Best Pellet Grill & Smoker Reviews of 2021
Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 8-in-1 Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
An 6-in-1 pellet grill smoker
Various functions and automatic temperature control make it easy to smoke, braise, or grill foods.
1 Z GRILLS ZPG-450A Review
Whether you’re a grill master or a passionate backyard chef, if you want the ultimate smoking and barbecuing experience, you need the Z GRILLS ZPG-450A. More than a pellet grill smoker, this is an 6-in-1 machine designed to help you grill, smoke, bake, roast, sear, and even char-broil.
Perfect for large families or neighborhood gatherings, it has a large cooking surface that can fit up to 24 burgers or 14 racks of ribs.
The hopper capacity is also great, providing up to 15 hours of continuous use. That’s more than enough for most slow-cooked foods, and you can just top it up half-way through cooking if you need more juice. Consistent and performing, this is the best pellet smoker grill for larger backyards and small eateries.
Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe Pellet Grill and Smoker BBQ
Excellent value for money
Automatic pellet feed system makes this grill ideal even for the inexperienced cooks.
2 Camp Chef PG24DLX Review
Perfect for home or commercial use, the Camp Chef PG24DLX combines top-notch features with an attractive price point in a product that appeals to most users.
This pellet grill comes with smart digital temperature control and a wide temperature range from 160°F to 500°F, which makes this grill ideal for everything from traditional barbecuing or smoking to outdoor baking, roasting and braising.
Ideal for a mid- to large-size family, the grill has a main cooking surface of 429 square inches and a second cooking rack, ideal for cooking sides or warming food, of 144 square inches.
Another nice feature is the automatic auger designed to maintain the heat and produce smoke with minimal intervention from your side. Easy to assemble and use, and designed to cook meat to perfection, the Camp Chef PG24DLX is the best pellet grill for the money.
Pit Boss 700FB Pellet Grill
Bigger but costlier
Spacious cooking area wide temperature range make this pellet grill ideal for extra-large families.
3 Pit Boss 700FB Review
The Pit Boss 700FB brings the cooking space you need for big barbecue parties. Whether it’s for a large family or a neighborhood gathering, the 700 square inches cooking surface is perfect for grilling up to 26 burgers at a time.
Switching from smoker to open-flame grilling, this pellet grill boasts eight cooking features and a wide temperature range from 170°F to 600°F.
Like our best-value and best-in-class picks, this grill comes with a digital control center which allows for a simple adjustment of the temperature and cooking parameters. Furthermore, the grill comes with or without a side shelf, meeting the needs of most users.
Versatile and performing, the Pit Boss 700FB is a great alternative for those who need more cooking space.
Green Mountain Grills DCWF Davy Crockett Pellet Grill
Best for a small family
The digital Wi-Fi controller connects to your mobile app for no-frills remote control of the grill.
4 Green Mountain DCWF Review
The Green Mountain Grills DCWF is an affordable yet highly technologic pellet grill designed for a smaller family.
It has a cooking surface of 219 square inches and is ideal for grilling or smoking your preferred foods.
The wide temperature range from 150°F to 500°F can be controlled via an iOS or Android app, and the digital control also incorporates a thermal sensor designed to monitor the cooking temperature.
Despite lacking wheels, the unit is fairly easy to transport thanks to its folding legs and low weight.
Compact enough to fit in most backyards, this pellet grill also features a side tray with utensil hooks designed for convenient outdoor cooking. Small but performing, the Green Mountain Grills DCWF is a great pellet grill for those who don’t want to break the bank.
1. Infrared vs. electric vs. pellet grill
Outdoor grills come in a variety of types, but the three that dominate the market are the infrared, electric, and pellet grills which also double as a smoker. All three types can have a similar cart-style design, but there are also many differences between them.
- Infrared grills: Are typically powered by natural gas or propane and use an infrared element (just like infrared heaters) to transmit heat to a cooking surface, usually made of ceramic-coated cast iron, which will then transmit the heat to the food. This cooking method reduces flare-ups, seals the natural juices of the meat, and is ideal for fast high-heat cooking, but less ideal for slow cooking.
- Electric grills: Usually smaller than both infrared and pellet grills, come in different styles, from small countertop units to large cart-style grills. The easiest to use, these grills can be installed in areas where it is forbidden to use pellet, charcoal, or gas grills, such as a condo. These grills are often suitable for both high-heat and low-heat cooking, but the food cooked on an electric grill lacks that distinctive barbecue flavor.
- Pellet grills: Combine the benefits of a grill with those of a smoker and use food-grade wood pellets instead of wood chips or charcoal to cook the food. Most pellet grills come with digital controls which allow you to set the temperature and the rate at which pellets are added to the burn pot, and you’ll be able to choose between high-heat and slow cooking options. Regardless of the method, the food cooked on a pellet grill will have a delicious barbecue flavor.
2. Why invest in a pellet grill and smoker?
The pellet grill and smoker is perhaps the most versatile outdoor cooking gear. Most pellet grills come with temperature control features that allow you to regulate the temperature and the speed at which the pellet is fed to the burn pot, and this makes it hard to over-cook your food, while the smoke produced by the pellet provides a more subtle flavor than the one produced by charcoal or wood chips.
Besides doubling as a smoker, a pellet grill also gives you plenty of cooking options for a variety of foods. In broad terms, you can use the appliance to:
3. Pellet grill hopper
The pellet hopper is typically placed on the side of the grill and is used to store the pellets before the auger feeds them to the burn pot. Two main aspects to check are the hopper capacity and its design.
Wood pellet hopper capacity
The hopper capacity determines the quantity of pellets the container can hold, and ultimately determines how long it takes before you have to refill it. Most pellet smokers have a hopper capacity between 10 and 18 pounds (4.5-8 kg), but some of the best wood pellet grills can have larger 40-pound (18 kg) hoppers.
In broad terms, a pellet grill and smoker uses:
- 5 pounds (225 grams) pellets per hour on low heat settings for slow cooking and smoking.
- 5 pounds (1.15 kg) pellets per hour on high heat settings for grilling or barbecuing.
Hoppers can have either a flat or a sloped bottom. The best pellet grills have a sloped hopper capable of feeding all pellets to the auger. Flat bottom hoppers are typically incapable of feeding the pellets at the bottom of the hopper due to their design, which means you’ll have to refill more often.
4. Controller and temperature range
The controller type and temperature range determine cooking versatility by allowing you to choose from less or more settings.
Pellet grill controller types
Pellet grills come with four types of controllers:
- Three-position controller: Has three temperature settings, low, medium, and high. It typically consists of an analog knob, and you will have no possibility to set an exact cooking temperature. Also, the auger will feed the pellets at time intervals set by you.
- Multi-position controller: Allows you to set a specific temperature in a given range, typically between 180 and 450°F (82-230°C) with 25°F (14°C) increments, although some units allow for increments of either 5°F or 10°F (3 or 6°C). This type of control is usually digital and designed to maintain temperature better, but the pellets will still be fed at intervals set by you.
- Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) controller: Equips the latest generation grills and is similar to the multi-position controller but it is designed to monitor the cooking conditions and feed the pellets automatically to maintain the desired temperature and either grill or smoke the food, depending on the setting.
Some of the latest pellet grill and smoker models come with Wi-Fi controllers that connect with a mobile app, allowing you to monitor the temperature and cooking parameters even from a distance.
Temperature range for grilling & smoking
A wider temperature range makes it possible to grill or smoke. Some of the best pellet grills boast a temperature range from 170°F to 600°F (77-315°C) and are suitable for searing, roasting, grilling, or slow cooking food. Below, the ideal grilling temperatures of some popular foods.
5. Grill cooking area
A larger cooking area is typically more versatile than a smaller one, allowing you to cook more food at a time. Typically, a cooking area of about 360 square inches (2,300 cm²) is sufficient for an average household.
If you like to host large parties or have a large family, look for a cooking area of at least 500 square inches (3,225 cm²).
6. Mobility features
Pellet grills use pellets as fuel, but the feeding mechanism and controllers are typically powered by electricity. Some grills come with adaptors which allow plugging them into a standard 120V outlet or power generator receptacle, or into an RV’s 12V direct current (DC) receptacle, but mobility will still be limited by the length of the power cord.
Most pellet grills come with wheels and handles that allow for easier transport, and some even have foldable legs for both easy transport and storage.
7. What other features to look for?
Besides everything above, there are a few other features you might want on a pellet grill and pellet smoker.
- Meat probe receptacle: Some pellet grills have a meat probe output which allows you to insert the probe into the meat and track the internal temperature of the food on the grill’s display.
- Included meat probe: The best pellet grills come with included meat probe; some grills even have a programmable probe designed to lower the temperature of the grill when the food has reached its cooking temperature.
- Secondary cooking racks: Let you maximize the cooking surface, or use the secondary rack to keep food warm.
- Electronic ignition: Allows you to ignite the grill with the push of a button, without using matches.
- Cleaning ease: The best pellet smokers provide easy access to the ashes and come with porcelain-coated iron cast cooking surfaces for a quick and hassle-free cleaning.
- Side shelf: A side shelf is a useful add-on, providing an outdoor cooking area where you can prepare or store food before serving. Some shelves also have utensil hooks which allow you to keep all your barbecue essentials organized.
- Storage rack: Some cart-style grills come with a storage rack placed under the cooking area, which you can use to store pellet bags or utensils.
8. The Best Pellet Grill & Smoker for the Money
Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe Pellet Grill and Smoker BBQExcellent value for money
Automatic pellet feed system makes this grill ideal even for the inexperienced cooks.