Best Pellet Grill for Cold Weather: 5 Insulated Options

Best Pellet Grill for Cold Weather

Packing away the smoker at the end of summer’s always a bit of a bummer. But, so is trying to smoke something, watching the unit struggle to hit a high enough temperature because the weather’s just too darn cold.

Luckily, you don’t have to do either of those things.

In fact, pellet smokers are one of the best choices for cold weather smoking because they’ll automatically regulate the temperature for you, even if they do use more pellets.

Thanks to the growing popularity of pellet smokers and advances in technology, there are actually some pellet smokers that are fully insulated so you can smoke all year long without having to mess around with thermal blankets.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with insulating blankets. And, a lot of pellet smoker brands do sell good ones now. But, they do mean an added expense and an extra thing to store when you’re not using the smoker.

So, here you’ll find our top picks for the best pellet grill for cold weather smoking. They’ve all got built-in insulation so you don’t need to buy an additional blanket and they won’t just churn through the pellets like there’s no tomorrow either.

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Table of Contents

Traeger Timberline 850

The Traeger Timberline is THE top of the line option if you want full insulation for winter smoking, plus pretty much every other feature you can think of.

You’ve got full stainless steel grates, WiFire connectivity and Traeger’s precise D2 Controller with their TRU Convection® System for even heat distribution. But, the Timberline also features Traeger’s new Downdraft Exhaust System which pulls the smoke back down over your food for maximum smokiness.

If smokiness is your thing, there’s also a Super Smoke mode that bumps the temperature down so the grill pumps out more smoke.

Use it for the first hour or two when your meat absorbs the most smoke then switch it up to a regular cooking temperature to make sure it’s fall-off-the-bone done with the single included meat probe.

But, the Traeger Timberline isn’t finished there. There’s TurboTemp so you can manually boost the temperature back up faster after you’ve opened the lid. A pellet sensor tells you when it’s time to refill. And, a hopper trapdoor makes changing or emptying pellets really quick and easy.

If you’ve ever grilled on a pellet smoker, you’ll know it’s sort of like trying to do it in a really hot oven. So, Traeger have improved upon it with their dual position smoke and sear bottom grate. It’s not open fame cooking. But, it lets you lower the food so it’s closer to the firepot for more heat and better results. It works really well and does turn the Timberline into an even better all-in-one wood-fired cooking solution.

In terms of size, you’ve got two choices with the Timberline.

The smaller, but still bigger than average, Timberline 850 can cook up to 9 chickens, 8 rib racks or 6 pork butts at a time on it’s 850 square inches of cooking space. The hopper is 24 pounds which will pretty much let you smoke low and slow or 24 hours.

Or, the upsized Timberline 1300 gives you 1300 square inches of cooking space beside the 24 pound pellet hopper, fitting 12 chickens, 15 racks of ribs or 12 pork butts.

But, either size you go, the Timberline really has everything you could ever want in a pellet smoker including effortlessly consistent cooking in cold weather conditions.

Specs for the Traeger Timberline 850 Pellet Grill

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material: Stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 850 square inches

Pellet hopper capacity: 24 lbs

Temperature range: 160°F – 500°F

WiFi: Yes

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: TFB85WLE

Price guide: $$$$

Dimensions: 46″ W x 51″ H x 28″ D

Weight: 213 lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Traeger Timberline 850:

  • Fully insulated for maximum efficiency cooking in cold weather
  • Wide temperature range plus dual position smoke and sear bottom grate lets you smoke, bake, roast, grill and sear on the one barbecue
  • Brushless motor is built to last longer than competitors
  • D2 Controller lets you set the temperature in 5°F increments
  • TRU convection and downdraft exhaust systems create excellent heat and smoke circulation for consistently smoky results
  • Stainless steel grates give the best rust-resistance and durability
  • WiFi connectivity so you can fully control the grill from your smartphone
  • Super Smoke mode
  • Turbo Temp for faster heating
  • Low pellet sensor
  • Hopper trapdoor for easy emptying

Cons of the Traeger Timberline 850:

  • The higher price is really the only negative of this top of the line grill. But, we feel like the price is justified. This grill is seriously packed with the lot!

Traeger Ironwood

If you like the sound of the Traeger Timberline but the price is a little too steep for your budget, you could consider Traeger’s next model down, the Ironwood.

Now, the Ironwood only has side-wall insulation instead of full body insulation. So, it’s going to struggle a little more than the Timberline will if the weather’s really cold.

But, the Ironwood still does have some built-in protection from the weather to reduce heat loss and improve fuel efficiency. It’s also still got a whole host of other awesome Traeger features including the the same D2 Controller, WiFire connectivity, the Downdraft exhaust, Super Smoke mode, the low pellet sensor, and, the dual position smoking and searing bottom grate.

To allow for the lower price, the Ironwood only has standard porcelain-coated grill grates and a reduced capacity. Both models in the Ironwood series have a 20 pound pellet hopper. The Ironwood 650 holds 650 square inches of cooking space with a 20 pound hopper while the Ironwood 885 gives you 885 square inches of cooking space.

Both are still good solid options for cold weather smoking, especially if you don’t actually need something that’ll handle snow. You get the same awesome Traeger quality and a lot of the same easy to use features.

Specs for the Traeger Ironwood 650 Pellet Grill

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated steel

Cooking capacity: 650 square inches

Pellet hopper capacity: 20 lbs

Temperature range: 160°F – 500°F

WiFi: Yes

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model:TFB65BLF

Price guide: $$$$

Dimensions: 46″ W x 47″ H x 27″ D

Weight: 149 lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Traeger Ironwood 650:

  • Cheaper alternative to the top of the line Timberline
  • Side-wall insulation gives some protection from cold weather without having to use a thermal blanket
  • High quality build
  • Great temperature controller
  • Downdraft exhaust system gives a greater smoky flavor
  • WiFire connectivity
  • Super Smoke and Turbo Temp modes
  • Low pellet sensor with door to empty
  • Dual position smoking/searing grate so you can get more heat for a more effective grill
  • Same brushless motor as the premium Timberline

Cons of the Traeger Ironwood 650:

  • Doesn’t have full insulation so you will lose more heat and use more pellets when cooking in cooler conditions than you would on the fully insulated Timberline

Grilla Grills Silverbac

It’s still not super cheap. But, the Grilla Grills Silverbac is packed full of value in one fully-insulated barrel of a design whose price blows most of the competition out of the water.

For a lower price than either of the two Traeger’s we’ve reviewed above, you’re getting stainless steel grates, firepot, heat deflector, and, lids for improved durability and rust-resistance. There’s built-in storage too and a decently large 692 square inches of cooking space, powered by a 20 pound hopper.

But, the Grilla Grills temperature controller is where things start to get really interesting. The Silverbac has their dual-mode Alpha Smoke Controller.

What that means is that if you want precise temperature regulation, you can set it to PID mode. Or, if you want more smokiness from the larger heat fluctuations, you can use it in regular mode. Options, options, options… basically you’ve got more flexibility for even more versatility up to the maximum grilling temperature of 500°F.

Other features that are worth mentioning are the TempTamer which helps to reduce that huge drop you get from opening the lid, the included meat probe and pellet dump door.

It’s seriously great value for what it is.

Specs for the Grilla Grills Silverbac

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel with stainless steel lids

Grate material: Stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 692 square inches

Pellet hopper capacity: 20 lbs

Temperature range: 180°F – 500°F

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: Silverbac

Price guide: $$$

Dimensions: 47″ W x 51″ H x 22″ D

Weight: 170 lbs

Warranty: 4 years

Pros of the Grilla Grills Silverbac:

  • Great value for money
  • Fully insulated body gives an estimated 33% improved efficiency over single-walled designs
  • Stainless steel internal components for improved durability
  • Dual-mode temperature controller gives you the choice of PID or regular modes
  • Wide temperature range is suitable for smoking, baking, roasting and grilling
  • TempTamer reduces heat dip from opening the lid
  • Includes 1 meat probe that plugs into the controller
  • Built-in storage cabinet
  • Pellet dump

Cons of the Grilla Grills Silverbac:

  • No WiFi
  • Only 1 meat probe port – you’ll probably want to buy a separate wireless set so you can monitor more than one cut of meat

Z Grills 700D4E

If you live somewhere that gets cold and you’ve got a tighter budget, the Z Grills 700D4E is a great option.

No, this smoker doesn’t have all the fancy features that the Traeger’s and Grilla Grills have. But, what’s here is solid and reliable and the results you can get on this barbecue are impressive, particularly when you consider it’s price.

You’ve got a PID-style temperature controller which holds the heat within about 5°F of your target. The temperature distribution is incredibly even from one end of the grill to the other. There’s a manual feed button so you can heat the grill up fasters. And, you get not just one, but two temperature probes that hook straight up to the controller for accurate feedback on how your meat is going.

Inside, it holds a similar amount of meat to the other smokers on this list. 697 square inches should see you smoke 5 chickens, 6 rib racks or 29 burgers at one time. The pellet hopper holds a whole 20 pound bag, and, there’s the built-in storage cabinet and a waterproof cover included as a nice bonus.

If you’re looking at using the 700D4E for grilling, the maximum temperature of 450°F is slightly lower than the options above. It does actually grill surprisingly well. But, uses a lot of pellets to get up to temperature and stay there.

Overall, the performance of the 700D4E far outdoes it’s price! And, although the built-quality isn’t as high as the more expensive options, it’s very reasonable while giving enough protection from the cold without having to use a thermal blanket.

Specs for the Z Grills 700D4E

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated steel

Cooking capacity: 697 sq. in.

Pellet hopper capacity: 20 lbs

Heat Range: 180°F – 450°F

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: 700D4E (was known as 700D3)

Price guide: $$$

Assembled size (in): 48 L × 22 W × 51 H

Weight: 132 lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Z Grills 700D4E:

  • Great temperature regulation thanks to upgraded PID-system and convection circulation
  • Double-walled insulation with a 2.0mm thick stainless steel lid lets you smoke in colder weather without burning through a crazy amount of pellets
  • Includes 2 meat probes that hook into the control panel for internal meat monitoring
  • Manual feed button lets you get the grill back up to temperature faster after opening the lid
  • Hopper clean out door allows for easy emptying and changing
  • Large cabinet for storage
  • Comes with waterproof cover

Cons of the Z Grills 700D4E:

  • There’s no WiFi if it’s important to you
  • Build quality isn’t quite as good as the high-end Traegers and Silverbac. But, it is impressive for the price

Pit Boss 5-Series Wood Pellet Vertical Smoker

If your budget’s really tight, or, you just want a smoker with a HUGE capacity, Pit Boss’s 5-Series Vertical Pellet Smoker is it.

This space-saving design holds an impressive 1,513 square inches of cooking space inside a double-walled vertical design. There’s 5 grates that you can pretty much move anywhere you want, thanks to Pit Boss’s multi-position racking system. And, the hopper holds an impressive 55 pounds of pellets so you can easily do 24 hour + smokes without lifting a finger once it’s on.

The VP1 temperature controller isn’t PID so it won’t hold the heat so steady. But, partnered with convection fans, it does a great job of heating the space for an even cook throughout. There’s also a manual feed button to push more pellets into the firepot for a faster heat up too.

Just be aware that you can’t grill on the Pit Boss 5-Series Vertical Pellet Smoker, or any other vertical pellet smoker for that matter. The heating element is just too far away from the grates so the temperature maxes out at 420°F instead of grilling temperatures.

You can still cook a lot in here though! For a vertical-style smoker, it’s a really wide temperature range and will let you smoke low and slow plus roast and bake anything you’d cook in your kitchen oven.

Specs for the Pit Boss 5-Series Wood Pellet Smoker:

Barbecue type: Wood pellet smoker

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material:  Porcelain-coated steel

Cooking capacity: 1,513 sq. in.

Pellet hopper capacity: 55 lbs

Heat Range: 150-420°F

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Price guide: $$$

Model: 77550

Assembled size (in): 53”H x 29”W x 27”D

Weight: 127 lbs

Warranty: 5 years

Pros of the Pit Boss 5-Series Vertical Pellet Smoker:

  • Holds a huge amount of food without taking up a lot of ground space
  • Double-wall design holds heat in for improved efficiency in colder weather
  • Wide temperature range makes it suitable for smoking, baking and roasting
  • Multi-position racking system gives you the ultimate flexibility in spacing
  • Large glass door lets you see what’s happening without opening the door
  • Manual feed button boosts temperature after opening the door
  • Really large pellet hopper caters to really long cooks
  • Comes with 1 meat probe for internal temperature monitoring
  • Low price

Cons of the Pit Boss 5-Series Vertical Pellet Smoker:

  • Lower build quality than the more expensive options on this list
  • No WiFi
  • Only comes with 1 meat probe even though there’s 2 meat ports. You can buy an extra here.