Best Portable Pellet Grill in 2021 (8 Contenders)


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

There is a huge range of wood pellet grills now on the market, and the number seems to keep growing year on year. However, what if you’re not looking for a full-sized pellet grill/smoker, what if you are looking for a small unit to go in the back of your car, truck or RV to take camping or a day out at the beach etc? Well, that’s where portable pellet grills come in and there is now quite a range of options to choose from. So let’s look at the contenders to try and work out which portable pellet grill is offering the best deal.

Best Portable Pellet Grills/Smokers
Below we’ll compare the specs/features and price points of eight portable pellet grills to determine which is providing the best deal

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 overall portable pellet grill considering features such as temperature control technology, cooking area, weight, hopper capacity and price point.

Introduction To The Best Portable Pellet Grills/Smokers

When it comes to determining what appears to be the best overall portable pellet grill it means considering multiples factors. For instance, while one product may offer the largest cooking area it may not be fitted with the best control panel technology etc. Furthermore, when it comes to portability the weight and how easy it is to set up the grill (how well do the folding legs work) are also important considerations.

First, I’m going to set out all of the portable pellet grill contenders with key details on each product. Then I’ll discuss and compare the products against each other to come to a conclusion on which portable pellet grill is best for a specific feature and which I think is offering the best deal overall.

1st Contender – ASMOKE AS300 (Currently Best Tabletop)

So I thought we may as well start with the smallest contender on this list, the ASMOKE AS300 which is really under a separate category of portable pellet grills, tabletop units. In my article on the best tabletop pellet grills, I compared to the ASMOKE AS300 against the Traeger Ranger, Country Smoker, Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills tabletop units. I determined that overall, the ASMOKE AS300 is currently offering the best deal when it comes to tabletop models.

ASMOKE AS300 Portable Tabletop Pellet Grill
I believe the ASMOKE AS300 is currently the best deal overall on tabletop pellet grills: Images – ASMOKEGrill.com

ASMOKE AS300 Key Features

  • Total Cooking Area = 256 sq.in (using additional suspended rack)
  • Weight = 48.5 lbs
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 4 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 500 degrees (Direct Flame @ 650 degrees)
  • Typical Price = $229
  • Availability: ASMOKEGrill.com, Homedepot.com & Amazon.com

Best ASMOKE AS300 Review

3-month review of the ASMOKE AS300 tabletop pellet grill/smoker by BBGrillShack

2nd Contender – Traeger Tailgater

When it comes to the most well know brand in pellet grills/smokers outside of the Traeger Ranger, the Traeger Tailgater is their portable pellet grill offering. While the tailgater is a reasonably capable small/portable pellet grill as discussed below its not currently the best offering when it comes to its control panel technology or the design of its folding legs.

Traeger Tailgater Portable Pellet Grill
The Traeger Tailgater was one of the original and most widely available portable pellet grills: Images – Traeger.com

I discuss this more in my Traeger accessories post, but when out and about you will need a 12V to 110V power inverter or another means of portable power. It should also be noted, the Tailgater (currently anyway) does not feature WiFire compatibility. Therefore, unlike most Traeger grills today, you cannot control/monitor the Tailgater via your phone.

Traeger Tailgater Key Features

Best Traeger Tailgater Review

A good review of the Traeger Tailgater discussing its pros but also the con of the poorly designed folding legs

3rd Contender – GMG Trek (Davy Crockett)

Right, so for many years GMG (Green Moutain Grills) have had one of the best selling small pellet grills on the market, and it was branded as the Davy Crockett. However, after a few modifications, the Davy Crockett is now branded as the Trek, though the core features/functionality and price point remain the same.

GMG Davy Crockett & Trek
On the left is the original GMG Davy Crockett and on the right is the current GMG Trek: Images – GreenMountainGrills.com

The main difference between the Davy Crockett and the Trek is the legs. The Davy Crockett featured folding legs which also doubled as a carry handle whereas the Trek features short fixed legs. Personally, I prefer the Davy Crockett design, as I think the folding legs/carry handle was a great idea.

Anyway, the GMG Trek still has the same features that set the Davy Crockett apart from much of its portable pellet grill competition at the time. Those features include a temperature controller using PID technology and WiFi functionality to control/monitor the pellet grill from the user’s phone. Also, the Trek can run directly from a 12V DC supply.

GMG Davy Crockett/Trek Key Features

  • Total Cooking Area = 219 sq.in
  • Weight = 63 lbs
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 9 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 150 to 550 degrees
  • Typical Price = $399
  • Availability = Amazon.com, Walmart.com & HomeDepot.com

Best GMG Davy Crockett/Trek Review

How does the GMG Davy Crockett/Trek stack up after 1 year of frequent use?

4th Contender – Camp Chef Pursuit

A well-known pellet grill brand with their SmokePro and Woodwind models, Camp Chef also offer their own portable pellet grill the Pursuit. The latest version of the Pursuit is fitted with a Camp Chef Gen 2 controller which benefits from PID technology providing 5-degree temperature control/accuracy. However, it should be noted the Pursuit doesn’t currently benefit from WiFi connectivity which is found on some versions of the Gen 2 controller.

The Camp Chef Pursuit has one of if not the largest cooking areas of any small/portable pellet grill on the market today: Images – CampChef.com

Other notable features of the Pursuit include the large (and lockable) 10lb pellet hopper. The Camp Chef Pursuit does also have a novel and quick ash cleanout feature and the folding legs with wheels perform reasonably well. While the Pursuit is widely available in terms of price there are significant differences from outlet to outlet, so bear that in mind.

Camp Chef Pursuit Key Features

  • Total Cooking Area = 501 sq.in (total), main grate 253 sq.in
  • Weight = 82 lbs
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 10 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 160 to 500 degrees (Slide & Grill @ 650 degrees)
  • Typical Price = $486 to $684
  • Availability = CampChef.com, Walmart.com, HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com & BBQGuys.com

Best Camp Chef Pursuit Review

A review of the Camp Chef Pursuit after one year of ownership/use

5th Contender – The Pit Boss Tailgater/R-Series

The first of two portable pellet grills from Pit Boss the Tailgater (also sometimes branded as the R-Series) was the brands first portable pellet grill. In my article on the best Pit Boss reviews from real owners, I included an owners review who discusses for the money, the Tailgater provides a lot of value.

Pit Boss Tailgate/R-Series Portable Pellet Grill
One of the first portable pellet grills to come onto the market: Images – PitBoss-Grills.com

Being one of the first portable pellet grills on the market, the time-based control panel fitted to the Pit Boss Tailgater is not the most advanced available. Therefore, the control panel as its not PID is only able to manage the temperature to within 25 degrees of the set temperature. However, the Tailgater does have strong features such as direct-flame access for better searing/grilling results.

  • Total Cooking Area = 340 sq.in
  • Weight = 79 lbs
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 5 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 500 degrees (Direct Flame @ 650 degrees)
  • Typical Price = $297 to $499
  • Availability = PitBoss-Grills.com & Walmart.com

Best Pit Boss Tailgater Review

For the price paid, this owner is particularly happy with his Pit Boss Tailgater

6th Contender – Pit Boss Sportsman/Mahagony Portable

The second portable pellet grill design from Pit Boss is the Sportsman/Mahagony Portable. What’s the difference between the two? The difference is purely cosmetic, therefore as the Mahagony model is typically $100 less, that’s the version to get.

There are no feature/specification differences between the Sportman (left) and Mahagony (right) portable models: Images – PitBoss-Grills.com

While they feature the same control panel technology there are a couple of differences between these portable models from Pit Boss and the Tailgater above. These models have a significantly larger rear-mounted hopper of 19lbs. Furthermore, they also offer a larger cooking area of 387 sq.in. As a result, they are also the heaviest Pit Boss portable models at 91 lbs.

Pit Boss Sportsman/Mahagony Portable Key Features

  • Total Cooking Area = 387 sq.in (includes upper rack)
  • Weight = 91 lbs
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 19 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 500 degrees (Direct Flame @ 650 degrees)
  • Typical Price = $297 to $499
  • Availability = PitBoss-Grills.com & Walmart.com

7th Contender – RECTEQ RT-340

RECTEQ (previously REC TEC) are a premium brand of pellet grills/smokers. Notably, RECTEQ was one of the first brands to bring PID temperature control and WiFi functionality to their products. All RECTEQ products also feature a stainless steel cooking chamber with stainless steel internals.

RECTEQ RT-340 Portable Pellet Grill
The RECTEQ RT-340 is of a similar design to the Pit Boss Tailgater but it features higher specification materials/components: Images – RECTEQ.com

As the RT-340 does feature premium materials and components it should be too much of a surprise that it comes in at a premium price. Now, RECTEQ is currently only selling the RT-340 as a bundle with 4 bags of their pellets. While not a bad deal, it does increase the initial purchase of the RT-340.

RECTEQ RT-340 Key Features

  • Total Cooking Area = 340 sq.in (511 sq.in with optional second shelf)
  • Weight = 80 lbs
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 20 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 200 to 500 degrees
  • Typical Price = $659 to $739
  • Availability = RECTEQ.com

8th Contender – Grilla Grills Chimp

Compared to the likes of Traeger, Pit Boss and Camp Chef above, Grilla Grills are a relatively new brand, I’ve recently written an article on the full range of pellet grills from Grilla Grills where I discuss the Chimp along with its Grilla and Silverbac pellet grill siblings. Their portable pellet grill the Chimp has many of the same premium features of the RECTEQ RT-340, but at a lower price point.

Grilla Grills Chimp Portable Pellet Grill
The Chimp from Grilla Grills features several premium features at a very competitive price point: Images – GrillaGrills.com

The Chimp features the Grilla Grills Alpha Connect control panel which as I’ve discussed in the linked article I believe to be one of the most feature-rich PID/WiFi panels on the market today. The Chimp also features many stainless steel components along with twin-wall insulated construction not found on any of the other portable pellet grills above.

  • Total Cooking Area = 460 sq.in (340 sq.in at the main cooking grate)
  • Weight = 90 lbs
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 15lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 500 degrees
  • Typical Price = $599
  • Availability = GrillaGrills.com
A comparison of the Traeger Tailgater to the Grilla Grills Chimp: Video – GrillaGrills.com

Round 1 – Temperature Control & Cooking Performance

The most modern pellet grills today feature control panels using PID algorithms to precisely control the temperature to within 5 degrees of the set temperature. Of the portable pellet grills above, the Camp Chef Pursuit, GMG Trek, RECTEQ RT-340 and Grilla Grills Chimp are using PID control panels. Furthermore, all of those grills except the Camp Chef Pursuit also offer WiFi/App functionality.

However, of the PID temperature-controlled portable pellet grills above, the Camp Chef Pursuit is the only model to provide direct-flame access offering searing up to around 650 degrees. However, put in a set of GrillGrates and load up some charcoal pellets and you can now get good searing performance out of pretty much any pellet grill.

While the likes of the ASMOKE AS300, Pit Boss Tailgater do offer direct flame, the lack of PID temperature control really hurts their claim as the best portable pellet grill. The Traeger Tailgater lacks direct-flame and a PID temperature controller.

Round 2 – Cooking Area, Weight & Hopper Capacity

Of the portable pellet grills above, those that offer the largest cooking area include the Camp Chef Pursuit (501 sq.in) and the Pit Boss Portable (387 sq.in). However, in both those cases, the cooking areas are calculated including an upper rack. In terms of the largest main cooking grate, the best offerings are actually from the RECTEQ RT-340 and the Grilla Grills Chimp. Both offering 340 sq.in at the main cooking grate.

However, when it comes to weight, the RECTEQ/Grilla Grills models are also the heaviest at 80lbs and 90lbs respectively. Therefore, with both of those models, it would be recommended for two people to lift/carry them out of the car, truck or RV. If you are looking for the lightest weight portable pellet grill, that’s obviously where the likes of the ASMOKE AS300 might be worth considering.

The largest pellet hoppers are found on the Pit Boss Portable and RECTEQ RT-340 at 19lbs and 20lbs respectively. However, I believe for a portable pellet grill the 15lb hopper on the Grilla Grills Chimp is actually sufficient. Due to the smaller cooking chamber of portable pellet grills, pellet consumption is below that typically found on full-sized pellet grills/smokers.

Round 3 – Pricing and Value

Now, the price you pay for any of the models above can obviously vary based on the time of purchase and any running sales etc. Therefore, I’m purely basing my thoughts here on the typical prices I’ve come across from various retailers. While the ASMOKE AS300 is the most affordable for around $230, it cannot be determined to be the best overall portable pellet grill when comparing its features to the other models above.

If purchased at the right time (Walmart sale for instance) the Pit Boss Tailgater or Portable can be a good deal for their size/features around the $250 to $300 price point. Likewise for the GMG Trek, while it has a small cooking area compared to some of the other portable pellet grills above, it provides value with its PID/WiFi features.

The Camp Chef Pursuit is a reasonably good option to take, however, north of $500 it doesn’t compare well to the highest specification pellet grills above the RECTEQ RT-340 and the Grilla Grills Chimp. While the RECTEQ is an excellent grill, its also quite expensive to purchase right now at $739. Therefore, overall I think the Grilla Grills Chimp is offering the best deal and value for money at $599.

My Conclusion On The Best Portable Pellet Grill

Considering all the factors above on temperature control technology, cooking area etc for the price point I believe the Grilla Grills Chimp to currently be the best portable pellet grill on offer today. While obviously not the cheapest but also not the most expensive option, for the features you’re getting I believe it to be the best choice.

With any of the portable pellet grills above, you have to make sure you have sufficient power available. Therefore, I would also encourage you to check out my article on portable power for pellet grills. I discuss the pros and cons of inverters, generators and battery banks.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this post informative/useful on the smallest most portable pellet grills on the market today. Please also check out well my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide to learn more. Cheers 🙂

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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