While they might not be as visually impressive as a huge grill, pellet smokers can consistently produce delicious results when you know what you’re doing. What’s more, they’re efficient and require minimal fuel. Many grillers also prefer pellet grills to standard smokers that use wood chips as they feel they are tidier and sometimes easier to operate. In this buyer’s guide, we go over some of our favorite pellet smokers and discuss what each of them can offer you compared to similar models and competitors.
It’s also worth mentioning that a pellet smoker and pellet grill is the same thing, so don’t be confused if you see both terms used.
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Our Favorite Overall: the Camp Chef 36 in. WiFi Woodwind Pellet Grill & Smoker with Sidekick (PG14) – WiFi & Bluetooth Connectivity
If you’re looking for the best pellet smoker overall, then you simply must consider the Camp Chef 36. This pellet smoker offers 36 square inches of cooking space and is one of the best pellet grills in terms of sheer performance that we’ve come across. This model combines great technology and strong design for a dependable, reliable grill. It supports wifi connectivity, allowing you to control and manage the temperature via your phone.
This grill actually comes in two sizes, too. We feel the larger model with its 36 square inches of cooking space is a better option if you’re looking for a smoker that supports flexibility and variety. However, if you’d like something smaller and more affordable, you can opt for the other option, which offers 24 square inches of cooking space. With easy temperature control management, you can set it and forget with this smoker from Woodwind.
Not only does the Camp Chef smoke well, but you can easily use it to grill and sear. Most pellet smokers struggle to do this, but the Camp Chef provides you with two different options if you want to use a wood pellet grill for searing and other complex cooking tasks. The Camp Chef comes with a ‘slide and grill’ feature, allowing you to adjust the grill easily for searing. Otherwise, you can choose to purchase separate attachments for this pellet smoker, like the SideKick or Grill Box. These attachments allow you to transform this pellet grill and smoker into a searing station, which is perfect for finishing off your food before serving it.
You don’t even need to be a great chef to use this pellet smoker because it comes with a series of meat probes. The meat probes allow you to measure and monitor the texture of the meat you’re cooking, as well as how close it is to being ready. Using a meat probe can make a huge difference to the overall outcome of your food, especially if you need to multitask while you cook.
Cleaning is easy, too. This model comes with Woodwind’s renowned ash clean out system. The ash cleanout system makes clearing out ash from the grilling space and total cooking area simple and quick. Not only does this model from Woodwind support a wide temperature range, but the control panel and wifi connectivity let you dial into the exact cooking temperature that you need. The Camp Chef Woodwind is easy to use, offers a range of great options like the meat probe, and it is cheaper than some of the high-end models you can find. What’s more, it comes with a 3-year warranty. What’s not to like?
Our Favorite Budget Model: the Z GRILLS ZPG-6002B
Z Grills produce some of the strongest pellet smokers out there, and this budget option is no exception. The Z Grills ZPG offers good hopper capacity and an incredible 601 square inches of cooking surface. If this cooking surface isn’t enough, you can use this model for far more than just smoking. Z Grills claims that the Z Grills ZPG can be used for roasting, grilling, smoking, baking, and more. The pellet hopper is easy to find and clean, and the grease management system on this smoker makes cleaning the whole thing almost effortless. The Z Grills ZPG model also comes with a 3-year warranty.
Our Favorite Portable Model: the Green Mountain Davy Crockett Sense Mate
This portable pellet smoker by Green Mountain Grills offers a surprisingly wide temperature range and fantastic, stainless steel build. You’d be amazed by the mobility that cooking with the Green Mountain Davy Crockett can provide. All you need to do is bring some wood pellets with you and you’re on your way to cooking delicious food anywhere! With a large pellet hopper and strong temperature range, we think this is the best portable pellet smoker out there today. If you’re looking for a decent, stainless steel model with good cooking capacity and strong pellet hopper, make sure to consider the Green Mountain Davy Crockett.
Our Favorite Slide Model: the Camp Chef PG24MZG SmokePro Slide Smoker
This high-quality slide model comes with a huge hopper and stainless steel details. Using wood pellets is easy with the Camp Chef Smokepro. This model is easy to move and offers great cooking capacity, too. If you want the best pellet grill in a ‘slide’ build, then the Smokepro would be an excellent choice. In addition, this model offers an 811-square inch cooking space.
Our Favorite for Flavor: the Weber SmokeFire
If flavor is your priority, then you shouldn’t look past the Weber SmokeFire. Featuring stainless steel details and precise temperature management, the SmokeFire produces some of the tasiest and most diverse flavors of all of these models. If your priority is finding the model that produces the best-tasting results, then this is probably among the best pellet smokers for you.
Our Favorite Cheapest Model: the PIT BOSS PB440D2
Pit Boss is known for producing a range of quality models, and the PB440D2 is no exception. This offering by Pit Boss features stainless steel details and looks fantastic. It’s far cheaper than many of the other grills on this list, but it still performs well and is worth recommending. Featuring great cooking capacity and a large temperature range, this could be an excellent choice if you’re thinking about purchasing your first smoker and aren’t sure where to begin.
Our Favorite Vertical Model: the PIT BOSS PBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker, Copper
Vertical smoking has its advantages, and this model by Pit Boss is one of our favorite options. It looks fantastic and performs well, tolerating a large temperature range. Not only that, but it is very simple to clean and use.
Our Favorite Runner-up: the Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill & Smoker
The Traeger Pro is a fantastic choice for a larger model that offers a wide range of features. It performs well, looks great, and you can use it to cook for large parties at a time. While the Traeger might not have much over its competition, it has some nifty functions like WiFi controls and a fantastic motor. The grill also supports Traeger’s app, which is an easy way to monitor and manage your grill while it’s smoking if you need to step away for a moment. This model comes in both black and bronze, and the combination of its classic appearance and wide range of advanced features make it an excellent choice for consumers looking for a model that is strong overall. If your budget is generous and you like the sound of some of these features, then the Traeger is certainly worth considering.
Other Models Worth Considering:
In addition to the models discussed here, we think that Rec Tec is a great high-end brand for more experienced cooks. The RT 700 is perhaps the strongest of the Rec Tec range, and we would recommend considering the RT 700 if you would like a model that offers a wide range of features and incorporates a variety of technology in its functioning.
Understanding Pellet Grills
When choosing a pellet grill, it’s important that you know what you’re looking for. One of the most crucial factors is understanding how long you tend to cook. The size of the hopper and pounds of pellets determines how long your model can run. For example, a 20-pound pellet hopper usually means you can smoke for 20 hours before you need to replace the pellets. A 40-pound hopper lasts twice as long as a 20-pound pellet hopper. As such, hopper capacity is one of the most important features to consider when trying to find the most appropriate pellet grill for you.
You might also want to consider the features that the grill comes with or that you can add to your grill. For example, some pro series grills let you add a larger pellet hopper or a sear box. If you want to smoke very precisely, choosing a model with an LED display usually allows for the most exact control of temperature. Weighing up all of these features is the best way to choose a smoker that is right for you.