Last Updated: January 20th, 2020
“Are kamado grills worth it?”
This is one question a lot of people have sought for answers to considering the luxury price tag on kamado grills. It rises from the need for something better and nicer for your outdoor grilling.
Making a switch from other grills like a portable charcoal grill to a kamado grill can be a tough call to make especially with the glaring difference in price and advantages that each offers.
We put together this buying guide to provide you with a checklist of things to know now that you’re shopping for one. In addition, we also included a review of the best kamado grills that offer you good value for your money.
#1. Best Kamado Grill – Char-Griller E06614 Red Charcoal Kamado Grill
Offering two-way airflow dampers and a hinged lid with locks, the Char-Griller E06614 Kamado grill is our preferred choice.
It offers a lot of benefits with respect to portability, ease of use, proper insulation, and is lightweight.
The Char-Griller offers also offers about 153 sq. inches of space for your grilling. It does all of these without drilling a hole into your pocket with its pocket-friendly pricing.
If you’re looking to get a taste of grilled food from a Kamado Grill
What to Consider When Buying a Kamado Grill
Now that you’re almost ready to buy that kamado grill, here are a few things you should have in mind.
Cooking Space and Size
Kamado grills are available in a plethora of sizes and shapes. Size is one major factor that determines the cooking space.
If the grill is Kamado is designed to be large, it will have an appreciable cooking space and vice versa.
Each one offers a given amount of cooking space. For us, we think the first thing you should make a mental note of is the cooking space offered by the Kamado grill you want to buy.
The bigger the cooking space, the more people you can feed with food from it. It suffices to say, that the number of people you’re making food for at any given time.
If the grill is meant to provide food for a family of 6, a small grill is more than enough. Again, if it provides food for up to a dozen people at a time, a slightly larger grill will be better.
The materials used in constructing your Kamado grill matters.
Most of them are made with ceramic and porcelain materials while some are made with steel material.
Longevity is affected by the type of construction material used. For instance, the stainless materials, though lighter, rust easily but don’t crack if they drop.
On the other hand, the ceramic materials have a longer lifespan but are susceptible to crack if they fall.
The construction material often influences the prices – you agree, don’t you?
In a bid to save money, a lot of us often end up purchasing items that are inexpensive that serve our needs.
These products often have shortcomings we may not notice at first; shortcomings in build quality.
Build quality walks in tandem with the material used.
A good kamado grill will have good materials and fittings. They may not be pricy like we expect, but they certainly won’t come cheap.
The better the build quality, the better the heat retention ability of your kamado grill.
To make cooking with your kamado a lot easier, there are a ton of accessories to choose from. If your kamado grill doesn’t support them, then you’re missing out.
Accessories like skillets, pizza stones, grates, rotisseries, etc. are quintessential examples. Some kamado manufacturers include some of these accessories in their product. You may need to buy others.
Temperature control on kamado grills is greatly influenced by the number of vents the grill has. If your grill has more than one vent, you’ll have more temperature control.
It is important, however, to note that the vents are likely going to alter the design of your grill but it’s for good.
Type of Fuel
Kamado grills are designed for use with wood and charcoal.
Some users do use briquettes with it but in all honesty, the hardwood charcoal type is the most suitable.
This is because the briquettes often contain additives and can alter the taste of food – in sharp contrast with lump hardwood charcoal which has no additives and often doesn’t alter the taste of food.
Lest we forget, if possible, avoid using chemical starters and lighter fluids constantly if you want to prolong the life of your kamado grill.
Kamado Grills Review
We reviewed five highly sought-after kamado grills and shared our opinions about each of them below.
#1. Best Kamado Grill – Char-Griller E06614 Akorn Jr Red Charcoal Kamado Grill
Cooking Space: 153 sq. inch
Colors: Red, Black
Materials: Ceramic and steel
Features: 153 sq. inches cooking space, ash pan, dual airflow dampers, lightweight, maintains temperature, high-quality stainless steel materials.
The Char-Griller E06614 Akorn Jr. is one kamado grill that has almost all we want in a kamado yet doesn’t cost us a fortune. It’s one of the successful members of the Char-Griller grill family.
It sports top and bottom dampers that make temperature control as easy as possible whilst distributing oxygen evenly. This is also in addition to the two airflow dampers.
The Char-Griller E06614 Akorn Jr Kamado Grill is made from ceramic and stainless steel materials. It has a triple layer of steel on the body serving as a tough insulator that retains heat for the grill.
Furthermore, the side handles, lid handle, gauge, and the grill legs are all made from stainless steel. Inside this grill, you’ll also find a 14” inch steel grate for your cooking.
Beneath the body is the ashtray that collects ash from the cooking area above which has about 153 sq. inch of cooking space.
Does the Char-Griller E06614 Akorn Jr. cook well? Yes, it does. And you’ll appreciate the fact that it’s also one of the few lightweight kamado grills available on the market.
Any drawbacks? The hinge seems to be cheaply made although you won’t notice it at first.
#2. Premium Pick – Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill
Cooking Space: 324 sq. inch
Materials: Ceramic and steel
Features: offers 324 sq. inch of cooking space, made from ceramic and steel material, new hinge design, top vent, ash drawer, thick fiberglass gasket.
The Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic isn’t for the faint-hearted; the price makes sure that it’s not possible. Is it worth the hefty price tag?
Let’s find out.
At a glance, everything about the aesthetics of the Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill speaks volume of its premium quality.
From the 2-tier divide and conquer design to the top vent dubbed the “Kontrol Tower Top Vent”, the beauty is worth appreciating.
We’re also greatly impressed by the combination of steel and ceramic materials used for making the grill. The steel greatly accentuates the ceramic parts of the grill.
There’s the patented ashtray design which is somewhat different from what we saw on the Char-Grille Akorn Jnr that we reviewed above. Even the lid locking mechanism and the hinge are slightly different and better.
You can lift the lid with one finger without much ado.
The Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill comes with a handful of accessories to make your cooking stress-free. They include cooking grates, ash tool, side shelves, to mention a few.
With respect to weight, this kamado grill is as heavy as you can imagine, coming in at about 250lbs. We give it a thumbs down for that. Aside from that, it’s also inexplicably highly-priced even though it doesn’t pack extra features than we’ve seen so far.
But in all honesty, it’s worth owning as it’s a beauty with great build quality. There’s a slightly lower-priced model available which shares almost the same features as our review model.
#3. Best Cheap Kamado Grill – Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker
Cooking Space: 314 sq. inch
Colors: Black, Blue, Red
Materials: Ceramic, cast iron, steel
Features: 3 color options, made from ceramic and steel, offers 314 sq. inch of cooking space, ashtray, rubber wheels for easy movement with locking caster.
The Char-Griller E06614 Akorn Jr Red Charcoal Kamado Grill which we choose as the best kamado grill is one of the best cheap kamado grills available on the market.
Coming closely behind is the Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker, its other sibling which is geared towards grilling enthusiasts on a budget. It offers multiple color options for users who want the versatility of looks.
The grill is made from the usual combination of ceramic, cast iron, 22 gauge steel. In addition to that, the outer body is covered in a powder-coated finish while the interior part is covered with a porcelain coat.
It offers about 314 sq. inches of cooking space which is ample enough to get you munching steak in a short time.
To make movement easy, the grill is fitted with three wheels. There’s a locking caster for the wheels on the front to ensure that the grill doesn’t move when you’re using it.
We like the metal shelves included. Beneath the two metal shelves are the hanging hooks for hanging some of your cooking accessories. The Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker has the same design flaw we saw on its other sibling – poorly built lid hinges.
In addition to the poorly built hinges, there is also the issue of overweight. The grill weighs almost 90 lbs.
Cooking Space: 441 sq. inch
Materials: Ceramic and steel
Features: 1.3” thick ceramic walls, dual-action top vent, stainless steel finishing, plate setter, porcelain-coated grate, 441 sq. inch cooking space.
The Duluth Forge 140031 DF-CC-21-BK Kamado Grill brings some flair into the list of grills on this page. It sports a distinctive design and its black ceramic body has a touch of finesse to it.
It has a dual-action top vent that ensures air moves easily while you’re cooking. The ash generated is collected beneath the charcoal bowl in a well-hidden charcoal tray.
We love the stainless steel accents on some parts of the body of this grill including the thermometer. In addition to the external stainless steel parts, it comes with a steel cooking grate.
The handle for opening the lid is partly made of wood and thus adds a fine finish to the overall look of the grill.
With respect to its build quality, we honestly think it’s great. In fact, the flawed hinges we’ve seen on Char-Griller kamado grills are absent on this grill. Let’s not also forget to mention that the grill has an impressive heat retention ability.
This is made possible by its 1.25” thick walls but it brings a lot of weight with it. This grill weighs almost 180lbs.
#5. Large Capacity – Kamado Joe Big Joe II BJ24RHC Charcoal Grill
Cooking Space: 576 sq. inch
Materials: Ceramic and steel
Features: 3 variants, airlift hinges, side tray, mesh fiberglass gasket, aluminum rainproof top vent, 576 sq. inch of cooking space, it is made with ceramic and steel materials.
To wrap up our review, let’s take a look at the Big Joe II as this kamado grill is fondly called. It has a hefty price tag as we expected – a trademark of most Kamado Joe grills.
The Kamado Joe Big Joe II has quite a handful of features. First, there’s the ceramic body which adds a great deal of weight to the grill. You’ll also find stainless steel accents here and there.
With Big Joe II, you have about 576 sq. inch of cooking space. This cooking space is further divided into different levels to further improve cooking time. You can thus cook different foods at different levels.
The grill has a strong build quality and even the hinges aren’t left out in the scheme of quality fittings. Unlike flimsy hinge fittings on some other kamado grills, the hinge on this one is strong enough to last for a very long time.
We also love the mesh fiberglass gasket as well as the aluminum vent on top the grill which improves airflow. Other than the high price tag and its hefty weight, the Kamado Joe Big Joe II will always get a thumbs up from us always.
The fact that kamado grills are a tad more expensive than the normal grills says a lot about it. And for one who has used both grills, it suffices to say that the kamado grill offers a much better grilling experience.
There’s no need to break the bank for a new kamado grill. You can stick with the other grills if you don’t have the budget to grab any of the grills we reviewed above.
Grill with joy…