Home Reviews The 8 Best Pellet Smokers for 2020

The 8 Best Pellet Smokers for 2020

by Burning Brisket
Best Pellet Smokers

Gone are the days of sweating over the flames, painstakingly trying to maintain your temperature every fifteen minutes in rain, hail or shine. When pellet smokers burst onto the scene, barbecue fans thought it was just a flash in the pan, if you’ll pardon the pun. But, with the most respectable manufacturers in the market offering up their version of this set and forget, wood-fired smoker, the world is finally cottoning on to the fact that the pellet grill is here to stay.

And, if you ask us, we couldn’t be happier about it! Mastering the art of barbecuing on an offset smoker may earn you serious browning points with traditionalists. But, there’s a good reason that pellet smokers are becoming so popular, even on the competitive barbecue circuit.

Why Use a Pellet Smoker?

Because they’re linked up to electricity, with a push of a button, pellet smokers heat up fast and offer impressive, automated temperature control by feeding 100% wood pellets into a burner when they’re needed. They’re perfect for you control-freaks (us included) and precision cooks. Or, if you’d just rather be kicking back on a deckchair while you turn out consistently incredible barbecue every, single, time.

Uneven cooking and over-cooking are almost impossible, thanks to the convection-style environment the grills create. In fact, many of our top pellet grills feature convection fans so, you’ve basically got yourself a wood-smoking oven for your backyard.

Best of all, the clean-up is a cinch, as the pellets burn down to practically nothing, leaving you free to have a laugh with the gang.

For the adventurous cook, not only can you experiment with anything from pulled pork to pizza, but you can vary the pellets depending on your mood and taste. Hickory, apple or bourbon? Let the season, meat or your favorite beer inspire you.

Is It a Pellet Smoker or Pellet Grill?

Although the terms pellet smoker and pellet grill are often used interchangeably, most pellet barbecues can’t create the high, direct heat that’s needed for grilling.

But, some pellet smokers have been specifically designed to be used both ways. So, if you’re looking to smoke and grill, keep an eye out for our pellet smoker reviews that state they can be used for grilling too.

The Best Pellet Smokers of 2020

In this guide, we’ve included reviews of the 8 best pellet smokers 2020 has to offer. You’ll also find details of their stats and a summary of the pros and cons for each model.

All of our picks of the top pellet smokers have been selected for their versatility, ease of use, end results, and overall value for money.

Best All-Round Pellet Smoker:

Traeger Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill

When it comes to pellet smokers, Traeger is THE house name. And, one that simply must be in the running if you’re looking to buy one. As the pioneers of pellet smoking, Traeger’s popularity has been driven by their quality build at an affordable price. So, if you’re after a solid pellet smoker with everything you need and nothing you don’t, look no further than the Traeger Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill.

Featuring their new Digital Pro Controller with Advanced Grilling Logic, this smoker takes 60 temperature readings per second so that it can stay within +/- 15°F of your target temperature. Whether it’s low and slow, or maxing out at 400 or so degrees, the LED display will allow you keep tabs on your cook with nothing more than a cursory glance.

Now, I hope you’re hungry because this baby has enough grill space for eight chickens, forty burgers or seven racks of ribs. And with that in mind, Traeger have upgraded the Pro 34 to a new robust body with all-terrain legs so that you can wheel it in and out of the garage all summer long.

A super-easy clean-up is a reality too on the Traeger Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill. The porcelain plates take seconds to wipe down. Grease, which has been funneled into the drip tray, can be quickly disposed of. And, what little ash is produced can be swept out quickly.

Now, where’s that cold beer?

Smoking with Traeger

As well as the impressive range of pellets for sale, Traeger also offers a range of mouth-watering rubs designed to spice up your next cook-out using your Traeger pellet smoker. The Sampler Kit is an awesome place to start, a collection of their bestselling rubs and spices for all of your favorite cuts of meat.

Stats for the Traeger Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill

Barbecue material: Powder-coated stainless steel

Grate material: Porcelain

Cooking capacity: 884 square inches

Pellet hopper capacity: 18 lbs

Temperature range: 160°F – 475°F

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: TFB88PZB

Dimensions: 53″ W x 49″ H x 27″ D

Weight: 136lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Traeger Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill:

  • Produces absolutely incredible food meal after meal
  • Quality, robust smoker from the industry leader
  • Very large cooking capacity over two racks
  • The Digital Pro Controller with AGL maintains heat well, even in cooler climates
  • Includes two meat temperature probes so you can monitor the meat’s temperature to tell when it’s done without opening the lid
  • The Hopper Clean Out feature means you can change wood pellets are any time, even if you’re cooking
  • Lets you smoke, bake, roast, braise and barbecue
  • Easy-clean design
  • Compatible with Traegers range of 100% pure hardwood pellets which gives you easy access to a wide range of smoking flavors
  • 3 year warranty
  • Traeger is known for their excellent customer service if you do have any problems

Cons of the Traeger Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill:

  • Temperature maxes out at about 425 which means it’s not ideal for grilling

Best Mid-Range Pellet Smoker:

ZGrills Premium 700E

If you like the Traeger but don’t want to spend quite so much, Z Grills have been called a ‘Traeger clone’. And, while they’re not THE same, the ZGrills Premium 700 is a solid and reliable mid-range contender with the same 3-year warranty to back it.

Designed to last, the Z Grills 700E is made from heavy-duty stainless steel so it won’t rust. Plus, it also comes standard with a waterproof cover so you can keep it out on the patio. But, if you’re wheeling your wood pellet grill a little further, the ZGrills Premium Pellet Smoker has all-terrain wheels. Be sure to pick up an extendable lead to make that riverside barbecue a reality. 

Thanks to the automated electric feed system, there’s no need to mother those flames. The large 20-pound hopper lets your food happily smoke away at +/-20° of your desired temperature, leaving you free to enjoy the finer things.

Just like the Traeger, versatility is this guy’s middle name. Temperatures range from 160 to 475 degrees. This means you can easily smoke, barbecue, bake, roast and braise. Z Grills do say that the Premium 700E can be used for grilling and searing. But, getting the unit over the 410° mark can be a bit of a challenge so we wouldn’t recommend relying on it.

As for cooking space, there’s enough to invite the whole gang around, as well as their wives, kids and, maybe even, second cousins. With 513 square inches on the primary grill and an extra 187 on the warm rack, you’ll be serving up a feast without even breaking a sweat.

Stats for the ZGrills Premium 700 Pellet Smoker

Barbecue material: Heavy-duty stainless steel

Grate material: Stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 513 sq. on main rack, 187 sq. on warming rack

Pellet hopper capacity: 18 lbs

Temperature Range: 160°F – 475°F

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: Premium 700E

Dimensions: 51.2″ W x 48.4″ H x 22.5″ D

Weight: 112lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Z Grills Premium 700 Pellet Smoker:

  • Stainless steel construction which won’t rust
  • Large cooking capacity
  • Large hopper so you can cook for hours without having to add pellets
  • Automated electric feed gives fairly concise temperature control which equals reliably amazing smoked meat
  • Suitable for smoking, baking, roasting, braising and barbecuing
  • Strong base with all-terrain wheel making it easy to move
  • Built-in storage space to keep your pellets and utensils
  • Comes with pellet grill cover
  • 3 year warranty

Cons of the ZGrills Premium 700 Pellet Smoker:

  • It’s hard to remove any unused pellets from the hopper which can be annoying if you want to change flavors or keep them from absorbing moisture between cooks
  • Although the company is US-based, they ship directly from their warehouse in China and there are reports of the customer service being less than desirable

Best Budget Pellet Smoker:

Z Grills ZPG-450A

The fully automated, lots of working parts nature of pellet smokers doesn’t lend itself well to a budget option. But, the ZPG 450-A by Z Grills breaks this mold.

For a very attractive price, you still get a quality stainless steel body with a digital LED panel and advanced wood fired technology to maintain your desired temperature (or about 10°F either side).

The capacity is a little smaller than more expensive models. But, at 450 square inches for smoking or 324 square inches for grilling, you’ll still have more than enough space to invite some friends. The smoking is split over 2 rust-resistant porcelain-coated grates and a drip tray keeps the grease away from the fire to prevent flare-ups from ruining your flavor.

What’s surprising on such an affordable pellet smoker is the generous hopper capacity too. It’s big enough to hold 15-pounds of pellets which will give you about 15 hours of uninterrupted smoking time.

At a maximum heat of 450°F, it’s also possible to grill on the ZPG 450-A. And, it does a pretty good job of it too, especially when it comes to reverse searing that meat you’ve just smoked.

Overall, the ZPG 450-A is amazing value for money when it comes to a budget-friendly pellet smoker. Sturdy, effective and covered by a 3 year warranty, it’s a no-brainer for anyone wanting a true set and forget barbecue without the huge price tag.

Stats for the Z Grills ZPG-450A Pellet Smoker

Barbecue material: Stainless steel

Grate material:  Porcelain-coated iron

Cooking capacity: 450 sq. in.

Pellet hopper capacity: 15 lbs

Heat Range: 180-450°F

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: ZPG-450A

Assembled size (in): 49”H x 45”W x 28”D

Weight: 84 lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Z Grills ZPG-450A

  • Quality stainless steel body
  • Auto-start ignition
  • Digital pellet feeding system gives precise temperature control
  • Large pellet hopper lets you smoke for about 15 hours without lifting a finger
  • Easy to clean, rust-resistant, porcelain-coated cooking racks
  • Wide temperature range gives you the versatility to smoke, bake, roast, braise and grill
  • Drip tray prevents flare-ups
  • Waste oil collector makes clean up faster
  • Sturdy feel to the whole design
  • Includes a free waterproof cover

Cons of the Z Grills ZPG-450A

  • Limited capacity compared to most other pellet smokers

Want to compare this budget pellet smoker to higher quality alternatives? Check out our full review of the best pellet grills here.

Best Tailgating Pellet Grill:

Traeger Tailgater Pellet Grill and Smoker

If you’re a sports fan who’s always planning their next tailgate, this is the best wood pellet smoker for you. Traeger’s Digital Elite Controller makes another appearance in their Tailgater model, meaning that during your cook you’ll have nothing to worry about beyond your team’s performance, as it quietly works to monitor and maintain your temperature.

With fold-away legs, a stainless-steel unit, and compact size, this baby is designed to be easily transported. And there’ll still be plenty of room in your trunk for a few extra beers. Traeger’s inverter is needed to get you locked into the power source, but when you can use it to charge your phone and hook up a mini sound system for some pre-game power tunes, it’s hardly an inconvenience.

The range of pellets on offer from Traeger won’t get boring any time soon either. And, their Signature Blend is sure to have all your neighbors and friends marveling at your sensational skills. Combining maple, hickory and cherry, it’ll add a sweet, smoky flavor to your favorite cut of meat. Take this bad boy on your next tailgate and prepare to be the envy of parking lot.

Stats for the Traeger Tailgater Pellet Smoker

Barbecue material: Stainless steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated steel

Cooking capacity: 300 sq in

Pellet hopper capacity: 8lbs

Heat range: 160°F – 400°F

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: TFB30KLF

Assembled size (in): 36(H) x 37(W) x 18(D)

Weight: 62lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Traeger Tailgater Pellet Smoker:

  • Quality US-made pellet grill
  • Large capacity for a portable grill
  • Combination of lightweight and folding legs make it possible to fit  in the back of lots of different vehicle types
  • Set and forget technology so you can focus on your friends and the game
  • Good enough construction to use at home as well as on the go
  • Easy to clean porcelain-coated racks
  • 3 year warranty from industry leader
  • Good-looking design

Cons of the Traeger Tailgater Pellet Smoker:

  • Even with folding legs, this pellet grill takes up quite a bit of room in the back of a smaller car
  • Smaller hopper size means you might need to top up the pellets while you’re cooking. But, that might not be a problem if you’re just sitting around with mates

Best Value for the Money Pellet Grill and Smoker:

Camp Chef Woodwind SG 24 Pellet Grill with Sear Box

While the Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill isn’t the cheapest pellet smoker on the market, we simply can’t go past it without a mention. Delivered with a free patio cover and pellets to get you started, this grill (yes, it grills too!), offers real value without compromising on quality, or most importantly, flavor!

Offering Camp Chef’s largest ever hopper, simply set and forget as you smoke up a meal on just over 800 square inches of racks, spread over two levels.

But, what’s super exciting is that the Woodwind Pellet Grill also comes standard with a side sear box so you can truly flame broil as well as smoke low-and-slow on this one pellet barbecue.

The main cooking chamber uses Smart Smoke Technology with digital temperature control to feed pellets into the system as is required to maintain your selected cooking heat up to 500°F. Then, the Slide and Grill Technology uses propane (tank not included) to stretch all the way up to 900°F.

Combine these two and you’ve got the most versatile and value for money pellet grill on our list so far. From that picture-perfect sear on your steaks, to the twelve-hour smoked brisket, this baby will be your companion for many cook-outs to come.

And, if all of that wasn’t enough, you’ll also be getting two meat probes, and the patented Ash Cleanout System which takes the drama out of tidying up. Just pull a lever and your job is done. You can even put the grill grates in the dishwasher.  

Stats for the Camp Chef Woodwind SG 24 Pellet Grill with Sear Box

Barbecue material: Stainless steel

Grate material: Enamel-coated steel lower rack, nickel plated upper rack, enamel-coated cast iron sear rack

Cooking capacity: 429 sq. in. lower rack, 382 sq. in. upper rack, 184 sq. in. sear rack

Pellet hopper capacity: 22lbs

Heat Range: 160°F – 500°F in smoking box, up to 700°F in sear box

Fuel type: Wood pellet

Model: PG24SGWWSS1

Assembled size (in): 42(H)

Weight: 150lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Camp Chef Woodwind 24 Pellet Grill with Sear Box:

  • Smoke, sear, grill, barbecue, braise, roast and bake all on the one barbecue
  • Ideal for reverse searing smoked meat
  • Stainless steel construction that won’t rust
  • Extra large hopper means that you can cook for hours without restocking the pellets
  • But, there’s a clear hopper window so you can easily see when it’s getting low
  • Comes with 2 meat probes so you’ll know exactly when the meat is done without lifting the lid and letting heat out
  • Also has a bottle opener built-in so you’ll never be wondering where you left it
  • Easy to clean design
  • 3 year warranty

Cons of the Camp Chef Woodwind 24 Pellet Grill with Sear Box:

  • Some quality issues reported but that’s to be somewhat expected for such a good priced pellet smoker that can also grill

Best Semi-Professional Pellet Smoker:

Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack PG500 Pellet Smoker

Competition grade and versatility are the names of the game with Fast Eddy’s. Not only will this wood pellet barbecue smoke AND grill for you, it offers the ultimate flexibility with a Four-Zone cook capacity. This means that you can use direct or indirect heat, heat and keep food warm in the holding area AND even cold smoke too.

Made by Cookshack, a US company that specializes in commercial grade smokers, Fast Eddy’s PG500 is the most popular pellet smoker in their residential line. And, while it’s not the best-looking smoker on the market, it’s 100% unpainted stainless steel, riveted construction gives unparalleled durability for a smoker that’s designed for home use.

So, while your friends might not be commenting on its prettiness, you’re not going to tire of the compliments you receive on your cooking, that’s for sure.

The Cookshack Fast Eddy’s PG500 Pellet Grill gives you a total of 784 square inches of space to fill with your barbecue favorites. Plus, if you’re a smoked salmon fan, why not try cold smoking some of your own? Or, experiment with smoking cheese, nuts, eggs and vegetables too.

And, once you’ve mastered the art (it won’t take long on this baby), you could even enter a barbecue competition too. This model has been approved by all major cooking competition sanctioning bodies so why not take a shot at a pitmaster title?

With all the usual temperature control and easy clean features, this electric pellet smoker is an awesome bit of kit for both the experienced and experimental barbecuer.

Stats for the Fast Eddy's PG500 Pellet Grill and Smoker

Barbecue material: 100% unpainted stainless steel

Grate material: Stainless steel rod grate in direct cooking areas, nickel plated grill in indirect

Cooking capacity: 180 sq. in. direct cooking, 324 sq. in. indirect cooking, 280 sq. in. top rack, 247 sq. in. warming draw

Pellet hopper capacity: 22lbs

Heat Range: Up to 600°F

Fuel type: Wood pellet

Model: PG500

Assembled size (in): 52.5(H) x 56.5(W) x 23.5(D)

Weight: 330lbs

Warranty: 2 years

Pros of the Cookshack Fast Eddy’s PG500:

  • 100% unpainted stainless-steel means that you won’t have problems with rust or flaking paint, ever
  • Riveted construction is stronger than the standard screws and is more resistant to warping
  • Highly versatile wood pellet barbecue that smokes, grills, braises, roasts, bakes and barbecues
  • Also works as a cold smoker for even more flexibility with your cook
  • Includes a handy warming draw so it doesn’t matter if you haven’t quite timed the meat with your sides
  • Very large hopper capacity means that you’re able to smoke for many hours without adding more pellets
  • Produced by a commercial smoker company which means you get a bit of the same expertise and design in a residential pellet grill
  • Approved for use by all major cooking competition sanctioning bodies in case you want to try your hand at competing
  • Comes with 40lbs of Cookshack pellets to get you started

Cons of the Cookshack Fast Eddy’s PG500:

  • We don’t think it looks the nicest, but, it does look like you know what you’re doing when it comes to barbecue
  • Doesn’t come with meat probes, but, they’re not expensive
  • 2 year warranty is a bit shorter than industry leaders

Best High End Pellet Grill:

Memphis Grills Pro (Smoke and Grill)

If you’re in the market for a premium pellet grill that’s got the quality, power and versatility to do justice to everything you cook for years to come, it’s got to be a Memphis Grill. Every feature, every corner and every finish of this top of the line pellet barbecue has been perfectly designed for maximum ease of use, durability and unparalleled results.

Made from the highest-grade stainless-steel, in a doubled walled design, the Memphis Grills Pro takes the basic wood fire and combines it with a high-tech kitchen oven. Not only can it smoke for up to 62 hours without needing to touch a thing, it also has a perforated insert that allows you to grill directly over the pellet fire giving you the ease of gas cooking with that added smokiness.

The doubled walled construction combined with an oven-grade gasket means that the Memphis Pro is superbly sealed. This maximizes heat and smoke retention so that it costs less to run while keeping the temperature more even. But, there’s also a set of dual four-inch fans that circulate heat inside the barbecue for incredibly even cooking environment that’s ideal for creating competition-worthy results without needing to rotate the goods.

And, to make precision smoking easy, the intelligent WiFi-enabled app lets you control the temperature with a swipe of your smart phone. There are even two pellet hoppers so that you can experiment with a cocktail of smoky-sweet flavors.

With exceptional craftsmanship and unrivaled technology and design, the Memphis Pro Pellet Grill and Smoker is without a doubt worth every cent spent on this top of the line model.

Stats for the Memphis Pro 24" Freestanding Pellet Grill and Smoker

Barbecue material: Double walled stainless steel (#430 model available or #340 upgrade for coastal areas)

Grate material: #340 stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 4,230 cubic inches

Pellet hopper capacity: 18lbs

Heat Range: Up to 600°F

Fuel type: Wood pellet

Model: VG0001S4 (#430 stainless steel) and VG000S2 (#340 stainless steel)

Assembled size (in): 47(H) x 57(W) x 29(D)

Weight: 213lbs

Warranty: 30 days on meat probe, 3 years on electronics, 7 years on remaining parts

Pros of the Memphis Pro Pellet Grill and Smoker:

  • 100% high-quality stainless steel design means no rust and no flaking paint
  • Doubled walled construction with an oven-quality gasket equals exceptional heat control and retention for precise control and more efficient fuel usage
  • Dual fans create even heat convection within
  • The perforated insert means you can use the high heat of the pellet fire to grill directly over
  • One of the lowest cost pellet grills to run
  • Dual pellet hopper makes it easy to create unique smoky flavor mixes
  • Great warranty that you’d expect for a grill of this quality
  • Available in regular #430 stainless steel for general use or #340 upgrade for coastal
  • WiFi pellet smoker that can be controlled via app
  • Includes one meat probe but has room for two more
  • Plenty of storage space in cart
  • Also available in a built-in model for outdoor kitchens

Cons of the Memphis Pro Pellet Grill and Smoker:

  • A few upgrades could be made to the WiFi app to make it easier to use

Best Supersized Pellet Smoker:

Louisiana Country Smokers Super Hog (Smoke and Grill)

No list of the best pellet smokers would be complete without a supersize offering. This premium pellet smoker from Louisiana Grills is designed to smoke a medium to large sized whole hog. You’ve heard the phrase ‘kill the fatted calf’, well, when you’ve got something to celebrate, this behemoth is your new best friend.

Perfect for commercial use or the backyard pit master with lots of mouths to feed, the Louisiana Country Super Hog Pellet Smoker actually has two over sized pellet hoppers and two digital control panels. These, along with the dual convection fans, work together to ensure there’s enough power to give an even cook throughout the impressive 3,105 square inches of cooking space.

And, if going the whole hog seems like a bit of a stretch, simply insert the divider and suddenly you’ve got two ovens to play with. Why not bake a dessert on one side while you low-and-slow a hickory brisket on the other?

But, the great thing about the LG Super Hog is that it’s not only suitable for those special occasion cookouts. With two separate Digital Control Centers and two hoppers, you can simply fire up one side at a time for smaller parties or home use.

Also, as comes standard with Louisiana Grills, the Super Hog also has a section that can slide out of the way so that you can sear over the open flame. While some people do find this LG feature great, we’ve found that it’s not really hot enough to do some serious searing.

But, when it comes to a crowd, nothing beats this Super Hog!

Stats for the LG Country Smokers Super Hog Pellet Grill

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material: Stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 1,671 sq. in. primary, 1,434 sq. in. with included expansion racks

Pellet hopper capacity: 2 x 20lbs

Heat Range: 180°F to 600°F

Fuel type: Wood pellet

Model: 51900

Assembled size (in): 52.5(H) x 90.5(W) x 36.5(D)

Weight: 626lbs

Warranty: 3 years on electronics, 5 years on remaining parts excluding grates

Pros of the LG Country Super Hog Pellet Grill:

  • Huge pellet smoker which makes it possible to smoke a whole hog in your backyard
  • Suitable for commercial use
  • Dual fans, hoppers and control systems make it powerful enough to effectively heat the size
  • Cooking chamber separator means that you can use one half when cooking smaller quantities
  • Divided systems can be used to cook different meals with different pellets and at different temperatures at the same time
  • Stainless steel racks are less suceptible to rusting
  • You can sear and grill on this pellet smoker
  • Strong cart with heavy duty wheels is sturdy enough to handle the weight of massive cook ups
  • Good warranty to back your purchase

Cons of the LG Country Super Hog Pellet Grill:

  • Very large and heavy to move around but could be built into your commercial configuration or made into a backyard feature

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