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paulleve

Akorn 3 Year Review

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I've had my Akorn for almost three years now, and thought I'd give quick review as to how it's holding up.

 

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First some details.  I picked up this Akorn for $250 at Walmart in March of '15.  (It still had a clearance price tag on it from the previous fall/winter.) In the last three years I have lit the grill 227 times.   If I had to describe an average cook, it would be at about 400F for around 1 hour. During the first year I kept close track of charcoal consumption, and I was averaging 20-23 burns per bag of Royal Oak lump. That is efficient!

 

I live in Massachusetts and keep my Akorn stored on a covered porch. I don't have a cover for the Akorn, but it rarely gets wet where it is located. I store it with all vents closed and keep whatever charcoal is left from the last burn sitting in the fire bowl.  The ash bin only gets emptied out after each complete bag of lump is burned.

 

Durability:  It seems like every review of the Akorn questions its durability. Here are some pics showing what mine looks like after two years and almost 230 burns:

 

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The only damage I've had to worry about was caused by me.   Lesson learned:  never tilt the Akorn to remove winter slush from the bottom tray because it  just might get away from you and slam into the deck!  The result was two riv-nuts for the hinge pulled out from the body.  Luckily it was an easy fix with a cheap tool from Harbor Freight.  (I posted a step by step a while back for others who may need to replace the riv-nuts.)

 

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The enamel in the ash pan is still shining after holding the remnants of 10-12 bags of lump!  There is just a hint of surface rust showing where the inner and outer shells are riveted together.

 

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The fire bowl has most of its original enamel intact.  There is a little rippling toward the bottom where the fire burns hottest, and light rust is visible where the standoffs are welded to the bowl.

 

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This is the interior of the Akorn with the fire bowl removed and ash pan installed.  That lighter colored ring is where Akorns tend to rust out.  So far no rust to be concerned about.

 

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The fire grate has been warped sine I gave the Akorn its first really thorough cleaning two years ago.  It hasn't changed much since then, so I don't plan to replace it.

 

Water really is the enemy of this grill!  Mine is holding up great with no rusted parts or areas of concern.  I have two friends, however, who both have Akorns purchased about the same time as mine who are not so lucky.  In both cases, the grills spend much of their time exposed to the weather.  Even though covers are used, both are showing rust at the connection between ash pan and body of the Akorn.

 

 

 

 

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Good stuff, Paul.

 

I've had mine for about 2 1/2 yrs and have kept it in the garage the entire time.  I don't even take it out of the garage to cook on it, just keep right at the front of the garage and open the door.  It is pretty much in the same condition as yours.

 

Don't see any reason you won't get at least 3 more years out of it.  Pretty good bang for the buck if you ask me.

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Great post. I'm on year 5 with mine. It's showing some age. Significant rust around top of ash bowl and dome body. Wood on side tables getting pretty funky had one slat fall off bust needs screwed back on. Bottom shelf/tray quite rusty. Believe the gasket is about shot and it does leak significantly.  I'd say I took reasonable care of it it's basically shielded from the elements and I put the cover on most of the time. I have a Jr that I bought shortly after the big guy and it's in worse condition. But it went camping with us etc and got treated prolly a bit more harshly....All that said, they both still perform like the day I bought them. M only complaint might be they take longer to snuff out now after a cook.

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Im on month 5 of mine, getting it right before the rainy season hit in the PNW. I've used it pretty much 4 times a week since then. Assuming 4.2 weeks in a month and i cooked 3.5 days on it each week, that's 73.5 cooks - of ribs and hams and turkeys for many hours, many cooks of burgers and steaks and bbq chicken for shorter times at 'nuclear' levels (600-700* sears are so delicious).

 

It's definitely showing the heavy wear and tear in those 5 months in 2-3 months of non stop rain and snow. The bottom that slides in and out has significant rust on the back side forming on the top of the seal. and there are a few spots where small branches and cones have fallen/blown down and dinged the shell a few times. I bought a cover for it with every intention to keep it covered after use, but cooking as much as I have with this thing.. it's almost pointless to cover up a majority of the time. A bit frustrating no doubt, but I'm pretty confident that some love during the summer when the rain disappears and the sun is doing its thing, I'll be able to clean up some of those sad spots and get a few years of use out of it at least.

 

Right now I'm on track for about 180 cooks for the year on it. if I get 2 years of use out of it at 300$, and 360 cooks total, I'll be more than happy with my purchase.. hell I already am. 20$ 22" weber grills never gave the flavor I can get on this thing. Hom,e burgers rival any restaurant we've been to in town.

 

 

Yea, I love this grill man.

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6 minutes ago, Cajun said:

Question which would rust faster akorn or a Weber grill.if akorn why rust faster than akorn.

 

Akorns tend to show surface rust faster than a Weber kettle.  As far as rust that makes a grill inoperable, the Akorn is at a disadvantage due to its more air tight nature.  When water gets into a kettle, it can flow out the bottom and end up in the aluminum ash pan (If equipped) that won't rust.  On an Akorn the water either collects in the ash pan and sits mixed with ashes or collects on the rim that the ash pan mates with.  It's not easy for the water to evaporate out, so it sits.  On badly rusted Akorns, it's this mating surface that ends up so worn through that the ash pan no longer seals.

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Just now, paulleve said:

 

Akorns tend to show surface rust faster than a Weber kettle.  As far as rust that makes a grill inoperable, the Akorn is at a disadvantage due to its more air tight nature.  When water gets into a kettle, it can flow out the bottom and end up in the aluminum ash pan (If equipped) that won't rust.  On an Akorn the water either collects in the ash pan and sits mixed with ashes or collects on the rim that the ash pan mates with.  It's not easy for the water to evaporate out, so it sits.  On badly rusted Akorns, it's this mating surface that ends up so worn through that the ash pan no longer seals.

Thanks want to get a jr, think if left in garage shut down grill when coals die open vents to let moisture escape. Think this would help tremendously.

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Water is definitely a problem with these grills.  The more you can keep the water away, the longer it will last.  I have no doubt mine will last another 3 years easily if I keep it on the porch.  6 years from a $250 grill that I use all the time is a win in my book!  (My poor Weber Genesis sits pretty much unused, and my KJ Classic gets ignored a lot of the time because I just know the Akorn better and it's easier for me to hit specific temps!)

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10 minutes ago, paulleve said:

 collects on the rim that the ash pan mates with.  

 

 

This is where my problem is going to be for sure. I don't have an issue with the water getting in to the ash pan itself at all. It doesn't seal 100% on the base and the rear portion of the pan where it contacts the main grill is where the rust is becoming evident. The water thjat collects, is like you said, gathered in that void between the pan itself and the base that holds the pan.

 

those 22" kettle webers that you can get at HD or target for 20$ at the start or end of the season always lasted 1 year for me when exposed year round to the Florida elements. They sure don't cook like an Akorn though.

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1 minute ago, DaddioWA said:

those 22" kettle webers that yhou can get at HD or target for 20$ at the start or end of the season always last 1 year for me when exposed year round to the Florida elements. They sure don't cook like an Akorn though.

 

There's a huge difference between how the two cook!  I've got a Weber Performer that takes about 1/4 bag of charcoal per cook.  I still use it every once in a while, and I'm now amazed at how much smoke is given off by the charcoal chimney when compared to lighting the Akorn!  At one point I figured out just how much I saved getting 20 cooks per bag of lump vs. 4 cooks per bag of briquettes.  I think the Akorn paid for itself in the first year!  Not to mention versatility and flavor, of course.

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Thanks for the update. Mine is just about coming up to it's first year with regular use, probably twice a week on average. It is kept under the pergola with the cover on when not cooking, other than the odd night when I forget to tuck it away! It is yet to show any signs of rusting so it looks like a few more years to go. The downside of this is that I already have approval for a KJ when this needs to be retired!

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14 hours ago, paulleve said:

 

 At one point I figured out just how much I saved getting 20 cooks per bag of lump vs. 4 cooks per bag of briquettes.  I think the Akorn paid for itself in the first year!  

 

 

100% this. It's a huge thing in its own right, the cost savings on charcoal used. That deserves to be pointed out as well.

 

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I remember giving the same advice regarding the Akorn some years ago so I'll say it again: if you live in a wet, humid, damp area I'd say the Akorn may not be the best choice. Unless maybe you can wheel it in and out of a garage or shed or something every time.

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@ShowMeSmoke

 

22" original kettle

 

this is the particular weber I have referring to when I say they rust out within a year in Florida elements. We had to buy a new one every year when we lived in Florida since I started grilling on my own in 2000. 20$ a year though wasnt bad at all of course, but they don't cook like an akorn or any similar kamado or the Weber Summit Charcoal Grill. It's just not the same and the build quality certainly isn't similar at all. I mean they clearance them down to 20$ for a reason for sure. It rains more in Florida where I am from, than it does in Washington.

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