You have probably already chosen Kamado Joe for your next kamado. But you doubt whether you should go for the Kamado Joe Classic 2 or the renewed Classic 3. We have listed all the differences for you so that you can make an informed decision.
We’re not going to talk about the first version of the KJ Classic. If you are looking for a cheaper kamado with good quality, it is certainly an interesting choice. But the differences with the classic 2 and 3 are too much to be able to compare them.
What has remained the same
At Kamado Joe, they understand very well that you shouldn’t change what works well. So what made the KJ Classic 2 so special has all stayed the same on and in the Classic 3.
- The aluminum top vent with side opening so that no rain can enter
- Well-balanced sprung hinge that you open and close with 1 finger.
- Latch to shut off the lid so that it always closes properly
- Braided fiberglass gasket that lasts longer than a traditional felt gasket
- A fire bowl consisting of 6 parts that prevents breaking because of expansion and contraction.
- Ash drawer to quickly remove ash residues.
- Stainless steel grid in 2 parts that, together with the half platesetters and the divide and conquer system, make it possible to barbecue directly and indirectly at different temperatures simultaneously.
- Included ash tool, gripper and accessory rack for, for example, a Dutch oven
What has changed in the KJ Classic 3
Let’s start at the bottom. Because the cart simply stands out the most. The base of the Classic 3 is a lot stiffer and made of galvanized steel. The carriage of the Classic 2 looks a bit fragile and bounces a bit when you closed the lid. That bouncing also has an advantage. If your street is not entirely level, then all the wheels of the Classic 2 are still on the ground. With the Classic 3, one wheel will always float.
The base of the Classic 2 consists of 2 parts. The 4 legs with the wheels and the cradle where the kettle is settled in. If you want to move the KJ, it sometimes happens that one of the 4 connections comes loose. Because of the weight of the kamado is now divided over the 3 other points, you do not have to worry that they all come loose. It never happened to us.
Between the 4 legs of the Classic 3 is a rack for storage where you can store some accessories. This rack is completely customized for the SloRoller system that we will talk about later. This system fits so neatly into the frame that you can move the kamado without worrying about it sliding off. Not even at an angle.
The wheels of the Classic 3 are a lot bigger. That makes driving on uneven surfaces a lot easier. With the Classic 2, you sometimes have to take a run-up to move from tile to tile. That does not always feel very stable in combination with the bouncy cart.
Kamado Joe also has a controller in its accessory range. The iKAMAND has several cables that run to and from the device. To neatly hide those cables, you can run them through slots in the base under the grill.
The side tables have also changed
The side tables of the Classic 2 are made of HDPE-plastic. Sturdy and easy to keep clean. Because it is plastic, it can melt if you put a hot grid on it. That has happened to us quite a few times, as you can see.
The side tables of the Classic 3 are made of powder-coated aluminum. These will certainly not melt, and powder coating ensures that the aluminum is maintenance-free. We just wonder what they will look like in a few years in terms of scratches. Probably better than our old classic 2 tables.
The most significant difference between the Classic 2 and 3 is on the inside
The kettle of the Kamado Joe Classic 3 is 7 cm (2,5 inches) higher than that of the classic 2. That doesn’t seem like much, but it has several advantages. First of all, the distance between the glowing charcoal and the grate is greater. This distance is quite interesting for direct preparation if you like to use a rotisserie, for example.
Kamado Joe SloRoller
The grill has been made higher to make room for the SloRoller system. This is a 3-part smoking chamber. The device was designed by Harvard and improved a number of things.
Due to the shape of the SloRoller, the air flow in the boiler circulates better so that the smoke gets everywhere before it disappears via the top vent. It prevents hot spots so that you have fewer problems with uneven cooking. And the Joe should also handle combustion more efficiently. We will experience that in the coming months.
Something more has also changed inside. The Classic 2 had a grated plate at the bottom of the grill on which the charcoal lays. That works fine as long as you don’t have too many small pieces of charcoal on it. This clogs the small holes and causes poor air circulation.
As long as you use good charcoal with reasonably sized chunks, you will not be bothered by this. After or just before barbecuing, you should check the quality of the remaining charcoal from the previous session.
The Classic 3 does not have a grid at the bottom, but a so-called kick ash basket. This ensures better air circulation and makes cleaning a lot easier. You lift the basket a bit so that you can shake out the small pieces of charcoal and ash. You can then remove that by emptying the ash drawer.
A kick ash basket was available for years from all brands as a separate accessory and very popular. Kamado Joe recognized this and therefore delivers it with your Classic 3. You can slide a divider into the basket so that you can create 2 zones without using the half platesetters.
Because the boiler has become higher to make room for the SloRoller, the divide and conquer system has also been adjusted. This now has 3 levels instead of 2. Basically, you can now place the grid 1 level higher.
Kamado Joe indicates that this creates more grid space, but you can only use that space if you are not using the SloRoller. Also, no extra grids are included, so we wonder how useful this really is.
Is the Kamado Joe Classic 3 worth switching
In 2017, we found the Classic 2 to be the best kamado on the market. As far as we are concerned, Kamado Joe has again shown with the Classic 3 that they are the most innovative brand.
The differences between the Classic 2 and 3 were the reason for us to purchase a classic 3. We understand that it is certainly not a cheap kamado, but the quality and the fact that everything you need is included with the grill makes up for it.
The Classic 3 is definitely the better kamado. Everything good has staid the same, and the rest has all been adjusted. That makes the Classic 2, not a lousy kamado. On the contrary. The kamados from competitors still show you why the Classic 2 was the best kamado at the time.
So if your budget is not yet sufficient to purchase the Classic 3, it is certainly interesting to look for a Classic 2. But if you are serious about barbecue and you are currently looking for the best and most complete kamado, we would go for the Kamado Joe Classic 3.