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Ceramic smokers: how much research is too much?

Updated: Aug 22, 2019

It has become common sense to research something before you buy it: features, benefits, and price. With a few taps, clicks, or calls we can see which vendor offers that item for the cheapest price and make that purchase.

The authors of Millionaire Next Door offer a new perspective on this. They give an example of a high earner who gets a new car every year or so. He spends 80 hours researching, talking on the phone, and generally haggling to get the price of the luxury car from $65,000 to $60,000. This man is not the millionaire next door, who buys a car every 10 years or so and does only the “goldilocks” amount of research on it. The millionaire next door knows that their time has value.

It is common sense to research prices before you buy, but how much is too much? This is the question I was pondering as we researched ceramic smokers, namely Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, and Saffire.

See results of my 2 hours of research below:

*A multi-piece design, one piece can crack

**Original purchaser is entitled to any replacement part at one half (50%) off the current suggested retail price for any part that fails to operate properly. This includes parts damaged by operator error, accidental damage, forces of nature and natural disasters.

I embarked upon this research expecting to find that the Big Green Egg would be the best choice. Both the Saffire and the Kamado beat out the Big Green Egg on features and included accessories though. The Kamado differentiated itself from the Big Green Egg with the air lift hinge, bricked ceramic firebox, stainless steel latch, wire mesh fiberglass gasket, and ash drawer. The Saffire includes only some of those features but takes the lead on price and stainless hardware. The big differentiator of the Saffire is the chip feeder, which allows for chips to be added during the smoking process without letting the heat out. It’s also important to note that neither the Big Green Egg nor the Kamado Joe allows for any consideration for damage due to operator error or natural disasters, while the Saffire allows the owner to purchase new parts at 50% discount.

Another thing I liked about the Saffire? The prices are ON THE WEBSITE. For Big Green Eggs and Kamados you must call an authorized dealer.

Also note that Kamado Joe is debuting the Classic Joe III this month (August 2019), and this may lead to a price drop in the Classic Joe II. Saffire already has a Platinum edition of the Large with even more stainless for $1,399.

In conclusion, the time I spent researching won’t save us a material amount of money. What it will allow is for us to make an informed decision and pick the right smoker for us. Without the research, we would have bought a Big Green Egg because they seem to be most popular and have the lowest price until you look further.

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