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We tried out the £1,300 Kamado Joe Classic II barbecue

Kamado barbecues are gaining in popularity because of their versatility when it comes to cooking and their long-lasting ceramic construction. There are still are many days of summer left to enjoy a barbecue, so if you love to experiment with cooking and are passionate about barbecuing, then a kamado grill may have caught your attention. These grills can barbecue, bake, cook pizzas and excel at slow-roasted meats. We’ve tested the Big Green Egg[1] and tried out Aldi’s kamado barbecue[2] and now we’ve taken a look at Kamado Joe’s Classic II.

Read on to see what we thought of the Classic II when we tried it out. If you’re ready to get to the meat of the matter, head over to our Best Buy barbecue reviews[3] to get your perfect grill. Or head straight to the Kamado Joe’s Classic II[4] to check out our impressions of this grill.

How much does it cost?

The Kamado Joe Classic II sells for about GBP1,300.

You might think that’s a preposterous amount of money to spend on a barbecue. However, to put it into perspective its direct competitor, the Big Green Egg Large, costs GBP995 without a base (bases can start at GBP255 and can go up to GBP1,690). Other high-end barbecues can cost even more, such as the Heston Blumenthal Everdure Hub[5] at GBP1,500 (without the cover, which costs another GBP100) or the Weber Genesis II LX S-440 4-burner gas barbecue at GBP2,000.

Although the Kamado Joe Classic II is expensive, it’s made of long-lasting ceramic. If you take care of this grill, it should last a lifetime. In fact, the manufacturer is so certain that its product is long-lasting that the Kamado Joe comes with a lifetime warranty on ceramic parts.

The Classic II also has a lot of features that set it apart from the Kamado Joe Classic, which is their best-selling grill.

We’ve fully tested and reviewed Kamado Joe’s competition; check out the Big Green Egg review[6] to see how well it did when we sent it to the lab.

What special features does the Kamado Joe Classic II have?

  • New firebox design

The Kamado Joe Classic II has a completely different firebox construction than its predecessor, the Classic. The Classic has a ceramic ring that makes up the walls of the firebox. There is a small gap in the ring to allow it to expand without breaking when heated, but it’s fragile and we’ve heard reports of it breaking.

Instead of the Classic’s ring, in the Kamado Joe Classic II there are tiles, which slot into one another, capped with a silver ring to hold them together and form the firebox, so it should be less fragile.

  • New top vent design

The top vent of the Classic II, along with the vent at the bottom of the grill, makes it easy to control the air flow, and therefore the heat, of the Classic II. Controlling the temperature is the key to successful grilling on a kamado barbecue. so having an easy-to-use air vent is crucial. The vent is clearly marked, and it’s rust and rain-proof.

The other really fantastic feature is the air lift hinge – it holds the weight of the heavy lid so the lid will stay in the position you leave it in.

This makes grilling easier and it prevents the lid from smashing down, which could injure you and damage the ceramic grill. We were really impressed by this grill’s build quality and features, particularly as we had an older version of the Kamado Joe Classic on hand with which to draw our comparisons.

Not sure what features to look out for? Check out our advice guide on barbecue features.[7]

How well does the Kamado Joe Classic II cook?

We tried our hand at traditional barbecue, aided by the excellent tiered cooking system and heat deflectors (pictured above) grilling up chicken pieces, burgers, sausages and corn.

We then added some wood to the charcoal fire and slow smoked a Texas-style beef brisket.

We had our barbecue food expert on hand to give us his thoughts on the Classic II’s cooking ability. Log in now[8] to get our verdict on this grill’s ability to cook both fast and slow.

References

  1. ^ Big Green Egg (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Aldi’s kamado barbecue (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Best Buy barbecue reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Kamado Joe’s Classic II (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ Heston Blumenthal Everdure Hub (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ Big Green Egg review (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ barbecue features. (www.which.co.uk)
  8. ^ Log in now (www.which.co.uk)

Google Daydream View virtual reality headset is $70 off

The Google Daydream View headset is deeply discounted at Verizon, marked down from £99 to £29.98. This price isn’t locked to Verizon users; any visitor can access it.

Strangely, this sale price only applies to the charcoal color, not the fog or coral options. Still, it’s a great deal on this second iteration headset and controller set that rivals the best mobile VR experiences out there from the likes of the Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR.

This headset is only compatible with select Android phones.

Google’s own Pixel 2 phones make the list, as do the Samsung Galaxy S9 and LG V30. It’s safe to say that the smartphone you own may not be supported, so it’s best to know before buying.

At £30, this is a steal if you have a compatible phone. The next step up in Daydream headsets comes in the form of the £399 Lenovo Mirage Solo, which doesn’t require a smartphone.

But you only need this affordable headset to get access to some of the same features, like browsing Google Chrome in virtual reality or Casting to your TV.

From toothpaste to sun cream, here’s how to save on beauty essentials

Whether you’re shopping for moisturiser or shampoo, there has never been more choice in your local pharmacy or supermarket. And with prices for everyday essentials varying from just a few pence to well into two figures, you can make some serious savings by shopping smarter and avoiding those pricier products that are no better than budget rivals. We’ve spoken to the experts to find out when buying the budget version will do as good a job as premium alternatives.

1. Toothpaste There are more than 100 toothpastes available in supermarkets, with prices starting at less than GBP1 and rising to more than GBP10.

Toothpastes with claims that they repair gums or with extracts of charcoal sit on the shelf alongside supermarket own-brand toothpastes costing as little as 50p. So how do you choose? The key ingredient in toothpaste is fluoride and, unless you have dental issues such as sensitivity, this is the only ingredient you really need to look for.

Aim for a toothpaste with the highest concentration between 1,000ppmF and 1,500ppm – check this on the tube or box.

1,450ppmF is the figure you’re likely to see most often on adult toothpastes. Most of the other ingredients in a standard toothpaste are only there for taste and texture. If you have sensitive teeth, brushing with toothpaste specially formulated for this may help, but, dental experts say you might get more effective relief by gently rubbing the sensitive toothpaste over the affected area with a finger after brushing, or at a different time from your usual brushing times.

Tooth sensitivity is usually temporary, so you may not need to use a special toothpaste for long. You should also check with your dentist that your sensitivity isn’t down to another issue such as a cavity. If you want whiter teeth, you are better off looking at the things in your diet that might be causing discolouration and staining rather than buying whitening toothpaste, as its whitening effects are likely to be small.

Do you need to spend more to get a decent toothpaste?

For most people, the answer is no.

As long as the fluoride concentration is correct, go ahead and buy as cheap a toothpaste as you like. For more on the claims made by toothpaste brands, read our guide on choosing the best toothpaste[1]

2. Shampoo

The consensus among experts is that all shampoos are going to clean your hair pretty much as well as each other, whether they cost GBP1 or GBP100.

They all contain a surfactant (detergent), the most common being sodium laureth sulphate, although free-from and sulphate-free shampoos will contain different cleaning ingredients. With pricier shampoos you are largely paying for fragrance and brand. Although some secondary ingredients may suit your hair, they are likely to have limited effects, as shampoo is a rinse-off product.

For all cosmetic products, manufacturers have to list the ingredients that their product contains, but not the quantity. However, the higher up the list the ingredient is, the more of it there is – the first five ingredients listed are by far the most relevant. Dr Laura Waters of the University of Huddersfield says: ‘If you don’t use conditioner, you might want to choose a shampoo with conditioning agents in it (although most shampoos will include something of this nature) as the smoothing action of conditioner can help stop dirt and dust re-attaching to your hair for longer.

But a separate conditioner will serve this purpose better.’

Do you need to spend more to get a decent shampoo?

If you have dandruff or other skin conditions, a shampoo designed to help your skin problem makes sense, otherwise there’s no need to splash out.

3. Sun cream

As long as it has adequate UVA and UVB protection, your sun cream should do its job no matter what the cost. Some products may feel less greasy, be absorbed more quickly or leave less of a white cast, but all will protect your skin.

When we’ve tested sun cream, we found no link between price and effectiveness. Both cheap and expensive sun creams scored well in our application tests. Find out which ones topped our tests as the best sun creams for 2018[2].

Much of what you pay for is going to be packaging, fragrance and name. However, there are a number of active ingredients that manufacturers can choose to use in their formulations, and some are more expensive than others. Sun cream expert Saul Pyle, of Skinterest Consulting, says you don’t need to splurge on sun scream but, at the same time, it’s so important to wear it that if the one you like the feel of is a bit more expensive, it might be worth the extra if it encourages you to wear it.

You could still save by using a cheaper product for your body and save the more expensive sunscreen for your face.

Do I need to spend more to get a decent sun cream?

No. But if spending more on something you like means that you’re more likely to use it, then it could be worth it.

4. Moisturiser

The purpose of moisturiser is to help our skin barrier function (the mechanism by which our skin keeps us hydrated) essentially by holding our body water inside.

Moisturisers can temporarily help the appearance of fine lines and make the skin look plumper. But there is no long-term effect, and spending a fortune on moisturiser will not make you look younger in the long-term, no matter what a product promises. Dermatologist and spokesperson for the British Association of Dermatologists, Dr Anjali Mahto, says that if your primary concern is anti-ageing, the only things that have any substantial body of evidence for anti-ageing are sunscreen – by far the most important factor – and retinol/retinoids.

When it comes to simple moisturising, you don’t need to spend much. Look for the type of ingredients that suit your skin. There are three main types of moisturising ingredients that can be found in creams of all price ranges:

  • Humectants are good for oily skin, as they work by binding water from deeper layers of skin and pulling it towards the surface layer.

    Hyaluronic acid is a common humectant.

  • Occlusives form a protective layer over the skin to prevent water loss, but this can block pores, so are best-suited to dry skin types. They are usually oil-based; lanolin is a popular occlusive.
  • Emollients fill in gaps between skin cells to soothe skin and improve its appearance. They tend to work well for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

    They can be oil-based or water-based and include ingredients such as shea or cocoa butter.

Do I need to spend more to get a decent moisturiser?

No.

If you are buying a cream based on its anti-ageing properties, bear in mind that retinol/retinoids and sun cream are the only things that currently have a strong body of evidence.

We asked the experts to look at the evidence on a number of everyday health items so you can decide if they are worth spending on in 15 health products you don’t need.[3]

References

  1. ^ choosing the best toothpaste (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ best sun creams for 2018 (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ 15 health products you don’t need. (www.which.co.uk)

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