The Kamado grill or what some grillers like to refer to as the egg grill or ceramic grill has seen a surge in its popularity over the years thanks to its versatility, performance and the great tasting food that it makes.
But, before you start shopping for the best Kamado grill for your backyard grilling and smoking, it is always important to first understand what it is all about.
Use of Kamado grills dates back to at least 3,000 years when it was popularly used in China before being adapted for use as a tandoor in India and as a rice steamer in Japan. However, the modern Kamado grills as we know them came to America after the Second World War.
Some of the things that make Kamado grills popular include their ease of use, fantastic flavor, versatility, and durability. In this piece, we provide reviews and in-depth buying guide to help you choose a good Kamado grill.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Kamado Grills
If you have never used a Kamado grill before or are on the fence about buying one or not, it would be a good idea to first understand its advantages and disadvantages as this will make the decision easier for you.
Advantages of Kamado Grills
Most Kamados have a very high build quality to ensure that they will last longer and serve you well for many years.
The mostly steel or ceramic construction, the few movable parts and lack of reliance on any special technology makes these grills highly durable.
The versatility of a Kamado grill is second to none as it will allow for various cooking methods.
Whether you want to grill, smoke or bake any type of food, a Kamado grill will be up to the task. And with the right accessories, you will get even more cooking options.
3) Great flavor
The food quality and flavor that you get when cooking on these grills is just amazing.
Most use lump charcoal to provide a rich smoky flavor and their design means that food retains most of the moisture to keep it juicy and tender which also enhances the taste.
4) Easy to use
Everything from firing up a Kamado grill to controlling the temperature and cleaning it after use is quick and easy which makes this one of the easiest to use grills.
5) Highly efficient
Kamado grills are often more energy efficient, and so you will find that you will use relatively less charcoal when grilling or smoking.
Disadvantages of Kamado Grills
1) Smaller cooking surface
Generally, Kamado grills are small and compact, and this means that they will have a relatively smaller cooking surface when compared to conventional grill types.
2) Requires a learning curve
Because these grills will get to super high temperature quite fast, it takes most people a lot of time to master the temperature control.
Also, there is a bit of a learning curve for starting them as it is a little different from regular grills.
Although there are now smaller and more affordable Kamados in the market, they are still some of the priciest grill types.
And because you need some accessories to make the most of the grill, this also means you have to spend more cash.
What To Check Before Buying Kamado Grill?
With so many Kamado grill models in the market, it should be easy to find a good one if you consider the following things when shopping.
1. Oval or Round Kamado Grill
When buying a Kamado grill, you will need to decide whether to go for an oval or round one. Besides the obvious aesthetic appeal of the shape, there are some other things to consider when choosing between the two options.
Oval shaped Kamado grills are the more popular options with chefs for outdoor cooking. And this is mainly because they offer more efficient heating and ensure better distribution of the heat and smoke for a great tasting food.
Accessing food is also easier on an oval Kamado grill because even as you reach toward the center of the grill, the heat will not be uncomfortable for you.
2. Cooking Surface
Like with any other type of grill, the cooking area that you get on your Kamado grill matters because it will determine the amount of food or number of people you can cook for at a go.
Your cooking needs will help you determine the ideal cooking surface for you. For example, if you want a grill for cooking for one person or a small family, an 18-inch grill like KamadoJoe KJ23RHC should be enough.
However, if you plan to be doing a lot of parties or hosting several friends often for backyard barbecues, you will need the larger sized models that are at least 24 inches like the Pit Boss 71240.
Because Kamado grills are some of the most expensive grill types, you should make sure that the model you choose is well-built with long-lasting materials.
When it comes to picking the best Kamado grill material, the top options are ceramic and steel. Ceramic with a porcelain glaze is the traditional and most popular material option as it gives the grill an amazing look, and it also does not rust in the long run like steel.
Steel, on the other hands, is a cheaper and tougher option as it will not crack in case of an accidental drop like ceramic would.
4. Size of Kamado Grill
The overall size of the Kamado grill also matters a lot. And this is because it will determine the size of cooking space that you get and the larger the grill the more the cooking space.
Also, the size determines the amount of space that you have to dedicate to the grill, and if you have a smaller backyard it will be a crucial factor to take into account.
It is important to note that the size of the grill also determines the accessories that you can use with it. Here, the larger models will accommodate more accessories than the smaller ones.
5. Additional Features
There are some features and accessories that are not always necessary to have in your Kamado grill and some models will not have them, but they can help to improve its performance and versatility.
Some of these extra features to watch out include things like a multi-panel firebox, drip pan, pizza stones, stacking grills and side shelves for extra work space.
The more the extra features the better the grill will be, but it is important to note that this also often to translates to a higher price tag.
Kamado grills are not something that you can shop for when on a super tight budget as they can be quite expensive. However, this should not be taken to mean that you need to spend a fortune to get one.
The price or cost of a Kamado grill should go hand in hand with the cooking capacity, performance, and features, and this means the more you spend on it the more you get from it.
Depending on what the model or brand has to offer when it comes to the size, design, and accessories, these grills can go for as little as under $100 to as much as $1,000 or more.
7 Best Kamado Grills in 2021 Reviewed
1. Char-Griller E06614 (Best Overall)
2. Char-Griller E16620 (Best Value for Money)
3. Broil King 911470 (Best Non-ceramic)
4. KamadoJoe KJ23RHC (Versatile & Flexible)
5. Primo 773 (The Number One Choice All-in-one Grill)
6. Pit Boss 71240 (Perfect or Large Groups)
7. Grill Dome 100315 (Perfect for Use on the Go)
1. Char-Griller E06614 – Best Overall
- Cooking surface: 153 square inches
- Material: Steel
- Temperature: 200°F -700°F
- Weight: 37 pounds
The compact and highly portable Char-Griller E06614 is the cheapest model in our Kamado grill review, and so it will be a great buy for anyone shopping for a small but efficient grill for cooking for a few people.
Besides being our best value Kamado grill, this is also a highly durable grill with a superior quality steel construction. And it is also triple-walled to ensure excellent insulation and with cast iron grates for a more even heat distribution.
Temperature control is easier and more precise as this grill comes with both top and bottom dampers, and it also features a hinged locking lid to help keep the heat inside the grill.
Clean up should be a simple and quick process thanks to the easy dump ash pan, and with the convenient handles on the grill, you can also carry it easily.
The 153 square inches of cooking space is the smallest in our list, but it should still be more than enough for cooking for a couple or small family. And the absence of casters should not concern you as this is a lightweight and easy to carry grill.
Detailed Char-Griller E06614 review here
- Durable steel construction
- Quick and easy temperature control
- Simple and quick clean up
- Excellent heat retention
- More precise temperature control
- Smaller cooking surface
- No casters
2. Char-Griller E16620 – Best Value for Money
- Cooking surface: 447 square inches
- Material: Steel
- Temperature: 200°F -700°F
- Weight: 98 pounds
Everything about this Char-Griller grill from the price to the design and the features is just perfect, and this is what makes it the best Kamado grill for the money because at that price it is super hard to get anything better.
The well-built and high performing grill features a solid steel construction for maximum durability and a cast iron cooking surface for quick heat up and excellent heat retention.
This grill comes with some adjustable top and bottom dampers that make it easy to control the air flow for a more precise temperature control.
With this grill, you also get some conveniently folding side shelves for ample food preparation space, and some large locking wheels to make it easy to move. There is an easy dump ash pan for quick and easy cleaning.
Although the wheels can sometimes feel a little flimsy and the steel needs to be more rust-proof, this is still a top-notch quality Kamado that will serve you well for many years.
Detailed Char-Griller E16620 review here
- Easy and precise temperature control
- Durable steel construction
- Large locking wheels for easy mobility
- Easily folding side shelves
- Quick and easy to clean
- Wheels can sometimes feel a little flimsy
- Should be more rust-proof
3. Broil King 911470 – Best Non-ceramic
Photo: Broil King
- Cooking surface: 480 square inches
- Material: Stainless steel
- Weight: 126 pounds
If you do not want to keep worrying about the brittleness of a ceramic Kamado grill, Broil King has you covered with this top-notch quality stainless steel alternative.
The stainless steel material makes it tougher and more durable, but the grill will also be great for cooking for a medium size or large group thanks to the up to 480 square inches of cooking space.
To make it even better for cooking, it will heat up quickly and retain heat for longer as it uses cast iron and chrome plated grids.
Preparing the food is made easier and more convenient by the removable side shelves, and with the wheeled base that is adaptable to a trailer hitch, this is also an easy-to-move grill.
Cleaning it should not take a lot of time or effort because the Kamado also comes with a removable ashtray.
While setting up 2 heat zones can be hectic, this is typical of most Kamado style grills, and so it should not be the dealbreaker.
- Larger cooking surface
- Heats up quickly and holds heat well
- Removable ash drawer for easy cleaning
- Adequate work space
- More precise airflow control
- Hard to set up 2 zone cooking
- Not completely rust-proof
4. KamadoJoe KJ23RHC – Versatile & Flexible
- Cooking surface: 256 square inches
- Material: Ceramic and steel
- Temperature: 225°F -750°F
- Weight: 188 pounds
With the versatile and flexible cooking of the KJ23RHC by Kamada Joe, you can easily and conveniently cook different foods in different styles and temperatures.
This flexibility is hard to get on other Kamado grills, but there is still more to this grill than this. It also features a thick-walled and heat-resistant shell that will lock in the moisture and smoke at all cooking temperature.
The easy to read built-in thermometer is quite handy in monitoring the cooking, and there is also a control tower vent to provide a more precise air flow management.
A wire mesh fiberglass gasket provides a more secure and smoke retaining seal, and the slide-out ashtray will make cleaning the grill quick and easy.
Being our priciest Kamado grill, you will need to make an extra investment to get it, but given the quality and performance, it is worth every buck.
- Versatile and flexible cooking system
- Thick-walled and heat-resistant shell
- Easy to read built-in thermometer
- Simple to use design
- Easy cleanup
- Relatively pricier
- Casters are quite small
5. Primo 773 – Number One Choice All-in-one Grill
- Cooking surface: 280 square inches
- Material: Ceramic
- Temperature: 150°F-850°F
- Weight: 240 pounds
With this top-rated Kamado grill by Primo Grills and Smokers, you will have everything that you need to smoke, grill or bake all your favorite dishes.
It features a premium ceramic construction designed for durability and to provide excellent heat retention, and it uses some porcelain coated steel grates that will provide great heat retention and distribution.
The all-in-one design includes a sturdy cradle base with some locking casters for easy mobility, folding side shelves that will provide enough workspace and an ash tool for easy cleanup.
There is also a more ergonomic handle on this grill and a cast iron top vent that will make it easier to manage the airflow.
Despite this being the second priciest model in our list, you can be confident that you will get great value for the money you spend on it.
- Premium grade ceramic construction
- Ergonomic handle
- Wide temperature range
- Easy-to-read thermometer
- Sturdy cradle and locking casters
- A little expensive
6. Pit Boss 71240 – Perfect Kamado for Large Groups
Photo: Pit Boss
- Cooking surface: 576 square inches
- Material: Ceramic
- Temperature: 200°F -700+°F
- Weight: 220 pounds
For the grillers that prefer a more traditional kamado cooking, here is the best ceramic Kamado grill for you thanks to the high cooking efficacy.
This grill has the largest cooking space in our list as its dual tier cooking grates will provide up to 576 square inches of cooking space.
There is ample space for preparing food because this grill also includes dual folding shelves. These shelves are designed to last long thanks to the solid and sturdy bamboo material.
Temperature control is easy and more precise when using this Kamado as it comes with a cast iron top tamper that will give you full control over the airflow and allow you to set the desired temperature.
This is the second heaviest model in our list, but the presence of some high-quality casters makes the weight almost a non-issue for most users.
- Larger cooking surface
- Solid and sturdy bamboo shelves
- More precise temperature control
- Easy-read thermometer
- Dual folding shelves for ample workspace
- Relatively heavier
- Hard to lower the temperature
7. Grill Dome 100315 – Perfect for Use on the Go
Photo: Grill Dome
- Cooking surface: 255 square inches
- Material: Ceramic
- Temperature: 225°F – 750+ °F
- Weight: 185 pounds
Superior thermal efficiency ensures that this grill will not only achieve high temperatures fast but also retain the heat long.
Besides its thermal efficiency, this grill has a Featherlite hinge system that makes lifting the lid a quick and almost effortless task.
Because the grill heats up fast, it should be ready to cook in just 10 minutes. And you can easily adjust the airflow for more precise temperature control thanks to the dial top and an enumerated dial door design.
Flip-up design of the stainless steel grid makes it easy to add more chips and charcoal, and the heavy-duty and rust-free hardware help to lengthen the lifespan of the grill.
The finish would do with some improvement to make the paint more long-lasting, but this will not affect the performance of the grill in any way. Also, a base stand is cheap and easy to get.
- Superior thermal efficiency
- Easy lift lid
- Gets ready to cook in just a few minutes
- Easy to clean
- Heavy-duty and rust-free hardware
- Finish needs some improvement
- Base stand not included
How to Use the Kamado Grill?
Once you get your new Kamado grill home and assemble it, the next step is to figure out how to use it. This should also not be hard.
Here are the most important things you need to know about using these types of grills.
Starting a Kamado Grill
- Start by adding charcoal to the grill, and to do this you should remove the grates to expose the empty charcoal chamber below.
- When placing charcoal on the chamber, it is recommended to place the larger chucks below and the smaller ones at the top.
- Once the charcoal is in place you can now fire up the grill. To do this you should start by opening the vents at the top and bottom completely.
- You should then make a small orifice at the center of the charcoal pile up and then place the fire starter there before lighting it.
- After the ignition has begun, you should then place charcoal pieces over the fire starter and then give the charcoals some time to burn before adding the grid and other necessary cooking accessories.
Controlling the Temperature
- The first step is to close the lid and open all the vents completely.
- Before the grill reaches the desired temperature (at least 20 degrees before) close the top air vent partially by leaving about a quarter of it open.
- Give the grill a few minutes to see if it will attain the desired temperature.
- If the temperature is too high, close the top vent to lower it and if it is too low you will need to open the top vent to increase it.
- For easy temperature control, keep the bottom vent partially closed and then close or open the top vent accordingly to lower or increase the temperature.
Cooking with the Kamado Grill
- Once you get the charcoal burning, you should give it at least 15 minutes to warm up your grill.
- If you want to sear meat, you should then put the smoking stone inside and then place the grates before allowing for another 5 minutes for the temperature to stabilize. After this, you can now place the meat on the grates.
- For direct grilling, you will only need to add lots of charcoal and give the Kamado grill at least 15 minutes to get to the desired temperature before you place the meat on the grates and start cooking.
- Always keep the Kamado outside as it is only meant for outdoor cooking
- Make sure the vents are open before opening the lid and never open the lid too rapidly
- Never try to discard the ash when hot
- Do not move the grill when in use
- Avoid using combustible liquids to light up the grill
- Do not put any hot ceramic elements in water when hot
The versatility, efficiency, durability, and flexibility of the Kamado grill are unmatched by most other grill types, but this is only true if you get a top quality model.
With our detailed top 7 Kamado grill review, you should also have an idea of the best models from top brands to buy.
For our recommendations, the Char-Griller E06614 is perfect for both new and experienced Kamado grill users while the Char-Griller E16620 will give you the best value for your cash.
In this post:
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Kamado Grills
- What To Check Before Buying Kamado Grill?
- 7 Best Kamado Grills in 2021 Reviewed
- 1. Char-Griller E06614 – Best Overall
- 2. Char-Griller E16620 – Best Value for Money
- 3. Broil King 911470 – Best Non-ceramic
- 4. KamadoJoe KJ23RHC – Versatile & Flexible
- 5. Primo 773 – Number One Choice All-in-one Grill
- 6. Pit Boss 71240 – Perfect Kamado for Large Groups
- 7. Grill Dome 100315 – Perfect for Use on the Go
- How to Use the Kamado Grill?