The biggest differences between Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe is that Kamado Joe has a greater number of options, is more portable, and has modern features. By comparison, the BGE offers a more traditional performance and is the more affordable choice.
I have had a Big Green Egg in my arsenal for many years but as Kamado Joe grew in popularity, I just had to find out what the new kid on the block had in store. So, I decided to compare both brands and determine what they each had to offer.
In this post, I will compare Big Green Egg vs. Kamado Joe across various points so that you determine which one is the right one for you!
Let us take a close look at how Kamado and Big Green Egg grills are different from one another.
If you want a quick comparison, check out this table:
Big Green Egg
Egg-shaped, standalone design with spring loaded lid.
Contains more user-friendly design features with egg-shaped with frame with wheels, Air Lift hinge, with side shelves
Seven models, with the only variation being in size and cooking area dimensions.
Has eight models, varying in size as well as design and function, also includes a Smart Grill
Sizes vary from Mini to 2XL
Sizes vary from Jr. to Big Joe Series III
Cooking Surface Areas
Dimensions range from 79 to 672 sq. inches
Dimensions range from 150 to 450 sq. inches - also contains 2 and 3 tier cooking system
Maximum temperature up to 750 F, with temperature control using REggulator cap and bottom vents
Maximum temperature up to 750 F, with temperature control using Kontrol tower top vents
Excellent temperature control but involves learning curve with vents
Simple temperature control but more steps for grilling
Can attach EGG Genius to connect grills with smartphone app
Konnected grill can be controlled with app and also contains additional smart features
Doesn't have additional features
Contains stand, shelves, and divide and conquer cooking system
Offers cheaper models ranging from $450 to $1500
Has more expensive models ranging from $500 to $3000
As both the Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg are kamado style grills or ceramic grills, there is some similarity to the design.
They both have that same egg like shape and the cobbled surface texture. Also, the smaller kamado grills have a narrower, almost bullet-like shape to them. The larger grills have a more rotund design.
However, there is where the similarities of the kamado grills end. These kamado grills are designed quite different to one another.
See, each Big Green Egg grill – with the exception of the MiniMax – is a standalone grill. As a result, these grills are designed to be placed directly on the ground.
This isn’t the case with the Kamado Joe grills, though. Most of the grills are equipped with stands and wheels that make them a great deal more portable. You can easily wheel the Kamado Joe grill models from one place to another. The wheels are also equipped with wheel locks to keep them in one place.
As you may already know, ceramic grills tend to be pretty heavy. This means that opening and closing the lid isn’t always an easy venture, especially if you have limited upper body strength.
Due to this, the hinge design for each grill does matter quite a bit.
With the Big Green Egg, you have a traditional spring loaded hinge. This works fairly well and you are able to open and close the grill with minimal hassle.
The Kamado Joe grill, however, has truly revolutionized this feature all thanks to the Air Lift hinge. This works so that you can literally open the lid of the Kamado Joe grill models with a finger.
So, in this category, the Kamado Joe takes the lead.
The other most notable difference in design is that all the Kamado Joe models are equipped with two side shelves on either side of the grill. Personally I like this feature because it lets you store food that is coming off the grill.
So, which brand is the winner here? Well, when it comes to portability and functionality, I would have to give the points to Kamado Joe.
That being said, people have been using the Big Green Egg without these additional features for a long time with no complaint. So, it can depend on what you are looking for from your grill.
When it comes to the Big Green Egg, there is just a single lineup. You have the Big Green MiniMax, Mini, Small, Medium, Large, XL, and 2XL.
The only differences between these ceramic grills is their sizes and internal capacities. All the other features are the same.
Now, this is where Kamado Joe comes out on top. With this brand, you have the Joe Jr., Classic Joe, Big Joe, and Konnected Joe lineup.
In the Classic Joe lineup, you have Series I, Series II, and Series III. The Big Joe also has a Series I, Series II, and Series III grill.
Now, the main differences between the Classic Joe and Big Joe are the sizes – the Big Joe is the larger lineup.
As for the Series, the I has the most basic features, also making it the more affordable option. The Series II is the middle-of-the range grills, with better quality materials and features than Series I. Finally, you have the Series III, which is the premium version and has the top features.
More recently, Kamado Joe introduced the Konnected Joe which is a smart ceramic grill.
When it comes to options and variations, there is no denying that the Kamado Joe takes this rounds. There are just so many kamado grill models to choose from and each model has its own set of features, attributes, and advantages.
As I have already mentioned, both Kamado Joe and Big Green egg each have different sized kamado grills. So, let’s take a closer look at each of them to see how they measure up to one another.
For the Big Green Egg, the dimensions are as follows:
For the Kamado Joe grill models, the dimensions are as follows:
When it comes to size variations and options, Big Green Egg takes the prize here. It doesn’t matter if you want a very small grill, small grill, mid-sized grill, large grill or very big grill, this brand has it all for you!
On the flip side, the Kamado Joe grill options are quite similar to one another and so, you may not find what you are looking for here.
The cooking surface area of each kamado grill brand, gives you a better idea of just how much food you can cook at once.
For the Big Green Egg, the cooking surface area is as follows:
The cooking surface area for Kamado Joe grill models are:
Now, just from looking at these numbers, you would think that it is clear that Big Green Egg wins again. After all, it is a greater variety of cooking surfaces to choose from.
Not to mention, you can find a surface area that is right for feeding one person as well as one that has enough of space to feed a crowd.
That being said, the Kamado Joe ceramic grill does have an ace up its sleeve. This is the 2 tier divide and conquer cooking system. In the case of the Series III kamado grills, it is actually a 3 tier divide and conquer flexible cooking system.
This is where you can have two or three layers of cooking shelves. Now, this features does a couple of things. First, it allows you to cook more food at the same time – this is not something that you can do with the Big Green Egg grill models.
The other perk to this feature is that you can cook food at different temperatures at the same time. The food that is closest to lit coals will cook at a higher temperature while the food on the upper levels will cook at a slower rate.
So, in the case of cooking surface area, I would say that the Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe are tied.
As you are probably aware, when it comes to kamado grills, the temperature control system is a bit unique. With these types of grills, you have to use vents to change the temperature inside the grill. However, both Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg have their own way of doing things.
When it comes to the Big Green Egg, the precision flow draft door allows you to adjust how much fresh air is coming into the ceramic grill. The more air that is coming in, the hotter the grill.
More recently, these grills have also been equipped with the REggulator vent cap allows you to adjust how much air is flowing through the chamber and exiting the grill.
Combined, these work to keep the temperature accurate up to a few degrees. You can also take the temperature all the way up to 750 F.
When it comes to the Kamado Joe models, the secret to success is the cast iron vents for the Series I grills and for Series II and III you have Kontrol tower top vents.
With these, you only use these top vents to control the temperature. You can control the temperature from 225 F to 750 F without any issue at all.
So, which cooking system is better?
I can’t find fault with either cooking system. They both work incredibly well, allowing you to the control temperature with impressive accuracy.
That being said, if you aren’t familiar with kamado grills, then the Big Green Egg system can take a bit longer to get a handle on. The Kamado Joe cooking system design is a bit more intuitive.
I have had the pleasure of grilling on a Big Green Egg before and is always a delight. This is because despite the intimidating appearance of the BGE, it is actually quite simple to use. Once you have the charcoal set up and going and pop the cooking grate into the place, you are all set.
The air vents make it really easy to control the temperature and as the grill is known for its heat retention properties, it is really simple to maintain the temperature throughout.
I did love using the Kamado grills but I do have to admit that there are a lot more pieces, features, and moving parts to this kamado grill. As a result, there is bit more of a learning curve to the grilling system.
I would suggest this grill to more professionals who are detail oriented and love to keep an eye on many grilling elements at once.
Up until recently, both Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe were pretty traditional when it came to their grills. However, as BBQing has moved into the digital age, so have these brands.
The digital solution from Big Green Egg is the EGG genius. This is a control panel that you can fix to any of the grills. Then, you download the appropriate app on your phone. The control panel and the app are connected via Wi-Fi.
You can use the app to check on the cooking temperature and rate of your food.
When it comes to Kamado Joe, there is just a single Smart grill – the Kamado Joe. However, this grill has more than just your traditional Wi-Fi connectivity.
It also allows you to start a fire with a single touch of a button. There is also a fan to manage the temperature.
So, if you want a truly revolutionized ceramic grill, then this is the one for you.
That being said, when it comes to connectivity, I do want to pass the crown onto the Big Green Egg. This is because the brand has the technology to turn any grill into one with a Wi-Fi connection.
The Big Green Egg is pretty bare bones in its original packaging. This means that you don’t really get any additional accessories or components. If you do want something extra, you have to pay for it.
For the most, the Kamado Joe is rather the same. However, the natural design of these grills means that the Kamado Joe accessories are technically included with the grills. This includes the stainless steel charcoal basket, and the divide and conquer flexible cooking system.
Also, the natural design of the grills come with stands and the side shelves.
In this way, you do feel like you are getting more bang for your buck. Of course, as with the Big Green Egg, you can purchase other accessories if you like.
For the Big Green Egg, the price range is from $450 to $1500 – this is for the grills alone, without any stands.
As for the Kamado Joe, the price range is from $500 – $3000, making it the more expensive option by far.
This is the most popular kamado grill from each brand, so it only makes sense to discover how well they face off against one another. Now, I have covered most of the differences between Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg in the above sections. So, I will just be focusing on these features here.
If you want a quick breakdown of these grills, check out this table:
Large Big Green Egg
Kamado Joe Classic III
Cooking Capacity (Sq. Inches)
Excellent grilling performance with great heat insulation but with learning control for temp control
Easy to control temperature and comes with additional smoking feature
Minimal portability due to standalone design
Easy to transport due to steel frame with wheels
The Big Green Egg has a maximum cooking surface area of 262 sq. inches, making it slightly larger than the Kamado Joe model.
The Classic Series III has a maximum cooking surface area of 250 sq. inches. In addition to this, though, it has also has three tier divide and conquer cooking system. So, this allows you to cook different foods at the same time, at different temperatures.
Due to this, I am going to have to give this round to the Classic III.
One of the favorite things about using a Big Green Egg is that the grill is built so well. The insulation with this grill is amazing so you can guarantee that there is no heat unnecessarily lost. This ensures that your food is able to cook at a steady rate.
I also love the fact that the charcoal lasts for so long when you grill with this model. Not only does this mean that you don’t have to keep refilling the grill, you often have enough leftover for the next cook. It is a great way to save money on fuel in the long run.
The vents allow you to lower or increase the temperature by closing or opening them and managing the air control. Now, if you aren’t used to these kinds of grills, there is a little bit of a learning process to get this just right.
In particular, I found it a little difficult to lower the temperature of the grill when I set it too high.
The other minor issue that I found with the Big Green egg is that you can’t use it for smoking right off the bat – it isn’t designed for this purpose. You have to purchase the ConvEGGter if you want to turn the grill into a smoker.
Then, there is the Kamado Joe Classic III. This was the first time using such a grill but I was pleasantly surprising at the performance.
One of the things that I loved about this grill was that Kamado Joe grills feature the Kontrol tower top vent. As a result, you are able to change the temperature in increments of around 25 degrees. This gives you a lot more control over your cooking.
Also, this model comes with the SlōRoller hyperbolic insert without any additional cost. This turns the grill into a smoker.
When it comes to actually grilling performance, the Big Green Egg takes the win. However, when it comes to ease of use, I have to give it up to the Kamado Joe.
These are both hefty grills, the Big Green Egg is 162lbs and the Series III is 360lbs. If you want the BGE to be portable, then you have to purchase an additional stand or nest.
In the case of the Kamado Joe model, though, there is a stand, complete with wheels. In this instance, the Kamado Joe wins hands down.
I am not exaggerating when I say that this was one of the most difficult decisions that I have had to make.
The reality is that these are both really great brands with beautifully designed grills. They are both high performing and produce excellent results time after time.
The only distinction that I can make is that Big Green Egg works well if you want a tried and true traditional grill that is a little easier on the budget.
As for the Kamado Joe, it is ideal for anyone who wants a bit more choice, doesn’t mind spending more money, and wants a grill that has a few more modern features.
The Big Green Egg was started by Ed Fischer in 1974 in Atlanta. In the beginning, Fischer simply imported the clay cookers from Japan to America. However, he found that these materials were too delicate. So, he began experimenting with various materials until he created the Big Green Egg. The company began to grow in popularity based on the quality of their product alone.
Kamado Joe was founded by Bobby Brennan and Kerry Coker in 2008. Brennan noticed the market growth for grills and began Kamado Joe with the intent of modernizing the ceramic grill design. In 2018, the brand was sold to Masterbuilt, although Brennan still works alongside the new investors.
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