I write a lot about the many different models of pellet grills/smokers now on the market. While I’m able to provide a thorough structured breakdown of product specifications and compare one brand/model to another I often don’t get the chance to get hands-on with them. As part of my research though I watch a lot of real owners reviews on YouTube. Therefore, I thought I would produce a summary article on the best Camp Chef reviews I’ve come across from owners of the various models covering both pros and cons.
Disclaimer: Hey! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or other sites are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase.
Below I’ve included the best reviews I’ve come across of the Camp Chef models above, but some of the reviews also discuss important optional accessories from Camp Chef their propane Sear Box or SideKick. You can actually see a Sear Box attached to the Woodwind 36 model in the image above. I’ll be updating this post over time as new Camp Chef models get released and there are some quality owners reviews covering both pros and cons.
Best Camp Chef Pursuit Review
The Pursuit or the Pursuit 20 to give it its full name is Camp Chef’s smallest pellet grill that also has folding legs to make it portable, I’ve previously referenced the Pursuit 20 in my article on the best portable pellet grills. Now, whether you find the Pursuit to be Camp Chef’s cheapest model depends on the point of purchase. As of writing this article prices are all over the place due to increases in steel costs/inventory levels. I think the best review currently out there on the Pursuit 20 is by Tom Horsman.
So, what does need to be noted as Tom states in his review, he has modified his Pursuit with a side shelf, hopper extension and rear smokestack instead of vents. While his unit is not standard, and not representative of what you would purchase through CampChef.com, for Tom to put in that effort modifying his Camp Chef Pursuit shows that he values the grill.
As Tom notes in his review, with his being an older Pursuit it features the older time-based control panel. The latest Camp chef Pursuit features a more advanced Gen 2 PID Control panel, and Tom at some point could indeed upgrade his control panel with a Gen 2 PID/WiFi control panel. Though I should note, currently, the Gen 2 control panel Camp Chef is fitting to the Pursuit is PID but not WiFi enabled.
As you can see in the video above as Tom cooks up some excellent looking onion brats, he really values the Pursuit as a small backyard grill and is actually not that bothered about its portability. Which is something worth considering when it comes to choosing a grill, will a smaller grill actually meet your needs instead of going for a full-sized family-sized grill?
Best Camp Chef SmokePro Review
The SmokePro range from Camp Chef is essentially their entry-level/budget family-sized backyard grills, where the Woodwind range below is their more premium option. However, the SmokePro range can in many cases still meet the needs of many families, especially those looking to purchase their first pellet grill on a tighter budget. As the SmokePro range has been around for several years now, there have been a few changes.
First off, the original SmokePro models came with a time-based control panel, essentially the same as that seen in the review above by Tom Horsman on his Camp Chef Pursuit. The current SmokePro models are fitted with Gen 2 PID control panels. Now, depending on the Smoke Pro model, while all have PID temperature control for 5-degree temperature accuracy, only the SG models have WiFi and Camp Chef Connect support.
The reason I’ve included the video from Andrew and the Andersons Smoke Show above as the best review is for two reasons. First, he owns the latest model in the SmokePro range the SG30, and secondly, Andrew is also the owner of an older 24″ SmokePro, hence has good experience of the functionality of this range of pellet grills/smokers.
Essentially as Andrew discusses in his technical review above of the SG30, when spending under a thousand dollars on a pellet grill/smoker, the Camp Chef SmokePro models are offering a good blend of features/build quality. Something that is important to note though, is not only is the SG models within the SmokePro range the only ones with WiFi, they are the only versions with direct-flame access or ‘Slide n’ Grill’ as Camp Chef brands the feature. As Andrew discusses in his video, it gives the cooker the ability of indirect or direct heat cooking.
Best Camp Chef Woodwind Review
The Woodwind range is Camp Chef’s premium backyard grill option available in a range of sizes. The Woodwind WiFi 20 has a cooking chamber essentially the same same as the Pursuit 20 above but with a more advanced colour control panel and WiFi. There are then the larger 24″ and 36″ wide Woodwind models that can be purchased as stand-alone units, or can be spec’d with a propane Sear Box/SideKick attachment.
I’ve included a review of a Woodwind 36 with optional SideKick attachments from the Baby Back Maniac. I believe this review shows the true versatility of a Camp Chef pellet grill with the SideKick attachment. For instance, while the review is not that positive on the direct-flame access that’s where the SideKick with the Sear Box attachment can step in to provide good searing performance and the pellet cooking chamber can finish the cook and add flavour.
Best Camp Chef XXL Vertical Smoker Review
When it comes to vertical smokers, as I’ve discussed previously in my horizontal vs vertical pellet smokers article, if you already own a gas grill, a vertical pellet smoker may actually be your better option. As a general rule, compared to a horizontal pellet grill/smoker you will be getting more cooking area for less money. And yes, while a vertical pellet smoker cannot grill/sear your food, that’s where your gas grill comes in. In my opinion on features/price-point, the Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Smoker is one of the best options currently available.
However, this article is not about my thoughts/opinions, its about real owners giving their feedback. Therefore, I’ve included a quick owners review below on the XXL vertical pellet smoker which is the latest version fitted with the Gen 2 PID/WiFi control panel.
So as you can see in the video above, the XXL vertical pellet smoker provides a lot of cooking space (over 2,400 square inches), more than enough to meet most peoples needs. Something which is noted in the review which is important to bring up is cooking in low-temperature environments, winter etc. As the Camp Chey vertical smoker is not twin-wall insulated you will need an insulated blanket to get the best performance.
As I discuss in my Camp Chef accessories article, while third-party insulated blankets are available, they often don’t fit very well. Hence, its often the best idea to get the manufacturers fitted insulated blanket. With an insulated blanket fitted all year round smoking will be possible, and for under a thousand dollars the XXL is providing excellent value for money for its cooking area and features (WiFi/PID).
Conclusions On The Best Camp Chef Reviews
As a budget to mid-range pellet grill/smoker brand, Camp Chef has been offering good competitive alternatives to the likes of more established brands such as Traeger and Pit Boss. The propane Sear Box/Side Kick attachments are also pretty unique to the brand currently.
Camp Chef is also developing a reputation for offering above-average build quality and the PID/WiFi control panels are some of the best in the business currently. Yes, Camp Chef has indeed had some initial firmware issues with their control panels, but I can tell you, that’s not been uncommon with all the other pellet grill brands.
That’s it! I hope you found this article of real Camp Chef owner reviews interesting/useful. If you have more questions about Camp Chef and their range please check out my Camp Chef FAQ. Alternatively, to learn more about the wider range of pellet grills/smokers please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂
Back in 2007 when I first become aware of pellet grills and smokers the only brand I was really aware of was Traeger. Traeger is really where this whole concept of cooking with pellets started in the 1980s. It was a ‘slow burner’ (pardon the pun) but since the 2010s is really when pellet grills and smokers started to get mainstream awareness, discussed alongside gas and charcoal grills. There are now over 30 pellet grill/smoker brands that I’m aware of, and the link above goes to my A to Z list of brands article.
Now, you may already be aware of a few of the other brands such as Pit Boss, Camp Chef, Z Grills and I’m sure you are aware of Weber, though you may not have known they have entered the pellet grill game. However, they are now many, many more brands to look into. Some may be what are commonly referred to as ‘Traeger clones’, but many others are offering their own unique designs and features.
A pellet grill/smoker is only as good as the BBQ pellets you put into it. The type/quality of the BBQ wood pellets you use will impact temperature performance and smoke flavour. There are many pellet flavours including Apple, Hickory, Mapel, Oak and Walnut to name but a few. However, some brands are hardwood blended pellets whereas others are 100% single wood species.
In this article, I provide details on over 20 brands of BBQ wood pellets, their range of flavours, whether they are 100% single wood species or hardwood blended pellets, their typical price and where they are available. I also provide tips on how to get the best deal when buying BBQ wood pellets and how to test pellet quality. Finally, I discuss the new kid on the block, charcoal pellets and their special attributes compared to all other hardwood BBQ pellets.