If you are shopping around for the best charcoal grill smoker combo, chances are you would be offered a Big Green Grill (BGE) because it is the most popular grill on the market since 1974. There is also a big chance that you would be offered a Kamado Joe Grill. The Kamado Joe has been manufacturing charcoal grills since 2009 and has been a great alternative grill.
Since the Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg have been competing head-to-head with each other for the larger chunk of market share, in this review, we are going to make a comparative analysis of the pros and cons of buying the grills of each of these brands. The Big Green Egg has rolled out the Mini, Minimax, Small, Medium, Large, Xlarge, and 2XL grills. The Kamado, on the other hand, has rolled grill models throughout the years that include the Classic III 18″, Big Joe III 24″, Projoe, Classic II 18″, Big Joe 24″,
Kamado Joe vs Green Egg
We’ve spent several hours comparing the Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg grills. We’ve also bought one of the most popular models of each of these brands and compared them together using the following parameters of design, ease of use, ease of assembly out-of-the-box, ease of cleaning, affordability, and warranty.
The Big Green Egg and the Kamado Joe grills have almost identical designs in the past few years. Yet, in 2017, the new Kamado Joe models started to showcase some significant improvements. So, if ever you decide to buy a Kamado Joe Grill, make sure that you purchase its newest version.
Let’s look first at the air vent of both the Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe. The air vent of the BGE slides around and is made of steel that would surely rust if you leave it in the rain. The air vent of the Kamado Joe, however, doesn’t slide around and is made of aluminum and thus it does not rust.
The thermometer of the BGE is surely decent, while that of the Joe is larger, and thus, it allows for easy reading. However, at the onset, you will find the thermometer of Joe about 50 degrees out of calibration, though you can easily calibrate its thermometer to give you a correct temperature reading.
Another big difference between the two is their lid counter-mechanism and the hinge. If you lift the lid of the BGE halfway, for example, and let go of it, it slams down very hard. On the other hand, if you lift the lid of the Joe halfway, it just sits there perfectly counterbalanced.
The Joe has dual open rack system with half rack-grabbing tool. This system is called the Divide & Conquer feature. On the other hand, the Egg has a standard grilling surface that is set at one height. Another small difference lies in the color of their ceramic. The original color of Joe’s ceramic is a bit reddish, while that of the Egg has somewhat a whiter ceramic.
The BGE has larger wheels and has wheel locks made of plastic. The Joe’s wheels, however, are smaller, but they have locks made of sturdy metals.
The BGE’s stand is pieced together, while that of the Joe has a fully-customized stand with a wider and more stable wheelbase.
The BGE’s shelves have a more earthy feel. Joe’s Shelves, on the other hand, have more durable molded plastic.
Lastly, BGE’s main seal is made of felt. The Joe, on the other hand, has an upgraded fiberglass seal. The Joe has a larger metal band likewise while the BGE has a smaller band.
Ease of Use and Ease of Assembly
The Big Grill Egg is generally sold in ala carte pieces. This means you need to buy the egg, the shelves, ceramic tray, and stand all separately. You may also find it a bit confusing to find the right dimensions of pieces. The Kamado Joe, on the other hand, comes with everything you need to start grilling.
The Kamado Joe is hard to lift around being 200 pounds or more in weight. It will also take you around 20 minutes to unbox and set up the Kamado Joe Grill. The Big Green Egg, on the other hand, takes around more than an hour to set up.
With regards to packaging, the Big Green Egg basically comes in a standard cardboard box, while the Kamado box has a supporting wood on top and bottom and has extremely strong cardboard sides.
Ease of Cleaning
Another great difference is in the way you clean the ashes of grills. Cleaning the BGE is a bit messy, while the Joe has a stainless-steel drawer that you can readily pull out during cleaning.
The price of the BGE, at first look, would seem to be less than that of the Kamado Joe. However, if you would look closer, you would readily see that the initial price of BGE would only cover the Egg without those accessories like side shelves, portable cart, and ceramic plate. These things you need to buy individually. On the other hand, the Kamado Joe comes in a single package with all the needed accessories in a single box.
Both brands offer a lifetime warranty on their ceramic components while both companies likewise offer a five-year warranty on all their metal parts.
Pros of BGE
- It is reliable and has been popular for almost thirty years.
- It delivers the basic grilling process.
Pros of The Kamado Joe
- It is innovative with its Divide & Conquer and Ash drawer features.
- It is meant for durability.
Cons of BGE
- The brand has been sitting complacently for several decades without much innovations on its products.
- It doesn’t come in a single package.
Cons of the Big Joe
- Its thermometer comes 50 degrees off.
Our take on which brand offers the best charcoal grill on the market today depends on our evaluation of the abovementioned criteria. In our evaluation, we found the Kamado Joe an innovative brand with its Divide & Conquer and Ash Drawer features.
On the other hand, since the Big Green Egg has been lording it over for over several decades when it comes to charcoal grills, it has sat idly and complacently, and thus, it does not show enough innovations. Hence, we believe that the Kamado Joe has already superseded the Big Green Egg because of the added innovations that Kamado Joe brand has to offer.