5 Best Pellet Smoker Grills
Pellet smoker grills are a perfect blend between gas and charcoal grills. Learn more about these grills and five top models for you to consider.
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What to Know About Pellet Smoker Grills
Pellet smoker grills work by burning compressed wood sawdust or smoking pellets. A pellet smoker has four main components — the hopper, the auger, the electronic ignition and the fan. All work together to create a fire inside the cooking chamber. You adjust the temperature with the digital controller attached to the hopper.
There are many features to look for when buying a pellet grill. These are the most important:
- Size. Pellet smoker grills come in many sizes. The bigger they are, the more expensive they get. You only need a small pellet grill if you usually cook for two people, but go bigger if you throw a lot of parties. Just be prepared to drop some cash on those monsters.
- Quality. Most pellet grills are constructed from porcelain-coated steel. Higher quality models feature some stainless steel parts. Components will increase the price, of course, but they will last longer and perform better. If you can afford to, go for stainless steel. Otherwise, porcelain-enameled steel works just fine.
- Ease of use. The main selling point of pellet smoker grills is the convenience of “set-and-forget.” So pay attention to features such as a simple ash clean out and an easy-to-use digital controller. Also, make sure that the grill is WiFi- and Bluetooth-enabled. That way, you can control everything from your phone.
- Accessories. Pellet grills are great at smoking meat and barbecuing. However, even though they’re called a grill, they don’t actually grill particularly well. So look for extra grilling features such as a sear box or a built-in griddle grate. That way, you can grill and barbecue on the same unit with ease.
- Warranty. A pellet smoker grill has an intricate digital controller to regulate its temperature. That’s why a long warranty is a must, in case something goes wrong. A good warranty lasts somewhere between three and five years. The length of the warranty also gives you an idea of how confident a manufacturer feels about their products.
Best All Around
The Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill ($800) has it all. With 429 square inches of primary cooking space, plus another 382 square inches on a secondary rack, this grill is capable of handling just about any backyard gathering. It’s also WiFi-compatible, so you can control the temperature from the comfort of your smartphone.
Better yet, you can add a grilling attachment other pellet grills don’t have, like a sear box or a flat-top griddle. This feature alone makes the Camp Chef grill stand out from its competition, along with all the features that make the grill convenient and easy to use.
Best for Small Space
With its folding legs, you can easily store this portable grill in a corner of your balcony or garage when not in use. It also fits into an RV or a truck. With its eight-pound pellet hopper and 300 sq. in. of cooking space, this grill can cook a decent amount of food for four hours straight without requiring a pellet refill. Compact yet powerful.
The first impression of the Traeger Scout ($300) is the small footprint. This feature, combined with its short legs, allows you to easily store the grill in the back of your vehicle. Two latches secure the lid during transport.
Despite its size, the Traeger Scout is still capable of handling a decent amount of food, with 184 square inches of cooking space to fit about six burgers or 10 hot dogs. Without a doubt, this little unit is the perfect choice for those that want an on-the-go pellet smoker grill.
The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett ($330) has everything you need in a quality pellet smoker grill. It has a free WiFi app that allows you to control the temperature from afar.
You can plug it in anywhere (a standard residential outlet, your car or a generator) due to a special adapter that only the Davy Crockett has. It has a decent-size cooking space (219 sq. in.), sturdy folding legs, a side shelf and a protective cover to boot. Plus, this unit is priced at less than $400 — extremely affordable yet still high quality compared to other pellet smoker grills on the market.
Holy smokes! That will be your impression of the Rec Tec RT-700 ($1,200).
The stainless steel internal components of this grill are built to last. With a 40-lb. hopper, it’s capable of going low and slow for a long time. The RT-700 has about 702 square inches of cooking space, enough to accommodate six large racks of pork ribs. It also has enough headroom to cook a whole turkey. And the bull horn handles add the finishing touch, transforming the overall look. The RT-700 also comes with a six-year warranty, the longest we’ve found.
All prices and links current as of publication.