7 Best Pellet Smokers to Up Your Grill Game
A pellet smoker keeps all the fun of grilling, without having to inhale charcoal, dust and smoke in the process. You no longer need to put in any extra effort to maintain a steady temperature – the pellet grill will take care of that! The best pellet smoker can get you great-tasting food from the comfort of your own home. With the option to grill, cook or smoke a wide range of ingredients, you will definitely taste the difference.
A pellet smoker boasts convenience, as well. Much easier to use than a gas or charcoal grill, it makes smoking and grilling that much more fun—and delicious! Your least favorite part of grilling is also upgraded, making clean up a breeze. Grilling for a full house or a party? No problem with a pellet smoker, you can easily blast through large amounts of food, all at once without compromising on heat, quality or taste.
In this review, we’re going to help you decide on which pellet smoker is best for you. We’ve looked at various important features in our detailed reviews, such as the cooking area, temperature range, hopper capacity, dimensions, and weight of the smoker. Our buying guide has everything you need to help you make a purchasing decision on the best pellet smoker on the market. Through hundreds of hours of research looking through various reviews for different products, we’ve summarized the best of the best.
Editor’s Choice: Traeger Texas TFB65LZBC Elite 34"Sleek design and user-friendly controls for the best-tasting food."
Most High Tech: Camp Chef PG24DLX"A technologically advanced smoker that is simple in opertation."
Generous Surface Area: Pit Boss 700FB"Become the ‘boss’ of barbecuing with this huge-capacity pellet smoker."
Most Versatile Grill: Z Grills ZPG-7002"Highly functional grill, for the widest range of foods."
High Durability: REC TEC Bull RT-700"A tough construction made to last and endure any weather."
Budget Pick: Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett"Small but mighty grill, for those not looking for a purse-friendly investment."
Best for Professionals: Cookshack Fast Eddy's Pellet Grill PG500"A smoker with a huge cooking area, fantastic for large-scale cooking."
Top 7 Pellet Smokers Review 2021
Traeger Texas TFB65LZBC Elite 34 – Editor’s Choice
- Cooking area: 646 sq inches
- Temperature range: 18–450°F
- Hopper capacity: 18 lbs
- Dimensions: 49 x 54 x 22 inches
- Weight: 125 lbs
Extra features: digital elite controller keeps temperature within +/- 20 degrees, locking caster wheels
The Traeger Texas Elite TFB65LZBC is a high standard pellet grill in a sleek encasing. You can get away with grilling anything your appetite calls for swiftly and efficiently—but with an old-fashioned taste.
With this new pellet smoker, you’ll never have to use gas or charcoal ever again. Not only does it boast a traditional, high-quality taste, you can also benefit from its versatility. Whether you choose to cook with high or low heat, or need to choose between fast or slow timing, the Traeger Texas Elite offers all those options – and more, being a 6-in-1 grill. You can smoke, bake, roast, braise, and barbecue food to juicy perfection.
With the Texas Elite you also don’t have to worry about keeping track of the temperature. With its Integrated Digital Elite Controller feature, the smoker keeps temperatures within 20 degrees Fahrenheit of the ideal temperature.
You also don’t have to worry about the time. You can set it and forget about it.
Whether you have company coming over or it’s just a family barbecue, the Traeger Texas Elite TFB65LZBC is the perfect size, with 646 sq. in. of grilling space. You can cook up to 24 burgers, 6 chickens and 9 racks of ribs.
This pellet smoker is designed with a powerful steel construction and has a durable powder coat finish, meaning it will last years, for fun family events and backyard barbecues.
What makes it stand out?
- 6-in-1 versatility for any grilling need
- Has the options of slow or fast cook and within 20 degrees of ideal temperature
- 646 sq. inches of grilling space
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
- It might be too big for just a two- or three-person family
Camp Chef PG24DLX – Most High Tech
- Cooking area: 570 sq inches
- Temperature range: 160–500°F
- Hopper capacity: 18 lbs
- Dimensions: 45 x 21 x 51 inches
- Weight: 127 lbs
Extra features: patented ash cleanout system
The Camp Chef PG24DLX boasts one of the most advanced digital control pellet smokers on the market. With its smart digital temperature control, it can easily adjust to the task at hand—no matter what you’re grilling, in a matter of minutes.
With such technology, you can get the traditional grilling experience and outcome, but with a much better standard of control. The Camp Chef also has an automatic auger, which consistently feeds pellets into the grill so that the heat is maintained. With this sort of technology, you’ll get the optimal amount of smoke every time.
Don’t let your best grill become just another nuisance for you. With the Camp Chef, you can just set it and let it work—no more babysitting involved! Just at the push of a button, you can toggle the grill temperature and choose whatever setting you need.
This pellet smoker has got your back, no matter what you throw at it. With its endless versatility, you can grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and barbecue, all on a single grill. It also boasts optimum digital control, with a temperature range from 160° F up to 500° F. This pellet smoker comes with multiple accessories, like the meat probe, to check the internal temperature.
As we mentioned before, the technology of this pellet smoker is what sets it apart—during and post-cooking. The Camp Chef patented ash cleanout makes cleaning between cooking sessions extremely easy. All you have to do is pull a lever. Since there is a cleaning system in place, you don’t have to worry about cleaning it yourself with a vacuum, or replacing it once it gets too dirty to use.
Upon purchase, the assembly is simple, as is the startup. The product comes with a walk-through assembly video to help you get your pellet smoker running.
Why are we impressed?
- Has a total rack surface area of 570 square inches
- Most technologically advanced with temperature control
What negatives must you be aware of?
- Too advanced for a basic grilling task
Pit Boss 700FB – Generous Surface Area
- Cooking area: 700 sq inches
- Temperature range: 170–600°F
- Hopper capacity: 18 lbs
- Dimensions: 44 x 44 x 28 inches
- Weight: 126 lbs
Extra features: innovative ‘Flame Broiler’ for direct and indirect cooking
The Pit Boss 700FB boasts over 700 sq. in. total cooking surface, making it one of the largest cooking surfaces on the market for pellet smokers. It’s a perfect grill to be able to cook a large amount of meat, fish, vegetables or whatever you may choose – all at once.
The design of the pellet smoker features porcelain-coated cast iron grids with a digitally controlled burn system.
It has also has an innovative flame broiler to help you tackle those meat projects that you would otherwise be hesitant to try, in fear of drying out the meat. With a simple slide-plate, you can maintain complete control for cast iron cooking.
You will also have an additional upper cooking rack space, so that you can fill your entire grill all at once, without compromising the heat distribution. The Pit Boss 700FB comes with a proprietary dome heat shield and exhaust system that lets you cook up to 600° Fahrenheit, which makes it perfect for taking on any grilling job.
Since it uses only all-natural cooking-grade wood pellets for fuel, you don’t have to worry about fiddling with dangerous and smelly gas, propane or charcoal. It is also a perfect grill for beginners, since the Digital Control Center dial is easy to operate. You can indulge in “direct” and “indirect” cooking without all the extra grease.
As do most high-quality grills on the market, the pellet smoker has an auger, which feeds pellets to the burn pot, so you don’t need additional fire accelerants.
What stands out?
- Boasts a total of 700 square inches of space, plus an additional upper cooking rack
- Has a simple slide-plate for cast iron cooking
What cons did we manage to find?
- Uses only all-natural cooking-grade wood pellets, so lacks versatility
Z Grills ZPG-7002 – Most Versatile Grill
- Cooking area: 700 sq inches
- Temperature range: 180–475°F
- Hopper capacity: 20 lbs
- Dimensions: 49 x 23 x 51 inches
- Weight: 127 lbs
Extra features: waste oil collector for simple and safe cleanup, internal temperature sensor with auto digital temperature control
From A-Z, the Z Grills ZPG-7002 has the options of being an 8-in-1 barbecue smoker. It’s perfect for grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, searing, braising, barbecuing or char-grilling any type of food you throw on it.
The Z Grills ZPG-7002 works with fan-forced convection cooking, which takes care of the need of having to use a rotisserie for the meat. The fan-forced convection cooking also increases its versatility.
With one of the most modern control systems on the market, the upgraded digital control board allows you to automatically ignite the grill at the push of a button, and set the desired temperature from 180°F to 475°F.
While the temperature is maintained, you can use the Automated Electric Feed System. This helps you keep up the optimal amount of smoke without having to constantly watch the grill.
This pellet smoker also boasts a rather large size, fit for a lot of cooking, with grilling area dimensions of 19.2 x 26 inches, smoking/warming rack dimensions of 6.9 x 27.5 inches, and a total rack surface area of 700 square inches.
The Z Grills ZPG-7002 is also backed with a 3-year warranty. To help you keep the grill in great condition for years to come, the waste oil collector keeps the grill clean with easy-to-use cleaning modes.
You can also move the stainless steel grill around easily, since the cart has locking caster wheels.
What are our favorite features?
- Stainless steel build
- 3-year warranty and 30-day refund
- Large grilling area of 700 square inches
- 8-in-1 functionality
What could be better?
- The temperature only goes to 475°F
REC TEC Bull RT-700 – High Durability
- Cooking area: 702-1054 sq inches
- Temperature range: 200–500°F
- Hopper capacity: 40 lbs
- Dimensions: not specified
- Weight: 200 lbs
Extra features: Wi-Pellet WiFi controls for remote monitoring through an app, HotFlash ceramic ignition system, 6-year warranty
The Bull (RT-700) Grill is a pellet smoker that offers craftsmanship and precision when it comes to the perfect barbeque. This grill offers all the features often included in top-of-the-range pellet smokers, and even has some upgraded innovations.
Designed with a stainless steel cooking chamber, you don’t have to worry about weather taking a chip or two off the cover of your grill. With a nod to modern technology, the RT-700 also has Wi-Pellet WiFi Technology that connects with an app, to allow you to control your grilling remotely.
You can also benefit from the dual meat-probes that come plugged directly into the grill’s controller, so you can monitor twice the amount of meat. This completely eliminates the need for an after-market thermometer.
With the RT-700, you can also enjoy automatic lighting and shutdown features. This helps you achieve and maintain ultimate control of the grilling temperature, from 200ºF to 500ºF.
With a cooking area of 702 sq. in., the RT-700 isn’t small in size, either. You can fit a full turkey or six large racks of ribs. If using the second shelf, you can actually benefit from the full 1,054 sq. in.
Cleanup and maintenance is also a breeze, with a removable dishwasher-safe glass lens. The stainless steel design of the grill, fire plot, heat deflector, and drip pan also guarantee you a few years of loyal service, that won’t corrode or rust.
What are its best features?
- 6-year warranty and stainless steel build on most of the components
- 1,054 sq. in. of cooking space
What could be improved?
- Too large and hard to move around the backyard or cooking area
Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett – Budget Pick
- Cooking area: 219 sq inches
- Temperature range: 150–550°F
- Hopper capacity: 9 lbs
- Dimensions: 32 x 34 x 23 inches
- Weight: 68 lbs
Extra features: Sense-Mate constantly monitors grill temperature, WiFi for remote control through an app, legs double as handles for portability
The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett is one of the most lightweight and convenient options of pellet smokers out there. Since it weighs in at only 68 lbs, it is highly portable and you will be able to move it around the backyard with ease.
Although it is a smaller size, it still is highly functional. Unlike other pellet smokers in its category, it has a hopper that only holds 9 lbs worth of pellets. This grill reaches a maximum range of 150-550ºF. This is extremely impressive, considering its more compact dimensions, and means that it’s capable of grilling all that you could ever want.
Through its sloped design, the hopper can slide the pellets through to the mouth of the auger so that it functions without much effort from your side.
The one thing that definitely sets this grill apart is its portability – its weight and foldable legs make it a great option of camping and boating trips. Apart from that, it also comes with a digital WiFi controller that allows you to monitor and operate the grill through an app on your phone.
The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett comes with a variety of different features that make grilling not only easier, but also a more enjoyable experience. This grill comes included with a meat probe, a peaked lid for stand-up chicken, large fowl, and rib racks, and a convenience tray with utensil hooks.
You also don’t have to worry about controlling temperature for the optimum cooking heat, since the Davy Crockett has a thermal sensor that can run on a battery.
What are its best features?
- Weighs only 68 lbs for extreme portability—along with foldable legs
- Comes with WiFi Controller and temperature control
What could be improved?
- It is not big enough for large family gatherings or parties
Cookshack Fast Eddy's Pellet Grill PG500 – Best for Professionals
- Cooking area: 784 sq inches
- Temperature range: up to 600°F
- Hopper capacity: 23 lbs
- Dimensions: 56 x 54 x 25 inches
- Weight: 330 lbs
Extra features: 4 cooking zones, charbroiler technology for great taste, flat top to keep prepared food hot while you cook
The Cookshack Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill PG500 is designed with stainless steel, so you can be certain that it is made to last with its extremely sturdy build.
If you’re looking for the largest pellet smoker option out there, the Cookshack Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill PG500 is a giant when it comes to other smokers on the market. With a 23 lb. hopper and a total weight of 330 lbs, you can definitely rest assured that this pellet smoker is here to stay.
Not only is it massive for any and all grilling tasks, it also is highly-functional, with a pellet dump door at the bottom so you are able to switch out the pellets while in use.
The Cookshack Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill PG500 is designed with four different cooking areas so you can choose one depending on the meat or food you’re working with. You can use the main grilling area, located directly above the fire pot. This area reaches temperatures up to 600°F. You can also station yourself in the indirect heat zone for roasting.
With the amount of grilling you‘ll be doing, you might be worried about cleanup. However, with the Cookshack Fast Eddy’s smoker, cleanup is easy thanks to the front ash drawer that collects the ash, which can then easily be thrown away.
This pellet smoker also runs on a digital control system, which has a broad range of extra features. You can choose the settings perfect for the type of food that you’re cooking.
What are our favorite features?
- Has a 23 lb. hopper for pellets
- Can reach temperatures up to 600°F
- Comes with four different zones for cooking
What could be better?
- Is extremely heavy—once you place it, you can’t move it around much
Things to Consider
Now that you have our top options, you can check out this buying guide to help choose which pellet smoker is best for you, your family, and making the best meat in your price range.
In this buying guide, we’re going to go through the various features that you need to know, to make the most well informed decision in choosing the right pellet smoker.
Advantages of Having a Pellet Smoker
Although you can easily barbecue and grill on a normal grill, investing in a pellet smoker—especially if you’re fond of entertaining guests—will set your barbecues apart from all the other backyard parties. If you’re really looking to be named the “Grill Master”, like your apron says, you’ll want to invest in a pellet smoker.
The pellet grill gives the best production of the smoking grill flavor you’re looking for, with much less hassle than a big-production grill. Most of the smokers on the market, especially those in our guide, are extremely easy to set up and use.
Most stick burners and traditional smokers that produce quality results are often large, expensive, and take an expert-griller to monitor your cooking. With the pellet smoker, you don’t have to monitor too much and actually enjoy the barbecue party you’re hosting. The extra features will also help you maintain the proper temperature range for the task at hand.
To help you pick the perfect pellet smoker, here are some features you should consider first:
Features to consider while choosing a pellet smoker
Especially if you’re looking to cook for a large number of people, you’ll want to have enough space to fit all the meat on the barbecue, without compromising heat distribution. The best range you’re looking for is 700 square inches of cooking surface and two racks. It’s great to be able to have a main rack and an additional, removable upper rack to create space if you’re not using it.
You’ll need a large amount of cooking area as well, if you’re cooking different kinds of meat. You can use the flame broiler, a simple slide-plate with a direct flame so you can smoke and grill—all at the same time.
Working with a variety of different foods, you’ll want to have an adequate range of cooking temperature. The sweet spot is anywhere from 180°F to 500°F. However, you’ll find that some grills are capable of hitting up to 600°F in temperature. These temperature ranges can be set up at the turn of a dial and be ignited electrically, which makes setting the temperature extremely easy. If you need to adjust the temperature after you have begun, you should also look into investing in a pellet smoker with temperature fluctuation controls.
Temperature fluctuation controls
When you’re new to grilling—especially when trying to smoke meat, you’ll need a little help. Sometimes it takes an expert to really know what you’re working with and how to do so. This is where temperature fluctuation controls come into play. These temperature-regulating computers help set and keep the correct, precise temperature for the meat or food you’re working with. This is what sets pellet smoker grills apart from regular grills.
Even though you might think that this is a matter of convenience, it really is necessary for the pellet grill to help you cook to perfection. The Traeger Texas Elite is one that ticks this box, with its Digital Elite Control that keeps the heat within 20 degrees of optimal temperature. But bear in mind, not all products have this feature.
If you see that people have complained that grills have heat zones or hot spots, this might be detrimental to keeping that consistent temperature. You’ll also want to avoid using a manual form of airflow for temperature regulating purposes—this will also mess with the consistency of temperature.
Especially since these grills run on the power of pellets, you’ll need a pellet smoker with a high hopper capacity, like the REC TEC Bull RT-700, which has a hopper capacity of 40 lbs. If a large hopper capacity is not your biggest concern, you can aim for a smoker with an average-sized hopper, holding up to 18-20 lbs of pellets. A smaller capacity may be cumbersome, requiring refills much more often.
Another important feature when considering a pellet smoker is to make sure that you have enough room.
A normal range size is going to be from 429 sq. inches to 875 sq. inches. Although you’ll find some pellet smokers, like the REC TEC Bull RT-700 with over 1,000 square inches. You’ll want to pay attention to the size of the surface area to make sure that it corresponds with your needs.
Whether you’re going to be stationing this pellet smoker in the corner of your backyard deck for the next few years, or you are going to be investing in one for your camping adventures, you’ll want the weight of the smoker to reflect its purpose. Lightweight pellet smokers like the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett are great for portability.
With a higher quality model, you can expect a more interactive controller. Some may be customized, easy-to-use, and can adjust the temperature in increments of five degrees. Other, less-expensive smokers will have controllers that only contain three settings, like low, medium, and high. Although effective, they aren’t very accurate when it comes to adjusting it to a specific temperature for the meat you’re cooking. You might actually end up having less control over the temperature than you would with a regular grill. Therefore, we would definitely recommend that you invest in a pellet smoker that has digital control.
WiFi Remote Controls
With everything turning to WiFi and heading into wireless territory, your barbeque experience is no exception. There are some pellet smokers, like the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett, which can be controlled through an app on your phone—bringing grilling truly into the territory of modern technology. When looking for the perfect pellet smoker, it’s not essential to have WiFi remote controls, but it definitely brings an element of a quality first-impression. Plus, if you’re tech-savvy and you have everything controlled on your phone anyway, from your alarm system to the air-conditioning, you might as well consider this for your grill, too.
Just like with anything else and any other product you can buy—it pays off to have a quality pellet smoker. On that note, you should be aware that it might look impressive on the outside – but as they always say, never judge a book by its cover.
Ease of Cleanup
One thing that most grillers can agree on is that they despise the cleanup—no matter how much they enjoy the grilling process. After you’ve used your grill for 15 hours, you’ll want to prevent ash build-up as much as possible. This means a cleanup feature in the smoker, like a removable ashtray, can help. This will force the ash to accumulate at the bottom of the unit, where it shouldn’t have any impact on the actual cooking. Fortunately, smokers usually burn pellets easily, so you won’t have much ash to deal with in the first place.
As with any other equipment that you buy, you’ll want a machine that the brand actually backs up, as well. With a pellet smoker, you can invest in one with a 3-to-5 year warranty, which is often the average. This will give you peace of mind and confidence in your purchase, as a pellet smoker can be a pricey investment.
We know that investing in a grill can make or break your backyard—especially all those family events you’re planning. For every question you may have, we have an answer. Here are our most frequently asked questions.
Now that you have your lean, mean grilling machine, you probably want to know what you can and cannot cook. Normally, you can stick with most of your average barbecue meats, like frozen, store-bought chicken, burgers, bacon, ribs, brisket, and even “out there” food products, like apple pie.
Yes! As long as you are taking care of the cleaning and maintenance, you are free to use your grill as often as you would like.
Normally, a 40-lb bag of pellet fuel will be able to give off heat for up to 24 hours. Therefore, depending on the bags being used, the time will change. On average, a pellet grill will use about 1-3 lbs. per hour, if you want to do the math. However, if you’re going to be cooking on high, make sure to pay attention to the lifespan of a pellet at a certain temperature.
There are three different types of average wood pellets. Premium wood pellets normally have less than 0.5 percent of organic ash content. They are generally made from oak and maple woods, do not contain bark, and are usually more affordable. Standard wood pellets have more than 0.5 percent of organic ash content, because they are made with forestry industry waste. Food-grade wood pellets do not contain any additives or binding agents.
The answer to this question depends on the type of pellet smoker or brand you’ve bought. Normally, only some assembly is required, for example, just attaching the legs. Almost all pellet smokers come with a manual, and set up should be relatively simple.
To summarize the products on our guide, here are the top three products from our list:
The Traeger Texas Elite TFB65LZBC is the best all-around pellet smoker on the market. With a surface area of 646 sq. in., it’s obvious to say that you’ll have enough space, no matter how big the task may be. With a hopper capacity of 18 lbs, you’ll also be able to grill a lot without having to change or re-load the hopper.
The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett is our budget pick, a quality grill that you can get without breaking the bank. Weighing only 68 lbs, it is relatively lightweight and can be moved around. It has all the features of a high-quality grill, but at a much lower price point.
The REC TEC Bull RT-700 is the most practical pellet smoker on the market, perfect for camping or outdoor barbecuing when you’re on the go. Like the Davy Crockett, it has easily foldable legs, meaning you can take this pellet smoker with you, wherever your next adventure takes you.
We hope that this guide has helped you pick out the best pellet smoker for you, your family, and your next barbecuing festivities!