I’ve previously written a post on the best pellet grills for under $500, hence the cheapest pellet grills/smokers you can buy. With this post I want to discuss your options if you have a little bit more disposable income, let’s say up to $1,000. However, so I’m not repeating my self, I’ll discount grills which cost $500 and under. So all the grills below can be found in the $500-$1,000 range. With the additional $500 to spend you’ll be able to get a larger pellet grill, that’s pretty obvious. However, you will also be able to find grills made from better materials and with more features. Generally, you will also find an improvement in build quality over the sub $500 wood pellet grills.
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There are several brands now offering pellet grills for under $1,000. While Traeger is still by far the biggest player in the pellet grill game, they are by no means the only player. If fact, within recent years as pellet grills have really taken off, more new and existing brands are bringing out their own wood pellet grills/smokers. For reference, I’m basing my list below on the stock of pellet grills over at the BBQGuys currently available as of May 2020 for under $1,000.
Traeger Pellet Grills For Under $1,000
In my previous post on grills for under $500, I discussed the Traeger Tailgater and Scout/Ranger pellet grills. For under a $1,000 though you can consider a larger Traeger pellet grill, specifically a Pro Series. Now, this is where you currently have a couple of options. There are previous Gen 1 Pro Series grills still available for sale or you have the options of a Gen 2 Pro Series. My post linked above goes into detail what the differences are between the Gen 1 and 2 Pro Series, but I’ll briefly discuss here why you may opt for one over the other and which Gen 1/2 units can be purchased for under $1,000.
Gen 1 Traeger Pro Series Pellet Grills
You can still order the 22″ and 34″ Gen 1 Pro Series Traeger pellet grills for quite a bit less than $1,000. You will get 572 square inches of cooking space on the 22″ and 884 square inches of cooking space on the 34″ Gen 1 Pro Series. In fact, the 34″ Gen 1 Pro Series offers the largest cooking area on any Traeger pellet grill for under $1,000. Hence, in terms of cooking space, with a Gen 1 series, you will get more bang for your buck.
However, the Gen 1 Pro Series uses the old Traeger control panel which is time-based with pauses the auger motor/combustion fan to control the temperature. You do have some adjustment over how accurately these grills hold their set temperature (with the P-Setting). However, they are just not as accurate at holding temperature as the Gen 2 Pro Series. Furthermore, the Gen 2 Pro Series can reach higher temperatures. Where a Gen 1 will max out at 450 degrees, a Gen 2 Pro series has a maximum temperature setting of 500 degrees.
Gen 2 Traeger Pro Series Pellet Grills
The Gen 2 Pro Series is based on Traeger’s latest DC D2 Direct Drive system, featuring more powerful auger/fan motors which are also variable speed. Coupled with the new D2 control panel with WiFire integration these units are simply more advanced than Gen 1 Pro Series pellet grills. You can also upgrade a Gen 2 pellet grill with the Traeger pellet sensor. Therefore through WiFi, you can see the percentage level of BBQ wood pellets remaining in the hopper. The Gen 2 Pro 575 will provide 575 square inches of cooking area, whereas the Pro 780 will provide, you guessed it, provides 780 square inches of cooking area.
The decision you have to make is do you want to opt for the more precise temperature control and WiFi integration of the Gen 2 Pro Series or the more basic control system but the larger cooking area of the Gen 1 Pro Series? Its a tricky one, and it partly depends on your current cooking skills and patience. For instance, with a Gen 1 you need to be close by pretty much all of the time to monitor the grill. However, with a Gen 2 with WiFire and a meat probe inserted, its a much more ‘just let the grill do it’ approach.
Camp Chef Pellet Grills/Smokers Under $1,000
In my post of pellet grills under $500 I referenced some of the smaller units in the Camp Chef SmokePro range as one of the best options as they can be upgraded over time with the Gen 2 controller and Sear Box/Side Kick. For under $1,000 there are larger SmokePro models available such as the DLX24 and LUX36. However, with up to $1,000 to spend you also have the option of the Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 24 or 36.
There is a similar dilemma here as discussed above between the Traeger Gen 1 and Gen 2 Pro Series. With most Camp Chef SmokePro models you won’t get WiFi as standard as you will with the Woodwind. You also won’t get a stainless steel lid which you get with the Woodwind. However, you could upgrade a SmokePro 24 with the propane Sear Box or Side Kick and keep just under $1,000. Through you are still left with the inferior control panel compared to the Woodwind, and to upgrade with the Gen 2 WiFi controller as well would cost more than just buying the Woodwind 24 with a Sear Box/Side Kick that actually comes with a better control panel.
The Gen 2 WiFi controller is great to upgrade an old Camp Chef SmokePro. However, the Woodwind control panel features a better/brighter colour screen and provides 4 meat probes connections, not two as is the case on the Gen 2 controller. To be honest, I think one of the best options is to go with a Woodwind 24 with a Sear Box/Side Kick at bang on $1,000.
Cuisinart Wood Pellet Grills/Smokers Under $1,000
Now Cuisinart sells a range of pellet grills. However, in this post, we are really only interested in the Woodcreek and Twin Oaks pellet grills, why? Well, the Cuisinart CPG-4000 and CPG-6000 are simply rebranded Z Grills which I’ve already discussed in my post on pellet grills below $500. However, the Woodcreek and Twin Oaks have been developed in-house by Cuisinart and are unique in their features and abilities. In terms of price point, the Woodcreek which is purely a pellet grill and is available for around $600 from Walmart and the Cuisinart website. The Twin Oaks is more expensive as its a combination pellet/gas grill. The Twin Oaks retails for closer to $700.
In my review article linked above on the features of the Woodcreek and Twin Oaks, the features that particularly impressed me for the price point is the insulated stainless steel lids with viewing windows, massive 30lb pellet hopper and cast-iron grates. The control panel while bright and easy to use with the large temperature dial is not based on PID technology as is the Traeger Gen 2 Pro Series 575 and Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grills above. Hence, you shouldn’t expect these Cuisinart pellet grills to hold their temperature as accurately. Furthermore, while these Cuisinart grills are large for the money the are built from thin painted mild steel for the most part. Therefore, if you wanted these grills to last you really can’t leave them outside. They would last substantially longer in a dry/well-ventilated garage/shed.
Broil King Pellet Grills/Smokers Under $1,000
Broil King has been making gas/propane grills since the 1980s, they are new to the pellet grill game though. However, their first attempts the Baron and Regal pellet grills I think are impressive units. In this instance, though I’m only going to be discussing the Baron grills, as they are available for under $1,000. So a couple of features stand-out with either a Baron 440 or 550. First, these Broil King pellet grills have a maximum temperature setting of 600 degrees. That’s higher than any other pellet grill/smoker referenced above. Second, they are made from 1.4mm (16 gauge) steel which means they should last a considerable amount of time before corrosion/rust takes it toll.
Now, there is a debate in the BBQ community if you really want a ‘heavy-duty steel’ pellet grill at all because it adds weight, making it harder to move the grill around. That’s a fair argument for someone who wishes/needs to move their pellet grill around frequently. If not, its just a simple fact thicker steel is going to last longer. Now, that’s not necessarily true when discussing stainless steel. However, you’re not going to find a full stainless steel grill available for under $1,000. In my review article linked above, you will also note I’m impressed with the ash removal system on the Broil King pellet grills/smokers, WiFi integration and cast-iron grates.
Weber Pellet Grills/Smokers Under $1,000
While Weber is a very popular and well-regarded name in the gas BBQ community, they have only recently entered the pellet grill market. Their first two pellet grills are the SmokerFire EX4 and EX6. However, only the smaller EX4 comes in under $1,000, just. Now, in my review article on the Weber SmokeFire range, I reference a couple of re-designs which need to be carried out on these pellet grills to really live up the Weber brand. So while I do believe the build quality of the EX4 is sufficient/good for the price point, I also believe its currently lacking compared to the competition in terms of how it performs.
The above being said I do think Weber can resolve the design issues with the SmokeFire pellet grills that customers have been experiencing. Furthermore, the issue of flare-ups I believe can be reduced by using an aftermarket accessory such as GrillGrate. However, at this moment in time, I believe there are better options available for under $1,000 than the EX4.
Grilla Grills Under $1,000
While Grilla Grills are not currently a brand some people will be as familiar with compared to several of the other brands above, they are producing some very high-quality pellet grills for under $1,000. They produce a conventional design of pellet grill called the Silverbac. However, my personal favourite of the Grilla Grill designs is the Grilla. In my article on Grilla Grills, I discuss the benefits of the Grilla design. Not only for more even heat distribution but for easier usability with its sliding lid as opposed to a lift-up lid.
Grilla Grills also produce a compact/portable unit called the Chimp. What I think is important to note about Grilla Grills, especially for products that retail for under $1,000 is their extensive use of stainless steel and their twin-wall design. Grilla Grills use stainless steel for the fabrication of the pellet burn pot, heat deflector and grease tray. Making them easier to clean and they will also last much longer than carbon steel alternatives. The twin-wall construction around the combustion zone helps to keep the heat in. Hence, more of that goes up towards your food and it also means pellet consumption is reduced.
Conclusions On Wood Pellet Grills/Smokers Under $1,000
While you can pick up some good quality and proven performers from Traeger and Camp Chef for under $1,000 you now also have the ‘new breed’ of grills from Cuisinart, Broil King and Weber all bringing something new to the table. Personally I would leave the Weber pellet grills until they are redesigned. I then think they will offer some serious competition to Traeger and Camp Chef. In terms of size and core capabilities, I do think the Cuisinart grills are bringing a lot to the table for the amount of money. However, materials/build-quality of these grills over time would concern me if you cannot store the grill inside over the wet winter months. The heavy-duty construction of the Broil King grills does impress me, though as yet there isn’t a sufficient number of reviews to show how the components in these pellet grills standup over time.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope the above has may your options with a budget of $1,000 for a pellet grill clearer. If you head over to BBQGuys.com you can purchase many of the grills referenced above. They also have some great finance deals. If you want to consider increasing your budget I have a post on the best pellet grills under $2,000. If you would like to do more research to find the best pellet grill for you, please check out my wood pellet grill/smoker guide. 🙂