Pellet grills are becoming more and more popular, and we are always getting questions asking about reviews and advice the best pellet smoker.
Well, this isn’t exactly a surprise considering that they do have their share of benefits. Pellet grills combine some features and benefits available in propane and electric smokers.
For example, these grills can infuse a deeper flavor when compared to electric smokers given the use of wood pellets as the fuel source. In addition, they use a temperature control unit to regulate the heat, making it easy to use as well.
If you are looking for more flavor from your smoked food but are worried that the whole process may be overwhelming, pellet smokers are worthy of your consideration. They are quickly becoming the ‘in’ thing today and you can be guaranteed of flavorful, juicy tender meat without a lot of hassle.
With this buying guide, we are going to give you a solid overview of what these grills are about: their pros and cons and important things to consider before purchasing one. Most importantly, we are also going to provide you with a review of the top 10 pellet smokers available in the market today.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 Pellet Smoker Picks For 2019
The Benefits of Smoking with Pellet Grills
As already mentioned, these grills use wood pellets as fuel. Just like conventional appliances, the fuel used may generate a lot of smoke, but the best thing about this is that this smoke enhances flavor and aroma. And as some people may say, the taste will surely take you ‘back to the good old days’.
However, an additional huge advantage that pellet grills have over other grill types is they can also sear food, making them very versatile. Here are some other benefits:
Unlike electric and propane smokers, pellet grills use wood pellets as its fuel and produce a smoky flavor as a result. However, the smoky flavor will not be as intense as a charcoal grill.
You can choose the smoky flavor by changing up the types of wood pellets used. By using different types of wood pellets, you can produce flavors that are sweeter, more ‘bacon’, rich or mild that can match up well to certain types of meats. Popular wood pellet types include apple, cherry, hickory, pecan, and mesquite.
Another main advantage of a pellet smoker is that it is very versatile. It can be used to smoke a wide range of foods such as smoked brisket, chicken, ribs, salmon, etc.
It can also replace your barbecue grill and cook up burgers, steak, and even bake pizza. No longer do you need to buy a separate grill and smoker, you just need one appliance to meet all your barbecue needs.
Fast and Convenient
Everyone loves using equipment that saves time and effort. This is exactly what pellet smokers are all about.
Cooking with pellet grills are becoming very popular thanks to its ease of use and fast cooking. No more fooling around with charcoal, they preheat quickly and this will help you save time.
Better Temperature Control
You can also easily monitor the heat inside the chamber with a pellet grill. This gives them an advantage over other traditional grills which can be very difficult to manage the temperature. Once you keep the temperature under control, be sure that the meat will be properly cooked.
Cook your food more evenly with less hassle. These units also come with a heat diffuser plate where soaked wood chips are placed to enhance the smoke effect.
Pellet grills are available in many different sizes and shapes. This is actually one of the main reasons why experts recommend them. They are designed to meet everyone’s needs and preferences when it comes to convenient cooking tools.
There are also pellet grills that can do cold smoking as an added benefit. Cold smoking can be used to prepare salmon dishes and cheese.
Are there any drawbacks of using pellet smokers?
As we have already seen, these appliances come with a wide range of benefits, which obviously outdo the drawbacks. However, there are a few things that you need to know about wood pellets.
First, regular maintenance is required. For effective functioning, the entire unit should be cleaned at least once in 3 months. It should also be serviced by an experienced professional at least once a year.
They can also be noisy. The built-in ventilator and motor produce noise when in operation. It is, however, possible to find modern models that are quiet or less noisy.
Lastly, be prepared to pay a considerable amount of cash. The top units tend to be expensive. But since they have some of the best features, like the ease of use and automation, the wood pellet you get is always worth the price. Just be sure to compare different options if you want to get the best price.
How to Choose the Best Pellet Smoker
High quality and well-designed units will give you years of consistent results with very little maintenance required. The best part is that it doesn’t require much experience to operate.
Top pellet grills have easy temperature control and it is also possible for you to set the smoking time. You only need to follow a recipe to have a deliciously smoked meal prepared.
It actually doesn’t matter if you are using it for the first time or whether it is your first time to prepare that type of food.
Since a good number of people are still new to pellet technology, it is important to go through the important features and other factors to consider.
Temperature control is actually one of the most important features that should never be ignored. The unit should be in a position to maintain constant temperature regardless of the weather conditions.
If you get a pellet smoker that changes the temperature depending on the weather, you may end up getting inconsistent results. The most recommended grills are the ones that use PID algorithms for temperature control.
This is the temperature control technology that is also used in breweries, commercial bakeries, and pharmaceutical manufacturers.
There are some units that come with Wi-Fi connectivity, which helps you control the grill from any location. With Wi-Fi connection, you can easily turn the grill on and off or adjust the temperature without necessarily having to move around. This makes them very convenient to use.
Top pellet grills should be able to last a lifetime. Once the internal parts get rusted, that will be the end of your grill. As such, most of the best models have all their components made of stainless steel, which lasts a long time.
Space and Size
You should also ensure that the pellet grill you invest in has a large cooking space. This will allow you to cook a large amount of food at the same time. It is also imperative to ensure that your home has enough space to accommodate the unit. If not, there are smaller options and models to suit your space.
Just like any other product in the market, one of the most important factors that you need to consider before purchasing a pellet smoker is its value. The top models are usually expensive, but if you are on a low budget, it is still possible to compare price options from different vendors and find an affordable grill.
Accessibility of Wood Pellets
It may not be easy to find wood pellets throughout the year in a specific area. If you reside in a region where wood pellets are scarce, it is always important to ensure that you purchase wood pellets in a mass.
There are a lot of online stores that sell wood pellets in huge quantities and at a very affordable price.
With a high-quality unit, you won’t have to worry about expensive repair costs. Another benefit of buying a top pellet grill is that you will be able to use it for years with minimal maintenance. It is only reputable manufacturers that can guarantee you a high-quality unit.
Considering that pellet smokers depend on the power of wood pellets to run, ensure that you buy a grill with a high hopper capacity. If you are not really concerned about the hopper capacity, try to get a pellet grill with at least an average-sized hopper. This is because having a smaller capacity is tiresome since it requires multiple refills within a limited period of time.
Whether you want to place the unit in your backyard for years or you want to use it in camping adventures, investing in a lightweight one can be a good option. A lightweight smoker is easy to carry around with little effort required.
The top of the line pellet smokers have a digital temperature control adjustable in increments of five degrees. Other grills may have only three settings, which include low, medium or high.
As much as most of these controllers are also effective, they may not be accurate if you want to adjust them to a specific temperature for the type of food that you want to smoke. This simply means that you should try investing in a smoker with digital control.
Ease of Clean Up
One thing that most grillers detest is cleaning a grill after use, no matter how enjoyable the grilling process was. After the pellet grill is used for about 15 hours, cleanup will be required to prevent ash build up.
With frequent cleanup, the ash will accumulate at the bottom of the grill and won’t interfere with your cooking. You, therefore, should try as much as possible to find a grill that is easier to clean. Luckily, most of the products in this review are not very demanding when it comes to cleaning.
The best pellet smoker should also come with a warranty. You will want a grill that is backed up by a reputable manufacturer. Most come with a warranty of between three and five years.
The longer the warranty the more confident you will be in the type of equipment you buy. Grills with a longer warranty are also known to be of high quality proving that the manufacturer is confident in the type of products that they offer.
Where can you buy the best pellet grill?
Pellet grills are available both online and in-store. Vendors offer varied prices, which is why it’s important to ensure that you shop around for an affordable smoker that meets your cooking needs. Before purchasing a pellet grill, ensure that you are well aware of the features to find out if it is really worth your money.
One of the top benefits of purchasing a pellet grill online (especially on Amazon.com) is that you will be able to go through past customer reviews and this will give you a clue on how the unit works. Besides that, you can easily compare prices, which can come in handy if you are on a tight budget.
Best Pellet Smoker Reviews
Traeger TFB42LZBC Grills Lil Tex Elite 22 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker – Grill, Smoke, Bake, Roast, Braise, and BBQ (Bronze)
Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker is made of powerful steel construction, making it sturdy and durable, and it has perfect temperature control. It has an ample 418 sq. inches of cooking capacity and digital temperature control.
- Precise, digital temperature control
- Super-versatile: Smoker, grill, bake, roast, braise and BBQ
- Made with stainless steel
- 418 sq. inches of cooking capacity that can fit 4 chickens, 16 burgers, 24 hot dog or 5 racks of ribs
- Electronic auto-start ignition
- Easy to clean porcelain grates
This amazing Z Grills is easy to use and it also comes with a 3-year warranty. It has a huge grilling area, a perfect option even for beginners. The pellet grill has an advanced wood fire technology and it is also super versatile. You can use it to prepare a wide range of food; whether it is Argentina style grilled veal, railed bacon asparagus or smoked salmon, you can trust Z GRILLS ZPG-700D 2019 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker to do the work.
- Auto-start ignition
- Digital temperature control and LED temperature display
- Super-versatile: Smoke, grill, bake, roast, braise, sear, char-grill, and BBQ
- Made with stainless steel
- 700 sq. inches of cooking capacity
- 20 lb Hopper capacity – 20 hours of cooking before refilling
This Traeger pellet grill is very stable and supports even weight distribution. It has a precise temperature control helping you create a taste that your family really likes. On average, it takes at least an hour for food to cook once the initial set temperature is achieved.
- 6 types of cooking: smoke, grill, bake, roast, braise, barbecue
- Digital temperature control
- Durable steel materials
- Easy to clean porcelain grill grates
- 572 sq. inches of cooking space that can fit 4 chickens, 5 racks of ribs or 24 burgers
Green Mountain’s Davy Crockett grill is a portable smoker that has a digital Wi-Fi controller. This feature enables you to control and monitor your grill using an iOS or Android mobile application. It comes with a thermal sensor that helps to monitor the grill temperature. You can even place it the trunk of your car.
- Portable, folding legs and handles
- Temperature can be monitored
- Has a 3-year warranty
This Z Grills 6 in 1 wood fire pellet smoker creates a convenient environment for roasting, grilling, braising, smoking and baking. It has a precise temperature control system that auto ignites the grill and it also enables you to easily set the cooking temperature.
All you need to do is set it up and enjoy the cooking. You don’t have to worry about babysitting. The pellet grill has a huge grilling area, foldable working shelf, and rustproof cover and racks. It comes with a 3-year warranty and it also easy to use and clean.
- Versatile: BBQ, bake, roast, braise, smoke, grill
- Digital temperature control and LED temperature readout
- Electronic AUTO-start ignition
- 450 sq. inches of cooking area
- 15 lb. hopper capacity
Camp Chef can be used to smoke grill, bake, roast, braise and BBQ using premium wood-fired flavor on a single grill. It has smart digital temperature control to maintain the heat and ensure that the optimal amount of smoke is produced.
This unit is also easy to use and clean, thanks to its exclusive ash clean-out system that cannot be found in any other grill. It is easy to start up and assemble with the aid of a video available at the Camp Chef site.
- Versatile: Grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and barbecue
- Digital temperature control with 2 meat probes included
- Easy to clean with a patented ash cleanout system
- Adjustable upper shelf
- 811 sq. inches of cooking surface with upper shelf: 30 burgers or 6 racks of ribs
This Z Grills unit is great for entertainment, making your dining experience more fun. It is made out of stainless steel but has a stylish all-black look with a classic chimney. It is relatively lightweight at 84 lbs and also has a hand grease bucket holder with large storage space.
- Digital temperature control
- Versatile: Grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, barbeque
- 399 sq. inches of main cooking area + 139 sq. inches in warm rack allows for 3 chickens or 3 racks of ribs
- 10 lb hopper capacity
The large-capacity Camp Chef SmokePro also has an exclusive ash clean-out system. It comes with an electronic auto-start ignition for a quick and easy start. It also has a simple temperature selection system to maintain heat.
With this grill, you can say goodbye to hours of waiting forever. The pellets burn hotter and cleaner, and they can last long enough to achieve your desired flavor.
- Easy to clean with an exclusive ash clean-out system
- Digital temperature control
- Dual LED temperature readout shows internal cooking temperature and food temperature
- 570 sq. inches of cooking surface
This is Traeger’s premium pellet grill wrapped in all stainless steel material and color. It comes with a two-door storage cart, side shelves, and a large hopper capacity. It also includes a digital temperature controller as well as a large cooking area.
- Versatile cooking: grill, bake, braise, smoke, roast BBQ
- Precise digital temperature control
- Stainless steel construction and look
- 3 piece porcelain grill grate
- 586 sq. inches of cooking area which fits 20 burgers, 5 chickens, 28 hot dogs or 6 racks of ribs
- 18 lb. hopper capacity
- Enclosed storage space and side shelves
This more portable Traeger grill can be great for small households, camping, and tailgating. It grills to perfection every time, and it is also easy and predictable to use. This Traeger also has 300 sq. inches of grilling area and uses a digital temperature control.
- Portable at only 60 lb.
- Digital temperature control
- Electronic auto-start ignition
- 300 sq. inches of cooking space that fits 12 burgers, 2 chickens or 3 racks of ribs
- 8 lb hopper capacity
- Porcelain grill grates
- Steel construction
Pellet grills are becoming more popular every day thanks to their ease of use and the ability to prepare a wide range of foods. But to ensure that you are getting a good deal, it is always important to compare options from different vendors. Our best pellet smoker picks have solid customer reviews on different platforms, and some of them are also very affordable.