Here are some options our experts tested to see if they’ll suit your cooking needs.
Reviews of the Top Pellet Grills Under $500
1. Cuisinart CPG-4000 Pellet Grill & Smoker
Key Features• Two-tier cooking grate
• Portable pellet smoker design
• Digital thermal sensor
• Auto-fuel system
• Pellet hopper capacity: 15 lbs
• Cooking space; 450 square inch
Not many affordable grillers include features with advanced grilling logic, but Cuisinart CPG-4000 sure proved our assumptions wrong. Although these pellet smokers appear smaller at first glance, they can handle different cooking methods from roasting, searing, and even smoking.
We’re also in awe of its high pellet capacity that can carry around 15 lbs of wood pellets. Its main cooking grate has 450 square inches of cooking space, and the users can add a two-tier metal grille if they need to cook more.
On top of that, we highly recommend this unit to newbie cooks for its accurate temperature control and integrated sensor gauge.
2. PIT BOSS PB0500SP Wood Pellet Grills
Key Features• Temperature range: 180 to 500 F
• Hopper Capacity: 15 lbs
• Cooking space: 542 square inches
• 8-in-1 pellet grill
• Temperature control panel
• Built-in warming rack
It’s no secret that PIT BOSS pellet grills can be a bit expensive, so our testers we’re intrigued after stumbling upon its PB0500SP model. Apart from being a budget-friendly option, we’re impressed with its wide temperature range of 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
And because it can reach such a high cooking temperature, this pellet smoker can perform different cooking techniques. Along with its versatility, this Pit Boss pellet grill also boasts 542 square inches of cooking space and 15 lbs of pellet hopper capacity.
Design-wise, our testers could attest that the structure of the Pit Boss PB0500SP is more aesthetically pleasing than typical charcoal grills available in the market.
3. Monument Grills Wood Pellet Grills
Key Features• Cooking area: 530 square inches
• Precise temperature control
• Steady temperature range
• Electronic ignition system
• Hopper capacity: 15 lbs
• Two cooking racks
It’s hard to find high-quality pellet grills for around 300 bucks, but Monument grills fit the bill if you’re searching for a low-budget option.
Despite lower pricing, did you know that this wood pellet grill has a PID smart controller? This feature’s main purpose is to give users access to precise temperature control.
This unit includes rapid heating systems that could make your grilling experience a lot easier as opposed to gas grills. In addition to all these convenient functions, users of the Monument Grills Octagonal Column Wood pellet smoker could also benefit from the feed system integrated on the grill.
With this smart feature, wood pellets get automatically consumed according to the set temperature.
4. Camp Chef 20" Pursuit Portable Pellet Grill
When it comes to uniform cooking, nothing beats a good Camp Chef pellet grill. However, their premium models like Camp Chef 20" Pursuit pellet grill tend to be priced over $1000. Lucky for us, we found the Camp Chef 20" Pursuit Portable Pellet Grill with PID temperature control settings that truly eased our grilling adventures.
During the test we conducted, its elite digital controller allowed us to adjust both smoke and heat settings without much hassle. And thanks to its compact design and steady wheels, we were able to move it for storage really quickly. This Camp Chef pellet grill can also reach up to 650 degrees in a direct flame setting.
5. Lifesmart 760" Wood Pellet Grill
You need consistent heat control to get that delicious smoky flavor, so our testers opted to test Lifesmart 760" Wood Pellet Grill. No matter what cooking conditions our kitchen experts tried, from quick and high to slow and low, these pellet grills under $500 didn’t fail our expectations.
This unit has the combination of gas grill convenience and an open wood-fired flame flavor that truly impressed us. It has 510 square inches of cooking area, making our food prep extra fast and easy.
And then, there’s the Reverse Sear Technology, a feature not available to many pellet grills. With this function, users of these pellet smokers can expect more wood flavor.
6. KingChii Wood Pellet Smoker & Grill
If brand popularity isn’t a big issue for you, KingChii Wood Pellet Smoker & Grill could be your outdoor kitchen’s saving grace. We consider this unit as one of the most innovative grills out there due to its D2 wood pellet feeding technology. If you look closer, you’ll notice that its propeller helps in stabilizing the heat.
Because it has 305 square inches of cooking area, this is the best pellet grill smoker if you’re serving food to a small number of people. We also loved this unit because of its back exhaust design. It assured us that the smoke wouldn’t crowd in our faces as during the grilling session.
7. ASMOKE AS350 Portable Wood Pellet Grill
Another original wood pellet grill with distinct features we just can’t ignore is ASMOKE AS350. This pellet grill has a specialized vapor technology and allocated pullout component where you can pour your preferred sauces. Once it’s in, it’ll create vapor during the grilling process to make your meat extra flavorful.
And then, there’s also its distinct heating system that our kitchen experts noted as three times quicker than other grills in the market. It can reach up to 450 degrees, so expect this unit to nail your desired cooking results.
8. Green Mountain Davy Crockett Sense Mate
If you’re a frequent camper who likes bringing the best pellet grills to a trip, then Green Mountain grills will surely fit your budget. Apart from its lower pricing, these equipment selections are known for their accurate thermal sensors, so we went ahead and tried it.
Sure enough, our grill testers could monitor the cooking chamber’s heat consistently. Its WiFi capability also adds convenience as we can easily check the grill condition via a mobile application.
Weighing just around 68 lbs, we can assure you that Green Mountain Davy Crockett Sense Mate grills are easy to store and bliss to carry around as well.
9. PIT BOSS 10538 PB206PSP2 Wood Pellet Grill
One look at its cast-iron grilling area, we already know that any user would find this unit a sweet deal. Its 387 square inches of cooking space is accompanied by its foldable legs, so it’s very suitable for a quick and small grilling session.
A grilling beginner would appreciate the digital control panel of this Pit Boss griller as it indicates the heat temp in its LED readout. It also has auto start-up and cools down for extra convenience.
10. Z GRILLS Wood Pellet Smoker
You may not know it, but Z Grills are highly known in the market for its versatile features. From its huge grilling area to efficient warming racks, this unit can give other brands a run for their money.
Like most modern Z Grills nowadays, nothing beats the accuracy of PID temperature controllers. During the test, this feature became very handy to our resident chefs as it spread heat evenly inside the cooking chamber.
After setting up the Z GRILLS Wood Pellet Grill, we noticed that our purchase included a protective cover and an oil collector. For a frequent cook, these extra items could be very helpful in everyday food prep. So, plus points for that!
A Guide to Choosing a Pellet Grill Under $500
Design and Material
The best pellet grills under $500 aren’t always made of short-lived materials. In fact, some of these options are designed out of stainless steel, which means that the unit has a strong resistance to harsh weather and elements.
And while you may think that the materials of your grill won’t matter, keep in mind that these cookwares are often used outdoors. So if you want to avoid the hassle of replacing your griller frequently, our cooking experts suggest buying ones made of stainless steel.
Besides that, you should also go for models with beck exhaust designs as they’re engineered to lead the smoke on the other side of the grill and not your face. As you know, excessive or frequent inhalation of smoke not only distracts you from cooking but is also bad for your health.
Two of the primary considerations you should think of when buying a grill are how frequent are you are cooking and how many people you are feeding? You see, the pricing of these cooking chambers also depends on their sizes.
However, ones sold under $500 feature around 400 to 500 square inches of grilling area. These options can be a bit rare, and the majority of units under this price range often come in 300 square inches varieties.
If you’re thinking of using the grill for slow and long cooking techniques, then our resident chefs urge you to check your purchase’s hopper size. Newbie cooks may not know, but the capacity of this feature determines how long your grill can run without refilling woodchips.
It’s important to keep your hopper filled to maintain the heat within the cooking chamber, or else it’ll affect the doneness and flavor of your meat.
Pellet grills don’t run using direct flame, so it’s mainly used in slow and low cooking. With this type of grilling duration, the performance of your chosen grill is very crucial.
For an easier grilling experience, we advise checking if the pellets are delivered from the firepot. Ensuring that your griller maintains the desired temperature is part of achieving the cooking results you expect.
And then, check on the fan system. This integrated feature usually allows your grill to spread an even amount of heat to the cooking chamber for better grilling.
The ability to control the heat inside your grill can be a crucial factor in determining the taste of your meat. Nowadays, most grill models include electronic heat control, giving users more freedom to manage their cooking results.
Some manufacturers also offer downloadable mobile applications where you can monitor and set the grill's temperature more accurately.
Ease of Use
For a grilling beginner, having kitchen equipment that’s easy to use is very important. As previously stated, smart griller options can already be navigated through mobile apps for extra user convenience. There’s also the auto-feed pellet system that could put your mind at ease when trying to maintain the heat of your grill.
Some options also come with extra grates and cooling shelves. These extra features add to the convenience and efficiency of your grilling ventures.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Keeping any equipment where you prepare food effectively prevents bacteria from breaching . If you own stainless steel pellet grills, cleaning them is a bit easier to handle as they’re low maintenance, and their surface could resist harmful elements during the cleaning process.
Another useful tip for maintaining your grill is never to close the lid while it’s still hot. Ideally, we suggest letting it cool down in a while if you’re still going to use it within the day. Planning to clean it right away could be dangerous as well.
Value for Money
Not all grills are created equal, but you can really get the value of your investment if you choose the option that fits your cooking needs. Although premium cooktops often have better durability and capabilities, several products under this price range proved that they have impressive features and designs to cater to your grilling requirements.
How Do Pellet Grills Work?
To make pellet grills work, the auger feature in your unit has to move the pellets into the hopper box. From there, the pellets will be pushed further to the firebox to start the heat of your griller. After that, the temperature regulation is completely up to the control panel equipped to your cooking chamber.
There’s also a fan that handles air circulation inside the griller. Through this, the heat will be evenly spread during the grilling session.
Who makes better grills, Pitboss or Traeger?
Traeger grill options have a built-to-last quality that made many expert cooks impressed. However, they can be more expensive than your typical outdoor kitchen equipment. So if you’re looking for a cheaper option, Pit Boss is a good alternative to consider.
Our Top Pick For a Pellet Grill Under $500:
Cuisinart CPG-4000 Pellet Grill Smoker
Grilling shouldn’t be an overwhelming chore, so our cooking experts decided to pick Cuisinart CPG-4000 Pellet Grill & Smoker as the best pellet grill under $500.
With its reasonable price range, adequate grilling space, durable design, and digital controller, there’s no doubt that this griller can elevate your extensive meat grilling adventure.