Smoked Bisket

BBQ & Outdoor

Top 9 Pellet Smokers Reviewed 2021

After doing extensive research, we’ve narrowed down the list of pellet smokers to the following nine. Our top pick is the Traeger Pro 575 Pellet Grill but read more if you want to know how we decided!

Most of these are multi-purpose grills and smokers, which might help you save money and space if you particularly enjoy these two cooking methods. If you’re at the start of your pellet smoking journey, it might be best to try a pellet smoking tube.

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Top Pick

Traeger Pro 575 Pellet Grill

  • Equipped with WiFi technology for control via an app or Alexa
  • Porcelain-coated grate for easy cleaning
  • Built-in meat probe ensures accurate temperature monitoring
  • Fairly straightforward assembly
  • More use provides better flavor
  • Prone to blown fuses
  • Suffers premature cosmetic damage

Traeger’s Pro Series of pellet grills are among the best on the market, and the Pro 575 is no exception. This pellet grill is versatile enough to allow you to smoke, grill, bake, barbecue, and more, all in this single unit. 

Traeger’s pellet smokers were designed with the idea of creating a genuine but mild wood-fired taste in your food. Its variable-speed fan creates a smoky vortex inside the barrel, helping to infuse your food with flavor, and its natural airflow helps encourage convection. 

With 575 square inches of cooking space, you can cook a large meal for your family or backyard gatherings. It will cook five racks of ribs, up to 24 hamburgers, and even four chickens. Arranged correctly, you can cook a combination of all of these. 

If you want to keep your food warm after it’s finished cooking, Traeger’s Pro 575 has a “keep warm” mode that’s excellent for gatherings where people graze while socializing.

Pellet Smoker Buying Guide

While developing the best pellet smoker/grill review, we went through some of the things you should understand to choose a good pellet smoker. 

We also explain how they work to help you understand pellet smokers in general. 

How to Choose a Pellet Smoker

Pellet smokers don’t give your food a strong, smoky flavor simply because of how the pellets burn. They infuse your food with a mild smoky flavor, which helps allow the food’s natural flavor to come through. If you’re looking for a much stronger flavor, a pellet smoker may not be for you.

Class and Cost

Pellet smokers come in four classes: Luxury, premium, practical, and economy. Luxury smokers have many more features than economy smokers, including a choice between built-in and freestanding models, an extensive temperature range, and highly accurate temperature settings.

Economy-class smokers have pre-set temperatures and are designed almost exclusively for low-temperature smoking because they can’t top 500 degrees. They’re also quite basic, meaning they don’t have many frills.

Premium and practical are in between these two. You have two primary factors to consider in making your choice: Affordability and intended use. For instance, you might be able to afford a luxury or premium smoker, but will do better with a practical or economy smoker because you won’t use most of the higher-end pellet smokers’ features. 

Electric vs. Gas Power

Pellet smokers rely on either electricity or gas for power to turn the augur, run the fans, and power the controller. Most electric pellet smokers plug into a standard outlet, but some require a high-amp extension cord and outlet to work. 

As you look at electric pellet smokers, be sure you’re considering one that will work with your available electrical outlets. If you need an extension cord, make sure you get one with specifications to work with your pellet smoker.

Some pellet smokers use the same propane you’d use with a gas grill. They have an advantage over electric smokers in that they don’t draw power from your house, and they work even if you lose power. 

However, if you plan on long cooking sessions, you might need to keep extra propane on hand.

Temperature Control

Most pellet smokers today have proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controls. These controls fine-tune the temperature inside the pellet smoker to ensure temperature consistency. Some of the more advanced pellet smokers out there have digital and wifi-enabled controls, meaning you have more control over what your smoker does even if you’re not next to it.

Since smoking meat is more of an art that requires precision than anything else, getting a pellet smoker that, at minimum, has a PID controller is a good idea.

Pellet Delivery

A pellet smoker’s pellets use compressed wood chips and sawdust for fuel. An auger system sends those pellets into the burn pot, which ignites and causes them to start burning. 

You control how quickly pellets move into the burn pot with a thermostat. Lower temperatures mean fewer pellets are moving through the auger into the burn pot. The lower the temperature, the stronger the smoky flavor.

Pellet smokers use convection to mix warm and cool air to maintain an even heating temperature while allowing the smoke from the burning pellets to infuse your food, creating that wonderful smoky taste so many of us love.

Durability

There are some inexpensive pellet grills and some cheap pellet grills, and the difference is in their quality and durability. When you’re looking for a good one, durability should be one of your most important criteria. 

You’re investing in your cooking, so you want something that will survive the conditions under which you cook.

Pellet Smokers Grills

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Camp Chef SmokePro Slide Pellet Smoker

  • New PID controller has ten different smoking levels
  • Removing ashes only requires pulling a lever
  • Full-sized folding shelf on the front
  • Assembly instructions available via video on Camp Chef’s site
  • Easy removal method for wood pellets
  • PID controller is not WiFi compatible
  • Even in “grill” mode, temperature does not get hot enough for searing

If you’re looking for an affordable but high-quality pellet smoker, Camp Chef’s SmokePro might serve you well. With six functions in one pellet smoker, all you have to do is choose your cooking method, arrange your food, and let the smoker do the rest.

It has a meat probe included, so even though this is more of a budget pellet smoker, you have an easy way to check your meat’s temperature as it cooks. Also, the 811 square inches of cooking space mean you can smoke up a lot of food for a party.

Camp Chef calls this a slide smoker because it has a “grill knob” on the side. If you turn the knob, it slides the heat shield to one side, exposing the grate to the burn pot and turning your smoker into a grill. The drip tray has slits in it to help expose the meat to more direct heat.

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Grilla Grills Silverbac Alpha Model Pellet Grill

  • Comes with a 20-pound hopper
  • Digital button control has five-degree increments
  • Features auto-ignition
  • Easily seasoned in 45 minutes
  • Standard mode produces a more robust smoky flavor
  • Heavy enough to require two people to move
  • Takes several minutes for pellets to start dropping steadily into the burn pot

Grilla Grills Silverbac pellet grill stays cool enough to smoke your food wonderfully, but is also capable of getting hot enough for searing. Besides smoking and searing, you can broil, bake, roast, grill, and more with this pellet grill.

The Silverbac pellet grill has a dual-mode PID controller, allowing you to control both the smoker’s temperature and the amount of smoke your food gets. It also has a double-walled barrel to protect against cool temperatures while maintaining fuel efficiency.

Its 500-degree Fahrenheit temperature setting is excellent for pizza, which you may not think of putting in a smoker or on a grill, but can add a hint of unique flavor. Its 692 square inches of cooking space give you the ability to cook massive cuts of meat.

You can get a rack extension that will expand that space to a whopping 877 square inches.

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Z Grills ZPG 450A Wood Pellet Grill

  • 15-pound capacity hopper
  • PID technology holds consistent temps
  • Made from steel with a heat-resistant, powder coating
  • Two porcelain-coated grates for easy cleaning
  • Digital LED control panel
  • Max temp may make searing difficult
  • Pellets don’t fall properly in grilling mode

Z Grills manufactures fully automated, extremely versatile wood pellet grills, including this one. While many pellet smokers have six functions, the ZPG 450A has eight functions, allowing you to smoke, grill, barbecue, sear, char-grill, bake, roast, and even braise your meat to your taste.

Its automation allows you to set the temperature at which you want to cook and let it do its thing. If you’re having a small party or even just cooking for your family, you can go and take care of other things while the ZPG 450A is cooking your food.

It also comes at a remarkably affordable price for all the technology it employs and the quality of its cooking.

This pellet smoker is smaller than others, with just 450 square inches of cooking space and less for grilling. It will work for gatherings, but you’ll have a more challenging time with large parties than you will with larger smokers. Nevertheless, you get excellently cooked meat with this smoker.

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Camp Chef Woodwind 24-Inch WiFi Pellet Grill

  • Ash cleanout system lets you remove ashes after every use
  • PID controller is BlueTooth enabled
  • Easy to operate
  • Optional propane burner adds versatility
  • Ten smoke levels to cook to your taste
  • Super-heavy at 162 pounds
  • WiFi connectivity is iffy

Camp Chef is one of the more well-known brands of pellet smokers and grills, and its Woodwind series lives up to that reputation. The Woodwind 24-inch WiFi pellet grill comes with four meat probes and four ports for those probes, allowing you to monitor a lot of food all at once.

Like their SmokePro SG model, the Woodwind 24-inch has a slide-and-grill feature, which allows you to grill directly over a flame at up to 650 degrees. Also, with its digital PID controller, you can specify the level of smoke you want getting into your food in smoking mode.

If you’re looking for space, you get 811 square inches of cooking space, divided into 429 square inches on the lower rack and 382 square inches on the upper rack. It’s great for large family cookouts in the summer.

The Woodwind also comes in a 36-inch model, so if that’s not enough cooking space for you, you can opt for the larger model and get a whopping 1,236 square inches of cooking area.

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Memphis Grills Elite Wood Fire Pellet Grill

  • WiFi makes it easy to operate
  • Creates less ash than charcoal
  • Smokes all sorts of meats, including fish, to excellence
  • Intelligent temperature control works similar to an oven
  • Programmable meat probe for precision monitoring
  • Built-in design means no mobility at all
  • May require professional installation

Memphis Grills makes some high-end pellet smokers, so they’re more expensive than others on the market. However, their quality lives up to their price and makes these grills well worth the expense. With the Elite Wood Fire pellet grill, you can smoke, bake, grill, sear, and more at temperatures ranging from 180 degrees to 700 degrees.

Its 24-pound hopper offers up to 62 hours of cook time, compared to other pellet smokers that offer just 15-30 hours of cook time due to the smaller hoppers. Its stainless steel construction gives it the durability it needs to withstand such high temperatures and long cooking times.

The Elite Wood Fire pellet grill is a built-in grill, so you’ll need somewhere to install it. Memphis Grills also sells its own pellets, which come in six different flavors, so if you’re looking for cooking pellets that are 100% compatible with this grill, you have your pick.

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Z Grills ZPG 1000D Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

  • Automated feed system for temperature accuracy and smoke level
  • Locking caster wheels included
  • Fan-forced convection eliminates the need for a rotisserie
  • Excellent storage cabinet
  • Stays within 10 degrees of set temp even in cold weather
  • Only goes up to 450 degrees
  • Curved chimney creates problems with removing the cover

The 1000D is Z Grills’ top-of-the-line pellet smoker, so if you’re looking for something high-quality from a top-rated brand that doesn’t come with an eye-popping price tag, take a look at the 1000D.

Like its siblings, it can cook your food eight ways, including smoking, baking, grilling, roasting, barbecuing, and more, making it one of the most versatile pellet grills on the market. It has an electronic auto-start mechanism and a waste-oil collector for quick and easy startup and cleaning.

It uses heavy-duty stainless steel construction, along with multiple grates to give you over 1,000 square inches of cooking surface. You can cook large racks of ribs, tons of burgers and hot dogs, and even do things like smoke corn and other veggies where smoke gives them a little kick.

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Green Mountain Davy Crockett Portable Pellet Grill

  • Weighs just 68 pounds
  • Takes a disposable grease tray for easy cleaning
  • Only requires folding down the legs to transport
  • Cooks even frozen meat well
  • Has trouble holding consistent temperatures
  • WiFi connection is prone to dropping

Maybe you want something you can take with you somewhere, or you just don’t want a larger pellet smoker. Green Mountain’s Davy Crockett pellet grill fits that bill. Its foldable construction and low weight mean you can put it in the bed of your pickup or even in your car’s trunk.

Despite how small it is, the Davy Crockett has a thermal sensor to monitor temperature, a meat probe, and a unique pointed rack for ribs. It may not have the cooking space of most pellet smokers, but you can still cook two racks of ribs or up to six steaks in it.

This is an electric smoker, so you can just plug it into a standard outdoor wall outlet at home. However, if you’re on the go, you can use a 12-volt plug to connect it to your car. You can even use alligator clips to connect it directly to your car’s battery if necessary.

It’s also WiFi-enabled so you can control it with your cell phone no matter where you are. This is an excellent little grill for tailgating, home barbecuing, and small family gatherings with its own utensil tray.

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Traeger Ironwood 885 Wood Pellet Grill

  • App comes with its own recipes, tips, and tricks
  • 850 square inches of cooking space
  • Easy to assemble
  • Excellent for brisket
  • Direct D2 drivetrain allows more precise temperature control
  • Doesn’t grill well at high temperatures
  • Reverse searing is difficult as well

The Ironwood 885 pellet smoker from Traeger is so technologically advanced it works with Amazon’s Alexa, meaning you can give it voice commands. It also has WiFi technology and a phone app for controlling things remotely. You can even use your phone to create and store custom cook cycles, which you can then send to this pellet smoker.

It also has a built-in sensor to tell you when you’re running low on pellets. That way, you never run out of them, especially in the middle of cooking.

You can cook food quickly at high heat or slowly at low heat, depending on the flavor and tenderness you desire. Like its Traeger cousins, you can smoke, grill, bake, roast, braise, and barbecue. It’s not as versatile as a few other high-end pellet smokers, but you get plenty of choices with it.

FAQs

We’ve done some additional research to answer the most common questions about pellet smokers.

Who Makes the Best Pellet Smoker Grill?

There are several excellent brands out there, but Traeger and Camp Chef appear to be the top two brands. Their smokers work well, are durable and reliable, and they both have wide ranges of smokers in every class. 

Do Pellet Grills Make Good Smokers?

Generally, yes. However, it depends on what kind of flavor you want. Pellet smokers tend to infuse food with a mild smoky taste rather than the stronger taste you’ll get with an actual smoker. 

Can You Leave Pellets in the Hopper?

No. When you leave pellets in the hopper, they can soften and start to rot because they’re exposed to the elements. You should empty the unused pellets from the hopper after every use.

Is There a Healthy Way to Smoke Meat?

Yes. Smoking causes the fat to drip off, leaving you with leaner, healthier meat. You should smoke your meat in ways that prevent charring, which can cause digestive problems. You should also be certain you use food-safe pellets. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking about buying a pellet smoker, you have many criteria to consider before deciding which one’s best for you. The good news is that you have many different smokers from which to choose, so you can find one that’s high-quality, in your price range, and will do what you want it to do.