Learn about the best pellet smokers. Owning one makes an excellent addition to your backyard, allowing you to cook your meats perfectly with an authentic smoked flavor.
Not only will you have a new experience with your meat’s flavor but also its overall texture.
With the combination of the best features of convection ovens and smokers, you’ll have plenty of excitement when using a pellet smoker.
Learn how how pellet smokers work, if they are worth the money, what you can grill with it, the best pellet smokers on the market, and lots more.
Table of Contents
How Do Pellet Smokers Work?
If you were to look at an image of a smoker’s components, it might seem overwhelming. Fortunately, all of these parts work together simply, allowing you to cook with ease.
To first understand how smokers work, you need to know the parts and their responsibilities.
The hopper is where you’ll keep all of your wood pellets. It is typically a large unit on the left or right side of the grill.
Most hoppers have a waterproof seal to protect your wood pellets from the elements. When you need to feed pellets into the smoker, they will be taken from this storage container.
During pellet feeding, your auger is one of the essential parts of the smoker. This piece is responsible for bringing the pellets into the firepot or fire chamber to ignite them.
Without a functioning auger, it would be difficult to feed the wood pellets for ignition directly.
Depending on the type of smoker you have, the auger might automatically feed pellets when the reserves are short. This helps to make sure the smoker never drops in temperature, and your meats can cook perfectly.
Also known as a circulation fan, the combustion fan helps to push the smoke from the ignited pellets into the cooking chamber.
With the help of this process, your food will have the perfect wood-fired flavor, but it also makes sure you have consistent cooking.
The combustion fan works consistently to ensure the heat and smoke are distributed evenly without any hot spots.
As your meat begins to cook and fats drip off, the drip tray has the sole responsibility of catching it. Although it might seem meaningless, the drip tray is directly responsible for preventing flare-ups.
If you’ve chosen a model with digital controllers, they will be some of your most-used pieces on the entire smoker. Some controllers connect directly to your smartphone, allowing you to manage the smoker from anywhere in your home.
You’ll also be able to keep an eye on the most common metrics while cooking, such as temperatures and cooking times.
How Smokers Work: Simplified
In short, the hopper feeds wood pellets to the fire pot with the help of the auger. The combustion fan circulates smoke and heat to your food in the cooking chamber.
You can then use your digital controllers to keep an eye on your food and ensure it cooks to perfection.
Best Pellet Smoker Reviews
Traeger Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill
Traeger is undoubtedly one of the most famous pellet smoker grill brands, and for a good reason. This company offers an extensive list of robust products, including the Traeger Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill.
- Many cooking options
- Porcelain grill grates
- Powder-coated steel exterior
- Dual temperature probes
- Digital controller
- All-terrain wheels
With this reasonably sized outdoor cooking appliance, you’ll have plenty of great adventures working with different meats.
Versatile Cooking Options
Aside from smoking, the Traeger Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill allows cooks to braise, BBQ, roast, bake, and grill all kinds of food.
You won’t ever have to worry about running out of wood pellets in the middle of smoking, too, thanks to its 18-pound hopper. It is effortless to clean, as well, because of the special Hopper Clean Out. This allows you to purge old pellets quickly.
Porcelain Grill Grates
It is improbable that you’ll ever have to worry about your meat sticking to your new grill grates because these are made of porcelain.
Also, it’s far easier to keep this material clean than cast iron, for example, allowing you to easily maintain your smoker.
Apart from all of the features added for stability, this smoker is made from high-quality materials. The entire unit is made from robust steel and covered with a powder coat finish to help prevent signs of wear and tear.
Also, you’ll find that the powder coating protects the grill from weather changes.
Dual Meat Temperature Probes
The dual meat temperature probes are useful for monitoring the temperature of thick cuts of meat. You will be able to insert the probes into your meat and receive an immediate reading of the internal temperature.
This feature will enable any cook to know when their meat has been correctly finished every time.
Digital Pro Controller
If you’re searching for technical pellet grill reviews, this is one of the better options to consider. With the Digital Pro Controller, the unit will handle changes in temperature for you.
While cooking, it will maintain a +/- variance of 15 degrees to make sure you can grill as precisely as possible.
Side Lift Bar
With the addition of the new side lift bar, you’ll experience far more stability with uneven terrain. This feature helps add even weight distribution to the smoker, so there’s less chance of rocking.
Also, the Traeger Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill has a sawhorse chassis for even more stability.
- All-Terrain Wheels
Another feature that works with the side lift bar for better weight distribution is the all-terrain wheels. They are specially designed to offer an even cooking surface on rocks, dirt, and pavers.
You’ll also find that rolling your new grill will be much simpler and with better maneuverability.
- Easy to use
- Electric ignition
- Large cooking space
- Highly versatile
- Hard to reach above 400-degrees
- Small secondary grate
Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill
The Camp Chef SmokePro DLX is another moderately sized option for your backyard. With a slightly similar design to the Traeger Pro Series 34, you should find it easy to use for many occasions.
- Dual meat probes
- Innovative cord management
- Pre-programmed cooking cycles
- Easy maintenance
- Impressive cooking space
Among this appliance’s most significant selling features is that it helps take the guesswork out of smoking and barbecuing.
Dual Meat Probes
Just like the Traeger model, this unit also features two meat probes that you can use to monitor the temperature of your meat.
Using these tools, you won’t need to open the lid and let all the smoke out to check the meat’s temperature.
With the help of the PID controller, cooking more accurately has never been easier. You’ll be able to maintain the internal temperature of the smoker within +/- five degrees.
You’ll also get to enjoy a maximum temperature of 500 degrees and a minimum temperature of 160 degrees.
One of the most exciting features of the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX is its menu dial. Here, you can choose from an assortment of pre-programmed cooking settings, depending on your ingredients.
Even if you’ve never used a smoker before, this feature will make it much simpler for you.
A digital display on this outdoor appliance is yet another impressive feature you’d be happy to have. The screen is large and easy to read but is also low-glare, making it ideal for sunny conditions. Even at night, you’ll be able to easily view the settings you’ve chosen.
Cord Management System
Since most of the best pellet smokers need to be plugged in, you’ll want to make sure you have sufficient storage for the cords. By using the cord management system in this unit, you’ll find no problems storing it during the off-season.
Another feature that makes this smoker similar to the Traeger model is that it has a hopper cleanout/purge system. You can guarantee you won’t have to spend a lot of time digging out individual wood pellets when you need to change them.
Also, there is a built-in ash cleanout system that easily maintains your smoker throughout the year.
You will also want to note the substantial amount of space you’ll have inside the hopper. Like some higher-end models, this unit can hold up to 18 pounds of wood pellets at a time.
Impressive Cooking Space
Within the smoker is a full-sized lower shelf and a full-size upper shelf. The upper rack boasts 141 square-inch of grilling space, and the lower shelf measures 429 square inches.
With this much cooking space, hosting family events in your backyard just got easier.
Potential for Side Attachments
Although this smoker doesn’t come with any accessories or side attachments, it is compatible with them. You can easily purchase Camp Chef accessories on their website, such as a sidekick or a sear box, depending on your needs.
As with any appliance, you must consider the warranty included with your order. Fortunately, the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX has a three-year warranty to ensure it meets all of your specifications.
- Temperature stays controlled
- Easy to use for grilling
- Simple to assemble
- User-friendly smoking
- Regulates itself while cooking
- Extremely heavy
- Doesn’t add much flavor
- Susceptible to rain
Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
When you see the Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E for the first time, you’ll be impressed with its modern appeal. It appears to be approximately the same size as the previous two smokers we’ve explored this far.
However, what makes it unique is that it is an eight-in-one appliance that can transform your outdoor cooking experience.
- Versatile cooking options
- An advanced digital control board
- Oil collection system
- Automatic pellet feeding
- Comprehensive warranty
- Stainless steel exterior
- 20-pound hopper
This trusted smoker would be a great investment for any household, thanks to the fact that it can handle eight different cooking methods.
The most notable feature of this unit is that it enables you to cook in eight different ways.
Besides the typical grilling, smoking, and roasting, you can also bake, sear, braise, barbecue, and char-grill using this appliance.
You’ll never have to worry about using your standard grill again, as this model does all of the work for you.
Digital Control Board
The digital control board in this smoker has been updated to offer even more convenience.
Users will be able to have the grill auto-ignited with the digital control board. It also works to ensure the grill can work anywhere from 180 degrees to 450 degrees.
Another huge advantage of the digital control board is that it maintains the internal temperature of the smoker. This feature makes sure your meat is always cooked to protection.
Automated Feed System
If you want a pellet grill that you can set and walk away from, this could be a great option. With the built-in automated feed system, the unit will automatically adjust the number of available pellets.
By doing this, there will always be the perfect amount of heat and smoke, so you won’t have to babysit your grill.
Special Collection System
Cleanup won’t be a problem, as well, especially when it comes to meat juices and fats. The integrated oil collector will quickly attract all of the drippings from your meat, helping prevent flames and flare-ups.
Also, cleaning the oil trap is just as simple as wiping down the smoker’s grates.
Stainless Steel Construction
Instead of using materials that are susceptible to weather damage, the Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E is made from stainless steel. This material is easy to keep clean, but it also makes sure it looks polished over the years. Also, you’ll love the appeal that it can bring to an outdoor kitchen.
Substantial Grilling Area
As one of the essential features to consider, there is plenty of grilling space on this unit. The total rack surface area totals 513 square inches, which includes the smoking and warming rack at 187 square inches.
So far, the Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E has the largest hopper capacity, making it such a reliable choice. You can guarantee you won’t have to babysit your meats and vegetables, as you can hold up to 20 pounds of wood pellets.
With your purchase, you’ll receive a three-year warranty, which applies to defects in quality and materials. Within your warranty period, Z GRILLS will determine whether parts need to be repaired or replaced.
Also, new orders will have a 30-day return and refund policy, allowing you to return the device if you’re unimpressed.
- Accurate temperature readings
- Auger feeds well
- Minimal temperature variations
- High-performance grilling
- Perfect for smoking meat
- Two-person assembly
- Poor shipping packaging
- Body dents easily
Traeger Timberline 1300 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
The Traeger Timberline 1300 Wood is a convenient option for homeowners on the hunt for a WiFi-enabled smoker. It is a fantastic solution for your outdoor cooking needs, especially if you crave the woody flavor of smoked meats.
- 1,300 square inches of cooking space
- WiFIRE enabled
- Convenient Traeger app compatibility
- Fast preheating with TurboTemp
- Pre-programmed cooking cycles
- Concealed grease management system
For those who need to cook large batches of meats, this Traeger smoker would help make the job get done quickly and easily.
Impressive Internal Space
On average, you can cook up to 15 racks of ribs, 12 chickens, or 12 pork butts using this smoker. With 1,300 square inches of internal space, you can easily craft meals for yourself and your family or guests.
WiFIRE Enabled Controller
The WiFIRE controller allows you to access precise temperature controls from anywhere at any time.
Although it works best when your grill is connected to WiFi, you can also use it without the Internet. All you will have to do is use the Traeger app to get access.
Timberline D2 Controller
Having a more hands-on approach to your food is simple with the Timberline D2 controller. You can choose to let it do the work for you or control the temperature as you go.
As long as you download the Traeger app, you can decide which works better with your cooking style.
One of the most disconcerting things about smokers is how long they can take to heat up. However, this unit takes preheating to a whole new level with its TurboTemp feature.
You can guarantee the smoker will reach your desired temperature in far less time, thanks to its optimal air velocity.
Stainless Steel Interior
To help protect your new smoker’s integrity, the inside of the unit is made entirely of stainless steel. Also, it features double walls, which helps to prevent heat from escaping inadvertently.
Automatic Pellet Sensor
With the pellet sensor, the Traeger Timberline 1300 Wood automatically feeds more pellets into the fire pot to ensure even heat distribution. It also alerts the user through the Traeger app when it’s time to replace the pellets.
Concealed Grease Management
Instead of having your grease management components in view, this system is completely covered in this unit. This feature makes it much easier to keep your pellet grill outside without the worry of pests and rodents.
Magnetic Bamboo Cutting Board
As a convenient extra feature, the Traeger Timberline 1300 Wood also comes with a bamboo cutting board. It can be placed on top of the digital controller and is fully magnetic, making it easy to remove.
- Great digital system
- No need for babysitting
- Creates incredibly smoke ring
- Traeger app has recipes
- Pre-programmed cooking cycles
- Poor WiFIRE connectivity
- Temperature fluctuations up to 15 degrees
- Difficult to assemble
Green Mountain Davy Crockett Portable Wood Pellet Grill
The Green Mountain Davy Crockett smoker is likely one of the most technically advanced smokers on the market. With the ability to connect to WiFi, wirelessly controlling the entire smoking process will be a breeze.
Also, it’s sized perfectly for mid to small size outdoor kitchens and boasts a sleek and stylish appeal.
- Highly portable with foldable legs
- Reasonable grilling space
- Innovative WiFi connectivity with GMG app
- Programmable cooking profiles
- Portable power options
- Great heat distribution
Smoking takes hours to finish, but with this unit, you’d be able to attend to other things while it gets the job done.
One of the main issues that homeowners have with the best pellet smokers is they are rarely portable. This is because they have heavy-duty materials that are impossible to bring camping.
Fortunately, this unit’s design makes it the perfect partner for homes, campers, and RVs. You might even want to consider using your new pellet grill at tailgates.
Although it’s not as lightweight as a charcoal grill, you can bet it’s far more portable than other smokers.
Moderate Grilling Space
As this smoker is smaller, you won’t have as much space for grilling as you would with the previous ones. With that said, you should still have more than enough room to work on meals for you and your family.
On average, the Green Mountain Davy Crockett has enough space to simultaneously work on two racks of ribs. You should also be able to hold up to six steaks and a several burgers, depending on their size.
WiFi Connectivity and Server Mode
The WiFi capabilities of this pellet grill are easily its most popular selling feature. Every user will have the ability to monitor and control their smoker from anywhere in their house.
With the help of the GMG Smart Control, you can adjust the temperature of your food remotely. You will have to download the GMG App to access all of the features, but there are plenty.
Another great benefit of its connectivity is you can monitor your food temperature from anywhere.
It’s also important to consider the GMG Server Mode, which is also accessible through the app. If you are unable to connect to the smoker via WiFi, you can choose to communicate through the GMG server.
This is essential if you need a great barbecue grill for tailgating or camping.
Most of the smokers you come across aren’t likely to get hotter than 450 degrees, which is why this unit is ideal for searing. You can quickly get temperatures up to 550 degrees and as low as 150 degrees, depending on your ingredients.
Also, the temperature control works within five-degree increments, so you have access to precision cooking.
Custom Cooking Profiles
Every person with a smoker has specific settings that they love to use for their meats. By taking advantage of the custom cooking profiles, you can create programmable options.
All you’ll have to do is select the program you want to use to begin cooking. As you get more experience with the unit, you can easily adjust some settings until you reach perfection.
The internal temperature of this smoker is monitored continuously by the Sense-Mate feature. Sense-Mate keeps you apprised of any temperature changes and also works with the GMG Smart Control.
With this, you can choose the right settings for your food and then not have to babysit it for the rest of the night.
If you’re searching for a pellet grill that will work for camping or an RV, this model has versatile voltage. It can run on 12V or 120AC so that you can use it for an extensive number of events.
One of our favorite features of the app is the food timer, which keeps you up to date with the progress of your smoking. Once the cooking time has passed, a notification will be sent to your smartphone, so you know when to turn the unit off.
Another great feature that only adds to the portability of the unit is its foldable legs. This helps to make sure you can easily pack it into the trunk of your car.
Also, it only weighs 68 pounds, so it is more than secure enough for a single person to pack.
Optimal Heat Distribution
The unique firebox on the Green Mountain Davy Crockett has a Venturi-style design. There will be a cyclone of airflow that helps ensure your pellets are fully combusted, so there is minimal waste.
Also, it ensures there is maximum heat distribution throughout the cooking chamber.
Impressive Auger System
With the micro-adjusted fan with variable speeds, this smoker makes it much simpler to maintain internal temperatures. The motor has higher RPMs, which allow precision feeding of oxygen into the firebox for optimal combustion.
There are plenty of extra accessories that you can buy for your pellet grill, such as open flame technology grease trays. However, there are also plenty of accessories built into the unit for you to use. Owners will have access to a meat probe and a convenience tray with utensil hooks.
Also, the design of the Green Mountain Davy Crockett is unique, especially for ribs. You’ll notice the smoker’s lid is peaked perfectly, so you can quickly cook ribs with the perfect amount of smoke.
- Perfect for tailgating
- Portable power options
- Highly portable
- Comprehensive app
- Difficult temperature controls
- Poor leg stability
- Defective temperature probe
Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill (Gen 1)
The Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill (Gen 1) has a small and quaint design but enough internal space to cook family meals.
- Sawhorse chassis for better stability
- All-terrain wheels
- 18-pound hopper capacity
- Dual meat temperature probes
- 572 square inches of cooking space
Although it doesn’t have foldable legs, this unit boasts powerful features in a small shell.
The balance of the Pro Series 22 is something to take note of. It has a sawhorse chassis, which prevents the likelihood of tipping, especially around pets and children.
Also, it is equipped with the new side-lift bar, like many Traeger pellet grills are. This feature helps to add even weight distribution across the entire unit for better stability.
If you feel like moving your new pellet grill to another area on your property, you’ll love the all-terrain wheels. This smoker is easy to navigate through dirt, mud, grass, pavers, and solid rock with incredible maneuverability.
Digital Pro Controller
A feature built into most Traeger pellet grills, the Digital Pro Controller, is fantastic. This model also comes with Advanced Grilling Logic, which maintains internal temperatures within a +/- 15-degree variance.
However, you won’t be able to achieve very high temperatures for searing, as the smoker only gets up to 450 degrees.
Dual Meat Temperature Probes
Instead of opening the lid of your smoker, you can use the dual meat temperature probes to check your food’s progress. Once inserted into meat, the temperature is available on the outside of the smoker.
18-Pound Hopper Capacity
Fortunately, the hopper on the Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill (Gen 1) is quite large. You’ll be able to store up to 18 pounds of wood pellets for long or short cooking cycles.
Decent Cooking Space
Unlike some of the larger models on this list, this smoker is best for quick backyard get-togethers.
It features 572 square inches of cooking space, which is enough room for up to 24 burgers at a time. This amount of cooking space is just right for beginners and everyday users.
- Great for juicy steaks
- Useful for baking brownies
- High-quality construction
- Compatible with accessories
- Very easy to use
- Poorly made temperature probes
- 20- to 30-degree temperature variance
- Doesn’t reach 450 degrees
Cookshack PG500: Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill
The Cookshack PG500: Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill might not be the most aesthetic option for outdoor kitchens. However, it packs a powerful punch and gives you far more versatility when grilling and smoking.
- Access to charbroiling
- High-temperature cooking
- Built-in warming drawer
- Convenient storage and side shelf
- Easy-to-use digital controller
- Cleaner burning
This Cookshack smoker is one of the few on the market that uses charbroiler technology, which is just one among its many other unique features.
As mentioned, this pellet grill gets its power from charbroiler technology, which is an innovative feature. All of your meals will have the iconic charbroil flavoring that you’d only find with commercial-grade appliances.
Getting the perfect sear on steaks and burgers will get significantly easier with this model.
High Heat Cooking
Similar to the Green Mountain Davy Crockett, this smoker allows you to reach high temperatures. In fact, it has the highest temperature rating out of all of the smokers this far at 600 degrees.
Because it uses 100% wood pellets, it’s quite impressive that it can get hot enough for a quick sear.
With that said, you can expect to consume far more wood pellets at higher temperatures. On average, this unit consumes up to one pound of pellets per hour when set at 400 degrees.
Once you have finished smoking, if you want to keep your food warm, we recommend using the warming drawer.
It is uniquely designed to be relatively large, so you can fit a substantial amount of food inside to keep it at a decent temperature.
Still, it is important to remember that it won’t remain as hot as it was when in the cooking chamber.
There are a couple of features that make the Cookshack PG500: Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill easier to maintain than other pellet grills.
First, there is the ash drawer, which collects all of the ash from your combusted pellets. Users can easily wipe the drawer clean and get rid of the ash in seconds.
This unit also has a drain bucket, which collects the fats and juices from your meat. Without this, you could be likely to experience fires and flare-ups, especially at higher temperatures.
Similar to the ash drawer, cleaning the drain bucket is quite simple, too.
Built-In Side Shelf
With the help of the added side shelf, you’ll always have space for your essentials. This means you won’t have to worry about investing in separate furniture to hold their utensils and food.
Also, the side shelf helps add an even weight distribution to the unit, so it is far less likely to tip over.
There’s nothing better than having full control over how you cook your meat, especially with a smoker.
This unit features four-zone cooking, which makes it one of the best options to consider. You’ll easily be able to cook using direct or indirect heat, cold-smoking, or for warming.
Stainless Steel Construction
Instead of combining different materials, the Cookshack PG500: Fast Eddy’s is made entirely using stainless steel. It is a fantastic material to help stand against weathering and signs of damage from consistent use.
Fortunately, the Cookshack PG500: Fast Eddy’s has an ample number of digital features, making it great for beginners. Like most modern pellet grills, you’ll have an electric ignition that allows you to ignite your wood pellets easily.
Also, the digital controller ensures your desired temperature is maintained throughout the duration of cooking. The digital controller will automatically adjust between low heat temperatures and high heat temperatures for consistent results.
On the digital screen, you can also take control of the smoker yourself. By using the up and down buttons, you can adjust the temperature as needed.
Instead of creating thick layers of creosote and damaging your meats, this pellet grill features clean burning. As such, there will be minimal creosote buildup, and you’ll likely have less than three percent ash leftover.
- Plenty of storage
- All-in-one design
- Versatile cooking system
- Easy-to-use digital controller
- Useful warming drawer
- Easy grease cleanout
- Ash blows around easily
- Small grilling surface
Louisiana Grills Country Smoker Whole Hog
If a large size is what you’re looking for, the Louisiana Grills Country Smoker Whole Hog is worth looking at.
With an incredible amount of space to cook a wide variety of items, it’s perfect for everyday home cooks and professional chefs alike.
- 1,750 square inches of cooking space
- Maintains temperatures up to 600 degrees
- Independent or joint cooking zones
- Ceramic coated grill grates
- Convection cooking
- Adjustable searing function
- 50-pound hopper capacity
This smoker is a top-tier unit that boasts amazing features perfect for residential and commercial use.
Giant Cooking Space
If you were to compare the Louisiana Grills Country Smoker Whole Hog to any of the others on this list, it’s jaw-dropping. This smoker provides up to 1,750 square inches of cooking space, which is substantially larger than most household units.
With that said, its size could be far too large for the average property, especially if you want a moderately sized smoker.
The main grilling surface is 1,214 square inches, and the upper cooking racks add over 476 square inches of extra space.
Restaurants and backyard enthusiasts can fit an entire 60-inch hog on the surface of this smoker and cook it to perfection. Due to its size, it also has several great features to ensure even heat distribution and temperature accuracy.
High Heat Cooking
Another impressive detail of this smoker is that it enables chefs to get up to 600 degrees in a single sitting. The lowest temperature setting to choose is 180 degrees, giving you more than enough customization for your meals.
When adjusting the settings, the temperature will change in five-degree increments for better precision.
Ceramic Coated Grates
With the addition of ceramic coated grates, you can rest assured your meat will be less likely to stick. They are also much simpler to keep clean when using sticky sauces and rubs.
Even though this smoker is quite large, it’s also easy to clean once you’re finished smoking or grilling.
Highly Durable Construction
The overall build of the Louisiana Grills Country Smoker Whole Hog is impressive. It is crafted using 14-gauge powder-coated steel, ensuring that it isn’t susceptible to wear and tear.
It’s also easy to keep outside throughout the year, so you won’t have to disassemble and reassemble it for storage.
Another exciting part of its construction is the arched flavor guard. This helps make sure any flare-ups are reduced. Because of this, juices can quickly reinvigorate your meat, too.
The reinforced lid doesn’t have a chimney, so you can guarantee more smoke will penetrate your meat.
True Convection Cooking
One of the most impressive features of the Louisiana Grills Country Smoker Whole Hog is its cooking method. It features real convection cooking, which means the temperature near the top of the grill is likely the same as at the grilling surface.
You should be able to have plenty of precision when working with small or large batches of food.
Digital Control Center
It might seem intimidating at first, but this pellet grill is exceptionally easy to use without having to babysit your food. Using the digital control center, you can set the temperature, and the unit will automatically ensure it’s maintained.
You can also use the meat probe to keep an eye on the internal temperature of significant cuts of meat. The temperature controls on the smoker’s lid are also essential so that you can revisit the internal temperature.
Independent Cooking Capabilities
There are several cooking areas in this smoker that can be used independently. You’ll be able to customize the number of burn grates, allowing you to cook large or small meals.
Also, there are separate temperature zones on either side of the smoker and a removable partition. If you’re cooking a whole hog, you can remove the partition to open one large cooking surface.
50-Pound Hopper Capacity
You can guarantee it would be easy for your new smoker to run out of pellets if it has an average-sized hopper. Fortunately, this unit boasts two 25-pound hoppers, offering up to 50 pounds of wood pellets.
When set at 600 degrees, the smoker will consume up to seven pounds of pellets per hour. At 180 degrees, though, it will consume just over one pound of pellets.
You can also broil your meats using the built-in flame grill, which is another adjustable feature to put to good use.
- Great for family functions
- Easy-to-use grease catchers
- Dual hopper design
- Precise temperature controls
- Massive smoking and grilling space
- Consumes a lot of pellets
- Very large for backyards
- Extremely heavy at 437 pounds
Memphis Grills Elite Wood Fire Smoker
The Memphis Grills Elite Wood Fire Smoker is just what you need for your outdoor kitchen.
Interestingly, shoppers can choose between the standalone or built-in model that can be paired with cabinets.
- A dual pellet hopper
- Temperatures up to 700 degrees
- Intelligent temperature control
- WiFi compatible
- Additional extra shelving
- Four-inch dual convection fans
- Direct and indirect flame models
- Standalone and built-in models
- 1,274 square inches cooking surface
This smoker is equipped with remarkable features that you will love to get your hands on.
Fantastic Temperature Range
With lower temperatures at approximately 180 degrees, you can quickly slow cook plenty of ingredients in this smoker. You can also reach maximum temperatures of 700 degrees, which is ideal for searing and getting a caramelized exterior.
The double-wall, sealed, stainless steel interior helps to manage any temperature fluctuations with ease.
Direct and Indirect Flame
Besides being able to choose between the standalone and built-in smokers, you can also choose between direct and indirect flame.
Each model has its benefits, depending on the type of cooking you prefer. For grilling and searing, the direct flame model would be your best option.
Dual Convection Fans
With optimal air circulation throughout the smoker, the Memphis Grills Elite Wood Fire Smoker has two convection fans. They work in tandem to ensure the smoke and heat is distributed evenly across and underneath the grilling grates.
Because there are 1,274 square inches of cooking surface, your meat will be perfected with no problems.
The open shelving on the bottom of the smoker gives you plenty of extra space for all of your equipment and accessories. They are also easy to access because you won’t have to worry about doors.
Dual Pellet Hopper
Using the dual pellet hopper allows you to hold more wood and enhance the flavors of your meals.
You can hold up to 24 pounds of pellets between the two, as well as mix flavors as desired. On average, the unit burns just under two pounds of pellets per hour at 350 degrees.
By downloading the Memphis Mobile App, you can add a more personal touch to your meals. Cooks can monitor their meals and adjust the temperature when you’re inside.
Also, there are automated recipes in the app with pre-programmed settings. As a beginner, you’ll never have to worry about looking up recipes or figuring out temperatures.
Stainless Steel Construction
Having a stainless steel smoker can add to the aesthetics of your outdoor space. The Memphis Grills Elite Wood Fire is fully stainless steel, which offers impressive temperature accuracy.
Also, it helps to insulate heat in colder weather, so there are fewer temperature changes.
Intelligent Temperature Control
As with most smokers, there is intelligent temperature control for you to use. You can set your desired temperature and forget about your meat as the smoker will do the work for you.
- Easy assembly
- Cooks like convection ovens
- Easily controlled from phones
- The firebox is easy to clean
- WiFi connectivity issues
- Frequent temperature changes
- Easily dented
Traeger Grills Select Elite Pellet Grill
The Traeger Grills Select Elite Pellet Grill is one of the pricier models in its inventory, with its sleek appearance. With a more grill-like aesthetic, you’ll appreciate having it displayed proudly in your backyard.
- Six-in-one versatility
- Three-piece porcelain grilling grates
- Digital Elite Controller
- Side shelves and enclosed storage
- Temperatures up to 450 degrees
- Locking caster wheels
Aside from the fact that this unit can handle different kinds of cooking, it also looks aesthetically pleasing, making it worth the investment.
Traeger is known for its cooking versatility, and this design is no different. This boasts six different cooking options: braising, roasting, baking, smoking, grilling, and barbecuing.
Regardless of the temperatures and settings you choose, each cooking type will have a wood-fired taste.
Reasonable Cooking Space
Overall, this doesn’t have the most abundant cooking space. However, it’s more than enough for families and small get-togethers at 589 square inches.
Porcelain Grill Grate
The built-in grill grate is crafted from porcelain, making it ideal for cleaning and preventing food from sticking. Also noteworthy is the grate is assembled into three pieces so that you can adjust it as necessary for specific cuts of meat.
Digital Elite Controller
The most exciting feature of this smoker is the Traeger Digital Elite Controller. This works to ensure the temperatures are maintained in the cooking chamber within +/- 20 degrees.
It is also clearly displayed on the outside of the smoker so that you can read the metrics similar to an oven. The LED display is easy to read in bright and low-light conditions.
It’s also important to note that the digital controller shows that this smoker allows you to reach temperatures up to 450 degrees.
If you’re not as much of a fan of open storage, this could be a better alternative to consider. At the bottom of the smoker, there are a couple of shelves in the enclosed compartment. There, you’ll be able to store a ton of useful accessories and equipment.
Another convenient feature of this grill is its side shelves, which are crafted from durable stainless steel. They can weather years of grilling without any signs of wear and are very easy to sanitize and keep clean.
Moving your Traeger Grills Select Elite Pellet Grill is simple, thanks to its reliable wheels. The wheels also feature locking casters, so once you choose the right spot, the unit won’t move unless you need it to.
Still, the wheels aren’t as high-quality as some of Traegers all-terrain wheels, which is best used on hard, flat surfaces.
- Simple maintenance and cleanup
- Beautiful smoke flavor
- Versatile for smoking and grilling
- Simple and sleek design
- Lid dents easily
- Difficult to assemble
- No meat probe
Camp Chef SmokePro STX 24 Pellet Grill
Another pellet smoker to consider is The Camp Chef SmokePro STX 24 Pellet Grill. It will completely change how you grill outdoors. Because it injects a sweet woody, smoked flavor to your meats and vegetables, it’s unforgettable.
- All-terrain roller wheels
- Built-in utility rack
- On-board slots for accessories
- Patented Camp Chef ash cleanout system
- 18-pound hopper capacity
- Temperature range of 160 to 500 degrees
- 429 sq.in. of cooking space
More than just its incredible number of great features, this product from Camp Chef also comes with optional accessories.
Patented Cleanout System
The Camp Chef patented ash cleanout system is a remarkable feature to have at your fingertips. Not only will managing ash be more accessible, but maintaining your smoker will also take less time.
Digital Temperature Control
With the digital temperature control, you can make sure your meat is cooked to perfection. This piece works to ensure the interior temperature of your smoker is maintained regardless of the weather.
It also gives you consistent and accurate readings for the internal temperature of the unit.
Included Meat Probe
Conveniently, there is a meat probe included with your purchase. This is essential for smoking, as you can ensure the inside of your meat is perfectly cooked without opening the lid.
Moving your new smoker is easy, even once it’s assembled with the roller wheels. They are decently sized and have excellent traction, which makes it easy to navigate through most terrain.
Built-In Utility Rack
If you like to take a hands-on approach, you’ll love the built-in utility rack. It provides plenty of space for you to keep all of your most crucial gear, so it’s readily available.
Full Cooking Range
Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about lackluster temperatures with the Camp Chef SmokePro STX 24 Pellet Grill. It has a full temperature range from 160 degrees to 500 degrees. Also, the entire cooking surface totals to 429 square inches.
Depending on your budget, you might want to consider investing in a couple of extra accessories. There is an on-board slot for an extra side shelf, as well as a warming rack. Both are sold separately.
- Maintains even temperatures
- No babysitting required
- Easy to keep clean
- Best for grilling
- Some say it delivers lackluster flavor
- Needs reinforced hopper lid
Pellet Smoker FAQs
Can you grill with a pellet smoker?
Because these appliances can also be referred to as pellet grills, you can guarantee they can be used for both. Most units advertise how they offer versatility, allowing backyard chefs to roast, smoke, barbecue, grill, braise, bake, and more.
The only difference is that instead of using gas, you’ll use wood as your fuel source and indirect heat.
Pellet grills provide smoke and heat through a separate chamber than the cooking chamber. This process helps to prevent flare-ups from fats and juices.
On the other hand, with a traditional grill, you’ll be cooking meat over a direct source of heat. You will notice a significant difference in the look and caramelization of your meat, as it won’t have an open flame to use.
However, you can use different methods to achieve the ideal sear as you would with a traditional grill. Most pellet smoker reviews suggest an iron grate or griddle are great options for searing.
Do pellet smokers need electricity?
Even though your primary fuel source will be wood, you will require electricity to make your pellet grill work correctly. This makes it challenging to bring camping or on RV trips, as you’ll need electrical hookups or a generator.
Electricity is what helps to ignite the wood pellets in the firepot so that they can create the ideal amount of heat and smoke.
You might also need electricity for some of the other features that your pellet grill brings to the table.
For example, if you have a digital controller or WiFi accessibility, you’ll need to have the appliance plugged in.
However, you’ll be glad to know that grills/smokers don’t need electricity compared to some of the other appliances in your home.
On average, a pellet grill will need up to 300 watts to get started, as the igniter needs to get red-hot. Once the pellets have been lit, the unit might need as little as 50 watts to keep the fan circulating and the auger running.
You can expect to consume more electricity depending on your available features.
For campers, an alternative to using a generator to power a small-sized pellet grill is to invest in a power inverter.
These unique tools allow you to convert the energy from your car battery (DC) to AC, which is needed for electronics.
With that said, it would be far better to rely on a generator or accessibility to electrical hookups.
Do smokers use propane?
The central premise behind a smoker is to remove the need for propane and other types of fuel by relying solely on wood pellets.
Once the pellets have been ignited, they then produce a substantial amount of heat that you can use to cook meat in various ways.
Another advantage of pellets is that they help to add a new flavor to traditional meals, depending on the taste you choose.
Can pellet grills get wet?
Some grills/smokers are for all-seasons, which is ideal for families living in areas prone to rain and snow. Others don’t have the best weather protection and could be better suited to be used in a garage or under a carport.
If your pellet grill was to get wet, the water could enter the hopper, which would cause the pellets to soak.
Since they are typically made from sawdust and other wood-based materials, your pellets would disintegrate in minutes.
Fortunately, you can find models with weatherproofing over the hopper, so you won’t have to worry about this issue.
How good are pellet smokers?
Determining the worth of a pellet grill is dependent on the type of cooking you want to do. Some might find that they’re unnecessary, while others can’t imagine their life before having one.
For fans of smoked meats or those who want a more systematic form of cooking, they’re a great alternative. However, if you’re perfectly fine with a traditional grill, there’s no reason to invest in a new outdoor appliance.
It’s important to note the flavors that come from pellet grills are utterly unmatched by any other fuel source. The authentic and delicious flavors of wood-smoked meat are something you won’t soon forget.
With build quality, you’ll be glad to know that many smokers are just as useful as regular grills.
Many have an assortment of unique features, such as digital controls, temperature control, and automatic feeding. Also, keeping them maintained annually is relatively quick.
Are Pellet Smokers Worth It?
When you start to shop around for the ideal grill/smoker, you’ll find the majority of options can be quite expensive. Choosing to make this investment is a big decision, so it’s natural to wonder whether they’re truly worth it.
Benefits of Having a Smoker
Let’s get into the most apparent benefits of smokers and why you might need one in your yard.
The flavor of your meals is by far one of the essential reasons to switch to a grill/smoker or add one to your collection. The most significant benefit is that you can improve the flavor well beyond your traditional seasonings.
Compared to charcoal or gas, wood pellets have a more authentic feel, especially if you choose flavored pellets.
With flavored pellets, you can inject a new experience into your regular favorites, such as brisket, steak, and ribs.
You also have full control over mixing different types of pellets to create the perfect meal. A few examples of popular pellet flavors include pecan, cherry, hickory, mesquite, and apple.
2. Pellet Smokers Are Easy to Use
Many people believe pellet smokers are difficult to use. However, they’re much more straightforward than charcoal and more convenient than standard gas grills.
Some models have custom settings that you can program into the appliance, so they’re readily available. You can also find pellet grills with a one-button startup, so you won’t even have to worry about lighter fluid.
Fortunately, you can take advantage of smoking meats in any weather, regardless of rain, snow, or shine.
Once you set the temperature on your pellet grill, it will work its hardest to maintain the perfect temperature with little effort.
Pellet grills are a highly advanced piece of machinery that enables you to smoke food effortlessly, even if it’s your first time.
By filling the hopper with your chosen pellets, selecting the appropriate temperature, and using the push-to-start, you’re well on your way.
This is especially true if you find a smoker with a timer and automatic temperature control that handles all of the work.
3. Extremely Versatile
Of course, smoking your meat is one of the top things you’re bound to do with your new grill. However, you can expect to be able to do more.
Most of the modern units not only offer to smoke but also roast, bake, and sometimes sear. As earlier mentioned, these appliances are a combination of convection ovens and smokers, allowing you to make an assortment of dishes conveniently.
Home cooks can easily create the perfect brisket, grilled shrimp, and even pies with the right grill.
4. Even Cooking
You can bet that if you compared the quality of your standard grill to your pellet model, the standard option would fall short. Pellet grills allow you to get the most even cooking possible through the thickest slices of meat, especially with temperature control.
Because the appliance heats evenly on the inside, the smoke will penetrate the outer layers of the meat deep into the center.
Many of these units also come with built-in thermometers that you can put into the meat to ensure it reaches food-safe temperatures.
Another advantage of pellet grills is that they have much fewer flare-ups.
With a distinctive design that separates your food from the pellets, you won’t have to worry about grease and fat causing flare-ups.
The more often you use your new pellets and grill, you’ll appreciate its consistency across the board. As long as the correct temperatures are used, you will be able to rest assured your meat will cook perfectly every time.
With a grill that has pre-programmed smoking cycles, you’ll experience even more consistency.
Disadvantages of Owning a Smoker
Even the best grills and pellet smokers will have some concerns to consider because it might not be the ideal appliance for your household.
1. Not for Wet Weather
Although there are some exceptions, most moderately priced pellet grills perform at their worst when it’s raining. With that said, you can find specialty models that are rated for all-weather use, which surely boosts their versatility.
Most general models won’t have the protection your wood pellets need to prevent them from getting wet.
Not only will this stop them from being able to reach the temperature needed for smoke, but it can also cause them to deteriorate.
This is why it’s highly advised that you invest in an outdoor cover for your smoker, especially if you don’t clear your pellets.
2. Requires Electricity
The best pellet grills require electricity to work, as this is what gives you access to all of their features. Not to mention, you need the electric ignition to start the smoking process.
If you’re not in a position where you can access electricity, this could be a big problem.
Unfortunately, this means that you won’t be able to load up your smoker like you would your charcoal grill for camping.
Alternatively, you could invest in a generator to power the smoker, but it would consume valuable power for other appliances.
Another issue with the electric models is that they have a lot of moving parts to consider.
From the digital temperature readings to the automatic temperature control, many pieces go into making them.
As such, although pellet grills don’t require much maintenance, they can be costly to fix. This is why it is essential to make sure a substantial warranty covers your purchase.
3. Often Large and Bulky
Most often, when you look into the best pellet grills, they’re going to be relatively large, similar to a traditional one.
For homeowners with limited space, you’re unlikely to find ones that are similar in size to a portable charcoal grill. This also means that you’ll have to make sure you have more than enough ventilation.
Fortunately, for most people, the size of a smoker is the least concerning disadvantage.
4. Difficult to Sear
This issue is subjective, as some specialty models have a solution for the perfect sear. The average pellet grill won’t give you access to a direct flame or source of heat, so searing will be quite tricky.
Most pellet grills don’t get hotter than 450 to 500 degrees, so it would be tough to sear meats perfectly. However, a solution would be to opt for a grill/smoker that also has a side-searing attachment.
These models are ideal for steak enthusiasts, as you can quickly put your meat on a source of heat to get the perfect sear. Another option is to heat a cast-iron skillet and use that for searing.
Are Pellet Smokers Bad for Your Health?
Grills and smokers are the next big and the best thing for outdoor cooking, which means there are many misconceptions. One of the most important questions is whether smokers are bad for your health, especially if compared to standard grills.
There could be some risk regarding your health and smoked meats, depending on how much you eat.
Grill/Smoker Health Risks
1. Smoked Meat and Stomach Cancer
A study published in the Bibliotheca Nutritio Et Dieta found a statistical correlation between some cancers and smoked food. In the study, researchers examined the eating habits of a Slovenian and Hungarian population over 10 years.
The results showed that with a high intake of home-smoked goods, consumers could have higher stomach cancer rates.
2. High Temperatures and Cancer
Another risk to consider is that cooking meats at extremely high temperatures could also increase your cancer risk.
According to Cancer.gov, when meats such as pork, fish, beef, or poultry are cooked at high temperatures, they have higher HCAs and PAHs.
HCAs, also known as Heterocyclic amines, and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) can cause genetic mutations. Unfortunately, these mutations may increase the risk of cancer.
HCAs occur in food when the muscle reacts at high temperatures, while PAHs occur when meat fats and juices interact with high temperatures.
If you cook your meat directly over a highly heated surface (above 300 degrees), you run the risk of these issues.
Reducing Health Risks
Although it may sound risky, there are plenty of ways to reduce your likelihood of ingesting HCAs and PAHs with your smoker.
First, it could be a good idea to reduce your average cooking temperatures and avoid prolonged cooking times. Also, it’s recommended you consistently turn the meat while cooking over a high heat source to reduce HCA formation.
Another standard method of ensuring your meat is healthy is to remove any charred portions. Cooks should also consider making gravies without the use of the fat drippings from their meat.
Although there are health risks associated with consuming smoked meats, it doesn’t mean you can’t use your smoker. Ensuring you prepare your foods adequately can significantly reduce the likelihood of suffering from ailments.
You might also want to consider using your smoker in moderation rather than having smoked meat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Best Pellet Smoker
The best pellet smoker on our list is the Memphis Grills Elite Wood Fire Pellet Smoker. It has high-tech features like WiFi compatibility and a user-friendly app with impressive cooking capabilities.
By reaching up to 700 degrees, you can sear an abundance of ingredients or slow cook on lower temperatures.
Also, because you can buy whether the standalone or built-in model, it’s a phenomenal option for those looking to level up their outdoor kitchens.
Using this review comparison chart for the best pellet smokers will ensure you pick the right one for your needs.