Best Pellet Smoker & Grill 2018 – Buyer’s Guide

I know very well from experience that choosing the right pellet grill is not an easy nor quick task for someone who is a beginner or has no time to compare dozens of competitive grills.

You need consider many things before the purchase in order to make a good choice and not lose few hundred dollars for a cheap and poor pellet smoker.

Especially if you want to keep the best quality to price ratio and get a device that will last for years while helping you prepare great food.

You need to know that maintaining a fixed temperature is a huge problem for many models. You remember the old three level controllers that made it possible to set the temperature at three ranges ( Low or Smoke, Medium and High ). It was a very poor system that made it difficult to maintain the right temperature.

Today, the new models are equipped with much more advanced systems. Temperature controllers have developed, a good pellet smoker has multi-stage digital controllers that allow for a definitely better control of temperature, which is the most important thing when grilling, after all.

Are you a demanding person? Or maybe you actually need something cheap since you only grill once in a while.

In order not to lose too much money and nerves, I recommend to read all of my pellet smoker reviews. That way you’ll be able to pick the right one for yourself.


Best Overall

Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe

Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe

Great Performance & Value

Best Overall pellet smoker for most people, the right universal size, great performance, good temperature control, durability and price.


 Upgrade Pick

rec tec bulls rt-700

Rec Tec Bulls RT-700

Bigger, more versatile, top ratings

Best performance plus about 60% larger cooking surface and phenomenal temperature control, durability and functionality. Improved design & features, great choice for advanced grillers.


Portable Pick

Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill

GMG Davy Crockett

Small & Portable

A great choice for small families, campers, tailgaters, RVers and for those with limited space in the garden. Holds temperature really well, consumes a small amount of pellets and has a great mobile app. 


Below comparison table you can read pellet smoker reviews.

​Best Pellet Grill & Smoker 2018 - Comparison Table

MODEL

HOPPER (lbs)

Cooking Space

PRICE

TOP  Pick 

Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe

Best Overall

Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe

18

429 sq. in.

Z Grills Wood Pellet Smoker

Runner-Up

Z Grills Wood Pellet Smoker

20

513 sq. in.

rec tec bulls rt-700

Upgrade Pick

REC TEC Bulls RT-700

40

702 sq. in.

Budget & Portable

Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill

Best Portable & Budget Pick

Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett

9

219 sq. in.

Camp Chef Smokepro STX Pellet Grill

Camp Chef Smokepro STX

18

429 sq. in.

traeger tailgater

Traeger Tailgater

8

300 sq. in.

Others

Woodwind Pellet Grill with Sear Box

Useful Sear Box Up to 900ºF

Woodwind Pellet Grill with Sear Box

18

570 sq. in.

Camp Chef SmokePro LUX Pellet Grill

Camp Chef SmokePro LUX

18

875 sq. in.

Traeger Grills Lil Tex Elite 22

Traeger Grills Lil Tex Elite 22

18

418 sq. in.

Traeger Grills Texas Elite 34

Traeger Grills Texas Elite 34

18

646 sq. in.

It’s a good idea to take some time before the purchase to compare different grills. Only this way you’ll be able to choose the best pellet smoker. I think that my suggestions will make the choice much easier on you.

I divided it into categories such as cheap smokers, small ones, big ones, portable ones or ones with extra features.

As you can see, I chose many different grills for you. I didn’t go by brand or price.

I tried to pick the kind of models that would suit plenty of people. Thanks to that website, you can choose a good pellet smoker according to your needs.

​Top Pellet Smokers Reviews List

Remember that the price alone doesn’t guarantee the best pellet smoker.

You can buy a good smoker at low price and a very poor one from the upper price shelf.

Going camping ? Bring along a small and lightweight portable pellet smoker.

Have a big family? Get a grill with a huge cooking surface to fit a lot of meat. A big pellet hopper would be useful so that you don’t worry about running out of pellets within few hours. Your pellet smoker will be automated, and you’ll have time for your guests instead of controlling the temperature or fuel level all the time.

Or maybe you need a small pellet smoker, of course you’ll find that too, it will be much cheaper than the bigger ones.

​Before choosing them, I took many factors into consideration

Most of all the temperature control – It is incredibly important if you wish to prepare tasty and perfect food.

Size – I mean the grilling surface here. I’m perfectly aware that a family of 2 has different needs than a family of 6. There’s no point buying a huge pellet grill for two people, as you’ll probably never use the entire cooking surface.

Mobility – For those who spend a lot of time camping I found the right pellet grill for a decent price. I know how important it is to easily pack the grill in the car and be on the way. There’s a small choice of portable pellet smokers, but I still found what I think is the right model.

Quality – I took opinions of many people into account. That way I chose models that are much more durable and less prone to malfunction than the rest.

The ratio of the price to all of the above - I am perfectly aware that for those less demanding there will be a cheaper pellet grill for few hundred dollars less that will still be great for grilling delicious food without any extra features that have to be paid for with good money.

That way I have chosen few pellet smokers for all of you that differ from one another more or less. Depending on your needs and your wallet, below you’ll find the right pellet smoker for yourself.

Best Overall: Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe

Definitely the number one for me. Plenty of built-in features that are there to make the cooking process easier plus a big cooking surface. It’s a smoker that will give your food a really great smoked flavor.

The manufacturers of this pellet smoker certainly did a lot of work when designing this model, it was made with care and a lot of thought.

The advantages of this pellet smoker allow to put it first on my list.  It’s a smoker that is medium tier in terms of price. It is not too expensive, and it’s not one of the cheapest ones, either. Still, it has plenty of solutions that allow it to stand out as number one among dozens of other pellet smokers.

The cooking surface – is big considering the price of this pellet smoker. 429 square inches of the main cooking surface and 141 square inches of the rack. It is definitely enough for a big family or for a bigger party. It also comes with an extra heated rack that you can remove at any time.

The most important thing, which is temperature control. You have to pay attention to that if you want your food to be well made. A smoker that is characterized with lack of temperature control will lead to your food getting burned or the temperature will be so low that it won’t be properly cooked.

Digital control panel – Elaborate and all-embracing panel allows for a great temperature control. Set the desired temperature for yourself and the smoker will automatically supply pellets to the grill in order to maintain the temperature you set. The regulation range is 160 degrees F all the way to 500 degrees F.

Also, the digital display will allow you to check the meat internal temperature using the meat probe that comes with this grill. It’s a great solution, and why? Because you can check the meat’s temperature without opening the grill lid. You probably know well that feeling when you open the lid to check the temperature inside the meat.

By opening the lid you cause the heat to quickly escape. Remember that the most important thing is to always maintain a fixed temperature inside the grill. With this solution, you can easily control the meat’s temperature without losing the heat inside the grill.

It is certainly your requirement for the smoker to be automated. That is the case with Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe. It’s a smoker that thanks to its very good temperature control doesn’t require you to check if the temperature inside the grill is really okay. That way it allows for stress-free long meat smoking at a fixed low temperature.

Another great solution is the ash removal system – it’s a patented solution that you won’t find in any other grill. Under the grill you’ll find a cup where the ash from your pellets goes to. All you have to do is twist it off, throw out the ash and put it back in its place. Easy, quick, efficient and effective.

On top of that, the construction is designed in a way that makes all the fat and grease drip to the bucket on the side. That way you can quickly and easily replace the bucket with a new one or quickly clean the old bucket.

I can honestly admit I hate cleaning, I think most people feel the same. You have to know, though, that keeping your pellet smoker clean is a very important task. People who designed this grill handled this task perfectly, making cleaning a much easier and quicker task.

It’s an automated grill with features mostly found in much more expensive models. Everything I described above allows me to easily say that this is the best pellet smoker. This grill keep a great price to quality, efficiency and functionality ratio.

As you can see, you can buy a great pellet smoker at medium price that is really well constructed and contains plenty of interesting features.

The construction is well thought-out and was made in a way that makes it easy for the user in terms of using and cleaning. It is definitely a model that will serve you for many years.

It is great at maintaining temperature, has a great cooking space and is very easy to clean.

PROS

  • Temperature control
  • Large cooking surface will hold two turkeys
  • Dump tray for easy clean out
  • check-circle
    Meat Probe
  • check-circle
    Support

CONS

  • Short Warranty

Taking all the factors into account, I definitely recommend this pellet smoker, it has a very good quality to price ratio. If you’re not a professional meat smoker, this is definitely a great choice for you at a decent price.

If you need something better, though, you should definitely check other review. Much more expensive, but it’s something that I think will meet the expectations of the most demanding meat smokers.

Runner-Up Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker

A worthy competition to Camp Chef PG24 for a similar price. Each order comes with a free cover which makes the prices for both grills comparable. But how do these two grill differ?

Z Grills Wood pellet grill and Camp Chef pg24 are mostly different in a lack of an ash removal system or various interesting features. No ash removal system means having to manually clean the grill of ash. It is not a difficult task as the access to the fire pot is easy, but a vacuum cleaner will be necessary here in order to remove the ash fast and easily.

Another difference, in favor of Z Grills this time, is the cooking area. Here you have an access to a total of 700 square inches ( 513 of the main area and 187 of the heated rack ), the competitive Camp Chef PG24 only offers 573 square inches ( 429 of the main area and 144 of the heated rack ).

Z grills Wood Pellet Smoker is covered by a three year warranty which is a decent period for this type of grill, as they come with plenty of electronics inside that they can’t function without.

What sets Z Grills apart significantly from the rest of competitive grills is a completely different construction that is more resembling of something like gas grills, which means a door in the front that one can keep grilling accessories behind. Usually most of manufacturers leave the front of the grill open and don’t make use of the space underneath the grill which gives Z Grills huge thumbs up for using this space in a nice and creative way.

What about temperature control and a digital controller? It is much poorer in this regard than the competitive Camp Chef which is why I decided to give the second place to Z Grills as an alternative to Camp Chef PG24. Therefore the digital controller allows to set the temperature within the range of 180-450 degrees F. A pretty low maximum temperature but it shouldn’t be a problem to enthusiasts of long slow cooking, which usually takes place at lower temperatures.

It might be a slight problem to some people, however, that the grill can maintain the temperature within 20-/+ degrees F. The competitive models, for example, allow to set the temperature at 5 degree F intervals and are great at maintaining a selected temperature at fluctuations of up to 5+/- degrees F.

A definitely big upside is good temperature control, large cooking area for this kind of money, making use of the space under the grill and good quality of workmanship, whereas a downside is the lack of an ash removal system, a slightly poorer digital controller ( lower temperature and temperature fluctuations of up to 20+/- degrees ).

PROS

  • Price
  • Cooking Space
  • Warranty

CONS

  • No Ash Cleanout System
  • Temperature Fluctuations of up to 20+/-

Overall, however, I can easily say that Z Grills is a great pellet grill for this kind of money ( definitely a better choice than any model from Traeger ), at this price range it proudly takes the second place on my list right behind the winner ( camp chef PG24 ).

Upgrade Pick REC TEC Bulls RT-700

The new version which is Rec Tec Bulls RT-700 ( a continuation of the previous version, Rec Tec RT-680 ). A great high-quality pellet smoker, definitely one of the best ones in this price range. The price is high, but the manufacturers offer a whole 6 years warranty which is rare in this type of grill.

The previous version has earned plenty of high notes from customers, the new version was improved with Wi-Fi and an app that allows to connect to the grill in order to monitor the cooking process on the screen of your telephone or tablet.

Why did I choose this pellet smoker as the upgrade pick and not the best overall one? Only because of the price and size. For many people the grill that I described above will be enough and the price is half as much. If you have some more money to spend, then you'll love this smoker.

When you first look at the price you will think it is high. But it’s a pellet grill that is definitely worth every cent. Perfect suggestion for demanding meat smokers as well as for those who are starting on their journey and wish to have a really decent equipment with many interesting features.

Independent tests from other customers show that the new Rec Tec Bulls RT-700 can reach the temperature of 225 degrees F in just 5-6 minutes or so which is truly an impressive result ( tests performed in Miami at the temperature of about 80 degrees F ).

Another valuable novelty, ( which the previous version lacked ) is two ports to plug in two probes that allow to control the temperature inside the meat. The rest of the grill, on the other hand, mostly doesn’t differ from the previous version that was truly a great product that didn’t need many changes.

Another change that could be noticed at the first glance is a different color of the grill. The previous version was available in a beautiful orange color, the new version is partially not painted, just bare steel ( which is of course high-quality stainless steel ) and individual elements painted black like the lid, the chimney etc.

Temperature – we’ll start from that since I believe that it is something we should pay attention from the start. This smoker is phenomenal at handling maintaining a fixed temperature. Forget about constantly monitoring the temperature, it’s completely unnecessary here. Just set the temperature and forget about control.

All thanks to the Smart Grill Technology™ PID temperature controller. This system is intelligent and precise enough to allow you to set the temperature from 180ºF to 500ºF at 5º intervals. And it really does work, it’s not just another marketing gimmick on the manufacturers’ part.

When you open the lid of the REC TEC Grill, the Smart Grill Technology™ system detects the temperature drop and adds more fuel in order to maintain the temperature you choose.

Your grill calculates the amount of fuel needed to maintain the desired  temperature in real time.

Most of the pellet grills available on the market offer "temperature control" although the problems start when the weather changes. The temperature outside changes, the temperature inside the grill changes, the temperature inside the meat changes. All those factors are very important, as they have a significant impact on maintaining the right temperature inside the grill.

This pellet smoker includes Smart Grill Technology™ which takes all those factors into account, which allows to maintain the temperature you selected all through the entire cooking process.

Keep that in mind, as the right temperature is the key to making great food. Meanwhile, plenty of competitive grills use old systems that are bad at maintaining the temperature in different weather conditions.

The construction and the elements - REC TEC  Pellet grill are an investment for years, safe from corroding. Most of competitive  grills look pretty on the outside and the manufacturers claim they are made of stainless steel. The truth is, only the outside part of the grill is stainless. The steel on the inside is different, and major parts are made of materials of poorer quality.

It is different with REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill, here the solid construction is made of high quality materials. On the outside, high temperature powder coat and porcelain enamel finish. While inside, the manufacturers use stainless steel of very good quality for all the major parts. On the official website, we can read that you can find over 40 pounds of 304 stainless steel parts in this grill ( see for yourself ).

Pellet Hopper – One of the reasons we all buy a pellet smoker for is the long cooking time. It’s an automated grill, but it needs to be provided with the right amount of pellets in the hopper. Those grills are used for long, often all night long meat smoking. That’s why it’s important for the pellet container to be very big. Here you get a 40 pound hopper capacity. You can be sure you won’t run out of fuel during longer cooking.

Cooking surface – Whole 702 square inches at our disposal, which is a lot. But if this is still not enough for you, you can buy a second shelf and expand the cooking surface by extra 352 square inches. That’s the total of 1052 square inches of meat grilling or smoking space. I think when it comes to this pellet grill, you can’t complain about insufficient space.

This smoker comes with a whole 6 year warranty, which proves that it’s a really good stuff. Quite a lot of people praise the customer service.

PROS

  • A huge cooking surface
  • Smart Grill Technology™ - great at maintaining desired temperature
  • Solid construction
  • check-circle
    Great pellet hopper - 40 pound capacity

CONS

  • No meat probe

The reviews for this smoker speak for themselves, over 95% positive marks from the active users proves what a good product this is.

Best Traeger Grills Lil Tex Elite 22

It is my mid-tier suggestion – an easy to use and inexpensive pellet smoker that is good enough for beginners ( those less demanding ) as well as those who already have a lot of experience.

That’s right, the famous Traeger Grills among pellet grills. It’s my last suggestion for you to check out. If you’re a fan of Traeger smokers, this model should suit you well.

Of course it’s my objective rate. I evaluate this model taking other pellet grills for this price into account.

I think that for this kind of price it is a very good smoker considering its size and efficiency. 

Well-built and a digital controller make it a great grill for meat searing in low temperatures and cooking like on a regular grill ( it reaches the maximum of 400-450 degrees F ).

Digital Elite Controller – Of course, the basis of every pellet smoker or a very good controller that makes it possible to precisely maintain the temperature within +/- 20 degrees F. All the info such as temperature and settings are available on the LED display.

A reliable, fast and convenient electronic ignition.

The porcelain grill grates, their surface is effective at preventing rust from appearing and food from sticking. They are much easier to clean, after each cooking just clean them with a delicate brush and that’s it.

The size is ideal and fits most backyards perfectly. The cooking area is 418 square inches, which is enough to prepare food for several people. If you need a lot of area, though, check out the bigger model ( Texas Elite 34 ) or Rec Tec.

Versatility – Cook and bake like on a regular grill or braise and sear meat at low temperatures for many hours. All of that is possible with this one grill, additionally the food is enriched with a wood-fired taste.

It can be undoubtedly concluded that among pellet smokers, the most popular in USA are Traegers. It shows how many people have chosen this brand and confirms that it’s a very good product.

Of course, the competition keeps growing and introducing many interesting technologies such as the great portable GMG Davy Crockett.

I see a lot of opinions about Traeger not being good at maintaining a desired temperature. It is very important if we’re planning very long and slow smoking of the meat. Unless you have a time and will control the temperature.

It is not an advanced smoker when it comes to advanced technologies ( no Wi-Fi, lid thermometer or meat probes ), but it’s still a decent grill that allows you to prepare tasty food.

PROS

  • Rich wooden smoke flavor
  • Enough cooking space

CONS

  • Expensive
  • No advanced features ( Wi-Fi or Meat Probe )

In conclusion, it is a basic pellet grill  & smoker that is easy to use and doesn’t come with any advanced features. It provides precise temperature control within +/- 20 degrees and works great for long meat searing at low temperatures.

For this kind of price, it’s a good choice, perfect for less demanding people or for a regular consumer who’s just starting their adventure with pellet smokers and wants to have a basic, efficient and simple pellet grill for a decent price.

If you need temperature control of the highest quality and advanced features then you have to collect at least twice as much money.

That’s why I believe that Traeger Tex Elite 22 is a good smoker for this kind of money.

Best Portable & Budget Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett

This time it’s a suggestion to those who need to bring the pellet smoker along when going out camping. Small portable pellet grill, equipped with plenty of useful features. You can easily put it in the car with you, as it has foldable legs and is lightweight.

The cooking surface is 219 square inches. That’s a good number for a portable pellet smoker.

Pellet hopper holds 17 lbs of pellets. Of course it also has a fat container, a stainless steel bucket, which is standard in every grill.

This pellet smoker is equipped with a PID controller, which means that the temperature control in this grill is very good. It can be controlled manually or using an app on your phone.

The panel allows to set the temperature at 150-500 F degrees at 5 F degree intervals. It guarantees that the temperature won’t rise or drop by dozens of degrees, making your cooking more complicated that way. The PID controller makes sure that the selected temperature is maintained, and it really does a good job with that.

Remember that the most important thing in those pellet grills is to maintain a fixed temperature. It’s a necessary condition for peaceful cooking. Such grill will easily let you smoke meat for many hours without the risk of burning it in an uncontrolled too high temperature.

Download an iOS or Android app and connect using WI-FI. The app enables to do many different things such as remote control of the grill temperature, control of temperature inside the meat or the ability to check the amount of pellets inside the hopper. You can get the temperature higher or lower while away from the grill. You can learn more about how this function works on the manufacturer’s official website.

The app allows to create profiles. That way you can set it so that your meat smokes at lower temperatures for the first 2-3 hours, then you can set it so that it smokes at higher temperature for the next 2 hours.

On top of that, GMG Davy Crockett Pellet Grill is equipped with a meat probe, which allows to instantly read the meat internal temperature.

PROS

  • Portability
  • Meat Probe
  • PID controller - High control of temperature

CONS

  • app’s problems with WI-FI
  • Small cooking surface

It’s an inexpensive suggestion, I think if you’re at the start of your journey with a pellet smoker and don’t want to spend over 1000$ for the device. Then it’s a good choice to start your journey with this wood pellet grill.

It’s a good alternative to a portable electric grill, which is devoid of the smoked meat flavor. Wooden Pellet Smoker gives the meat a great smoked wood flavor.

Budget Camp Chef Smokerpro STX

It’s a grill that doesn’t differ much from the PG24 DLX version. The main difference is lack of the side shelf, which results in lower price and a little less features.

If you don’t need the side shelf, I recommend buying this version of a pellet grill. That way you will save some money buying a relatively cheap pellet smoker that is very good end efficient.

Great pellet grill for this price. It will certainly be able to do the same thing as the twice as expensive Traeger.

Of course it has a digital multi-position controller that allows to set the temperature within a 160 degrees F to 500 degrees F range.

It has features such as Ash cleanout system and Grease management system. These systems are there to make the process of cleaning your pellet grill easier and faster.

Comes with a Meat Probe. You can easily monitor the internal temperature of the meat using the digital controller, without having to lift the grill’s lid. That way you don’t risk losing the heat when opening the lid of the grill.

The pellet container fits 18lbs.

As you can see, it doesn’t differ much from the PG24 DLX model. That’s why I won’t get into details about features, as I already covered that when describing the PG24 model.

You can buy a side shelf too, but for this kind of money will be much better to buy the PG24 model, which comes with a side shelf and several other useful features.

PROS

  • Price
  • Temperature range of 160-500 degrees F
  • Easy cleaning
  • check-circle
    Digital controller

CONS

  • No side shelf
  • Expensive accessories

I think that for this price, considering the features, the cooking surface, efficiency and temperature control it is the number 2 ( right behind PG24 DLX ).

It’s a good pellet grill for this kind of money.

Portable Traeger Tailgater

The smallest pellet grill and from Traeger. Tailgater 20 is a model for those who need a lightweight grill. You can very easily bring it along when camping or fit it in a small backyard.

When it comes to the features, it doesn’t differ in pretty much any way from the bigger models.

An electronic ignition and a digital controller that makes it possible to precisely set temperature within +/- 20 degrees F. The smoker reaches up to 400 degrees F, but you have to know that its main advantage is maintaining precisely low temperatures which makes it possible to properly sear meat for many hours.

The cooking area is 300 square inches. It is the smallest portable version of a pellet smoker from Traeger, so the cooking area is much smaller. Of course, it is not among the smallest, it still offers enough place to prepare tasty food except you can bring this grill along, like when camping.

Of course, the grill is equipped with porcelain grates, which are easy to clean and don’t require maintenance like cast-iron grates for example. The downside is that the porcelain surface is delicate, so use soft brushes ( preferably buy a  nylon brush ).

So what makes it different compared to other pellet grills?

EZ-fold Legs or in simple words, a leg folding feature. After folding the legs, the grill is small enough for you to easily bring it along to the car.

PROS

  • Foldable legs
  • Portable
  • Cooking space

CONS

  • Price
  • Lack of extra features

So if you need a portable pellet grill , consider this one ( especially if you really like Traeger products ). The foldable legs allow to easily bring it along anywhere you want. A small downside might be the price, but it makes up for it with a pretty big cooking area for a portable pellet smoker.

​Best Versatile Smoker ​Woodwind Pellet Grill with Sear Box

Another pellet grill from Camp Chef. This time a much bigger one with new features. Sadly it’s much more expensive too, although it’s worth its price. It’s an comprehensive pellet grill & smoker, which allows you to smoke meat, grill or even baking.

Functionality is this grill’s second name.

The main cooking surface at your disposal measuring 570 square inches, which is heated by pellets. It is able to heat up the surface from 160 degrees to 500 degrees F. It is great for long and slow meat smoking.

Equipped with a meat probe, you can check the temperature inside the meat quickly and conveniently.

SEAR BOX - 16,000 BTU stainless steel burner can heat up all the way to 900 degrees F. The burner runs on propane and has a separate automatic ignition. Great feature that makes this grill stand out among other pellet grills at this price. Great for finishing cooking our food.

Such solutions allow to get delicious food. With this grill you can prepare truly diversified food.

Most of other grills come with systems that maintain a selected temperature, it differs by up to 5 F degrees from the target temperature. To make it happen, the pellet auger has to provide a constant stream of pellets to the burner. The temperature is maintained but the consequence is smaller amount of smoke.

Smart Smoke Technology – This solution makes sure that the temperature is close to the selected one. But the difference from the target temperature are higher, varying from 10 to 15 degrees F. This way much more smoke is created which has a significant impact on the taste of your food.

The patented Easy Ash Cleanout system – make cleaning your pellet grill easier. The Pellets container fits 18 lbs, for this kind of price I don’t think it’s quite enough.

PROS

  • Smart Smoke Technology
  • Sear Box ( heats up to as high as 900 degrees F )
  • Easy to clean
  • check-circle
    Meat Probe

CONS

  • Small pellet hopper
  • No Wi-Fi
  • times-circle
    Expensive

As a conclusion, it’s a very good pellet smoker & grill. Main advantage is the sear box that runs on propane, allowing to reach temperatures of up to 900 degrees F. Definitely a very useful feature during cooking. Another interesting feature is Smart Smoke Technology, which allows to create much more smoke while maintaining the desired temperature.

When buying this pellet smoker you have to pay attention to the two features described above. This is the reason why people decide to buy this particular pellet smoker. It is something that other grills don’t have.

If you want to save some money, choose Camp Chef PG24. It costs half as much, has plenty of useful features and most of all, is very good at maintaining temperature. It’s a very efficient pellet grill of the same main grilling surface.

If you have a little more cash, choose Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill with sear box. I think that Sear Box is a great addition, it will certainly come in handy to quickly grill veggies or hamburgers.

You can buy a Woodwind Pellet Grill without Sear Box and save a lot of money, but in that case it would be a much better solution to buy the PG24 model.

Sear Box is the main reason why it’s a good choice to spend a little more for this model.

Other less popular ones, yet still deserving of the attention and your money.

​Big Cooking Space ​Camp Chef SmokePro LUX

This pellet smoker combines the most important features such as big grilling surface, maintaining approximate temperature and other useful options at decent price. It’s a grill for those who expect a decent equipment that is worth its money.

Definitely a very good pellet grill, the construction is solid and it has whole 875 square inches of the grilling surface. It will work great for cooking for a bigger group of people.

Equipped with a digital controller that allows you to set the temperature between 160 and 500 degrees F. Dual LED allows you to check the current temperature inside the grill and read the internal temperature of the meat using a meat probe for that.

It has all the features you will find in the Camp Chef PG24DLX model. They include Ash cleanout system, Smart Smoke Technology and Grease management system. All these features make using the pellet grill and cleaning it significantly easier.

Automatic electronic ignition, a technology that will make it much easier to start grilling. All the good grills have this solution these days. It allows to start the pellet smoker quickly and comfortably.

PROS

  • Large grilling surface
  • Meat Probe
  • Ash cleanout system
  • check-circle
    Grease management system

CONS

  • No PID controller
  • Small pellet hopper

I can easily say that Camp Chef Pellet grills are some of the better ones that are worth checking out before making the decision to purchase a new grill.

They lack a PID controller though, you can buy it separately. In that case the price of the grill will be comparable with the REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill model.

PID controller – What is that? It’s an advanced system that is great at maintaining the selected temperature at +/- 5 degrees Incredibly important if you’re considering long and slow meat smoking.

This grill is very good at maintaining temperature, although it would be better if it had a PID controller.

As a conclusion, it’s a much bigger version of Camp Chef PG24DLX with the same features.

The main difference here is the cooking surface. If you need much more of it than in the PG24 model, this is definitely a grill you will be satisfied with.

Traeger Texas Elite 34

Another item is Traeger, which differs from Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22 mostly in size ( the Texas Elite 34 model ).  A great choice if you want to have a real smoker that is also easy to use, big and worth its money. It is expensive when compared to competitive grills, but still worth the money.

A big cooking area, whole 646 square inches. You can easily prepare a lot of food and fit bigger chunks of meat such as ribs, a breast or a whole chicken or turkey.

It is very good at maintaining temperature within +/- 20 degrees F. It has an electronic ignition and a LED display where you can check the temperature.

The big structure makes it great for searing large amounts of meat at the same time. When it comes to high temperatures, you need to know that it only reaches 450~ degrees F. It’s not a lot, but you have to know that the main characteristic of this grill is maintaining low temperatures for a long time which allows for reliable, easy and slow meat searing.

Traeger Texas Elite 34 was equipped with porcelain grates that are easy to clean and effective at preventing food from sticking and protecting from rust.

Easy to assemble, clean and use.

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • 3 burners
  • Lightweight

CONS

  • Lifespan: 2-3 years
  • Not a heavy-duty model

I consider Traeger Texas Elite 34 to be a good choice if you need a smoker for cooking large quantities of food. The price is a little high but you get a basic product that is easy to use, well-built and very efficient.

​Pellet Smoker & Grill - Buyer's Guide

The main advantage is versatility. They combine convenience, simplicity and also control of temperature and cooking. For a single price you get a grill and a smoker. People make a wrong assumption that pellet grills are something complicated.

The truth is that it’s a very easy to use grill that even every beginning BBQ fan can handle.

With the term pellet smoker come new words such as auger, hopper and fire pot. Sounds complicated but it’s not.

Hopper – That’s where you put the fuel, or pellets, which is them sent through a special auger to the place where pellet is burned. Resupplying pellets in the hopper is a very easy and quick task, often quite different in the case of grills with different type of fuel ( such as propane tanks ).

It’s a revolution among grills, a growing number of people warms up to them. You have to know how to choose the right pellet grill, though. They usually cost much more than other types of grills.

Less demanding people, however, can find a great and efficient pellet smoker for a lower price that comes with plenty of interesting features.

Set & Forget - Pellet Smokers are the best solution for people who want to smoke meat for many hours without stress. The set & forget style is a domain of this type of grills. Just set the desired temperature and your smoker will maintain it for the following hours. That way you can leave your meat for even more than a dozen hours at a fixed low temperature without worries.

You want to set 180 degrees F for the entire day? No problem, but a little bit later you want 300 degrees, here you go. It makes a pellet smoker comprehensive and allows us to prepare all types of meat. Allows to get a good smoke ring.

Flavor – another advantage, pellet burners have a great influence on the flavor of your food. With use of good quality hard wood pellets you create smoke that gives your food a characteristic wooden flavor.

It is definitely something different than an electric, gas or charcoal grill.

Pellet smokers heats up faster than charcoal grills, but slower than gas grills. It reaches satisfying temperatures of up to 500 degrees F ( with more expensive models it’s even up to 600 degrees F ), of course it’s much less than gas grills. But the upside is that pellet smoker can maintain low temperatures even at 160 degrees F for many hours. Some of the models are equipped with a gas powered sear box that heats up even up to 900 degrees F.

No flare ups – it’s an advantage to some and a flaw to others. It all depends on what type of meat you’re preparing and how you want to cook it.

It’s thrifty depending on the temperature set. Pellet smoker burns about 1 pound of pellets per hour in low temperatures and up to about 2 pounds of pellets in high temperatures.

​What to pay attention to when buying a new Pellet Grill ?

There’s few things you definitely need to pay attention to before buying a new grill. It will affect whether you’re satisfied with your choice. If you don’t know what to pay attention to, make sure your grill has the following features:

Temperature: Most of all, you have to pay attention to whether your pellet grill maintains a chosen temperature. People buy a pellet smoker because it makes it possible to smoke meat for long at fixed low temperatures. Very convenient and simple, and a grill that always maintains a selected temperature guarantees that the meat will be perfectly cooked.

Because of that, you have to pay attention what type of controller your pellet smoker is equipped with. There are different types:

Three stage controller – there are three options to choose from, smoke ( or low), medium and high. It’s an old and very poor controller. It only has three options to choose from, it’s very poor at maintaining temperature. It doesn’t take weather and other factors into account. The result is that the temperature inside the grill can significantly rise or drop without you knowing. Such solution makes it impossible to set a precise temperature and limits the cooking options.

Multi-position and digital controllers ( LED display ) - a much better solution, but it does have its flaws. First a multi-position controller, then a digital controller that allows to set the temperature at intervals of +/- 25 degrees F. It’s a controller that also has poor responses to weather. A great advantage of a digital controller is that it allowed to implement other innovative solutions. It helped introduce such technologies as alerts, timer or better meat control.

PID Controller – one of the best controllers. Precisely maintains the temperature you set at intervals of +/- 5 degrees. Perfect when it comes to long and slow meat smoking at low temperatures. You can leave such a pellet grill for the entire day without worries and forget about it. When coming back after many hours, you’re sure that your meat has been cooked at the fixed temperature that you set.

A switch to digital controllers allowed to introduce new technologies over time. Better grills have solutions like Wi-FI or meat probes implemented.

PID controller has a developed algorithm that takes many factors into account such as weather changes or opening the lid. Such changes have a very huge impact on the temperature inside the grill. Despite that, this system is perfect at handling them while always maintaining the desired temperature.

You can read more about controllers and other significant features of a pellet grill here.

Pay attention as well to what temperatures your grill can heat up to. Most of pellet grills can maintain a temperature within 160-500 degrees F ( with much more expensive models is even  600 degrees F ). Why am I mentioning that? Because you have to think about what is the most popular grilling style for you. It will influence whether your pellet smoker will be a good choice for you.

It is great when it comes to smoking meat at low temperatures, regular grilling, baking or roasting. You can have problems, though, if you want to sear your meat, it requires much higher temperatures. Sadly, a regular pellet smoker cannot reach them. In that case look around for a pellet grill that comes with an additional sear box that is gas fueled and can heat up to 900 degrees F.

Who are those Pellet Smokers for ?

Beginners – Very easy to use electric ignition allows to quickly start grilling. You set the temperature and forget about it all. Your only concern is to refuel the pellet Hopper before the next cooking. So for the beginners who are just starting on their journey with BBQ and learning to cook delicious meat – it’s a great choice.

Travelers – Of course there’s a perfect pellet smoker for you too. It differs from a basic pellet grill in that it’s smaller and much lighter. It has foldable legs, which allows you to easily take it to the car with you. Everyone’s been on a camping or a field trip at some point. In moments like those, grilled food is something delicious and wholesome. I found the right portable pellet grill for you, which thanks to its size and weight is portable.

Fans of gadgets – More expensive models come with very interesting features. You can download app for your phone or tablet (iOS and Android). Then you can use Wi-Fi to connect with your pellet grill. It allows you to monitor the temperature inside the grill while away from it. Some of the grills even make it possible to check the internal temperature of the meat.

BBQ fan – If you’re a more demanding person, grill a lot of different meat using different methods. Then pellet grill will work great for you. Especially when it comes to smoking meat for many hours, all you have to do is set the temperature and do whatever you please in the meantime. You can leave it for the entire day with no worries and after a specified time expect very good results, as a pellet smoker is very good at maintaining desired temperature. To put it shortly, a pellet grill will make it easier for you to prepare a top quality meat at home.

So, I hope with my help you will choose the right pellet smoker for yourself. If you love BBQ then also look at my other articles. Exchange Bar & Grill is a website where you can read a lot of information related to BBQ.

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