Kamado grills usually have an egg-like shape, a heavy body, and are made from a ceramic material that retains heat. This style of grill is similar to the earthenware ovens that were used in India and China thousands of years ago, but have been adapted to today’s cooking styles. Because of their thick exterior, less fuel is required, and users say that they can get up to 14 hours of cooking time from a single batch of charcoal. When cooking time is shorter, unburned charcoal can be left in the grill to be used during the next cooking session.
Kamado grills can be used for standard grilling and smoking, but they’re also great for roasting meats, baking bread or pizza, and even for cooking tandoori-style dishes.
01 of 08
Best Overall: Kamado Joe Classic II
It’s hard to find something to quibble about with this 18-inch grill. From the stainless steel hardware to the lid that opens with two fingers and stays in any position, to the unique ash drawer that makes clean-out a breeze, users have high praise for this grill. It has a total of 406 square inches of cooking space and can maintain heat from 225 to 750 degrees, so you can use it for low-and-slow cooking or blast the heat to quickly cook pizzas.
The integrated thermometer lets you check the temperature easily, and the top vent is designed to stay exactly where you set it, to maintain the heat you need. The side shelves give you space for tools and plates, while the stand with four wheels lets you position the grill perfectly.
The Divide and Conquer cooking system lets you cook different foods at different temperatures, and the included grate gripper tool makes it easy to move or rearrange grates the way you want them. You’ll get a multi-purpose stainless steel rack, two halved grill grates and two halved ceramic heat deflectors with this grill, so all you need is charcoal and some food to grill.
02 of 08
Best Budget: Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill
This grill will appeal to folks on a budget as well as people who don’t want to commit to a large, heavy grill. At just 37 pounds, this is petite enough to be portable. Side handles make this easy to move, while short, sturdy legs keep it stable on uneven surfaces.
The 153 square inches of primary cooking space is enough for a family meal on the 14-inch diameter cast iron cooking grate. Even though it’s small, this has many of the features of a larger grill, including triple-walled 22-gauge steel construction and the ability to maintain temperatures from 200 to 700 degrees. The interior is coated with enamel, while the exterior is powder coated, and the ash pan makes cleanup easy.
03 of 08
Best Ceramic: Kamado Professional Ceramic Charcoal Grill
This ceramic grill offers a lot of cooking space at a price that won’t break the budget, yet it’s packed with the features you need. There is a total of 604 square inches of cooking space on two stainless steel flip grates that won’t rust or corrode. An electric starter port makes lighting the charcoal easy, and two draft vents let you adjust the cooking temperature.
Two shelves give you space for tools and sauces, and they fold down when not in use. The cart is made from powder coated steel and has four wheels to let you position the grill exactly where you want it. An ash drawer makes cleanup easy when cooking is done, and a vinyl cover is included to keep the grill clean, no matter what the weather brings.
04 of 08
Best with Smoker: Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker
This grill offers 314 square inches of primary cooking space on cast iron cooking grates, plus an additional 133 inches on the upper rack, so you’ll have plenty of room for cooking, smoking, and more. It can maintain temperatures from 200-700 degrees for everything from low-and-slow to blasting hot. The damper has numbers on it, so you can easily remember the damper position you prefer.
This grill is made from triple-walled 22-gauge steel rather than ceramic, and it has a powder-coated exterior and porcelain-coated interior. Two metal shelves give you space for sauces, rubs, and spices, and the fold down to get out of the way when not in use. When it’s time to clean up, the ash pan makes it easy.
This includes a cart made from tubular steel, with 8-inch rubber wheels to help you position it perfectly. While it’s still a heavyweight at 100 pounds, it’s lighter than ceramic grills of the same size.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best for BBQ: Louisiana Grills 22" Ceramic Kamado Grill
This smaller kamado grill has 153 square inches of cooking space and a 14-inch diameter cast iron grate that retains heat and produces excellent grill marks. Made from 22-gauge steel rather than ceramic, the grill is lighter in weight, affordable, and won’t crack or break. The powder coated finish and porcelain-coated interior help prevent rust, and the triple wall construction with insulation retains heat very well from 200 to 700 degrees. The handles make this easy to move to the proper grilling location.
Top and bottom air dampers make it easy to adjust the cooking temperature and a hinged locking lid makes it easy to check the food during cooking. The integrated heat gauge lets you see at a glance that the cooking temperature is correct without opening the lid. There’s an easy-dump ash pan that makes cleanup easy when grilling is done.
06 of 08
Best under $500: Vision Grills Classic P Series Kamado Charcoal Grill
Small but mighty, this is a tabletop ceramic kamado grill that looks like the giant models but weighs just 45.5 pounds. The stainless steel cooking grate gives you 87 square inches of space for singles, couples, or perhaps a small family dinner, and you can cook with lump charcoal, just like a full-sized grill.
This has a nubby, glossy dark gray finish that looks classy. Four steel legs keep it off the ground, so you can cook on a table without worrying about bottom heat. When it comes to storage, this grill has side shelves that fold down for storage or travel, and a top chimney and bottom draft door for temperature control. Some assembly is required, and tools are included. This grill is small enough to be taken on the road, but care should be taken when transporting it.
07 of 08
Best under $1,000: Broil King Keg 18.5-in Kamado Grill
Shaped more like a keg than an egg, the double-walled steel body keeps this grill insulated while keeping the total weight down to 126 pounds, so this is easier to move than ceramic grills of the same size. It has a durable powder-coated finish that will resist rust and stay attractive for years.
The 280 square inch primary cooking grid is made from cast iron while the 200 square inch secondary area has a chrome-plated steel grid that easily rotates out of the way when you need to get to food on the lower rack. The side shelves let you keep tools and spices nearby, and are removable if you don’t need them. The large wheels, steel frame, and sturdy handle make this easy to move when you need to.
08 of 08
Best Splurge: Big Joe Charcoal Grill in Red
When you’re ready for a big kamado grill and you have space to keep it, this 24-inch grill is one you should take a close look at. Highly rated by users, it has 452 square inches of cooking space, so you can feed a crowd with ease.
The cooking grids are made from commercial-grade 304 stainless steel that won’t rust or corrode, so cleaning is easy. This features the Divide and Conquer cooking system so you can cook on different levels which means you’re also cooking at different temperatures.
The air-lift hinge lets you raise the heavy lid with just two fingers, and it will stay in position when you let go. A grate gripper lets you grab the grates to remove or reposition them safely during cooking, and the patented slide-out ash drawer makes ash removal easy when the cooking is done. An ash tool is included for thorough cleaning when needed. This grill weighs 250 pounds, so even though it has a wheeled cart, you’re unlikely to move it very far once you’ve decided on the perfect cooking space.
Products Tested by The Spruce
How We Tested
Our reviewers spent 16 hours testing one of the most popular Kamado grills available. To get truly comprehensive feedback, we asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this Kamado grill, like its weight, amount of cooking space, and performance. We've outlined the major takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Kamado Grill
Weight Let’s face it — a large ceramic Kamado grill is the opposite of portable. It’s heavy, and ceramic can crack or break if dropped. However, smaller Kamado grills (and those made from other materials) are lighter, and some come with wheeled carts to make them a bit easier to move. Does portability matter to you?
Cooking space Do you plan on cooking a full-size turkey in your grill, or are you more likely to grill chicken wings, burgers, and brats for two? If you need extra space but don’t want to commit to a larger grill, two-tiered racks can offer that to you.
Accessories As Kamado grills become more popular, more accessories are being made to enhance them. Some grill companies have their own line of add-ons, while third-party manufacturers have joined in on the fun by making fans, covers, rotisseries, special grates, and more. If add-ons are appealing, check to make sure the grill you choose can fit the accessories you want.
Test Results: Kamado Joe Classic II
What We Like
Wheels make it maneuverable despite weight
What We Don't Like
Not quite enough cooking space
Ceramic pieces inside are very fragile
This grill’s performance impressed our testers thoroughly. “I'm obsessed with the fact that I can cook pizza on it,” raved one reviewer. “I'm smoking ribs this weekend and I couldn't be more excited. It's almost replaced my oven — we grill at least four times a week.” The only downfall was the size of the grill area, which our testers wished was a few inches bigger: “It would make grilling large amounts of food a lot easier, because right now I have to grill things in batches,” observed one reviewer.