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Cal Flame vs KoKoMo Grills: Reviews & Which is Best

By Daniel Cdebaca

June 21, 2022

Are you wanting an outdoor kitchen for your dream backyard… but aren’t quite sure where to turn?

If you’ve done your research… you might have come across Cal Flame and KoKoMo Grills. What’s the difference? Great question! You’re in the right place.

While both Cal Flame and KoKoMo Grills work to create the ultimate outdoor living experience through prefab islands… The ways that Cal Flame and KoKoMo Grills do things are slightly different.

While we won’t be telling you which brand is best… We’ve taken the liberty of comparing the two businesses category by category so that you don’t have to.

First, let’s start off by looking into the companies themselves.

Cal Flame vs KoKoMo Grills blog post featured image

Cal Flame Company Overview

Cal Flame Logo

Cal Flame is a barbecue manufacturer branch of Cal Spas… a well-known hot-tub company. Cal Spas started in 1978 as a way to exhibit a large variety of pool designs in a small space at the county fair.

Before this, the pool company was known as California Acrylic Industries.

Cal Spas branched off to start making gazebos, barbecue islands, outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, and saunas in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. According to their website, Cal Flame offers “innovative backyard solutions” and is an “award-winning leader in innovation.”

The branch that began to make outdoor kitchens and grills was named “Cal Flame.”

Cal Flame offers many different products, primarily through stores and online retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Now let’s take a look at KoKoMo Grills!

Kokomo Grills Company Overview

KoKoMo Grills Logo

KoKoMo Grills was founded several years later. According to the Better Business Bureau, they got their start in 2004.

They now have three locations (all of which are in the Phoenix, AZ, area)…. and they claim to be the largest outdoor kitchen company in the west.

When you visit their website… one of the first things you might notice is how many different kinds of kitchen products they sell.

If you need it for an outdoor living area… you can probably find it at KoKoMo Grills.

Their inventory of built-to-order islands is also impressive.

Some islands will have roofs, others will have TVs, and so on… As well as some kitchen islands that are more simple.

How are they built

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Cal Flame BBQ Islands Build Method

3D Rendering of a Cal Flame BBQ Island showing frame work and finish product

Wondering how Cal Flame islands are constructed?

Cal Flame is very open about how they build their islands… which we love! It’s important to know how your outdoor kitchen is built… especially since it’ll be braving the elements outside for years to come.

Cal Flame uses an outdoor kitchen frame system for their prefab islands.

This is fully welded, and is made out of stainless steel.

This is then covered with a HardieBacker cement board, and finally, you get to choose the finish that goes on top!

For the counter top… You have the option of either natural stone tile or porcelain tile.

The counter doesn’t need to be sealed… But Cal Flame does say that you should seal the grout lines so they don’t get stained or change color.

Let’s look into how KoKoMo constructs their islands!

Kokomo Grills BBQ Islands Build Method

KoKomo Grill island Cross Section exposing the materials

Just like Cal Flame, KoKoMo Grills are upfront about how they make your bbq island!

KoKoMo Grills uses a metal frame system… And just like Cal Flame, they are constructed using HardieBacker cement board.

Then, they tape their islands with fiber mesh.

Finally, you’ll have your choice of tile, stone veneer, and wood substitute options for the finishes (although we can’t guarentee availability)… And porcelain tiles and natural stones for the counter tops.

Now for how they’ll get it to your backyard.

Cal Flame Delivery and Installation

Cal Flame BBQ Island with rotisserie chickens cooking

Cal Flame is a prefabricated BBQ island. This means that the island is fully constructed and finished before it arrives at your backyard!

One of the joys of getting a prefab outdoor kitchen is that you don’t have to build it yourself!

An important thing to note is that they have to get it into your backyard somehow. If your backyard access is limited… they may need to use heavy equipment like a crane to lift it in!

In these cases, everything is convenient… except for the delivery. If you have easier access to your backyard, you don’t need to worry about this step!

We aren’t sure what their delivery is like… Or how long it will take for your Cal Flame island to be delivered.

Let’s see how KoKoMo Grills compare.

KoKoMo Grills Delivery and Installation

Like Cal Flame islands, KoKoMo Grills islands are already put together before they get to your backyard… This makes them prefab as well.

Because of this, they have the same delivery concerns as Cal Flame if your backyard is not easily accessible.

Delivery takes eight to twelve weeks… And KoKoMo offers “white glove” delivery service in Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona.

Now, what are these islands made of?

Cal Flame Outdoor Kitchen Materials

Cal Flame BBQ Island prefabricated metal Frame

So what are Cal Flame’s outdoor kitchens made of?

At their core, Cal Flame products are made of a 16-gauge galvanized steel frame that is fully welded.

The next layer is a quarter inch of HardieBacker. This is a strong cement board that is mold resistant, fire rated, and water resistant.

As a finish, you can choose between Ameristone stucco or stone veneer.

Ameristone stucco is a finish made up of aggregates of different sizes. It’s encased in a clear, acrylic binder. It has a fine, sandy finish with many different colors.

Finally, you can choose to have the counter top made out of either natural stone tile or outdoor kitchen tile.

Now, what about KoKoMo Grills?

Kokomo Grills Outdoor Kitchen Materials

KoKoMo L shaped Grill Island with stucco finish

Their islands are built around 20 gauge steel frames.

This is a strong outdoor kitchen material, but not quite as sturdy as Cal Flame’s frame since the higher the gauge is, the thinner the sheet of metal is (counterintuitive, we know).

Just like Cal Flame, they are constructed using HardieBacker cement board, which is a common choice of material for frames.

Then, they tape their islands with fiber mesh.

The most common finish material used is stucco. Their website also indicates that there are tile, stone veneer, and wood substitute options, but we can’t guarantee availability.

Finally, the countertop options are made of your choice of porcelain tiles and natural stones (travertine, marble, and granite).

Overall, the materials used in these brands are very similar.

Now, let’s look at their island offerings.

CAL FLAME ISLAND OPTIONS​

Cal Flame Pavillion Style BBQ Island
The Pavilion
Luxury Backyard Kitchen BBQ island by cal flame
Luxury Barbecue Kitchen (LBK)

Cal Flame offer islands ranging from 4 ft. to 10 ft., and they have their own line of grills!

They have two types of outdoor kitchen islands: the Pavilion and the LBK (luxury barbecue kitchen).

If you go for the LBK… you’ll have ten options to choose from.

The Pavilion has five additional choices that are more customizable.

While you can’t do a full custom build, both the LBK and Pavilion series allow you to choose the countertops and finish.

In the Pavilion series, you can also choose your appliances… while the LBK islands are shown as they are. We’ll talk about which outdoor kitchen appliances to choose later.

The finish comes in five stucco and two stone veneer options.

The counter top can either come with or without trim… and features your choice of one of ten tile options.

Let’s see how this compares to KoKoMo Grills’ island options.

KoKoMo Grills Island Options

KoKoMo Grill Island with griddle cooking food

KoKoMo has a whopping 38 island options!

From 4′ stucco grill islands… to outdoor kitchen palapas (buildings with open sides and a roof made of palm leaves, like a bar in a tropical resort ) with thatch roofing and TVs…

KoKoMo not only has a lot of options, but also a wide variety.

Some outdoor kitchen options request that buyers call to customize. Unfortunately, they do not specify the extent to which they are able to do so.

Most of the more basic options do not advertise customization opportunities. But with so many set options, you’re likely to find exactly what you want already there. You can also call in just to double check.

Now, what about grills? Let’s take a look at Cal Flame’s grill options.

Cal Flame Outdoor Grills

Cal Flame is also a barbecue manufacturer!

They have two standards of BBQ grills: The “G” model and the “P” model… As well as a convection grill. All three options come as built-in grills.

All three types (G series, P series, and convection) of Cal Flame outdoor BBQ grills have a built in temperature gauge and warming rack. You can also get extra accessories like a charcoal tray, deep fryer accessories, a pizza brick tray, and more.

Cal Flame’s website doesn’t show prices, but you can call them to find out more.

Starting with the value Cal Flame grill option…

G Series

G Series 4 burner Cal Flame Grill

The Cal Flame G-series is made of 430-stainless steel and has two walls of insulation.

These have a temperature gauge and cast iron burners covered in porcelain… each of which has 15,000 BTU heat output.

This series comes in four options for gas: a 3, 4, or 5 burner grill… or a Cal Flame charcoal grill.

The G3 has a cooking area of 600 square inches. The G4 has 800 square inches, which is 200 more than the G3. And the G5 grill has a cooking area of 1,000 square inches.

The charcoal grill is 800 square inches, just like the G4. It is also made of 430-stainless steel.

P Series

Cal Flame P Series P4 built in grill

The Cal Flame P-series grill is made of 304-stainless steel. This is a premium grade material! So you can expect P-series grills to last longer than the G-series.

It includes cast stainless steel burners with independent ignitor switches.

Like the G-series, the P-series’ burners shell out 15,000 BTU each.

They also come in three sizes: 4, 5, or 6 burners.

This means that you can choose from cooking spaces of 800, 1000, or 1200 square inches.

Convection

Cal Flame Top Gun 5 burner convection grill

If you’d prefer a convection grill… Cal Flame has you covered!

These work to quickly cook your food with a convection system that uniformly circulates heat throughout the grill’s cavity.

There are three versions of this grill: the 4-burner, the 5-burner, and the “Top Gun” 5-burner.

They have 800, 1,000, and 1,200 square inches of space for cooking, respectively.

These convection grills are also crafted using 304-stainless steel.

As a fun extra… The “Top Gun” style features a glass window on the hood so that you can look at your food without losing heat from opening the lid!

Now, let’s take a look at KoKoMo’s Grills!

KoKoMo Grills Outdoor Grills

Just like with their island selection, KoKoMo Grills offer a slightly wider variety of grills than Cal Flame.

While this may be overwhelming while you’re planning an outdoor kitchen… The gas grills can be put into two groups: “classic” and “professional.”

All KoKoMo grills are made of 304 stainless steel and have hoods with a dual wall construction.

This is great since 304 stainless steel will preform better and last longer than other grades of stainless steel.

You can add accessories like rotisserie kits and griddle inserts to both the classic and the professional grills.

You can also find their prices right on their website! We appreciate their transparency on their outdoor products.

Just like with Cal Flame, we’ll start off with the value option first.

Classic

Kokomo 26 inch built in gas grill

Starting off strong with a quality material (304 stainless steel), these grills come in three options. You can purchase them with 3, 4, or 5 burners.

Each burner has 15,000 BTU, just like Cal Flame’s grills.

It’s a plus that even the standard offering is made of premium-quality materials.

Their 26″ 3-burner grill comes with 560 square inches of cooking surface… Their 32″ 4-burner has 740 square inches… And the largest option, a 40″ 5-burner grill, has 920 square inches of cooking surface.

Overall, these grills are slightly smaller than the standard Cal Flame options.

Moving up to the next option…

Professional

Kokomo 32” Professional Built in Gas Grill

The professional version of KoKoMo’s Grills are built out of 18 gauge 304 stainless steel.

The main difference is that the “pro” versions have a few extra features.

Their knobs are lit with LED lights… They have been upped to 18,000 BTU per burner… There are heat zone dividers between the burners… And there are interior oven lights to make night-time grilling easier. That’s a lot!

You can get a 4- burner or a 5-burner professional KoKoMo Grill. The 4-burner comes at 750 square inches of cooking space, which is slightly more than what the classic version offers.

The 5-burner has 920 square inches, the same amount found in the classic version.

outdoor kitchens with premium appliances

Use our 3D design tool for free to design an outdoor kitchen with the premium appliances you want.

CAL FLAME OUTDOOR KITCHEN COSTS FOR YOUR OUTDOOR SPACE​

If you purchase through the Cal Flame website… you’ll have to request a quote. There are no prices for their islands available.

However, we can search for Cal Flame products’ pricing on other sites… The price just may not be exactly the same as what Cal Flame offers.

Because Cal Flame offers a variety of islands… there are a wide range of prices!

To give you an idea of prices… the least expensive Cal Flame option we were able to find was a 6 ft. stucco grill island for $3,300. It has a 4-Burner gas grill in stainless steel.

The most expensive was the 15.8 foot pavilion island for $10,989.

Curious about how much KoKoMo Grill’s islands cost?

Cal Flame grand pavilion outdoor kitchen with built in pergola

KOKOMO GRILLS ISLAND COSTS FOR YOUR OUTDOOR SPACE​

Fortunately for us, we have access to KoKoMo’s pricing information!

Because they have so much variance in the islands they sell… Their prices also come in a diverse range. There’s something for just about every outdoor kitchen budget!

They range from $3,625 to $49,995.

Coming in first at $49,995, KoKoMo sells a “fantasy island” which includes a 20′ long media wall with lighting and enclosed shelves… a 20′ long bar for seating… a 20′ x 15′ aluminum roof with a fan… a 5 burner professional KoKoMo grill… an outdoor kegerator… and even a 70″ TV installed on the wall. There is a handy storage area for a propane tank.

This island bar is huge and has a lot of great features!

Alternatively… The smallest island from KoKoMo is the “Panama 4′ BBQ Island with 4 Burner Built In BBQ Grill,” which costs $3,625.

Now, how do the warranties hold up?

Outdoor Kitchen TV Media Wall with Pergola and Outdoor Bar Seating BBQ Island

Cal Flame Warranty

In order to save money in the long-run… It’s important to make sure you get a good warranty for your outdoor kitchen! A replacement fee for islands and grills that aren’t insured is one of the most common hidden costs of an outdoor kitchen.

So, what does Cal Flame offer?

Cal Flame grills come with a ten-year structural warranty. They also have a ten-year warranty on their stainless steel burners and V-grate.

The Flame Tamers and the warming rack are both covered for three years.

Lastly, the gas valves and “other components” are insured for one year.

Their islands are covered by a one-year structural warranty.

Hardware is covered for ninety days.

Kokomo Grills Warranty

KoKoMo islands come with a limited warranty that can be expanded into an extended warranty. It is unclear what exactly will be covered in each warranty option.

All KoKoMo appliances come with a lifetime limited warranty.

If you’d like to extend your warranty… you can purchase an extended warranty for $500 when you register for your limited warranty. This must be done within 30 days of the original purchase.

It is unclear what the limited warranty entails versus the extended… So be sure to call and verify before you settle!

Quick Summary

That was a lot of information!

To help you compare, we put together a quick chart to go over some of the basic features of Cal Flame and KoKoMo Grills.

Cal Flame
KoKoMo Grills

Building Method:

Prefab

Prefab

Structural Material:

Fully-welded, 16 gauge galvanized steel construction frame

20 gauge steel frames

Countertop:

Solid Italian title or natural stones

Porcelain tiles or natural stones

Appliances: 

Your choice of a Cal Flame 430-stainless steel or 304-stainless steel gas grill, or a convection grill

Your choice of a KoKoMo “classic” 304-stainless steel gas grill, or a “premium” upgraded 304-stainless steel gas grill

Appliance Warranty:

10 year structural warranty

Limited lifetime structural warranty

Island Warranty:

1 year structural warranty

Initially a limited warranty that can be upgraded to an extended warranty for $500. It is unclear what exactly will be covered in each warranty option.

Reviews

As with any major purchase… it’s important to look at what other customers say when you’re buying an outdoor kitchen!

That’s why we’d encourage you to do your own research on Cal Flame and KoKoMo Grills. We don’t want to just show you the reviews we think are the best. We want you to see all of them for yourself.

You should also take a look at the reviews for their grills.

We would recommend you look through the comments and pictures themselves, rather than just at the overall rating.

KoKoMo has 310 reviews on Google… and the average rating is 4.5 stars.

Because Cal Flame primarily sells through dealers… it’s difficult to find an official Google rating for the business

However, you can still find ratings on different sites that sell their products, such as Home Depot and Wayfair.

You’ll notice that we don’t have a section on which brand is best. We don’t take a stance!

If you want something more unique, KoKoMo might be a good choice for you. They have the usual choices… But there are also many that have thatch roofs and look like tropical entertainment centers.

If you like the classics, you might like Cal Flame. As a company, they’ve been around for a long time, and their designs have all the essentials without going overboard.

An Alternative Approach

rta outdoor kitchen paired with an alfa pizza oven that is ready to enjoy

If neither or these options are quite “it” for you… there are a few reasons to consider an alternative barbecue island manufacturer

Maybe you’re worried about how you’ll get a prefabricated kitchen island into your backyard. Or maybe you want an island with a warranty that will last longer. Perhaps you want an island you can customize a bit more.

No matter the reason, that’s okay!

There’s a DIY outdoor kitchen option for you.

If you have needs that a prefabricated kitchen just won’t meet… consider RTA!

While quite similar to a prefabricated kitchen… RTA (ready-to-assemble) islands avoid many of the major downfalls.

Getting It In Your Backyard Is Easier

Two people moving the back panel of a RTA outdoor kitchen

One of the best parts of RTA as compared to prefab islands is that you are able to put it together yourself (don’t worry… it’s easy!)

It isn’t as complicated as building an island from scratch… and it only takes a few hours from start to finish to put together after it’s delivered straight to your door!

That allows for easy transportation into your backyard… The pieces can be hand carried up any stairs and right into your backyard. No cranes needed. What a relief.

Customization

Another benefit is customization.

While KoKoMo and Cal Flame claim that they can customize your island… it still falls within a basic set of options.

With RTA, we can create something especially for you… We can truly customize your kitchen.

We even have a design tool to help you get started! It’s so easy to use… It walks you through step by step, so you can decide what you want and where you want it.

It’s in your hands!

Longer Warranty

And a final cherry on top? The island comes with a limited lifetime warranty from RTA, and the grill comes with a limited lifetime warranty from Coyote.

This will save you so much money (and stress) if your island or grill breaks.

What now?

mike pyle with his family at their custom outdoor kitchen with a modern concrete finish

You’re probably wondering how to get started.

Our most popular designs are ready to ship, so you can enjoy them that much sooner! This is great if you’d rather not design your own island.

If none of our “Quick Ship” options speak to you, you may want to explore our custom solutions. We’d love to offer you one-on-one personalized attention with a phone call with our Design Experts.

We look forward to working with you!

Have any Questions? Were HEre to HElp.

Book a call with one of our outdoor kitchen design experts and get started today!

FAQ

Cal Flame islands are made in the USA and their grills are imported from China.

Elizabeth Tibbitts has been the president of KoKoMo Grills since May 2010.

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