After many years, many different pellet grills and a whole lot of stress related to them malfunctioning or simply choosing a new model, I have learned one thing – carefully analyze what pellet smoker & grill you want to buy.
Throughout my life, I have owned many different models and plenty of times have been disappointed or very positively surprised. All of that has taught me what exactly to pay attention to when buying a new wood pellet grill.
Today, thanks to living in the Internet era, I can share this knowledge with you, I’m making this guide to make it easier for you to choose the best pellet grill. You probably know that it is not an easy task due to a large number of competitive models as well as a large dose of misinformation.
That’s why I decided to compose a table for you that would include the best pellet smokers and their key features. Below the table, on the other hand, you will find short reviews for each model recommended by me with an explanation why I chose it and whom it will be the best for.
If you’re a beginner then I recommend reading my tips for those who have never come across this type of grill ( you will find them at the end of this description ).
Not wanting to waste any more time, I’ll just go ahead and invite you to check out all of my suggestions. They were divided into different price ranges so that everyone can choose something right for themselves depending on their budget.
|Camp Chef PG24 DLX||Check on Amazon →|
|Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill||Check on Amazon →|
|Rec Tec RT-700||Check on Amazon →|
|GMG Davy Crockett||Check on Amazon →|
Best Pellet Grill Reviews ( Updated List )
1. Best Overall Pellet Smoker Camp Chef PG24DLX
Without any doubt, Camp Chef PG24 DLX takes the first place on my list. It is a pellet smoker that surprised me the most within the last few years in every regard. I’m really glad that the Traeger patent has expired because truly a lot of companies have decided to start manufacturing pellet grills since then, always introducing something new.
The competition forces the manufacturers to keep developing their products, if someone fails to develop their projects, sooner or later they’ll have to make room for new, better ideas.
Camp Chef made a professional approach to their product and it gave us a great pellet grill that never fails. I believe that it is currently one of the most popular pellet grills, not only due to its price, but also due to what you get for that kind of money.
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PG24 DLX is great at maintaining precise temperature, and for someone who smokes a lot of meat it is the key aspect.
In my view, for a long time now there hasn’t been an equally good pellet grill on the market for this kind of money. Speaking from experience, I can say that there are only few interesting models, but none of them can compare with Camp Chef PG24.
High quality of workmanship, solid and durable structure, large pellet compartment, advanced digital controller, ash and grease removal system, large cooking area, very low tendency to malfunction and much more, simply the best wood pellet grill for this kind of money.
You need a solid smoker that will allow you to smoke any type of meat with no limitations or surprises? Camp Chef PG24 DLX will definitely live up to most people’s expectations and is worth its price which is why it’s the first on my list.
2. Runner Up - Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill
Did I mention before about the models competitive to PG24 DLX? This is one of them, the price is quite similar, yet Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill offers a much larger cooking area.
When it comes to the quality of workmanship and durability, it is also on a similar level. To me, on the other hand, it’s a model that loses to Camp Chef PG24 DLX – mostly due to lacking an ash removal system, but also due to the overall impression that interacting with this device has left in me. Many might considered it an advantage to have a structure with opening door in the front with a place behind them to keep accessories.
The unusual structure is well known in gas grills and that’s what it reminds me of when I look at this model. One definite advantage is the 3 year warranty, and you have to remember that manufacturers of pellet grills don’t tend to offer very long warranties. A pellet smoker is a device full of electronic elements without which the grill won’t function properly, which is why a longer warranty is always welcome.
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If for any reasons you don’t like Camp Chef PG24 DLX then this is a good alternative for you, although personally I prefer PG24 because to me it already is a tested pellet grill. Compared to most of other competitive models, Z Grills is a very good choice.
It comes with all the basic features necessary for smoking meat, unfortunately, as I already mentioned, the downside is not having an ash removal system which might be crucial to some people.
To sum it up, for this kind of money you get a device equipped with an advanced digital controller that makes it possible to control temperature within the 180-450 degrees F range. A very large cooking area ( total of about 700 square inches ) plus all kinds of basic features that a pellet grill should have ( big thumbs down for not having an ash removal system ).
3. Best High-End Pellet Grill Rec Tec RT-700
An upper price range device, I recommend it to those with more experience who came to love pellet smokers and expect something more from their grill. Rec Tec RT-700 Bull is a new modified version that proudly upholds the good reviews of the previous version loved by so many customers.
Rec Tec is one of the few manufacturers who carefully analyze critical reviews and praises from the customers and improve their product based on that. That way, over the course of few years a device was created that was expected by more demanding customers. Of course this kind of invention has to be expensive, but a high tier product requires bigger financial resources and more time which makes the end price higher.
RT-700 Bull is covered by whole 6 years of warranty, it’s an investment for years to come which the manufacturer is perfectly aware of. When comparing this warranty period to competitive models, it’s easy to notice that not many manufacturers offer this many years of warranty.
Big thumbs up for the Rec Tec support, I have to admit that the customer support before the purchase as well as after it is equally high level. It’s a manufacturer that cares about their customers and quickly solves all the problems related to your grill.
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Let’s move on to the most important thing, the heart of the RT-700 is an advanced digital controller that makes it possible to set the temperature within the 200 to 500 degrees F range at 5 degree F intervals. I have to admit that in practice the temperature control is brilliant, I am very pleased with this device.
Despite a large cooking area, RT really did impress me when it comes to warming up ( 702 square inches with an option to expand the area, there’s a second shelf sold separately ). If you don’t believe me,, check out videos on YouTube where you can see how fast it can reach the desired temperature.
Therefore, RT-700 Bull is a model for those with a thick wallet, but also for those who value very high quality of workmanship, functionality and manufacturer’s care about the customer in the event of any problems.
4. Best Portable Pellet Smoker GMG Davy Crockett
This time it’s a model that I also like very much due to its mobility. GMG Davy Crockett is a definitely a choice for those who are planning to often change the location of their pellet smoker or simply want to bring it along when going camping.
A typical full-sized pellet smoker is usually heavy and it’s not possible to bring it along further than the backyard. GMG Davy Crockett was meant to change that and I’d say it more than lived up to the task.
I don’t spend a lot of time camping, but I have to admit that I don’t regret buying this model just for the ability to bring it along if nothing else. It may not be an ultra light device that you can carry around in one hand, but after folding up the legs you can certainly place it conveniently in your car.
It is also a good choice for those with a small backyard who don’t smoke meat too often. GMG Davy Crockett takes much less place than a full-sized smoker which makes it easy to store in places like the garage.
What are things like when it comes to efficiency and functionality? Surprisingly good actually, sure it doesn’t get the kind of results like Rec Tec RT-700 Bull for instance or even Camp Chef PG24 DLX but you have to remember that this model is a completely different price range and a different target group.
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It was meant to be an efficient, compact pellet smoker and that’s exactly what it is. In terms of price, it is the lowest price range out of all my suggestions so it could also be treated as an option for beginners who are on a budget. One has to remember, though, that this model was mostly meant to be compatible, so the efficiency will be slightly poorer than in a full-sized pellet grill.
Let me just briefly remind the key characteristics, functionality, WiFi Enabled option, lightweight and mobile, comes with foldable legs, 219 square inches of the cooking area, digital controller with a 150-550 degree F temperature range, sizable pellet container ( 17 lb ), and all of that covered with a two year warranty.
First of all, what is a pellet grill & smoker ?
You may associate it under different names, the names promoted are “pellet smoker” and “pellet grill”, which in reality refers to the same thing. Why is it so?
It turns out that the pellet smoker is a versatile device that was mostly designed with smoking in mind, but it also works pretty nice as a grill. A typical pellet smoker offers indirect heat, but certain models make it possible to switch to direct heat, which is better when grilling.
The pellet grill is very easy to use ( set & forget style ), fast and can reach high temperatures of up to 500-550 degrees F.
The source of heat are wood pellets, which produce smoke, giving the meat the distinctive smoky flavor ( it differs a lot from the charcoal smoky flavor ).
It has mostly earned its popularity thanks to its convenience, very easy use and great results.
Tips for buying a wood pellet grill:
Budget – Start by defining how much you can spend on a new model. It will make the choice easier for you as the pellet grill is available at very diverse prices. Overall it is one of the most expensive types of grills but there will also be something for those with a limited budget.
Size – Analyze how much you cook and how often, as well as whether you host parties and also how often it happens. For most people, the average size available in the medium price range will be enough. Remember that the bigger the grill, the higher not only its price but also fuel consumption, slower heating up or simply much more space occupied in the backyard.
Controller – It is the heart of a pellet grill and it is the best when it’s a precise digital controller adapted to modern technology. In this regard, truly a lot has changed over just a decade. Avoid simple controllers, go for precision and versatility that only good controllers can offer. It will be a guarantee that the temperature when cooking will be stable even during poor weather conditions.
Features – If you have a limited budget then avoid gadgets that only inflate the price without leaving any actual impact on results of cooking. I’m mostly talking about different kinds of Wi-Fi apps, remote controllers etc. All of that is very nice and very useful but it usually inflates the price a lot. The simple rule is, do you have a very limited budget ? Then go for a simple grill.
Mobility – I know that it’s hard to talk about mobility when a grill relies on electricity. You need to know, though, that there are mobile pellet grills that were designed with travelers in mind. They differ in the way they’re built ( folding legs for example ), the weight and they come with a set of adapters that make it possible to plug it to a car charger or battery.
Warranty – Sadly, when it comes to cheaper models, you can’t expect too much, about a year of warranty is standard at the lowest price range. It changes as the price changes and a truly decent warranty can only be found when buying a pellet grill from the high price range ( over one thousand dollars ). At this price you can actually expect a warranty of 3-6~ years and decent support from the manufacturer in case of any problems.
Upsides of Pellet Smoker
Convenience and Flavor – set & forget style smoker which means convenience, it is something that probably convinces those potentially interested the most. When we also add the great smoky flavor from wood pellets, the success is guaranteed. Everyone knows that smoking tends to be time-consuming and requires perfect conditions, with a pellet grill it becomes incredibly simple. Although it sounds naive, I recommend watching few tutorial videos on YouTube, where you can see for yourself.
Easy to use – From the moment you refill the pellets container, start it and set the temperature, you don’t have to worry about anything. Even the person least familiar with grills will easily handle using a pellet grill. You don’t need to worry about temperature control, the system takes over from the moment of starting the smoker.
Precision – A lot depends on the quality of the digital controller and several other factors, but I can honestly say that precision is a huge advantage of the pellet grill. High quality controllers offer a choice of temperature within a range of 200-550~ degrees F at intervals of 5 degrees F. The tolerance to temperature fluctuations in case of those controllers is only up to 10 degrees F depending on weather. In practice, it works perfect, which assures you that the temperature will be perfect throughout the entire smoking process.
Versatility – It’s mostly famous for incredibly convenient smoking but it will also work great for grilling and roasting. When it comes to smoking, don’t expect sear marks on the food’s surface to be as perfect as in a gas or charcoal grill.
Downsides of Pellet Grill
Price – You can find small models at a pretty decent price, but a good, medium-sized pellet grill will cost you a lot. If you expect something upper-tier then be prepared for a very high price. The wood pellet grill is among the most expensive types of grills and smokers.
Poor warranty – At the lower price range you can’t count on a long warranty period. If you expect professional approach to the client then it’s only the case when it comes to the leading, renowned manufacturers who only offer high-quality pellet grills.
It needs being plugged in – The necessity to always be hooked to a source of electricity causes problems with mobility. On top of that, electricity is necessary for the grill to function, if something goes wrong with power supply halfway through the cooking, you might have a problem.