The Best Pellet Smoker Grills in 2022 Review

best pellet smoker

Our team independently researches and tests products to recommend the best. Learn more about our editorial process.

Looking for the best pellet smoker? In this article, we will show you the nine best pellet grill smokers available today. Pellet smokers have gained popularity among BBQ enthusiasts of all skill levels for various reasons, including their ease of use and wood fire flavor.

Pellet smokers are simple to operate since they are controlled by PID controllers, use wood pellets as fuel, and the grill handles the majority of the work. Everything is controlled by a digital PID controller to deliver that great BBQ wood-fired smoke flavor that we all like.

As pellet smokers gain in popularity, more and more companies are introducing new models to the pellet grill market. This article will help you find the right pellet smoker grill and the best option for you. We researched and tested different models to pick our choices. We will go over the best wood pellet smokers, teach you what factors to consider when buying a pellet grill, and show you our top choice.

The 8 Best pellet smoker grills

  1. The Traeger Ironwood 885 – Top Choice
  2. The Z Grills ZPG 7002c – Runner Up
  3. The Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi Smoke Pro – Good Choice
  4. The Z Grills 450 – Best Budget
  5. Traeger Tailgater Pellet Grill Smoker – Portable
  6. Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill w/New PVC Grill
  7. Green Mountain Davy Crockett WiFi Pellet Grill
  8. The Z Grills ZPG-1000D
Table of Contents show

How we tested These pellet smoker grills

We value customer feedback in addition to our own testing. We explore and examine consumer reviews and feedback in order to compile this list’s greatest picks.

The following is a list of the standards we examined when compiling this list of pellet smoker grills:

  • Features and Temperature Controls
  • Build Quality and Construction
  • Cooking Capacity (grill real estate)
  • Hopper Size
  • Maintenance Requirements
  • Warranty

the 8 best pellet smokers Grills Reviews – Top Rated

1. The Traeger Ironwood 885 – WiFi – Our Top Choice

Why did we select this product as our top Choice?

Let us start with a little debate and possibly something you have noticed in previous reviews. Other website reviews feature cheap grills and rank them at the top of their pellet grill reviews, but you asked for the best.

High-quality wood pellet grills smokers are expensive, especially if they are made out of high-quality materials and include sophisticated technology.

Another point I want to add is that temperature spikes are prevalent with some pellet grills. When you open the grill’s lid, the temperature inside the cooking chamber decreases, and the controller begins to feed pellets to compensate for the heat loss. When you close the lid, the temperature in your grill has now increased by 10 degrees or more.

When smoking foods, temperature fluctuation is a bad thing. Traeger’s sophisticated technology detects when you open and close the lid and appropriately adjusts the pellet feeding cycles and fan/auger speed. That is why we selected the Traeger as our top grill.

Last but not least, several US-made grill companies are offering basically hand-made grills, but there are two questions: how many of these grill companies will still be around in ten years? Second, even the shiniest stainless steel-made grill may fall short of the fit and finish, design, and technology of a Traeger grill and smoker.


Traeger controller display

Remember when we talked about pellet grills packed with features and gadgets? Well, this is it. Traeger pellet grills are innovative; this pellet grill can work with Alexa! The Trager Ironwood is a “feature-rich” high quality wood pellet smoker grill.

Traeger’s standout feature, besides quality, is its D2 Digital Controller, which is precise and lets you adjust the temperature in 5-degree increments, plus manage every aspect of the grill. The Traeger’s D2 Direct Drive powertrain gives you superior temperature control for better grilling and smoking results.

The D2 powertrain can control the speed of the fan (variable speed fan ) and pellet auger for better temperature accuracy. This means that this pellet grill can keep a more constant temperature and fewer temperature fluctuations mean better meat.

Another area where Traeger excels is in quality, and they have done an excellent job at it. These grills are built to last and built to high standards. We also appreciate that Traeger offers great accessories for their grills, such as a magnetic bamboo cutting board that sits on top of the pellet hopper and front-folding shelves.

Now here is what I like the most about this pellet grill. Most WiFi-enabled pellet grills and smokers can notify you in some manner when you run out of pellets, which is handy, but if you miss the notification, you may return to a powered-off grill with uncooked food.

The Ironwood features a pellet sensor that not only alerts you when the grill is running low on pellets but also continually monitors the pellet level in the hopper and displays this information in the app, as demonstrated in the photos above.

The grill connects to your home’s wifi, and you can view all of your pellet grill’s information right from your phone. With the Wi-Fire app, you can control and monitor the grill’s temperature as well as the meat’s. All this technology allows you to go about your day while monitoring your pellet grill from anywhere in your home.

Specifications for the Ironwood 885 Pellet Grill

  • A grilling area: 885 sq in of cooking
  • Hopper Capacity: 20 lbs
  • Temperature Range: 180 to 500
  • Weight: 175 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 Years
  • Top Features: The D2 Controller system, seal/gasket around the top lid, construction, and great temperature control.
Pros:
  • Amazing grill technology. I love having an app on my phone to control the grill. Many “quality of life” features, including push-button start and auto-start ignition.
  • The digital controller is outstanding. Every feature of the grill, including the control panel screen display contrast, can be customized and other settings adjusted.
  • The controller menu settings are fairly intuitive, similar to what you would see in a high-end kitchen appliance. You navigate the settings menu using a rotating button, pushing it to choose an option.
  • This grill has a “keep warm” function. This “locks” the temperature to 165 degrees F and keeps the food temperature “warm” until it is time to eat.
  • Timer – Just like the kitchen timer in your oven, you can use the timer to remind you when side dishes are done. It makes an audible sound to get your attention. Set it and forget it.
  • Super Smoke button! – The Super Smoke mode is available at smoking temperatures if you want to manage the quantity of smoke or give a boost of smoke when adding new meat to the grill.
  • This grill has a built-in heat gasket in the lid and double sidewalls for heat control. This helps with temperature control.
  • 3-Year Warranty.
Cons:
  • Ok, this is expected. Everything good comes at a price. Traeger grills are premium-quality grills and do come at a price. But if you are looking for top quality, the best pellet grill, and performance, it is hard to beat this Traeger. However, if you like the Traeger brand and want to experience this level of quality at a lower price point, Traeger also has an entry-level grill series, which includes the Traeger Pro 575.
    Traeger’s top-of-the-line model is the Traeger Timberline. Its chamber is FULLY insulated and is available in larger sizes.
  • While during our testing and research we quickly learned the tools hooks on the side table are a bit sharp. Although they are useful, string and a good idea, I would like to see some rubber caps on those hooks.

2. The Z Grills ZPG 7002c ( new model ) – Our Runner Up

Z Grills 7002c

Why did we select this product as our Runner-up?


The Z Grills ZPG does not have all of the technology that the Traeger has, but it does offer solid build quality and a digital controller that is capable of maintaining constant temperatures. In other words, you get everything you need at a lot lesser cost. The price range of the Z Grills is more accessible to the majority of people, which is why we picked this Z Grills.


While the Z Grills ZPG packs a lot of power in a small package, its modest size makes it ideal for a small backyard or patio without compromising functionality.
You get an easy-to-use digital PID controller, adequate square inches of cooking space, and a 3-year warranty.

If you have been considering getting into pellet grilling but are not ready to invest in a costly model, this model can be a good starting point at a good price range.

This grill is a versatile pellet cooker that roasts, braises, sears, smokes, grills, and bakes. This model includes two meat probes to monitor the cooking process. Although the Z Grills ZPG lacks Traeger’s high-tech features, it is also less expensive. Way less expensive.  

You still get good solid functions, such as a manual “feed” mode that “rushes” pellets to the fire pot and gets the grill to temperature quickly. The manual feed mode is useful when operating the grill in cold weather or when the lid has been left open for an extended period of time, allowing heat to escape.

It features a generous 697 square inches of cooking room, and plenty of space for six racks of baby back ribs. The frame is sturdy, the caster wheels are nice and glide smoothly, and the grill is made out of heavy-duty steel and is powder-coated.

I own a Z Grills 7004DE and I can say these grills are built as good as Traegers but without the tech and yes, you guessed it, price. The digital controller in the Z Grills does a great job at keeping the temperature at bay. If you want 250 degrees, the grill will give you and stay 250 degrees. Z Grills sells direct to consumers and can sell the grills at heavily discounted prices.

The 7004DE is a similar model to the 7002C but for a few more dollars you get a full storage compartment with doors, a stainless steel lid, and four caster wheels. In your full review of the 7004DE, we tested the grill cooking different meats, and the results were impressive.

Z Grills 700 series is their most popular and practical series, as the cooking space of these grills is what most families need and want. The are many variants in the 700 series, including the 7004DE.

Specifications for the Z Grills 7002c

  • A cooking area: 697 square inches.
  • Hopper: 24 pounds
  • Temperature Range: 180 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Weight: 113 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 Years
  • Top Features: Good built quality at very competitive. Simple to use, the only button you need to use is the temperature dial.

Pros:

  • This is a new and upgraded model that includes features such as a pellet clean-out door and a pellet level view window.
  • Two meat probes are included.
  • Great value per dollar.
  • You get a free grill cover.
  • Caster wheels make it easy to move this grill around.
  • All the tools you need for assembling are included including gloves.

Cons:

  • No wifi 🙁 but you get a lot of “bang for your dollar.”

3. The Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi Smoke Pro WiFi and Bluetooth – Good Choice

Camp Chef makes good quality pellet grills and other outdoor cooking gear, and the Smoke Pro is no exception. This Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill and smoker offers great value by offering many features found only on more expensive grills.

For example, you get more meat probes, a digital PID controller with WIFI, Bluetooth, and a good mobile app (Camp Chef Connect). You also get two cooking grates and plenty of grilling space. The Camp Chef Woodwind series is available in three different models, the Woodwind 20, 24, and 36 ranging from 506 to 1236 square inches of cooking room.

There is a 22-pound pellet hopper capacity in the Camp Chef 24 and a removable ashtray cup. The reason we recommend this grill is that it is packed with good features only found in grills twice its price.

However, the coolest feature of this grill is its “Sidekick” system, which supports a variety of cooking attachments, including a pizza oven, a sear box, or a griddle powered by a 16,000 BTU propane burner that can reach temperatures of up to 900 degrees F.

The Slide and Grill system is a unique Camp Chef feature that offers a degree of versatility not found in the more costly grills on this list. We picked this grill as the best overall because of its quality and versatility. Its price and features will suit the demands of many backyard cooks.

One of our favorite features is the ability to change the smoke level in the controller. This is one of the few grills that allow you to set the ideal smoke level by pressing a button. If you want more smoke, increase this setting and let the grill do its thing.

Specifications for the Camp Chef WiFi

  • A cooking area: 811 square inches.
  • Hopper: 22 pounds
  • Temperature Range: 160 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit ( when using the “slide out” feature for direct flame cooking, it can reach 650 degrees for searing.)
  • Weight: 132 pounds
  • Top Features: WiFi connectivity. Good Mobile App and Build Quality at a Good Price. The “Sidekick system” makes this grill very versatile.
Pros:
  • WiFi connectivity and a Bluetooth PID Controller with FOUR meat probes. So you can monitor multiple meat cuts.
  • The Camp Chef smartphone app works well and allows you to set the cooking temperature in five-degree increments. There are also different “smoke settings” to set how much smoke you want, and it is all controllable from within the mobile app.
  • The color LED display is easy to read, and the settings dial is easy to operate. You can rotate through the menus with ease and select settings by pushing the wheel. Simple.
  • Cool Feature: There is a plastic cover that folds down to protect the LCD display.
  • Easy to clean up. The Ash Kickin’ system is a little ash cup underneath the grill that can be easily unlatched to clean out ashes. A shop vac is necessary to clean the fire pot on most grills.
  • Camp Chef Woodwind Slide out system ( heat shield ) that when opened allows for direct flame grilling and cooking. The Slide out system is operated by a lever on the left side of the grill. Just pull it for direct flame cooking.
  • A large see-through window to monitor the level of the pellets.
  • You can add a side burner to this grill by purchasing an optional add-on side burner that connects to the grill. It makes a great sear box.
  • A small storage shelf is good for placing a pellet container or tools.
Cons:
  • The grease management system needs to be kept clean. If too much old grease is left on these grills, the grease drain system can catch fire, although this is true of almost any grill, including gas grills.
  • The attachable sear box is nice, but it does require a propane tank. So you will need to use two fuel sources. It’s not a big deal, and if you run out of pellets, you can always use the sear box to cook.

4. The Z Grills 450 – Best Budget Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker

Tester notes: Difference between the 450A ( previous year model ) and the 450B

The PID controller and hopper design are the most noticeable differences between the 450a and 450b. The pellet cleanout door is the most welcome addition to the new 450b, starting with the LCD screen. The cooking area stays the same. The 450B’s finish has been improved. The manual feed button gives you additional temperature flexibility in the 450B.
In addition, the 450A comes with a pair of all-terrain wheels with adjustable swivel, while the 450B comes with a pair of all-terrain wheels as well as a pair of turning wheels, for a total of four wheels. As a result, dragging the 450B around is easy.
Finally, the 450B weighs around 10 pounds less than the 450A.
Zgrills 2020450a model vs 2021 450b model

The 450B is a budget-friendly pellet grill with amazing reviews and everything you need to cook a good meal.

As its name suggests, the 450 offers 450 square inches of cooking room. Although it doesn’t have wifi and all the bells and whistles, it does include all the fundamental components to make this budget pellet grill smoker work well. Very few grills offer so much value at these price points.

The temperature knob manages the grill and allows you to set the desired cooking temperature, and it will sustain that temperature. The hopper will hold 15 pounds of pellets, enough for about 15 hours of cooking.

Did you know that Z Grills manufactured grills for other brands before launching their own models?

You can read more in our Z Grills vs Traeger Article.

Specifications for ZPG-450B Pellet Smoke

  • A cooking surface area: 459 sq in.
  • Hopper: 15 pounds
  • Temperature Range: 180 to 450 degrees
  • Weight: 75 lbs
  • Top Features: Affordable
Pros:
  • Simple and easy to use.
  • Low budget pellet grill, but it works well.
  • It includes all the basics for cooking a good meal.
  • High-temperature resistant powder coating.
Cons:
  • No meat temperature probe
  • It is recommended to add some gasket to reduce heat and smoke leaks.

5. Traeger Tailgater Pellet Grill Smoker

This Traeger is another budget-friendly option and a basic grill smoker. It is light enough to be considered a portable pellet grill but offers enough space to cook for a small family, plus you get Traeger grills level quality.

This portable pellet smoker features folding legs and 300 square inches of grilling space. You get the basics, a good digital temperature system, and a 20-pound hopper. This is a great option for your next camping trip.

Specifications for the Traeger Tailgater Pellet Smoker

  • A cooking area: 300 square inches 
  • Hopper: 8 pounds
  • Temperature Range: to 450 degrees F
  • Weight: 62 pounds
  • Top Features: foldable legs, portable.
Pros:
  • Simple as simple gets – you get a good grill with folding legs that is easy to transport.
  • good sized hopper.
Cons:
  • No necessary problem, but keep in mind this is a simple grill, no gadgets here but good value.

6. Green Mountain Davy Crockett WiFi Pellet Grill

Weighing only 63 pounds, this Davy Crockett Pellet Grill is a smaller and more portable model, ideal for individuals with a small backyard, apartment balcony, or who prefer pellet grills that are simple to move around the house.

The Green Mountain grills have been refreshed and now feature wifi capabilities to control and monitor temperature from a cell phone (Apple or Android) with the Sense-Mate app.

It now includes a meat probe, a utensil tray, and a disposable grease rack for easy cleaning. It’s ideal for camping holidays, beach days out, and road trips. And check this out: it can plug into the 12-volt car cigarette outlet in your car or connect directly to the battery using (included) alligator clips.

Specs for Green Mountain Davy Crockett WiFi Pellet Grill

  • A cooking area: 219 square inches of space.
  • Hopper: 9 pounds.
  • Weight: 63 pounds
  • Top Features: Portable and can connect to a cigarette lighter outlet or your car’s battery.
Pros:
  • It is small and light but very capable.
  • WiFi ready with a mobile app.
  • It’s simple to clean.
  • It works with a 12-volt car battery.
Cons:
  • It is small, so temperature management can be challenging.

7. Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill w/New PVC Grill

camp chef smokepro dlx

The Camp Chef Smokepro DLX pellet grill includes features not found in more expensive grills. This wood pellet grill offers a large cooking surface. 429 square inches of grilling and smoking space and is powered feed by an 18-pound hopper which is common in most pellet grills.

This Camp Chef Smokepro DLX pellet grill includes a removable ash cup, two meat probes, and of course, a good digital controller.

Here is a cool and innovative feature of this grill. It offers attachable accessories, including a pizza stone, a searing box ( great for grilling steaks ), and a flat-top griddle. This is among the best-selling grill brands.

Specifications for the Camp Chef DLX

  • A cooking area: 570 sq .inches total
  • Hopper Pellet Capacity: 18 pounds
  • Temperature Range: 160 to 500 degrees
  • Weight:
Pros:
  • Attachable accessories like a sear box.
  • 10 different smoke levels.
Cons:
  • The grease management system needs to be kept clean.
  • Not crazy about the legs system.

8. The Z Grills ZPG-1000D – Value – Square inches per Dollar

ZPG-1000D is a reliable, efficient, and solid pellet grill. The 1000D is manufactured out of heavy-duty stainless steel with stainless finishes. This big boy includes all the features you need in a good pellet grill.

There are side tables, and a storage area with doors, and it even has four wheels to move this beast around.

The 1000D provides a total cooking space of 1,060 square inches spread over three grill grates. The main cooking grate offers 432 sq. inches of cooking room, a second level warming grate offers 374 sq. inches, and a third level warming rack offers 225 sq. inches of grill space. Yes, this thing is large!

A 20-pound capacity hopper powers this large cooking area, and this grill can operate anywhere from 180 to 450 degrees which means you can smoke, barbecue, bake, roast, or braise.

Specifications for the 1000D Pellet Smoker

  • A cooking area: 1056 square inches of cooking surface.
  • Hopper: 20 lbs.
  • Temperature Range: 180 to 450 degrees F
  • Weight: 134 lbs.
  • Top Features: You get a large cooking space.
Pros:
  • 3 Year Warranty ( original owner )
  • Large with three grill grates.
  • Large removable ash pan. (slides out from the back of the grill – easy to clean )
  • Thermal blankets are available for this grill. ( great for cooking and smoking in cold weather )
  • Good and simple to use PID temperature controller.
Cons:
  • It would be nice to have a pellet clean-out door. Nothing a cup can’t handle and scoop out the pellets.
  • No Wi-Fi connection in this model.

buying Guide: What to look for in a good pellet Grill

Common features and capabilities

The best pellet grills and smokers are packed with technology and features. However, not every pellet grill offers the same features and capabilities. Some pellet grills offer the latest gadgets, including Wi-Fi enabled controllers, while others only offer a cooking timer.

An electric pellet smoker is an amazing machine, and three main complements make these grills work. First, you have the pellet hopper, which holds and stores the wood pellets. Then there is the auger, or automatic pellet feeder, which moves the pellets to the fire pot. Once the pellets are dropped into the fire pot, an electrical igniter ( heat rod ) heats and burns the pellets while an electric fan below the pot blows air thru the burn pot to build a flame.

These are the basic components of any pellet grill. In charge of controlling all these components is a digital controller referred to as the PID (Proportional, Integral, Derivative). Yeah, I know, it’s better to just say PID controller. The digital controller monitors the pellet smoker’s internal temperature, feeding wood pellets and igniting pellets accordingly to maintain the desired temperature.

What to look for in a Pellet Grill PID Controller

  • An easy-to-use PID temperature controller.
  • At least one meat probe, preferably two meat probes.
  • Easy to read controller display

Now, the best wood pellet grills take this formula to another level. The top pellet grill manufacturers further develop their grills to add more precise temperature management systems and smart technologies. 

These extra and advanced features can include a temperature probe, preprogrammed temperatures for different proteins, and even an auto-shutoff monitoring system to turn off the grill when the food is done.

Then things go to a higher level where top pellet grills will have WiFi-enabled controllers that you can monitor and control from your phone. If you want a good pellet grill, stick to the basics and make sure the basic components we mentioned are present and of the highest quality.

If you want the best or have the means to pay more, pellet grills with advanced technologies such as WIFI will be more expensive.

Durability and Build Quality

Aside from a good and easy-to-use temperature control system, quality is another area where your money should be spent. Because of the technology and components required in making these grills function, pellet grills are not inexpensive. So you do not want to invest money in a pellet grill just to have to replace it a year later.

Other components of a pellet grill are the fire pot, fire deflectors, drip pans, grates, and the cabinet itself. When looking at a grill constructed of powder-coated steel, ensure the coating is high quality. Cheaper pellet grills with cheap paint can peel off during high-temperature burns and even while the smoker is preheating.

When the coating or paint on your grill peels away, exposing raw metal, it will begin to rust. High-quality materials and thicker steel will retain heat better, allowing the smoker to be more efficient, use less fuel, and work better in cold weather.

Pellet Hopper Capacity

You can compare the pellet hopper capacity with the fuel tank in your car. The larger the pellet hopper capacity, the more fuel you have available and less need to refuel.

The average pellet grill will consume about 1 pound of pellets per hour. An electric pellet smoker will consume slightly less because it cooks and operates at lower temperatures. So a 40-pound pellet hopper provides approximately forty hours of cooking at normal meat smoking temperatures.

The wood pellet burning rates can increase during the winter months when the smoker needs to burn more pellets to compensate for the colder temperatures.

Most pellet grills have a 20-pound hopper capacity, which is enough for smoking a big brisket or rack of ribs. Although 20 hours of cooking without refueling the hopper is not bad, a lower hopper capacity, such as an eight or ten-pound hopper, may require more frequent refueling during a long meat smoking session.

You can purchase hopper extensions for your pellet grill and add, on average, an extra 20 hours.

The larger the hopper, the more expensive the grill will be. So consider how you will be using your smoker. If you are serious about smoking meats and are planning on smoking large meat cuts, then invents in a large grill with a large hopper.

Pellet Consumption – Efficiency

Not all pellet grills are efficient. Due to poor design and construction, some models are extremely inefficient, burning through pellets as a Hummer does fuel. This is mostly due to the thin metal construction and low-cost components.

If the pellet smoker cabinet walls are too thin, then heat and smoke will escape. The grill will need to work harder and burn more pellets to keep their temperature. Thick walls and thicker gauge steel will retain heat better and save on fuel. Also, the fewer temperature variations when smoking meat, the better the food results will be.

High-quality pellet grills will be more pricey, but they will be made of thicker steel, last longer, and be more efficient.

Easy To Clean and Maintain

Cleaning your grill is everyone’s favorite task ( joke ). Having owned many pellet smokers, I can tell you that these things can get dirty and are challenging to clean. An easy-to-clean smoker is always appreciated.

Unlike other grills, when a pellet grill gets dirty, it will stop working. In fact, if the temperature sensor in the cooking chamber gets covered in grease, it will fail to register the temperature, and most pellet smokers will throw an error code and shut down.

Most pellet smoker models can be cleaned with water and vinegar, as well as a shop vacuum to collect all of the ashes. The best models include removable ash pans or a good ash clean-out system and other features that make cleaning a breeze. Not maintaining your smoker or keeping it clean can damage it and even start a fire.

Customer Service

Like a kitchen oven, a pellet smoker has several moving components and digital electronics. These grills may occasionally display error codes, for which you may want support. This is why having a company with an excellent customer service line is beneficial.

Larger companies tend to outsource their customer support, and getting quick answers can be a challenge. On the other hand, larger companies often offer customer support 24/7.

Long term warranty

Even the best pellet grills will have an issue at some point. Pellet smokers have many moving components and electronics, and something is bound to happen. These grills can be as advanced as other kitchen cooking appliances.

This is why a good warranty is so important with these grills. You want to make sure that after spending your hard-earned cash, if your grill quits working, you will be able to get it repaired, or at the very least, get the parts to fix it yourself.

Moving parts like the auger may break, and heavily used parts like the firebox fan can fail. Make sure you ask exactly when your warranty ends and what the warranty will cover. Warranties vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so feel free to ask a lot of questions.

A 3 year warranty is definitely better than just 1 year. For example, if you need an igniter rod, who is more likely to have it in stock?

How much Cooking Space Do You Really Need?

The number of inches of cooking space, or as we call it, cooking surface real estate, is important to consider. A large smoker will handle large amounts of food but will also need more fuel to get up to temperature and sustain that temperature.

When your pellet grill stops operating, having access to a good customer service team is really valuable. There is nothing worse than asking a few people over for a barbecue and discovering that your pellet grill will not start. Smaller companies offer a more personal and reliable service. The people you contact will be very familiar with your pellet grills and likely even own one.

Think about a hot air balloon. Bigger air balloons can carry more people but require more hot air to fill a larger area. The same goes for a pellet smoker grill. The larger the cooking chamber, the more pellets it needs to burn to fill the chamber with hot air, get it up to temperature, and sustain that temperature.

If you are more likely to smoke and cook small meat cuts, having fewer inches of primary cooking surface area can benefit you. Consider a pellet grill with a larger cooking space if you intend to smoke large meat cuts or feed large crowds.

The point here is to only spend money on a pellet smoker with the inches of cooking space you will use. Anything bigger can be wasteful. The bottom line is to be realistic about what you’re getting and not be fooled into thinking bigger is better.

Features that make your life easier

We talked about features, but especially regarding grill functionality and controller functions. However, there are several grill-specific features that may greatly enhance and simplify your cooking experience.

Grills with side tables, for example, are very convenient if you do not have a full outdoor kitchen setup or tables nearby to lay your food while you set up the grill.

Grills with BBQ and cooking utensils hooks are also quite useful. It is a hassle not to have a place to hang all of your culinary items and to have them easily accessible instead laying around all over the floor.

Last but not least, there is storage. Yes, this is sometimes ignored, but having a central location to keep all of your BBQ tools, pellet bags, cleaning tools, and accessories is great.

How do pellet smokers work?

Unlike charcoal grills or gas grill, pellet smokers use different systems for heating and cooking food. Pellet grills cook mostly with indirect heat generated by the combustion of hardwood pellets. In a charcoal grill, the coals are spread across the bottom of the grill.

The controller, or PID, is one of the key components in the pellet smoker. The system manages the auger and the feeding of pellets to a burning pod with a heating rod to ignite the pellets.

This automated system is what makes pellet grilling so easy and fun. On a high-end grill, it is common to find advanced technologies like Bluetooth and wifi. Talk about “Set it and Forget it.”

Tip: Choosing Good wood pellets for Your Grill

Look for good flavors that pair well with the type of meat you are smoking. Also, look for natural, food-grade pellets. Good wood pellets that yield good smoke taste are oak, hickory, and applewood.

Ingredients and wood blends

Some pellet manufacturers mix alders, oaks, and chemical fillers to help reduce production costs. Fillers may save them money, but they affect taste negatively. Choose 100 percent natural wood pellets.

Moisture content

Whether cooking on a gas or charcoal grill, moisture is not your friend. Wood pellets with low moisture content light up and heat up faster than those with higher moisture content. 

Smoke Flavor

There are many pellet flavors and blends. You can find anything from oak to fruity flavors like cherry and apple. Some brands even create their own blends, like Pit Boss and their competition blend, which goes pretty well with most proteins.

Meat Pairing Graph

Keep an eye out for Unnecessary “Bells and Whistles”

There is a perfect balance between useful technology and tacky gimmicks in pellet smokers. Ask yourself, do you really need a shiny stainless steel body wifi Woodwind pellet grill, a stainless steel meat probe, or will just the basics do the trick?

Since these pellet cookers are so technologically advanced, it is easy to manufacture pellet grills with many bells and whistles. Marketing departments have a field day promoting bells and whistles.

Also, having more gadgetry opens the door for more things to go wrong, and at the end of the day, all we are trying to do is smoke meat.

Look for grills that offer good and adequate cooking temperatures, stainless steel construction components if you can afford them, and a good controller.

Are Pellet Grills Worth It?

You bet they are! These grills are easy to use and yield amazing flavor compared to gas grills.

In Conclusion, Which is the Best?

Pellet smoking is a lot of fun. When cooking with a good pellet cooker, the cooking experience is even better. Our top pick is the Ironwood Traeger, but the Z Grills are also amazing grills.

The Traeger brand excels in features, technology, and quality but it comes at a steep price point. Camp Chef brings the best of two worlds together at a reasonable price. You get good technology and good features for less.

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