Unrecognizable man cooking seafood on a barbecue grill in the backyard on a sunny day.

Finger Lickin’ Good: A Guide to Buying Your First Pellet Grill

Unrecognizable man cooking seafood on a barbecue grill in the backyard on a sunny day.

It’s grilling season! You know what means. It’s time to make sure that you have the best grill to make some mouth-watering barbecue.

For some people, that means getting out the smoker. For others, it means firing up a gas or charcoal grill. Then there are pellet grills.

Pellet what? Yes, pellet grills, which are among the hottest trends in grilling and outdoor entertaining. They’re leading the way in barbecue sales and competitions.

Check out this guide to buying pellet outdoor grills just in time for grilling season.

What Is a Pellet Grill?

A pellet grill has the convenience of a gas grill with the flavor of a smoker. Does that seem too good to be true?

Here’s how a pellet grill works. With a charcoal or gas grill, you have a fire source that provides direct heat to the meat or vegetables that you’re grilling. It can be a little challenging to control the heat, especially on a charcoal grill.

These are great for searing meat, but to get that real tender texture and smoky flavor, you need to do something a little differently.

Enter wood pellets. These are compressed wood chips that you can put in a container, known as a hopper. You’d think that they’d burn fast. The wood pellets burn evenly and slowly, which seems to be a little counter-intuitive.

What the wood pellets do so well is that they create even heat, similar to a convection oven while giving you smoky flavor as you’d get in a smoker.

What to Look for in Pellet Outdoor Grills

Shopping for a new pellet grill is exciting because it’s like shopping for a new toy. Once you get into it though, you’ll quickly realize that there’s a lot to know about pellet grills.

Your Grilling Needs

The great thing about pellet grills is that there is no shortage of variety. You can find one with all of the latest grilling bells and whistles or you can find a small one that’s very basic.

Which pellet grill you should choose really depends on your grilling needs. Do you need something that’s portable for camping or tailgating? Are you going to be grilling mostly in your backyard? If you need something for camping or tailgating, you’ll want to go with something small and portable.

You also want to have a budget in mind when you’re shopping around. You can easily overspend on a pellet grill that has every imaginable feature.

Features of Pellet Outdoor Grills

You’ll also want to get a sense of what kind of features you want to have in your pellet grill. One of the main features you’ll want to consider is autoignition. OK, it’s not completely automatic. You still have to load the hopper and press a button, but that’s a lot easier than trying to light it yourself.

Another feature you’ll want to think about is whether or not you need warming racks. Some grillers love to have them, while others can live without them.

Pellet outdoor grills are becoming very high tech. Some grilles, like the Green Mountain Mills Davey Crocket, comes with WiFi. That’s right, you can completely geek out and control your grill from an app. No more standing over a hot grill for you!

Of course, the top pellet grills with a lot of features will cost more money. It is possible, though to buy a pellet grill for under $1000 and get something great.

Quality of the Pellet Grill

Don’t get caught off guard by the shiny exterior of the grill. You want to be sure that the same attention to detail has been addressed on the inside as well as the outside.

Check to see that the same high-grade materials have been used to produce the exterior and the interior of the grill. Sometimes, you’ll find grills that have high-grade steel on the outside, but lower quality metals under the hood.

Accurate Temperature Control

This is a big one. The whole point of having a pellet grill is that you can easily control the temperature. The temperature will vary on some grills. Check to see if there’s a major variance in temperature accuracy.

Hopper Size

If you plan on doing a lot of smoking with your pellet grill, then you want to make sure that the hopper has the capacity to handle it. You don’t want to worry about having to fill up the hopper a lot with new wood pellets constantly.

Be sure to double check the hopper size before you buy a pellet grill.


After a really tasty meal, the last thing you want to do is clean up the grill. It’s a necessary thing to do because it’s how you’ll make your grill last for a long time.

Pellet grills are much easier to clean than charcoal grills because they produce fewer ashes. That doesn’t mean that you should ignore the ease of cleaning up the grill after you use it.

Pellet Outdoor Grills Just in Time for Summer

There is nothing like hanging out in the backyard with your friends and making some delicious barbecue. If you want the flavors of a smoker and the convenience of a gas grill, then an outdoor pellet grill is your new best friend.

When shopping for pellet outdoor grills, you need to keep in mind your grilling needs, your budget, and the features that you really want your pellet grill to have.

Once you get it home, you’re going to be able to enjoy the convenience and flavor outdoor pellet grills have to offer.

Want to know more about pellet grills? Check out these reviews of the top pellet grills.

Camp Chef Pellet Grill Review

Latest updates:

  • Nov 12, 2016updated pricing info

Camp Chef pellet grill

Welcome to the Camp Chef PG24 pellet grill and smoker review (more pellet grill reviews here)

Price: $802.00 $599.99 See current price »

Great for you if you’re busy and don’t want to babysit your smoker or grill. Just load it up with pellets, set the temperature dial to the heat you want and walk away.

Three reasons to like Camp Chef pellet grill and smoker:

  • The digital control unit lets you set the amount of smoke you like (from low smoke to high smoke)
  • Wide range of heat regulation: set a temperature between 175 degrees to over 450 degrees
  • My favorite: you can toggle between the internal temperature of the meat (with a meat probe) and the temperature of a pellet grill and smoker itself

This grill is suitable for cooking and smoking any kind of meat: from turkey to pork to beef to chicken – any kind of meat you can pick up. I’ve also had success with grilling pizza and vegetables.

Bonus: handy clean out feature – no need to open up the grill and get the vacuum to suck all the ashes out.  Just pull the knob and ashes drop into a clean-out can.

For a better overview of the Camp Chef pellet grill and smoker be sure to watch this video review:

Here’s another great video on how to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill:


Camp Chef PG24 pellet grill and smoker

Price: $802.00 $599.99 Buy on Amazon

REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill

My favorite pellet grill – REC TEC wood pellet grill review

First off let me say that when the REC TEC wood pellet grill was first delivered I thought I had made a big mistake. Not only was the shipping quite expensive but the grill arrived in a heavily damaged box. They must use a little magic when they pack these things though because the grill survived just fine without a scratch on it! Of course it probably has something to do with the solid metal construction this grill comes with.



My grandfather used to be the one doing all of the smoking but recently he started getting tired of entertaining everyone so the torch was passed to us. I have never assembled a grill before and the instructions weren’t super clear. I’m not very mechanically inclined but I was able to put it together in about an hour and a half. It would be really nice if the instructions provided clear pictures with all of the parts shown for the relevant step.

Other than a bit of confusion during assembly, it honestly wasn’t as hard as I was imagining it. This grill is definitely heavy though. If I had to put another one together I would wait until my husband was home to assist me!


pelletsBuying pellets was so much more convenient than dealing with messy wood. I truly do love not having wood splinters in my car every time we BBQ! We’ve been able to get a good deal on wood pellets at Costco and they have a couple of different flavors.

The Rec Tec wood pellet grill seems to use the pellets a little more efficiently than my grandfather’s grill did, but of course his is at least ten years old.

Trial run and cooking large portions

Once I got the grill up and assembled we figured it would be a good idea to do a trial run before we cooked for the extended family. My sister overcooked the turkey at Thanksgiving five years ago and she still hears about it anytime the family gets together. My husband did not want to be the next one to mess up a family recipe! We decided to give Tri-tip a try since we grill that on a regular basis. Let me say that using the Rec Tec for large pieces of meat is an exercise in patience. It took most of the weekend to finish but the meat was so tender and flavorful.

Some accessories we decided to go with

After realizing just how long it takes to cook large portions of meat and knowing how big our gathering get we went ahead and bought a remote digital thermometer. If you are purchasing the grill I would recommend buying at least a remote digital thermometer to start off with. Having one on hand will save you a lot of checking and make the smoking experience more fun.

We ended up going with the Maverick Wireless BBQ Thermometer. It cost about $60 bucks which is a little pricey but compared to the price of the grill itself the thermometer was quite affordable. I am able to walk all around the house with it and have it alert me when the meat get to the right temperature.

We also ended up purchasing the REC TEC Grill Mat. It’s pretty inexpensive and super convenient for veggies.

First successful cookouts

I loved the smoky taste my cubed zucchini picked up in the grill. I have some vegetarian friends so next time we have a get together I plan to grill some portobello mushrooms for them while the meat is finishing up.

For our first big gathering after we bought the grill we cooked a ham with a brown sugar glaze (my grandfather’s secret recipe of course). I was really nervous and I think my husband was already imagining all of the ribbing he would receive for a poorly cooked ham but it turned out delicious.

The meat was perfect-juicy with a nice crunch to the skin. I had planned to use the leftovers for our family’s lunch the next day but we didn’t have any ham left over at all! Even my grandfather who is notoriously picky about his ham came back for seconds. He has now happily passed all of the grilling and smoking duties onto my family and enjoys letting us spend the weekend cooking now!

Normally with a purchase this large I would go to a local store. After all, return shipping on the grill would have been ridiculous so I thought long and hard before purchasing it from Amazon. I was a little nervous after reading that some people had issues with the electronics going out but I was really impressed with all of the comments about great customer service. Thankfully we haven’t had any problems with the grill in the few months we’ve had it but I’m glad to know that the company actually cares about standing behind their products. Lots of companies these days just throw together the cheapest product they can sell but that definitely isn’t the case with Rec Tec.

What you should do next:

Masterbuilt 20070512 electric smoker

Electric Smoker Reviews: The best electric smokers of 2019

Why choose an electric smoker?

  • Easy to use: set it and forget it.
  • Cheap to maintain. Cheaper than charcoal or gas
  • Great for indoors and outdoors
  • Clean. No ashes and leftovers from burning

How does an electric smoker compare to other smokers (gas, charcoal, pellet, wood)

electric-smoker-elementElectric smoker is different from all the other smokers because it doesn’t use real fire for smoking. It uses the electrical element for heating. All the other smokers – gas, charcoal, wood and pellet smokers – use real fire for heating and generating smoke. Real fire needs more attention and temperature is harder to regulate.

It’s easy to regulate and keep the temperature that you want with electric smoker.

Taste: Most flavor comes from wood smokers. Charcoal is very close to wood. Gas burns without flavor but adds some water vapor. Live fire generates more gases and liquids and therefore the smoke taste is usually stronger than with an electric smoker. That said, food smoked with an electric smoker is really tasty and I love it. I personally don’t see that much of a difference in taste but I know some people who swear by wood smokers – they don’t say that electric smokers are crap though, they just say that the food cooked in a wood smoker is even better.

There is no burning reaction with electric smoker so there are no leftovers like ashes which makes the electric smoker much easier to clean and use indoors.

You can prepare and make anything from traditional barbecue, brisket, pulled pork, turkey, vegetables to the preparation of modern dishes such as smoked cheese and fish.

What to consider when buying an electric smoker?

  1. Temperature range and control. How low and high will the smoker allow you to go and how precisely can you set the temperature. Also, how accurately will the smoker hold temperature. Temperature fluctuation of a few degrees is normal but you don’t want a smoker that fluctuates a lot in temperature swings. If a recipe says to smoke at 200 degrees it’s better to do it at 200 and not 220. I’m sure you know what I mean.
  2. Window. We already touched upon the temperature control and fluctuation in the previous point but let’s come back to it for a second. If you want to see what’s going on inside the smoker (is the meat already golden brown etc) without losing temperature then you should get a smoker model with a window in the front door. They are not that much more expensive and can make a big difference in the result of your smoking.
  3. Remote control. Enjoying the drinks with friends and don’t want to leave the fun? Change the temperature or turn the smoker on or off from 100 feet away with a handy remote control. Not all models have it so make sure you check the features before buying.
  4. Capacity. This is self-explanatory but you’ll want to consider how many people you’re planning to impress with your smoker. Just small groups or big family reunions. Also, check out the number of racks the smoker comes with.
  5. Chip loader. Good smokers allow you to add wooden chips from a side without a need to open the door.

According to my buddy Ted, the electric smoker guy, you’ll also want to consider things like where you’re going to put and keep your smoker. You might need an extension cord, and perhaps a cover, if you’re planning to keep it outside, or on the patio.

Here is a list of 4 best electric smoker reviews in these categories: smokers under $200, under $300, best for cooking turkeys and other big meals.

Best Electric Smoker 2018

Masterbuilt 20070411 30-Inch Top Controller Electric Smoker

masterbuilt 30-inch electric smoker 20070411This electric smoker is the true definition of perfect beauty and functionality. Its features offer great convenience to the user and as a matter of fact, have landed this culinary device top of the list of the best smokers. With its large capacity of approximately 2 square feet and its remote control feature ensures that the user enjoys the whole smoking and grilling process. It features an easy-to-use control panel that comes in handy in case the remote is unavailable. It also comes with a removable water pan that is great for adding flavor to your barbecue and it also offers side loading wood chips that make the production of smoke easier and less cumbersome. Below are some of its incredible features.

1. Dimension: 33 by 18.5 by 19.5 Inches.
2. Weight: 49.9 Pounds.
3. Features 4 Chrome-plated racks.
4. Electrically operated.
5. Power consumption: 800 Watts.
6. Allows side-loading wood chips.
7. Features a handle and rear wheels for ease of movement.
8. Features a removable drip pan and a top air damper.
9. Comes with an RF Remote Control.
10. Features a built-in thermostat and temperature probe for easier control of temperatures between 100 and 25 Degrees F hence more even cooking.

1. Easy to use.
2. Convenient.
3. Versatile.
4. Easily portable.
5. Large enough.

1. It is not advisable to use it indoors.

Best electric smoker under $200

Smoke Hollow 30162E Electric Smoker

Smoke Hollow 30162EIt is close to norm that price corresponds to quality but this doesn’t hold for the Smoke Hollow 30162E Electric Smoker. Going at much less than $200 with ironically superb features, it has become the most loved electric smoker under $200. Its 3 temperature settings, 3 cooking grids, side handles and its steel water pan make it convenient, effective and efficient. Below are some of its features, pros and cons that should be considered before making this investment. My friend Tim is a big fan of this smoker, read his full review here.

1. Dimensions: 16 by 14 by 30 Inches.
2. Weight: 47.8 Pounds.
3. Features 3 Chrome-plated cooking grids.
4. Offers 3 temperature settings.
5. Comes with 2 side handles for easier transportation.
6. Features a wood-chip box for production of smoke.
7. Has a steel water pan with Porcelain-coating.
8. Features a magnetic door latching system.

1. Easy to use.
2. Versatile.
3. Large capacity.

1. Does not have wheels thus movement is limited to being lifted from one place to another.

Best electric smoker under $300

Smokin-It model #1

Smokin-It Model #1The Smokin-It Model #1 is a great smoker for anyone in need of convenience and great results. Its compact size and rubber casters make portability a cinch while its sturdy 201 Stainless Steel body is the reason to its durability. This appliance features a rheostat that controls temperatures from 100 to 240 Degrees F and a 400-Watts heating element that ensure that all your food is turned into a delicacy. Check out its features to have a feel of what this machine has to offer.

1. Dimensions: 12.5 by 17.2 by 13.5 Inches.
2. Weight: 62 Pounds.
3. Chassis material: 18-Gauge 201 Stainless Steel.
4. Capacity of up to 22 Pounds per load.
5. Features 3-Inch diameter rubber casters for easier portability.
6. Features a 400-Watt heating element.
7. Comes with 2 removable cooking grids.
8. Features a smoke box and a sample of Hickory wood for first-time use.
9. It also has a drip pan which slides under the smoker.
10. Features a rheostat that controls temperatures between 100 and 250 Degrees F.

1. Easy to operate.
2. Its meals are delicious and soft.
3. Easily portable.
4. Compact.

1. Has only 2 cooking grids thus limitation in terms of the amount of food to be smoked at a time.

Best electric smoker for turkey smoking

Masterbuilt 20070512 electric smokerMasterbuilt 20070512 40-Inch Front Controller Electric Smoker

Most electric smokers are made with red meat in mind. Unlike poultry, red meat is soft and does not require a lot of heat to cook thus can be smoked in basically any electric smoker. The Masterbuilt thought of this as a disadvantage to the smoking and grilling of poultry and came up with the Masterbuilt 20070512 40-Inch Front Controller Electric Smoker. Going at approximately $344.82, this culinary equipment has great features to offer its users. With an easy to use LED control panel, you are always at liberty to make any adjustment just to ensure a perfect outcome. You may also choose to smoke your food at the comfort of your seat; thanks to its Radio Frequency Remote Control. Have a look at the features that make it the best bargain for the dollar especially for Smoked Turkey lovers.

1. Dimensions: 41.3 by 24.6 by 18.3 Inches.
2. Weight: 72.2 Pounds.
3. Capacity: 975 Square Inches.
4. Features a 1200 Watts heating element that has Full Foam insulation.
5. Comes with 4 Chrome-coated cooking racks.
6. Can be operated using the RF Remote Control.
7. Has a Blue LED display that makes it easier to make readings of temperature and time even in direct sunlight.
8. It comes with an internal light that makes using it in dark areas easier.
9. Features rear wheels and a handle for easier portability.
10. Also features a wood chip loading system with smoother operation.
11. Features a front-access drip pan.

1. Well insulated.
2. Large capacity.
3. Easy to use.
4. Easier setting and tracking of temperature via its digital thermometer.
5. Easily portable.

1. Short power cord that calls for direct plugging to an electricity socket.

After careful and thorough analysis and market research, the electric smokers reviewed above have been found to be the most reliable, resilient and productive smokers of this time. The wonderful features, ease of use and the convenience they offer have not only found these smokers a place in the hearts of culinary enthusiasts, but also into their yards and patios. These are definitely must-haves for any household.

Best portable electric smoker

1. Masterbuilt Portable Electric Smoker


Masterbuilt Portable Electric Smoker

Buy Masterbuilt Portable Electric Smoker

This portable electric smoker is perfect for tailgating, camping, and road trips.

It’s been designed with the portability in mind so it’s nice and compact, has handles on both sides for easy lifting and moving around and the legs can be folded under when storing away or transporting the smoker in your car.

There’s plenty of cooking space to smoke a whole turkey! Comes with two smoking racks so also plenty of space for stacks of ribs, brisket, fish, burgers and hot dogs.

The heating element is 1,400 Watts. It took about 20 minutes or so enough to heat up to 225 degrees and then it stayed for hours. All I had to do was add more wooden chips to the tray every few hours to keep the smoke nice and even.

There’s an analog temperature control which easily allows you to set the temperature or change it to one of the 4 settings: high, low, medium and off. The temperature gauge is right on the front door so it’s easy to check the temperature while the smoker is doing its job.

The smoking racks that are chrome-coated are pretty nice and make for an easier cleanup after the fun’s been had. I do suggest you clean it up after every use though, I was too lazy to do it once and the grease didn’t have a place to go and caught fire. Nearly ruined my brisket. So don’t be lazy, clean it up before or after use and you’ll be fine.

Comes with a removable wood chip tray and a water pan.

Note: Masterbuilt Portable Electric Smoker is meant for outdoor use only.

Buy Masterbuilt Portable Electric Smoker

Electric smokers comparison chart

Masterbuilt 20070411 30-Inch Top Controller Electric Smoker with Window and RF Controller$264.994.21873
Bradley Digital 4-Rack Smoker$378.773.7176
Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load Smoker$109.004.2107
Old Smokey Electric Smoker$160.354.5101
Brinkmann 810-5290-4 Smoke'N Grill Electric Smoker and Grill, Black$104.993.993
Smokin-It Model #1 Electric Smoker$299.994.890
Bradley Smokers Original Smoker (33.5 x 17.5 x 20.25-Inch)$270.074.255
Smokehouse Products Big Chief Front Load Smoker$127.964.450
Smoke Hollow 30162E Electric Smoker$198.984.350
Smokin-It Model #2 Electric Smoker$429.994.539
Smokehouse Products Little Chief Top Load Electric Smoker$112.674.519
Smoke hollow electric smoker

Smoke Hollow 30162E electric smoker review

I bought this smoker more than 3 years ago and have been using it about once every month ever since. Tom paid a visit to my place couple of months ago and was fascinated about the pulled pork I made and asked me to write an honest review about my Smoke Hollow 30162E electric smoker. So here it goes.

Smoke hollow electric smokerAfter a little more than three years of semi heavy-duty usage it’s holding up strong and rust-free nicely. I’m in Washington and been using it outside in cold weather as well without any problems.

I’d never used an electric smoker before I got this one. I’ve been mostly using wood smokers, pellet grills and charcoal smokers before but never used an electric smoker.

When using a non-electric smoker it always needed some diligence to keep the temperature right and I could hardly walk away from the smoker for a longer period. So I was pleasantly surprised of how little care and time this thing needs.

Compared to a wood smoker the electric smoker is pretty much set it and forget it.

I remember the first time I used it – the weekend before my birthday. I didn’t quite believe in it so I wanted to test the equipment out on some pork ribs. It had been sitting in my garage for almost a week before I assembled it, thought it would be too much hassle but actually took about half an hour, easy. I used the wood chips that came with it, turned the smoker on, shoved ribs in and went to do something else. I guess I expected it to fail in some way and just didn’t care to stay and watch what’s gonna happen. Hours later I went to check and I was a bit late but still it looked really nice and was damn delicious too. It wasn’t as smoky as the wooden smoker I had used but later it turned out that I didn’t quite know how to use it yet. My wife also approved even though she’s not a big fan of smoked pork ribs.

Small problems you should look out for

A problem I had with the drainage at first was to get the extra juices from meat and veggies to drip into the can. It dripped on to the wood and stopped it from smoking so I think it could be designed better in a way. I’m now using a piece of tin foil on top of the wood to help the juices drain off easily and keep the smoker doing it’s job. If you use any of the tower type of smokers and find that your meat is not smoky enough then first thing I suggest you check if the extra fat or juice from your meat and veggies is not putting off the smoke.

Another thing is that you need to fire the thing up before going to normal cooking mode. I usually turn the thing to 300 degrees and wait for the smoke to start. When it has started to smoke nicely I turn the heat down to whatever my particular recipe needs and put in my meat (and sometimes vegetables).

I use it to cook a lot now – pulled pork, ribs, shoulder, brisket, chicken as well as vegetables – bell peppers, zucchinis, onions. My wife is especially a fan of chicken and vegetables that come out of this thing.

Temperature control of this thing is near flawless. I used my thermometer to check it and it really keeps the right temperature even when the temperature outside fluctuates (at night for example). I’ve used it in as cold as 20 degrees without any problems. It comes with a gauge that allows you to set temperature from low to high but it doesn’t have a built in thermometer so be sure to use a separate digital thermometer at first to check where the right gauge level is on your smoker. Once you have it figured out it will work flawlessly.

Comes with a replaceable heater element but I haven’t been able to wreck mine yet.

Needless to say I’ve become a big fan of the food that comes out of my Smoke Hollow electric smoker and so has my wife and friends. I even got one for my dad last Christmas and he’s now using it pretty frequently as well. If you want a decent smoker that doesn’t cost a thousand bucks but does the job then this one is the way to go.


  1. Click here to read what other Smoke Hollow 30162E owners have written about this electric smoker
  2. Buy Smoke Hollow 30162E on Amazon (Price at the time of publishing this post $219.99 $168.58 click here to see current price)


Updated: Jan, 29 2019

GMG Davy Crocket pellet grill

Pellet Grills: The Ultimate Guide (2020)

In this guide, you’ll find:

(Click on the bullet links above to jump to that section in the article)

Pellet grills can smoke, bake, roast, braise and bbq.
Many uses of a pellet grill/smoker. Image source: Traeger Grills

Know exactly what to consider when buying a pellet grill, explore the many reasons pellet grills shine over other grills and discover which pellet smoker is the best for your lifestyle, cooking style and particular needs.

If you’re looking to purchase a pellet grill, this article will help you pick a good one that meets your needs and lasts for years. Check out the comparison tables below and read our honest pellet grill reviews to pick the best pellet smoker for your budget and needs.

Happy grilling and smoking!


Why pellet grill is a smart choice

According to research, food grilled with a wood pellet grill is healthier:

Wood-pellet-burning grills use an indirect cooking method, which reduces the formation of carcinogenic chemicals.

Another reason I like pellet grills is that it’s like having the benefits of a smoker, a gas grill, and a wood/charcoal grill all in one. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably decided to get one and that means you’re already ahead of the 95% of grilling enthusiasts. Congratulations!

  • Convenience of a gas grill

Set it and forget it. Fill the hopper with pellets, set your preferred temperature (and a timer if you need) and go prepare a side dish or drink beer with friends. No charcoal grill will give you that freedom.

  • Taste and flavor of a wood smoker

Pellets are made of wood and they come in a multitude of flavors to choose from. No gas grill will give your food that smoky taste and flavor. 

  • Not just grilling

Use your pellet grill for smoking, baking, roasting, braising, slow cooking, and even frying. No gas or charcoal grill will give you so many options.


Choosing the right pellet grill and smoker

The reviewed grills here are the best rated, most popular and most reviewed pellet grills and smokers in the United States (most of them are also available for delivery to outside of U.S). 

Looking for an electric smoker instead? Look at this article for electric smoker reviews

Only the best wood pellet grills with high-quality features and ones that have proven to be reliable to their owners made it to the list. Take a closer look:

Best pellet smokers under $1,000

ImageTitlePriceCooking areaReviews
Top Rated 2019 model
Z GRILLS ZPG-700D - 700 sq inch pellet grill with electric digital controls and a patio cover
$599.00694 sq in4.5 84
2019 model
Z GRILLS ZPG-7002B - 700 sq inch pellet grill with electric digital controls and a patio cover
$509.00694 sq in4.4 23
#1 Bestseller
Camp Chef PG24 Deluxe Pellet Grill and Smoker (with Digital Controls and Stainless Temp Probe)
$499.99573 sq in4.2 424
Wi-Fi controllable
Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill – WIFI enabled
$329.00219 sq in4.1 350
New Upgraded Model
Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill without Sear Box
Digital temperature control
570 sq inch cooking area
Ash cleanout system
$699.99570 sq in4.2 29
Top Rated
REC TEC RT-700Wood Pellet Grill - Featuring Smart Grill TechnologyTM
702 sq in5.0 21
Traeger Pellet Grills BBQ155.01 19.5K BTU Pellet Grill$445.22292 sq in4.3 159
Camp Chef SmokePro Stainless DLX Pellet Grill$499.99570 sq in4.0 53

Best portable pellet grills (comparison)

Good news if you’re one of the pellet grill fans who needs to move your grill often or just prefers to have a smaller pellet grill that you can take with should the need arise. REC TEC has come out with a smaller and portable version of their best selling wood pellet grill.

Top Rated in Portable
Traeger TFB42LZBC Grills Lil Tex Elite 22 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
Wi-Fi controllable
Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill – WIFI enabled
Currently Unavailable
REC TEC Grills™ Mini Portable Pellet Grill
Traeger Portable Grill PTG$399.403.496

Best pellet grills for catering and professional chefs

The Memphis Grills Elite Series pellet grills and smokers are the absolute best you can have. They are more expensive than your backyard pellet grills but built to last and they come with Wi-Fi which gives you the freedom to control your grill from anywhere you desire.

Pellet GrillGrill Name and ModelPrice Features Rating
Top Rated
Wi-Fi controllable
Memphis Grills Elite 39-inch Pellet Grill Built In - Vgb0002s
$4,999.00844 sq in
180-700 F
24 lb hopper
5.0 (5)
1750 sq in capacity
Louisiana Grills LG-001000-1750 WH-1750 Country Smoker Whole Hog
$3,099.001750 sq in
180-500 F
4.0 (3)
Wi-Fi controllable
Memphis Grills Advantage Plus 26-inch Pellet Grill On Cart - Vg0050s4-p
$2,899.00427 sq in
180-600 F
12 lb hopper
5.0 (1)
Traeger Grills Pro Series 34 Grill$1,349.99884 sq in4.3 (20)

Pellet grill reviews

1. Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill

New Upgraded Model

Camp Chef Woodwind Grill

Price: $699.99

Buy Camp Chef Woodwind

This is our favorite pellet grill today. The Woodwind is a new upgraded pellet grill from Camp Chef over their SmokePro, PG24, and PG24 Deluxe.

Compared to previous models, Woodwind comes with leg casters, a bottom shelf,​ blue LED screen read-out (easier to see in the sunlight), and thicker and more sturdy legs. It also has an enlarged and improved cover on the pellet hopper,  stainless steel burner pot​ and upgraded thermometer probe placement.

Note that the Woodwind comes in two versions: with sear box ($899) and without a sear box ($699).

Buy Camp Chef Woodwind​

2. Camp Chef PG24 Pellet Grill

#1 Bestseller

Camp Chef pellet grill

Price: $655.90

Buy Camp Chef PG24

Comes with a medium sized grilling area of 19.5″ x 22″ (430 square inches). The PG24 is our second favorite pellet grill under $1,000 but it landed on the first spot (before they introduced the Woodwind) because of its better price and free shipping compared to the Rec Tec. 

It’s not as large as the REC TEC and the construction is not as rock-hard sturdy but it’s still very solid and definitely gets the job done.

With the internal temperature sensor, meat temperature probe, and a digital temperature readout, the PG24 pellet smoker takes the guesswork out of your cooking process. An advanced digital temperature chip gives a more steady smoke and temperature, eliminating large temperature swings and giving a more consistent cooking temperature. The patented Ash Can Cleanout System makes clean up the easiest out there.

Click here to read the full review of Camp Chef PG24 pellet grill and smoker.

Buy Camp Chef PG24

3. REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill

Top Rated

REC TEC pellet grill

Price: $998.00 + shipping

Buy REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill

Comes with a large 19.5″ x 36″ (702 square inch) cooking area. Maintains precise temperature from 180ºF to 500ºF (5º increments). REC TEC will automatically light up with a push of a button and heat up to the temperature you have selected. REC TEC has a really good and precise temperature control so you can even use it for baking.

REC TEC grills are built of 304 stainless steel in America and come with a 6-year limited warranty. I have yet to meet a person that owns a REC TEC and isn’t happy with its performance. It’s super high quality and durable.

I love the features and I’m happy to pay a few hundred extra bucks for the highest quality and durability.

This, in my opinion and first-hand experience, is the best pellet grill out there for under $1,000. 

The only downside and the reason this landed on the second spot in our reviews is that when you order yours from Amazon, they make you pay $199 for shipping. 

Check out the video below or click to read my full review and experience with REC TEC pellet grill.

Price: $998.00 + shipping

Buy REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill


4. Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill (WIFI enabled)

GMG Davy Crocket pellet grill

This is the ultimate portable grill. It can run off a 12V with no problem so plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter. It also works 120AC so it’s perfect for home or camping, tailgating, hunting, house-boating, music festivals or anywhere you can take it!

The legs are foldable and it weighs only 57 pounds so easily place in the trunk of any car.

Your Davy Crocket comes with a digital Wi-Fi controller so you can control it and monitor both with iOS and Android app.

Includes a meat probe, a peaked lid, a convenience tray with utensil hooks and our new open flame technology grease tray. Also included is Sense-Mate, a thermal sensor which constantly monitors grill temperature.

Buy GMG Davy Crocket Pellet Grill


5. Traeger BBQ155.01 Junior Pellet Grill


This is a small and portable pellet grill from Traeger.

Comes with a small 292 square inch cooking surface, bronze lid finish, fully automatic auger, electronic auto start, digital control and a 10-pound pellet hopper.
With a weight of just 70 pounds and dimensions of 21 x 23 x 21 inches, it’s one of the smallest pellet grills there is.

Comes partially assembled, just attach the legs and the firebox (takes less than 30 minutes). All the necessary tools for assembly are included in the package.

Really easy to use and you don’t even have to clean it after every use.

Buy Traeger Pellet Grill

6. Camp Chef PG24S Pellet Grill and Smoker Deluxe

Camp Chef PG24S pellet grill

This is an exclusive model built for outdoor cooking. Comes with a stainless steel lid and the construction is very sturdy.

PG24S pellet grill comes with a built-in meat probe for temperature control, a 19.5 x 22 inches grilling area and an 18 lbs hopper. The unit itself weighs 131 pounds.

Offers full cooking range from low to high smoke or 160 to over 400 degrees Fahrenheit (depends on pellets used etc).

We like this grill a lot and another thing we like about Camp Chef is their excellent customer service.

If you want to store your grill outdoors when not using it you should also get the cover to protect it from the rain and such.

Buy Camp Chef PG24S Deluxe


7. Louisiana Grills LG 900 Pellet Grill

Lousiana Grills LG900 pellet grill

Comes with a 633 square inch main grilling surface, but also includes a 280 square inch removable upper cooking rack (total cooking area: 913 square inches). Includes a digital thermostat and gives you precise heat control from 170 Fahrenheit to 600 Fahrenheit (5 degree increments).

And by using the included programmable meat probe interface, you can cook and control automatically with precision. Comes with a Flame Broiler for Open Flame Grilling.

Made from heavy duty 14 gauge steel. Porcelain Cast Iron Main Grids.

Buy Louisiana LG900 Pellet Grill

8. Traeger TEXAS ELITE 34, Black and Bronze

Traeger Texas Elite 34 pellet grill

This is a huge pellet grill. Comes with a 646 square inch (34″ x 19″) grilling area which holds up to 24 burgers or 6 chickens or 32 hot dogs or 9 rib racks.

The wheels and legs have been upgraded for more stability.

Comes with porcelain grill grates which are easy to clean and a digital thermostat (means from low and slow to hot and fast grilling).

Note: Some people have noted problems with the temperature control.

Includes a 3-year warranty like all Traeger grills.

Buy Traeger Texas Elite 34


Note: more pellet grill reviews will be published soon but all our favorites have been listed above. Read below for some elite pellet grill reviews, portable pellet grill reviews and our list of pellet grill deals and packages.


Best portable pellet smokers (reviews)

1. REC TEC Grills™ Mini Portable Pellet Grill

Top Rated in Portable Pellet Grills
REC TEC mini portable pellet grill

Heats up real fast. Takes about 4 minutes to heat up to 225 degrees, 8 minutes to 400 degrees, and about 15 minutes to 600 degrees.

We were impressed with how steady it holds the temperature, max fluctuation around 3-4 degrees.

341 square inch grilling area. Big enough for one turkey or 3-4 ribs or about two briskets.

Efficient, you’ll go through only about 1 pound of pellets an hour when smoking at 225 F.

It’s got foldable legs so it’s easy to carry the thing from one place to another.

Solid construction like it’s big brother. Comes with a 2-year warranty.

Buy REC TEC Mini

2. Green Mountain Grills Davy Crocket

Wi-Fi controllable

GMG Davy Crocket pellet grill

As already discussed above, this is the ultimate portable grill.

It can run off a 12V with no problem so plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter. It also works 120AC so it’s perfect for home or camping, tailgating, hunting, house-boating, music festivals or anywhere you can take it!

The legs are foldable and it weighs only 57 pounds so easily place in the trunk of any car.

Your Davy Crocket comes with a digital Wi-Fi controller so you can control it and monitor both with iOS and Android app.

Includes a meat probe, a peaked lid, a convenience tray with utensil hooks and our new open flame technology grease tray. Also included is Sense-Mate, a thermal sensor which constantly monitors grill temperature.

Buy GMG Davy Crocket Pellet Grill

3. Traeger Junior Elite

Traeger Junior Elite pellet grill

300 square inch grilling area (20 x 15 inches), holds up to 12 burgers, 18 hot dogs, 4 chickens, 3 rib racks or 1 turkey.

Weighs 60 pounds.

Perfect for tailgating, small households and traveling.

Comes with a 3-year warranty.

Buy Traeger Junior Elite

Pellet Grill Deals and Packages

Every now and then the pellet grill manufacturers come out with deals and discount packages. It would be foolish to not take advantage of these offers. Take a look at some of the current offers available below.

Davy Crockett Online Package:

  • Wi-Fi controlled Green Mountain Grills Pellet Grill
  • Grill Cover and tote bag
  • 2 bags of Gourmet blend pellets (8lb)
  • 2 bottles of rubs and 2 bottles of sauces

More about pellet grills

What is a pellet grill (often called pellet smoker)

Wood pellet grill is a two-in-one mixture of a smoker and a grill. It doesn’t provide direct flame for your steaks or meat as a grill would which eliminates flare-ups. Since there’s no direct flame, searing meat isn’t an option and there’s a better choice if this is your desire. However, if you desire a great smoky flavor with an easy cooking process then a pellet smoker is an excellent choice.

Pellet grill is a type of grill that uses wood pellets as its fuel source. The pellets are made of compressed sawdust. These wooden pellets are used to fuel the grill instead of charcoal or gas. However, the pellet grill works almost the same way as charcoal and gas grills combined.

To cook food using a pellet grill, put the pellets into a hopper. When you turn it on, the igniting rod will burn pellets in the fire. The motor-driven auger will then supply the fire pot with pellets from the hopper. The ratio that auger delivers pellets to fire pot depends on the settings you control. If you set it at a high temperature for a longer period of time, the auger will keep on feeding the fire pot with pellets. However, if you are slow-cooking and set a low-temperature one, the feeding and delivery of pellets will also slow down.

Pellet grills are used not only for grilling but also in baking, smoking, roasting, and more. Nevertheless, the significance of pellet grill is to imitate how charcoal works in smoking and how gas grill regulates the temperature.

Why should I get a pellet grill

If you like grilling outdoors, you want to reduce the time and energy you spend using traditional and classic methods of grilling in an open air. The problem with traditional grills is that you keep on manually feeding the grill with charcoal or wood. In addition, you need to stay near the grill until the food is finally cooked.

Time is as precious as your energy. In conventional grills, your waiting period is much longer, and they require much attention. On top of that, you will need to exert so much effort in setting them up and keeping them work in the entire duration of cooking. If you are sick and tired of all this, it is high time you buy a pellet grill.

Pros of a Pellet Grill

Set it and forget it. It does not require you to stay while the food is being cooked as you can set a timer and temperature so you can do other things, like prepare the side dishes or drink beer with friends while the grill is doing its job. Most pellet grills use electronic controls to regulate the grilling according to your preferences. You have a choice to choose the level of smoke aside from choosing your desired temperature.

Choose your flavor. The good thing about pellet grills is that the pellets are flavored. Pellets may come from apple wood, cherry, pecan, mesquite, and hickory wood. You can also match a combination of wood flavor and food like using apple pellets when cooking fish or using hickory with beef.

Moreover, pellet smokers are safe. You won’t have to worry about fire and explosion because its temperature control prevents the grill from overheating even in prolonged use. It has a deflector plate between the fire pot and grill grate to ensure that grease, oil, or meat juices will not get in contact with fire so as to prevent a sudden flare-up.

Cons of a Pellet Grill

First pellet grills and older models with three-position controllers have disadvantages as it is hard to achieve your desired temperature in the winter. Pellet jams are also a problem with the old type of pellet grills.

Today, there is no general disadvantage that is present among all pellet grills. Each model or brand has its pros and cons. There are a lot of different pellet grill manufacturers in the market today, including some cheap Chinese ones that you should steer clear from.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Pellet Grill

Every pellet grill offers a lot of benefits, but choosing a better one will not make you regret it along the way. Although it is difficult to decide which one is better, you will have an idea what to choose if you know what you need.

Are you looking for a pellet grill for slow-cooking? The one with larger hopper would serve well. If you are looking for a much safer one, a stainless pellet grill is better.

Before you buy a pellet grill, check if it has a PID controller. This is a built-in electronic feature that uses an advanced algorithm to accurately and safely control the cooking process based on your preferences you set. Most pellet grills today have PID so it is good to buy what the one that many people already enjoy.

How Does It Compare to Other Grills?

There are several types of grills and these are charcoal, gas, wood, electric smokers, open fire grill, and pellet grill. Each of them offers different benefits. In terms of comparison, pellet grill is still superior because it is the combination of all such grills. You can use it to smoke that way charcoal grill does. You enjoy the wood flavor of wood grill using pellets, and it is also electrically and electronically-operated.

Types of Cooking Techniques You Can Use with a Pellet Grill

As mentioned above, pellet grill can be used for many types of cooking such as

  • grilling,
  • smoking,
  • baking,
  • roasting,
  • braising,
  • slow-cooking, and even
  • frying.

The only thing you may not do is steam your food as moisture may affect the grill itself.

Types of Food that is Best to Cook with the Pellet Grill

Chicken, beef, pork, and more are the ones that are ideal for a pellet grill. Fish is also good as long as you should clean the grill after use because the smell of a fish may affect the taste of meat you will cook next. Looking for inspiration? Take a look at these pellet grill recipes or these to get your juices flowing.

Best pellet grill manufacturers


More and more pellet grills are being manufactured now as the benefits of “pellet grilling” are being discovered and it’s a smart choice to go with if you want the taste and flavor of the wood grill and the convenience of a gas grill.

Just make sure to pick a grill that meets your needs (size, features, portability) and has good customer reviews. Do your research (hopefully this article helps) but don’t overthink it – a grill in your back yard is better than no grill.

Enjoy the BBQ and time with your friends and family!

Latest updates:

Apr 5, 2019 – introduced new models, reviewed whole article
Jan 1, 2019 – updated article for 2019
Jan 11th, 2018
pellet grill guide update for 2018
Jun 4th, 2017 – major comparison and reviews update
Jan 3rd, 2017 
updated for 2017
Nov 24th, 2016
added Elite section, updated pellet grill reviews
Nov 16th, 2016
added “Portable pellet grills” section
Nov 11th, 2016 
updated comparison table