Best Pellet Grills 2021: Infuse Your Food With Incredible Flavor

Best Pellet Grills

This is the complete guide if you want to know about the best pellet grills of 2021.

Whether you want a large grill or a small grill, are serious about your food or are just a casual backyard griller we have chosen 13 unbelievable pellet grills. 

So let’s find out what they are…

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

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Best Pellet Grills Of 2021 – At A Glance List


Below is a quick view of my favorite pellet grills of 2021. To find out more about them click on the link to take you to the full review.

Best Larger Pellet Grills

NameCooking
Space
Best ForMy Rating
#1 – Camp Chef Woodwind (Read Review) 811″ Best Buy ♦ 93%
#2 – Pit Boss 700FB (Read Review) 700″Price92%
#3 – Camp Chef SmokePro Slide Smoker (Read Review)811″Value for Money92%
#4 – Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 (Read Review)572″Durability91%
#5 – Z Grills ZPG-7002 (Read Review)700″Beginners90%
#6 – Pit Boss 820FB (Read Review)820″Searing90%
#7 – Z-Grills ZPG-1000 (Read Review)1060″Size89%
#8 – Z-Grills ZPG-6002B (Read Review)573″Families88%

Best Smaller Pellet Grills

#1 – Camp Chef Smoke Pro SE (Read Review) 429″ ♦ Best Buy ♦ 95%
#2 – Traeger Grills Ranger Grill (Read Review)176″Portability91%
#3 – Z-Grills ZPG-450A (Read Review)452″Grilling newbies90%
#4 – Camp Chef Smoke Pro DLX (Read Review)429″Ease of Use89%
#5 – Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite (Read Review)418″Build88%

What Are Pellet Grills?


Know about 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


Know about pellet grills?
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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:


Editor’s Note

Steve

I hope you love the products that I recommend here! Just so you know, I work with Amazon and other affiliate partners and may be compensated from the links below.

Read full details here.


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The Best Pellet Grills 2021 – Larger Grills

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Larger Grill #1: Camp Chef Woodwind


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
  • PRICE GUIDE: $$$

Camp Chef Woodwind

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%


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
Check availability


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Larger Grill #2: Pit Boss 700FB


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
  • PRICE GUIDE: $

Pit Boss 700FB

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%

>>> READ MY FULL REVIEW <<<


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
Check availability


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Larger Grill #3: Camp Chef SmokePro Slide Smoker


BEST FOR…
Those wanting performance at a reasonable price
.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 40 x 25 x 22
  • Hopper Capacity – 18lbs
  • Cooking Space – 811 inches
  • Weight – 133lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 160°F to 500°F
  • Three Year Warranty
  • PRICE GUIDE: $$

Camp Chef PG24 pellet grill

The Camp Chef SmokePro Slide Smoker delivers everything you could want from a pellet grill at this price and more. It is a top performing grill in every way.

So let’s take a closer look:

This features a total of 811 square inches of cooking space, with an upper rack area of 382 square inches and a lower rack of 429 square inches.

It comes with two meat probes, a folding front shelf and an ash and hopper cleanout system. It wrights 133lbs and has a three year warranty.

So what is the magic formula here?

There is lots to like about this Camp Chef, but one particular feature worth mentioning is the hopper. It holds enough pellets to smoke for around 10 to 16 hours depending upon the temperature you use and the hopper window means you can easily see the pellet level, even from a fair distance away.

It is really easy to change pellets as well. Simply put a container below the chute and pull the lever and the remaining pellets will be dumped into the container and you can put the new pellets in. 

Makes savoring all those different flavors you get from different pellets so quick and simple!

And what else?

  • The dual temperature probes are great – you can cook more than one item and check their internal temperatures independently.
  • It has an ash clean out system, where you simply pull a lever and the ash drops into a can that you can quickly and easily empty. This reduces the time you need to spend cleaning the smoker.
  • It has a great grill/sear panel, so you can change from smoking to grilling with the pull of a knob.
  • With a combined total of 811 square inches, you get A LOT of grilling space, plenty of room to cooking up a treat for a large group.
  • With all the features you get that are mentioned above, plus other extras like a handy fold out table in front of the grill, I think the price for this is very reasonable.

There are a couple of things that could be better:

It does seem like, due to the way the auger pulls, the pellets can run dry if you don’t shift them in the hopper every now and then. Also the temperature sensor is quite near the fire pot, so the temperature in the cooking area is about 20 degrees cooler than what you have set the smoker at.

In truth:

This cooks food wonderfully – with great clean smoking and oodles of flavor. It is well made, easy to use and clean and won’t break the bank.

Highly recommended indeed.


MY RATING: 92%


Pros

  • Great hopper with lots of space
  • Dual temperature probes
  • Ash clean out system
  • Handy grill/sear panel
  • Good price

Cons

  • Pellets do need to shifted periodically
  • Temperature sensor is slightly out
Check availability


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Larger Grill #4: Traeger Grills Pro Series 22


BEST FOR…
Those wanting something built to last.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 27 x 49 x 41
  • Hopper Capacity – 18lbs
  • Cooking Space – 572 inches
  • Weight – 103lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 180°F to 425°F
  • Two Year Warranty
  • PRICE GUIDE: $$$

Traeger Grills Pro Series pellet grill

The Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 strikes a great balance between cutting edge design and traditional grilling principles to earn its place in this list.

First things first:

This has 572 square inches of cooking space, made up of a 418 square inch main rack and a 154 square inch extra rack. It has an 18lb hopper, a cooking range from 180 to 425 degrees and weighs 103lbs.

Bottom line:

This is really well made. It has a sawhorse chassis that is extra stable, and an extremely tough steel exterior with a durable powder coat finish.

It also has some top quality all terrain wheels, that make it easy to move your grill out to the patio over all kinds of terrain.

It inspires confidence that this really is built to last.

And a few more things:

  • The porcelain coated grill grates prevent food from sticking and also makes the grill much easier to clean after cooking up a feast.
  • At 18lbs the hopper is good size and a trap door has been added to the hopper to make changing pellets much easier.
  • The Digital Pro temperature controller really does hold the temperature at a constant level, making it much easier to cook your food to perfection.
  • This is another grill that comes with dual meat probes so you can cook multiple cuts of meat without need to lift the lid.
  • It smokes wonderfully well across a variety of foods.

Needless to say it isn’t perfect:

This does burn through pellets quite quickly at higher temperatures, so that is worth noting. And although I never had to use it, when I was doing my research I read quite a few grumbles about Traeger customer support being unresponsive and unhelpful.

The bottom line is:

This is a great smoker. Strong, sturdy, keeps a constant temperature and cooks some delicious meat.


MY RATING: 91%


Pros

  • Very well made
  • Nice porcelain grill grates
  • Good hopper
  • Holds temperature well
  • Dual meat probes

Cons

  • Burns through pellets
  • Poor customer service
Check availability


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Larger Grill #5: Z Grills ZPG-7002


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
  • PRICE GUIDE: $$

Z Grills ZPG 7002

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%

>>> READ MY FULL REVIEW <<<


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
Check availability


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Larger Grill #6: Pit Boss 820FB


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
  • PRICE GUIDE: $

Pitboss 820FB

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%


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
Check availability

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Larger Grill #7: Z-Grills ZPG-1000


BEST FOR…
Those wanting lots of cooking space
.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 52 x 48 x 22.4
  • Hopper Capacity – 20lbs
  • Cooking Space – 1060 inches
  • Weight – 145lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 180°F – 450°F
  • Three Year Warranty
  • PRICE GUIDE: $$

Z-Grills ZPG-1000D pellet grill

The Z-Grills ZPG-1000D offers far and away the most cooking space on this list, enough in fact to cook a whopping 43 burgers, nine racks of ribs and seven chickens!

So let’s take a closer look:

This has 1060 square inches of grilling space, made up of three grills. Rack one is 432 square inches, rack two is 374 square inches and rack three is 255 square inches.

It has a 20lb hopper and a cooking range of 180 to 450 °F. It weighs 145lbs and comes with a three-year warranty.

So what’s the rub here?

As previously alluded to it is undoubtedly the huge cooking space this has. You can literally cook up a feast across the three racks here.

If you have a large family, or like holding barbeques for your friends then this is an ideal choice. The three racks means you can organise your food and you are free to grill pretty much anything you choose.

Not just that:

  • This is really well made, stable and secure and the racks have durable ceramic/porcelain coating on them.
  • A lot of thought has been put into the design, for instances the shelves and main grate are all counter-height. This isn’t something you always find on a smoker, often they are a lower height which makes them less natural and more uncomfortable to use.
  • You have lots of storage and preparation space, there is a side shelf, plenty of tool hooks and an enclosed cabinet. You can have all your grilling aids close at hand which is great.
  • Despite its size it is really easy to move thanks to four locking caster wheels.
  • It has a large hopper. At 20lbs it means you aren’t frequently changing your pellets.

Needless to say it isn’t perfect:

This is a really good grill, but it does have a couple of failings. It would be nice if there was a window to view your food as you cook, especially with such a large grilling area. Also a lid-mounted analog temperature gauge would be a nice addition too.

Long story short:

A large hopper, lots of cooking space, easy ash clean out, great temperature control and delicious food. What more could you want from a pellet grill?

The Z-Grills ZPG-1000D does a great job.


MY RATING: 89%


Pros

  • Huge amount of cooking space
  • Good design
  • Lots of storage and preparation space
  • Large hopper
  • Easy to move

Cons

  • No window to view as you cook
  • No lid mounted temperature gauge
Check availability

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Larger Grill #8: Z-Grills ZPG-6002B


BEST FOR…
Those wanting a small family grill.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 46 x 46 x 22
  • Hopper Capacity – 8lbs
  • Cooking Space – 573 inches
  • Weight – 73lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 180°F – 450°F
  • Three Year Warranty
  • PRICE GUIDE: $

Z-Grills ZPG-6002B pellet grill

If you are looking for a well priced grill for a small family then look no further than the Z-Grills ZPG-6002B.

So here we go:

This has a total of 573 square inches of cooking space, comprised of a top rack of 240 square inches and a main cooking area of 330 square inches.

The hopper capacity is 8 lbs and a cooking range of from 180 to 450 °F, as well as up to 750 °F of direct flame searing. It weighs 73lbs and comes with a three-year warranty.

Here’s the point:

For the price this is a really good quality grill, some brands will cost almost twice as much for a very similar grill.

It is sturdy and well made, and whilst not huge, you can easily fit enough on it to feed a small family of three or four.

And there is this:

  • This has a sear mode which works by simply opening the air door and adjusting the temperature control to the maximum. It is really effective.
  • This is easy to assemble, easy to start and easy to move thanks to its locking caster wheels. 
  • This is surprisingly efficient when it comes to pellet use, so less trips to the store to top up for you!
  • The temperature remains stable, faithful to the temperature display on the grill.
  • Nice porcelain grates that are easy to clean.

However:

The temperature probe inside the grill is a bit close to the lid opening, which means if it is windy out you do get an erroneous reading.

Also there is an issue with the grill flowing to the drip bucket, there is a tendency for it to accumulate in the bottom of the grill, which means a bigger job when you try to clean it.

In short:

A great grill for a small family. You can fit two whole chicken and two or three racks of ribs or something comparable on this. If that is enough for you then it is great choice, as it grills and smokes perfectly and has a very inviting price tag.


MY RATING: 88%


Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Effective sear mode
  • Easy to use
  • Efficient on pellets
  • Porcelain grates that clean easily

Cons

  • Temperature probe a bit close to the lid opening
  • Grease has a tendency to accumulate
Check availability

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The Best Pellet Grills 2021 – Smaller Grills

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Smaller Grill #1: Camp Chef Smoke Pro SE


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
  • PRICE GUIDE: $

Camp Chef Smoke Pro SE

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%


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
Check availability

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Smaller Grill #2: Traeger Grills Ranger Grill


BEST FOR…
Those who want a portable grill for traveling.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 20 x 13 x 21
  • Hopper Capacity – 8lbs
  • Cooking Space – 176 square inches
  • Weight – 60lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 180°F to 450°F
  • Three Year Warranty
  • PRICE GUIDE: $$
Traeger Grills Ranger pellet grill

The ideal grill for RVers, the Traeger Grills Ranger Grill is small and compact, but whilst it is maybe diminutive sizewise it is big on performance.

Let’s dig a little deeper:

With 176 square inches of cooking space, this grill has a temperature range of 180 to 450 °F. The pellet hopper has a capacity of 8lbs and it weighs 60lbs in total. It comes with a three-year warranty.

Want to know what makes this so special?

Pure and simple – performance in a small package. If you are a trucker/RVer and want a grill that delivers wonderfully tasty food but doesn’t take up much space you should seriously consider this.

This is roomier than you might expect too. Officially, according to the Traeger website, it fits one rib rack, six burgers or ten hot dogs. It easily fits two full sized chickens and is perfect for two to four people.

A great choice if you don’t have space for a full smoker.

Add to that:

  • Because of its size it heats up really quickly.
  • And it also uses very little in the way of pellets – around 1lb an hour.
  • It includes a cast iron griddle which is of top quality and great for getting a nice sear or frying up a cooked breakfast.
  • It does a really good job of maintaining the temperature.
  • It slow smokes really well – set it to around 180 to 185 °F and wait. It delivers a wonderfully smoky flavor.

But:

This is actually fairly heavy despite its small size. Moving it in and out of a truck does require a little strength. 

Also the pellet hopper could do with some improvement. Once you put pellets in it they can’t be easily emptied unless you remove the screws holding the grated screen. It would be much easier if there was some kind of twist latch.

The bottom line is:

Simple to use, good functionality, portable and temperature consistency make this a choice you should definitely consider if you are looking for a small pellet grill that produces wonderfully tasty food.


MY RATING: 91%


Pros

  • Great for travelling/RVers
  • Great at slow smoking
  • Heats up quickly
  • Holds temperature well
  • Doesn’t use many pellets

Cons

  • Quite heavy for its size
  • Pellet hopper is difficult to empty

Check availability

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Smaller Grill #3: Z-Grills ZPG-450A


BEST FOR…
Those new to grilling.

Product Spec

  • Size in inches (DxHxW) – 45 x 49 x 28
  • Hopper Capacity – 15lbs
  • Cooking Space – 452 square inches
  • Weight – 84 lbs
  • Cooking Temperature – 180°F to 450°F
  • Three Year Warranty
  • PRICE GUIDE: $

Z-Grills ZPG-450A pellet grill

If you are new to grilling and/or have a small family and want an easy to use pellet grill then look no further than the Z-Grills ZPG-450A.

So here we go:

This has 452 square inches of cooking space, made up of a top rack of 128 square inches and a main cooking area of 324 square inches.

The hopper has a capacity of 15lbs and it has a temperature range from 180 to 450 °F. It weighs 84lbs and comes with a three-year warranty. It also comes with a rain cover.

So lets get to the point:

This pellet grill is specifically designed for small families, it is big enough to fit the bigger cuts of meat like a whole brisket and pork shoulder or a full rack of baby back ribs. It is the ideal family smoker size wise.

And if you are a beginner then this is a perfect grill to start with. It features electric auto-start ignition, easy temperature control and a nice and easy to read LED temperature display. It makes cooking up some delicious food as easy as it possibly could be.

What is more:

  • This is very well made, you can tell that by how heavy it is. It is all gauge metal, and the only plastic parts are the wheels. It is built to last.
  • This actually has a really modern and sleek look, that makes it stand out amongst grills. The sheen on the metal makes it very eye catching.
  • Despite how heavy it is it is very easy to move around thanks to the quality castor lock wheels.
  • It comes with a wireless grill thermometer. You can monitor your food from your smartphone as it cooks and you will be notified when it has reached the ideal serving temperature.
  • This gets up to temperature exceptionally quickly and then seems to hold it pretty consistently.

I do have a couple of grumbles:

I think the hopper design could be better. The pellets don’t shift on their own very well, so you do have to stir them every hour or so to keep them over the auger opening. If the hopper had sloping sides to create a funnel effect it would really help.

The warming grill is in a slightly awkward position, directly above the level of the exhaust, and possibly in the way if you are cooking something particularly large.

In a nutshell:

This is a well made and easy to use grill. It smokes well and is perfect for beginners to grilling. Not only that it is reasonably well priced.

If you are just cooking for you and your family this is definitely worth considering.


MY RATING: 90%


Pros

  • Great for small families
  • Good for newbies to grilling
  • Very well made
  • Eye catching look
  • Nice wireless grill thermometer

Cons

  • Hopper design could be better
  • Warming grill could get in the way
Check availability

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Smaller Grill #4: Camp Chef Smoke Pro DLX


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
  • PRICE GUIDE: $$


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%


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
Check availability

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Smaller Grill #5: Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite


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
  • PRICE GUIDE: $$$

Traeger Lil Tex Elite

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%


Pros

  • Quality construction
  • Compact
  • Fantastic temperature controller
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Searing takes a little longer
  • More expensive option
Check availability

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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 Z-Grills ZPG-6002B – sturdy, efficient and produces great food.

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.

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