Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ review

We tried out the Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ to find out if it grilled, seared and smoked up to expectations, all the while looking great in our garden

Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ review
(Image credit: Future)
Ideal Home Verdict

The Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ is a sleek and stylish option for couples or families with smaller garden spaces. With smart egg style charcoal barbecues becoming popular for those with outdoor cooking stations or areas to alfresco dine, it’s the ideal table top or corner appliance to bake, cook, seer or grill all types of BBQ food. Whilst it won’t cook too many burgers at one time, it will cook your meat and veggies well. It looks small but sure does pack the punch when it comes to cooking quality and durability. Don’t underestimate its weight either. Being super heavy and hard to lift is the key downside to this Tower model. But it’s easy to clean, store and maintain with the cloth cover. So otherwise, it’s an outdoor dining win, in our eyes.

Reasons to buy
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    Smart sleek design

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    Compact in size and easy to store

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    Comes with a waterproof protective cover

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    Great for couples and smaller families

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    Perfect for petite garden spaces

  • +

    Can use to bake, cook, sere or smoke

  • +

    Easy to clean

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Can't cook too much at one time

  • -

    Extremely heavy

  • -

    Will need more than one person to move

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    On the pricier side

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The Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ is a small, but mighty choice for beginner and amateur barbecuers alike. With an under 30cm grill pan, but advanced features that allow for quick but even baking, cooking, searing or smoking, it’s ideal for those wanting to show off their barbecuing talents to family and friends. Not to mention its ceramic modern design is stylish enough to elevate any outdoor space. Best for small gardens and lighter appetites, it’s compact enough to fit in a corner or a table top cooking station, and cooks enough for 2 to 4 people.  Though if you’re catering for more, there’s always the option of grilling your meat, veggies and other foods in a series of sessions. 

So if you’re searching for a charcoal BBQ that’s small and simple to use, yet still has the power to produce A-grade barbecue food, then this may be the one for you. It comes on a small metal stand and with a cloth cover, so you can keep your cooking companion outside overnight - just as well you wouldn't want to lift it in and out every time you want to use it, since it is surprisingly hefty. And its clever design, fit with a removable charcoal bowl, means it’s a charcoal BBQ that’s easy to clean - something that’s hard to come by! 

Used over several times, in all but snowy weather conditions, this Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ has found its place on the patio of my parent’s garden. It’s not portable enough to use back at my East London flat, either on my balcony or patch of grass behind, but it works well for when the sun has called for an impromptu barbecue in the garden. We’ve flipped burgers, grilled hot dogs and roasted some vegetable kebabs, quicker and easier than it would be to fire up our large gas alternative. Since I don’t have a space big enough for a big BBQ that could be a bit of an eyesore, this Tower Kamado Maxi has been great for seeing how smaller, stylish options weigh up against the big boys. Interested in finding out how they compare? See our best BBQ guide for our top rated choices. 

Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ: Product Specifications 

Kamado Maxi Ceramic Charcoal BBQ cut out image

(Image credit: Tower)
  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Dimensions: W48 x D54 x H49cm
  • Cooking area dimensions:  23.5cm to cater for 3 – 5 people
  • Weight: 30kg
  • Colours: Black and Dark Green 
  • Included in the box: Waterproof protective cover and stand 

Unboxing the Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ 

Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ in box in Louises flat

(Image credit: Future)

As far as first impressions go, The Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ came through our door by a postman who had quite clearly struggled to carry the box to the 2nd floor of our building. Though it probably would have been okay had two people carried it together. It fitted through our doorway pretty easily and stayed in the corridor before use.

The box itself is compact, with all components held in polystyrene. That’s not to say there are that many parts to it. Lifting out the main body of the BBQ (the heaviest part) sat the concrete bowl, grill pan, smoke chamber, a handy tool kit and material cover underneath. Unwrapping the stylish black ceramic egg shaped BBQ from its clear plastic wrap, I couldn't help but love its sleek and sturdy exterior. Already without putting the pieces together, the Kamado looks and feels premium - as it should I guess, given its price. 

Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ in pieces on Louises garden table unboxed

(Image credit: Future)

For someone who doesn't mind a bit of DIY, I found the idea of having to assemble a few parts quite exciting. But if you’d rather have pulled the piece straight out of the box ready to use, then you might not have felt the same. The stand made of several steel rods needed to be screwed together with the nuts and bolts provided, the same for the handles and smoke chamber. The instruction manual for this was pretty simple to follow and we had the BBQ unboxed and put together in about 20 minutes. 

What is the Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ like to use? 

Kamado Maxi Ceramic Charcoal BBQ with easy light charcoal bag inside concrete bowl

(Image credit: Future)

As a nowhere near barbecue expert, I found the Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ relatively easy to use. Since it’s charcoal fuelled, I picked up some easy light charcoal bags from my local supermarket and popped it in the base of the barbecue. The removable concrete dish that holds the charcoal comes in super handy to take out as you put the charcoal in and put back ready to light. Though it can be a little fiddly to drop back in without catching your fingers in the gap. It was easy to light and we got the barbecue going without trouble - even on a somewhat windy day with intermittent showers.  

Kamado Maxi Ceramic Charcoal BBQ with charcoal bag lit

(Image credit: Future)

The built-in thermometer was useful in allowing us to keep track of the temperature before starting to cook. The thermometer has an easy to follow guide where the arrow will point to either baking, cooking, searing or smoking based on how high its temperature is. Once it had reached cooking temperature, which didn't take too long, only around 20 mins, we put our first load of food on. Note we did keep the lid closed to retain heat during this time and the heat-up time will vary depending on how much charcoal you use. 

Kamado Maxi Ceramic Charcoal BBQ with cooked sausages and burgers on

(Image credit: Future)

It has a large enough grill surface to cook up to 6 large burgers and 6 sausages at the same time, retaining heat well between turns and flips. The best part? The wooden handles remain cool to the touch for added safety. The lid isn't heavy and almost opens on its own due to the springe hinge. It closes gently too as it has an intuitive lid damper that's cushioned to prevent damage. This also means it stays hotter for longer. After a long barbecue session, cooking burgers and sausages, veggie & halloumi kebabs and large fillets of marinated chicken, we returned to pop a couple of burgers back on the grill when a guest arrived to mine a little later on in the day. After a few hours out of use, it was still hot enough to cook the meat perfectly without having to relight or start over. This could come as a downside since it did take a good few hours for the barbecue to cool down enough to cover up or bring inside.

Kamado Maxi Ceramic Charcoal BBQ with veggie and halloumi kebabs on

(Image credit: Future)

When cooking burgers and sausages on the grill at the ‘cooking’ temperature, they took an average of 10 minutes, cooking evenly and retaining the authentic barbecue charcoal taste you’d expect. This was the first lot of food we put on and felt this cooked the best. Secondly, I prepared some vegetable and halloumi kebabs, fitting 8 on at one time. Then we seared the chicken when the BBQ had reached searing point before smoking it until fully cooked. In hindsight we’d suggest cooking the food that requires less time first, like the kebabs, as they cooked quicker than expected and blackened more than we would have liked. Though this is all part of the authentic charcoal experience, right? We fed 6 people in total with this amount of food over three rounds of cooking. And whilst this has a great surface area, a larger barbecue would be better to cook all of the items at once. 

How easy is the Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ to clean?

Kamado Maxi Ceramic Charcoal BBQ during the cleaning process, removed grill pan and concrete bowl with ash

(Image credit: Future)

The removable concrete dish that holds the ash is a great way to keep this barbecue in good condition. Simply remove the bowl to dispose of the ash and charcoal residue. We actually like to use it in our compost and were able to throw the waste into the compost bin with ease. This left this interior with minimal dirt inside, even after 3 uses, that was quickly wiped out with a damp cloth. The grill was as easy to clean as any other too. Submerge in some soapy water and with a little elbow grease I was able to scrape off any grime and grease. The exterior is made of smooth ceramic, so a quick wipe down job did just the trick. 

Kamado Maxi Ceramic Charcoal BBQ cleaning the grill in hot soapy water

(Image credit: Future)

 Storage and maintenance 

Kamado Maxi Ceramic Charcoal BBQ assembled in the rain on its stand

(Image credit: Future)

This barbecue is very heavy, and does not come on wheels. So whilst it’s small in size and compact enough to store away, it’s probably not practical enough to be bringing it in and back out every time you’d like to use it. That being said, its handles do improve ease of movement, if there is someone else to grab one and you carry the other. 

It’s also made of durable ceramic and does comes with a waterproof cover which slides nicely over the top, so if it does get caught in the rain, there isn't any worry there. Its egg shaped design also means its suitable for slotting into a table top or work bench designed for hot or flammable appliances. Still its sleek stand means you can place it virtually anywhere concern for your patio or lawn. 

How does it rate online?

Being a fairly new product in the Tower outdoor appliance range, there are currently no reviews over at popular retailers like Amazon, Robert Dyas or even on the Tower website itself. Looking at similar models from different brands however, the ceramic Kamado style charcoal barbecue seems to be a hit amongst those wanting a smaller sized grill for their patio or terrace or petite garden space. It particularly ranks well with those cooking the standard burger or hot dog barbecue food for parties of only 2-6 people. It’s worth noting Tower is also an iconic British brand that we can trust to rely on, and have done for over 100 years. 

How does it compare to similar models?

Alongside the Maxi, Tower also sell the Kamado XL Ceramic Charcoal BBQ. Its much larger in size, with an extra-large grilling surface measuring 46.7cm, catering enough food for larger groups. Its in the same smooth ceramic egg-shaped design, just bigger. Oh, and it comes with collapsible wooden shelves that work great as a serving station or just somewhere to place your tongs. The best selling point in my opinion. Luckily, this one does come on 360° wheels for easy portability, otherwise moving it could almost be impossible, I’d imagine. 

As for dupes, well there are many on the market, like the Fresh Grills Ceramic BBQ Grill that’s just over half the price of Tower’s model. It’s slightly smaller but 10kg lighter, though this may impact on its quality. There are a handful of reviews online, including ones over at Amazon that compliment small size as ideal for 2 people parties but down star it for being too small for dinners any bigger. There are more similar models and styles out there too, but they’re at the same price or more expensive than the Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ. 

Should you buy the Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ?

Kamado Maxi Ceramic Charcoal BBQ assembled on Louise's garden table

(Image credit: Future)

We are pretty impressed with the Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ, and think its a great buy for anyone searching for a smart egg style barbecue to fit in their smaller outdoor space, providing you have a designated outdoor cooking station or a corner to put it in. It would work best for individuals, couples or small families that don’t often cater for more than themselves, and equally don’t mind cooking their different food types in sessions. It’s not one for the serious foodies given you can’t cook too much at one time - though the XL model might be just what you’re looking for. 

At around £400 (depending on the deals available at the time), it does mark up a little expensive for its size. But where its weight is concerned, the sturdy feel and durable quality puts this bbq as a great investment buy. Easy to maintain and keep clean, it’ll be long-lasting, something we could tell even from first impressions. Our main take away? Don’t presume this barbecue to be portable. It may not be huge in size and small enough to fit in the car, but it’s certainly too heavy to lift with ease, even with the wooden handles attached. 

About this review - and our reviewer

Louise Oliphant
Louise Oliphant

Louise is our Ecommerce Writer and spends her time finding and reviewing the best products for your home and garden, from the best outdoor cushions and bedding, to the best fire pits and latest, charcoal barbecues. She shares a three-bedroom flat in East London with two friends, which they’re loving making their own with all the stylish pieces Louise finds along the way. 

She tested this barbecue over a few (wet and warm weather) weekends at her parents' house that has a large lawn and patio space. Together with her family. she hosted a few others and cooked up a spread on the Tower Kamado Maxi Charcoal BBQ, roasting chicken, charcoaling skewers and grilling burgers. They too were impressed with its compact design that did not compromise on quality of cooking. While Louise hasn't been able to keep this barbecue, much to her disappointment, the egg shaped style has become her favourite to use, and will be looking at some even smaller options that could work just as well on her balcony. 

Ecommerce Writer

Louise Oliphant is the Ecommerce Writer at Ideal Home. Bringing a bunch of bedding expertise from her previous role in PR, Louise is eager to share useful sleep content, including what to look for, when and where to buy the best bedroom products. Think everything from gorgeous luxury bedding, to duvets that’ll keep you at optimum temperature all night long. Aside from reviews to help get essential shut eye, Louise also writes shopping content for homeware items that’ll add a decorative touch to your space.