Kamado Joe Classic vs Classic II [Which is Best?]


The Kamado Joe Classic is one of the best ceramic grills that the grilling world has to offer. But should you buy the Classic I or the Classic II? Our Kamado Joe BBQ Guide is here to tell you everything you need to know.

kamado joe classic vs classic ii

The Kamado Joe Classic II is the best grill. You’ve seen huge advances in heat retention and airflow that more than justify paying a little more.

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Let’s take a closer look with our in-depth comparison.

Smoke comes out of the top vent of the Kamado Joe Classic

The Kamado Classic series is one of the most popular Kamado grills on the market today. It is a perfect size ceramic hob for users looking for the perfect value for money.

The small grill can serve both as a smoker and as a grill and even as a pizza oven.

Despite its size, it is perfect for high-temperature grilling and is known for its excellent heat retention.

But which version do you get?

side dishes from kamado joe classic ii with grilled meat

Kamado is now available in its third iteration in the series, with Kamado Classic, Classis II, and Classic III now.

Does every model guarantee an increase in performance and quality? Or do older versions offer better value for money?

Build and Design

It may come as a surprise that each version of the Classic series has a lot in common. Structurally, they all feature a thick-walled ceramic body that provides excellent heat reflection and retention.

Each version features a split heat deflector to efficiently manage the cooking zones in your Kamado’s chamber.

All have an iron sled design for easy maneuverability. This might seem like a small point, but there’s a lot to be said for taking the rolling grill on and off.

kamado joe classic ii review

Kamado Joe Classic I vs Classic II

While the Classic I and II are very similar in terms of chamber construction, there are some differences in the design of the grill openings, as well as the gasket, lid and firebox.

The upper vent has been improved and is now made of powder-coated die-cast aluminum. This makes it more resilient to the elements and is now mildew and water resistant for easy cleaning .

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The top vent now helps create a smoother airflow even when you open the lid. This makes cooking much easier and you can now better maintain the desired cooking temperatures.

New to kamado cooking? Check out our guide to using your Kamado grill .

That’s not the only update the Classic has seen, however. The Kamado Joe’s patented “Air Lift Hinge” system has also been redesigned and is now easier to lift without compromising its integrity.

The lid gasket has been upgraded for better tightness and with a material that is now claimed to have a much longer lifespan than the original Kamado Joe Classic.

The Classic’s firebox has been redesigned into a six piece firebox that is more resilient at higher temperatures. This offers a huge improvement in its ability to withstand heat without risking cracking or breaking.

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Kamado Joe Classic II vs Classic III

How much has the Kamado Joe Classic III improved over the smallest models?

The Divide and Conquer level cooking system has been revamped and now has an additional third level. This effectively expands the total cooking surface by 50%, allowing for many more foods to be grilled or smoked at once.

Kamado Joe has also introduced a ‘SloRoller’ smoke box insert. This is to help the smoke circulate better in the chamber, improving the quality of the smoked food. Rather than simply allowing the smoke to flow through the chamber from the inlet to the outlet flaps, it disperses it more effectively throughout the chamber, enriching the volume of smoke cooking the food at once.

Which Kamado Classic is Better?

Our pick is the Kamado Joe Classic II.

The Kamado Joe Classic I is a first step into ceramic grill cooking for beginners, but once you’ve mastered the basics, you may become frustrated by its limitations.

The Classic III certainly has some tweaks and upgrades, but at this point they don’t justify the extra cost.

The Classic II sits well in the center, making it our pick for the best Kamado Joe Classic Grill.

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