Best Pellet Smokers Review for the Money (Updated 2019)
In this updated pellet smoker reviews, our focus is to make everything clear about the best pellet smokers and eliminating the ambiguities. We have a list of favorite selections from the most reputable brands in the US and beyond.
In addition, we have sufficient reasons to justify our selections and suggestions. Of course, we do all these with one basic purpose - to make you, the potential buyer, a satisfied consumer of the best pellet grills.
The realm of smoking has continued to turn into myth with the stretch of time. As of now, it is growing into a mysterious type day by day. Correspondingly, the need to upgrade the cooking setup of your backyard continues to broaden and you’d certainly not like to embrace defeat.
Cheap pellet smokers are countable among the earliest cooking equipment, yet their potential to match the zest of enthusiasts remains unchanged.
In view of the complexity of smokers nowadays, we are doubtless that this systematic review will provide you with all the details you require. Upon reading it, yours will be a well-judged decision. So, here it is:
Our Top Choice
Our 2nd Choice
REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill Alternative here.
Why Should You Trust Us to Get the Best Pellet Grills?
While looking for a good smoker, nothing else assures certainty than meeting an expert or having a direct conversation with an expert. And for sure, no other expert is as experienced with top rated pellet smokers as we are. In this regard, the basis of our judgment is our own firsthand experience and love for smoking and grilling.
Notably, we are among the most updated reviewers giving the latest information on the leading competitive pellet smokers. To put it differently, all our reviews are based on full evidence.
Therefore, the pellet smoker we recommend is most probably what you will find in the store. So, this is where you’ll get the absolute truth about pellet smokers.
Besides, we regularly make improvements and update you on anything to do with the best smokers. What then would compromise your trust in us? Considering all things in general, we are your ultimate source of direction to get the best pellet smokers 2018. We always promise not to betray consumers’ trust in us.
History of Pellet Smokers
What we currently recognize as advanced pellet smokers have their genesis in simple pellet stoves about 5 decades ago. The need for alternative sources of heat started from the 1970s oil crisis. Consequently, wood pellets came into existence.
Thereafter, pellet smokers came into use when two men (Jerry Whitfield and Joe Traeger) experimented using pellet-burning stoves. They recognized a significant difference between the pellet-burning stoves and conventional wood stoves, though both of them outwardly appeared relatively similar.
Markedly, the pellet stoves were motor-driven and powered by an auger. This aided in delivering the required quantity of pellets to a fire pot from the storage hopper. In the fire pot, a fan facilitated combustion by blowing the warm air out of the stove.
The Latest Pallet Smoker
As time went by, both pioneers continued to integrate improvements which have led to the present-day pellet smoker. That is to say, pellet smokers evolved from automated grills to the true ‘set it and forget it’ with relatively enhanced controllers.
The initial analog smokers with three position controllers comprised of settings for smoke, bake, and grill. This was followed by multi-position controllers that featured 8-10 temperature settings and LCD display at 25 degrees’ Fahrenheit increments.
Pellet Smokers Today
Most of the present-day pellet smokers make use of PID algorithmic technology. Users are now able to set the smoker at 5 degrees’ increments. With this, it becomes easier to achieve the most precise cooking you desire.
Additionally, many of the current pellet smokers have integrated probe thermometers. These meat probes are advanced in such a way that users can easily program them to lower the cooking temperature when the food is ready.
In a nutshell, the present pellet smokers are quite advanced in terms of efficiency, convenience, and even versatility.
5 Top Rated Pellet Smoker Reviews:
We are committed to helping you make a quick choice and remain clear on it. Thus, we have identified five of the best but a little bit different smokers for you. And help you to get good pellet smoker for the money. Definitely, our selection considered multiple and diverse consumer needs.
However, we have not compromised quality and convenience in any way. In fact, the difference among them is notable, yet they do not compromise consumer desires.
1. Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill
This pellet smoker is outstandingly characterized by its portable Wi-Fi control and remote operational mechanism. Moreover, experts have utilized modern technology to enhance portability using foldable legs.
Other features include meat probe, rib racks, convenience tray having utensil hooks, a peaked lid among other numerous accessories. In the final analysis, this smoker is quite convenient for both home use and other occasions like festivals. Read more...
2. Traeger TFB42LZBC Grills Lil Tex Elite 22 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
Among the best wood pellet smokers, this model tops the list. Most significantly, this grill is fueled up by complete pure hardwood pellets which in turn enriches food flavor.
Additionally, its operation is even made easier with the digital elite controller which works like an oven. Users achieve mobility with this smoker using its front wheels, while the smoker is sizable for most home users. Read more...
Check Traeger grills vs Green Mountain grills, which one is the best?
3. Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe Pellet Grill and Smoker
Camp Chef pellet grill and smoker is used to accomplish grilling, smoking and baking a wide variety of foods. It has accessories such as the rack, sear box, pizza stone, and front and side shelves, which makes your grilling process delicate.
On the other hand, its patented ash clean out makes your cooking neat and organized.
The smoker is offset-made, featuring a design in which food smokes in a long and horizontal chamber. This, in turn, increases your BBQ capacity. Read more...
4. REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill - Featuring Smart Grill Technology
This pellet smoker features a great design and ability to maintain consistent cooking temperature. As a matter of fact, using this smoker requires you to just set the fire and forget.
Additionally, the smoker is characterized by high-quality results marked by a six-year warranty. Moreover, the hopper capacity of this REC TEC best wood pellet grill is 40 pounds. Read more...
Update: There are more products available in their store. REC TEC Grills RT-590 can be an alternative choice.
5. Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet Grill with Flame Broiler
Pit boss pellet grill reviews: This a strong pellet grill with a total cooking surface of 700 sq. inches. It comprises of cast iron grids coated with porcelain for both protective a quality purpose. Equally important, the smoker uses a digitally controlled and efficient burn system.
It also uses 100% natural wood pellets which significantly enhances food taste. Added to the fact that the smoker is durable, its entire design is innovative. Read more...
Pit boss vs Traeger: What are the differences between them? Check here the comparison.
Buying Guide: So What Should You Look for When You’re Buying Your Pellet Smoker?
At this point, you are in dire need of a smoker for whichever purpose. Before you start exploring the market, there are a number of points you have to put into consideration before bringing your pellet smoker at home.
In the first place, why would you buy a pellet smoker anyway? This question will guide you smoothly, navigating your priorities and ultimately you’ll come up with an informed decision.
A purchaser who has little or no information is more likely going to end up in regrets. Certainly, you don’t want to go that direction because you are not a loser but a winner. Now, take a few seconds and look at the things you need to attentively consider to get the exact smoker.
1. Ease of Use and Convenience
Usability of a smoker, or any equipment, will affect you wholesomely. After purchasing, you might come to realize that you made a blunder buying a smoker that you cannot use. For this reason, make sure that the model you choose is considerate of whoever will be using the smoker.
Furthermore, if you are stranded between two smokers, remember your level of expertise as well as where you’ll be using it. Experts can enjoy using even complex smokers with the advanced operational mechanism. For the newbie, you should better look for something simple, and you will be able to upgrade with time.
2. Consider Your Budget
Your budget is a significant part of your decisions, especially while making decisions to do with your finances. First of all, it is worth noting that cheap is often expensive. However, this does not apply in all circumstances.
In effect, cheap can simply mean cost-friendly which does not dig deeper into your budget. Nevertheless, most expensive smokers consistently manifest advanced functionality and features. In this regard, your goal is to get exactly what will fulfill your needs and demands without necessarily overpaying.
This is why we recommend that you make a comparison between different brands and choose the smoker that satisfies you completely. At this point, you can now buy from a brand that sells smokers at a lower cost.
3. Online Reviews and Rating
The reviews and ratings about a smoker are directly proportional to the quality and convenience of that smoker. Because we review various smokers and rate based on our expertise and prevailing facts, you have all the reasons to trust us.
They are consistent reflections of what previous customers of similar smokers have experienced as far as the smoker is concerned.
Additionally, a smoker that is good has a better star rating as compared to a low-quality smoker. Now, when you are about to buy a smoker and find negative feedbacks from customers, you should rethink your decision. This is especially when such comments concern the quality and the level of functionality.
However, we don’t advise choosing perfectly reviewed smokers only because they may be hard to come across. Bottlenecks are opportunities for improvements. Your task is to be as clear as possible with the features that interest you most.
If there is no limitation that directly affects your desires and needs, it might be wise to base your decision on the strengths. In other words, always have a positive mind while considering a smoker to buy.
4. What is the Intended Purpose of the Smoker?
What you intend to do with your smoker also counts a lot while going to the market. Of course, we acknowledge the fact that most smokers are multi-purpose. However, that does not necessarily imply that any smoker can perform any function.
The specialty of the pellet smoker is what counts. You might be intending to use your smoker primarily for grilling.
Thereupon, make a selection from the top-rated pellet smokers that grill better than it smokes or bakes. In the same way, if your ultimate intention is to smoke, buy a smoker rather than a grill.
Lastly, varied user categories benefit differently from different types of smokers. For instance, bigger families and restaurant owners would optimally benefit from a bigger smoker.
Conversely, smaller and medium-sized families stand a chance to derive satisfaction from smaller and convenient smokers.
5. Brand Reputation and Quality of the Smoker
Your money is worth a good and satisfactory smoker. For no reason, you should buy a smoker that will dumb you and betray your desires. Therefore, prior to buying a smoker, be sure that your brand of choice is undoubtedly outstanding.
Looking at the pellet smoker reviews, you realize that specific brands are recognized for high-quality products. In fact, talking of a brand like Camp Chef is inseparable from the word quality pellet smoker.
Not to forget, highly reputable brands are certified, well known, which means that they are not ready to dissipate their name. That is why, many a time, they have a product warranty as a way of assuring the quality of their products.
What is a Pellet Smoker and How Does Pellet Smoker Work?
A pellet smoker in the present-day context refers to a thermostatically controlled smoker or grill with a pellet feed command system. This system relies on the temperature sensor inside the cooking box for adjustment and regulation.
In other terms, a pellet smoker functions in the same way as an oven. All you have to do is simply set the cooking temperature and its cooking system auto-kicks on and off to maintain your set temperature point.
An LED display is also integrated to show your set temperature. The best competition pellet smokers allow for easy toggling between your set temperature and the actual temperature readings obtained from the internal thermostat.
There might be a slight fluctuation while switching on or off the controller. However, most advanced touch-pad controllers are better able to withstand fluctuations as opposed to the indoor oven.
Most recent pellet controllers come with integrated probes, allowing you to monitor the internal temperature of your BBQ. Of late, pellet smokers come with wireless remote control and monitoring from your smartphone or tablet.
Is it a Smoker or a Grill?
The question as to whether pellet smokers are simply smokers or grills has trended for quite some time. Finally, we have found the answer. Because of its multipurpose nature, manufacturers have consistently advertised this equipment both as a grill and a smoker.
The role that each one plays the best determines its category. Searing is one function a grill performs the best. But does this pellet equipment sear and steak better than a charcoal grill? Or even a gas grill with a sear burner?
Certainly, this equipment lags behind on this particular function. Because a charcoal grill selling at around $20 will sear better than this pellet equipment. But when it comes to smoking, this is where the smoker overwhelmingly wins.
For this reason, it is wiser and rational to think of it as a superbly-designed indirect heat convention smoker. It is therefore, more of a smoker than grill, based on the function it performs the best. However, this definition doesn’t eliminate it from the list of possible grills.
How to Use a Pellet Smoker?
Using a pellet smoker is somehow technical if you are a beginner. This is because there are many things you have to do with your smoker right from assembly to the end of food preparation. Let us delve through the steps of using pellet smoker one by one.
Assemble the Smoker:
Fill the Auger Tube:
Once you have assembled your pellet smoker, the next step is to fill the auger tube. Similarly, you will have to fill it when it has run out of pellets. To accomplish this, here is the procedure:
Emptying the Hopper:
The grill comes with a hopper drain to instantly drain the pellets from the grill hopper. Follow these steps to safely empty the hopper:
Once you have properly filled the auger tube with pellets, you are ready to start cooking. At this point, you need to select your preferred cooking temperature from the 13 cook settings. They range from low smoke to high smoke with figures from 175 to above 500.
By simply selecting any temperature among these, the smoker automatically switches to startup mode. Its digital readout will display the reading.
“START” for about 8 minutes during its startup cycle. After the 8 minutes, readout will display the internal cooking temperature inside the grill.
Conveniently, you can change the dial at any given time either within the startup cycle or during the cooking cycle. This allows you to re-select better cooking temperature settings.
For preparing the meat to grill you may need a grinder.
Shutting Down the Grill:
When you are through with your cooking, turn the dial to the shutdown. The digital readout will immediately display the reading “DOWN”.
While in this mode, the fan remains on for exactly 10 minutes. In doing so, it finishes up the burning of any pellets remaining inside the burner. It is during this period of time that the grill’s down.
After 10 minutes, the digital readout and the auger will also turn off. At this point, turn off the main power switch.
Now, you are done with cooking using the best wood pellet smoker. What remains is your decision to purchase from Amazon. Trust that our reviews give the ultimate direction towards fulfilling your needs and desires.
Pros and Cons of a Pellet Smoker
Electric Smoker vs Wood Smoker vs Pellet Smoker
Basically, there are considerable differences between electric smokers and pellet smokers. In the same way, there are differences between pellet smokers and wood smokers as well.
Although the differences are numerous, what we have outlined in this article only surrounds the important aspects. These include ease of use, convenience, temperature control, price, flavor, and safety.
We have described these differences as follows:
1. Ease of Use and suitability
The electric smoker is perfectly convenient because it’s automatic and requires less involvement as compared to wood or pellet smoker. On the other hand, wood smokers require a lot of involvement such as chopping wood, while electric smoker simply requires electricity.
Additionally, using pellet smoker is much easier compared to a wood smoker. Both pellet smokers and wood smokers, however, are technical when it comes to the loading process. For the electric smokers, the loading process is easier and faster.
Lastly, the electric pellet smoker is simply “set it and leave it smoker”. On contrary, wood smoker and pellet smoker require commitment before and during the cooking process.
Both electric and pellet smokers are versatile when it comes to performing different types of cooking. You can use them for grilling, smoking, roasting, and baking among other tasks. This is because of a range of options available on the wood smoker.
Generally, versatility varies from smoker to smoker. Here, we rank the order of versatility from electric smoker to pellet smoker and lastly, wood smoker.
3. Flavor and Smell
Wood flavor is the goal of every BBQ. When it comes to the aspect of flavor, wood smoker produces a perfect flavor and smell. On contrary, pellet smokers are suitable in the production of good flavor but not as good as wood smokers.
Of the three smokers, electric smokers are the least in terms of flavor and wood smokers are the best. Pellet smoker is averagely placed between the two smokers.
4. Temperature Range and Control
Pellet smokers have a wide temperature range compared to any other smokers. They allow easier temperature regulation and adjustment. However, for the charcoal smoker, this is different. The user has to be there to regulate the temperature because it depends on the burning of wood.
Even though, temperature regulation also varies significantly between an electric smoker and pellet smoker. Regulating electric smoker is somehow easier as compared to the regulation of pellet smoker.
Temperature range is higher in an electric smoker than any other smokers. However, pellet smokers are capable of sustaining high temperature because they can reach 500 degrees or above.
Read more about the meat thermometer here.
It is not surprising that pellet smokers are costly compared to any other smokers. It is hard to come across a smoker selling anywhere lower than $500. Others sell even beyond $1000. The high price is due to the high mechanism involved.
On the other hand, the electric smoker is readily available at a much cost-effective price. You can easily get one with any amount between $100 and $500. Conversely, the cost of wood smokers is relatively lower than both electric and pellet smokers.
When it comes to the safety of using a smoker, electric models obviously take the lead. In fact, you can use most of them indoors without any worries. They are insulated and generally user-friendly.
On the other hand, pellet smokers and wood smokers are best suited for outdoor use. Using them indoor might lead to accidents. Even though electric smokers are the safest, pellet smokers are far safer and secure compared to wood smokers.
Who are Best Suited for Pellet Smokers?
The top rated pellet smoker grills are suitable for a multitude of users. Because of a number of features they comprise of, it becomes to easier for users to apply it in various contexts. For this reason, we have identified the following user categories as potential users of pellet smokers:
Now, you might not want to embarrass yourself with sub-optimal equipment. Instead, if you are financially capable, better set aside a good amount of money and obtain a pellet smoker. Thereafter, you wave goodbye to all inconveniences and regrets.
Top 5 Pellet Smokers Infographics Design
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FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about Pellet Smokers
Q-1: What is the best pellet smoker?
Ans: Pellet grills and pellet smokers are the same things. Camp Chef PG24 Deluxe Pellet Grill is an amazing pellet smoker for beginner level barbecuers because temperature control of the smoker is very simple.
Q-2: Which Traeger grill is the best?
Ans: Traeger Grills Select Elite Wood Pellet Grill is the best Traeger grill you can find on the market. It comes with storage space underneath along with 589 square inches of grilling space. It is a little pricey, but it is worth the price.
Q-3: Do pellet grills give smoke flavor?
Ans: Not really. Pellet grill is a great addition to the grilling and barbecuing tradition, and they are convenient to use. However, pellet grills don’t produce authentic smoke flavors. These grills are run by electricity.
Q-4: How do wood pellet smokers work?
Pellet grills run electricity. In wood pellet smokers, hardwood pellets are moved by an auger from the hopper. There is a controller to set up the required temperature.
Q-5: What temp is the smoke setting on a pit boss?
Ans: Pit boss smokers’ capacity of reaching the highest temperature is about 500°F. Its cooking temperature is set at 225° to 240°F. Additionally, the manufacturer claims the temperature can go up by an additional 150° on pellet smokers.
Q-6: Are pellet grills good for smoking?
Ans: Pellets grills use convection heating method for which it is considered a healthier option because wood pellets burn faster, creating high temperature. It is the meat is cooked quicker and is not exposed to the flame for a long time.
Q-7: Are pellet grills better than gas?
Ans: To some extent, the pellet grills are better than gas grills since wood pellets are made up of all-natural hardwood. Also, pellet grills don’t smoke as much as compared to a charcoal grill.
Q-8: What is the best pellet smoker to buy?
Ans: There a number of smokers to buy, but to get tender and flavorful meats you have to pick the best one. Dyna-Glo Wide Body Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker is one of the best smokers you can get for better barbecuing and grilling experience.
Q-9: Can you use any pellets in a Traeger?
Ans: The answer is yes. You can use any pellets in a Traeger. You can use any flavored pellets by any company in a Traeger. The company itself also produces high pellets of various flavors.
Q-10: How long does it take to heat up a pellet grill?
Ans: Usually, it takes 5 to 10 minutes to heat a pellet grill. In a pellet grill, the pellets from the hopper are automatically delivered to the firepot by an auger as soon as you turn on the machine.
Q-11: Where are Traeger smokers made?
Ans: For a very long time, Traeger smokers are made in China. From 2008, the company has been manufacturing its grills in China. However, commercial grills are manufactured in the US.
Q-12: What are pellets made of?
Ans: Pellets are made with various materials including biomass, wood chips, sawdust, and bark. They are also made with other types of manufacturing wood products. Agricultural materials are also used to make fire pellets.
To wrap up the debate about pellet smokers, it is worth noting some of its outstanding features. First, this smoker uses pellets and can function both as a smoker and a grill. It performs multiple functions. However, because it lacks settings for an ideal grill, we have categorized it as a smoker.
In writing this review, we have analyzed factors to consider while planning to buy a specific model. These include cost, online reviews, purpose, and brand reputation among others. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll hopefully achieve your ultimate needs.
In comparison with other smokers, though the best pellet smokers might not take the lead in all aspects, it’s a convenient smoker. The manner in which it functions is perfect and convenient for almost all categories of users. Despite its high price, buying this product won’t let you down.