Pellet grills/smokers have lots of positives, from their flexibility of low and slow smoking to high-temperature grilling (with the right pellet grill). However, there is one main obstacle to entering the world of pellet grills for many people, and that’s the upfront cost. Due to how a pellet grill works and the number of internal components, pellet grills/smokers will, as a result, always be more expensive on average than charcoal/gas grills which are much cheaper/simpler to produce. Well, there is now a new affordable means to enter the world of pellet grilling/smoking, the Spider-22. But its not actually a pellet grill. Let me explain.
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Introduction To The Spider-22
So the Spider-22 originally went by a different name, it was called the PELLA and first appeared in 2019 via a Kickstarter campaign.
The campaign was successful and raised the funds required to carry the project forward to start producing them in bulk to get the unit cost down to under $300.
Now, over the years, I’m sure you, like myself, have heard of various Kickstarter projects that ultimately went nowhere. However, that’s not the case here, and I’ll give you a good reason why.
The company behind the PELLA (now called the Spider-22) is called Atlas Product Manufacturing Group, but who’s that?
Well, Atlas Product Manufacturing Group (Atlas PMG) were established in 2012 and has been the engineering brains behind many of Kamado Joe’s products for many years.
If you’re not aware of Kamado Joe, they are pretty much the best Kamado charcoal grills on the market today.
Furthermore, the Pellet Joe by Kamado Joe is the first ceramic pellet cooker, and if you check out my linked article, I’m very impressed by it.
So the brains behind the Pellet Joe? That would be Atlas Product Manufacturing Group.
The Pellet Joe is an excellent pellet grill/smoker, but it will set you back just under $2K.
Hence, its simply not a viable offering for many average BBQ buyers, especially those who only use their grill on a semi-regular basis.
Hence, many of those people will likely just own a charcoal grill, probably a Weber grill, likely a 22″ Weber grill. Hence this is where the Spider-22 comes in.
Features Of The Spider-22
As you can see, the Spider-22 is not a pellet grill in and of itself, its essentially a self-contained pellet burner with a hopper and control panel, it requires the cooking chamber of a Weber 22″ Kettle Grill to become a pellet grill/smoker.
So let’s talk about features. Well, the hopper on the Spider-22 can hold 12lbs of pellets, which is pretty reasonable for its size. I also like the locking clips on the hopper lid.
In terms of run time, Spider Grills state a full hopper should last around 12 hours running at 225 degrees, hence a 1lb per hour pellet consumption.
A pellet usage of 1lb per hour may be possible, but 1lb per hour would be below-average pellet consumption for most pellet grills, as you can read from my pellet consumption article.
Though the cooking chamber on the Weber 22″ Kettle is a lot smaller than many dedicated pellet grills on average, so 1lb per hour could potentially be possible.
Then again, as a Weber Kettle is not an insulated cooking chamber, you will not achieve 1lb per hour at 225 degrees in the colder months of the year. Consumption will be somewhere up to 2 lbs per hour in all likelihood.
In terms of temperature range, well the Spider-22 can go as low as 175 degrees and as high as 500 degrees.
The 500-degree maximum temperature setting is impressive and will produce a high enough temperature for reasonable grilling/searing performance.
Throw on a set of Grill Grates, and you will get even better grilling performance. Just remember, with higher temperatures comes higher pellet consumption.
At 500 degrees, the Spider-22 will likely be going through 3-4lbs of pellets per hour, hence a run time of 4 to 8 hours from the full 12lb hopper.
Its really good to see that Spider Grills have fitted a PID control panel to the Spider-22 for accurate temperature management.
Unfortunately, the Spider-22 does not currently feature any WiFi/App functionality or meat probe ports.
Such features would increase the cost of the Spider-22; hence I understand why they are not included.
Who knows, they may come out with a slightly more expensive Spider-22 at some point, the Premium Spider-22 with WiFi/App functionality.
Who Is The Spider-22 Really For?
For anyone who already owns a 22″ Weber Kettle and wants a low-cost means to enter the pellet cooking game, the Spider-22 is pretty much a no-brainer for its features and $280 price point.
Furthermore, for anyone who wants’s to have the flexibility of both a charcoal and pellet cooker, again a 22″ Weber Kettle and the Spider-22 are the lowest-cost means to achieve this.
But what about someone who owns neither a 22″ Weber Kettle nor a pellet grill, and they are purely focused on getting a pellet grill/smoker? What then?
So depending on which version of the 22″ Weber Kettle you choose, the starting point will be between $120 up to $230. Add in the cost of the Spider-22, and you have a total cost of between $400 to $510.
Can you get a dedicated pellet grill between the $400 to $500 price point? Yes, do I think that would be a better option than the 22″ Weber Kettle and Spider-22? Well, that depends.
I have a separate article on pellet grills/smokers under $500, so please check that out for reference. You also have new budget options from Walmart, for instance, such as Expert Grill.
In terms of cooking area, on a 22″ Weber, you have 363 sq.in. Well, for up to $500, you have options such as the Camp Chef SmokePro XT 24 which will provide a total cooking area of 570 sq.in with 429 sq.in across the main cooking grate.
In all other regards, the Camp Chef can match the Spider-22 in terms of maximum temperature setting (500 degrees), and it also uses a PID control panel for good temperature accuracy.
Another dedicated pellet grill option, with a smaller cooking area of 219 sq.in is the GMG Davy Crockett which comes in at just $330 and is currently one of my favourite portable pellet grills.
The Davy Crockett actually has a slightly higher maximum temperature setting of 550 degrees. Furthermore, it even features WiFi/App functionality so you can monitor/control the grill from your phone.
There are also dedicated vertical pellet smokers for under $500. However, that’s not really a fair comparison, as they can only smoke and not grill.
As the Spider-22 is a niche product (currently), there are not that many reviews on YouTube I can reference.
I came across one from the channel HowToLou below though that gives a good summary of the Spider-22’s features and functionality.
Lou shows that the Spider-22 was able to hold an accurate temperature in relation to his separate digital thermometer, and the Spider-22 was able to cook burgers well with its 500 heat output.
Conclusion On The Spider Grills Spider-22
So what are my final thoughts on the Spider-22? Well, I’m all about pellets, and introducing a new/low-cost means to introduce more people to the benefits of cooking with pellets I’m all for.
The 22″ Weber is the perfect charcoal Kettle grill to design the Spider-22 for, its the most popular charcoal grill in the world with a design that hasn’t changed since it was introduced in the 1950s!
Hence, lots of people have a 22″ Weber Kettle in their backyard.
Does it make sense to buy a new 22″ Weber Kettle and Spider-22? Well, maybe, after all, you have the option of cooking with charcoal or pellets whenever you feel like it.
There are dedicated pellet grills around that total package cost that can offer larger cooking areas/WiFi support etc. So really, its horses for courses, individual preferences/needs etc.
Overall though, I’m very impressed with the design/engineering of the Spider-22, and if you already own a 22″ Weber and no pellet grill/smoker, you should seriously consider one.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found this summary article on the Spider-22 interesting/useful. Please also check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide to review all your options. 🙂