Kamado Joe Classic 2 vs 3: The 7 Things to Know before Choosing your Next Charcoal Grill

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Kamado Joe is one of the most innovative charcoal smoker grills on the market today. And in this mini-review, we’re going to compare Kamado Joe Classic 2 vs 3 ceramic series to see which’s a better purchase.

Nonetheless, the two grills are under the same Classic-Joe series. And for that, you’ll notice they share quite a number of features and even the build design. The main difference between them is the cooking experience, which I’m sure you want the best.

Verdict: 5 Reasons Kamado Joe 3 is the Best Grill

  • The Kamado Joe Classic 3 has a charcoal basket
  • The Kamado Joe Classic 3 has aluminum side tables
  • Kamado Joe Classic 3 has a 3-tier cooking rack
  • The Kamado Joe Classic 3 cart has a bottom shelf
  • The Kamado Joe Classic 3 has a sophisticated smoke chamber

Kamado Joe Classic 2 vs 3: A Summary of the Ceramic Charcoal Grills

Kamado Joe Classic 2 vs 3

Kamado Joe Classic 2 Price

Kamado Joe Classic 3 Price
Grill SeriesClassic JoeClassic Joe
Dimensions in inches (with shelves out)28.1 by 46.5 by 48.528.1 by 46.5 by 50.5
Finishes OptionsBlaze RedBlaze Red
Type of FuelCharcoal Charcoal
Main Cooking Area Cooking AreaApprox. 254 sq. inchesApprox. 254 sq. inches
Secondary Cooking AreaApprox. 407 sq. inchesApprox. 511 sq. inches
Cooking grates MaterialStainless SteelStainless Steel
Highest Grilling TemperatureUp to 700+°FUp to 750+°F
Rotisserie Kit IncludedNO (but compatible)NO (but compatible)
Control TypeN/AN/A
Temperature GaugeYESYES
Best FeaturesSlightly cheaper, quick to set up, & has sturdy HDPE side shelvesHas a convenient charcoal basket, sturdier side shelves, & better smoking results
Supported Cooking MethodsGrilling, roasting, smoking slow-cooking, baking, et ceteraGrilling, roasting, smoking slow-cooking, baking, et cetera
Warranty‎Limited lifetime
‎Limited lifetime

Should I Get Kamado Joe Classic 2?

Are you looking for a versatile charcoal grill that can do different cooking at the same time? The Kamado Joe Classic 2 could be what you want.

Thanks to its 2-tier divide & conquer cooking system, you can use the grill with an arrangement of the grates and heat deflectors. Thus, making it possible to grill your steak on one side with direct heat, while the other cook your salmon indirectly.

Furthermore, the ceramic design of the Kamado grill can maintain high heat retention at both low and high-cooking temperatures. Then, the lips of the base and lid have an additional fiberglass mesh gasket that gives an air-tight seal to eliminate smoke leaks.

Should I Get Kamado Joe Classic 3?

The Kamado Joe Classic 3 is an excellent option if you like the second version above but need more versatility. Instead of two, it has a three-tier Divide & Conquer cooking system. Thus, making it possible to use up to three sets of cooking grates.

The Kamado ceramic grill also has an exclusive SlōRoller hyperbolic attachment that not only enhances airflow and heat distribution. But also create a spiral of smoke within the cooking area to add your food with a deeper smoky flavor.

Furthermore, the Kamado Joe Classic 3 grill comes with a stainless steel charcoal basket that you’ll find easier to discard ash. Then, the foldable side shelves consist of sturdy cast aluminum material that you can now place a hot grate without melting.

Kamado Joe Classic 2 vs 3

Kamado Joe Classic 2 vs 3: Comparing Features & Performance of the Charcoal Grills

Here’s a recap of the major differences you should know on Kamado Joe Classic 2 and 3 grills before buying.


Sadly, Kamado Joe isn’t a great choice if you’re looking for a charcoal grill under $200. For instance, our two buddies have a hefty price tag of over a grand, whether you opt with or without the rolling cart.

However, the Kamado Joe Classic Joe 2 with cart has a price tag of $1,240 whereas the model 3 has topped up to $1,899.

While the Classic 3 brings more features and capabilities to your grilling, $660 is still a huge price gap. It’s actually enough to buy both the Weber Q2000 and Q2200 camping grills, yet pocket some change.

Cooking Accessories

Kamado Joe usually sends these two grills with various accessories to support your grilling sessions. But the Classic 3 does have better components, starting with the SlōRoller Hyperbolic insert for optimal smoking and heat distribution.

As for the cooking part, the Kamado Joe 3 also has a three-tier Divide & Conquer system that you can use up to three sets of grates. However, you’ll need to purchase the other two sets of grates as the standard price only include one.

Also, your Kamado Joe Classic 3 grill doesn’t come with the rotisserie kit, pizza stone, heat deflector plates, or the flat cooking griddle. You’ll have to purchase them separately, as per your cooking needs.

As for the Kamado Joe Classic 2, you do get the heat deflector plates together with the single set of cooking grates. But it doesn’t include the SlōRoller smoke chamber, thereby will have to purchase it separately like the rotisserie and griddle.

Build Quality

Overall, the two Kamado Joe grills have a well-made build that you can grill for many years if cared for well.

The kettle (base) body is a thick ceramic material with a separate 6-piece set that you lay inside to create the firebox. Then, the pull-out ashtray is a sturdy stainless steel material like the cooking grates for durability and easy clean-up.

Nonetheless, the side tables of the Kamado Joe Classic 3 are solid cast aluminum, not the HDPE-plastic on the model 2. Then, the cart has a relatively thicker galvanized steel frame.

Kamado Joe Classic 3

Furthermore, the Kamado Joe 3 grill has a bottom shelf that not only reinforces the standing legs. But also give you a place to hold accessories like the smoke chamber or heat deflector when not in use.

Oh, yes, the cartwheels of the grill are also slightly bigger, making it easier to drive on uneven surfaces. Then, the coal lumps don’t sit directly on the firebox like the Classic 2 which has only the flat perforated (charcoal) grate.


Technically, neither of the Kamado Joe Classic series fits as a portable charcoal grill. Once assembled, they’re pretty heavy to lift. So, you’ll even want to have a person nearby during the setup to help you load the appliance into the cart.

Fortunately, this standing cart has four caster wheels for easy mobility around your grilling area. But as was mentioned, the Kamado Joe Classic 3 has bigger wheels, which you’ll find easier to drive on uneven surfaces than the Classic 2.

Hopper Design

The Kamado Joe Classic 3 and 2 grill both burn on charcoal (or wood chunks if it’s what you prefer to use).

But Kamado Joe 2 comes with the flat charcoal grate, whereby your coal lumps will be sitting directly on the firebox. Thus, it’s not as easy to clean out the ash as the “kick ash basket” with the Kamado Joe 3.

Also, this charcoal basket uses a slide diver to bank your charcoal on one side. Then, it has long bottom furrows that don’t block with the small pieces of charcoal as the Joe 2’s grate perforations.

Note: the charcoal basket with the Classic 3 grill has also thick stainless steel roads at the bottom. So, it’ll also serve you for a longer time than the cast iron charcoal grate of the Kamado Joe 2.


Unfortunately, charcoal grills don’t light up as fast as their gas counterparts. But with good charcoal and optimal airflow, the two Kamado grills can achieve 400° in under thirty minutes.

The lid-mounted thermometer makes it easier to track the temperature inside the cooking area. And it has calibration up to 900°F as the grill gets so hot from the combination of the thick ceramic body and the airtight seal.  

If you want to slow-cook your food at low temperatures, the Kamado Joe team claims you can maintain as low as 225°F. But in reality, you’ll find it much easier to maintain a temp range of 300°F while playing with both the overhead chimney vent and the bottom damper.

The overhead chimney (commonly known as the Kontrol Tower Top Vent) has markings to precisely set how much air flows. But with the bottom damper (sliding door at the ashtray area), the Kamado Joe Classic 3 blows in the fire much better. How?

Well, as I’ve just mentioned above, the charcoal basket in the Kamado Classic 3 grill has bottom furrows instead of perforations. And that means the air blows from the bottom into the firebox more efficiently.

Cooking Convenience

The Kamado Joe Classic 3 is the better option here. For one, it has a 3-tier Divide & Conquer system that you can arrange up to three sets of cooking grates. Thus, giving you more cooking area if you have the rest of accessories.

Secondly, the Classic 3 grill has a slightly taller base kettle. And that means the cooking grate is a little farther from the hot charcoal. Thus, minimizing the risk of burning your food during direct cooking and when using a rotisserie.

Kamado Joe Classic 3 vs 2

Most importantly, the SlōRoller insert with the Kamado Joe Classic 3 provides better heat and smoke distribution within the cooking area. So, you’ll have less to no issues of uneven cooking, plus it embellishes your food with a richer smoky flavor.

But with that said, do know that the heat deflector on the Kamado Joe Classic 2 is still effective for indirect cooking and smoking your food. Thus, you can prepare as good a pizza or cookies as its 3-tier sister.


How much does a Kamado Joe Classic 3 weight?

The Kamado Joe Classic 3 weighs over 200 pounds once assembled. So, you’ll want to have someone help you load it into the mobility cart after setting it up.

Does Kamado Joe Classic 2 come with heat deflector plates?

Yes, Kamado Joe Classic 2 will come with split heat-deflector plates for when you want to cook your food with indirect heat. But you won’t get the SlōRoller smoke chamber insert and will have to purchase it separately (if interested).

Does Kamado Joe Classic 3 come with a charcoal basket?

Indeed, the Kamado Joe Classic 3 will come with a stainless steel charcoal basket. So, it has better airflow and is easier to clean out the remaining ash than the Kamado Joe Classic which has the flat (perforate) charcoal grate.

Final Thoughts:

Although there’s so much to talk about, these are the major differences between the Kamado Joe Classic 2 and 3-tiered grill.

The two charcoal kettle grills are no doubt great, and either is an excellent option to have as you can do all the types of cooking. But the Kamado Joe Classic 3 still has the best cooking convenience, especially with the charcoal basket and SlōRoller smoke chamber.

The aluminum for the side tables is also a nice upgrade for those of us likely to forget and put a hot grate. Then, the 3-tier cooking rack means you won’t have to purchase the grill expander that the Kamado Classic 2 needs to cook on three tiers.