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Best Pellet Smokers: Smoke, Grill, Cheap, Top of the Line


Traeger all new Ironwood
Traeger Ironwood


Recteq RT-1100 Flagship
recteq Flagship


Z Grills Multitasker 7052B
Z Grills Multitasker


Traeger Grills Pro Series 780 with WiFi
Traeger Pro 780


Camp Chef Woodwind Pro 24 with Sidekick
Camp Chef Woodwind Pro


Grilla Grills OG
Grilla Grills OG

Gone are the days of sweating over the flames, painstakingly trying to maintain your temperature every 30 minutes or so in rain, hail, or shine.

Pellet smokers are now by far the most popular way to smoke at home. They produce top notch results, they’re easy to use, and the quality of the smoke produced is cleaner and healthier for us too. Pellet smokers are even being seen more in the competitive circuits too.

Because of their popularity, there’s a huge number of brand and models to choose from when buying a pellet smoker. And, since you’re relying on the smoker to do most of the work for you, there’s also a big difference between ones that make the job easy and produce good results, and the one’s that simply do not.

Here you’ll find the very best pellet smokers on the market.

Instead of giving them arbitary numberings, they’re titled to help point you in the right direction budget, feature, or function-wise. You’ll find the full details on what each smoker is really like to use down below as well as the specs and pros and cons.

Note that all of the pellet smokers featured here are full-sized models. If you’re looking for a really great portable pellet smoker, follow that link.

We’ve also rounded up the best value pellet smokers and the best pellet smokers under $500 if you’re on a more limited budget (you can still get something great too).

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How We Tested the Best Pellet Smokers

In putting this list of the best pellet smokers together, we scoured the market, testing and assessing more than 25 models from a range of manufacturers.

Ribs straight off a Z Grills pellet smoker

Each smoker was assessed on the following critical factors:

With a pellet smoker, you’re relying on the electrical components to keep working to provide the heat and regulate it. Without decent quality electrics, your smoker will give you trouble. But, you also want a well built body and grates to give you the durability you expect from a top model.

You want the temperature reading on a pellet smokers digital control panel to be an accurate indication of how how the grill actually is.

The MEATER Plus and MEATER Block theremometers were used as a reliable base to measure the ambient temperature of all grills to check that the temperature on the control panel matched it’s actual.

Pellet smokers with an inaccurate temperature reading did not make the cut for this review.

Keeping a steady temperature throughout your cook means it’s easier to smoke that brisket perfectly again next time.

We looked carefully at how tightly each pellet smoker assessed varies from the set target point throughout the cook and you’ll see the results noted in the reviews below.

For consistency when testing each barbecue’s smoking performance, we tested the same cuts of meat over a number of cooks, on each model. These included pork ribs, pork shoulder, and whole brisket. Other meats were also tested from time to time but these three were done as a minimum.

The same Hardcore Carnivore dry spices were used to keep the inputs the same. We also followed the same basic technique of wrapping in butchers paper mid cook and unwrapping for the last short portion.

Smoking is only half the story on a pellet smoker. These models were also tested on their performance grilling at high heat. Steaks, burgers, sausages, and some sides were used as tests.

If an open flame grilling option was available on a particular model, it was used. Otherwise, indirect high heat was used to grill over.

A lot of the best pellet smokers listed here have WiFi connectivity so that you can monitor your cook’s progress, see and change the barbecues temperature, and set various alerts.

The models that have WiFi were operated by both their smartphone apps, and directly through the control panel without needing a smartphone.

You will see notes made below on how easy apps were to use and if any connectivity issues were noted.

While not essential to performance, nice to have extras like insulation, hopper purge doors, super smoke modes, integrated cutting boards, included grill covers, and wired meat probes were all noted and considered in writing the reviews of the best pellet smokers on the market.

Table of Contents

The Best Pellet Smokers: Our Top Choices

There’s a lot of good pellet smokers out there but, these are our very favorites in terms of performance, quality, reliability, and value.


Traeger All-New Ironwood


BBQ type: Pellet

Material: Powder-coated

Grates: Porcelain-coated

Grilling: Indirect heat

Capacity: 616 or 924 sq inch

Hopper capacity: 22 lbs

Heat range: 165 – 500°F

Dimensions: 25″D x 70″W x 48″H for XL

WiFi: Yes

Price guide: $$$$

Model: TFB61RLG

Warranty: 10 years

Traeger continues to push the boundaries of innovation with the all-new Ironwood Series as our latest favorite in the realm of pellet smoking.

Packed with an array of features, this smoker offers the simplest way to grill, smoke, bake, and roast really great food all year round.

Thanks to Traeger’s new controller featuring Smart Combustion™ technology, the EvenFlow heat shield, and the Ironwood’s integrated full body insulation, the temperature consistently stays within a few degrees Fahrenheit of your desired setting throughout your cook.

And, it’s the same from one end of the grill to the other as well. There’s no major hot spots here, the Ironwood is remarkably uniform across the entire grill, even in the larger XL model.

Ironwood XL loaded up and cooking

The smoke produced by this smoker is top-notch, thanks to the combination of Traeger’s Smart Combustion technology and the established Downdraft Exhaust system, resulting in a clean, clear, and healthy smoking experience.

For those wanting a more intense smoke flavor, there’s Super Smoke mode, that burns pellets at a lower temperature so that they put out more of the good stuff. Note that SuperSmoke mode is only effective up to 225°F. So, while it’s great for low and slow, you can’t get that bonus smokiness at higher or grilling-level temperatures.

As for operating it, you’ve got two simple options, the Traeger WiFire smartphone app, or the full-color touchscreen. Both work really well and are very intuitive to use.

Traeger Ironwood full color touchscreen

Included are two wired meat probes that seamlessly plug into the control panel, allowing you to monitor your meat’s internal temperature on the control panel or through the app, without the need for an additional thermometer.

The Traeger Ironwood isn’t the cheapest pellet grill out there. But, you asked for the best and this, in our opinion, is the best overall pellet smoker on the market at the moment.

The features, the quality, and ultimately the performance you get from this thing is well worth it.

Traeger Ironwood Pellet Grill set up with PAL accessory system

Traeger has meticulously considered every aspect, and the pop and lock accessory tray with butchers paper holder is an awesome touch that lets you fully set up your smoker exactly the way you like it.

Backed by a solid, 10-year warranty, the all-new Ironwood stands as a true culinary workhorse. This thing is one impressively performing barbecue.


Z Grills Multitasker


BBQ type: Pellet

Material: Powder-coated

Grates: Porcelain-coated

Grilling: Indirect heat

Capacity: 709 or 1,068 sq in

Hopper capacity: 28 lbs

Heat range: 160 – 500°F

Dimensions: 32″D x 45″W x 47″H

WiFi: Yes

Price guide: $$$

Model: 7052B

Warranty: 3 years

If you’re not looking to splurge on the all-new Traeger Ironwood or if budget constraints are a concern, the Z Grills Multitasker is a comparable alternative that comes close in performance while being considerably more affordable.

With a choice of two sizes and a generously large pellet hopper, the Mutlitasker is actually slightly larger than the Traeger. The upgraded PID temperature controller and quality, full-body insulation give very steady heat inside. And, there’s also Super Smoke mode if you like a stronger flavor.

Z Grills 11002B Multitasker Loaded Up

In terms of the smoke quality and flavor of the food it produces, the Multitasker is top notch. There’s no smoke leakage and the food comes out moist, tender, and with a nice thick smoke ring to boot.

With WiFi connectivity, an easy to use control panel, and two meat probes included, you’re set up for seamless operation from the get-go.

Z Grills Multitasker 7052B Loaded and Cooking

We don’t like the Z Grills app as much as some others. But, it’s good enough to get the job done, connectivity has been fine, and it’s got all the basics that you need.

If you’re questioning the quality of a Z Grills versus a more expensive pellet smoker, the Multitasker isn’t old enough to truly comment on it’s durability. But, we’ve owned Z Grills smokers for years and they’re still going strong and producing really good food with no issues.

Smoke, grill over the high, indirect heat, bake, and roast, the included cutting board that neatly fits over the hopper is a handy addition and a bit of a premium feature you won’t find on anything else at this price point.


Recteq RT-1100 Flagship


BBQ type: Pellet smoker

Material: Stainless steel

Grates: Stainless steel

Grilling: Indirect heat

Capacity: 1109 sq inch

Hopper capacity: 40 lbs

Heat range: 180°F – 700°F

Dimensions: 36″D x 56″W x 52″H

WiFi: Yes

Price guide: $$$

Model: RT-1100

Warranty: 6 years

This one could take the title of a lot of things, best value, best runner-up, or even best overall… Regardless, the recteq Flagship RT-1100 deserves a place up there in our round-up of the best pellet smokers.

It’s great quality, works flawlessly, has lots of useful features, produces plenty of smoke, and has double the warranty Traeger does, all for a really great price.

If you’re not familiar with the recteq brand, they pride themselves on selling very high quality pellet smokers with more stainless steel components than any other manufacturer in this class with the highest rated smartphone app for hands-off control.

And, the Flagship is recteq’s most popular mid-sized model.

With a really wide temperature range and larger than most, 1109 square inches of cooking space split over two racks and an enormous for it’s size, 40 pound pellet hopper, there’s not a lot you can’t cook in here.

Grilling on the recteq RT-1100 Flagship

The PID-based temperature controller keeps a very tight leash on the heat. Like we’re talking around that 5°F from your set target. And, while there’s no fancy name for it, the Flagship produces really good quality smoke, and a lot of it for what’s generally a stronger hardwood flavor, depending on what type of pellets you use.

Grilling on here is really great too. The RT-1100 gets up to 700°F which is considerably hotter than most other pellet smokers.

But, what it always comes down to with a recteq for us is that quality finish.

recteq RT-1100 grates

You open one of these and know they haven’t cut corners when it comes to producing these. The firepot is stainless steel, as is the cooking chamber, grates, handles, and front table. The heat deflector is made from cast iron which is unusual but the perfect material for this constantly greased up component. And, the powder-coated lid means that you won’t be wiping fingerprints off of it, it just always looks clean.

If you’re someone who appreciate really well built products, the recteq Flagship RT-1100 is the grill for you.


Traeger Grills Pro Series 780 with WiFi


BBQ type: Pellet smoker

Material: Powder-coated

Grates: Porcelain-coated

Grilling: Indirect heat

Capacity: 780 sq inch

Hopper capacity: 18 lbs

Heat range: 225°F – 750°F

Dimensions: 49″ W x 55″ H x 27″ D

WiFi: Yes

Price guide: $$$

Model: TFB78GLE

Warranty: 3 years

The Pro Series 780 stands as one of Traeger’s oldest and most popular models. But, due to its universal appeal to you, me, and everyone else, they’ve continually upgraded its technology to stay current.

In a nutshell, to describe this highly-rated smoker I’d say it’s straightforward, budget-friendly, and equipped with all the essential features to simplify smoking and grilling.

The enhanced D2 drivetrain makes it quick to start and heat up. The temperature control isn’t as tight as the newer and more expensive Traeger’s. But, it’s still perfectly good to smoke and grill great food.

Smoking dinner on the Traeger Pro 780 with WiFi

Additionally, this latest version boasts Traeger’s WiFIRE control panel, letting you to connect to your home’s WiFi system for wireless control. You can set, monitor, and adjust the temperature from anywhere with an internet connection and the app is one of the very best to use.

Like most pellet smokers, you don’t have open flame grilling. But, it’s maximum temperature of 500°F is hot enough to do a steak and get good grill marks.

Because the Pro 780’s cheaper price has to be justified somewhere, there’s no insulation, Downdraft exhaust, or pellet level sensor.

Nevertheless, it offers reliable Traeger quality, complete with a single meat probe and more than enough cooking and hopper capacity for most.

The Pro Series 780’s consistent best-seller status and its continual popularity among real users speak volumes about its enduring appeal.

If top quality, works well, and doesn’t break the bank is on your list, you can’t go wrong with this one.


Z Grills Flagship 700D3


BBQ type: Pellet

Material: Powder-coated

Grates: Porcelain-coated

Grilling: Indirect heat

Capacity: 697 sq in

Hopper capacity: 20 lbs

Heat range: 180 – 450°F

Dimensions: 22″D x 48″W x 52″H

WiFi: No

Price guide: $$

Model: 700D3

Warranty: 3 years

You don’t have to spend a heap of money in order to get a decent pellet smoker that can cook some really great food.

And, if you’re on a budget, don’t go past Z Grills.

We have used numerous Z Grills smokers over the years and are consistently impressed with their performance. The build quality might not be quite as good as a Traeger, Recteq, or Grilla Grills. But, for the price, you’re getting unbeatable value for money.

And, this model, the Flagship 700D3 gives you all the basics you need to smoke, bake, roast, and grill over indirect heat for a red hot price. Actually click the link and check this thing out.

Z Grills Flagship 700D3 loaded up for grilling

With almost 700 square inches of cooking space controlled by a precise PID temperature controller WITH dual wall insulation, the heat inside this thing holds really steady, even in cold conditions like where we live.

You’ve got a 20 pound hopper with a easy emptying clean out door, 2 meat probes included that plug directly into the control panel, and the storage cabinet where we hide extra pellets and huge tongs away.

Z Grills Flagship 700D3

You don’t have any of the fancier features, and there’s no WiFi yet (although Z Grills have just added it to the 700D4E which has otherwise identical specs). But, for a solidly performing pellet grill at a really great price, the Flagship is the way to go.


Camp Chef Woodwind Pro with Sidekick


BBQ type: Pellet smoker

Material: Stainless steel

Grates: Stainless steel

Grilling: Direct heat

Capacity: 811 sq inch

Hopper capacity: 22 lbs

Heat range: 160°F – 500°F+

Dimensions: 44.5″ W x 55″ H x 26″ D

WiFi: Yes

Price guide: $$$

Model: PG24WWSBAU14

While you can grill on almost any pellet smoker, most give you indirect high heat to do so.

If you don’t want to negotiate on either bit and are looking for great low and slow, and awesome high-heat grilling, the Camp Chef Pro Woodwind with it’s Sidekick is our top choice.

Not only do you get Camp Chef’s awsome Slide and Grill feature that lets you grill right over the hardwood pellet fire, but you can also get a propane side burner that you can fire up independently, or have ready when it’s time to finish of that steak you’re reverse searing.

But there’s a lot of other things that are great about this pellet smoker.

Camp Chef Woodwind Pro loaded up and smoking

You’ve got stainless steel components offering better rust-resistance and durability, a separate smoke setting giving you more control over how flavorful your food is, a WiFi controller, and Camp Chef’s really handy ash cleanout system.

One new feature that Camp Chef have added with this Pro model is an extra smoke box.

Camp Chef Woodwind Pro Smoke Box

While the main source of heat is the hardwood pellets that are sent from the hopper to the firepot, the smoke box lets you add wood chunks, wood chips, or even charcoal to give you more options and control over how smoky your food tastes.

It appeals to the control freak in me, and really does let you create a unique flavor for a pellet smoker.

You can also use the smoke box on the fan only setting to cold smoke too.


Grilla Grills OG


BBQ type: Pellet smoker

Material: Powder-coated

Grates: Stainless steel

Grilling: Indirect heat

Capacity: 488 sq inch

Hopper capacity: 20 lbs

Heat range: 160°F – 500°F

Dimensions: 31.5″ W x 44″ H x 29.5″ D

WiFi: Yes

Price guide: $$$

Model: Grilla OG

Warranty: 4 years

For a conversation starter in your backyard and something that’s quite different from what everyone else’s got, the Grilla Grills OG Alpha Connect gives you great smoking and grilling performance in a unique package.

The OG looks nothing like your normal pellet smoker but it still burns those same pure hardwood pellets. The revolving door cleverly opens up sideways so you can check on, add to, wrap, and unwrap your meat without having to let as much heat out as you do from raising the lid on a normally shaped pellet smoker.

Basting ribs on the Grilla Grills OG Alpha Connect

Inside you’ve got two levels of stainless steel grates for 488 square inches of cooking space. But, you can cook more on here by adding extra racks like the jerky which you can use for much more than just jerky too.

Grilla Grills OG with jerky rack add-on

It’s not just the racks that are stainless though. Grilla Grills give you a stainless firepot and side trays. There’s insulation to maximize fuel efficiency and improve the performance in cold weather. And, the cord even retracts when it’s not in use so you don’t have cables running everywhere.

But, what my husband likes the most about the OG Grilla is that the grease catch fits a standard can. There’s no more having to empty those buckets (even though I’m always the one to do this job anyway), and no wondering when one of the kids will think it’s a great idea to walk around with it.

But, this pellet smoker really shouldn’t be reduced to a can holder that makes clean up easy and lets you recycle. It’s a really special barbecue made by people who have really used their products and gone that extra mile to make sure they’re delivering practical features that translate to better food and more fun while you’re at it.


Recteq RT-2500 BFG


BBQ type: Pellet smoker

Material: Stainless steel

Grates: Stainless steel

Grilling: Indirect heat

Capacity: 2535 sq inch

Hopper capacity: 53 lbs

Heat range: 180°F – 650°F

Dimensions: 36″D x 65.5″W x 57.5″H

WiFi: Yes

Price guide: $$$$

Model: RT-2500

Warranty: 6 years

For those of you who like to go big, there’s the incredible value of the huge Recteq RT-2500.

They call this smoker the BFG (Big Friendly Giant), and it’s a pretty accurate description. With just over 2,500 square inches of cooking space split over three stainless steel grates, you can cook a lot. Like, a 130 pound whole hog can fit on here if you wanted to.

Recteq RT-2500 loaded up with meat

But, the grates aren’t the only thing that’s high-quality, rust-resistant stainless steel on this baby. In fact, most of it’s components are stainless steel from the body to firepot, heat deflectors and drip pans.

Recteq have built this pellet smoker so well that it’s perfectly reasonable to assume it will be handed down to your kids as one of your most prized heirlooms. And, it ain’t even that expensive for what you’re getting!

Powering this bull is a huge 53 pound pellet hopper. This can get you up to about 53 hours of low and slow smoke time but that’s more than we’ve ever needed.

The PID style controller holds the temperature within the stated few degrees fahrenheit, and although it’s not insulated, it does alright in colder conditions as well. You also get two internal meat probes that plug directly into the control panel so you know exactly when your meat is perfectly done without having to open the lid, or buy a separate unit.

To control it, there’s also WiFi connectivity so you can use your smartphone. The recteq app is really good and is very easy to use.

Recteq app

With two lights inside for nighttime cooking, we really can’t recommend a better super-sized pellet smoker. They say this thing is a tank and they’re spot on. The Recteq RT-2500 is impressive through and through.


MAK 3 Star General


BBQ type: Pellet

Grilling: Direct heat

Material: Stainless steel

Grates: Stainless steel

Capacity: 858 – 3,217 sq inch

Hopper capacity: 2 x 15 lbs

Heat range: 170°F – 550˚F

Dimensions: 27”H x 48”W x 34”D

WiFi: Yes

Price guide: $$$$$

Model: 3-Star General

Warranty: Limited lifetime

As our top choice for a premium pellet smoker, the US-made MAK 3 Star General is unbeatable in terms of quality and performance.

One standout feature we love is the double hopper layout which, not only provides plenty of power for its expansive cooking capacity, but also gives you the ability to set different temperatures on each side of the grill. Set one side ultra-low for extra smoke, even them both out, or set one side to smoke while you bump the other up to max so you’re ready to reverse sear those steaks.

But, regardless of how hot you set it, the MAK’s Dual Funnel FlameZone design channels the heat upwards towards the cooking grates, improving fuel efficiency and impressive performance in cold weather despite the fact there’s no actual insulation.

Grilling set up on the MAK 3-Star General Pellet Smoker

Constructed entirely from 14 and 16 gauge, 304-grade stainless steel, the 3 Star General boasts 858 square inches of grates, which is expandable with extra grates to an impressive 3,217 square inches if needed. Its generous size even accommodates whole small pigs or similar large cuts.

Grate set up on the MAK 3 Star General Pellet Smoker

The Pellet Boss controller, with WiFi capability, governs the temperature control, offering over 20 customizable settings and accommodating four meat probes with customizable alerts.

The accuracy is impeccable. The open grilling mode even allows for a consistent fire rate when grilling with the lid open.

You’ve also got features like the large grease tray, ash tray, pellet hopper dump, and removeable firepot making the less enjoyable task of cleaning that much easier.

Overall, the MAK 3 Star General is a very special pellet grill that is really fun to use. It’s unique look will have everyone wanting the full tour.

And, if you like this one but are hesitant to go so big, there’s the smaller MAK 2-Star, MAK 1-Star, and even the Mini-MAK to consider.


What is a Pellet Smoker?

A pellet smoker, also known as a pellet grill, is a type of outdoor cooking appliance that burns 100% hardwood pellets as its primary source of fuel.

Using electricity to power a control panel, the hardwood pellets are fed into the firepot at whatever rate is required to maintain your set target temperature which is automatically maintained by the control panel eliminating the need for manual temperature and smoke control.

As such, pellet smokers are often referred to as set and forget smokers. They are the easiest type of smoker to use because the heat and smoke is regulated for you. They also produce some of the cleanest and highest quality smoke of any type of smoker.

Read more about how pellet smokers compare to the other five types in our guide on the best types of smokers.

How Do Pellet Smokers Work?

In any pellet smoker, electricity is required to power the electric control panel.

Upon turning it on, a pellet smoker will automatically ignite without the user having to manually light the fire. Once the fire is started, the user sets their required temperature target on the control panel which is often in as small as 5 degree increments or as large as 25 degrees.

The auger system, which is a screw-like device, will draw hardwood pellets from the attached pellet hopper, moving them into the firepot at whatever rate is required to maintain the target temperature.

This means that pellets will be moved faster for high heat grilling and slower for lower temperatures.

Those pellets will burn in the firepot which is hidden out of view by a heat deflector that sits underneath the cooking grates. The heat deflector blocks the direct radient heat to help provide an even temperature distribution across the grill that’s necessary for low and slow smoking.

The heat deflector also prevents flare-ups, and pushes the smoke to flow through the cooking chamber where it can flavor the food with real wood smoke.

Inside a pellet smoker there will also be a fan to help regulate the fire, and distribute the heat and smoke evenly throughout the cooking chamber.

Check out Traeger’s video on how pellet grills work below.

Can You Grill on a Pellet Smoker?

Yes, you can grill on a pellet smoker. But, most pellet smokers only offer high-heat grilling over indirect heat.

That means you bump the target temperature up to it’s maximum which is usually around the 450 – 500°F mark, give the grill time to heat up, and throw your steak on there.

Grilling a steak on with the ThermoPro Twin TempSpike probes

At 450°F and higher, the grates should be hot enough to get good grill marks on your food. You’ll hear a sizzle but won’t have flare ups from cooking over an open flame.

Some pellet grills do have open flame technology. How they pull that off will depend on the particular model. But, to give you grilling over the hardwood pellet fire, there’s usually a lever that slides to the side to open up slits in the heat deflector plate, giving you access to higher, direct heat.

These models do, in general, perform better when it comes to grilling than the indirect heat versions. But, indirect high heat can grill pretty well as well.

Advantages of Using a Pellet Smoker

There’s a lot of good reasons pellet smokers are so popular. These include:

Using a pellet smoker offers several advantages, making it a popular choice among outdoor cooking enthusiasts. Here are some key benefits:

Pellet smokers always run off of 100% hardwood pellets. Quality brands should never include any fillers, additives, or flavorings giving you real and rich hardwood flavor.

A range of different wood pellet varieties are available to suit different types of meats and flavor requirements. Check out our recommended pellets review for our favorites.

With a wide temperature range, pellet smokers can smoke, grill, roast, bake, and even sear. This makes them a very versatile type of barbecue that’s often recommended as one that can do it all.

Pellet smokers are the easiest type of smoker to use because the control panel does most of the work for you.

This is why pellet smokers are often referred to as set and forget. And, while they’re great for beginners, competitors and professionals often appreciate that they can focus on the food with the temperature and smoke taken care of.

Pellet smokers are designed to be as energy efficient as possible. –

The pellets themselves are dense with a high energy content, providing efficient heat production. But, becuase you’re only feeding in what you need when you need it, you never burn more fuel than is actually required, reducing the running costs when compared to some charcoal or stick burning smokers.

Some pellet smokers come have Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to control and monitor the cooking process remotely using the manufacturers smartphone app giving an added layer of ease and convenience.

Many can be operated from anywhere that has an internet connection.

The pure hardwood pellets used in pellet smokers are the cleanest-burning fuel source. This gives you the healthiest smoke to cook your food with as well as minimal ash production, and less mess to clean up compared to traditional charcoal or wood-burning smokers.

With precise temperature control and consistent heat distribution, pellet smokers offer a consistent and reliable cooking environment which makes it easy to cook the same cut of meat just as well every single time.

Disadvantages of Using a Pellet Smoker

They’re great but nothing’s perfect. Here’s the downsides to using a pellet smoker:

There’s no way for a pellet smoker to work without electricity. You need access to power outside. And, there’ll be no smoked brisket if there’s a power outage.

While pellet smokers are versatile, grilling and searing over high but indirect heat just isn’t as good as grilling over an open flame.

Some pellet smokers that are designed to have open flame grilling can do this task better than regular ones.

With electric components and multiple moving parts, pellet smokers can have technical issues that need maintenance and/or repairs.

What to Look for When Buying a Pellet Smoker

Even when you’re just choosing from one of our recommended best pellet smokers, consider the following features to find the one that’s best for you:

Your average pellet smoker will give you about 700 square inches of cooking space which is plenty for most families, even when they’re entertaining.

Smaller capacities will use less fuel to heat and maintain temperature in so can be good for individuals and couples. And, larger capacities are great for people who entertain a lot, fish, hunt, have homekill to process, or just like to cook a lot at a time.

How big the pellet hopper is will dictate how long you can cook for without having to add more fuel.

But, bigger isn’t always better. Storing pellets in a large hopper can let moisture in over time which can cause the auger to jam. It’s also a little tricky to change pellet flavors unless your smoker has a door to empty them easily.

Check the temperature range of any pellet smoker you’re thinking of buying.

While all will smoke at the usual 225°F, their maximum temperature will vary and impact how good the grilling experience is.

If you do want your pellet smoker to be better at grilling, look for one with open flame capabilities. We have recommended one in the best pellet smokers above. Or, check out our entire review of the best pellet grills for searing.

If you want to operate and/or check your pellet smoker from your phone without having to go outside, look for one with a WiFi connection.

This will let you use your home’s wireless network to connect your smartphone to your barbecue via the app.

What options you’ve got for control will dpeend on that particular brand of pellet smoker.

Because of a pellet smokers dependence on electricity and it’s mechanical parts, look for one that’s at least pretty decent quality to try to avoid having to replace components over time.

FAQs About the Best Pellet Smokers

Our favorite pellet smoker in terms of smoke production is the Traeger Ironwood. It’s got a host of features that help the pellets burn very cleanly and distribute the good stuff for really great flavor.

For full details, check our review of the Ironwood above.

Quality pellets that are burnt in a pellet smoker are made from 100% hardwood. There’s no additives, no fillers, no oils for flavor, just wood. So, as long as you’re using a good brand (these are our tested and approved favorite pellets), your food will taste very similar to food that’s smoked in a wood smoker.

Because pellet smokers are automated, the quality of smoke produced from one is generally very good. It’s usually called clean blue smoke and you don’t have to be an expert to make it on a pellet smoker, you just have to turn it on.

Research shows that the blackened smoke that’s more often put out by smoking with charcoal or real wood is thought to be carcinogenic.

Although you can take measures like making sure your charcoal is properly lit before smoking, we prefer pellet smokers over any other type of smoker because they naturally minimize the chance of damaging particles.

There’s no doubt about it that Traeger smokers are some of the best quality pellet smokers on the market. But, you’re also somewhat paying for the brand, the reputation, and the backing of a large company with a track record for reliable customer service and their solid warranty.

Kate Brown, the founder and voice behind Burning Brisket, is not your typical pitmaster or restaurateur. Her expertise in barbecue grew from a humble desire to cook exceptional meals for her family. From overcoming burnt brisket mishaps to establishing her boutique cattle ranch, Kate shares her passion to help 'ordinary' individuals cook extraordinary barbecue, believing that simplicity often yields the best flavors. Kate is committed to making great barbecue accessible to all with the right resources and some tasty practice.

About Burning Brisket

Burning Brisket is one of the leading, independent authorities on all things barbecue. Family-owned and run, it's our mission uncomplicate the art of smoking to help you enjoy making incredible food at home for your family and friends to create memories over.

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