Kamado Joe Classic Vs Big Joe: Which One is Perfect for You?

There is now no doubt that Kamado Joe is indeed your favorite brand. You are on the right track. The kamado joe brand is mainly adored for its outstanding innovation, ease of use, and excellent customer service.

But now, here is your dilemma: between Kamado Joe Classic Vs Big Joe, which will you choose?

In this guide, we shall go through the features of each of these kamado joes. We shall look at cooking space, fuel usage, and prices to help you make a better-informed decision.

It's also important to note that size is the major difference between ceramic grills. Let's now get into details!

kamado joe classic vs big joe

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You can easily spot a joe classic from other grills due to its bright red design and innovative features. These cookers also have a wide range of optional additions, including pizza inserts, automatic temperature controllers, and roe tisserie.

What more? If you desire a versatile grill, then the kamado joe models are perfect at delivering it. You can use your cooker for baking a crispy wood-fired pizza, smoke juicy beef brisket, grill some steak, sear, or roast that chicken.

The premium build of the joe grill makes it great at heat retention for efficient fuel consumption. This high-quality construction also ensures that the grill outlives its long warranty.

Inside a classic grill, you will find a firebox at the lower section of the cooker. Above the firebox, you will find a heat deflector and some grates for direct grilling or indirect smoking.

The top vent helps in temperature control; you can go on with other activities if you have set the correct cooking temperature in your grill.

So, does the kamado joe come in one size for all? No. 

The joe classic comes in three sizes: classic I, Classic II, and Classic III. The little sibling, i.e., the classic I grill, is also known as joe junior.

Big Joe

kamado joe bigjoe

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If yours is a small-sized family of fewer than five members, then joe is too big for you. The big joe is perfect for a large family or huge gatherings since you can cook in it up to around one hundred pounds of food, all at the same time.

There are remarkable similarities between the big joe and its smaller relative; the joe classic. 

You will realize that the big joe has a great heat retention ability. The air vents at the bottom regulate the air going into the cooker.

The large size feature in the big joe provides a larger cooking space and means that the grate sits higher above the coals; this helps in heat regulation.

The big joe comes in three sizes, also referred to as big joe I, big joe II and big joe III.

Comparing Kamado Joe Classic and the Big Joe

Here are some of the primary differences between the kamado joes:

Joe Classic I and Big Joe I

Joe Classic II and Big Joe II

Joe Classic III and Big Joe III

Basic Model

Most popular model

Top model

Stainless steel cooking grate

Water-resistant control tower top vent

Water-resistant control tower top vent

Control tower top vent

Two-tier divide & conquer cooking system

Three-tier divide & conquer flexible cooking system

Two-tier divide & conquer

Airlift hinge

Airlift hinge

Slide-out ash drawer

Stainless steel latch,

Fireglass wire mesh gasket,

Premium cart,

Advanced multi-panel firebox

Stainless steel latch,

Fireglass wire mesh gasket,

Heavy-duty galvanized steel cart,

Premium smoke chamber,

Charcoal grill basket,

Advanced multi-panel firebox

Let's now see how the two kamado joe models' interior dimensions (in square inches) differ.


Kamado Classic I & II

Kamado Classic III

Big Joe I & II

Big Joe III

Single grate





Divide & conquer





Two full grates





Divide & conquer plus grill expander





Two full grates plus a grill expander





Full capacity of six half-moon grates


Approximately 764


Approximately 1356

Now, let's go through the key differences between the two versions of Kamado joe in deeper detail:


● Kamado Joe Classic 

Kamado joe classic has a strong build. It features both ceramic and stainless-steel parts. The grill is determined to serve you nicely cooked meals year in and year out. 

The lower damper and the top vents of this grill help you control the cooking space's temperatures.

● Big Joe

The stylish kamado joe ash catcher majestically slides from the bottom of the cooker. This feature makes cleaning the grill easy. This way, you won't injure yourself trying to reach out on anything stuck on the charcoal.


● Kamado Joe Classic 

The kamado grill classic has a smaller cooking space compared to its big brother, the Big Joe. The former has a 240 square inches cooking area. 

This size may seem small in writing but trust me, you can feed your family with this grill. Throw some chicken wings, ribs, or other foods and enjoy a great smoke flavor.

It's also good to note that joe jr cannot cook for many people. The junior grill can only cook for one to three people. It's also recommended for anyone with a small backyard.

Also, joe classic II and III are perfect for an average-sized family.

● Big Joe

As the name says, the big joe is indeed a large grill. This ceramic grill has a total cooking surface area of 256 square inches. 

If you have ever heard about the famous kamado joe burgers, then I am sure you know that the big joe cooked them. You can put eighteen burgers at once and not scare the grill. This means that you can always comfortably grill for your family or friends at a go.

kamado joe big joe iii vs classic iii

Temperature control

● Kamado Joe classic

A few beginners fret when controlling the temperature inside a classic joe. But not you. After a few grilling sessions, you can master how to manage the grill temperature.

You can expect a maximum temperature of 700°F from this grill which is the perfect temperature to sear your favorite steaks.

● Big Joe

You can obtain a precise cooking temperature when smoking in the Big Joe like a gas grill. This is made possible by the premium ceramic materials that create this charcoal grill. So, you are assured of even heat distribution in the cooking area for that smoky flavor in your meals.

Fuel Usage

● Kamado Joe Classic

The charcoal basket of kamado joe classic is smaller than that of the big joe. This classic joe firebox can hold up to eighteen pounds of charcoal. 

So, can you cook on this grill for a long period at a go? Yes, you can. The average cooking time for the classic joe grill is ten hours. 

The heat retention ability of the classic kamado joe grills also means that you can cook for more extended periods with minimal fuel usage. 

So, don't worry. An entire day of grilling won't crush your beautiful joe classic!

● Big Joe

The big joe can hold up to twenty pounds of charcoal at a go. This fuel can last between twelve to fourteen hours of cooking time. This also means that you won't have to frequently check the fuel in the kamado joe charcoal basket.

kamado joe bigjoe

Divide & Conquer cooking system

● Kamado joe classic

KJ classic comes with only one cooking grate. This seems like a downside to many people. But I have some good news for you; you can get a grill expander for your classic kamado joe grill to increase its cooking surface area.

● Big Joe

Any camp chef will go for a big joe grill due to its Divide and Conquer cooking system, which allows one to cook multiple meals at a go. 

You can use several grates to play around with the different temperatures inside the grill. For example, you can use two grates for maximum heat searing, lower grates for warming food, or foods that require slow cooking.

Side shelves

● Kamado joe classic

The shelves of joe classic grill possess a touch of elegance. These shelves make cooking easy by holding your utensils and providing significant space for preparing your meals before and after cooking.

● Big Joe

The different kamado joe sizes feature different sizes of shelves. These shelves are some aspects that make the kamado joes different from their close competitors, big green egg vs weber.

In particular, the shelves for the big joe are bigger than those of the joe classic. This means you have a larger working area for holding your cooking tools and foods.

One more thing here, these shelves are not as durable as the ceramic grill. However, this is no big deal. You can always get replacement shelves anytime you need them.

kamado joe grills


● Kamado joe classic

The insulation feature of joe classic is not much different from several other kamado grills. This grill keeps the heat inside, thanks to its ceramic coating.

However, you will need to preheat your grill before putting your vegetables there. Preheating aligns the ceramic surfaces of the grill with the cooking temperatures. This way, it won't take long to have the vegetables done. 

● Big Joe

With the Big joe, you don't need to worry about your meat getting cold as you wait for other accompaniments to be ready. This grill will not let go quickly of the heat inside. 

This also means that you can't clean your grill immediately after cooking since it takes quite some time for the internal temperatures to drop.


● Kamado joe classic

You don't need to send mail to your entire clan for them to come over and assist you with moving your charcoal grill from the backyard to the shelter. 

Every kamado joe classic size comes with handles which make it easy to move the cookers from one place to another. For example, the kamado joe Jr (also known as classic joe baby) is easy to carry; any young adult can easily carry it independently.

But, if you don't want to be lifting your grill from place to place, you can invest in a classic joe cart for enhanced portability of your kamado joe classic grill.

But I didn't say that you should always be on the move with your grill when cooking. Just stay safe.

● Big joe

Unlike the joe classic, the big joe comes with steel-banded rims fitted with tires. This makes it easy to move the charcoal grill from one place to another.


1. Is kamado joe waterproof?

Yes, kamado joe is waterproof. However, you wouldn't want to leave your investment outside being rained on.

It's always good to place it in a shelter when the weather is not conducive. You can also get a grill cover for your cooker to keep it safe whenever it's not in use.

2. Can you use lighter fluid in a kamado joe?

Lighter fluid is not acceptable for kamado joe or any other ceramic grill.

3. Can I burn wood in a kamado grill?

Absolutely! You can use your favorite wood chunks for that smoky flavor in your food. Fire and smoke are highly essential in kamado cooking. So, add your wood to lump charcoal and get your desired flavor.

4. How do I know which kamado joe I bought?

You can check the kamado joe model number and your grill serial number from the user manual that came with your grill.


Isn't it amazing how kamado joe offers various grilling models that target the various needs in the grilling industry? The versatility of the kamado joes is another aspect that will make you completely sold out to this brand.

In our above review, we have made a deep comparison between the kamado joe classic and the big joe. However, it's undeniable that kamado joe big joe iii vs classic iii have superior features to the other Kamado Joe. 

So, what now? You can choose either of the above models we have spoken about depending on the number of people you will be cooking for and your budget.

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