Thinking about a new grill but can’t decide between a pellet or kamado grill? Let’s break down the pros, cons, and find out which one is going to be your new magical meat machine!
In this TheGrillingDad.com guide, you’ll discover:
- The pros and cons of each type
- Which may be right for you
- And much more!
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Pellet vs Kamado Grill
When it comes to deciding on which grill you want to purchase for your outdoor cooking space, there are many on the market to choose from. If you have done any research at all, then you have most likely found that most grillers prefer either the pellet grill or the Kamado but rarely do they have both.
While both types of grills can do the job of cooking your favorite foods for any of your outdoor events, the grills differ in many ways. These differences include the construction and function of the overall grill as well as the fuel source that is used to cook with.
You will likely find in your research that while many people prefer one over the other, you really cannot go wrong with either one you choose. This is because they both use high-quality construction that does the job of cooking your food in different ways.
Wondering what the differences between a pellet and Kamado Grill are? Keep reading to find out!
Pellet Grill vs Kamado Grill At a Glance
Before we jump into the comparison between the pellet and kamado grill, there are several things you should know. It is important to first understand how each of the grills functions and why they are so popular.
The pellet grill is designed to cook your favorite foods in a variety of different ways such as baking, roasting, broiling, grilling, smoking, searing, and more. This means that the pellet grill is one of the most versatile grills on the market today.
Another feature that sets the pellet grill apart is the fact that it uses a unique system that requires both electricity and wood pellets to function. This is because the pellets are fed into an auger system that uses electricity to move them through to the heating source which is also powered by an electric starter.
You can read more about how pellet grills work in our complete guide.
The kamado grill, however, uses lump charcoal as its fuel source and is operated similarly to other grills. What makes the grill unique is the ceramic construction that it is encased in that holds in and helps regulate the temperature.
Like the pellet grill, the Kamado is extremely versatile and can bake, roast, grill, smoke, and more. The ceramic covering allows the fuel to build slowly which allows the charcoal to last a long time and cook at high temperatures.
Overall, both of these grills are a great choice for the griller who wants more out of their outdoor cooking experience. But, of course, having them both isn’t always an option. Let’s break it down to make your decision between the two a bit easier.
Comparisons Between the Pellet and Kamado Grill
When it comes to controlling the temperature of both the pellet and the Kamado grills, the process is quite different for both. This is because while the pellet grill can be controlled with ease(and typically a dial), the Kamado requires a bit more of a personal touch.
As far as the temperature control for a pellet grill is concerned, it is quite simple. You can set the temperature at the beginning of the cooking process and then not have to worry about it until it is finished as long as there are pellets in the hopper.
It is important to note that most pellet grills also come with advanced technology that allows you to keep an eye on the temperature during the cooking process. This means that the temperature is not only controlled, but it is also easy to check and verify.
The Kamado grill on the other hand requires the constant eye of the outdoor cook to help maintain the same temperature throughout the cooking process. Whether you have to make changes to the chimney or the lower airflow inlet, it takes some time to learn how to use the Kamado grill and control the temperature.
Another consideration you should keep in mind when you are comparing grills is that the Kamado grill tends to be able to reach a higher temperature range than pellet grills. This is directly related to the construction of each of the grills.
The pellet grill typically has a temperature range of between 180° and about 500°, although some add-ons can make it reach higher temperatures. Since most pellet grills only reach medium temperatures, it makes them best to cook your favorite foods with the low and slow method.
The Kamado grill on the other hand is designed to create the ability to directly sear your favorite meats. This is done with a temperature range of between 225° and 700° which is great for those who want to cook their favorite foods at a higher temperature.
Whether you prefer a pellet or a Kamado grill, it comes down to what type of cooking you prefer to do. If you plan to mostly cook using a low and slow method, you will want to invest in the pellet grill, whereas if you want to sear your meat first, the Kamado is the best choice for you.
For the most part, pellet grills are constructed using either stainless steel or carbon steel depending on the manufacturer. The specific grade of steel also depends on the manufacturer, however, they are all made to last.
When it comes to the operation construction of the pellet grill, they are typically all similar in the way they are built. From the hopper where you load in your pellets to the auger that moves them through the system and finally, to the fire pot where they are combusted to provide heat to the grill, the system is complex.
The Kamado grill, however, is constructed with a ceramic outside that creates a unique heating system that is designed to hold heat in. The entire grill is made using a high-heat-resistant ceramic that helps the grill reach higher temperatures.
The way the grill is put together gives you a unique cooking experience with the fire pot being at the bottom where you will load in your lump charcoal. Since the firebox sits just below the grill grates, you can achieve a direct-searing experience.
The bottom line when it comes to the construction of the grills, you will most likely find that both grills are extremely durable and last a long time. You should keep in mind, however, that the Kamado grill, because of its construction, is usually quite heavy and not built to move around from place to place.
The pellet grill got its name from the fuel source that it uses which is wood pellets. These pellets are created from compressed wood. These wood pieces are put together and then compressed to create wood pellets that then can be used as a fuel source for your pellet grill.
When using wood pellets in a pellet grill, for the most part, you will load them into the hopper and then they will be fed through the auger system to the fire pot. They will then combust enough to provide the heat for your outdoor cooking experience.
A Kamado grill on the other hand uses charcoal as its fuel source, however, it should be noted that lump charcoal is the type that should be used. This is because lump charcoal is created from a natural wood source whereas briquettes that you can purchase from your local market are not.
Related >> Charcoal Briquettes vs Lump Charcoal
Because both grills use a fuel source that is not common, the thing you should ask yourself is whether or not you can purchase them locally. For the most part, your local home improvement stores are likely to have both wood pellets and lump charcoal on hand. However, in some cases, you may have to order your fuel online.
It is also worth noting that a back of charcoal may last you longer in a kamado grill than a bag of pellets will in a pellet grill. So take into account how much you will spend on the fuel source for your desired grill as you make your decision.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Another important consideration that you should keep in mind when choosing between a pellet and a Kamado grill is how much work it will take to keep it clean and maintained. This is because the last thing you want to do after cooking outdoors is to spend hours cleaning your grill to get it ready for the next session.
If you have ever used a pellet grill then you probably know that regular cleaning and maintenance are recommended. This is because since the fuel source is pellets, they can get stuck in the different mechanisms of the grill.
When it comes to cleaning in between cooking sessions, like other grills the pellet grill only requires you to empty the firebox and clean the grates. However, it is recommended that you do a deep cleaning, which entails removing various components of the grill about every 2-3 months to keep it functioning properly.
The Kamado grill, on the other hand, is said to be much easier to clean and maintain overall compared to other grills. This is because of the ceramic construction that makes it easy to wipe down in between sessions and you don’t regularly need to disassemble it to clean internal aspects of the grill.
It is recommended that you empty the firebox and clean the grates thoroughly between cooking sessions, just like other grills. However, cleaning the Kamado is an easy task to do as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Pellet vs Kamado: The Clear Winner?
The bottom line when it comes to pellet and Kamado grills is that each one comes with its unique characteristics. There are as many grill enthusiasts who prefer the pellet grill as there are those who like the Kamado.
The truth is that there is not a clear winner when it comes to deciding which grill is the better choice for you. This is because the choice comes down to what you prefer, and how much time you want to spend cooking your favorite foods and cleaning up afterward.
Both the pellet and the Kamado grills are top-of-the-line units that will help you to become the grilling master you wish to become. Each grill will give you the results you are looking for when it comes to creating an outdoor cooking experience.
But, if you are looking for something which is easier for beginners, and truly versatile, we recommend purchasing a pellet grill like those carried by Traeger or ZGrills. Pellet grills are easy to get the hang of and you will have a whole host of cooking options. You can see our full list of the top choices in our pellet grill buying guide.
For our steak and burger lovers on the other hand, there is nothing quite like searing your meat over high temperatures. If you have some experience with charcoal, then you will likely enjoy a Kamado grill more than a pellet one!
Still not sure? Read our guide on the different types of smokers.