When it comes to low and slow cooking, pellet grills definitely have flavor and temperature control perks that a gas or charcoal grill can’t offer. But despite the obvious popularity of pellet smokers, it’s hard to know which cooking chamber brands are worth your trust and money.
Fortunately, our team tested some of the industry’s top pellet smoker choices to ease your kitchen shopping experience.
Reviews of the Top Pellet Smokers and Grills
1. Memphis VG0001S-ITC3 Pro
Key Features• Temperature range: 180 to 650 F
• Internal temperature control (WiFi)
• 834 square inches of cooking space
• Pellet hopper capacity: 18 lbs
• Direct & indirect heat modes
• Stainless steel cooking surface
Most pellet smokers are often exposed to high temperatures and harsh conditions, so a stainless steel grill like Memphis VG0001S-ITC3 Pro is definitely a life-saver. It’s also not a secret that this unit’s gas and charcoal counterparts struggle to maintain a consistent temp range, but this one can hold heat between 180 to 650 F.
While grilling steaks, our testers were delightfully surprised upon discovering the wonders of its dual convection fans. Because of this helpful feature, the heat is distributed evenly throughout the cooking surface. As a result, the meat sustained a consistent smoky flavor in every bite.
It also features a huge pellet hopper capacity of 18 pounds. If you’re using the pellet grill at around 350 degrees, it only consumes 1.5 lbs of wood pellets per cooking hour. Sound quite economical, right?
Unlike other typical pellet smokers, users can set their desired temperature via WiFi through the Memphis grill application. Its 834 square inches of cooking space is also great if you plan to serve food for a large number of people.
2. Memphis VG0002S-ITC3 Elite
• 1252 square inches of cooking space
• Temperature range: 180 to 700 F
• Pellet Hopper Capacity: 24 lbs
• Stainless steel design
• Two grill grates
There are many reasons why pellet smokers are expensive, but Memphis VG0002S-ITC3 can easily justify that with its 1252 square inches of cooking surface. Its impressive cooking capacity also comes with durable stainless steel construction that highly compliments high heat pellet grilling.
Cooking food in these pellet cookers is also made extra easy with its wide-range temperature capability. This pellet grill can reach up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, which could fulfill the heat requirements of different cooking techniques.
And considering its extensive hopper capacity, expect its heat retention to make your grilling and smoking experience more convenient.
Overall, it’s the best pellet smoker our kitchen experts can recommend if you don’t have budget constraints.
3. Cookshack Fast Eddy's PG500
Key Features• Charbroiler technology
• Stainless steel structure
• Pellet hopper capacity: 22 lbs
• Durable cooking grates
• Max temp: 600 F
• Pellet Consumption: 2 lbs/hour
Full-sized grills aren’t always cheap, but Cookshack Fast Eddy's PG500 could be an option closer to your budget. You don’t have to be a grill master to see that this pellet grill has a durable construction. Its grill space is made of entirely stainless steel material, and it has around 784 square inches of cooking surface.
And unlike other grills, this pellet grill works with 1.2 to 2 lbs of wood pellets per hour at 400 degrees. We also found its removable upper warming rack extremely useful, especially when prepping food for a large number of people.
Handling long grilling hours isn’t a problem for this pellet smoker because its hopper can carry around 22 lbs off wood pellets. You’ll also find a meat probe along with your purchase. This tool is great for managing the meat temperature inside the pellet smoker.
4. Cookshack Fast Eddy's PG1000
If you’re hosting a patio BBQ dinner party with three to twelve people in attendance, Cookshack Fast Eddy's PG1000 is a great option to consider. Our testers were able to make use of its 784 square inches of total cooking space without any problem. It has main and insulation racks to accommodate the type of cooking you want to achieve.
The best pellet grills should have no flare-ups, and neither does this unit! As we looked closer, there was no doubt that the pellet grill has an intelligent internal design. It features a stainless steel slide-plate flame broiler that helps with indirect and direct heating.
Handling heavy-duty cooking isn’t a dilemma to this pellet grill as well. Given that it has an auto-pellet feed system and 25 lbs hopper capacity, any seasoned cook can rely on this pellet grill for long grilling sessions.
An impressive fan system also accompanies its high-precision temperature control panel. With these two features in the mix, the heat range of this pellet grill ranging from 170F to 600F remains consistent throughout its cooking chamber.
5. Cookshack Fast Eddys FEC100
Another modern unit we decided to test is Cookshack Fast Eddys FEC100. With its digital touch screen control panel, our team already felt that this grill is deserving of its popular demand.
If you’ve been a fan of pellet grills for a long time now, you’d know that this model is sought after because of its IQ5 electronic time and temperature controller. This feature gave our testers precise temperature controls that reach up to 700F. However, keep in mind that its maximum heat range depends on the fire pot grate in use.
It’s entirely made of 304-grade stainless steel material, so corrosion and damages from harsh weather conditions wouldn’t be a problem for you. We also found its front-loading hopper, which consumer 0.75 per hour, incredibly economical and convenient.
6. Z Grills ZPG-7002E Wood Pellet Grill
The right pellet grill doesn’t have to be over a thousand dollars. When our team tried Z Grills ZPG-7002E Wood Pellet Grill, we were blown away by its automatic heat control. To make the magic of this pellet grill work, all you need to do is push one button, and it can instantly maintain the heat preset you set.
This Z Grill unit is also among the most modern pellet smokers as it features an adjustable temperature range of 180 to 450 degrees. Thanks to this function, the variety of food we can whip up in this pellet grill is endless.
Most budget pellet grill options can’t handle extensive food prep, but Z Grills has 700 square inches of cooking space to accommodate your grilling needs! Users can also be reassured of consistent smoke flavor because it can handle around 20 lbs of wood pellets in its hopper.
Due to its higher heat retention compared to charcoal and gas grills, it’s only reasonable that the cooking surface is made of stainless steel construction. Not many know this, but this material is highly resistant to corrosion.
7. Traeger Grills Pro Electric Wood Pellet Smoker
Once you try Traeger’s Wood Pellet Grill, we’re certain that you’ll never go use a gas or charcoal grill again. Besides their smoky flavor, these quality pellet grills are known for their versatile BBQ capabilities.
It has a wide 884 square inches of cooking surface that many pellet grills lack. In fact, it can carry around eight chickens at a time or around 40 burger patties inside its chamber. At first glance, our testers were immediately enticed with its perfect coat finish. Further inspections led us to conclude that it’s made of durable stainless steel material.
Its advanced grilling technology is another feature that makes this unit unique from other pellet grills. During the cooking process, it’ll maintain heat temp at +/- 15 degrees F and reach up to 450F. As you know, precision is the key to cooking, so this function is very crucial.
And as expected to a high-end pellet smoker, it comes with two meat probes specifically intended for grilling convenience. With this, you wouldn’t need to open the lid so frequently to know the internal temperature of your meat.
8. KingChii Outdoor Smokers
KingChii Outdoor Smokers has a low price range that most pellet grills don’t have. But despite its affordability, you’ll know that this unit is no less than any popular brand in the market because of its D2 feed technology. Thanks to this feature, the heat consistency inside the cooking chamber was both efficient and convenient for users.
Although not as popular as Green Mountain grills, it has a back exhaust structure that keeps our kitchen testers safe from over inhaling smoke. Cleaning the grill isn’t that hard due to its waste oil collector.
Its 305 square inches grilling area can accommodate three racks of ribs or twelve burgers. The inclusion of tools also helped us greatly during the installation of this pellet grill. Additionally, a grill cover is provided in the package to keep your grill safe when not in use.
9. Camp Chef PG24MZG SmokePro Slide Smoker
Admit it or not, it’s not the best pellet grill without a PID controller. So our team took the liberty to test Camp Chef PG24MZG SmokePro Slide Smoker. Not many newbie grillers know this, but digital control allows your pellet grills to achieve accurate temperature inside the grill.
Most Camp Chef pellet grills cook with ten different smoke settings to accommodate your needs. And if you’re new to the world of grilling, it’s great to start your journey with a pellet grill that’s easy to assemble like this Camp Chef beauty.
Serving many people isn’t an issue for these pellet grills because it has a total of 811 square inches of cooking area. Our grill testers also find extra convenience with its ash cleanout that works with just a pull of a lever.
If you’re still not sold on all that, did we already mention that it can cook steaks in a direct flame mode? You read that right! Its cooking area is completely adjustable, which makes our kitchen experts rave about this Camp Chef unit.
10. Weber 22510201 SmokeFire EX4
When it comes to Weber 22510201 SmokeFire EX4, the first thing that comes to our mind is its porcelain-enamel finish. Besides its aesthetically pleasing appeal, this kind of finish is known to prevent rusts and cracks in pellet grills.
It’s considered one of the best pellet grills because of its DC-powered engine. This feature gives this unit the leverage to avoid auger jams. It may have a portable design, but rest assured that its grill temperature can reach 600F.
Apart from its enhanced grilling performance, it has a dual grilling area with a total of 672 square inches. The purchase also includes two meat probes, but these pellet grills can accommodate four in its chamber.
11. PIT BOSS PB850G Wood Pellet Grill
Whether you’re aiming for direct or indirect cooking, PIT BOSS PB850G Wood Pellet Grill’s sliding plate flame broiler will surely give you the results you need. It’s the best pellet grill to get if you’re looking for a unit that can handle versatile cooking techniques. This unit can deliver it all from grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, or even braising.
Its portability is not only highlighted with its durable wheels but also its folding front self. And even though this Pit Boss model is relatively lightweight, it has 879 square inches of grilling area. You wouldn’t need to worry about preparing food for many people at a dinner party with this grill size.
Another impressive perk about buying a Pit Boss pellet grill is the inclusion of temperature probes and grill covers. Not all manufacturers do this and often charge additional purchases for these helpful tools.
Pellet Smoker and Grill Buyer’s Guide
Size and Portability
The best pellet smokers should be able to cater to your cooking needs. So before you hit the store to get any kitchen equipment, ask yourself, where and how will I use this? The size of your pellet grill should depend on how frequently you plan on cooking and where you plan to put it.
Bigger pellet grill models with over a thousand square inches of cooking area are not always portable. In fact, most of them are full-sized and heavy-weight. So our experts urge you to check your available space first.
If you have a designated outdoor kitchen, then by all means, get the full-sized ones. However, if you don’t, we encourage you to check out the portable grills as they’re easier to move and store. No worries, though. Most portable options nowadays are geared with enough features to cater to your grilling needs.
As previously mentioned, the grilling area is a crucial part of a pellet smoker. Oftentimes, this feature correlates with the size of your grill. It means that smaller models often equate to a smaller cooking area.
On the bright side, you can select models that feature two-layered grill grates—one for direct heat and one for indirect heat. As you know, there are many ways to cook your meat. So having a designated grilling area to whip your dish in its proper form is any home cook’s dream.
Suppose you don’t have any idea how the sizing of pellet grills works. Take your time to read the user manual, as most manufacturers often lay down details on its capacity. The most simple terms you’ll find are how many chickens, ribs, or burgers the unit can handle at the same time.
Newbie cooks may not be aware, but the grill’s hopper size definitely affects the outcome of your cooking. Why? Because the fuel that keeps your pellet grill burning is the pellets in the unit’s hopper.
For this feature, it’s simple logic. The larger your hopper size, the longer the heat will sustain without you refilling the unit with pellets.
You should know that keeping your hopper filled will help in heat retention and will not disrupt the cooking process. One of the perks of pellet grills is its smoky flavor, so you’ll definitely taste the difference if your hopper suddenly runs out of pellets during the smoking sessions.
Material Quality and Durability
For a piece of outdoor kitchen equipment, securing the durability of your purchased grill should always be your number one priority. If you skim through premium grills today, you’ll notice that most of them are made with stainless steel. The reason for this is simple. It’s because this material is highly durable and resistant to damaging elements.
If you want to keep your pellet smoker in tip-top shape, our resident cooking experts suggest buying a reliable grill cover alongside it. Through this, your unit will have an extra layer of protection from the harsh conditions in your yard. Some manufacturers include a cover grill in their packages, so buying those is more economical.
Digital Display and Controls
In this digital age, even cooktops are going digital with advanced features. Many recently manufactured pellet smokers already have LED digital displays that allow users to monitor the grill’s temperature. Through this, the guesswork of cooking is taken out of the equation.
Modern grills also include temperature and pellet rate controllers. You should get grillers with this function if you’re keen on cooking at accurate temperatures. Because you can set it digitally, you can be assured that the heat is spot on.
The pellet rate controls simply allow you to set how fast your grill will consume pellets. It can avoid wasteful usage of pellets and maintain consistent production of heat inside the grill chamber.
There are two ways to go about when grilling meat in a pellet smoker; it’s direct and indirect heating. Some models provide specific settings for these cooking conditions that users can just press with the control panel.
Indirect mode is often used when you want to cook low and slow. Any meat you’re grilling under 450 degrees falls under this option. The best example of indirect temp cooking is chicken or any poultry. Turning this mode on would keep your smoker at a consistent temperature between 275 and 375 degrees.
And then, there’s the direct cooking mode. For this grilling option, the heat goes over 450 degrees. This configuration is mostly used for processed meats that are often refrigerated, like hotdogs, burgers, and steaks. Grilling and searing fish and vegetables in this temperature setting also turns out great, so our kitchen experts highly recommend it.
Another advanced option you should look for when shopping for a pellet grill is its connectivity options. Most grills with digital controls include this option to allow users to manage the cooking experience more conveniently and efficiently.
The WiFi capability of these grills is used to connect with different devices. Some manufacturers even have a mobile app where their customers can navigate their grills at their fingertips. This modern approach is very convenient, especially if the user wants to set a precise temperature in the grill.
Not every grill has an auto-feeding system, but if yours does, it means that you got the right grill. This feature can help keep the grill at a certain temperature level by tracking how fast the pellets should be burned.
Apart from that, don’t forget to check if the grill has meat probes integrated into its system. Temperature probes let you monitor the internal heat range of the food in the grill. This tool can get extra handy, especially when aiming for particular doneness in your meat.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Cleaning your grill is one of the many ways to keep it in tiptop shape for a long time. If you want a smoker that’s not too complex to maintain, our experts suggest buying ones with stainless steel construction. This material has very durable elements that are resistant to corrosion, so maintaining it can be very easy.
If you search further, you’ll find options with grease buckets that can be removed from the grill with one push of a lever.
Price and Warranty
Pellet grills worth over a thousand dollars and more are often ones built with high-quality materials and equipped with advanced technology. As you may have noticed in our list, these are full-sized smokers with digital controllers, meat probes, and WiFi capabilities.
On the other hand, you can find ones in a lower price range. Most of these options are portable but with enough space and advanced features to cater to your grilling needs.
As much as it’s enticing to buy cheaper ones in the market, our outdoor kitchen specialists still urge you to assess your grill requirements first. Remember, these grills are built differently, so the costs they are offered will vary as well.
In terms of warranty, every new product should come with this perk. Ensure to read the terms and conditions of their warranty policies to know what you can do when faced with a grill technical issue upon the first months of purchase. Just know that some companies don’t grant warranties for certain conditions like rusting grill exterior, etc.
How do Pellet Smokers Work?
Your smoker is engineered with an auger that leads the pellets in your hopper into the firepot. Once it’s in, that’s when the grill’s digital controller takes action. It makes the grill operate within the temperature you’ve set and maintains the pellet drop rate to keep the firepot going. And then, the fan system regulates the heat distribution for even cooking.
Choosing the Right Pellets
If you want your meat to have the right flavor, you should decide which kind of woodchips you’d like to put in the grill before starting the cooking process.
You can choose from several pellets, but fruit variations like apple and cherry wood give a light and not too overwhelming smoky flavor. Their taste mixes well with pork and chicken meat. But if you’re aiming for a full smoky taste, the hickory wood pellet variation is the best option for you.
Pros and Cons of a Pellet Smoker Grill
Pellet smokers offer a more consistent smoky flavor compared to alternatives. These options also maintain even heat inside the grill, so the results always come out better than those cooked in other kitchen equipment.
Full-sized pellet grills are often not as portable as gas and charcoal grills because they require an electric power source. These are more recommended for commercial and home use, not camping or tailgating.
1. Is a pellet smoker worth it?
Yes, pellet smokers are worth it. These cooking options can go beyond grilling and smoking meat. In fact, new models are already capable of searing, roasting, and even baking. Most of these grills are also durable, which means they can be used extensively without getting damaged or breaking down.
2. What brand of pellet grill is best?
The best brand of pellet grills is Memphis Grills. It may not be as popular as other brands, but it offers options for freestanding and built-in setup. On top of that, its grill temperature setting is versatile and could accommodate different cooking methods such as roasting, baking, or searing.
3. What pellet grill size do I need?
The pellet grill size you need is the one that can cater to your cooking needs. If you’re serving a small number of people, smokers with 300 to 500 square inches of grilling area should be enough. The more food you need to cook, the bigger you should go for your outdoor kitchen equipment.
Our Top Pick For a Pellet Smoker/Grill:
Memphis VG0001S-ITC3 Pro
Out of all the best pellet smokers on this list, our resident chefs hailed Memphis VG0001S-ITC3 Pro as our top pick. Not only does this unit have enough grilling area to accommodate large-scale food prep, but it also features user-friendly controls and a wide temperature range that’ll come in handy for both first-time and expert users.