Kamado Joe Classic 1 vs 2: What’s the Difference?


You will need a practical BBQ appliance when hosting a party or going on a road trip. Kamado Joe has the best BBQ, which grills food effectively and saves time, improving the cooking experience and food taste. However, choosing the Kamado Joe Classic 1 vs. 2 might be challenging.

You should go over the BBQ similarities and differences to select one that works for you. The 18″ classic and the 24” Big Joe have similar features, although the 24″ Big Joe is a larger version of the BBQ. The Kamado Joe Classics work as grills that work similarly to the smokers.

Read on about the two models to decide whether an upgrade is necessary.

Kamado Joe Classic 1 Review

The Kamado Joe classics have more similarities than differences. The Kamado Joe 1 has thick ceramic walls that guarantee heat retention and reflection; thus, it is an efficient BBQ and smoking food. It has a heat deflector accessory that manages different cooking zones leading to better food grilling and smoking. It has an iron cart design which makes it possible to maneuver your way through the storage.

This entry model for the Kamado Joe Classics has signature features such as the slide-out ashtray, and advanced igneous firebox.

The Kamado Joe Classic 1 offers value for your money without sacrificing the quality needed and superior performance and is covered by insurance. It is solid, and you will not feel like you are using a cheaper BBQ alternative.

The felt gasket leads to an airtight seal which improves food smoking and BBQ, and the 6 piece firebox minimizes breakages. Its cast-iron grate will lock the wheels while the Control Tower air vent improves BBQ; the two folding side racks with the tool hacks and the two 18″ multi-level grate design offers versatility. It comes with extras such as the grill gripper and the ash tool.

The BBQ is easy to clean and ultra-durable and are rust-resistant. Moreover, the half plates are at different heights, increasing cooking versatility; you can sear the steak close to the fire and grill some side away from the heat.

You can use the 256 square inches of cooking space to fit a few steaks, burgers, sausages, and chicken wings. You can also expand the space up to 660 square inches with the optional grill expander, but the unit’s width will limit you.

It may not block the rain and wind as effectively as the Classic 2, but it is made of cast iron. However, it is easy and practical to ease the appliance, and when you consider the price, the unit is decent.

Kamado Joe Classic 2 Review

The Kamado Joe Classic 2 is based on clay-oven cooking, spread in the ancient Japanese and Chinese cultures. However, it has eye-catching colors and designs with incredible heat retention. It is simple to operate and can BBQ and smoke food easily.

It is an efficient grill/smoker which retains heat and can cook food without checking on the food frequently. It is made entirely of thick ceramic walls and has an interior firebox holding charcoal. You can control its airflow effectively, determining how hot the grills will get at a specific time. The heavy ceramics hold the heat, and you will not need to burn so much charcoal.

It works well at high temperatures, and you can quickly get crispy pizza at 600 degrees Fahrenheit with the vents wide open. You can set the grills at appropriate temperatures to cook different meals.

The Kamado Joe Classic 2 is great-looking and user-friendly, and it is egg-shaped, and the shelves include hooks for hanging the barbecue tools. The thermometer gauge makes it easy to use, and the grills are made of stainless steel.

The Kamado Joe Classic 2 has an aluminum vent that will not shift when raised and lower the lid. This might be a problem with other Kamado grills, such as the first {{Joe Classic 1.

The spring-loaded hinges are game-changers, making the lid easy to lift; the innovative spring-loaded support the weight of the Kamado Joe heavy ceramic lid. Other brands have lids that can fall quickly, potentially cracking your grill.

It comes with different accessories such as the cart, shelves, stainless steel cooking grates, and heat deflectors that moderate heat. You can alter the placement of the grates and temperature, and the grabber tools are used to move the cooking grates around, making it easy to use the appliances. 

Differences Between Kamado Joe Classic 1 and 2

ComparisonKamado Joe Classic 1Kamado Joe Classic 2

Airlift hinge [1]

The ceramic lid is heavy and can be challenging to operate. Lifting the hinge might be challenging and would lead to accidental breaking of the shell.

The high-fired ceramic shell is heavy, and it retains heat effectively. The Kamado Joe Classic 2 has a heavier shell and can do the job offering 360 degrees of cooking. However, the weight makes it difficult to open the BBQ smoker; but the Classic 2 has an airlift hinge which reduces the weight. It is easy for the kids to operate the Classic 2 BBQ due to the airlift hinge.

The weather-resistant control tower

The vent controls the Kamado Joe Classics smoke flow and temperature; the Classic 1 has a standard vent, but it is of good quality as cast iron. It allows the user to make precise temperature control. Unfortunately, it does not stay in place, is susceptible to rusting, and can let in the rain when cooking in the outdoor kitchen.

Fortunately, the Classic 2 has an upgraded rust-resistant control tower made of powered-coated cast aluminum. The cap at the top keeps the water out when it rains. Moreover, it is not affected by the weather and will stay in place by opening and closing the lid. Although the upgrade does not sound much, it makes the BBQ procedure easier. It adds a bit of durability and effective temperature control, ensuring proper food grilling and smoking.

The fiberglass gasket and stainless steel latch

The Classic 1 takes inspiration from the standard felt gasket, similar to the wire mesh fiberglass options in the market. However, over time, the gasket may need replacing after a few years of use.

The neat stainless steel latch keeps the seal tighter, locking the heat and moisture, essential for BBQ and smoking. Thus the Kamado Joe Classic 2 is better at fuel efficiency.

[1] The airlift hinge reduces the dome’s weight by 96%, and you can easily open it without too much effort. It saves your arm from the burden. Having a better hinge reduces the possibility of the lid cracking when you accidentally slam it down.

Similarities Between the Kamado Joe Classic 1 and 2

· Ceramics and the stainless steel grates

Kamado Joe Classics invested in thick-sided high-fire ceramic shells for practical cooking; this makes cooking with the appliances effective. The BBQs have a high heat retention capability, and they are reasonably cool to the touch and highly durable.

The Classic 1 and 2 will offer the best cooking results without compromising the BBQ’s shell quality. Choosing between the two will not compromise on the actual quality of the shell; you can get the quality of the stainless steel grill grates that are easy to clean, long-lasting, and easy to use.

· The 2-Tier divide and conquer cooking system

The divide and conquer cooking system works on the split-level, half-moon grate design flexible to BBQ different food. You can adjust the temperatures inside the appliance to cook different food simultaneously. You can grill the steak on the sides and slowly cook the vegetables.

You can place a heat deflector under one side and adjust the grates on the other side to cook the food effectively. You can use it for grilling and BBQ and cook anything on the Kamado Joe Classic 1 and 2.

· AMP Firebox

It is easy to crack the Kamados ceramics from other competitors, but Kamado Joe uses the Advanced Multi-Panel AMP firebox. It is not made of a single ceramic, and the box is divided into 6 different pieces. The pieces can expand and contract without compromising the quality of the ceramics; thus, it minimizes breakages and cracking and reduces the maintenance cost.

· The slide-out ash drawer

The slide-out ash drawer makes the kamados easy to clean; both Kamado Joe models have patented slide-out ash drawers. After cooking with the appliances, you will not need to get dirty with the firebox.

The charcoal burns and lets the ash fall into the drawer, and you slide it out and empty it once done cooking. However, you can empty it mid-cooking if you use the appliances for an extended time.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Kamado Joe Classic II Worth It?

Kamado Joe 2 is worth it, as it is made of thick ceramic cells that conduct the heat evenly. Moreover, it allows a cook to BBQ and grill different foods simultaneously. It has a fiber gasket of stainless steel that is not susceptible to rust. Moreover, it is more effective for BBQ than Kamado Joe Classic 1.

How Long Will a Kamado Joe Last?

Kamado Joe will last more than 10 years, but its durability will depend on the care and use of the appliance.

Why are Kamado Joe’s so Expensive?

The Kamado Joes are expensive because they are well made, the high-fired ceramic shell is heavy, and it retains heat effectively. The Kamado Joe Classic 2 has a heavier shell and can do the job by offering 360 degrees of cooking.

The Classic 2 has an upgraded rust-resistant control tower of powered-coated cast aluminum; Kamado Joes are designed to last years. The neat stainless steel latch keeps the seal tighter, locking the heat and moisture essential for BBQ and smoking. Thus the Kamado Joe Classic 2 is better at fuel efficiency.

Can I Use My Kamado Joe in the Rain?

Yes, you can use the Kamado Joe Classics 2 in the rain, as it has a weather-resistant cap that prevents water from getting into the appliance. Unfortunately, you cannot use the Kamado Joe Classic 1 in the rain as it quickly lets in water reducing the appliance’s efficiency.

Is Kamado Joe III Worth It?

Yes, both the Kamado Joe 2 and 3 are worth it as they are a sound investment and an upgrade of the initial Kamado Joe 1, which had limitations. You may pay more for these upgrades, which leads to better cooking and improved heat retention.

Can You Smoke on a Kamado Joe?

Yes, you can smoke on Kamado Joe as the appliances are built for BBQ and smoking. Appliances use charcoal to cook food, and you can choose the charcoal that incorporates the smoke into your food.

Can You Use Kamado Joe in Winter?

Yes, you can use the Kamado Joe in winter as the appliances are weather-resistant, but it would be better to choose the Kamado Joe 2 over one if you use it in different weather.

Should You Cover a Kamado Grill?

It would be best to cover the Kamado Grill to improve its life; however, it is not susceptible to rusting and is adequate for cooking throughout the year.

How Much Charcoal Do You Put in a Kamado Grill?

You put less charcoal into the Kamado Joe than other BBQ appliances due to the thick ceramic walls that retain the heat.

How Many Coals Do I Need for 225 Degrees?

You will need around 5 lit coals to achieve 225 degrees Fahrenheit when cooking with the Kamado Joe Classics.


Kamado Joe classics are practical appliances for food, BBQ, and cooking; you can choose between the Kamado Joe Classic 1 vs. 2, depending on your needs. Classics 1 is cheap but is cheaply manufactured. On the other hand, Classics 2 is expensive but more effective for grilling and cooking food.

The Kamado Joe Classics 2 is an upgrade of the classic 1, the ineffective entry appliance for heat retention and proper cooking. Thus, it is better to go for the Kamado Joe Classic 2 as it is worth it in the long run.

Bobby Johnson

When he's not writing about barbecue, you can find Bobby smoking meat for friends and family. He's been a backyard pitmaster for roughly half his life, and has worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands-on guide to teach them BBQ, but that's what Bobby hopes to do with Electric Smoker HQ. He wants to help people create amazing food that they can be proud of.