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Kamado / Komodo Kamado

notjustastomach May 3, 2009 12:57 PM

Presently I have a Kamado grill purchased from kamado.com. It's about 8 years old, and is suffering all of the problems endemic to this manufacturer's product: the tiles are falling off, the body of the grill has large cracked, the center pin rusted shut, etc. I do manage to use the beast, but it's a major pain in the butt any time I go to fire it up.

So here's the question: Do I buy another one for $1000, knowing that I'll get somewhere between 5 and 10 years of use? Or do I buy a cooker from komodokamado.com for $3000+? The latter are very beautiful and at least claim to be better made, more durable, etc.

Another piece to the puzzle. Komodo.com has atrocious customer service. I know this for myself. And it is no unusual to see online complaints that kamado.com cookers arrived damaged, incomplete, etc., and that the company would not return phone calls, emails, etc. Again, I have direct personal experience of the company's lack of responsiveness.

So is $1000 for a komodo potentially $1000 thrown away, while $3000 for a komodo-kamado will at least bring me what I paid for??

  1. c
    chipman May 3, 2009 01:40 PM

    Why not go with the BGE, quality plus value and a great online community to boot.


    1. z
      ziggylu May 3, 2009 02:44 PM

      Three words:

      Big Green Egg

      6 Replies
      1. re: ziggylu
        notjustastomach May 3, 2009 09:00 PM

        I have never considered the BGE because, whatever its merits as a grill, as an object it is rather ugly. For me, aesthetics is an important consideration. Both the kamado and kamado-komodo are attractive, the BGE is not.

        1. re: notjustastomach
          Fritter May 4, 2009 05:20 AM

          I'll take ugly and functional over giving 3k to a company with "atrocious customer service" any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
          Add another Egg Head to the list. ;)

          1. re: notjustastomach
            ziggylu May 4, 2009 06:15 AM

            Form over function. Good luck with that.

            1. re: ziggylu
              notjustastomach May 4, 2009 07:21 AM

              Your response is rather facile; you reduce my question to a dualism that is not even implied by the original post. I did not request chowhounds' opinions in order to place form over function. Rather, I asserted that form is an important factor in my decision. The question is really of money. Given that I can afford the kamado-komodo, is it worth the price? I am not a person who can say, money is no object. But I have enough so that I don't have to settle for the functional and cheap yet ugly solution if there is a better one available.

              Again, the question is NOT: Can I get something ugly that works just as well but costs less? Physical objects have forms and I am willing to pay hard cash for a pleasing form.

              Rather, the question is: Does the Kamado Komodo have good value, despite its high price? Does it bring together in one package, functional excellence, reliability, and long-term customer satisfaction, as well as beauty?

              1. re: notjustastomach
                ziggylu May 4, 2009 07:41 AM

                "I have never considered the BGE because, whatever its merits as a grill, as an object it is rather ugly. For me, aesthetics is an important consideration."

                You, yourself, have reduced your decision to form over function. In your first post you clearly lay out that neither choice you are considering is a good financial decision. You have already spent $1k on a grill that has not held up for you and has become a "Pain in the butt" and are considering either making the same decision over again or spending three times as much with a company that is known for poor product and lack of delivery(and yes we researched both companies when purchasing our ceramic cooker).

                I can only speak for myself but a product that is overpriced by three times its other competitors and is unable to to provide any sort of satisfactory customer service does not provide any value no matter how much it pleases my eye.

                You can afford to spend the money, but can you afford to lose it? Based on Kamado's reputation for poor product and worse service you may very well be throwing your hard earned money away.

                You ARE placing the importance of form as the priority. If that is the case, at least with regards to ceramic cookers, as I said...good luck with that.

            2. re: notjustastomach
              pabboy May 4, 2009 07:25 AM

              Here's how your "aesthetics" are made:


          2. Joe Blowe May 4, 2009 08:51 AM

            For those in this thread that don't know the difference between the Kamado and the Komodo Kamado, please see the following:


            Notjustastomach: I would buy a KOMODO Kamado in a heartbeat. I've read nothing but positive experiences with the cooker, and the customer service probably exceeds BGE at the moment. Their product is at the top of my list should I ever get my backyard plans rolling. But if I don't have the available funds at that time, I would probably go with a Grill Dome over a BGE...


            There are a lot of BGE fanboys out there, rightly so, but Grill Dome is establishing itself as a good alternative with better customer service and slightly cheaper prices. Grill Dome also has an especially low defect rate when compared to BGE.

            In the end, I think you're good to go as long as you stay away from anything manufactured by the Kamado Company of San Diego (** kamado.com **).

            5 Replies
            1. re: Joe Blowe
              Fritter May 4, 2009 09:05 AM

              Oh yea, That's A LOT better looking than a BGE. <Snort>
              I looked into the Grill Dome but they are sold totally ala cart. You have to buy several pieces separately that BGE includes. Then you add freight and hope it arrives in one piece. (see their forums). When I priced one they were actually more $ than BGE.
              If you live near the GD retail outlet or you can get one with out paying freight I'd consider one. I especially like the SS option and I've read that many of the BGE parts work with them as well.

              1. re: Fritter
                Joe Blowe May 4, 2009 09:12 AM

                For the record, *I* was not addressing aesthetics. I personally think that this whole class of cookers is ugly! But I believe in results, and I know ceramics do the job best. And I'd rather have any of these in my backyard over an old oil drum smoker or converted locker or refrigerator!!

                1. re: Joe Blowe
                  Paulustrious May 4, 2009 03:55 PM

                  Completely irrelevant but...

                  Reminds me of the robot in 'Lost in Space'.

                  1. re: Joe Blowe
                    Fritter May 5, 2009 03:55 AM

                    Whoops! I didn't mean that to be directed at you Joe!
                    I was "just sayin". ;)
                    I agree they are all pretty odd looking. I will never be with out a BGE again.

                2. re: Joe Blowe
                  Fritter May 13, 2009 11:31 AM

                  "Grill Dome also has an especially low defect rate when compared to BGE"

                  Do you have any thing to back that up or is it just your opinion? Go to the GD web site and look at all the units that get delivered damaged and talk to some of the guys that have had hinge failures from GD.
                  Both of theese companies excel at customer service and offer a good product. As well they should for a ceramic cooker at this price point.
                  The one benefit GD offers if it is important in your selection is color choices. If you happen to live with in driving distance of the single nation wide GD dealer they are less expensive.
                  Beyond that BGE and GD are priced very closely and are very similar products.
                  There is a reason BGE and GD both have Fanboyz.

                3. d
                  duck833 May 4, 2009 04:12 PM

                  Ex Kamado Egg owner.

                  Looked wonderful when new, then the tiles fell off, lid stuck and no assistance with warrenty or customer service. Ended up taking a sledge hammer to it, broke it into small pieces and hauled to the dump.

                  Large BGE owner now, very pleased.

                  Stay away from Richard!!!!!!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: duck833
                    notjustastomach May 4, 2009 05:08 PM

                    Yeah, it's really too bad. The options seem to be

                    1. BGE: cheap and reliable, but ugly
                    2. Kamado: attractive and reasonably priced, but definitely unreliable
                    3. Komodo: attractive and purportedly reliable, but significantly more expensive

                    And yet, despite all the complaints about Kamado, including my own bad experiences, the fact is I got 7 or 8 years of excellent service out of the unit.

                  2. JK Grence the Cosmic Jester May 5, 2009 05:26 AM

                    Something else to possibly look at... Bubba Keg. Turns out these guys who make gigantic travel mugs just recently released a kamado style cooker. The thing is, it's brand new and I have no idea how it's going to stack up to BGE or Komodo Kamado. However, it's priced fairly competitively, so it may be worth a look, especially if you enjoy stainless steel.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
                      Joe Blowe May 5, 2009 08:52 AM

                      I've been following the Bubba Keg reports, mainly through blog entries, and it looks like the Keg may have some difficulty reaching true low-and-slow temperatures. It seems to fire up real good, and can reach 800 or 900 degrees F without a problem, but 225-ish seems hard to reach...

                      Another problem a lot of people have mentioned is the fact that it is enamel-coated steel (it's not stainless steel). If metal expands and contracts with heating and cooling, how long before fissures develop in the coating and lead to rusting?

                      1. re: Joe Blowe
                        ferret May 5, 2009 10:29 AM

                        It's basically a large insulated steel keg. The whole point of the clay ovens is the retention of heat in the clay. The Bubba Keg just seems like a convection oven.

                      2. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
                        thew Apr 19, 2010 10:15 AM

                        they have redone the design, and now call it the big steel keg. it maintains low and slow better now

                      3. c
                        cocktailhour Apr 21, 2010 12:34 PM

                        >BGE fanboys

                        And girls. Really.

                        I have never really thought of the BGE as ugly. I appreciate being able to reuse fuel for a short grill, but being able to smoke for 20+ hours without adding additional fuel. My understanding has always been they last forever. If you are limiting your choice to the two you mention, and you can afford it, the ceramic cooker that last longer is what I would pick. I would also make sure the lid stays up (not true with older model Eggs).

                        As important as which ceramic cooker is the fuel you use, anyway.

                        1. thew Apr 22, 2010 04:46 AM

                          i just bought the big steel keg - it's like a kamado, but uses insulated steel instead of ceramic. Only grilled on it so far, have not gone low and slow yet (i'm still figuring out how to maintain temp in it) but as of yet i really like it

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: thew
                            thew Apr 22, 2010 01:10 PM

                            my new toy

                            1. re: thew
                              Ron1940 Jan 4, 2011 06:20 AM

                              I have never heard of the stainless steel Kamado/Komodo. Where did you find out about this and how can I learn about it? my email is ventures@wtconnect.com. I am new to this posting site.

                              1. re: Ron1940
                                thew Jan 4, 2011 06:30 AM

                                i googled it

                          2. n
                            Neecies Apr 22, 2010 09:00 AM

                            In addition to the damage problems you mention, Kamado overcharged a friend of mine $400 for shipping (basically, they charged her twice) and last I knew, a year had passed and they still hadn't refunded her the money (nor would they respond to mail or phone calls, as you note). They're a bunch of thieves, and there's an absolute legion of angry customers out there. Why you'd even consider signing up for a second round of that treatment, I can't imagine.

                            But if the BGE is too ugly for you, then you've already answered your own question and you don't really need anyone's help here.

                            1. notjustastomach Jan 29, 2011 07:43 AM

                              I was just looking over my past threads, and noticed this one.

                              2 years later: Bought a Komodo Kamado. LOVE IT! Wish it had cost less, but don't regret the purchase at all.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: notjustastomach
                                sumrtym Jan 29, 2011 12:06 PM

                                Sigh...I'm still waiting for a smaller / more portable version of the KK. Think it's going to be awhile yet as Dennis is still sourcing out / inspecting parts for one. Necessity since I"m still apartment dwelling at the moment.

                                If the Big Steel Keg didn't have so many design flaws (not stainless, gasket wears from the screws beneath it, etc, I'd have jumped on it due to the trailer hitch option. Can't bring myself to spend that much on something that I know isn't going to last though, so hoping Dennis comes through with a good / cheaper portable.

                                1. re: sumrtym
                                  thew Jan 29, 2011 01:25 PM

                                  it's been very redesigned since they switched from bubba to big steel (including not giving the trailer hitch free anymore, it's an option now, they do include a cover however, that the bubba didn't.

                                  ive spent time on the big steel/bubba forum, and people have been using them for years, without them wearing out as you describe

                                  1. re: thew
                                    sumrtym Jan 29, 2011 01:41 PM

                                    Oh, I know about the trailer hitch thing. I thought about getting one of the Kegs when were on sale / being liquidated at Home Depot last year. However, they really haven't fixed the major problems to me, and a couple years use isn't 10 or longer which a Big Green Egg or KK will do without problem.

                                    I stand by these areas I don't like:
                                    1) Not stainless steel so any scratches / blistering of paint and it's going to rust.
                                    2) You're guaranteed to scratch the inside due to the heavy cast iron grate rubbing against the interior even though you rotate it to lock it down from bouncing much in transport.
                                    3) The upper grill that rotates out of the way has poor welds and I've seen more than one broken on that support rod for it.
                                    4) The gasket wears directly where the screws attach the top or bottom of the lip. I've seen the gaskets fray on each and every point of those screw locations.

                                    If they corrected those issues, I'd be all over it as I love the trailer hitch idea for transport.

                                    1. re: sumrtym
                                      thew Jan 29, 2011 01:52 PM

                                      they have a 10 year warranty

                                      mine is a year old, and still works. thats all i know for sure

                              2. j
                                jdmfish Mar 28, 2011 04:31 AM

                                If you have the money, I'd highly recommend you check out the Viking C4 smoker/grill.


                                5 Replies
                                1. re: jdmfish
                                  Joe Blowe Mar 28, 2011 07:56 AM

                                  More money than sense?

                                  1. re: Joe Blowe
                                    jdmfish Mar 28, 2011 08:03 AM

                                    For most folks, it's stupid expensive, but if the OP was considering a $3,000 Kamado, I'd rather have the Viking C4 if I were to hit the lottery and had that kind of money to spend.

                                    1. re: Joe Blowe
                                      BiscuitBoy Mar 28, 2011 08:24 AM

                                      YES! 'Specially given viking's dubious track record for quality and service....a company that truly panders to the biff and muffy crowd. Makes a large bge seem like a bargain in comparison

                                      1. re: BiscuitBoy
                                        Nanzi Mar 28, 2011 09:14 AM

                                        Sorry you've had problems with your Kamado. We have nothing bad to say about ours. It is about 15 years old, was make in Indonesia, and shipping was timely. Dh has glued a few tiles back in place. When a handle broke on the front insert, Richard brought one to San Diego(where we were visiting our son) from Ensanada and we met him at the airport. When we needed a new basket for the bottom, shipping was done before he got our check. It was here on the east coast in 3 days.
                                        I've read all the complaints and the fraud site and it scares me. But We have no complaints about our K. It is still beautiful TerraBlue, and cooks up a storm everytime we use it. So sorry you join the legions of unhappy owners. We must be living a charmed life, hahahaha.
                                        Hope you are as happy with your new toy as we are with our K. The kids have said that after we die, the first one there with a pickup truck and a friend will own it!!! Darn Kids!!

                                    2. re: jdmfish
                                      sumrtym Mar 28, 2011 01:17 PM

                                      The Viking C4 you might as well buy a Primo. The Viking C4 is just a stainless steel shell around a Primo, so not worth the money.

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