The Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab spent many years testing the best grills. This includes gas, charcoal, pellet, and indoor grills. Kamado grills use lump charcoal so we tested some kamado models using our Best Charcoal Grills Roundup. We cooked steak, chicken, and ribs on each grill, while also considering features such as storage space, portability, and shelves.
Professional C-Series Kamado
The unique size, weight and structure of kamado charcoal grills can be intimidating for less experienced home cooks. However, the Vision Grills Professional-Series Kamado is equipped with simple-to-use features that make it easy to learn. This kamado has clearly marked smoking and grilling dials that allow for precise vent control. A removable ash drawer, an electric starter port and an easily accessible ash drawer make cooking easy and consistent.
The base model includes side tables, wheels, and two tiers cooking grates that cover 604 square inches. This makes it a complete kamado set at an affordable price. The kamado is loved by reviewers for its heat retention, ease-of-use, and wide range of colour options. However, some users complain about the “leaks” within the body that cause the temperature to rise.
Oval Large 300
Two-zone cooking is a popular method for charcoal grill masters. This involves placing all the coals on one side of the grill and creating a hot zone and a lower-temperature zone. This is impossible with most kamado charcoal grills. However, the Primo kamado grill has an oval shape that allows you to have both. The two-zone feature is loved by reviewers, along with the Primo’s quality build, heat retention, and simple design. However, some users complain about the chimney falling off of the lid.
Primo Oval Large’s standard Primo Oval Large offers a 300-square-inch cooking space. Additional racks can expand the area to 200 square inches. Primo offers an all-in one package that includes everything you need.
Broil King Keg 5000, another kamado grill made from steel rather than ceramic, is easier to transport and less likely crack. This model comes with a trailer hitch so it can be used for camping, tailgating and other activities where grilling is essential. We found that the kamado is lighter than ceramic models and can reach high temperatures as fast as ceramic. The second grill grate included in the package could be used for a second layer.
The exterior of the Broil King’s slate grey is not as beautiful as those of ceramic counterparts, but it is an easy-to-use kamado that offers 280 square inches of cooking space and lots of versatility. Some reviewers have complained about rust and sealing issues.
Big Bad 32-inch
The Komodo Kamado Big Bad makes a bold statement. The massive, glittering kamado barbecue is available in many custom finishes. The grill weighs in at half a tonne, offers over 1,000 square feet of cooking space, and costs around $6,000. Although this isn’t a Kamado Grill for everyone, it is a great choice if you are looking for an outdoor centerpiece and can afford $6,000. Because of its large shape, the Big Bad can be used for traditional two-zone cooking.
What you should look out for when purchasing a kamado charcoal grill
Material: Kamado grills are a traditional way to cook. Many of the best options available now have thick ceramic bodies for insulation. These grills are heavy and durable. However, they can shatter if dropped or tipped. The body of some kamado models is made from double- or triple-insulated stainless steel. This makes it lighter and less likely that it will shatter if dropped. Steel is less resistant to rust and will not last as long as ceramic. Ceramic is more efficient at insulation than steel, but the difference in actual use cases is negligible. Your grilling preferences and the material you choose are up to you.
Accessory: Some kamado models include accessories such as side tables, additional cooking grates, wheels and pizza stones. Others only have the basic grill. You will find that many accessories are very useful as you cook with your kamado. If they are not included in the base model, you should consider the cost of buying them separately.
Ventilation: A kamado’s ventilation is what controls the heat from your grill. The more air you allow in, the hotter your fire will go. You should prioritize grills that have good ventilation systems you know how to use. Some grills are completely manual while others have temperature controls that can be adjusted.
Kamado grills are large because of their unique shape and high cooking power. Choose the right size for you and your family when shopping. A grill that has a minimum 400-square-inch cooking surface is best if you plan to host many cookouts. A smaller grill with 300 square inches of cooking space is sufficient if you are only grilling for your family or friends. Remember that the bigger the grill, you will need more coals to light the fire and keep it burning.
Shape: Kamado grills are unique in that they have an oblong egg shape. This creates a large cooking area and allows for excellent airflow. This shape does not allow for traditional charcoal grilling in two zones. You should look for a kamado with a larger base and a stout oval-shaped shape if you are committed to two-zone cooking.