Even if you have never visited this site before, as you can surely tell by the site’s name alone, I focus on appliances that burn pellets. Whether its grills or smokers, if it uses pellets, I’m interested. Well, there is a new product on the market, the Ninja Woodfire. Its not a pellet grill/smoker in the traditional sense. The Woodfire is an electric grill/oven/air fryer that can also use a small quantity of pellets for an infusion of smoke. What I want to discuss with this article is who I think the Ninja Woodfire is for and who its not.
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 Ninja Woodfire
Over recent years the global market for air fryers has been growing significantly, and Ninja is one of the leading brands in the air fryer segment. So first, we should discuss what an air fryer actually is.
An air fryer is essentially a very compact convection oven, a relatively small amount of oil can be used to cook the food within to a nice crispy texture.
The appeal of air fryers comes from not only the health benefits of using a smaller amount of oil when cooking but also the time benefits.
As the cooking area within an air fryer is smaller than a typical built-in electric convection oven, warm-up and cooking times are reduced.
The trade-off obviously being an air fryer has a smaller cooking area. Therefore, its best suited to cooking for couples and small families.
The Ninja Woodfire is essentially a small electric convection oven/air fryer that has been fitted with a side-mounted pellet smoking box.
Hence, when pellets are used, the built-in fan circulates the smoke around the food.
Something that I cannot stress enough is the Ninja Woodfire is an outdoor-only appliance. It is not an indoor appliance like the other Ninja air fryer products. Hence, its not an indoor smoker like the upcoming Arden.
The video above discusses the portability of the Ninka Woodfire, which I’ll also discuss below. But first, let’s discuss the pellet situation.
As the video states, you don’t have to use pellets in the Woodfire as they are not the source of heat, but not using pellets for smoke defeats the whole point of the Woodfire.
Within the video, its stated that ‘you only need one scoop of pellets no matter how much food you’re cooking or how long your cook time is’.
But that then poses the question, how much smokey flavour are you actually going to get from food cooked on the Woodfire?
Can A Ninja Woodfire Produce Enough Smokey Flavour For You?
Flavour is a subjective subject, so its a complete unknown if a Ninja Woodfire would be able to produce the smokey flavour you are personally after. However, let’s focus on how the appliance works.
It’s stated by Ninja in their video promotion materials that only one scoop of pellets is required, no matter how much food you are cooking or the cooking time.
I know that would concern quite a few readers of this site who are used to their pellet appliance giving them some control over smoke production.
The ‘one scoop of pellets’ claim in the Ninja marketing videos also made me raise an eyebrow, so I started to look through the Ninja Woodfire FAQ to see if I could find more details. Well, the FAQ states you can add more pellets if you choose.
The FAQ also states to only use Ninja Woodfire pellets, but of course they would say that. In terms of pellet flavours, they offer ‘All-Purpose Blend’, which is a mixture of Oak, Cherry and Maple, their ‘Robust Blend’ is also a mixture of Oak, Cherry and Maple with some Hickory added in.
While the two pellet flavour options above may meet the taste preferences of many people, there are also notable pellet flavours missing.
There is no Applewood variety to provide that sweet smokey taste for pork. There is also no Mesquite option which is well suited to red meats, and no niche options such as Pecan or Walnut.
As you will note from the image above, the pellets for the Ninja Woodfire are being made by Bear Mountain, which is one of over 20 brands I discuss in my best BBQ pellets list.
Is The Ninja Woodfire A Portable Grill/Smoker?
I referenced this question briefly under the Ninja Woodfire promotional video above. While within that video, Ninja is adamant the Woodfire can be a portable grill/smoker, the devil is in the detail.
When it comes to the size and weight of the unit, sure, the Ninja Woodfire is well suited to being a portable grill/smoker. After all, the Woodfire is 23 inches wide and only weighs 28 lbs.
While all pellet grills/smokers are electric, you need to keep in mind the important difference between a traditional pellet grill/smoker and the Ninja Woodfire.
A traditional pellet BBQ only uses electricity to manage the fire, its not used as the source of heat as is the case with the Ninja Woodfire.
As I discuss in my portable power article for pellet grills/smokers, a typical pellet BBQ will consume around 300 Watts of power while the hot rod igniter gets the pellet fire going.
After that, only around 50 Watts are consumed to run the fan, auger and control panel.
So what about the Ninja Woodfire? Well, that’s a very different scenario, as it uses electricity as the source of power to heat the grill, it pulls a bit more power.
Sorry, I don’t mean a bit more, I mean a lot more. It will pull 1,760 Watts consistently!
Hence, don’t be under the impression that you will be powering a Ninja Woodfire from the 12V battery of your car, truck or RV, it would drain the battery pretty rapidly.
You could use a generator, but the point is, the Ninja Woodfire is not best suited as a portable grill/smoker.
Is The Ninja Woodfire Good Value For Money?
Now I want to discuss the price point of the Ninja Woodfire in the context of a traditional pellet grill/smoker where pellets are used as the source of heat and smoke.
The Ninja Woodfire is currently being offered in three different packages.
So as you can see from the screenshot above, the price point of the Ninja Woodfire ranges from $330 to $460.
However, add on the additional cost of the collapsible grill stand at $150, and the total cost comes in between $480 to $610.
If you check out my articles on the best pellet grills/smokers under $400, under $500 and under $600, there are lots of options to choose from, all offering considerably more cooking area than the Ninja Woodfire and additional features such as WiFi/App functionality.
This, therefore, poses the question, why would you opt for the Ninja Woodfire over a conventional pellet grill/smoker? Under what scenario is the Ninja Woodfire the best option to go for?
Who Is The Ninja Woodfire Best Suited To?
If you’re looking for a fully-fledged BBQ experience cooking with pellets, I do think they are better conventional pellet grill/smoker options available for most people at the price point of the Ninja Woodfire.
However, there are circumstances where the Ninja Woodfire may be the best option for you, or in some cases, the only option. First, let’s discuss the scenario of time, hence cooking a quick meal.
As the Ninja Woodfire uses an electrically heated element and its such a small cooking chamber, it will have a faster warm-up time than any conventional pellet grill/smoker.
If you only need to cook small quantities of food and cook them as quickly as possible, that is one scenario where the Ninja Woodfire could be worth considering.
The second scenario is if you live in an apartment and you have a balcony. In many instances, apartment tenants are not allowed to use a conventional pellet grill/smoker on their balcony.
As I discuss in my article on how to safely use a pellet grill, its just not a great idea, even if your tenancy terms don’t specifically tell you that its not allowed.
The Ninja Woodfire, on the other hand, is not burning pellets like a conventional pellet grill/smoker. Hence its a not a fire risk in the same sense.
Therefore, if you live in an apartment with a balcony, the Ninja Woodfire may be your only option for real smoke-flavoured food at home.
Quick Review Of The Ninja Woodfire
Below I’ve included a quick review of the Ninja Woodfire by the Kenna’s Kitchen channel. Kenna shows the operation of the unit and discusses her experiences with it over a week of use. Though, as Kenna notes, remember to never use the Woodfire in your kitchen.
My Thoughts On The Ninja Woodfire…
The very fact there is now a means to produce real-smoke flavour with an appliance that can be used on an apartment balcony safely, I’m very happy to see.
Likewise, if you want to produce small amounts of BBQ as quickly and as simply as possible, I can see the appeal of the Ninja Woodfire.
However, with a price point on average around $400 to $500, you can get a dedicated pellet grill/smoker for that amount of money.
A dedicated pellet grill/smoker will enable you to have more control over the level of smokey flavour in your food, as well as being able to cook significantly more food.
Anyway, its good to see the functionality of pellet smoking being integrated into more types of appliances, and long may it continue.
That’s it! If you would like to learn more about pellet appliances 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.