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 Weber 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.
A Bumpy Start For Weber Pellet Grills/Smokers…
Before I start to introduce what I think are the best Weber reviews currently out there, we do need to discuss the issues that Weber has had with their Gen 1 SmokeFire pellet grills and the limitations that the current Gen 2 SmokeFire pellet grills still have in my opinion. My first article on the Weber SmokeFire pellet grills discusses some of the problems that users experienced with the early models, so if you’re not aware of the problems users experienced, I recommend checking that out.
I do also have an article on the differences made to the second generation models, hence my Gen 1 vs Gen 2 SmokeFire article which has corrected several little problems with the first generation models. However, as I also discuss in that article while I think Weber is making excellent pellet grills, especially for their price point, as a pellet smoker the user needs to be made more aware of their limitations.
Now, below I’ve included some Gen 1 Weber SmokeFire reviews, even though if you purchase a SmokeFire from a dealer today they should only be selling Gen 2 models as Weber recalled Gen 1 units for modifications to take place. However, if you are purchasing a SmokeFire second-hand from eBay etc, it may very well be a Gen 1 unit and you need to understand what you’re getting.
Though, I should note, for most of the Gen 1 issues to do with the auger/hopper chute and control panel firmware customers of Gen 1 grills were provided with upgrades/modification parts. Hence, if purchasing a second-hand first-generation SmokeFire pellet grill you need to quiz the owner about those modifications, or you will need to do them yourself to get the best/most reliable performance possible from these Weber pellet grills.
Differences Between SmokeFire EX4 and EX6 Reviews?
Currently, Weber produces just two pellet grills, the EX4 (on the left in the image above) and the EX6 (on the right). Now you may be searching for reviews on one of these Weber pellet grills in particular, however, in terms of core features, they are more or less identical. The EX4 is just a smaller version of the EX6 hence why there is normally just a couple of hundred dollars difference in the price between them.
Therefore below I’ve just separated the reviews between the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Weber SmokerFire pellet grills. Just bear in mind the cooking area difference between which particular model is being discussed. The EX4 provides a total cooking area of 672 sq.in with 432 sq.in at the main grate, whereas the larger EX6 provides a total cooking area of 1,008 sq.in with 648 sq.in at the main cooking grate.
Best Weber SmokeFire Gen 1 Reviews
Back at the start of 2020 when the Weber SmokeFire pellet grills were first released I like many other people was excited to see what they could really do, and how it would compete against the Traeger range in particular. After all, while Traeger may currently be the biggest name in pellet grills/smokers, Weber is the biggest name in BBQ, period. Furthermore, Weber is a made in the USA brand (sort of), and I know many of my readers when possible wish to purchase a made in the USA product.
There are three reviews of the Gen 1 Weber SmokeFire pellet grills that I think you should be aware of which cover the good things about these pellet grills (and they are many good features), but also, yes, the potential grease fire risk. The first review below is from Mike of Everyday BBQ & Cooking who I think did the best overall job of explaining the potential/good points of the SmokeFire pellet grills along with their design limitations which can lead to a grease fire.
So, as you can see in Mike’s excellent review above, he details the circumstances which led to him having a small grease fire in the base of his Weber SmokeFire EX6. However, as Mike states, it could have turned into a more significant grease fire had he turned up the temperature to the maximum 600 degrees the pellet grill is capable of. The issue is caused by ash leaving the burn pot due to the power of the fan. The ash then mixes with the grease in the base of the grill and this then stops the grease from flowing into the grease trap as it should.
To further illustrate that this grease/ash mixing issue was not an isolated issue I wanted to include a second video below from Justin, aka the Baby Back Maniac. Before the SmokeFire grills were released Justin actually got to visit Weber in Chicago at their development centre to discuss their new SmokeFire pellet grills. Hence, Justin like Mike above are not ‘Weber haters’ or ‘Traeger shills’, I’m confident these are their honest experiences.
The two videos above are from two very experienced BBQ enthusiasts with solid prior experience of not only pellet grills but also BBQ and grease management in general. Hence, they know how to maintain and keep a grill/smoker clean and safe to use, this grease/ash issue is not just down to improper maintenance. Its an issue that can happen to anyone if they intend to use these Weber pellet grills for ‘low and slow’ cooks which are where a pellet cookers strengths truly lie.
The final video I want to include on the Gen 1 Weber SmokeFire grills is from Keegan of Seared and Smoked who experienced similar issues to Mike and Justin above. This ultimately led Keegan to return his SmokeFire EX6. Keegan did progress with the retrofit/upgrades that Weber provided. However, ultimately, the grease/ash issue is a fundamental design issue that cannot be addressed with these minor modifications from Weber.
Best Weber SmokeFire Gen 2 Reviews
So as I’ve previously discussed in my Gen 1 vs Gen 2 SmokeFire article Weber did fix a number of small issues to now offer a more polished product. Really, I think Weber felt pressure to get a pellet grill to market and rushed the SmokeFire before it was really ready. As I discuss in my article above, the grease/ash mixing is a potential problem which anyone who wants to smoke fatty meats. Therefore, on a Weber SmokeFire everyone should be using a water pan under the meat to collect that grease or the ‘Weber Smoke Kit‘.
But now let’s discuss what the second generation Weber SmokeFire grills are really good at, and that’s being an excellent pellet grill. Due to the fiasco of the launch of the Weber SmokeFire, on the second generation grills, Weber is pushing discounts constantly to get people to purchase. Over at BBQGuys.com, they are frequently offering the EX4 and EX6 with several hundred dollars off. Hence, the SmokeFire EX4 is commonly found at under $800 and the EX6 for under $1,000! Hence, these second generation SmokeFire pellet cookers as grills are arguable the best deal on the market right now for what they can do.
So the videos above from Embers Living is not an overall review per say, and its also not an owners review which I like to focus on where possible to show the most authentic experiences. However, their video does do a solid job of discussing the difference/improvements of the second generation Weber SmokeFire grills, and they also do a temperature/warm up time test against one of this grills biggest competitors, Traeger.
The first thing to note is both the SmokeFire EX4 and EX6 have a higher temperature setting than any current Traeger pellet grill including the Timberline which will max out at 500 degrees. However, what’s also impressive is how quickly a SmokeFire grill will get up to that higher grilling temperature. At the 8 minute mark the SmokeFire EX4 is at 285 degrees, where the Timberline is at just 85 degrees. By 12 minutes the EX4 was at its maximum 600 degree temperature setting, whereas the Timberline was at 203 degrees.
Conclusions On The Best Weber Pellet Grill Reviews
As of writing this article, there are not really any high/quality Gen 2 SmokeFire owner reviews I can reference, but once that changes, I want to add some to this article. The current takeaway though as it currently stands as I’ve stated above, these second generation Weber SmokeFire pellet cookers are excellent pellet grills, especially for their price point. For instance, the Traeger Timberline shown in the video above as a comparison will generally cost you a $1,000 more than a Weber SmokeFire.
However, the limitation of these Weber SmokeFire pellet cookers remains their ability to deal with grease. I personally think Weber should be much stronger in their recommendation to users of a water pan (Weber Smoke Kit) for doing long and slow cooks of fatty meat. To the point being, I don’t think the Weber Smoke Kit should be an optional accessory, it should be an included accessory with strict instructions on when it should be used.
That’s it! I hope you found this summary article on the best Weber SmokeFire reviews currently available useful/informative. I also have a Weber FAQ page where I discuss more features/specifications if you’re interested. And as always, please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide for more articles. 🙂
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.