Each week I browse the big box store websites looking for the latest/deals and offers on pellet grills/smokers. I also do it to spot new brands entering the market as is the case here. Now, Nexgrill is not new to the BBQ game, they have been selling gas grills, charcoal units and flat top griddles for many years. However, they have now entered the pellet game with their Oakford range. They appear to be very similar to products currently on the market from another established brand, but they are missing an important feature?
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 The Nexgrill Oakford Range
There are actually three models in the Nexgrill Oakford range, the 580, 790 and 1000. They all share the same features (mostly) just different-sized cooking chambers. These are a budget range of pellet grill/smokers.
However, it shows how the times are changing where even though they are entry-level priced products all of the Nexgrill Oakford pellet grills/smokers come with PID temperature control and WiFi/App support.
I’ll get into the specifications of each model later in the article and a comparison against very similar products from another well-established brand. First, below is a promotional video from Nexgrill.
After watching the video above if you’re a pellet grill nerd like me you may see a similarity between these Oakford models and certain other pellet grills, more on that below.
After all, as I’m sure you’re aware, many pellet grills/smokers today are made in China and then shipped over to the US. The same factory can be making models for several brands at once with a few design tweaks and feature changes.
These Nexgrill Oakford pellet grills appear to be a HomeDepot exclusive currently therefore that’s where I’m getting the pricing information below from. Always remember, pricing can change with offers etc.
Nexgrill Oakford Pellet Grill/Smoker Specs
- Total Cooking Area = 581 sq.in (580), 791 sq.in (790) or 1,008 sq.in (1000)
- Main Grate Cooking Area = 400 sq.in (580), 527 sq.in (790) or 671 (1000)
- Pellet Hopper Capacity = 22 lbs (580) or 32 lbs (790 & 1000)
- Temperature Range = 160 to 550 degrees
- Direct-Flame Access? = No
- PID Temperature Control? = Yes
- WiFi/App Control? = Yes
- Typical Price = $449 (580), $549 (790) & $649 (1000)
- Availability = HomeDepot.com
Nexgrill Oakford vs Pit Boss Pro Series Gen 2
While I don’t know for a fact that the Nexgrill Oakford range and the Pit Boss Pro Series (Gen 2) range are produced in the same factory I believe there to be a series of similarities that would appear to indicate as such.
The grills within the range are of a very similar size and the design of the cooking chambers/lids are very similar. Furthermore, the control panels appear to be very similar with the same 10-degree temperature adjustment.
Just as the Nexgrill Oakford range appears to be a Home Depot exclusive the Pit Boss Pro Series range is a Lowes exclusive. So in what ways are these two ranges similar but also different?
First, let me provide the highlight specs for the Pit Boss Pro Series Gen 2 models that compete directly against these new Nexgrill Oakford models.
Pit Boss Pro Series Gen 2 Pellet Grill/Smoker Specs
- Total Cooking Area = 600 sq.in (Pro 600), 850 sq.in (Pro 850) & 1,150 sq.in (Pro 1150)
- Main Grate Cooking Area = 434 sq.in (Pro 600), 593 sq.in (Pro 850) & 697 sq.in (Pro 1150)
- Pellet Hopper Capacity = 12 lbs (Pro 600), 20 lbs (Pro 850) & 32 lbs (Pro 1150)
- Temperature Range = 180 – 500 degrees
- Direct-Flame Access? = Yes
- PID Temperature Control? = Yes
- WiFi/App Control? = Yes
- Typical Price = $349 (Pro 600), $549 (Pro 850) & $699 (Pro 1150)
- Availability = Lowes.com
Oakford vs Pro Series Differences and Similarities
In terms of cooking area/grate sizes of the respective models from each brand, they are generally similar. However, the Pro Series appear to offer a little bit more both in the overall cooking area and grilling area.
The temperature range again is broadly similar. However, in this instance its the Nexgrill Oakford models which are offering a little more going down lower to 160 degrees and higher to 550 degrees. Remember this is air temperature though (indirect heat).
On pricing, the Pit Boss Pro 600 would appear the better deal at its respective price point. However, that model doesn’t actually feature the same PID/WiFi control panel as the larger Pro Series models.
Generally though, the Nexgrill Oakford models are similarly priced to the Pit Boss Pro Series models. So is that it! Is there really very little to choose between them?
Pretty much, apart from one notable difference. The Pit Boss Pro Series models feature direct-flame access and the Nexgrill Oakford don’t feature direct-flame access.
Direct-Flame Access – The Missing Feature
In the title of the article, I alluded that something was missing from these Nexgrill Oakford pellet grills/smokers and that something is direct-flame access.
Now, while the Oakford pellet grills/smokers do actually have a higher temperature setting than the Pit Boss Pro Series competition at 550 degrees, that’s air temperature, in other words, indirect heat.
I’ve previously written about ‘are all pellet smokers also good grills etc‘ and one of the key features that can make a difference is direct-flame access, as grilling requires direct heat.
Hence, on the Pit Boss Pro Series models referenced above while the maximum temperature setting is 500 degrees when direct flame access is enabled the grate surface temperature for grilling will be in excess of 650 degrees.
Do you have to have direct-flame access to get good grilling performance on a pellet grill? No, but it certainly helps. Hence, when it comes to grilling the Pit Boss Pro Series models will have an advantage over the Nexgrill Oakwood range.
My Thoughts On The Nexgrill Oakford Pellet Grills/Smokers…
As I believe that the Oakford and Pro Series models above are made in the same factory, I do find it a bit odd that direct-flame access is a missing feature on the Oakford models. However, they do still have porcelain-coated cast-iron grates, therefore grilling performance should still be reasonable.
Would I choose a Nexgrill Oakford over a similarly priced Pit Boss Pro Series model though? Nope, but that’s not to do with the missing direct-flame access.
Nexgrill is only offering a 1-year limited warranty compared to the 5-year limited warranty you get with a Pit Boss product. Therefore I do think Nexgrill needs to increase their warranty period.
That’s it! I hope this quick summary of the Nexgrill Oakford range has been of use to you. As always, if you want to learn more in general please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂
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.