Kamado grills, also called ceramic grills or egg grills, have enjoyed a surge in popularity due to their incredible versatility and performance. With new brands entering the market each year, there are more options than ever, making it hard to determine which kamado is right for you. However, if you know what features to compare, choosing a kamado charcoal grill can be made a whole lot easier. To simplify your shopping process, we’ve outlined some of the things you should consider.
Cooking Area and Kamado Grill Sizes
You’ll see many kamado grills advertised as Large or XL, but these are only relative terms. In order to get a true sense of size, look at the actual measurements. Because they’re round, kamado grills typically list their size by the diameter of the cooking grate. The average kamado grill is roughly 18 inches in diameter, with larger grills measuring up to 24 inches. While kamado grills do come in smaller sizes (from 9.5-16 inches), they won’t be able to fit larger cuts of meat like brisket or a rack of ribs. Note: One brand that doesn’t use diameter is Primo, which makes oval grills, so use primary cooking area as an accurate point of comparison.
In addition to the grill body, kamados have hardware, such as the grill grate, upper and lower dampers, handles, lid bands, and hinge assembly. Typically, kamado hardware is made from cast iron, stainless steel, painted steel, or some combination of the three. Stainless steel is the most desirable. It’s durable, resists corrosion, and is easy to clean—not to mention it has a sleek appearance. However, when it comes to the grill grate, it’s not so cut and dry. Many people prefer cast iron grates, which transfer heat better and provide a great sear but need to be seasoned and cared for to prevent rusting. Stainless steel grates, on the other hand, are easy to maintain but don’t sear quite as well. Some kamado grills also use porcelain enameled steel grates, but they neither sear as well as cast iron nor have the durability of stainless steel.
What’s Included: Kamado Grill Accessories
Although many kamado grills offer similar performance, they don’t necessarily come standard with the same features. When comparing kamado grills, look closely at what’s included. Is it just the grill? Or do some accessories come standard? When it comes to included accessories, the most important is probably the diffuser plate. Many people buy kamado grills for the purpose of smoking authentic BBQ, but you need a diffuser plate to do that. If it’s not included with the grill, you’ll have to buy it separately at an additional cost. Other accessories sometimes included with kamado grills are:
- Cart with casters/wheels
- Side Shelves
- Convenient tools such as a grate gripper for handling hot grates or an ash tool
- Extra racks that expand your cooking area
- Grill cover
Construction: Ceramic Kamado Grills vs Insulated Steel
Traditional kamado grills are ceramic, which absorbs heat exceptionally well and retains moisture to keep food moist and tender. However, ceramic is heavy and fairly fragile—it doesn’t take much to chip or crack it. For that reason, some brands have started making steel kamados. The Weber Summit Charcoal Grill and Broil King Keg use double-walled insulation to achieve the same heat retention as ceramic grills, but the grills are lighter and more durable.
Kamado Grill Prices
The factors listed above contribute heavily to a grill’s final cost, so take each into consideration and factor them into the overall package and price. To get the most value, look carefully at what you get for the price. For instance, buying the least expensive kamado grill might initially seem like an attractive option, until you get home and realize you need to buy all the accessories you need separately. Once everything is added up, the final cost could be more than the base price of an all-inclusive kamado grill.