Smokin’ Hot: Unleashing the Flavor with the 5 Best Pellet Grill Models

Updated: Mar. 10, 2024

The best pellet smoker grill is a perfect blend between gas and charcoal grills. Here are five top models for you to consider.

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Mw Tk Best Pellet Grill Models For Cooking OutdoorsVIA MERCHANT

In the debate over gas vs. charcoal for grilling, pellet grills have added a new level to the discussion. They’re designed to be “set it and forget it,” with a steady supply of pellets dropping into the firebox, delivering the smoked flavor of charcoal or hardwood without constantly adding soaked wood chunks or hot coals. The best pellet grill also has digital- or Wi-Fi-enabled monitoring, so you can set up your food to cook low and slow, then go off to enjoy your day.

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. Pellets burn more slowly than charcoal, so while charcoal is cheaper, pellets save you money in the long run. Pellets also release fewer emissions and are made with wood scraps to be environmentally friendly.

While pellet grills are best for smoking and indirect heat, newer models add the ability to cook over direct heat so that you can sear steaks and burgers, getting the best out of the outdoor cooking world. Find the best pellet grill for you with this helpful list.

1 / 5

Traeger Ironwood 650 With Smart Home Technology
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Best Overall Pellet Grill

Traeger Ironwood 650 with Smart Home Technology

The Traeger Ironwood 650 is so much more than just a smoker. You can grill, smoke, braise, bake, roast and barbecue, all with the same piece of equipment! The double-side-walled interior allows for superior heat retention and precise temperature control, making it a breeze to use in the winter. It seamlessly connects to your phone and smart home technology so that you can even control the grill indoors.

Psst! We also love the new Traeger Timberline XL grill.

Pros

  • Precise temperature control up to 500 degrees
  • Built-in meat probe
  • Porcelain grill grates for easy cleanup
  • 650 square inches of grilling space

Cons

  • Performs best below 225 degrees for “low-and-slow” cooking

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2 / 5

Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett
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Best Budget Pellet Grill

Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett

The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett has everything you need in a quality pellet smoker grill. It has a free Wi-Fi app that allows you to control the temperature from afar. And thanks to a special adapter, you can plug it in anywhere—a standard residential outlet, your car or a generator. Plus, this unit is extremely affordable yet still high quality compared to other pellet smoker grills on the market. Psst! Have you ever considered an Argentine grill?

Pros

  • Wallet-friendly
  • 219 square inches of cooking space
  • Legs fold up for easy packing
  • Includes a side shelf with tool hooks
  • Lid is tall enough to handle rib racks
  • Protective cover included

Cons

  • The bottom gets hot

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3 / 5
Traeger Grills Ranger Portable Wood Pellet Grill And Smoker
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Best Portable Pellet Grill

Traeger Grills Ranger Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

Traeger upgraded its former portable pellet grill, the Scout, by replacing the analog control with digital and adding arc technology, improving its temperature control to within 5 degrees. The Ranger’s small footprint and short legs allow you to store the grill easily in the back of your vehicle. And with 176 square inches of cooking space, it can handle a decent amount of food.

Pros

  • Two latches secure the lid during transport
  • Porcelain-coated grill grates
  • Separate cast-iron griddle included
  • Meat probe included
  • ‘Keep-warm’ mode holds food until you’re ready to eat

Cons

  • It’s heavy, and gets even heavier after adding pellets

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4 / 5

Pit Boss 440 Series Wood Pellet Grill
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Best Value Pellet Grill

Pit Boss 440 Series Wood Pellet Grill

Made from premium-gauge stainless steel with a powder-coated finish, the Pit Boss is truly built like a boss. This pellet grill has a whopping 465 square inches of cooking space, including a removable upper rack. It even has a built-in bottle opener. And at less than $500, you get a lot for your money, including size and quality.

Pros

  • Removable side shelf/serving tray
  • Bottom tray
  • Digital controls with LED readout
  • Fan-forced convection cooking
  • Porcelain-coated cooking grates
  • Includes a slide plate for direct and indirect cooking

Cons

  • The hopper only holds 5 pounds of pellets

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5 / 5

Z Grills 700d Wood Pellet Grill Smoker
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Best Big-Event Pellet Grill

Z Grills 700D Wood Pellet Grill Smoker

This souped-up pellet smoker from Z Grills handles eight functions–smoking, baking, roasting, searing, braising, barbequing and char-grilling. With a combined 700 square inches of grilling space on the bottom and top racks (enough for 30 burgers or five chickens!) and a 20-pound pellet hopper, this grill can easily handle a big backyard party. The automated electric feed system is digital, maintaining a steady temperature without too much babysitting.

Pros

  • Plenty of grilling space
  • Comes with gloves, wrenches and a screwdriver
  • Easy to assemble
  • Steel construction with durable powder-coated finish
  • Porcelain-coated grates
  • Roomy storage cabinet underneath
  • Four caster-style wheels make it easy to move

Cons

  • It can take a long time to heat for direct-heat grilling

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What to Consider When Buying a Pellet Grill

  • Size: The bigger the grill is, 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.
  • Quality: Most are constructed from porcelain-coated steel. Higher-quality models feature some stainless steel parts. Components will increase the price, but they will last longer and perform better. If you can afford to, opt 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.” 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 Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled. That way, you can control everything from your phone.

How We Found the Best Pellet Grill

As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject-matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.

FAQ

Can you use pellets in a charcoal grill?

Yes you can use pellets in a charcoal grill. To do so, wait until the coals are lit and sprinkle on pellets. Many wood pellets come in distinct flavors, just like smoking chips do.

What are the negatives of a pellet grill?

Because of all the components, pellet grills are usually more expensive than other grills. You also need access to electricity, which isn’t doable for everyone.

Do pellet grills taste better than gas?

While smoking boxes that hold wood chips are available for most gas grills, pellet grills will get closer to the flavor of food cooked over wood or charcoal.