As the pellet grill/smoker market continues to grow we are seeing a constant stream of new brands coming onto the market. One such brand which has appeared within recent years is Lifesmart, which have also previously branded their products under the ‘Lonestar Chef’ branding. What I wanted to look at with this article is what are these pellet grills offering compared to their established competition, hence are they worth considering? You’ll find Lifesmart pellet grills at the big box stores such as Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes so if you haven’t come across them already you will see them at some point.
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.
Introduction To Lifesmart Pellet Grills/Smokers
So these Lifesmart/Lonestar Chef pellet grills started to first appear around 2019. As stated above, they are a brand using the big box stores such as Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes for their sales and distribution. Their current range differs in design from their first models which bore more than a striking resemblance to a specific RecTeq pellet grill, which was previously known as the Stampede which is now just branded as the RT-590.
There are reasons for a similarity to that RecTeq pellet grill, and there is a positive feature of these current Lifesmart pellet grills have which comes from that connection. However, make no mistake, these Lifesmart pellet grills are not comparable to a RecTeq pellet grill in terms of their overall features and building quality, and I’ll go into that more below.
Lifesmart has changed the design of their pellet grill to go from an angular cooking chamber design (just like the RecTeq Stampede/RT-590) to more of a rounded design as seen in the image above. There are currently 4 Lifesmart models in total. The smallest model offers 510 sq.in of cooking area, the next size up is slightly larger at 600 sq.in due to a propane griddle side attachment. There is then two larger models at 1,500 sq.in and 2,000 sq.in.
The Good Bit – PID Temperature Control
I talk a lot on this site about how PID temperature control is a feature you generally want to focus on getting with a new pellet grill today. You get much tighter temperature accuracy during the cook and you also have much more precise control when setting the temperature.
RecTeq were one of the first brands to introduce PID temperature control into pellet grills, and much of that same technology is found within each of the control panels of the Lifesmart range. Basically, it appears the same factory in China that is manufacturing RecTeq products is producing pellet grills for Lifesmart. Though again, as I’ll discuss below, they are not directly comparable.
Now, unlike the RecTeq pellet grills which all now come with WiFi/App support, that’s not the case with the current range of Lifesmart pellet grills. I’d personally want PID temperature control over WiFi/App support in any case (Pit Boss Control Panel Upgrade cough cough) and these Lifesmart pellet grills are significantly cheaper than the premium grills that RecTeq are producing.
Lifesmart Pellet Grill Range Pricing
Right, before we can determine the value for money aspect of these Lifesmart grills we need to discuss their price point. As I’ve stated abve, these grills are available at Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes, and you can check those links to see up to date pricing. Below, I’ll just summarise the price range that I’m seeing for each of the Lifesmart pellet grills.
- Lifesmart 500 sq.in Pellet Grill – Priced at $498
- Lifesmart 600 sq.in Pellet Grill with Propane Griddle – Priced at $479 to $899
- Lifesmart 1500 sq.in Pellet Grill – $699 to $912
- Lifesmart 2000 sq.in Pellet Grill – $893 to $1,299
So when I checked, only Home Depot and Lowes were selling the smallest Lifesmart 500 sq.in pellet grills and at the same price point of just under $500. However, for the 600 sq.in to 2000 sq.in grills Walmart had the best prices, with Home Depot the second most expensive and Lowes selling these Lifesmart pellet grills at frankily radicoulous prices.
The likely reason for those extremely high prices at Lowes is so at some point they can drop the price to where it should really be to at least be reasonable and they can legally claim ‘massive price cuts!’, the typical big box store marketing model. Lowes have an exclusive deal on the Pit Boss Pro Series which are priced much more reasonably.
Why These Lifesmart Pellet Grills Are Not Comparable To RecTeq
As discussed above, it appears the same manufacturer in China is producing these Lifesmart pellet grills and the RecTeq range. While the Lifesmart control panels may share some of the same PID temperature control technology, that’s really where the similarities end. First of, the most obvious difference is materials/building quality. The Lifesmart range is painted steel, where much of the cooking chamber and internal components on RecTeq products are stainless steel.
Stainless steel construction is not only going to last considerably longer than painted steel, but its easier to clean and its going to keep the grill looking a lot smarter during its life as well as standing up the elements much better. I would not recommend to anyone who picks up a Lifesmart pellet grill that it would be a good idea to leave it outside and not in storage.
The RecTeq RT-590 retails for just under $900. Now looking at the pricing of the Lifesmart pellet grills at Lowes you could say they are in direct competition. However, as I’ve discussed above, those Lowes prices are significantly above where they should be and in reality the prices from Walmart/Home Depot for the 500-600 sq.in Lifesmart pellet smokers of around $500 to $600 is their real price point.
The Real Competition For Lifesmart Pellet Grills
So as budget pellet grills, the Lifesmart range has some tough competition. For instance, in the budget end of the market you have the Expert Grill range from Walmart which I discuss in my linked article are very affordable while still providing PID temperature control.
You then also have Z Grills which have been stepping up their game of late with Z Grill PID pellet grills which compete at the same price point and below of the Lifesmart pellet grill range. You also have more established options such as the Pit Boss Pro Series at Lowes which not only offers PID temperature control with WiFi but also additional features such as porcelain coated grates and direct-flame access which are not currently found on the Lifesmart smokers.
Lifesmart Pellet Grills Review
Being a relatively small brand in the pellet grill market, there are not that many Lifesmart pellet grill reviews. However, one of the best I’ve come across as the reviewer clearly understands the association to the ReqTeq manufacturer is the video review below. He explains how the Lifesmart pellet smokers have a lower standard of build quality/materials compared to a RecTeq pellet grill but that is reflected in the price point.
My Conclusions On Lifesmart Pellet Grills/Smokers
I’m all for new pellet grill brands coming onto the market, but with so many new brands appearing the first question I’m always thinking is what is this specific brand bringing to the table? Are they bringing new features/abilities or are their products offering more than the existing competition for their chosen price point?
As it currently stands, i think the Lifesmart/Lonestar Chef grills/smokers are in a tough spot. As a budget grill they have lots of competition that is either priced below them for similar features (Expert Grill/Z Grills) or are at the same price point but are offering more, the Pit Boss Pro Series being an example.
That’s it! I hope you found this quick summary article on my thoughts about Lifesmart pellet grills/smokers interesting. If you have more questions my General Pellet Grill FAQ should be able to provide some useful information, alternatively please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide 🙂