Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide – Find The Best Model For You

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

I’ve been writing summary/review posts on a wide range of wood pellet grills/smokers from different manufacturers for many years. Therefore, I thought I should probably make a single resource page linking to all my articles on wood pellet grills/smokers on the market today. I’ve written about budget/starter pellet grills, mid-range units all the way up to luxury grills. Below you will also find articles on the various unique features/accessories some manufacturers offer as well as posts on how to repair various pellet grills. Enjoy 🙂

If you’re new to the concept of pellet grills/smoker this video quickly and simply explains their benefits: Video – BBQGuys.com

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.

FYI: If you’re looking for my most recent articles on the latest and greatest developments in the world of pellet grills & smokers, check out my Posts Page.

Purchasing A Pellet Grill/Smoker On A Set Budget

If you have set aside a certain amount of money to spend on a pellet grill, my first selection of posts below should help you to understand what size of pellet grill and what features you can get for that budget. How much you have to spend not only influences the size of the grill/smoker but also how capable it is and the materials which are used in its construction.

Best Pellet Grills/Smokers For A Specific Need/Purpose

If your budget is flexible, but you are looking for a pellet grill/smoker to meet a specific need or purpose, then you may find one of my articles below useful.

Economy/Budget Class Pellet Grills/Smokers

These are the cheapest pellet grills currently available. They are typically pellet grills based on previous-generation controllers. Hence, temperature/smoke control is generally not as advanced on these grills as it is on Practical or Premium Class pellet grills.

They also generally use cheaper materials and less stainless steel than Practical/Premium Class grills etc. However, this class also includes small portable pellet grills, which can have advanced features.

Camp Chef SmokePro Pellet Grills

Camp Chef SmokePro Pellet Grills
Image – CampChef.com

The SmokePro range of pellet grills were the first units that Camp Chef brought onto the market and they are now their entry-level grills. However, Camp Chef is building a strong reputation for good build quality and unique features, which all started with this SmokePro range. For instance, Camp Chef features a quick clean out ash pot positioned under the grill beneath the firepot.

Cuisinart Woodcreek/Twin Oaks Pellet Grills

Cuisinart Wood Pellet Grills
Image – Cuisinart.com

While Cuisinart is new to the pellet grill game, their Woodcreek (pellet) and Twin Oaks (pellet/gas) grills are impressive for their relatively low price. They do not feature PID temperature controllers or WiFi, though Bluetooth control is possible. While precise temperature control is not where these grills will shine, they are large capacity grills that offer a lot of ‘bang for your buck’. The large twin-wall insulated lid and huge 30lb pellet hopper are particularly notable features of these grills.

Expert Grill Pellet Grills

Expert Grill
Image – Walmart.com

If you have ever browsed the BBQ aisle in Walmart you may have come across the Expert Grill brand on charcoal and gas grills. Well, Walmart has now expanded the line-up to include a range of pellet grills/smokers as well. While the ‘Expert’ branding is a bit of a push for these budget products, when it comes to value for money they are offering a lot for very little, currently some of the cheapest products available.

Lifesmart Pellet Grills

Lifesmart Pellet Grills
Image – HomeDepot.com

As the popularity of pellet grills/smokers continues to grow we are starting to see more new brands enter the scene, especially at the budget end of the market. Besides the price point the question I always have it what is the particular brand bringing to the table? Well, all Lifesmart pellet grills/smokers are fitted with PID control panels, so that’s a good start. The pricing though seems a bit all over shop, one day they are good value the next they seem overpriced compared to the competition.

Nexgrill Oakford Pellet Grills

Nexgrill Oakford Pellet Grills/Smokers
Image – HomeDepot.com

Here we have another relatively new brand to enter the pellet grill space. As is often the case, Nexgrill have been selling gas grills etc and now they want to try and offer a pellet option as well. When it comes to features there is several features to like and the price point is reasonable if not marketing leading on value. However, there is a feature Nexgrill have decided to leave out oddly, and that’s direct flame access. Without flame broiling capabilities I think the Nexgrill Oakford models may struggle.

Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill

Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill
Image – NinjaKitchen.com

So just to be clear, the Ninja is not a dedicated pellet grill/smoker. Its an electric grill for outdoor use that has a pellet smoke box fitted to it. Due to the small cooking chamber and large fan only a small amount of pellets are need to infuse food with smoke flavour. While I don’t think the Ninja Woodfire is by any means the best option for everyone, for a certain group of people it maybe their only option.

Oklahoma Joe’s Pellet Grills

Oklahoma Joe Rider DLX Pellet Grill/Smoker
Image – Oklahomajoes.com

While the Oklahoma Joe brand has been present in the BBQ industry with their charcoal smokers since the 1980s they have only very recently entered the pellet grill/smoker market place. However, I believe the Rider pellet grill range has some good design choices with the pellet hopper/pellet storage solution and Smoke/Sear selector. There are three grills in the range the Rider 600, 900 and DLX.

Ooni Fyra 12 Pellet Pizza Oven

Ooni Fyra 12 Portable Pellet Pizza Oven
Image – Ooni.com

If you’re looking to dip your toe into the world of cooking with pellets, but you don’t have a large budget to spend then a portable Ooni pizza oven might be worth considering. Weighing just 22 lbs the Ooni Fyra 12 can be taken pretty much anywhere. Furthermore, unlike a pellet grill/smoker, the Ooni Fyra 12 does not require a source of electricity to work. There is simply a small pellet hopper and the fire is gravity fed. With a cast-iron pan/skillet, you can cook more than pizza on the Fyra 12 too. It can cook burgers, steaks, fish and vegetables.

Spider Grills & The Spider-22

Spider Grills
Image – SpiderGrills.com

Ok, so the Spider-22 is not a standalone pellet grill/smoker its an accessory. Essentially its a pellet burner (hopper, control panel, the lot) that can be fixed onto a Weber Kettle to turn it into a pellet grill/smoker. Priced at $299 the Spider-22 is below the typical cost of a new pellet grill/smoker and can give anyone who already owns a Weber Kettle the convenience of cooking with pellets. However, for those who don’t already own a Kettle, the value proposition isn’t really there.

Traeger Scout and Ranger Pellet Grills

Traeger Ranger Pellet Grill
Image – Traeger.com

The Scout and Ranger are Traeger’s smallest/cheapest pellet grills currently on offer. While they can be used for grilling/smoking in your backyard, that’s not their primary intended use. These portable pellet grills are mainly intended for camping/hunting/fishing trips or to be used as a small tailgating grill.

Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill/Smokers

Z Grills Wood Pellet Grills Smokers
Image – ZGrills.com

The Z Grills brand first arrived in 2016 to focus purely on the budget/economy end of the wood pellet grill market. Very similar in features and appearance to the previous generation Traeger pellet grills. However, the latest iterations in the Z Grills range do show some other design ideas, such as adding flame broiling capabilities. Z Grills has also now started to introduce advanced features such as PID temperature control and WiFi/App functionality, hence they are now offering more than basic products.

Practical Class Pellet Grills/Smokers

In this class of pellet grills/smokers, you get a step-up in materials, build-quality and features. For instance, within the Practical Class, you will find several grills with PID/WiFi panels for more accurate temperature control and remote monitoring and adjustment. Though obviously, you will have to pay more for these pellet grills over their Economy Class counterparts.

Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grills

Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grills/Smokers
Image – CampChef.com

A step-up from the SmokePro, the Woodwind range of pellet grills/smokers from Camp Chef offers a few notable improvements. First is the PID/WiFi controller with a bright colour screen and four meat probe monitoring ports. The Woodwind grills also feature a stainless steel lid for easy cleaning and increased durability. With the Woodwind range, Camp Chef also introduced the option of the SideKick.

Broil King Baron/Regal Pellet Grills

Broil King Pellet Grills
Image – BBQGuys.com

Another new player to the pellet grill game, though Broil King has been making propane grills for many years. Broil King has introduced the Baron and Regal, with the Regal being the higher specification pellet grill. These are well-built products from 16 and 14 gauge steel respectively. They feature a clever ash cleanout system and bright/easy-to-use control panels. They also have a 600-degree maximum temperature setting and cast-iron grates with good searing performance.

Green Mountain Grills

GMG Davy Crockett Pellet Grill
Image – BBQGuys.com

Since 2008 Green Mountain Grills (GMG) have been producing well-built/competitively priced pellet grills with excellent temperature control. GMG has been using PID (Proportional, Integral, Derivative) controllers on all their pellet grills from the start. They also offer WiFi integration on all their models, even their little Davy Crockett/Trek portable pellet grill. All GMG pellet grills, including the Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone/Ledge (mid-sized) and Jim Bowie/Peak (large) can flame sear/broil with their optional sliding grease tray accessory.

Grilla Grills Wood Pellet Grills

Grilla Grills Pellet Grills/Smokers
Image – GrillaGrills.com

Based in Holland, Michigan the founders of Grilla Grills are a family-owned steel fabrication company that’s been in business for more than 40 years. They looked at what other pellet grill manufacturers were doing and thought they could offer a better product at a more competitive price point. The first model produced was the Grilla, a rather unique upright pellet grill. Later followed the Silverbac which has a more classic grill design, and their latest model is the portable Chimp.

Louisiana Grills Pellet Grills

Louisiana Grills
Image – BBQGuys.com

Dansons LLC owns several pellet grills brands, including Louisiana Grills and Pit Boss. Hence, there are similar features seen on the pellet grills/smokers between the different Danson brands. For a while now though the Louisiana Grills range has been lacking features found on other pellet grills/smokers at this price bracket. However, the new Black Label and Founders Series should make the Louisiana Grills range much more competitive on features/price.

Pit Boss Platinum Series Pellet Grills

Pit Boss Lockhart Pellet Grill Smoker
Image – Walmart.com

The Pit Boss Platinum Series currently includes several pellet grills/smokers. The Lockhart is a very unique (and large) horizontal pellet grill with a vertical smoking cabinet on top. The KC Combo is a pellet/gas grill trying to offer in one unit wood-fired flavour and the convenience (and high BTUs) of a propane grill. The KC Combo provides over 1,000 square inches of cooking area. However, the Lockhart, with its vertical smoker cabinet provides over 2,000 square inches. Both the KC Combo and Larkhart have equally large pellet hoppers at 26lbs and 40 lbs respectively.

Pit Boss Pro Series Pellet Grills

Pit Boss Pro Series
Image – Lowes.com

The Pit Boss Pro Series models are designed to compete head-to-head against a certain other brands ‘Pro Series’ range below. As this model range has been around for several years now they are now in their second generation. In this article I discuss the differences between the first and second generation of the Pit Boss Pro Series models. The second generation models do feature several improvements, however there were some initial bumps in the road that needed to be ironed out.

Traeger Pro Series Pellet Grills

Traeger Pro Series Pellet Grill
Image – Traeger.com

The most popular range of Traeger pellet grills is the Pro Series. There are however two generations of Pro Series grills, with the first generation using older analogue controllers. The new generation of Traeger Pro Series pellet grills is based on the new DC (Direct Current) D2 Direct Drive platform and features WiFire which is Traeger’s new WiFi/App which includes recipes and downloadable grill settings. Traeger started the pellet grill revolution in the 1980s, and the Pro Series is the most popular range of wood pellet grills on the market today.

Weber SmokeFire Pellet Grills

Weber SmokeFire Pellet Grills
Image – BBQGuys.com

A very well-known brand when it comes to charcoal/propane grills Weber has now decided to enter the pellet grill market with the SmokeFire. The build quality of these pellet grills is very high for the price point. With the rear-mounted pellet hopper and drop-down burn pot, its clear Weber decided to try and bring some new ideas to the table. These grills feature a maximum temperature setting of 600 degrees.

Premium Class Pellet Grills

With Premium Class, there is another jump up again in build quality and materials over the Practical Class. For instance, you will find more use of stainless steel and better insulation with twin-wall construction and lid gaskets. What this means is these grills can typically hold a more consistent temperature in colder climates with less need to use an insulated grill blanket.

Camp Chef Apex Pellet/Gas Combo Grills

Camp Chef Apex Pellet/Gas Grill
Image – CampChef.com

There are pros and cons for pellet grills/smokers and gas grills. Therefore, there are a number of products that try and combine the two cooking technologies. Well, the best example of a combined pellet/gas to date is the Camp Chef Apex. Featuring the same pellet combustion system as the very popular Camp Chef Woodwind the Apex also features a full width row of gas burners as well as a side burner.

Camp Chef Woodwind Pro

Camp Chef Woodwind Pro
Image – CampChef.com

Here we have something rather special, a first of its kind, a pellet smoker with an additional smoke box for wood chips, chunks or charcoal. If you like the idea of a pellet smoker for its convenience but you’re after a strong smoke profile in your food, well the Camp Chef Woodwind Pro is currently your best bet. The Woodwind Pro features the same PID/WiFi control panel as the standard Woodwind and is also compatible with the propane SideKick accessories from Camp Chef.

Kamado Joe Pellet Joe

Kamado Joe Pellet Joe
Image – BBQGuys.com

The Pellet Joe from the Kamado Joe was the first ceramic pellet grill to come onto the market. I was very impressed with the engineering that when into the design of the Pellet Joe. Furthermore, the ceramic body provides several benefits from such as heat retention and reduced pellet consumption. However, its price point is pretty high for a relatively small BBQ and there are other negatives such as the weight and fragility of the ceramic body. Its unclear if Kamado Joe want to continue with the Pellet Joe.

RECTEQ (REC TEC) Wood Pellet Grills

REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill
Image – Recteq.com

RECTEQ (formally REC TEC) actually produces a very wide range of pellet grills. Their smallest pellet grill the Bullseye really comes under the Practical Class. However, in general, I think the majority of RECTEQ pellet grill lineup comes under the Premium Class for a key reason, extensive use of stainless steel. The entire RECTEQ pellet grill range now features stainless steel cooking chambers.

Traeger Ironwood Pellet Grills

Traeger Ironwood Pellet Grills
Image – Traeger.com

The Ironwood range is a step-up over the Traeger Pro Series. While they are based on the same D2 Direct Drive platform they feature a more advanced D2 control panel with Super Smoke and Keep Warm modes. More stainless steel components are found on the Ironwood grills over the Pro Series. They also feature insulated sidewalls and the Ironwood 650 and 850 are simply larger grills than the Pro Series.

Traeger Timberline (Gen 1) Pellet Grills/Smokers

Traeger Timberline Pellet Grills
Image – Traeger.com

The Timberline range is the highest specification of pellet grills Traeger produce. While they feature the same D2 control panel as the Ironwood range there are some noticeable differences. The Timberline range is fully lined with stainless steel internally. The grill racks on the Timberline grills are also stainless steel, making them easier to clean and providing increased durability. The horizontal downdraft exhaust enables Traegers Tru Convection cooking performance.

Luxury Class Pellet Grills

The Luxury Class of pellet grills is intended for those who want (and can afford) the absolute best. Therefore, that includes heavy-duty internal components such as the auger and combustion fan etc. However, more significantly is what these grills are made from and how they are constructed. Expect to find almost exclusively stainless steel construction on these pellet grills/smokers.

Cookshack/Fast Eddy Wood Pellet Grills/Smokers

Cookshack Wood Pellet Grill/Smokers
Image – BBQGuys.com

Cookshack along with their design partner Fast Eddy have been making full stainless steel luxury wood pellet grills for longer than anybody else. Furthermore, these grills are not only designed/engineered in the USA they are made in the US at the Cookshack factory in Ponca City, Oklahoma. The Cookshack pellet grills have high max temperatures of 600 degrees and offer direct flame searing/broiling.

Coyote Pellet Grills/Smokers

Coyote Wood Pellet Grills
Image – BBQGuys.com

While Coyote has been producing luxury outdoor kitchen and freestanding gas/charcoal grills since 2011, they are relatively new to the pellet grill game. However, they are currently offering the cheapest 304-grade stainless steel pellet grills on the market today. The Coyote pellet grills/smokers are available in widths of either 28″ or 36″ and in freestanding or built-in configurations.

MAK GRILLS Pellet Grills/Smokers

Based in the small town of Dallas, Oregon MAK GRILLS diversified their steel fabrication business to start producing their own line of high-quality/made in USA pellet grills/smokers after the 2008 market crash. MAK GRILLS firmly believe that ‘Precision cooking requires precision engineering‘. That precision is demonstrated in high-quality steel welded and riveted construction.

Memphis Pellet Grills/Smokers

Memphis Pellet Grill
Image – BBQGuys.com

If you have or looking to build an outdoor kitchen and are looking for a built-in pellet grill you should definitely be considering a Memphis pellet grill. The built-in units are made from 304 stainless steel to even withstand salty coastal air. However, Memphis does offer freestanding grills also made from more affordable 430-grade stainless steel with high max temp settings from 550 up to 700 degrees.

Traeger Timberline (Gen 2) Pellet Grills/Smokers

Traeger Timberline Gen 2
Image – Traeger.com

Traeger has now developed their second-generation Timberline models. Based on a cabinet design, these pellet grills are more suited to those wishing to integrate their Traeger into an outdoor kitchen setup. Featuring an improved ash and grease collection system and induction side hob there is a lot to like. Including a new full-color control panel, and improved WiFire with wireless MEATER probe support.

Twin Eagles Wood Pellet Grills

Twin Eagles Pellet Grill/Smoker
Image – BBQGuys.com

As of this moment, the highest specification (and most expensive) wood pellet grill/smoker you can currently buy is a Twin Eagles pellet grill/smoker. Available as either a free-standing or built-in unit at 36″ in width. These pellet grills have the lowest (140 degrees) and highest (725 degrees) of any pellet grill on the market today. With the sear plate or charcoal tray insert the Twin Eagles pellet grills/smokers can sear/flame broil at between 1000 and 1500 degrees.

Pellet Grill/Smoker FAQ Articles

As well as writing my pellet grill/smoker product summary articles I’ve also written various articles on other more general pellet grill topics and questions.

Pellet Grill/Smoker Maintenance/Repair Articles

Pellet grills, just like any appliance, will need maintenance from time to time and certain parts may need to be replaced if they are not working correctly. Therefore, I’ve written a series of articles on how to repair/maintain certain pellet grills and how to resolve issues such as auger blockages.

Traeger

Pit Boss

Louisiana Grills

Camp Chef

Green Mountain Grills

Weber

Z Grills

A to Z List of Pellet Grill/Smoker Brands

A to Z List of Pellet Grill/Smoker Brands

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 to Z List of The Best BBQ Wood Pellets

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.