Home & Garden

The 7 Best Kamado Grills – [2020 Reviews & Guide]

If you want to grill like a professional, you have to have the proper equipment to do so. One of the most important pieces of equipment that you’ll need is obviously a grill!

But not just any old grill will do if you’re aiming for perfection. What you need is a Kamado grill, and not just any Kamado will do – you need the best Kamado grill available.

Kamado grills run more expensive than other grill types, but they’re well worth the cost and, as you’ll come to see it, the initial investment into your culinary future.

In this guide, we review the seven top Kamado grills for your needs and uses.

We also explore some of the things that you should consider when shopping for your Kamado grill and after that, we answer some of the faq people have about Kamado grills.

Best Kamado Grills

 Char-Griller E56720 AKORNKamado Joe KJ23RHC Ceramic Classic IIChar-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr.
editors choice
Cooking Area:314 sq inches406 sq inches153 sq inches
Weight:89 Pounds250 Pounds37 Pounds
Stand:Tubular steel cartMetal cartFreestanding legs
Shelves:Two folding shelvesHDPE side shelvesNone

For more of my top grilling recommendations, have a look through these popular Outside Pursuits guide links: Tailgating Grills, Backyard Smokers, Outdoor Electric Grills.

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Kamado Grills For 2020

  1. Char-Griller E56720 AKORN
  2. Kamado Joe KJ23RHC
  3. Char-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr.
  4. Primo Grills and Smokers 773
  5. Char-Broil Kamander Charcoal Grill
  6. Pit Boss 71220 Kamado
  7. Char-Griller E56520

Our reviews to the top rated kamado grills with our comparison table and buyers guide will help you choose the right grill for you.


Kamado Grill Reviews

The AKORN Kamado grill from Char-Griller is the best Kamado grill around. It’s great for searing and cooking meat as well as smoking it.

This grill is constructed with triple-walled 22-gauge steel, so it’ll last you many years of use and will easily maintain your desired cooking temperatures.

It works great and is intended to operate at temperatures ranging from 200 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit.

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It features top and bottom dampers that are fully adjustable and make it easy to maintain even and consistent temperatures throughout.

The exterior is powder-coated for additional weather resistance, and the interior is coated in porcelain for heat resistance.

It comes with a tubular steel cart with large, 8-inch wheels for easy moving and relocation, so if you want to store it in a garage or shed or under a carport, you can easily do so.

The wheels also lock, so you won’t have to worry about your Kamado grill rolling away while you’re trying to cook on it.

Char-Griller E56720 AKORN at a Glance:

  • Cooking Space: 314 square inches
  • Weight: 89 pounds
  • Stand Included: Tubular steel cart
  • Side Shelves: Two folding metal shelves
  • Other: Has a 133-square-inch warming rack

This is the best ceramic grill available on the market if you’re looking for a kamado grill. You pay for the quality, though, as this is definitely an expensive model of Kamado grill.

But it comes with an array of user-friendly features and great temperature controls and options. These factors combined make it one of the most versatile grills available.

The walls and advanced multi-panel firebox where the charcoal is held are both made of thick, heavy ceramic for optimal heat control and retention.

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The top and bottom vents are easy to adjust and will let you control the amount of airflow that reaches the firebox. In turn, this determines how hot your grill will get.

Even the cart is made to last. It’s made of durable cast iron and features locking casters and wheels for added security and peace of mind.

It has a wire mesh fiberglass gasket that’s double-thick compared to others and provides a superior, air-tight seal. It’ll last ten times the life of an average industry gasket, meaning you’ll be able to get plenty of use out of it.

Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Ceramic Classic II at a Glance:

  • Cooking Space: 406 square inches
  • Weight: 250 pounds
  • Stand Included: Metal cart
  • Side Shelves: HDPE side shelves
  • Other: Has a limited lifetime warranty on the ceramic parts, plus extra

The AKORN Jr. is similar to the larger standard model in almost every aspect. It’s one of the best Kamado BBQs available though despite its smaller size.

Unlike other, larger Kamado grills, the AKORN Jr. is a petite 37 pounds and is easy to move around or maneuver as needed to use or store. Additionally, it has side handles which make moving it that much easier.

It doesn’t use a cart or stand. Instead, it has short, sturdy, durable legs that help keep it upright and stable even on uneven surfaces.

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This tiny grill has an impressive 153 square inches of cooking surface area. While that’s not as much as some of the other models on our list, it is more than enough for a few people such as family or close friends.

Like the larger AKORN model, the Jr. uses triple-walled 22-gauge steel in its construction to retain heat and reach temperatures ranging from 200 to 700 degrees.

The exterior is powder-coated to help prevent rust or corrosion while the interior is coated in enamel, preventing undue heat damage. Additionally, it comes with an ash pan that makes cleaning up simple and hassle-free.

 

Char-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr. at a Glance:

  • Cooking Space: 153 square inches
  • Weight: 37 pounds
  • Stand Included: Freestanding legs
  • Side Shelves: No
  • Other: Comes in red and black colors

This all-in-one Kamado round grill is the best ceramic smoker we could find.

This Kamado grill features a thick, ¾-inch ceramic exterior, so you can be sure that it’s durable enough to withstand all kinds of weather conditions, some small drops or accidents.

This is a freestanding grill with an attached wheel cart for easier mobility. Considering it weighs a hefty 150 pounds, this is a welcome feature for this model.

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It also has some other beneficial features. These include a porcelain-coated steel cooking grate, the highest sitting lid currently available on a Kamado grill, a grid lifter, an ash tool, and more!

As a point of interest, the high-sitting lid allows you to cook full turkeys or chickens vertically in your grill, which is a fantastic alternative for baking or piecing them up to grill individually.

It comes almost fully-assembled, all you really have to do is put some finishing touches (like the wheels) in the cradle cart and you’re good to go!

 

Primo Grills and Smokers 773 at a Glance:

  • Cooking Space: 280 square inches
  • Weight: 150 pounds
  • Stand Included: Comes with a cradle-style wheel cart
  • Side Shelves: Durable plastic shelves
  • Other: Comes with a 20-year warranty

With a whopping 327 square inches of cooking surface available in this grill, you’ll be glad to know that you can serve many members of your family and friend group with this Kamado grill in your arsenal.

This is a top-of-the-line Char-Broil product that, while impressively large, is still manageable and effective.

It’s less expensive than most similarly-sized models of Kamado grill simply because it’s made with double-walled steel rather than ceramic.

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The metal is enameled in porcelain. It’s insulated well enough to retain heat though, and it’s one of the more effective metal Kamado grills out there for that purpose.

It works well as a grill, smoker, or roasting oven, so it’s great for a variety of cooking uses and needs.

From smoking briskets to flash-searing steaks, this grill can do it all and then some. And with its large, foldable side shelf, you’ll have all the preparation space you’ll need.

 

Char-Broil Kamander Charcoal Grilat a Glance:

  • Cooking Space: 327 square inches
  • Weight: 117 pounds
  • Stand Included: Wheeled cart attachment
  • Side Shelves: Singular large, folding stainless steel side shelf
  • Other: Has an additional 142 square inches of cooking space

This Kamado ceramic grill is the best ceramic cooker available. This grill is actually available in two sizes, 22 and 24 inches.

It’s made with thick, ceramic walls that are ideal for trapping heat and distributing it evenly throughout the cooking chamber.

This is accentuated by the fact that this grill features two layers of stainless steel cooking grids.

This gives an active cooking surface area of 567 square inches in the 22-inch model and 662 square inches in the 24-inch model.

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They also have two foldable bamboo side shelves that serve as storage space for your utensils, sauces, seasonings, and food that has finished cooking.

The grills also come with some heavy-duty hardware that helps to secure the otherwise delicate ceramic body.

The wood handle on the grill is not only functional but adds an attractive finish to the all-black grill and metal stand.

The damper is calibrated cast iron and allows you to adjust the heat seamlessly.

 

Pit Boss 71220 Kamado at a Glance:

  • Cooking Space: 662 square inches
  • Weight: 178 pounds
  • Stand Included: Metal wheeled stand
  • Side Shelves: Bamboo foldable side shelves
  • Other: Uses two tiers of stainless steel cooking grates

Our list is rounded out with another Char-Griller winner, the AKORN Cart Kamado Grill. It comes in three attractive colors, either sapphire blue, red or graphite.

Additionally, this model used to include a warming rack, but no longer does. However, you can purchase one from the manufacturer if you feel you really need it.

Even without the warming rack, this grill boasts an impressive 314 square inches of cooking surface area.

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The cart also has two side shelves for extra working space. Additionally, it has utensil hooks, so you don’t have to use up all that space for just your utensils.

You can use it to store cooked food, any sauces, spices, and seasonings, or a nice, cold drink for those hot summer days.

The cooking grates of this grill are cast iron and help to evenly cook or sear your food, retain natural juices and flavors, and even preserve your charcoal and help minimize the amount of lump charcoal that’s used in the cooking process.

It also features an easy to dump ash pan that makes cleaning up after a long day grilling a simple, worry-free process.

It has indexed dampers, a heat and temperature gauge, and triple-walled steel construction with appropriate insulation to make sure that you have the best cooking experience possible.

 

Char-Griller Kamado Grill at a Glance:

  • Cooking Space: 314 square inches
  • Weight: 89 pounds
  • Stand Included: 26” by 26” cart included
  • Side Shelves: Yes, 2 side shelves
  • Other: Does not include a warming rack, but is compatible with one

Kamado Grill Comparison Table

Kamado Grills Cooking SpaceWeightStand IncludedSide ShelvesOtherRating
Char-Griller E56720314 sq inches89 lbsTubular steel cartTwo shelvesWarming rack4.1 / 5.0
Kamado Joe KJ23RHC
406 sq inches250 lbsMetal cartHDPE side shelvesLifetime warranty 4.6 / 5.0
Char-Griller E06614153 sq inches37 lbsFreestanding legsNoRed & black colors4.5 / 5.0
Primo Grills and Smokers280 sq inches150 lbsCradle-style wheel cartPlastic shelves20-Year warranty
4.5 / 5.0
Char-Broil Kamander Charcoal
327 sq inches117 lbsWheeled cart attachmentSingular largeTop removal ash pan4 / 5.0
Pit Boss 71220662 sq inches178 lbsMetal wheeled standfoldable side shelvesTwo tier3.9 / 5.0
Char-Griller AKORN Grill314 sq inches89 lbs26” by 26” cartTwo shelvesDual adjustable dampers4.2 / 5.0

How to Choose the Best Kamado Grill – Buyers Guide

best ceramic grills
Char-Griller E56520 AKORN Cart Charcoal

When you’re deciding on which Kamado grill to buy, there are a lot of factors you should consider during your buying process. Things like the materials, cost, size, and overall quality of the grill should be looked at.

How Kamado Grills Work

Kamado grills operate on hardwood lump charcoal. No gas or propane is necessary to operate your Kamado grill. This means your food gets a delightful smoky flavor and it’s so easy to use.

The Kamado grill is designed with a thick wall that holds in the heat, making the grill more efficient than its competitors. It operates much like you might expect a wood stove to operate.

The grill is egg-shaped and air enters from the bottom, passes through the fuel source (charcoal), and steam is emitted from the top through an air vent or chimney-like feature.

You can monitor and adjust the temperature of the grill by adjusting the air that passes through the unit. It’s quite simple to control and regulate the temperature once you get your Kamado grill pre-heated. Your grill simply needs hardwood charcoal and air in order to operate effectively.

How to Use a Kamado Grill

You can use your Kamado grill to cook in various ways. There are several styles of cooking the grill can effectively handle. Here are the common cooking styles you can expect your grill to perform.

  • Direct Cooking
  • Raised Direct Cooking
  • Indirect Cooking
  • Smoking or Slow Cooking

Direct cooking is the most common cooking method on any grill. This is your everyday place your items on the grill rack cooking style. It’s great for burgers, steaks, vegetables, and more. Indirect cooking and smoking take a bit more skill and time but they are both great options for using your Kamado grill.

No matter which cooking style you plan to use, the base concept of how to use the grill remains the same across the board. The step you have to learn to perfect is how and when to vent the air to achieve and maintain the perfect temperature inside your grill for your cooking style and the items you are cooking.

You first need to get your charcoal heated and burning. Don’t overdo your charcoal use. We recommend hardwood lump charcoal as the best charcoal option. Your charcoal should heat about 20-30 minutes before you add your food.

As your charcoal gets to heating, you want to adjust your air flow to get to the right temperature. You may have to play around to get your temperature just right. The temperature does not adjust immediately, you might have to make adjustments and give it about 10 minutes until you get it where you want it to be.

Who Should Buy a Kamado Grill?

The Kamado grill could literally be the right choice for just about anyone who loves to grill or smoke foods. If you like the smoky or charcoal flavor, this grill is a great option.

The Kamado grill is versatile and can handle various cooking styles. It does not have a huge surface area so if you’re planning to grill a bulk amount of burgers it may not be ideal for you. The versatility of the Kamado grill is relevant and even the small sizes can hold a sizable amount of meat or other items.

A Kamado grill could potentially be a costly investment depending on the size you want and the extra features you desire. However, the smaller grills can be budget-friendly. They also have alternatives to the wholly ceramic grill for those who need a lower cost.

What to Look for When Buying a Kamado Grill

What you may or may not need for your Kamado grill could significantly vary based on how you intend to use it as well as your overall budget. Here are a few tips of things you should consider when purchasing a Kamado grill.

  1. Material & Quality – if you want the best Kamado grill, ceramic is the way to go. They do have stainless steel and cast-iron aluminum options that make the grills more budget-friendly. However, the ceramic materials are what really have given Kamado their positive reputation.
  2. Size – Be sure to select the size of grill that will work best for you and your family’s needs. There are small grills and large grills and several in between. You will want to be sure you have the proper amount of cooking space for any potential cooking aspirations you might have for the grill.
  3. Accessories & Tools – You want to ensure you have the right setup for your needs. For instance, the temperature gauges and their accuracy are pretty important. Ensure you have the proper tools for your intentions and that the tools are accurate and effective.
  4. Budget – Be sure to look within your price range. Don’t be discouraged by the more expensive options but simply look until you find the right grill for the right price. Ideally, you will spend more on a quality Kamado option. Don’t settle for less than the best.
  5. Warranty – The best protection for your investment and your pocketbook is to ensure you have a proper warranty. A company that is willing to back their products with a warranty is an assurance that you are getting a high-quality product. A warranty is a good thing and usually well worth it in the end.

Kamado Grills vs. Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills and Kamado grills could easily be comparable. They are similar in terms of they both use charcoal but in all honesty, that’s primarily where the similarities end. You can use your Kamado grill as a direct cooking source for burgers and things just like you would a charcoal grill.

With both grills, you need to heat your grill by burning your charcoal. The Kamado provides a more controlled environment and is made much differently than your typical charcoal grill.

The Kamado grill is heavy and commonly made with ceramic. It retains the heat more effectively because of the materials of the body of the grill. Most charcoal grills are limited to what you can cook on the rack.

The Kamado grill is designed to be used as a direct cooking source or as a slow-cooker/smoker option. The Kamado is much more versatile as far as how you can cook things and as far as the control you have over the temperature.

kamado grill vs charcoal grill
Weber Charcoal Grill vs Char-Griller E56720 AKORN Kamado Grill

Overall Quality

The moment a product type gains popularity, lower-cost and lower quality models seem to instantly pop up. It’s inevitable, it’s part of how the free market works.

Oftentimes, lower costs mean lower quality, whether that be in functionality, materials, or other aspects of the product.

This is, of course, not always the case, but most of the time it is.Kamado grills that are lower in quality tend to have thinner walls.

This means that your Kamado grill, whose whole purpose is to retain heat, won’t be able to hold a constant temperature.

The fit and finish of a lower quality model may also be lacking. Keep an eye out for low-grade fittings and gaskets that might rust or not seal as tightly as they’re supposed to.

Materials

A majority of Kamado grills are made with either ceramic or enamel-coated stainless steel. You may find other materials available, such as cast aluminum, as well.

But, for the most part, your choices will be steel or ceramic.Both are fairly easy to clean, but stainless steel is oftentimes a little cheaper than the ceramic models.

However, ceramic holds heat better and offers absolutely no chances of rusting or corroding like the stainless steel will, albeit gradually and over time.

If you plan to move your Kamado grill around a lot, you’ll probably want to try the stainless steel models out instead.

This is because, if you drop it while moving, the stainless steel won’t crack or break like the ceramic is liable to.

Size and Budget

Two more important factors that need to be considered when you purchase your Kamado grill are the size of the grill and the actual cost versus your available budget.

Size

Kamado grills come in a wide range of sizes, and you really have to know what you want to do with your grill before you commit to a size.

You can find tiny grills or huge ones, depending on where you look and how much you’re willing to spend.

On average, Kamado grills have less cooking surface area than your average gas or charcoal grill does. But they also tend to cook better, which results in tastier food.

Consider your regular grill uses: how often are you cooking and for how many people?

If you’re just cooking for your immediate family or a few close friends, you can probably tolerate getting a smaller model of Kamado grill.

But for larger groups and the extended family, you’ll want to have a larger model on-hand and available.

Cost and Budget

As mentioned previously, lower-cost Kamado grills may also be of lower quality. While this is obviously not always the case, it is something to keep in mind.

Your Kamado grill should be an investment, not just a purchase.

A well-built grill may be more expensive, but it will undoubtedly pay off in the long run. It will last longer and provide an overall better cooking and dining experience.

Ability to Withstand the Elements

When you get a grill, typically you expect to and intend to use it outside. Unfortunately, there are hazards outside of the comfort of your home, the most pressing of which involve the elements of nature themselves.

Your grill needs to be able to withstand intense heat, UV radiation, rain, high winds, and other negative weathering factors that may be typical in your area.

Of course, you can buy protective covers from the manufacturer that are made to fit your Kamado grill. This will help to protect them from most of the elements.

You can also store your grill safely after each use if it’s lightweight enough for you to move without too much hassle or injury.

For heavier models, we do suggest taking precautions like investing in a protective cover.

Overall, however, your Kamado grill should naturally be resistant to the elements. You’ll want to choose a grill that has a rust-resistant fit and finish.

This will help ensure the longevity of your grill. Additionally, make sure that you clean up your grill properly after each use, as acids, food grease, and more can eat away at any protective enamel on your grill and could make it more susceptible to damage, wear, and tear.

Working Space

This may not be as important as the other aspects on this list, but it’s definitely something to consider if you’re looking for overall convenience.

A Kamado grill with an attached work surface is an absolute dream. Additional work surfaces or spaces give you room to comfortably lay your cooking utensils.

You can also use them to hold any sauces, marinades, or seasonings.On particularly hot days, you can even use them to hold ice-cold drinks while you’re grilling!

Some Kamado grills will come with attached work surfaces, while others will not. Oftentimes, however, if your grill doesn’t come with an attached or attachable surface, you can order one through the manufacturer.

These are usually custom-tailored to that manufacturer’s grill, so keep that in mind when you’re shopping for an attachable table or cart for your Kamado grill.

Customer Service and Warranty Quality

Warranty Quality

When you choose to invest in a product like a Kamado grill, it’s important to make sure you know what the warranty entails.

On that note, we don’t advise that you buy any Kamado grill that doesn’t come with a warranty.

While Kamado grills are exceptionally well-made, they can still break or become damaged, and that’s where the warranty comes in.

Ceramic can crack or chip. Steel can dent or be warped. Hinges and seals can rust, corrode, or be generally worn down with use.

Pieces inside of the grill can also become damaged over time.

As a result of all of this, you want to look for a warranty that provides comprehensive coverage that includes every aspect of the grill, all of the parts that can be worn down, broken, or damaged.

Some manufacturers will offer lifetime warranties ranging from covering repairs to full replacements. Others will offer a warranty that spans a few years.

Customer Service

Additionally, you want to be sure that the customer service team that you may eventually have to contact is helpful, friendly, and overall pleasant to work with.

There’s no real way to test the customer service team before buying the grill, though, so what can you do?

One solution to give you a better idea of how a company’s customer service team acts and handles a situation is to look for comments, reviews, and more online.

People only leave comments on exceptionally good or particularly awful products, and they tend to do the same when it comes to customer service representatives.

Look at feedback sections on the manufacturer’s website, social media posts, and more to get a feel for how people feel about the service.

Previous customer opinions and current product users are great resources, and you don’t have to put yourself out there at all to gauge the capabilities of the service team.

FAQs About Kamado Grills

Q: Why are ceramic grills better?

A: Many people who are used to cooking in metallic grills, whether steel or aluminum, often wonder why ceramic grills are heralded as the better option.

There are several reasons for this mindset.

First of all, ceramic grills can be used for more than just grilling. They can be used, essentially, as outdoor convection ovens or smokers as well.

Many people use Kamado grills to smoke brisket, cook pizza, and sear steak depending on their meal plans for the day.

Ceramic grills also heat up more quickly. They achieve higher temperatures faster, and can easily drop down to lower temperatures as needed.

This means if you want to sear a cut of meat and then cook it to preserve the flavor and juices, a ceramic grill is the perfect option for it.

These grill types also retain heat better than aluminum or stainless steel due to ceramic’s natural ability to insulate.

Your lump charcoal will be used more efficiently plus, the heat generated from the charcoal heats the entire grill, allowing your food to cook from all sides and not just from the bottom.

This makes ceramic grills ideal for cooking on direct or indirect heat.

Q: What are the benefits of a Kamado grill?

A: There are many benefits of using a Kamado grill, some of which are highlighted above.

Specifically, when it comes to the ceramic models of this grill type, they simply cook better no matter what cooking style you’re attempting to use or what results you want to achieve.

However, there are also some unique benefits to the Kamado grill type itself. For example, the domed lid and ceramic material work together to provide even, effective convection cooking.

This helps to prevent any cold spots and allows you to cook all of the food that’s in or on your grill at any given time.

Q: Are Kamado grills good for grilling?

A: Kamado grills, as the name may imply, are great for grilling! The fact that they can reach high searing temperatures to sear beef, fish, and other meats is a testament to that.

Overall, Kamado grills are great for most types of cooking, including grilling, even to the pickiest of enthusiasts and grill masters.

Q: Can you use regular charcoal in a Kamado grill?

A: This question may be yes or no depending on who you ask. Some people insist that they can cook just fine with charcoal briquettes on a Kamado grill, while others will vehemently tell you that it’s not possible.

The truth is – yes, you can cook with and use regular charcoal briquettes using your Kamado grill. But while that’s true, we don’t recommend it.

Hardwood lump charcoal works best with Kamado grills, and therefore should be used with them so that you don’t have undesirable results in your culinary adventures.

Briquettes simply are not what Kamado grills were designed to cook with, and will not provide the proper kind of heat that the grill needs to cook or sear your food.

Q: What is the difference between lump charcoal and briquettes?

A: Briquettes should not be used with your Kamado grill, we should elaborate. There are many reasons you should only use hardwood lump charcoal with your Kamado grill.

For starters, charcoal briquettes are made with a combination of lump charcoal, sawdust, and other materials.

This also includes flammable additives that are meant to make them easier to ignite, and can honestly be hit-or-miss on effectiveness.

While wood used in briquettes is burned down similarly to how lump charcoal is, the way that it’s processed and compressed alters how it ends up burning.

Briquettes burn at a lower heat than lump charcoal does, and also burns longer.

Lump charcoal, however, is pure and typically made of burned wood. That’s it – no additives, no dust, not anything extra.

It burns faster than the briquettes but puts out a much higher heat, which makes it easier to achieve the desired temperatures you need for grilling. It also doesn’t have any unnecessary additives.

Performance
Features
Quality

The Char-Griller E56720 AKORN is our Editor's Choice for the best Kamado grill with its performance, features and quality.

User Rating: Be the first one !

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Richard Remick

I am an avid traveler and adventurer, I love skiing, snowboarding, hiking and camping in Colorado in the Dillion area, and when I am in Florida you can usually find me on the water either paddleboarding or kayaking. My recent passion is scuba diving, I got certified a few years ago and "get wet" as frequently as I can.

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