Best Pellet Smokers – 2018 Complete Buyer’s Guide

Pellet smokers are widely used by people of all experience levels and are a fantastic way to enter the smoking community. Their easy to use functionality is ideal for big game hunters, party hosts, family chefs, and professionals.

In this overview, we’re going to take a look at a handful of pellet smokers and outline their top qualities.

We’ll provide you with the pros, cons, and top features of the best pellet smokers.

With this, we’ll also provide a brief overview of the difference between a griller and a smoker and touch on the best wood pellets for smoking. Let’s begin!

Comparison Chart of the Best Pellet Smokers

What is a Smoker? What is a Grill?

A common question asked by people new to the smoking and grilling community is, “what’s the difference between a griller and a smoker?”

Here’s the answer: a smoker uses low amounts of heat whereas a griller uses high heat.

Additionally, a smoker uses indirect heat while a griller uses direct heat. For the sake of this article, we’re going to use them interchangeably because some models do both.

Some of the models we’ll be covering feature the word griller, but rest assured, it’s all the same.

Picking the perfect pellets is as important as any other piece of the puzzle. Since pellets produce exquisite flavors and greatly contribute toward your delicious results, it’s critical that you choose the right one.

While you should keep in mind that flavor preference varies and that will ultimately be up to you, here’s our recommendation on the best wood pellets for smoking.

Traeger Grills 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets

  • 20 lb. bag - buy in bulk! 
  • 9 Flavors: Alder, Apple, Cherry, Hickory, Maple, Mesquite, Oak, Pecan, and Turkey
  • Infuse everything you bake, BBQ, braise, grill, and smoke with authentic hardwood flavor
  • American made and sustainably sourced in the USA

Review of the Best Pellet Smokers

Now we're going to transition into the review section of our article and go over the models that made our list for the best pellet smokers. 

First on our list is a supreme smoker, the Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe Pellet Grill.

This moderately priced model is backed by the trusted Camp Chef name and will deliver tasteful flavors every time.

Whether you’re in search of your first smoker or a seasoned professional, this is perfect for all experience levels.

Camp Chef smokers are made from only the finest materials and contribute toward tasty, delicious outcomes.

In addition to the great qualities mentioned above, there are some added benefits you should know about. Here are the perks of owning this smoker.

Main features of the Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe Pellet Grill:

  • 570 sq. inches of cooking space
  • Temperature range effortlessly varies from 160° F to 500° F
  • Pellets are auto fed via auger feed to ensure heat smoke output is constant
  • Easy to use digital controls and can be adapted to bake, braise, BBQ grill, and smoke
  • 18 lb. hopper capacity

Pros

  • Easy to assemble and start-up is very user friendly
  • ‘Ash Clean out system’ making cleaning pellets as easy as pulling a lever
  • Camp Chef is well know for their customer service they’re easy to work with
  • Backed by an 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Meat probe accuracy wears down over time
  • Temperatures can be hard to maintain in cold or windy conditions

Bottom Line

When it comes down to it, the Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe is an excellent model for all experience levels. It's easy to clean, very straightforward to operate, and makes smoking seem like a walk in the park. 

The second smoker on our list is the Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill and this thing packs quite the punch.

This smoker is filled with features and offers customers a variety of great qualities. Perfect for all chefs, this easy to use model will have you smoking in no time.

Main features of the Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill:

  • 3 racks can hold wide assortments of meats and vegetables 
  • 6-in-1 utility allows for a variety of cooking styles
  • 300 sq. inches of cooking space - perfect for hosting socials or tailgating
  • Traeger Digital Elite Controller sets and controls temperature with ease
  • 8 lb. hopper capacity

Pros

  • Easy to assemble and ready to use in minutes
  • Comes with wheels and is easy to move or store
  • Quality made and constructed from highly durable materials

Cons

  • Temperature can fluctuate under windy conditions
  • Grill is 36” so taller customers have experienced height challenges
  • Goes through pellets quickly so be sure to stock up before long smoking sessions

Bottom Line

Overall, the Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill is great for those who are looking for a straightforward model that sets up in minutes and is easy to store. This smoker is nearly stress free and perfect for parties, socials, or relaxing kickbacks. 

The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill is number three on our list and is a Smart little, on-the-go grill, perfect for people who love to camp, tailgate, or travel.

Weighing in at only 57 lbs., this grill can conveniently be transported in nearly any car and makes smoking a breeze.

Main features of the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill:

  • Smart Control allows you to connect via WiFi and have full control over your grill
  • 17 lb. hopper capacity and pellets are automatically fed via sloped design
  • Sense-Mate thermal sensor guides temperature to maintain control
  • 110V or 12V with adaptors for 3 Power Options
  • Includes stainless steel grease bucket for catchy and cleanup and cover!

Pros

  • Great customer service from Green Mountain
  • App is very user friendly and comes with timer to assist with cooking process
  • Legs fold under grill and double as a handle - easy to transport and perfect for socials

Cons

  • WiFi range is limited - people have reported a max range of roughly 20 ft.
  • Radiates a lot of heat on the bottom - be sure to prop legs and lay cover if tailgating
  • Weight of fully loaded hopper is about 75 lbs. making it difficult to transport when full

Bottom Line

The bottom line with the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill is that this a top of the line model with some innovative technology behind it.

In addition to it being so tech-friendly, this model is very user-friendly and easy to transport - great for all experience levels and occasions. 

Grill with ease after one simple push! The REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill is a hot commodity and comes with an incredible warranty to say the least.

This backyard beauty is ideal for a variety of cooking environments and will be the catalyst for your next cooking excursion. 

Main features of the REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill:

  • 702 sq. inches of cooking space
  • 40 lb. hopper capacity - average of 1 lb pellets/hr at 225°F
  • Temperature ranges from 180° F to 500° F and has ability to adjust in 5° F increments
  • Welded and sealed helping to ensure smoke doesn’t escape
  • Long-lasting 6 year warranty

Pros

  • Easy assembly makes for quick set-up
  • Wheels make for easy transportation and storage
  • Built in grill light allows you to easily see what you’re preparing

Cons

  • Does not feature a pellet hopper release lever
  • Optional add-on accessories can get spendy over time
  • Not all parts are removable so cleaning may take more time compared to other models

Bottom Line

Another fan favorite is the REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill, and for good reason. In general, this is a massive smoker packed with high-end features.

The excellent 6-year warranty speaks for itself while the versatility and functionality of the smoker will make make every smoking session one to remember.  

Z GRILLS Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker has a lot to offer and certainly looks good while doing it.

This huge model not only offers a main rack and a warm rack, but it also comes with a 3 year warranty to safeguard any mishaps that may occur.

Main features of the Z GRILLS Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker:

  • 700 sq. inches of cooking space offers a ton of options when smoking or grilling
  • Temperate ranges from 180° F to 450° F
  • 8-in-1 utility allows for a variety of cooking styles
  • Easy to use digital temperature control - “set it and forget about it”
  • 20 lb. hopper capacity

Pros

  • Large size makes it great for hosting massive parties or socials
  • Easy to assemble, has added storage space under grill, and comes with patio cover
  • Wheels help with storage and also feature locks to keep from rolling while smoking

Cons

  • Does not feature a cold smoker option
  • No additional space built in to prep
  • When fully loaded of pellets, grill is heavy and can be harder to move during prep stage

Bottom Line

Z GRILLS is well-known for their high quality products and this grill certainly fits the criteria to a pin. This massive tank of a model is perfect for whatever you have in store and is sure to hold up to demanding menus.

This grill is very simple to use and is perfect for storing tools or accessories under the grill in-between uses. One of the massive benefits to this model is the automated pellet feeder, definitely helps automate the process. 

As Pit Boss exclaims, “The 700FB Wood Pellet Grill offers the best value per square inch in the pellet grill industry”; a statement we would have to say isn’t far from the truth. Pit Boss definitely takes grilling to a whole other level and let’s anyone become a master chef.

Click here to see our full write-up of this model!

Main features of the Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet Grill with Flame Broiler:     

  • 700 sq. inches of cooking area
  • Temperate ranges from 180° F to 500° F
  • Temperate control is fully digital and is very user friendly - just turn the dial!
  • Porcelain-coated grids provide a strong surfaces for meats and other food
  • Comes with wheels for easy transporting and storage

Pros

  • Well built and very sturdy
  • Outstanding customer service from the Pit Boss team
  • Large size is perfect for a variety of uses: big game meat, parties, holiday hosting, etc.

Cons

  • Cord is only 6 ft. long so an extension cord is needed in some situations
  • Misleading documentation about including an ‘all important bottle opener’
  • Wheels are made of metal so some customers have encounter troubles while moving

Bottom Line

The Pit Boss 71700FB is a smoker that is built to do one job and do it well: smoke meats on demand. This model is large and perfect for big game roasts or large parties. Aside from it being a little challenging to move fully loaded, this is a supreme smoker. 

The Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy's Pellet Grill holds true to the Cookshack name being that it’s as big as a shack!

This high quality pellet grill is certainly the most expensive on our list, but with that comes all the bells and whistles. We definitely saved the best for last, let's find out why!

Main features of the Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy's Pellet Grill:

  • 748 sq. inches of cooking surface
  • 36,000 BTU burner - max temperature of 600° F
  • Thermostat is electronically controlled reducing temperature inconsistencies
  • Pellets dispense at an average of 1.2 lbs. to 2 lbs. pellets per hour at 400° F
  • Four-Zone cooking: direct, indirect, cold-smoking, and warming/holding

Pros

  • Features side hooks for cooking and prep utensils
  • High quality, durable, and built to last - this thing is a beast!
  • Multiple drawers add extra space compared to other models

Cons

  • Generates A LOT of smoke so plan the location accordingly
  • Due to size, cleaning can take longer compared to other models
  • Shipping weight is approximately 330 lbs - you may need an extra set of hands

Bottom Line

In the end, the Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy's Pellet Grill makes comes out on top as our choice for the best pellet smoker. This smoker is constructed by smokers, for smokers.

It comes with extra drawers for added space and it prepared to smoke whatever is tossed inside. The only downside is its price tag, but you certainly get what you pay for with this smoker. 

Our Top Picks

In the end, the bottom line is these pellet smokers all come with qualities that make any grilling or smoking session special.

Whether the model be big or small, many racks or few, the final decision comes down to identifying which is best for you.

If you want the top dog, we recommend the Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy's Pellet Grill, if you’re a tailgater or avid camper, go with the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill, and if you’re just looking for a solid smoker to plant on your deck or backyard, go with any of the rest.

Conclusion

We hope this review of the best pellet smokers has helped you along your journey toward enjoying some delicious meals.

The flavor achieved from pellet smokers is unlike anything else and we can’t wait to hear about your experiences.

Be sure to leave a comment below and let us know which one you ultimately went with. We love hearing from folks! Happy smoking!

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