Getting the best pellet smoker means you can enjoy a versatile and simple-to-use setup. Most modern pellet smokers are incredibly advanced and come with amazing features. These include WiFi connectivity, excellent temperature control, automated functions, and more.
Pellet smokers can be more expensive than your regular grill or smoker. That said, they don’t fail to justify their value. Plus, the excellent taste and consistent results speak for themselves. And let’s face it, the modern pellet smoker/grills aren’t that expensive anymore.
So here are some notable picks that cover the cross-section of current offerings.
Best Pellet Grill And Smokers In 2021
- Traeger Grills Ironwood 885
- Cuisinart CPG-4000 Wood BBQ Grill & Smoker
- Oklahoma Joe’s 20202105 Rider 900 Pellet Grill
- ASMOKE AS300 Electric Portable Wood Pellet Tailgating tabletop Grill and Smoker
- PIT BOSS PBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker
- Traeger Grills Pro Series 34 Electric Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
- Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
- REC TEC Grills RT-700
- Z GRILLS ZPG-1000D 2020 Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
- Weber 23510201 SmokeFire EX6 (2nd Gen) Wood Fired Pellet Grill
Traeger Grills Ironwood 885 Pellet Smoker
Traeger is amongst the most recognizable names in the world of pellet smokers. You can’t go wrong with a Traeger pellet grill where quality and performance are important. The only thing to look for is how well the grill/smoker suits your needs and if the competitors offer better value.
High-tech features and excellent build quality come hand-in-hand with Traeger Ironwood 885 Pellet Smoker. It has a body made of powder-coated steel and porcelain-coated grates. They’ve used high-quality plates, so this smoker is obviously built to last.
There isn’t a fault to be found with the construction quality here. Well, we could sigh about porcelain coating on grates, but that too has its benefits and isn’t really a downside.
Double-wall insulation on the sides gives it an edge and enables better cooking quality and temperature management.
True to its name, Traeger Grills Ironwood 885 Pellet Smoker has a cooking area of 885 square inches. That’s partially thanks to Traeger’s better use of space and cooking options.
You can have precise temperature control inside the cooking chamber, though the exact number can vary by +/- 15F. It’s the ability to settle at this temperature and maintain it that makes this smoker such a good pick.
Traeger uses WiFIRE technology for the Ironwood 885. The pellet grill can connect to your home WiFi and offer several additional features. These include grill management and operation through its app or digital assistants like Amazon Alexa.
The grill has a 20 lb hopper capacity and can hold a conventional pack of pellets. A decent hopper size and the ability to work without being continuously monitored make the best pellet grill in its category.
- Traeger Ironwood 885 has an excellent build quality.
- Double-walled sides provide good insulation and allow consistent cooking.
- Good hopper size.
- Excellent features.
- WiFi Connectivity, app-controlled, and Alexa certified.
- Has a 3-year warranty. The company has an excellent customer care record.
- The WiFi app is somewhat buggy and unreliable.
- More expensive than some of its competition.
Cuisinart CPG-4000 Wood BBQ Grill & Smoker
Cuisinart is a recognizable and well-liked name. The company has a wide range of products that cover a lot of home appliances and home products. It isn’t top-of-the-line, but Cuisinart’s name does inspire some confidence in the product. That goes double for the Cuisinart CPG-4000 Wood BBQ Grill & Smoker.
This pellet grill has a value for money proposition. What I find interesting here is that Cuisinart CPG-4000 Pellet Grill is pretty much satisfied with being a value product. There’s no rush towards piling on random, barely used features.
Cuisinart’s approach has worked. The BBQ grill has good construction quality and functions. You can expect the grill to last many years, though its electronics might need repair sooner. It has a useful 450 square inches of cooking space with two-tiered cooking grates.
A collapsible front shelf and stationary side shelf provide more room and convenience. The pellet grill has a 15 lb hopper, which is sufficient to allow it to function for several hours without human intervention.
Cuisinart goes on to claim that the grill has “total temperature control”. On that count, they haven’t done well. The temperature inside this pellet grill can be out of sorts and the thermometer isn’t impressively accurate.
- Good value for money.
- It has an excellent build quality.
- The pellet grill has good looks and design.
- Versatile and can be used for multiple functions.
- The temperature control isn’t very accurate.
- Several reports of quality issues with the electrical system.
Oklahoma Joe’s 20202105 Rider 900 Pellet Grill – Best Pellet Smoker
Oklahoma Joe’s has a reputation for producing some of the best offset smokers available. And the company isn’t far behind when it comes to pellet grills. Oklahoma Joe’s 20202105 Rider 900 Pellet Grill shows the same sparks of the brand’s quality.
Its excellent temperature management makes the Rider 900 an excellent smoker and grill. This is accomplished through a Pit Control System that takes a two-pronged approach. The timer mode shows the time elapsed since the grill reached your desired set temperature. The temp-probe mode keeps its focus on the food reaching its desired internal temperature.
Together, these form the key feature that makes this pellet grill so desirable. For that to happen, the temperature management must be near-flawless.
Another interesting feature here is the live fire plate. Open it, and you can sear the food over a live fire. At this point, I should add that most pellet grills, including this one, aren’t really suited for searing. Even if they reach the desired temperature, the performance is mostly perfunctory.
There is plenty of cooking space here. The company claims that more than 900 square inches are available. Much of it is thanks to the flexible grate and rack system that enables a more versatile use of the cooking space.
Oklahoma Joe’s 20202105 Rider 900 Pellet Grill has excellent build quality, much like its offset smokers, this one too is built like a tank. The heavy-gauge steel construction is evident and ensures that the grill will last a long time.
Other notable features include a 20 lb hopper and a 2-year warranty.
- Amazing build quality. This grill can last years.
- Large, flexible, and versatile cooking space.
- Impressive temperature control.
- Very easy to assemble.
- While the grill has good wheels, there is no handle to move it!
- The pit control system’s temperature management goes to 300 F. After that, there’s guesswork with low, medium, and high temperature settings.
ASMOKE AS300 Electric Portable Wood Pellet Tailgating tabletop Grill and Smoker
This is the pellet grill to choose if portability is your key concern. ASMOKE AS300 Electric Portable Wood Pellet Tailgating tabletop Grill and Smoker has dimensions small enough to be a tabletop grill. Additionally, it’s lightweight, simple to use, and overall a pretty convenient setup.
Temperature control options on this pellet grill go all the way from 180 to 500 °F. The higher end of that temperature range gets a bit finicky, though the lower ranges work very well. While it claims versatility and offers everything from smoking to searing, the practical uses come down to smoking and maybe some BBQ.
This is very likely the best portable pellet smoker available on the market. The pellet grill includes a programmable meat probe port, which does okay keeping tabs on the temperature. You’ll still need a thermometer for accurate readings, so don’t rely too much on the built-in thermometer.
Easy portability does have its costs though. This is a thin body, so outside temperature changes can quickly affect the cooking process. Plus, there are obvious build quality changes. Don’t get me wrong, this is a well-built pellet grill. But it isn’t supposed to be as tough as a Recteq or Oklahoma Joe’s grill.
ASMOKE AS300 Electric Portable Wood Pellet Tailgating tabletop Grill and Smoker has a 5 lb hopper, which is enough to allow several hours of function without manual intervention.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Good price point and great value for money.
- Easy to operate and use.
- Includes a 5-year limited warranty (though, it oddly excludes the paint).
- The temperature management isn’t reliable.
- It’s a good smoker, but its use for anything else (e.g. BBQ) is questionable.
PIT BOSS PBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker
The best vertical pellet smoker will give you all the joys of a conventional smoker, with the convenience that comes with using pellets. PIT BOSS PBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker yields plenty of cooking space. And it is prepared to use all that space without needing checks every few hours.
A 40 lb hopper ensures that there are enough pellets to keep this vertical pellet smoker going undisturbed for several hours. Pit Boss likes to claim that it will go past 24 hours of use. While that number is up for debate, you could very well smoke a brisket and be left with plenty of pellets still in the hopper.
Feel free to use that 901 square inches of cooking space to the fullest. PIT BOSS PBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker has an analog dial for temperature control. Just move it to your desired setting and let the smoker work its magic.
You can monitor the internal temperature with a digital LED readout. A meat probe makes it possible to keep tabs on the food temperature. The temperature control and the readings are fairly accurate and dependable. For reference, the available temperature range is 150 to 450 °F.
A very interesting feature is a ‘purger’ placed at the base of the hopper. It makes it very convenient to empty the hopper should you need to replace the pellets with those of a different variety or flavor.
- Large cooking area.
- Very convenient setup with low footprint.
- Large hopper ensures hours of cooking without interruption.
- Dependable temperature control and readings.
- Good build quality.
- Can be slow to heat up.
- Assembly requires some effort, though it isn’t very troublesome.
Traeger Grills Pro Series 34 Electric Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
When dealing with pellets, Traeger is almost always a dependable pick. Traeger Grills Pro Series 34 Electric Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker is an amazing pellet smoker, works as a BBQ and can do some grilling duties as well.
The company claims the grill is good for grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and BBQ. That’s a bit of a reach, as with any other company that claims this. It can do several of these functions but where it works best is smoking food. And maybe some BBQ.
In classic Traeger fashion, it is built to last and is dependable. The body is made from powder-coated steel and crafted carefully enough to avoid weak spots or random blemishes.
Traeger Grills Pro Series 34 Electric Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker has 884 square inches of cooking space, used with porcelain-coated grates. That’s plenty of cooking space to do almost all the cooking you want to!
The pellet smoker uses a Digital Pro Controller and works with Advanced Grilling Logic technology. Its temperature is easy to set and stays within range, with possible deviations of +/- 15 °F. Of course, this assumes conducive weather, since there is no insulation on this smoker. Dual meat temperature probes make it easy to check food temperature and get accurate readings.
This is one of the few Traeger models that don’t use the WiFIRE technology. So if you’d rather not have a grill that connects to WiFi and has similar frills, this should be a good pick!
- Excellent build quality.
- Large cooking area.
- Easy hopper and ash cleanout.
- Reliable and excellent temperature control.
- Doesn’t have Traegar’s WiFIRE technology (to be honest, this could be a positive for users who aren’t interested in wifi control).
- On its way to being superseded by other, newer Traeger models.
Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
Z Grills has its appeal in value. The pellet smokers and grills would be considered to be “good enough” without taking on any overarching displays of superiority. That’s not a criticism of this grill. In my opinion, it shows that this pellet grill is playing to its strengths.
Place the pellets, set the temperature, and relax while this pellet grill does the cooking. It has an analog dial for setting the temperature, though backed by a digital display. The available temperature range is 180° to 450° F. It’s best for smoking, perhaps some BBQ as well, but grilling might be a bridge too far.
Z Grills 450A pellet grill is relatively small and intended to cook for a small family. As such, the cooking surface here is just 452 square inches and the hopper capacity is 15 lbs. While the hopper capacity is seemingly small, it’s actually adequate for the size of this grill. You’ll be able to leave it cooking for several hours without having to manually intervene.
But the value proposition does come with its problems. This is not as well-built as other pellet grills reviewed on this list. In the same vein, the thermometer and temperature management aren’t reliable. Users will have to keep an eye on the temperature to make sure that the food cooks properly.
Overall, this is a decent pellet grill, but don’t expect it to last a long time.
- Good value for money.
- Convenient and easy to use.
- The temperature management is unreliable.
- Some quality control issues were reported by consumers.
REC TEC Grills RT-700 – Best Pellet Grill Contender
REC TEC Grills RT-700 is a serious contender for the tag of the best pellet grill. Or perhaps I should call it the Recteq RT-700 since the company has rebranded as Recteq. Marketing and naming conventions aside, a Recteq is the same as Rec Tec and has the same quality characteristics.
RT-700 is a well-sized pellet smoker and grill. Following Recteq’s naming convention, this one offers 700 square inches of cooking space. The good thing about Recteq grills is you know what you’re going to get. This grill is made entirely from steel, including the racks. Well, except the ignition system, that part’s ceramic.
The build quality is beyond reproach. The material, the finish, the workmanship – everything fits into place. You could reasonably expect this grill to last years. And Recteq wouldn’t have it any other way! They provide a six-year warranty, and by all accounts, honor their warranty and stand behind their product.
Rec Tec has placed a 40 lb hopper on this beast, so smoke away to your heart’s content! Leave it to do its work, and the pellet smoker will happily chug along without needing manual intervention.
If there is something that you need to do – you could probably do it over your phone!
Recteq RT-700 is WiFi capable and can connect to a phone with Recteq App. You could use the app to switch the grill on/off and even monitor its temperature.
Speaking of temperature, the RT-700 does the job (you guessed it) quite handsomely. The temperature management is very reliable. Recteq uses a PID controller that keeps the temperature within +/-5 °F of the set number. Two probes are included to check for temperature and give accurate readings.
- Excellent, dependable build quality.
- Recteq offers a six-year warranty.
- Large, 40 lb hopper space allows longer operation.
- WiFi connectivity and app control.
- Excellent temperature control.
- WiFi app and connectivity can be unreliable.
- Somewhat more expensive than its competition.
Z GRILLS ZPG-1000D 2020 Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
Need a large pellet smoker and grill to do your bidding? Z GRILLS ZPG-1000D 2020 Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker will do just that. It has plenty of cooking space, interesting features, and comes in at an attractive price point.
Z Grills ZPG-1000D takes a dual role as a combo smoker and grill. And to do those jobs well, it separates the cooking areas. The cooking area on the grill side is 432 square inch, while the smoking/warming rack gets 374 square inch.
Pellet grills don’t usually get around to handling grilling temperatures that well. However, this one does an acceptable job. It’s better at BBQ. The part where it shines is still smoking food and that works pretty well. Z Grills goes on to claim things like searing, but I wouldn’t put too much stock into that.
The temperature range here goes from 180-450 °F. While the grill does a decent job of maintaining the temperature, it can go on to be very different from set limits. Then there’s the 20 lb hopper. It definitely feels small for a pellet grill this size.
Z GRILLS ZPG-1000D 2020 Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker comes with a three year warranty.
- Attractive price point.
- Has a large cooking area.
- Improved pellet feeding and temperature control systems.
- At 20 lbs, the hopper size seems inadequate.
- Can be difficult to assemble.
- Has something of a learning curve before you use and get accustomed to this pellet smoker.
Weber 23510201 SmokeFire EX6 (2nd Gen) Wood Fired Pellet Grill
Weber 23510201 SmokeFire EX6 (2nd Gen) Wood Fired Pellet Grill does an excellent job with grilling and smoking – and looks good doing it! The grill is made with high-quality steel and then given a porcelain-enamel finish to complete the look.
It flaunts its excellent construction. The quality becomes very evident when working with this pellet grill. The solid build also means a huge weight. This one will move the scale beyond 200 lbs.
There’s plenty of cooking space available on the Weber 23510201 SmokeFire EX6. The cooking area offers a total of 1,008 square inches. Weber says the temperature range is 200-600 °F, which covers everything from smoking to searing. Well, I’m still going to stick to my belief.
Pellet grills are great at smoking and BBQ. Perhaps some grilling as well. A proper sear is going to be difficult to achieve.
It comes with two meat probes, both of which are accurate and easy to use. For a large grill like this one, you might want more probes; SmokeFire EX6 can accommodate four probes.
The pellet smoker and grill from Weber has a touch of high-tech use as well. They call it the “Weber Connect smart features”. As with other grills, this basically means that the SmokeFire EX6 connects to WiFi and has app controls.
You can handle the usual functions on the app like switching the grill on/off and checking/managing the temperature. But it wants to be more involved. It will even push notifications on when it’s time to flip the food!
- Excellent construction and build quality.
- Massive cooking area.
- Good temperature range and temperature control.
- WiFi connectivity and app control.
- The pellet smoker and grill isn’t easy to assemble.
- WiFi connectivity and app can be spotty.
Pellet Grill Reviews And What To Know Before You Buy
Cooking Surface Area For Your Choice Of Grill
The size of the grill matters. But what really matters is the available cooking surface area. After all, this is the metric that decides how much food you can cook. Consider the size of your family or the purpose of buying a pellet grill.
If your cooking choice is about burgers and steak for the family, a small cooking area can suffice. On the other hand, if you plan to cook brisket, be prepared to choose one with a larger surface area.
While looking at the cooking real estate, also look at the footprint and size you need to place the pellet grill. These can be small but they are, by no means, compact. Just in case you were wondering, no, you can’t place a pellet grill indoors.
The Budget Of Convenience And Versatility
Pellet smokers and grills are usually expensive. They’ll easily run to be more expensive than a comparable charcoal or wood grill and smoker. The key factors on why anyone would still buy a pellet grill are convenience and versatility.
You could leave a pellet smoker to run by itself, without having to worry about adding more wood chips every few hours. Most pellet grills will automatically pull in more pellets and keep themselves going.
There’s also the ease of setting up the temperature and letting the grill (machine) manage it all automatically. Many grills also have WiFi and app controls, so you could keep an eye on the temperature and operation of the grill without being physically close to it.
Letting a brisket stay in for hours without having to change the wood chips does seem like an attractive proposition!
Apart from their smoking duties, pellet smokers and grills also adjust quickly to bbq and grilling needs. Pellet smokers work off electricity, so make sure you have an electric outlet available where you want to install the grill/smoker.
Overall, if the budget isn’t pulling you back, you can let yourself enjoy the convenience and versatility of a pellet smoker. Speaking of budget, keep in mind that pellets tend to be more expensive than wood chips or charcoal.
Technology And Functions
Pellet grills are a bit of high-tech pieces. It’s not just the automatic feeding of pellets but also the temperature controls, and for some grills, the app access and related automated functions. You want one with high-quality and reliable temperature control.
The convenience to leave the grill running while you go about your day is a key buying point here. That goes right out the window if the grill can’t manage temperature control. You’ll find plenty of machines using PID controllers or similar options to properly manage the temperature.
Considering WiFi and app functions is an interesting approach. They are an obvious evolution of the features available, but you might want to consider the cost and usability. I like the WiFi and app controls but to each their own!
Don’t Forget The Hopper Size
The hopper holds the wood pellets that are fed to the grill. You definitely want a hopper that can easily last a cooking session. Refilling hoppers might be easier but the convenience of using pellet smokers loses half its charm if you’ve to keep a watchful eye on the hopper all the time.
While the exact numbers can vary by grill type and use, you can generally assume that a smoker will use a pound of pellets every hour. If you intend to smoke a brisket, ensure that the hopper size is large enough for the cooking to be completed without needing to refill the hopper.
Maintenance And Ease Of Cleaning
General care and maintenance go a long way in keeping the grill fit and fab. Get a cover for your grill as soon as you can. Consider a good quality option. Generally, a heavy cover with waterproofing should do the trick.
Pellet grills use electricity, so keep them protected from rain. That’s a good strategy for any grill but gets more important for pellet smokers.
And don’t forget regular cleaning. There is bound to be some ash around the burn pot and the heat deflector. Many smokers offer an easy way to remove the pellet ash, so that can make things easier. However, you will occasionally still have to go for thorough cleaning to get out the ash stuck inside the grill.
The Right Pellet Smoker For Your Money
There are a lot of good smokers and options available for purchase. But when choosing the best pellet smoker, it’s always better to go for quality and longevity. These aren’t cheap, so you obviously want a pellet grill that can last years.
Find value in quality, not just the price. Also, companies with a solid warranty and good reputation should feature in your decision. We hope that the options and information listed here make it easier to pick the right grill.