BBQ season is just around the corner and to celebrate, we’re going to take a look at some of the best pellet smokers (best pellet grills) that 2020 has to offer.
Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a novice, fresh off your first propane grill, we guarantee there is a pellet smoker on this list for you.
Smoking delicious proteins and produce is nothing new. Mankind has been chasing that smoky flavour ever since the first caveman tossed a saber-toothed tiger onto a flaming pit and smoked himself out of his cave; however, nowadays you don’t have to burn down your home and family to achieve that delicious smoky flavour that killed so many of our ancestors. Massive advances in technology and craftsmanship have allowed virtually anyone to channel their inner caveman, bringing friends and families together across the world.
Table of Contents
- 1 The 10 Best Pellet Smokers & Grills Reviewed
- 2 #1. Traeger Grills Pro Series 575 Grill, Smoker
- 3 #2. Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill
- 4 #3. Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
- 5 #4. Pit Boss 820 Deluxe Pellet Smoker
- 6 #5. Green Mountain Davy Crockett Pellet Grill
- 7 #6. Traeger PTG Pellet Smoker – The “on The Go” Smoker
- 8 #7. Camp Chef PG24MZG SmokePro Slide Smoker
- 9 #8. Camp Chef SmokePro LUX Pellet Grill
- 10 #9. REC TEC Grills RT-700
- 11 #10. Z Grills 8-in-1 BBQ Smoker
- 12 Buyer’s Guide
- 13 Conclusion
The 10 Best Pellet Smokers & Grills Reviewed
With great quality comes great expense. It’s no secrete that a quality pellet smoker will put a bigger dent in your wallet—more so than a traditional grill—, that’s why we have done our best to compile a wide range of pellet smokers to suit everyone’s needs and budget.
We are going to take an in-depth look at some of the best smokers currently on the market and break down the good, the bad and the ugly of Pellet Smokers the year 2020, has to offer.
#1. Traeger Grills Pro Series 575 Grill, Smoker
Who says pellet smokers are solely for smoking? Use this 6-in-1 smoker to grill, smoke, roast, bake braise and BBQ all on the same grill surface. Whether you’re cooking low and slow or hot and fast, this 575 square inch grill is enough to satisfy the whole family, with room to spare. Its massive grill can accommodate up to 24 burgers and 5 racks of ribs. Complete with an integrated meat probe to ensure a perfect internal temperature every time, simply download the Traeger app and control your grill from anywhere: set timers, control the temperature, monitor pellet input and more; plus, it’s compatible with Amazon’s Alexa for complete voice control. Predictable and reliable, this sturdy machine pumps out delicious feast after delicious feast with little effort and a small margin for error.
- 18 Pound Pellet Hopper—Although 18 pound pellet hoppers are typical, the Pro Series 575 comes equipped with an easy to use, clean out chute, allowing you to conveniently empty the hopper for storage or swap from one type of wood pellet to another.
- Easy To Use—As mentioned above, the Traeger, with its simple control structure, literally does the cooking for you.
- Heavy—At 170lbs, this smoker is not suitable for portability; best kept in one place.
#2. Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill
We call this one the all-in-one, because Camp Chef has done exactly that with this model: Four temperature probe ports; Wi-Fi enabled; convection fan; patented ash cleanout and a built in sear box. This award winning pellet smoker has everything you could possibly want—all in one.
With a wide temperature range of 160 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and a cooking surface of 520 square inches, complete with a removable upper warming rack, this grill can handle whole chickens, racks of ribs and brisket all at once.
- Sear box—Most pellet smokers have very limited searing capabilities. Camp Chef has done a great service to its users by installing a built in sear box.
- Four temperature probe ports—This is a handy feature that allows you to monitor the interior temperature of four cuts of meat, all at once; the temperature readings are all displayed on an LED screen, and a notification will be sent to your phone when internal temp is achieved.
- Bulky—Not a suitable choice for those who move around a lot. Perfect for those who like to stay put.
#3. Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
As in the name, this pellet smoker features a 700 square inch cooking area, split between a primary 500” surface, and an elevated 200” secondary grate. Don’t let the low price fool you, Z Grills have been praised and compared to Traeger for their quality and craftsmanship. Complete with easy to use technology and an automated, electric pellet feed system, this grill can be mastered by beginners in no time.
- Low Price—Traeger quality, solidly built, 700 square inch cooking surface and a 20-pound hopper? Remember that when you see the price.
- 3 Year Warranty— Three years of heavy use can put an end to some smokers. Z Grills are so confident in their products that if you’re not 100 percent satisfied after three years, neither are they.
- No Ash Clean System—It is recommend that you vacuum after 4 bags of pellets as it’s not easy to gain access to the fire pot.
#4. Pit Boss 820 Deluxe Pellet Smoker
Pit Boss, by Dansons, has been making a name for themselves for their quality, dependability and low prices. The 820 Deluxe takes a classical approach to smoking—no Wi-Fi or fancy technology required.
Featuring a curved, sliding diffuser drip system that allows for direct flame cooking ensures you won’t need to splurge on a fancy sear box or side grill.
The smoker boasts a respectable 820 inches of cooking surface (including warming racks). To add to its classical approach, The Pit Boss uses an older style, digital thermostatic dial controller and an LED display screen for the set temperature and actual temperature. This grill gets hot, hitting temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit so it’s perfect for those of us who prefer cooking high and fast.
- Even Cooking Temperature—Although, as mentioned above, The Pit Boss can reach temperatures of 500 degrees, it has been tested and proven to deliver and distribute heat relatively evenly on both sides.
- Classical Design—Technology is impressive and can be fun to show off to friends and family; unfortunately, as we all know, with more knick-knacks, the more things there are to break.
- Low Price—Similar to Z Grills, the Pit Boss series has modeled itself after Traeger, minus the high cost.
- Searing — Although a nice sear can be achieved, only small portions can be seared at a time over the fire pot.
#5. Green Mountain Davy Crockett Pellet Grill
As the title suggests, this is one of the most compact pellet smokers on the market; complete with collapsible legs that double as handles. Fitting in the trunk of any car, this grill is one of the better options for the outdoorsman who’s constantly on the move. With a price to match its small 219 square inch cooking surface, it’s hard to find a better transportable grill.
Complete with Wi-Fi and a thermal censor, this grill can be monitored remotely through the GMS Server Mode ensuring that the multi-tasker in you can flourish. Built for the outdoors, The Davy Crockett can be powered by a 12V battery or 120VAC, so you don’t have to worry about searching for the nearest electrical outlet.
- Brand New Design— Like any prototype, the Davy Crockett had its share of design flaws; however, with time, Green Mountain has worked hard to rectify and ensure customer satisfaction with their new design.
- Wi-Fi Controlled— The only model in its price range to offer Wi-Fi control. Connect it to your smart phone to control cooking temperature and timer, monitor and control internal meat temperature, control pellet flow and be notified of system malfunctions and low fuel warnings.
- One-Piece Grease Tray— Cooking with a smoker can require a lot of clean up. This simple one-piece design ensures that you’ll be spending your valuable time eating and relaxing rather than cleaning up.
- Bulky Design—Although it’s virtually one of the most compact products on the market, it still weighs in just shy of 60lbs. It is strongly recommended that two people split the heavy lifting.
- Small Grill Size—While great for a couple or small family, the limited grill space may not be efficient for larger families.
#6. Traeger PTG Pellet Smoker – The “on The Go” Smoker
We have decided to include this pellet smoker on the list, simply for its uniqueness and portability. Weighing in at 40 pounds, this portable smoker is the same size as a small suitcase and can be carried in one hand. While you wont be smoking whole chickens and racks of ribs, the PTG’s 173 square inch cooking surface and 6 inches of headroom is perfect for smoking fish and other foods that have a relatively quick cook time, like burgers, sausages and hot dogs.
This portable grill is a perfect match for any camp and RV enthusiasts. Simply plug it to any 110 V outlet, generator or inverter, and you’ll be ready to taste that delicious smoked flavour in no time.
- Portability—As mentioned above, this is one of the smallest grills on the market. Its simple design and compact ability makes transportation a breeze.
- Affordability—As far as Traeger goes, the PTG won’t set you back too much.
- Headroom— Due to the fact that there is only 6 inches of headroom available, you won’t be smoking any whole turkeys or chickens on this grill.
#7. Camp Chef PG24MZG SmokePro Slide Smoker
We have dubbed this pellet smoker The Transformer because of its ability to take on accessories. If you’re not satisfied with this grill’s huge 811 square inch cooking surface, rest easy, you can always accessorize. Built to be compatible with other Camp Chef products, you can add on extra shelving, a flat-top side grill and a sear box just to name a few. The Camp Chef comes with an advanced, digital control unit: the smart digital temperature control and automatic auger feeds wood pellets directly into the grill, maintaining a stable and reliable temperature and ensuring the optimal amount of smoke required for any job.
Anyone who is familiar with pellet smokers knows cleanup can be a dirty job; however, cleaning this grill is as easy as pulling a lever thanks to this grill’s patented ash cleanout system. No more handling greasy grates and drip pans. Simply slide back the trap door under the fire pot for a quick and easy clean.
- Optional Sear box—Pellet smokers are not renowned for their searing capabilities. Camp Chef has addressed this issue with their attachable sear box feature. Reaching temperatures of 900 degrees F, this feature is perfect for achieving that delicious, thick, dark crust.
- Notched Dial Controller—Perfect for “set it and forget it”, type cooking. Features simple to use, notched temperature settings and an LED readout panel that toggles between your desired cooking temperature and the internal meat temperature via a built-in meat probe.
- Rust and Decay— It is recommended that this smoker be kept shielded from the elements when not in use.
#8. Camp Chef SmokePro LUX Pellet Grill
Boasting a massive 875 square inches of coking surface and weighing in at 180 pounds, the Camp Chef SmokePro LUX is for those of us who cant resist a good old fashioned cook-out.
Considering the size of this Camp Chef model, the pellet hopper is actually quite small, leaving people a little suspicious. Not to worry, a single load is ample for roughly 12 to 14 hours.
With a maximum temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s not ideal for searing; thankfully, this grill comes equipped with the option to add on a sear box, giving you a burner that can easily reach temperatures of 900 degrees Fahrenheit.
The SmokePro Lux also features reliable digital controls, complimented by an LED temperature readout, displaying the internal cooking temperature of the smoker and the internal food temperature—no more cutting open your roast to check the internal temperature.
- Easy To Clean— Complete with an ash can cleanout system, this smoker is one of the easiest to clean on the market.
- Massive size— You could literally feed the whole neighbourhood with the smoker, and still have leftovers.
- Price—875 square inches of grill space doesn’t come cheap; there is a big price tag attached to this one.
- Unreliable meat probe included—The factory probe has a tendency to be cheaply made, breaking easily and giving unreliable readings. Rectify this issue by purchasing a separate, reliable thermometer.
#9. REC TEC Grills RT-700
Offering precision craftsmanship, The Bull, by Rec Tec Grills, is a game changer. The RT-700’s cooking chamber is made entirely from stainless steel, ensuring that the paintjob won’t crack and peel—a common issue with many closed grills and smokers. The tempered steel also protects the smoker from rust and general breakdown.
The RT-700 sports Wi-Fi technology, allowing you to control and cook while on the move using the Rec Tec Grills app.
Supporting a massive 40lb pellet hopper, this beast can cook continuously for 40 hours with one top-up.
The Bull also features a unique cool down function, allowing you to slowly drop the temperature in 5-degree increments with a single push of a button.
- Six Year Warranty—And you thought Z Grill’s 3-year warranty was good. Rec Tec offers a whopping 6-year warranty. It must be all that tempered, stainless steel they use.
- Stainless Steel—This needs to be acknowledged: poor craftsmanship is the main killer of smokers. With Rec Tec, you can rest easy, knowing that your smoker will be with you for the long haul.
- Expensive—This kind of craftsmanship comes with a price; expect to go over your budget with this one.
#10. Z Grills 8-in-1 BBQ Smoker
Shaped like a beer keg, use this pellet grill to smoke, bake, roast, braise, sear, char-grill, barbeque and grill.
The 8-in-1 uses set it and forget it, smart smoke technology, capable of maintaining temperatures within +/-20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Weighing only 84lbs and standing on wheels, The Keg is great for the home, parties and tailgating. Complete with a 10lb hopper and 538 square inches of cooking space, this grill is sure to be a hit anywhere you go.
- Lightweight—Makes for easy transport to and from. Perfect for any occasion.
- Consistent Temperature—This smoker has the ability to hold and maintain a consistent temperature, allowing you to keep peace of mind.
- Thermostat— There may be some slight issues with the thermostat on this grill.
Why Choose a Pellet Smoker?
If a char-grilled steak is your forte, then a pellet smoker may not be for you. Often referred to as a grill, pellet smokers almost always use indirect heat, making it challenging to achieve that desired sear on a delicious steak—unless of course you opt for an option that includes a sear box. However, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys taking your time and loves the flavor of wood smoked fish, chicken, turkey, brisket and more, a pellet smoker may be the best choice on the market.
As the name suggest, pellet smokers use various types of compressed sawdust in the form of a “pellet”, in order to generate heat and smoke. The lower the temperature, the more smoke; the higher the temperature, the less smoke. This is what makes the pellet smoker such a versatile cooking machine, able to carry out tasks from smoking a brisket to baking a pizza, all without issues of over smoking.
How They Work
In the above article, you will have seen the term “fire Pot”, mentioned throughout; this is where the smoke is generated. An auger gently rotates, slowly guiding the wooden pellets into the firepot. In the bottom of the fire pot sits igniter rods that glow just like an element on your standard, electrical stovetop. Once the pellets have ignited, a fan gently provides oxygen and circulation and the igniter temporarily turns off.
Modern pellet smokers have been designed to be extremely easy to use. With controls similar to your standard, kitchen oven: simply select your desired temperature and an LED display screen will display the actual temperature inside the cook box. Combine that with built-in meat probes that bring the cooking process to a halt once your desired internal temperature is achieved and you’re all set.
The wood pellets that smoker’s use for fuel are completely natural: no additives or glues. They are made from wood waste materials from sawmills, condensed into pellets through heat and pressure. The natural plant lignin binds, and holds the pellets together. They create an excellent source of smoke flavor without the flare-ups that you would expect from woodchips.
As with any fuel, your temperature selection determines how much fuel you consume. At low heat—roughly 175 degrees Fahrenheit— expect to use around half a pound of pellets an hour. At high heat—roughly 450 degrees Fahrenheit—expect to burn through about 2.3 pounds an hour. Of course, these estimates will vary depending on certain factors: outside air temp and amount of cold meat being used to name a few.
There are a wide variety of flavors of wood pellets available on the market, ranging from apple, cherry, hickory to maple, mesquite, oak and hickory. They can be bought in store or ordered online for roughly a dollar fifteen a pound.
When making your purchase, you have to ask yourself the following questions: what’s my budget? Is transportation a factor? How many people will I be cooking for?
Everyone has different needs when it comes to purchasing a smoker, for this reason, we’ve tried our best to include a wide range and variety of products to fit all possible needs.
If you’re looking for overall quality, a Traeger Grill Pro Series 575 is probably the best option. If you’re looking for portability, then either the Green Mountain Davy Crockett Pellet Grill or Traeger PTG Pellet Smoker is probably your best choice. If it’s sheer size that you seek, then you’ll best off with the Camp Chef SmokePro LUX Pellet Grill or the Pit Boss 820 Deluxe Pellet Smoker.
We are certain that with whatever product you choose, you’ll be ecstatic that you made the move into the exciting and tasty world of pellet smoking.