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If you’re looking for a new kamado grill or maybe even your first grill, there’s a good chance you’ve come across Primo and Kamado Joe.
While both brands are similar in the sense that they manufacture the same type of grill, they have different features and designs that make them unique. Both are quality grills though that can’t be recommended enough.
While you really can’t go wrong with either of the two brands, it might not be exactly clear which one is the best fit for your needs.
That’s why we’ve created this resource to compare Primo vs Kamado Joe Grills! Let’s dive into what makes them different from each other to help you decide on which one might be the fit for your needs and grilling goals.
Primo – Quick Brand Overview
Primo is one of the highest quality kamado grill manufacturers on the market, plain and simple. All of their grills are made in the USA (something most other grill manufacturers cannot say) and come in many different sizes. They have large sizes to fit the needs of people who cook for large families or events. The smaller sizes are also perfect for individuals or smaller families.
Primo is unique in the sense that they offer a gas fueled kamado grill – almost all of the other kamado grill brands only offer the traditional charcoal fueled grills. So if you want the ease of a gas grill but some of the benefits that an egg shaped grill offers, then Primo might be a great choice. Of course, Primo offers plenty of charcoal fueled grills as well.
Their grills have a 2-zone cooking system and an oval design. For the main parts of the grill, there is a lifetime warranty so you can be guaranteed to have a grill that will work until you are ready to upgrade to a new one.
If you want more on the Primo brand, check out our Primo Kamado Grill Reviews resource next!
Kamado Joe – Quick Brand Overview
You’ll know a Kamado Joe by the impossible to miss vibrant red color of their ceramic egg shaped cookers. They are truly a show stopper of a grill but also have the performance and extra features to back it up.
If you are looking for a grill that’s extremely easy to clean, the Kamado Joe should be at the top of your list too. All of their grills have features like a slide-out ash drawer to make cleaning up much easier and quicker. So, you won’t have to spend hours after each barbecue cleaning your mess.
The airlift hinge makes lifting and closing the lid on the grill extremely easy. The lids also seal tighter than competitive grill brands, so it’s easier to keep your food at the ideal cooking temperature.
Bottom line, Kamado Joe is positioned as a manufacturer of extremely high quality and high performance grills. They don’t miss a beat when it comes to design philosophy and execution.
Primo vs Kamado Joe – Head to Head
Kamado Joe Classic III
The Kamado Joe Classic III is Kamado Joe’s flagship grill that is built with a superior quality ceramic shell. Their “Divide and Conquer” cooking system is multi-level and has a half-rack design to maximize cooking space – you’ll be shocked how much food you can grill or smoke at once. The patented Kontrol Tower is perfect for airflow management and is also rust-proof.
It comes with two side shelves and a slide-out drawer to keep you clean and organized during grilling. The latch is stainless-steel and airtight made with a thick wire mesh gasket. This grill is also amazing at maintaining the perfect levels of smoke and moisture to give you restaurant-quality meat.
The Air Lift Hinge reduces weight on the dome and makes lifting the lid very easy despite the heavy ceramic design. The firebox is multi-panel and is made from 6 different pieces. Its incredible design makes it able to withstand extremely high heat. It also comes with a fiberglass gasket with an air-tight seal.
If you’re looking for a similar grill on a tighter budget, the Kamado Joe Classic II is one generation older than the III but still offers many of the same features and overall quality. For a deep dive on the difference between generations, check out our review of the Kamado Joe II and III next!
Primo Oval XL 400
For a larger oval-shaped grill, you check out the Primo Oval XL. It’s 18.5 inches by 25 inches and has 680 square feet of cooking space. This is a massive amount and is big enough to cook for a large family or even a party or family gathering. The large oval design makes it extremely efficient for cooking a large amount of food at the same time.
It’s also a solid choice if you are looking for a grill that can cook evenly both on low heat and high heat. The efficient high heat cooking features are amazing for meat while the low cooking features are extremely efficient for cooking vegetables and fish.
It’s also very easy to clean and doesn’t require much repair or maintenance work, even if you use it every day. The high-quality ceramics, hardware, and glazes make it weatherproof and able to withstand the worst of snow and storms.
The light-up system is easy to use and dramatically reduces flare-ups, so this grill is not only powerful but very safe to use. The specially made Primo ceramics enable you to cook with less fuel. The grill has 2 zones, one with direct heat and one for cooking with indirect heat.
Kamado Joe Big Joe III
The Kamado Joe Big Joe III is the answer if you are looking for a kamado grill with maximum cooking ability. It has a 24″ diameter cooking grate that can hold a ton of food, not to mention the divide and conquer which adds up to two more layers of cooking grates.
It’s efficient at maintaining heat due to the heavy ceramic walls. Like the Kamado Joe Class series, it has the patented Kontrol Tower which allows for you to easily and consistently set your temperature and smoke levels.
Some additional features include a slide-out drawer for emptying ashes, which makes cleaning the grill very easy and manageable. A stainless-steel latch means an extra airtight seal every time. The firebox is soundly constructed and does an excellent job of maintaining consistent heat during your cook.
We think the Big Joe is one of the all around best grills on the market, period. It takes a little bit of learning to master the art of kamado, but if you’re up for it then you’ll be able to max out your BBQ potential on this grill.
Similar to the Classic, the multiple Big Joe generations are available for purchase – check out our Kamado Joe Big Joe II and III review for more depth on this topic.
Primo Oval Junior 200
If you’re looking for a smaller grill that can easily fit into a tighter space, the Primo 774 Oval Junior is one of the best options. It’s also one of the more inexpensive grills, so it’s a good choice for a griller who wants a high-quality grill but doesn’t want to spend a fortune. It might also be a good choice if you don’t grill very often and can’t justify spending too much money on a grill.
The cooking surface is 210 square inches, so it’s small, but still gives you enough room to cook up a couple of burgers for the family.
It is made with high-quality ceramic which makes it extremely efficient and durable. The stainless-steel cooking grates are completely reversible to give you more options for your cooking space. The ceramic blend is also coated with a scratch-resistant glaze, so your grill will look newer for longer.
One of the best parts about this grill is that it has all the features you need, but it comes in a small and basic design. It will also blend in effortlessly with your outdoor area since it’s small in stature and not showy. It still has sleek and modern glazing though.
The Oval Junior is perfect for everyone, as long as you aren’t looking for a fancy upgrade from your current grill. The Primo 774 does not have side shelves, wheels, or a cart. It might also not be the best choice if you need storage space.
Primo All-in-One Kamado Grill
This grill is similar to the Kamado Joe Classic, but with some slightly different features. It’s a portable 28-inch grill with ceramic walls. The glazed coats make it easy to cook on high heat and keep moisture.
It features 280 square inches of cooking space. The top vent is made of cast iron, and the draft door is constructed from stainless steel. Since the ceramic is premium grade, it’s completely weatherproof and reduces fuel consumption as well as average cooking times.
It also features reversible cooking grates, side shelves, and a thermometer so that you can easily monitor your cook without lifting the lid.
Another fantastic feature is that this grill arrives 95% assembled, so all you have to worry about is the finishing touches before you get to grilling. Finally, the cart stand is high quality with locking wheel casters that allow you to house your grill anywhere you want on your patio.
Primo vs Kamado Joe – Bottom Line
At the end of the day, both of these brands make grills that do an excellent job of grilling and smoking delicious food. No matter which grill you go with between the two, you’re sure to have a cooker that’s made with super high quality ceramics and materials.
The main difference in our mind comes with the extra accessories and add ons. Kamado Joe grills simply come with better technology innovations which allow you to do more on your grill. The end result is a more versatile and higher performance grill.
Of course, Primo is still an excellent option if you are don’t need the bells and whistles – plus they are made in the USA (Kamado Joes are not) which might be a deal breaker!
Which Grill Is Best?
So while we’d give the nod to Kamado Joe in the battle of Primo vs Kamado Joe, both brands are quite viable and the choice comes down to personal preference.
All the grills in the Kamado Joe and Primo Series are a great choice for simple and classic grills. Kamado Joe has more patented features which makes ventilation and two-zone cooking much more efficient. If you want to grill meat, fish, and vegetables all at the same time; Kamado Joe might be the better choice. Or if you want “extras” like rotisserie and pizza oven attachments, Kamado Joe is for you.
If you are on a stricter budget or just want a more inexpensive grill to use a few times a year, the Primo line might have more to offer you. Most of the grills cost less than the Kamado Joe lineup but still have amazing effective grilling features. They are also heavy-duty and high-quality, so you know you will get amazing results no matter what you’re cooking up for family or friends.