  • Heavy frame

How to Choose the Best Kamado Grills For You?

Here is your guide to selecting the top kamado grills for you:

Ceramic vs. Steel Kamado Grills

Now, most of the kamado grills that you come across will be made from ceramic. this is based on the traditional design of the grill. There are a few steel options, however.

So, what is the difference between these grills and which one should you choose?

Well, with ceramic kamado grills, the top benefit is the heat retention. The walls on these grills are incredibly thick and have a double wall design. This keeps the heat, smoke, and moisture trapped inside.

Now, of the perks of this feature is that your food cooks at a more steady rate. The other benefit, though, is that the food tastes a lot better.

The downside is that ceramic kamado grills do tend to be really heavy. And, they aren't easy to move around either. So, if you are looking for a portable grill, they are not the best option.

And, while ceramic grills can last for a long time, there is no denying that they can be delicate. So, you have to be careful with how you handle them to prevent cracks in the ceramic.

Now, steel grills don't offer the same kind of heat retention or flavor as the ceramic designs. That being said, they can be a bit more durable and are certainly more portable than their ceramic counterparts.

Standalone vs. Frames

Now, many grills come as a standalone grill. This means that there are no additional features supporting the grill. Then, there are the grills that are accompanied by stands, frames with wheels, or even a cabinet-like design.

The benefit of a standalone grill is that it tends to be more affordable. Most grills that come with any additional structures tend to be more costly.

However, a stand can help to add stability to the grill and can make grilling or smoking a less precarious experience for you. And, for smaller grills, a stand can help to add height so that you don't have to stoop as much when you are using the grill.

As I have already mentioned, kamado grills can be pretty heavy. So, if you do need to move the grill around, having a frame with wheels can really help this process along. This frame also helps to add height to the grill.

Then there is the cabinet-like frame. Unlike gas grills, most kamado grills don't have any kind of storage elements to them. A cabinet frame, however, can fix this. this design only really works if you have a permanent spot for your grill and aren't planning on moving it around too much.

Large Kamado Grill with Turkey Being Grilled in Winter

The Vent Design

As you are aware, the temperature on these charcoal grills are adjusted with the help of vents. This is unlike a gas grill that relies on a temperature gauge or dial. Now, initially, there were two sets of vents - the top and bottom vents.

You would open these to let in more air and the temperature would go up. If you wanted to lower the temperature, then you would close the vents.

As time has gone on, though, there are different designs for these vents. Take the Kontrol Tower top vent from Kamado Joe, for instance. This allows you to adjust the air flow more concisely. In doing so, you can make more precise adjustments to the grill.

Such features can be really good for when you want to smoke foods at lower temperatures and to reduce the risk of overcooking food.

Examine the Temperature Ranges

One of the perks of this kind of charcoal grill is that it can get really hot. However, some grills can get a lot hotter than others.

The average kamado grill can get up to around 700F. There are some grills like the Big Green Egg that can reach temperatures over 1000F.

Now, if you are just looking to smoke ribs or grill steaks, then you don,t need very high temperatures. The average temperature will work for you.

On the other hand, if you want a more versatile grill, like one that can also double as a pizza oven, then you will need one that can get a lot hotter.

So, you should think about the kind of cooking that you want to do and choose a grill based on this.

Check Out the Cooking Zones

Now, technically, you can smoke with any kamado grill. As long as you keep the temperature low, you will be able to cook the foods more slowly.

That being said, if you are hoping to smoke foods more often, I would look for a grill that allows you to set up two different heat zones. This is typically done with the help of heat deflectors.

This way, you can place the foods that you want to smoke on the section with indirect heat so that they will cook low and slow.

The Cooking Surface Dimensions

In general, kamado grills tend to be on the smaller side and have smaller cooking surfaces as well. Still, it is important to consider the dimensions of the cooking grate when making a decision about which options is right for you.

The small grills are only suitable when cooking for one or two people. So, if you have a small family or will occasionally host cookouts, I would advise you to upgrade to a larger grill. Otherwise, you will be waiting quite some time for your grill.

If you want to maximize the cooking surface area, look for grills that offer two tier grates. This way, not only can yo cook more food but you can also cook each layer at different temperatures.

Black Kamado Type BBQ Grill and Pan with Roasted Beef

The Cleaning System

Due to the design of kamado grills, cleaning them out can be pretty tricky. This is why you should look for one that has an ash pan that can be completely detached from the grill.

This allows you to empty it out, clean it up, and then replace it without any issue.

The Lid Function

This can seem like a bit of an odd point to get caught up on when choosing a grill but trust me, it is important.

As I have already mentioned ,these kinds of grills are pretty heavy. This means that opening such a grill can be a lot more difficult than most people realize.

This is why you should look for a lid that has been designed to be lightweight. If possible, also look for a lid that can remain propped open at an angle. This will make it a lot easier for you to place food into or take it out of the grill.

Should You Get a Smart Grill?

Unlike other types of grills, smart technology hasn't really taken over kamado grills. This is probably because most people like the fact that the grilling process is based on a more traditional grilling design.

There are a few designs here and there such as with the Konnected Joe.

So, should you get one?

Well, I would argue that having a good quality wireless meat thermometer should do the trick. After all, most of these grills tend to be pretty expensie and getting a smart one will only add to the cost.

So, unless it will improve your grilling experience quite a bit ,it may not make as much sense for you to get.

What is the Japanese Grill Like the Green Egg?

Well, the Big Green Egg is actually modeled after the Japanese ceramic grills that are known as kamado grills.

This means that the Big Green Egg is a type of kamado grill. It is one of the more famous kamado grill brands in the US.

Kamado Type Grill with Beef Steaks and Veggies

Is a Kamado a Good Smoker?

Yes, a kamado grill can be used for smoking and grilling purposes. This is because these grills can be controlled so that they can maintain low temperatures.

Another way to turn a kamado grill into a smoker is to use a ceramic heat deflector. This helps yo to set up two heating zones - one for direct heat and the other for indirect heat.

The Final Verdict

The best kamado grill is definitely the Large Big Green Egg. This grill has excellent heat retention and boasts an amazing grilling and smoking performance. As an added bonus, it is also easy to use.

I would advise you to check out the other grills on this list, though. They each have their own attributes and advantages. And, you will not know which one is the perfect fit for you until you you see what they have to offer!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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