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Best Pellet Grills 2019

How do you fancy some delicious food soaked with flavor and a unique taste of your choice?

Get yourself a pellet grill and you can make that dream a reality.

Check out our roundup of the best pellet grills of 2019 and get yourself the perfect pellet grill.

>>> I know about pellet grills already, jump me straight to the reviews <<<

The Details…

What Are Pellet Grills?

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Want to know a secret?

It was during a Fourth of July barbecue in 1985, that Joe Traeger, whose family owned a heating company based in Oregon, got the idea for a pellet grill.

Joe stepped briefly away the chicken he was cooking, only to see the grill engulfed in flames when he stepped back. 

Boom!

In frustration he kicked the grill over and vowed he would build a better grill. The seeds of the wood pellet grill was born at that moment.

Joe Traeger developed the first pellet grill in 1985, patented it a year later and then began producing it in 1988.

Fact is:

The premise of pellet grills is fairly simple. You put hardwood pellets in a hopper that is adjoined to the grill. An auger moves the pellets from the hopper to the fire pot which is underneath the grill. The higher the temperature you set, the more pellets are moved.

When the pellets are in the fire pot a hot rod ignites the pellets, creating a fire. A convection heat is created by a fan that stokes the fire, this helps the food in the grill be evenly cooked.

A drip tray sits over the fire pot. This has dual benefits – it keeps direct flames from your food and catches food drippings.

The Benefits Of Pellet Grills

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There are a whole host of benefits of pellet grills:

Taste

Unlike with gas or charcoal the hardwood pellets that are used in pellet grills act as both the fuel source for the cooking and also as a flavor enhancer that infuses food with a wood fired taste. Wood pellets are small and burn cleanly and produce a light smoky flavor.

Want to know the best part?

You can also get a number of varieties of wood pellets, such as oak, maple, apple, hickory, each of which impart their own unique taste.

In fact you can pair up wood pellets with foods, for instance fruit wood pellets like apple and cherry work well with poultry and fish, whereas hickory and mesquite work well with beef.

Ease of Use

It might take you a go or two to get used to a pellet grill, but once you have done they are so easy to use, with a minimal learning curve.

Think about it:

No starter fluid or fuel is required and most pellet grills have a one button start up. Literally press the button to start the grill up, make sure the pellet hopper is filled. Set your desired temperature and you are good to go.

You can walk away and let your food cook, coming back to some deliciously smoked meat!

Variety

Pellet grills have a very precise temperature control – usually ranging from around 160°F up to 500°F.

So get this:

Not only do you get a number of flavors by choosing different pellets, you also get a whole host of different cooking styles thanks to the temperature variety – you can smoke, roast, bake, chargrill, sear, grill, braise and barbecue your food.

As they are so easy to use it won’t be long before you master all of these cooking styles!

Temperature Control

The precise temperature control mentioned above is one of a pellet grill’s strongest points. You can choose your temperature and the grill will maintain it, which leads to…

Even Cooking

Because they work like convection ovens – as described above, you can put as much food on them as will fit and be confident it will be cooked thoroughly and evenly without the need to turn the food

Healthy

Generally a pellet grill will use far less in the way of carcinogenic chemicals than a charcoal or a gas grill and also the risk of fat dripping into the fire is eliminated by the drip tray that protects the firepot.

The indirect heating methods that pellet grills use is also a healthier way to cook.

Efficient

Pellet grills maybe a slightly more expensively outlay initially but you can cook for roughly 20 hours per 20lbs of pellets and pellets generally cost around $15 to $20 a bag, which makes them more efficient in terms of fuel than gas or charcoal grills.

How To Choose A Pellet Grill

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If you are looking to get your ideal pellet grill, there are a few things you need to consider:

Cooking Size

Think about how much you intend to cook. Are you one of those people who loves barbecues? Relish cooking for a lot of people? Have a big family?

If that is you:

Then make sure you get a larger pellet grill – the larger cooking area the better. Of course if you don’t intend cooking for anyone more than you and your partner then you will be fine with a grill with a smaller cooking area.

Hopper Size

The hopper holds the wood pellets that ultimately fuel your grill.

Smaller pellet hoppers are generally found on less expensive grills, but larger hoppers obviously have a bigger capacity.

The bottom line:

If you intend cooking a lot of meat in one go on your grill you want a large hopper to ensure it doesn’t run out of pellets midway through.

A large hopper gives you the option to set your food cooking and then leave it for the day/overnight safe in the knowledge that you won’t run out of pellets.

And one more thing:

You might also want to see if your grill has a pellet chute that allows you to empty the pellets out if you want a different flavor when you next cook rather than being constrained to the same pellet type until they run out.

Temperature Controller

Newsflash:

The Temperature Controller is the hub of any pellet grill and hugely important if you want to cook tasty food. A consistent temperature, that stays at the mark you set, will mean delicious food.

There are four main types of temperature controller:

3-Position Controller – the most simple of temperature controls offers low, medium and high settings.

Multi-Position Controller – Usually a knob that you can rotate from around 180°F to around 500°F in increments of 20 or 25 degrees. This is a step up from the 3-position controller

One-Touch Non-PID Controller – we are now moving up into the next level. These have a digital display and a one touch button to set the temperature in usually 5 or 10 degree increments.

PID Controllers – the best type of temperature control out there. These make your grill essentially a smart grill by constantly measuring and recalibrating the temperature to maintain it l to the nearest degree. They are incredibly accurate.

Ease of Cleaning

I’m not going to lie:

Using a pellet grill can be a messy job, what with a combination of the pellet ash and fat and residue from the meat you cook. Take a look at how easy the pellet grill you are considering is to clean. Does it have easy clean surfaces?

Some even have an ash pot that essentially collects all the ash so you can empty it out in one go rather than painstakingly cleaning your grill

Mobility

Consider how easy it is to move a grill in and out of cover, or if you like to go camping whether you can transport it with you. Nearly all pellet grills will have wheels, some are better than others so this is worth considering.

Price

This could well be the factor that overrides all others! But there are some grills out there that offer terrific value for money.

The video below may help you when it comes to choosing a pellet grill:

Best Pellet Grills Of 2019 – At A Glance List

Below is a quick view of my favorite pellet grills of 2019. To find out more about them click on the link to take you to the full review.

Best Larger Pellet Grills

Name

Cooking Space

Best For

Rating

#1 – Camp Chef Woodwind (Read Review)

811″

♦ Best Buy ♦

  • Your Title Goes Here 93% 93%

#2 – Pit Boss 700FB (Read Review)

700″

Price

  • Your Title Goes Here 92% 92%

#3 – Traeger Texas Elite (Read Review)

646″

Build

  • Your Title Goes Here 91% 91%

#4 – Z Grills ZPG-7002 (Read Review)

700″

Beginners

  • Your Title Goes Here 90% 90%

#5 – Pit Boss 820FB (Read Review)

820″

Searing

  • Your Title Goes Here 90% 90%

#6 – Z Grills ZPG-700D (Read Review)

700″

Ease Of Use

  • Your Title Goes Here 90% 90%

Best Smaller Pellet Grills

Name

Cooking Space

Best For

Rating

#1 – Camp Chef Smoke Pro SE (Read Review)

429″

♦ Best Buy ♦

  • Your Title Goes Here 95% 95%

#2 – Pit Boss 440D (Read Review)

440″

Price

  • Your Title Goes Here 93% 93%

#3 – Traeger Tailgater (Read Review)

300″

Camping

  • Your Title Goes Here 91% 91%

#4 – Traeger Junior Elite (Read Review)

300″

Portability

  • Your Title Goes Here 90% 90%

#5 – Camp Chef Smoke Pro DLX (Read Review)

429″

Ease Of Use

  • Your Title Goes Here 89% 89%

#6 – Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite (Read Review)

418″

Build

  • Your Title Goes Here 88% 88%

Editor’s Note

Editor's note photoIn the interests of being completely open and honest with my readers please note this page contains several TAKE A CLOSER LOOK buttons. Clicking on these buttons takes you to the cheapest online price I have found for that particular item (to be honest usually it is at Amazon, but sometimes it is Walmart or Home Depot). If, after following my link, you then decide to buy the product I make a very small commission.

Clicking on my TAKE A CLOSER LOOK button DOES NOT affect the price you pay for the item and it takes you to exactly the same page you would get to if you had gone to the Amazon/Walmart/Home Depot website yourself and typed in the product name. The only difference is a tiny percentage of the sale (typically around 4%).

At the end of the day the most important thing to me is you get the best possible item for your needs at the best price – so I hope you do!

The Best Pellet Grills 2019 – Larger Grills

#1 Camp Chef Woodwind

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those wanting delicious seared meat and a large grill.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 24 x 49 x 48.5
  • Hopper Capacity – 22lbs
  • Cooking Space – 811 inches
  • Weight – 180lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 160°F to 500°F
  • Three Year Warranty

What sets the Camp Chef Woodwind apart from practically every other pellet grill on the market and certainly every other grill on this list is it comes with a 900˚F Sear Box, which adds AMAZING flavour!

First off:

It has an 811 square inch cooking area and a 22lb pellet hopper. It weighs 180lbs and has a three year warranty. It has a cooking range of 160˚F to 500˚F and comes with an additional cooking rack and the aforementioned 900˚F Sear Box.

What makes this so special?

The Sear Box really is the standout feature. It is on the right hand side of the grill and reaches a temperature of up to 900˚F.

It is great to reverse sear on – so you smoke meats on the grill and then move them to the box to sear them. It locks in flavor and gives you a lovely crisp, caramelized sear.

Another feature I really love is the ash clean out system. Just pull a lever and the ashes fall into the cup underneath the grill – no wrestling with a vacuum to clean out the grill and more time to cook! It really is so easy.

And a few more things:

  • This is another huge grill – with 811 square inches of cooking surface and a removable upper warming rack – so you can load it up with chicken, jerky, brisket and much more.
  • The pellet hopper is also very sizeable – 22 lbs – so you will go longer without needing to change them. The sear box also cuts back on your use of pellets as well. What is more it is easy to change the pellets if you want to remove them.
  • It has ‘slide and grill technology’ – which means, by pulling a knob, you can switch from traditional grilling to direct flame cooking
  • Top quality design and build – it is pretty much all stainless steel, the heat diffuser is carbon steel and the cooking grate is cast iron.
  • Handy high (around 225˚C) and low (around 160˚C) smoke setting.

Needless to say it isn’t perfect:

One minor quibble is that as the Sear Box is on the right hand side, so you can’t use the shelf that was there. This is minor though considering how good the Sear Box is.

The bottom tray doesn’t have any drain holes, as the grill cover doesn’t go down as far as the tray, it does mean rain or snow could collect in it.

The bottom line is:

There are so many things to like about this huge grill – the sear box and ash clean out system alone are a dream, and it is so easy to cook up a delicious meal on it – it is top class!

  • My Rating 93% 93%

Pros

Sear box is fantastic

Ash clean out system is great

Lots of cooking space

First class build

Love the ‘slide and grill technology’

Cons

Sear box does mean no shelf

No drain holes in bottom tray

#2 Pit Boss 700FB

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those looking for a top quality pellet grill at a great price.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 26.7 x 43.8 x 41.3
  • Hopper Capacity – 20lbs
  • Cooking Space – 700 inches
  • Weight – 118lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 180°F to 500°F
  • Three Year Warranty

The Pit Boss 700FB has everything you need of a top quality pellet grill and most of all it is supremely well designed and made.

Let’s dive in:

Weighing 118lbs and with 700 square inches of cooking space, this also comes with a three year warranty.

It has a hopper capacity of 20lbs and the cooking temperature can be adjust to anything between 180°F and 500°F.

I couldn’t believe me eyes when I saw the price:

Because for the price you pay you will be astounded by the build quality of this. Made of heavy gauge steel and powder coated this is top notch engineering from top to bottom. It is sturdy and rugged and has solid, well designed legs, which lots of grills don’t.

Talking of design – a lot of thought has been put into that as well. The heat shield is sloped and this means grease (or water if it got inside) runs out into a bucket, you can easily slide the heat shield back to cook over an open flame. Also the heavy domed metal below the grill helps ensure the heat is distributed evenly.

Beyond that there is much more:

  • The flame broiler – cook your meat directly over a flame to add an amazing wood fire flavour on top of the smoke.
  • A huge 700 square inches of cooking space – enough for 34 hamburger patties!
  • Simple pellet change – pull a lever and drop the pellets into a bucket and put your new pellets in
  • Temperature can be quickly and easily set by turning the Digital Control Center dial and the temperature is uniform with minimal fluctuations
  • Absolutely fantastic price for what you get!

A small word of caution:

The only areas where this could be improved is that the metal covering the flame box is fairly light and I got the impression it might not last that long. Also the auger is excessively noisy and clunks and clangs almost continuously!

So it all adds up to this:

But make no bones about it – this is an absolute steal in terms of performance and price. It has several features that wouldn’t be out of place on a top end model and it cooks some absolutely delicious meat!

  • My Rating 92% 92%

Pros

Really well made

Innovative design

Great option to cook over naked flame

Looks of cooking space

Great price

Cons

Metal covering flame box is flimsy

Auger is excessively noisy

#3 Traeger Texas Elite

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those wanting peace of mind and the Rolls Royce of grills!

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 22 x 49 x 54
  • Hopper Capacity – 18lbs
  • Cooking Space – 646 inches
  • Weight – 115lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 180°F to 450°F
  • Three Year Warranty

Traeger are very much known as the kings of the grilling world and the Texas Elite is one of their very best – which is a big accolade indeed.

So let’s take a closer look:

It has 646 square inches of cooking space and an 18lb hopper capacity. The cooking temperature can be adjusted to anything from 180°F to 450°F, it weighs 115lbs and comes with a three year warranty.

Traeger really do have a reputation as the Rolls Royce of the industry and this maintains that well deserved reputation.

Think I am exaggerating?

This  is very well made – with a heavy duty, steel construction and a nice durable powder coated finished. It feels hefty, sturdy and built to last.

The legs are really stable and the wheels are nicely designed, with locking casters, and are easy to move – gliding effortlessly across most surfaces.

The grill grates are porcelain, non-stick and incredibly easy to clean. The fat and grime literally just wipes off, leaving your more time to enjoy the delicious food you cook.

Not only that I also like:

  • The Digital Elite Temperature Controller – this works as well as any digital temperature controller I have seen. It maintains a steady temperature, whether that be a long slow spell cooking on the ‘smoke’ setting or a hot, fast zap on the 450 degree heat.
  • No fancy design grill area – Just 646 square inches of cooking space, this is the equivalent of 24 burgers, six whole chickens, nine racks of ribs or 32 hot dogs – so easily enough to feed most parties!
  • So simple to use. Just set the temperature, put the meat on and leave it – it is incredibly easy to operate and very reliable.
  • Versatile – allows you to smoke, bake, grill, roast, braise and barbecue
  • You get possibly the best smoked meat of any of the larger pellet grills – due in large part to the consistent temperature. Pretty much everything comes out tasting delicious.

By contrast:

I have a gripe with the pellets though – like some others on the list, you can’t remove the pellets if you want to cook something the requires a different pellet type.

Also this is one of the pricier pellet grills on the market – which is worth remembering (you do get a quality brand though!).

In a nutshell:

With Traeger you know exactly what you are going to get – a fantastic grill, that is reliable, well made and cooks delicious meat even if you have little to no grilling experience. It most definitely won’t let you down.

  • My Rating 91% 91%

Pros

Traeger reputation

Very well made

Easy to clean

Maintains a temperature very well

So easy to use

Cons

Can’t change pellets

More expensive

#4 Z Grills ZPG-7002

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those buying their first pellet grill who don’t want to break the bank.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 48.6 x 47.2 x 22.5
  • Hopper Capacity – 20lbs
  • Cooking Space – 700 inches
  • Weight – 120lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 160°F to 450°F
  • Three Year Warranty

Nicely designed, well made and reasonably priced the Z Grills ZPG-7002 would be a wonderful purchase if you are buying a pellet grill for the first time.

Let’s dig a little deeper:

It comes with 700 square inches of cooking space – a 513 square inch main cooking area and a 187 square inch second cooking rack. The hopper capacity is 20lbs and it weighs 120lbs in total.

It comes with a three year warranty and the cooking temperature range is 160°F to 450°F.

So what is the magic formula?

This is just super simple to use! With its auto-start ignition and digital temperature control all you need to do is start it up about ten minutes before you want to use it so it has time to warm up.

It has an automated electric feed system which helps maintain a constant temperature, so you literally turn the dial to the temperature you want and leave your food on it and walk away!

The digital temperature control automatically adds pellets to regulate the temperature and works like a dream – giving you less to worry about.

There is more:

  • The large grilling area. 700 square inches in total including both racks (it comes with a standard 513 square inch grill and a 187 square inch second grill). This means you can fit 20 burgers, five whole chickens or six racks of ribs on it – perfect if you have a large/hungry family!
  • The heavy gauge metal construction and heavy duty wheels. It is rust proof and will last a long time
  • It is easy to clean, thanks to a specially designed waste oil collector.
  • It comes with 40 lbs of pellets (worth around $60!)
  • It has a nice amount of storage space at the bottom

Note:

Whilst the design is generally top notch, the legs and wheels are little small, if they were larger it would make the whole thing seem a bit sturdier.

Again you can’t change the pellets if you decide to you want to use a different type, which is a bit of a pain.

But:

Ultimately this produces delicious smoked meat, is easy to use, well built and won’t break the bank. A fantastic mid-range option with top level performance.

  • My Rating 90% 90%

Pros

Really easy to use

Digital temperature control works really well

BIG grilling area!

Top quality build

Easy to clean

Cons

Legs could be a bit sturdier

Can’t change pellets

#5 Pit Boss 820FB

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those looking for a large grill who want to sear their meat as well.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 24 x 50 x 49
  • Hopper Capacity – 20lbs
  • Cooking Space – 820 inches
  • Weight – 141lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 180°F – 500°F
  • One Year Warranty

The Pit Boss 820FB is a beast of a pellet grill with a huge cooking area making it an ideal choice if you regularly cook for a lot of people or just love cooking!

So let’s get to it:

It has a whopping 820 square inches of cooking space – a 580 square inch main rack and a 240 square inch removable upper rack.

It weighs 141lbs and has a temperature range of 180°F to 500°F. The hopper capacity is 20lbs and it comes with a one year warranty.

Here’s the kicker:

You can fit a veritable feast on this grill – I managed four racks of ribs, two whole chickens and ten sausages and there was still room! If you want to cook a lot of things at once then look no further.

Because of the design of this Pit Boss, and the dome heat shield and exhaust system, it is quite unusual in that it also has an upper rack that you can cook on. It gives you extra space and is great for food that needs a lighter touch.

Another advantage over other grills is that it has a flame broiler, this means you can simply slide open the grates and directly grill over an open flame to allow you to recreate the way your favourite steakhouse might grill a burger or steak.

It is great for searing and putting grill marks on your food and when you get the hang of it, you can really add flavor.

But wait, there is more:

  • It is made from heavy duty materials with large steel wheels and there is a good fit and finish. It feels like it will last a LONG time
  • It has a fantastic smoke setting – which allows you to fine tune the grill temperature. If you get the hang of it you can smoke the meat and then raise the temperature to finish off and get a really crispiness which is delicious.
  • It has a clever design, with a fan under the bellet bin and an innovative exhaust design which sees the air circulate evenly and maintains a constant temperature – this helps meat get cooked evenly.
  • It is versatile – you can smoke, sear, charbroil, grill, in fact do pretty much anything even if you aren’t naturally a great chef.

But it is worth remembering:

I love the nice big steel wheels, but as it is so heavy even with the two wheels it might be a bit difficult to move if you are older or not particularly strong. The addition of lockable swivel casters as well as the two wheels would be handy.

Also unlike some pellet grills you can’t change out the pellets once they are in there – with some grills you can open a back door and remove them, but with the Pit Boss you can’t.

The truth is:

These things aside this is the perfect choice if you want a large grill and want the option to sear your meat and give it a great smoky taste. You can also just tell it is a quality piece of kit, just from the feel of it.

  • My Rating 90% 90%

Pros

Huge cooking area

Love the flame broiler option

Great smoke setting

Very well made

Intelligent design

Cons

Quite heavy

Can’t change pellets once they are in

#6 Z Grills ZPG-700D

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those who are new to grilling and want something that is easy to use.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 48.6 x 47.2 x 22.5
  • Hopper Capacity – 20lbs
  • Cooking Space – 700 inches
  • Weight – 120lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 160°F to 450°F
  • Three Year Warranty

The Z Grills ZPG-700D is very similar to the Z Grills ZPG-7002 and is essentially an excellent option for someone new to pellet grills.

Ready?

It has a 513 square inch grill and a 187 square inch second cooking rack – so 700 square inches for grilling overall. The hopper capacity is 20 lbs and it has a cooking temperature range of 160°to 450°F.

It weighs 120 lbs and comes with a three-year warranty.

For what it’s worth:

There is very little difference to the ZPG-7002, reviewed above. Essentially this has doors on the grills stand and a few small tweaks have been made to the temperature and pellet feed control system.

But stay with me:

It still has all the other fantastic features of the ZPG-7002. It is really easy to use thanks to its innovative smart smoke technology and its automatic electric feed system, so you can literally set the temperature – put the meat on and forget about it!

The Temperature and Pellet Feed, which was already good, has been upgraded slightly. So the digital control board auto ignites the grill and the temperature is maintained at a constant level.

Other good features include:

  • Nice large grill – giving you 700 square inches of cooking space. Enough to feed a small country!
  • The specially designed waste oil collector makes it much easier for you to keep the grill clean.
  • The cart has been upgraded on the ZPG-7002 and has sturdy locking caster wheels to make moving it easier.
  • Pretty economical – you can cook for about 20 hours with 20lbs of pellets
  • Great three year warranty

But beware:

Essentially this still suffers from the same shortfalls as the ZPG-7002. You cannot change pellets, if you want to replace them with another type of pellet.

Also the probe wire access hole in the side is very close to the grill and you are at risk of burning it and damaging it.

In short:

But overall this is well designed, easy to use and has a lot of cooking space. It is also a pretty good price – you can’t ask for much more!

  • My Rating 90% 90%

Pros

Really easy to use

Upgraded temperature and pellet feed

Lots of grilling space

Easy to keep clean

Good warranty

Cons

Can’t change pellets

Probe wire access hole could be in a better position

The Best Pellet Grills 2019 – Smaller Grills

#1 Camp Chef Smoke Pro SE

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those wanting something easy to clean that smokes exquisitely.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 24 x 22 x 25
  • Hopper Capacity – 18lbs
  • Cooking Space – 429 square inches
  • Weight – 110lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 160°F to 500°F
  • Three Year Warranty

I think I have made it obvious why I love the Camp Chef grills in my review above, they are just so easy to keep clean and that of course means better tasting food!

Now get this:

This has 429 square inches of cooking space and an 18lb hopper. It weighs 110lbs and has a cooking range of 160°F to 500°F. It comes with a three year warranty.

What is the magic formula?

The Ash Clean Out system that Camp Chef use really elevates it above its competitors. When you are done cooking you don’t have to take apart the grill and vacuum it out and clean it – all you do is pull a lever and the ash drops into a steel bucket that comes with it.

It is so much quicker and of course means that, by maintaining the quality of the grill, you maintain the quality of the food.

You get this at a great price as this Camp Chef vies with the Pit Boss 440D as the cheapest grill on my list.

Want more? You got it:

  • It has a smoke stack (a chimney protruding from the top of the grill) – that you twist to adjust the smoke setting from low to high. This means when you want to add a really smoky flavour to your meat just twist the stack and you can do so.
  • It is actually better made than some of the more expensive grills – a very sturdy main body that is made of 12 gauge metal.
  • The pellet consumption is very modest and, on top of that, the Camp Chef pellets are very reasonably priced and work well.
  • The temperature system is easy to set and it has a built-in temperature gauge that controls the internal cooking temperature very well.
  • The roller wheels are great and this is easy to move.

On the other hand:

My only gripes are minor – there is no automatic shut-off, which would be nice and there is no digital temperature read out – but that isn’t a big deal as it reaches and holds the temperature pretty well.

It all adds up to this:

I absolutely love this grill – if you are looking for a smaller grill there is no reason not to get it as it amazingly priced, easy to clean and so easy to cook delicious food on it. Get out there and buy it!

  • My Rating 95% 95%

Pros

Incredibly easy to clean thanks to ash clean out system

Smoke stack gives you the option for amazing smoked food

High quality construction

Modest pellet consumption so cheap to run

Amazing price

Cons

No automatic shut off

No digital temperature read out

#2 Pit Boss 440D

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those looking for a budget option with the ability to flame grill.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 48.5 x 40.5 x 24
  • Hopper Capacity – 18lbs
  • Cooking Space – 440 inches
  • Weight – 73lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 180°F to 500°F
  • One Year Warranty

If you are looking for lovely flame grilled steaks or burgers, like those you might get at your favourite steak house, then the Pit Boss 440D is what you want.

Let’s lay it bare:

It has 400 square inches of cooking space and an 18lb capacity hopper. It weighs 73lbs, can cook at anything between 180°F and 500°F and has a one year warranty.

Hold onto your hat:

As you may have noticed from the reviews above I love the flame broiler option that comes when you buy a Pit Boss. This essentially allows you to open the heat shield and cook a burger or a steak directly on the flame.

This means you can get exactly the color and caramelization you want on your meat – it is delicious!

It has loads of ingenious design features that make the Pit Boss 440D a delight to use. It has a clever convection technique that channels the air and allows it to circulate evenly – so the temperature remains constant.

The controls are in a good location and easy to use and read. It also has a removable side tray that is perfect for putting your deliciously cooked meat on. The fire pot is over to one side, not in the center, which is better if you are cooking small amounts of meat at a time.

It doesn’t stop there, I also like:

  • The smoke settings – using the ‘P’ setting takes a little getting use to, but once you do, you can produced absolutely deliciously smoked meat.
  • How compact this is – if you don’t have much space this is a good choice as it is quite small, but sufficiently powerful.
  • It is well made and with its copper finish and thick metal gauge construction it should last you a long time.
  • The Digital Temperature Board is easy to use and allows you to get the perfect temperature for your meat
  • This is a really good price! It might be the cheapest on my list, but you certainly couldn’t tell.

A word of warning:

The only downside is the wheels are not very good. They are metal and don’t roll very wheel. Also the grease bucket is quite small and falls off whenever the smoker cover is put on or take off, which is a pain.

And the bottom line?

For the price, the functionality and options you get with the Pit Boss 440D are incredibly – the flame broiler option is something many high end models don’t have and it gives you the ability to cook some very tasty flame grilled food.

This is an absolute steal.

  • My Rating 93% 93%

Pros

Love the flame broiler option

Lots of thought has gone into the design

Compact – great for smaller yards

Love the smoke settings

Unbelievable price

Cons

Wheels are not great

Grease bucket can be a pain

#3 Traeger Tailgater

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those who like camping and want a quality grill to take with them.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 18 x 36 x 37
  • Hopper Capacity – 8lbs
  • Cooking Space – 300 square inches
  • Weight – 61 lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 160°F to 450°F
  • Three Year Warranty

The Traeger Tailgater is possibly the best portable grill on the market – and with the Traeger brand you know you will get a quality product.

So let’s find out more:

It has 300 square inches of cooking space and weighs 61 lbs. The hopper has an 8lb capacity and the cooking temperature can range from 160° to 450°F. It has a three year warranty.

Here’s the key:

The great thing about the Tailgater is just how easy it is to move around. At 61 lbs it can easily be packed up and taken away with you on camping trips, etc. It also has EZ-fold legs that make it a cinch to store away.

It also has a low energy consumption to the point that if you have a converter or a 110 volt outlet on your vehicle you can hook it up to that.

Beyond the portability there is a lot more to like including:

  • It has a non-stick surface, that literally wipes clean.
  • Traeger’s Digital Elite Temperature Controller is so easy to use and maintains a steady temperature, which really helps you make sure your meat is cooked to perfection. The LED display is also clear and easy to read.
  • It is an ideal family sized pellet smoker – it fits the equivalent of 12 burgers, three racks of ribs, two whole chickens and 18 hot dogs
  • Traeger generally have great customer service – who are domestically located, knowledgeable and very helpful.
  • The Tailgater does a great job of locking moisture into food, even frozen pizzas are transformed into delicious gourmet fayre!

Just be warned:

It isn’t perfect though – the hopper is small and because of the shape (it is not particularly steep) it struggles to reliably feed pellets to the auger. It is also quite short – only 36 inches high, so if you are tall it might be slightly uncomfortable to use.

Let’s rewind though:

This is the ultimate grill if you want something portable and don’t need a huge amount of grilling space. It cooks delicious food and if you do a lot of camping and want a grill to cook on this should be your number one choice.

  • My Rating 91% 91%

Pros

Really portable

Collapsible legs – easy to store

Easy to clean

Great customer service

Locks moisture into food well

Cons

Hopper could be better designed

Might be uncomfortable to use if you are tall

#4 Traeger Junior Elite

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those who want a compact grill that is easy to move around.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 18 x 36 x 37
  • Hopper Capacity – 8lbs
  • Cooking Space – 300 square inches
  • Weight – 61 lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 160°F to 450°F
  • Three Year Warranty

The Traeger Junior Elite, to all intents and purposes, the same as the Traeger Tailgater mentioned above, so take a look at that review and see which you find cheaper and you will get yourself a top quality grill.

So:

The spec is largely the same as Tailgater, except it is a tad lighter at 60lbs. It still has 300 square inches of cooking space and a hopper with an 8lb capacity. The temperature can be adjusted to anything between 160°F and 450°F and it has a three year warranty.

The one difference between this model and the Tailgater is that this doesn’t have the EZ collapse legs.

First of all:

This is still really compact and portable, although the lack of EZ collapse legs hinders that a bit. However it is light enough to move anywhere around your yard with the minimum of fuss whilst still having a reasonable amount of cooking space.

On top of that:

  • It is really well made – solid and sturdy and made of steel, with a nice powder coated finish – you know it will last you a long time.
  • The Digital Elite Controller makes setting your grill temperature easy and it maintains a steady temperature as well.
  • The same non-stick porcelain grills as the Tailgater make this so easy to keep clean.
  • Compact size but still large enough for 12 burgers, three racks of ribs, two whole chickens and 18 hot dogs!
  • Beyond easy to use and cook delicious food – put the food in, set the temperature, go away and come back to delicious food. Quickly clean it and you are good to go again!

But it isn’t perfect:

Again this suffers from the same downfalls as the Tailgater – the pellet box is small and not ideally shaped for feeding pellets into the auger. And it is quite short, especially if you are a taller person.

In short:

But those things aside this is a lovely smaller pellet grill that is ideal for around five to six people or less. It is really well made, cooks delicious food and is so portable.

If you need the legs that fold go for the Tailgater. If you don’t go for whatever you see cheaper – they are both fantastic options.

  • My Rating 90% 90%

Pros

Compact and portable

Maintains a steady temperature

Easy to clean

Great for smaller occasions

Easy to use

Cons

Hopper could be better designed

Might be uncomfortable to use if you are tall

#5 Camp Chef Smoke Pro DLX

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those looking for the simplest of pellet grills and a great taste.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 20.5 x 47.5 x 50
  • Hopper Capacity – 18lbs
  • Cooking Space – 429 square inches
  • Weight – 113lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 160°F to 500°F
  • Three Year Warranty

The Camp Chef Smoke Pro DLX is actually Camp Chef’s first attempt at making a pellet grill, but you certainly couldn’t tell that – everything points to them being a well establish company in the pellet grilling field.

So let’s get to work:

It has an 18lb hopper and 429 square inches of grilling space. Weighing in at 113lbs it has a cooking temperature of 160°F to 500°F and a three year warranty.

Here’s the deal:

If you like smoky flavors and cooking slow at home at a good price – this is your choice!

The smoke stack at the back is a wonderful option as you can get really smoky flavors into your food. As it is at the back it means you have work space on your right hand side too which just makes cooking and preparing food so much easier.

This pellet grill operates somewhat like a slow cooker – set your temperature, chuck a piece of meat on the grill and go to bed or go to work and then it’ll be perfectly cooked when you wake up or get home.

If you are away from home for a long amount of time it just makes everything so much easier for you.

There is more:

  • The ash clean out system – no vacuuming out the grill after use simple pull a lever and all the ash is entered into a pot. Minimal clean up and it helps your food maintain its great taste.
  • Flawless temperature control – it has a built in cool down function, high and low smoke settings and works like a convection oven so there are no cool or hot zones – just a nice even, constant temperature.
  • Nice pellet hopper with a chute that allows you to change your pellets if you want cook in a different style.
  • Nice build with a number of small, thoughtful details. I like that the bolts, nuts and washers to attach the smoke chimney came loosely assembled to the chimney, so they can easily be identified. The whole thing is heavy and feels durable.
  • Clever design – ie the back side of the grill is squared off, this gives you more space inside the grill to use the upper grill rack without feeling cramped.

But a couple of things of note:

On the downside the cover does allow smoke to leak out a little bit, but by that point it would already have passed over your meat and would exit via the smoke stack anyway.

Also the warming rack is in the way somewhat, but you can take it out.

So it all adds up to this:

Overall this is a fantastic entry level pellet grill. It cooks really well and has some really innovative features such as the smoke stack and the ash clean out system.

What is more it is really easy to use, even a complete beginner won’t fail to cook up a storm on this!

  • My Rating 89% 89%

Pros

Lovely smoky flavours

Really easy to use

So easy to clean

Ability to change pellets

Sturdy and well made

Cons

Cover lets smoke leak a bit

Warming rack does get in the way

#6 Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those looking for peace of mind and quality construction.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 22 x 49 x 42
  • Hopper Capacity – 18lbs
  • Cooking Space – 418 square inches
  • Weight – 98lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 180°F to 450°F
  • Three Year Warranty

The Lil’ Tex Elite is another winner by Traeger, who never produce a sub-standard pellet grill.

So let’s check it out:

It has 418 square inches of cooking space and an 18lb hopper. With a three year warranty, it weighs 48lbs and can cook between 180°F and 450°F.

This is HUGE:

Everything about this oozes quality. It has a powerful steel construction and a lovely durable powder coat finish.

It has a custom made cover that fits nicely. The 2-inch legs are sturdy and supportive. The electronic auto-start ignition never fails. The design of the interior and exterior is top notch.

With 418 square inches of cooking space it is compact, but still packs a punch. That is still enough space to fit 16 burgers, four whole chickens, five racks of ribs or 24 hot dogs. It is pretty much the ideal home grill.

It doesn’t stop there:

  • The Traeger Digital Controller – the LED display is easy to read and clear and whether you have it at a low temperature or right at the 450°F main temperatures it keeps an even heat with no cool spots.
  • The porcelain grates are non-stick and easy to clean – they also help give everything a truly delicious flavor.
  • It is so versatile – you can grill, smoke, bake, barbecue, braise or roast and it all tastes amazing!
  • Really easy to use – throw your food on, set the temperature and walk away. When you come back you will be presented with some delicious food.
  • Cooks quickly and efficiently.

But beware:

The porcelain grates are fantastic, but they do transfer heat slightly slowly so you have to be patient if you are searing food. Also this is more expensive than some similar grills.

And the bottom line?

Traeger’s fantastic reputation is justified and there is a reason why this is so popular amongst backyard grillers. Even if you aren’t a great cook, thanks to the simplicity and efficiency of this model you will soon be cooking some amazing tasting food!

  • My Rating 88% 88%

Pros

Quality construction

Compact

Fantastic temperature controller

Easy to clean

Easy to use

Cons

Searing takes a little longer

More expensive option

In Summary

Best Pellet Grill Under $500

There are some great contenders here but I think the Pit Boss 700FB just sneaks it. The price point is just below $500 but the quality of it is superb.

Best Pellet Grill Under $1000

The Camp Chef Woodwind takes the plaudits here. The Sear Box alone makes it worthy of this title, but there is a lot more that make this grill a standout performer.

Best Pellet Smoker Grill

These all produce lovely food with a delicious smoked flavor. Maybe the best for a standard family is the Traeger Tailgater – portable and so easy to use.

Best Pellet Grill Recipes

You can cook some truly delicious food on pellet grills. Take a look at the Traeger or Camp Chef websites for some inspiration. The Grilla Grill also has a decent selection of tasty recipes.

I hope you have found this rundown of some of the best pellet grills of use.

If you do have any questions, are uncertain about anything or just want to find out more about pellet grills please feel free to drop me an email and I will do my best to help you.

Don’t forget you can also check out my Reviews Section for individual product reviews. Or you can visit my Site Index for everything on my site on one page.

Recommended Links

About The Author

Steve Mann

Steve is a one time gardening hater turned into gardening obsessive. This was all thanks to going to University where a two year stint spent transforming the previously horrific garden of the student house he lived in left him addicted to all things horticultural! Now with a new house in tow and due to some fortunate circumstances he is free to test out a whole host of gardening equipment. Find out more about Steve or drop him an email at steve@suaveyards.com.

11 Comments

  1. Sharon

    Hello Steve,

    Firstly, I would like to say your review is awesome! One of the BEST review site I have seen and read so far. Uniqueness is the word.

    I love the charcoal grill but you may have changed my mind. This is the first time I have read about pellet grill. Thanks for all the useful information and a little bit of history there. It is definitely a bonus that we can use a variety of wood pellets to create our own flavours.

    Now, I will have to take a closer look at the products. Many choices to choose from.

    Thanks again,
    Sharon

    Reply
    • Steve Mann

      Thanks Sharon, yes pellet grills are becoming more and more popular. There are a huge selection to choose from and they cook such wonderfully flavorsome food!

      Tanks for the nice comments too! I hope you get yourself a great grill!

      Reply
  2. Laura

    Wow, great choices is right, I think I might have to get some more info on the Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite. Is it as good as those grills that are on the cooking shows? I have gas now, but now I think I might have to look into the pellet option.
    Thanks,
    Laura

    Reply
    • Steve Mann

      Thanks Laura. Yes a lot of these grills are those that you see used on the TV cooking shoes. I love pellet grills as you get such amazing flavor from them. The Lil’ Tex Elite is a great option and I don’t think you will be let down.

      Best of luck!

      Steve

      Reply
  3. Christopher

    Hi Steve:

    It’s funny how so many things are discovered by accident like when Joe kicked his grill!

    I was never a griller but my late stepdad sure was! He always used charcoal.

    It’s really cool that the pellets can act as flavor enhancer and that the flavors depend on the kind of wood. The other thing that’s really cool is that they are less carcinogenic than charcoal or gas. That’s one thing I often worried about when my stepdad was grilling.

    These look really great, too. I especially like the Traeger Texas Elite and the Z Grills ZPG 700-D.

    Thank you for this very thorough post!

    Reply
    • Steve Mann

      Thanks Christopher.

      Yes the Traeger Grill moment is on a par with the apple falling on Newton’s head! It certainly changed the grilling world anyway.

      I absolutely love the taste you get from Pellet Grills – and the fact you can mix and match your pellets depending upon what kind of flavor you want to get. 

      The range of Pellet Grills is increasing month by month almost and there are some wonderful choices. If you have any specific questions just let me know.

      Steve

      Reply
  4. Hari S Nair

    We have recently moved to a new house and here we have a pretty awesome backyard and I was thinking about having a pellet grillsthere to have some memorable evenings with family and friends. This is one of the best reviews i have seen so far, pretty informative and well organised. Since it will be our first grill, I think we will stick to the small one, I am thinking of Camp Chef Smoke Pro SE after reading the review. Do you have any more suggestions for me? as I don’t know much about and it will be our first.

    Reply
    • Steve Mann

      The Camp Chef Smoke Pro is a great choice if it is your first grill. I say they as it is really easy to clean and very easy to use.

      The smoke stack really infuses your food with a delicious smoky flavor – I think you would love it.

      Another good choice for first time pellet grillers is the Z Grills ZPG-7002 – it is also incredibly simple to use and works really well.

      Either of these would be perfect you I think.

      Reply
  5. Loes

    Great review about pellet grills, thanks you, Steve . 2 jumped out for me, the 2 Pit Boss 440D, very nice pricing! and the Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe Pellet Grill, unfortunately out of stock. There are 3 things I select on, easy to clean, the pricing and an connected table, very important to have that extra space. The Pit Boss 700FB Pellet Grill, which you recommend doesn´t have that extra table space on the right side, so the 440D has my preference.

    Thanks, Loes

    Reply
    • Steve Mann

      Thanks Loes, glad you found it useful. I totally agree with you regarding your three choices you select on. Especially the first two – ease of cleaning and pricing. The Pit Boss 440D is a great choice. It is ultra easy to use and cooks up some delicious food – you won’t regret it if you buy it!

      Let me know how you get on.

      Reply
      • loes

        Thank you, we are now going into the winter period, not the most ideal time, Loes

        Reply

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