How Long Does It Take A Pellet Grill To Heat Up?

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

Many people are still getting to grips with how pellet grills work and the fact they need electricity to operate. Pellet grills/smokers work very differently compared to conventional gas or charcoal grills. As such, this has led some to ask how long does it take a pellet grill to heat up? The quick ‘official’ answer is 10 to 15 minutes. However, the real-world answer depends on a lot of factors as I’ll discuss. We’ll also look at how a pellet grill compares on warm-up time to a gas, kamado or stick burner BBQs. Let’s get into this…

How Long Does It Take A Pellet Grill To Heat Up?
How long it takes a pellet grill/smoker to get up to temperature depends on several factors: Original Image –

Introduction To Pellet Grill Heat-Up Times

One of the reasons pellet grills are so popular is that they can save time.

Due to the controlled nature of a pellet grill/smoker via a computerized control panel, maybe with some WiFi connectivity thrown in, it can take less time to manage a cook on a pellet grill/smoker compared to other BBQs.

When it comes to warm-up times, the standard response from pellet grill manufacturers is between 10 to 15 minutes.

Typically around the 10-minute mark when it comes to ‘low & slow’ smoking, around 225 degrees, and 15 minutes for higher heat cooking.

However, the reality is some pellet grills are going to take longer than those estimated warm-up times. You also need to consider the outside ambient temperature.

For instance, you should expect every pellet grill to take longer to heat up during the winter months.

Pellet Grills Compared To Other BBQs On Heat-Up Times

A gas grill is also often stated as a 10 to 15 minute warm-up time, the same as a pellet grill/smoker.

However, in reality, as I discuss in my article on pellet grills vs gas grills, you should expect a gas grill to get up to temperature quicker than a pellet grill (with a few exceptions/details below).

When it comes to your standard Weber Kettle charcoal grill or a stick burner, they will typically take around 30 minutes to get up to temperature.

However, a Kamado, due to its insulated construction, can get up to temperature in around 15 minutes.

The Official Response On Pellet Grill Heat-Up Times

Before we start to discuss the real-world factors around pellet grill warm-up times and how some pellet grills will heat up quicker than others what do the manufacturers state?

Below I’ve included the statements on pellet grill warm-up times from some of the leading brands, including Traeger, Pit Boss, Camp Chef and Z Grills.

How Long Does It Take A Traeger To Heat Up?

Traeger states through their article linked below with regards to warm-up times:

“Preheat for approximately 10-15 minutes”

Within that same article, Traeger also states that its not uncommon for one of their pellet grills to take up to 15 minutes to get up to temperature with lower external ambient temperatures etc.

Its odd though, that Traeger doesn’t reference that their twin-wall insulated Gen 1 Timberline and Gen 2 Timberline models should pre-heat faster than their cheaper non-insulated pellet grills.

How Long Does It Take A Pit Boss To Heat Up?

Pit Boss states through their article linked below with regards to warm-up times:

“The heat will climb to your desired temperature within 5 to 6 minutes”Pit

However, its important to take that statement into context as that’s after the fire in the burn pot has ignited (3 minutes), and the fire is properly established with reduced smoke (3 to 4 minutes).

Hence, what Pit Boss is actually stating is the total warm-up time will be around 11-13 minutes.

How Long Does It Take A Camp Chef To Heat Up?

Camp Chef states through their article linked below with regards to warm-up times:

“10-20 minutes to get up to the desired temperature”

However, Camp Chef also states it can take up to 8 minutes for the grill to ignite the pellets, hence a total warm-up time of between 18 to 28 minutes.

This may be significantly longer than Traeger or Pit Boss above. However, as Camp Chef references, that 28 minutes is for high-temperature grilling, which I think is a more realistic time frame than that stated by Traeger and Pit Boss.

How Long Does It Take A Z Grills To Heat Up?

Z Grills states through their article linked below with regards to warm-up times:

“Close the lid, and walk away for about 10 to 15 min to let the grill heat up”

Hence, a pretty generic response on warm-up times, identical to that as stated by Traeger above. When it comes to grilling-searing temps, expect closer to 15 minutes (at least).

Twin-Wall Insulated Construction Speeds Up Warm-Up Times

Not all pellet grills/smokers are created equally. Many are made from single-wall steel. However, some feature twin-wall insulated construction. My linked article discusses which pellet grills have this feature, and I discuss its wider benefits.

One of the benefits of twin-wall insulated construction is faster warm-up times. This is applicable to all months of the year, but especially in the colder months of the year.

Twin-Wall Insulated Pellet Grills/Smokers Heat Up Faster
Twin-wall insulated pellet grills/smokers heat up faster than single-wall pellet grills/smokers: Image –

It makes perfect sense when you think about it. Twin-wall insulated construction holds onto the heat for longer. Therefore, it also means twin-wall grills can build up to temperature more quickly.

As not all pellet grills feature twin-wall insulated construction, on those that don’t, I seriously encourage the use of insulated blankets on pellet grills/smokers for the colder months of the year.

An insulated blanket will not only aid with faster warm-up times but also provide more consistently cooked food as the cooking chamber will be at a more even temperature throughout.

The Choice Of Pellets Impacts Warm-Up Time

There is a huge range of BBQ wood pellets to choose from that can infuse a wide spectrum of smoke flavours into the food you’re cooking, brisket, burgers etc.

However, it needs to be acknowledged that different wood species produce different heat outputs (BTUs) when burnt.

Hence, of the hardwood BBQ pellets, Oak is typically recommended as the one to choose if you’re grilling/searing, as it produces the highest BTU heat output.

In turn, oak pellets will also heat the pellet grill/smoker up faster than certain other wood flavour species.

Charcoal Pellets
Burning charcoal pellets will get a pellet grill/smoker up to temperature faster than standard hardwood pellets: Images –

However, we are now at a point where you can use charcoal in a pellet grill/smoker in the form of charcoal pellets. If you opt for 100% charcoal pellets, they contain 40% more energy than Oak pellets per lb.

As a result, if you want a pellet grill/smoker to get up to temperature as fast as possible, consider using charcoal pellets.

One Of The Fastest Pellet Grills To Heat Up (Weber SmokeFire)

If I’m being asked, ‘what’s the warm-up time on a pellet grill?’ its likely because its a concern to a potential pellet grill purchaser.

Therefore, if that’s the case, and someone is asking me which pellet grill is going to heat up really fast, its an easy one, I’ll say the Weber SmokeFire.

Now, that’s not to say I think the Weber SmokeFire is the best pellet smoker available, as I’ve previously discussed in my Weber SmokeFire Gen 1 vs Gen 2 article.

However, when it comes to being a pellet grill, I do think for around a thousand dollars, you cannot currently do better than a Weber SmokeFire EX4.

The video above shows a Weber SmokeFire can get close to 300 degrees in under 8 minutes. It can then get to 600 degrees in under 15 minutes.

To my knowledge, I don’t know of any other pellet grill that can currently achieve those temperatures in that short period of time.

Furthermore, the video above was filmed using oak pellets. As I’ve discussed above, throw in some charcoal pellets into a Weber SmokeFire, and you’ll see even faster warm-up times.

We’re talking potentially close to 600 degrees in around 12 minutes. That’s comparable to a Weber gas grill, maybe even faster!

My Final Thoughts On Pellet Grill Warm-Up Times…

While many pellet grill/smoker manufacturers will state that it takes around 10 to 15 minutes to get up to temperature, they won’t specifically state what temperature they are referring to.

In reality, on most pellet grills, at 15 minutes, they will be around 300 degrees.

However, other factors will impact warm-up time. What’s the ambient temperature, is the pellet grill twin-wall insulated, and what type of pellets are being used etc?

As shown above, when it comes to grilling/searing, it is possible for a pellet grill to match or even beat a gas grill getting up to those really high temperatures.

Moreover, when it comes to cooking with wood (or charcoal), a pellet grill is going to get up to temperature faster than any other type of BBQ.

That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope the above gave you a better understanding of how long it takes to get a pellet grill/smoker up to temperature.

If you have more questions, its likely you’ll find the answer in my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂

PelHeat Pellet Grill/Smoker Database

Research/compare over 240 pellet grills/smokers on sale today

Chris -

Hi, I’m Chris. I started back in 2007. This website is intended to be an educational resource on BBQ pellets, pellet grills & smokers. I hope you find the information useful.

Recent Posts