Best Pellet Grill Under $2,000 in 2021 (8 Contenders)


Hi, I’m Chris I started PelHeat.com back in 2007.

As shown by my A to Z list of pellet grill brands there are now over 30 brands to choose from, and many of those brands offer a huge range of models. Therefore, working out which will be the best pellet grill for you can be a significant challenge. Well, with this article we are going to look at what is the best option under $2,000. At this price, you should expect features such as a PID control panel and WiFi/App functionality. However, you should also look for futures such as direct-flame access and ideally at least some stainless steel construction, maybe even full stainless steel construction.

Best Pellet Grill Under $2,000
Here are the 8 contenders to be considered for the best pellet grill/smoker under $2,000

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.

In a rush? Jump to my conclusion on what I think is currently the best pellet grill for under $2,000 considering features such as temperature control technology, cooking area and hopper capacity and construction materials.

Introduction To The Best Pellet Grill Under $2,000

So I’ve created a shortlist of 8 contenders for the best pellet grill under $2,000, including models from leading brands such as Traeger, Camp Chef and Louisiana Grills along with other smaller brands. Now, to determine the best pellet grill under $2,000 I’ve been researching models that get as close to that price point as possible. Hence, all of the models below are between $1,500 and $2,000.

1st Contender – Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 36 SideKick

The Camp Chef Woodwind range has been a staple of mid to high-end pellet grills for several years. Featuring a full-colour control panel working on a PID algorithm providing 5-degree temperature control/accuracy as well as independent smoke control. Along with WiFi/App functionality through Camp Chef Connect.

Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 36 SideKick Pellet Grill
The WiFi 36 is the largest pellet grill in the Woodwind range: Image – CampChef.com

This Woodwind WiFi 36 comes fitted with the Camp Chef SideKick which is a propane attachment that can be fitted with various accessories to provide additional searing cooking space, or a small pizza oven along with several other options.

Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 36 SideKick Key Features

  • Total Cooking Area = 1,236 sq.in (663 sq.in at the main grate) + 231sq.in on SideKick
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 22lbs
  • Temperature Range = 160 to 500 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = Yes
  • PID Temperature Control? = Yes
  • WiFi/App Control? = Yes
  • Stainless Steel? = Grill lid and SideKick
  • Typical Price = $1,549 to $1,580
  • Availability = CampChef.com & BBQGuys.com

2nd Contender – Broil King Regal 500

While you won’t find stainless steel construction on a Broil King pellet grill what you will find is heavy-duty steel construction with the cooking chamber and lid made from 14 gauge steel. Notable, the Broil King Regal 500 can match the highest temperature setting of all the contenders at 600 degrees.

Broil King Regal 500 Pellet Grill
The Broil King Regal 500 is made from very thick 14 gauge steel: Image – BBQGuys.com

Also, the Regal 500 is the only one of the contenders to offer an included rotisserie kit which as I discuss in my linked article is a feature not often found on pellet grills. Therefore, the Regal 500 can provide very even and consistent results when chicken etc are cooked on the rotisserie.

Broil King Regal 500 Key Features

  • Total Cooking Area = 825 sq.in (625 sq.in at the main grate)
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 22lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 600 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = No
  • PID Temperature Control? = Unconfirmed
  • WiFi/App Control? = Yes
  • Stainless Steel? = No, but 14 guage steel
  • Typical Price = $1,599
  • Availability = BBQGuys.com

3rd Contender – Louisiana Grills Founders Premier 1200

The premium brand of Danson LLC (who also own Pit Boss) the Louisiana Grills Founders Premier is a relatively new edition to their range. Featuring their new PID/WiFi control panel which connects to the SmokeIT App.

Louisiana Grills Founders Premier 1200 Pellet Grill
The 1200 is the larger of two pellet grills in the Premier range: Image – Louisiana-Grills.com

Offering one of the largest cooking areas of the contenders along with a high maximum temperature setting of 600 degrees. The Premier 1200 also features the Louisiana Grills staple of direct-flame access and cast-iron cooking grates providing surface temperatures for grilling in excess of 650 degrees.

Louisiana Grills Founders Premier 1200 Key Features

  • Total Cooking Area = 1,205 sq.in (650 sq.in at the main grate)
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 29lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 600 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = Yes
  • PID Temperature Control? = Yes
  • WiFi/App Control? = Yes
  • Stainless Steel? = No
  • Typical Price = $1,599
  • Availability = Louisiana-Grills.com

4th Contender – Louisiana Grills Founders Legacy 800

The Founders Legacy 800 is the smaller and more expensive of the Louisiana Grills included in this list of contenders. So what gives, why is the Legacy 800 providing less cooking space but a higher price than the Founders Premier 1200 above?

Louisiana Grills Founders Legacy 800 Pellet Grill
The Founder Legacy models are Louisiana Grills highest specification pellet grills to date: Image – Louisiana-Grills.com

Well, the Legacy 800 features quite a lot of 304-grade stainless steel construction, not only on the grill and hopper lid but racks/grease tray are stainless steel and the internal cooking chamber is stainless steel lined. As a result, the Legacy 800 is also a twin-wall insulated pellet grill.

Louisiana Grills Founders Legacy 800 Key Features

  • Total Cooking Area = 846 sq.in (550 sq.in at the main grate)
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 29lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 600 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = Yes
  • PID Temperature Control? = Yes
  • WiFi/App Control? = Yes
  • Stainless Steel? = Grill and hopper lids plus internal cooking chamber
  • Typical Price = $1,899
  • Availability = Louisiana-Grills.com

5th Contender – Memphis Grills Beale Street

The Beale Street from Memphis Grills is the only full-stainless steel pellet grill of all the contenders which is available as a freestanding or built-in unit. While featuring full stainless steel construction it is important to note as I discuss below the Beale Street is made of 430-grade stainless steel.

Memphis Grills Beale Street Pellet Grill
The Beale Street is available as either a freestanding (left) or built-in (right) pellet grill: Images – BBQGuys.com

While the Beale Street does offer all the premium features of PID, WiFi and direct-flame access its maximum temperature is a bit below the other contenders at 550 degrees. Furthermore, the relatively small 12lb pellet hopper is going to require more attention than the other contenders.

Memphis Grills Beale Street Key Features

  • Total Cooking Area = 817 sq.in (558 sq,in at the main grate)
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 12lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 550 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = Yes
  • PID Temperature Control? = Yes
  • WiFi/App Control? = Yes
  • Stainless Steel? = Full stainless steel construction
  • Typical Price = $1,799 (Built-in) to $1,999 (Freestanding)
  • Availability = BBQGuys.com

6th Contender – RecTeq RT-1250

A brand well known for its stainless steel construction the RT-1250 from RecTeq (formally RecTec) features a stainless steel cooking chamber as well as stainless steel internals and a front shelf. While RecTeq state the internal components and hardware are 304-grade stainless steel it is not stated what grade is used for the cooking chamber and front shelf.

RecTeq RT-1250 Pellet Grill/Smoker
While not a full stainless steel grill, the RT-1250 does feature a stainless steel cooking chamber: Image – RecTeq.com

The RT-1250 features an above-average total cooking area of the contenders and by far the largest pellet hopper at a frankly bonkers 40lbs. However, RecTeq pellet grills do not provide direct flame access and the precise capabilities of the maximum temperature on the FULL setting are unclear, to quote RecTeq “possibly even 700ºF“.

RecTeq RT-1250 Key Features

  • Total Cooking Area = 1,250 sq.in (625 sq.in at the main grate)
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 40lbs
  • Temperature Range = 200 to 500 degrees (FULL Setting over 500 degrees)
  • Direct-Flame Access? = No
  • PID Temperature Control? = Yes
  • WiFi/App Control? = Yes
  • Stainless Steel? = Cooking chamber and internals
  • Typical Price = $1,599
  • Availability = RecTeq.com

7th Contender – Traeger Ironwood 885

The original and most well-known brand in pellet grills is now focused on their premium product ranges. The Ironwood sits in the middle of the Traeger range and features their D2 Direct Drive system which incorporates the D2 control panel featuring PID and WiFi (WiFire) technology.

Traeger Ironwood 885 Pellet Grill
The 885 is the larger of the two Ironwood models: Image – Traeger.com

While the Ironwood 885 does not feature stainless steel construction, it does feature twin-wall insulated construction on the sides of the cooking chamber to help keep heat in. It also features the Traeger downdraught exhaust design which is currently of the best designs on the market for even heat/smoke distribution throughout the cooking chamber.

Traeger Ironwood 885 Key Features

  • Total Cooking Area = 885 sq.in (570 sq.in at the main grate)
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 20lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 500 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = No
  • PID Temperature Control? = Yes
  • WiFi/App Control? = Yes
  • Stainless Steel? = No
  • Typical Price = $1,599
  • Availability = Traeger.com, HomeDepot.com & BBQGuys.com

8th Contender – Traeger Timberline 850

The Timberline range from Traeger are their highest specification pellet grills to date. Timberline models feature a twin-wall insulated cooking chamber that is fully lined with 304-grade stainless steel. Furthermore, the cooking racks, grease tray and front/side shelves are all stainless steel.

Traeger Timberline 850 Pellet Grill
The Timberline 850 features an insulated stainless steel lined cooking chamber: Image – Traeger.com

However, as you will note from the specifications below, the Timberline 850 is set up to be a better smoker than a grill as the cooking chamber is of a vertical design including three racks. As a result, the lower main grate is only 363 sq.in, significantly less than on the more affordable Ironwood 885 above.

Traeger Timberline 850 Key Features

  • Total Cooking Area = 850 sq.in (363 sq.in at the main grate)
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 24lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 500 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = No
  • PID Temperature Control? = Yes
  • WiFi/App Control? = Yes
  • Stainless Steel? = Internal cooking chamber, racks and grease tray
  • Typical Price = $1,999
  • Availability = Traeger.com & BBQGuys.com

Round 1 – Temperature Control & Cooking Performance

Almost all of the contenders above are confirmed to be fitted with a PID control panel for the most accurate temperature control technology on pellet grills to date. I’m still waiting on confirmation if the control panel fitted to the Broil King Regal 500 is running a PID algorithm, but its likely that it is.

The Broil King along with both the Louisiana Grills options the Premier 1200 and Legacy 800 offer the highest maximum temperature settings of 600 degrees. The RecTeq RT-1250 can potentially meet and exceed that temperature, however, its exact capabilities are more vague.

What the RecTeq is missing is direct-flame access which can offer the highest temperatures at the centre of the grate for the hottest grilling/searing performance. Of the contenders both of the Louisiana Grills options offer direct flame access along with the Memphis Beale Street and Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 36 SideKick.

All of the contenders offer WiFi/App integration to monitor and control the grill through your phone. However, to date, Traeger with their Ironwood 885 and Timberline 850 offer the most comprehensive App with video recipes and downloadable cooking settings to their grills. However, the Camp Chef does enable independent temperature and smoke level controls through their App which Traeger currently doesn’t.

Round 2 – Cooking Area & Hopper Capacity

The Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 36 Sidekick offers the most cooking area overall at 1,236 sq.in and the largest main grate at 663 sq.in. The propane SideKick then provides an additional 231 sq.in of cooking space and more importantly more functionality. The next largest is the RecTeq RT-1250 with closely follows with 1,250 sq.in overall and 625 sq.in at the main grate.

The three smallest cooking areas are found on the Traeger Timberline, Louisiana Grills Legacy 800 and the Memphis Beale Street. However, two of these pellet grills feature 304-grade stainless steel lined cooking chambers and the Memphis is a full stainless steel pellet grill which I’ll discuss more below.

In terms of hopper capacity, none of the contenders come close to the huge hopper on the RecTeq at 40lbs which could smoke potentially for 24 hours continuously on a full hopper. Though I personally would not leave a hopper that full of pellets when not in use due to potential moisture damage. The next largest are the two Louisiana Grills options, both providing a hopper capacity of 29lbs.

Round 3 – Stainless Steel & Twin-Wall Insulation

The Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 36 SideKick features a stainless steel lid but that’s it. There is then the two pellet grills with stainless steel lined internal cooking chambers/components, the Louisiana Grills Legacy 800 and the Traeger Timberline 850. The RecTeq RT-1250 features a stainless steel cooking chamber/components and the Memphis Beale Street is a full-stainless steel pellet grill.

However, if you read my article on stainless steel pellet grills, you’ll learn that not all stainless steel is created equally. In short, 430-grade is ok but can get surface corrosion, whereas 304-grade is the best you will find on a pellet grill. While the Memphis is a full stainless steel grill, its 430-grade.

While RecTeq states their internal components are 304-grade stainless steel, they do not state the grade of the cooking chamber, therefore it could be 430-grade. Whereas, both Louisiana Grills and Traeger state the lining of their pellet grills is 304-grade stainless steel as well as the cooking racks and other internal components.

Finally, while the Louisiana Grills Legacy 800, Memphis Beale Street and Traeger Timberline are twin-wall insulated to hold onto their heat and reduce pellet consumption the RecTeq is not twin-wall insulated. Now, if you live in a warm climate, not a big deal, however without it cooking in a colder climate and cooking in winter can be more of a challenge.

Round 4 – Pricing & Value

Closer to $1,500 the Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 36 SideKick is offering value from the largest cooking area of the contenders and the most flexibility with its SideKick propane attachment. Spend a bit more and you can get the ReTeq RT-1250 which is providing good value from its stainless steel cooking chamber, though it doesn’t feature direct-flame access or a twin-wall insulated cooking chamber.

The full stainless steel Memphis Beale Street is impressive for under $2,000, even it is made from 430-grade stainless steel that may need some care to keep it looking its best. It also includes all of the key features of PID, WiFi, direct-flame access and twin-wall construction. Its weaknesses are a small cooking area and low hopper capacity.

The Traeger Timberline 850 and Louisiana Grills Legacy 800 while not full-stainless steel feature larger cooking areas and higher specification 304-grade stainless lined cooking chambers. Where the Louisiana Grills offers direct-flame access which the Traeger does not, the Traeger WiFire App is currently the better software.

Conclusions On The Pellet Grill Under $2,000

So what are my final thoughts on the above contenders? Well, I’m going to break this down into several scenarios. If you need a large pellet grill and you are primarily going to use it in the summer months I think you would get the best value from the Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 36 SideKick or the RecTeq RT-1250.

However, if you are more into smoking and want to use the pellet grill all year round, then either the Louisiana Grills Legacy 800 or Traeger Timberline 850 could be the better option. Their twin wall insulated cooking chambers will keep the heat in and the 304-grade stainless steel lined cooking chambers will be the easiest to keep clean.

The Memphis Beale Street while small in size is the only full-stainless steel option of all the contenders and the only one which is available as a built-in pellet grill for an outdoor kitchen. Just remember, it is 430-grade stainless steel, so it will need some upkeep to stay looking its best, but its obviously not going to suffer from flaking paint.

That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found the information/analysis above useful. If you would like to learn more about your options at different price points please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂

Click above for our suggestion tool to help you find a pellet grill/smoker within your budget

A to Z List of Pellet Grill/Smoker Brands

A to Z List of Pellet Grill/Smoker Brands

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 to Z List of The Best BBQ Wood Pellets

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.

Chris - PelHeat

Hi, I’m Chris. I started PelHeat.com back in 2007. This website is intended to be an educational resource on how pellets are made and their various uses. I hope you find the information useful.

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