Kamado Joe I vs. II: What Does The Upgrade Get You?

Kamado Joe I vs. II: What Does The Upgrade Get You?

Kamado Joe owners often wonder if it is better to get the Kamado Joe II or the Kamado Joe I. The Kamado Joe II is an upgrade from the Kamado Joe I in several ways, including improved insulation and higher-end features.

By discussing the pros and cons of both Kamado Joe models, this article will help you decide if upgrading to Kamado Joe II is worth it.

What’s new with the Kamado Joe II?

Why would you pay more for an upgraded version of Kamado Joe?

Kamado Joe II has a few upgrades from Kamado Joe I. It comes with a new firebox, airlift hinge, latches, and gasket for the lid – all features that Kamado Joe owners might have to replace after years of use.

Kamado Joe II also has some design changes, like the top vent control being on the front instead of below it, like in Kamado Joe I.

Nevertheless, this is just one of many changes. Improved insulation and improved heat management systems have helped Kamados maintain its energy efficiency.

Comparison table for the Kamado Joe I vs. II

Specs Kamado Joe I Kamado Joe II
BBQ material Glazed ceramic Glazed ceramic
Type of fuel Charcoal Charcoal
Temperature range 225°F – 750°F 225°F – 750°F
Grating 304 stainless steel 304 stainless steel
Cooking capacity A grill covers 256 square feet, an expander covers 407 square feet, 2 sets of grates cover 508 square feet, and 2 sets of grates and an expander cover 660 square feet 256 square feet with basic setup, 407 square feet with expander, 508 square feet with two sets of grates, or 660 square feet with two sets of grates and expander
Weight 188 lbs 188 lbs
Manufacturer’s warranty Ceramics have a lifetime warranty, metal parts have a 5 year warranty Lifetime on ceramics, 5 years on metal parts
Dimensions 46.5″ x 48.5″ x 30.12″ 46.5″ x 48″ x 28″

Kamado Joe Classic I vs. Classic II

Going from Classic I to Classic II adds a few features. There are several of these features, including vents, lids, fireboxes, and gaskets, lids, and gaskets.

The Kamado Joe II has a water and mold-resistant cast aluminum grate instead of powder-coated aluminum.

When the lid is opened, the top vent still provides uniform airflow. Consequently, cooking temperatures can be more consistently reached and are easier to get.

Kamado Joe II has a few nice upgrades that have been tested with the Classic. The Air Lift Hinge increased durability and ease of use, making it easier to lift without sacrificing structural integrity.

With a better airtight seal, the Kamado Joe Classic II lid seal has been improved with a different material that is now claimed to give the machine a much longer lifespan than the original Kamado Joe Classic.

Six-piece fireboxes make the Classic II more thermally resistant and long-lasting.

What’s different?

As a result of the Classic II, Kamado Joe’s line of kamado grills and smokers can benefit from added, good-to-have features, thereby improving durability and convenience for casual grillers and smokers.

The following are some extra features of the Kamado Joe II:

Kamado Joe Kontrol Tower Cap

On a kamado, the top vent helps regulate the temperature.

Ceramic kamados are pretty standard but can still be quite functional. A simple hinged lid lets you adjust the temperature, and the cast iron air vents provide reliable performance, but the ash drawer is not easily accessible. It can let in the rain, and it rusts easier than most models.

The Kontrol Tower on the Classic II is made of rust-resistant cast aluminum that can withstand the elements. Your box is protected from water and debris with a top cover.

Even though it might not sound like much, a Kontrol Tower can improve your kamado grill’s smoking. In addition to the durability, the upgrade is a welcome addition to any barbecue.

Gasket with Stainless Steel Latch

An industry-leading wire mesh fiberglass gasket replaces the standard felt gasket on the Classic II.

Classic I gaskets need to be replaced every few years, which often means waiting several years after installation. By comparison, the gasket on a Classic II will last for a decade.

A stainless steel latch ensures a tighter seal and improved fuel efficiency on the Kamado Joe II.

New Air Lift Hinge

Kamado Joe’s have a heavy ceramic shell, but the hinge in the Classic II makes opening and closing much easier.

Using a steel hinge, the dome lid is reduced in weight by over 90%, preventing cracking and reducing injury risk when accidentally dropped.

The Kamado Joe II offers increased safety features so that you can cook your favorite foods while your family members help.

What’s the same?

Thick ceramic body

We’re looking at two Kamado Joe grills today that share the same high-fired ceramic shell. As a result, these thermal insulation materials retain more heat and are more thermally stable.

As well as these features, they have many other useful ones as well.

Kamado Joe Classic I and Classic II both deliver excellent results. Even so, if you choose the cheaper option, the ceramic shell will still be of the highest quality.

In addition to the grill, you’ll also receive premium stainless steel grates. Featuring durability and ease of cleaning, these items are the ideal balance of quality and cost.

Advanced multi-panel firebox

Many different things can cause a cracked ceramic firebox. The company created the Advanced Multi-Panel (AMP) firebox to help with this.

The AMP firebox of the Kamado Joe II is made up of 6 pieces that fit together like a puzzle. Because the pieces do not expand or contract over time, unlike single-piece ceramic cookers, this prevents breakages and reduces maintenance costs.

Both the Kamado Joe Series I and Series II are available with the AMP firebox.

2-Tier Divide and Conquer Cooking System

Kamado Joe stands out from the competition thanks to its Divide and Conquer cooking system. It is available on both the Classic I and Classic II models and allows you to arrange the food however you want.

Do you want to grill a steak over an open flame while side dishes cook on the other side? Place the heat deflector half-moon on one side and lower the cooking grate on the other side.

If you wish to cook pizza, you can set it on top of the deflector, where the temperature will always be at a perfect 350 degrees, and then turn up the heating element as usual.

Consider adding a few more half-grates if more space is needed for smoking. If desired, grill the entire piece of meat.

A Kamado Joe can cook any type of food, and the Divide and Conquer offer flexibility that other products do not.

Stainless steel grates

Stainless steel grates provide much greater durability in both the I and II of the Kamado Joe cooker.

For even cooking at all temperatures, these high-quality, premium pieces provide excellent insulation and heat distribution. You only need to clean them with water or barbecue cleaner between uses to maintain their pristine condition.

The food doesn’t burn on the grill; the smoke levels are reduced while durability increases. If you’re looking for a durable upgrade, stainless steel is corrosion-resistant and won’t rust.

Optional accessories

I and II of Kamado Joe both have an 18-inch ceramic shell.

The company prides itself on the variety of innovations it provides. Classic I is followed by Classic II, which brings affordable ceramic kamados to the market.

There are some special features of the KJ IIs. A rotisserie can be set up, as well as a grill for pizza. It is helpful for people who are covered in cinders or cook with smoke all day.

In addition to adding three racks for your grill to expand, it also comes with a cast-iron pan.

This durable and easy-to-use kit from Kamado Joe has a number of nice-to-have features for the builder looking to improve convenience and durability.

Slide out ash tray

While Kamados are undeniably popular, they can be difficult to maintain due to their size. A patented removable ash drawer ensures Kamado Joe’s safety.

Ash sliding is one of the features that set the Kamado Joe II apart from its predecessor. It’s as easy to dump out ashes regularly on a new grill or smoker as it was on your old grill or smoker, even if you’re cooking for hours.


Both Kamado Joes come with a lifetime warranty on ceramics and a five-year warranty on metals.

Build and design

Due to the fact that the Classic Series II is vastly different from its predecessor, it may seem odd that there are two other models.

Although the original version of this ceramic grill also retains heat for a longer time, the new features make it more durable and convenient to use.

You may control the temperature in various heating zones within your kamado grill or smoker by adding the accessory.

Easily maneuverable and lightweight iron chassis make these carts easy to handle. In decorating outdoor grilling areas, you should think about the ability to move your grill from storage to the cooking area.

Kamado Joe I and II pros and cons

Kamado Joe I Pros

  • Kamado of this quality is an excellent value.
  • The perfect toolkit for baking, grilling, smoking, and roasting.
  • It is possible to expand its capacity.
  • With the Divide and Conquer Cooking System, you can cook in a variety of ways.
  • The Kontrol Tower allows for precise temperature control.
  • Stainless steel cooking grates do not rust or corrode. It is a perfect cooking surface!
  • AMP fireboxes are less likely to crack from high heat.
  • The slide-out ashtray is easy to clean.
  • The warranty is amazing.
  • Low price compared to the newer options.

Kamado Joe I Cons

  • This model does not come with KJ’s Air Lift Hinge.
  • Although felt gaskets are generally reliable, they may need replacing after several years.

Kamado Joe II Pros

  • With the Divide and Conquer Cooking System, you can cook your favorite dishes the way you want.
  • The product is equipped with a thermostat so users can easily control the temperature.
  • There is less risk of fireboxes cracking when they have AMPs.
  • An Air Lift Hinge can reduce dome weight by over 95%.
  • With this industry-leading gasket, a stainless steel latch ensures a tight fit.
  • Everything you need to start smoking and grilling is included so that you can get started right away.

Kamado Joe II Cons

  • Compared to other ceramic grills, the Kamado Joe II is an excellent investment. However, the price is a bit high.

So is Joe II worth the extra money?

These upgrades are unquestionably worth the cost! It’s a neat touch that the new hinge and latch on the dome combine so well with the improved gasket.

Joe did a better job sealing around the rotisserie on the new model.

There are clamps and hinges on the Kamado Joe II, which enable it to be operated easily. It is especially difficult to close the dome when holding dishes full of food with both hands. That is by far the easiest way to do things.

Second-generation products have a potential downside of the dome accidentally locking shut.

So which one should I get?

Choosing a Kamado Joe Classic II is a no-brainer.

For those just learning the basics of ceramic grill cooking, the Kamado Joe I might be a great entry-level ceramic grill.

Once you master the basic recipes and techniques, you can accomplish a lot on this grill, but there are limitations.

A Kamado grill such as the Kamado Joe Classic II offers all of the benefits you can find in better-priced options while offering all of the benefits of a much cheaper grill.

Final verdict on the Kamado Joe I vs. II

It is easy to see why the Mahado Joe Classic II is the company’s best-selling model. By starting as a great basic Kamado with the Classic I, this barbecue can include some useful extras that will make it more useful and durable.

You can customize the Kamado Joe II by adding top-of-the-line upgrades like aluminum Kontrol Towers and fiberglass gaskets. It will reduce the potential leak cost, and it will save future repairs.

Even though the Kamado Joe I is slightly cheaper than other models on the market, it provides you with the same smoked and grilled food quality as other models.

Both smokers have identical grates and shells. The only difference in performance is the cooking space, which varies with which vessel you use.

Consider the Series 1 model, which comes as a bundle option, if you want to save money while still getting a high-tech outdoor smoker.

Kamado Joe I and II kamados are similar but offer different features, depending on your budget. We prefer the Classic II when it comes to choosing which one to buy.

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