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Best Portable Pellet Grill? These 8 Are Winners

Pellet grills are just great when you’re away from home trying to set up a tent, play with the kids or enjoy a cold beer. Set and forget truly is the answer for how to make wood smoked perfection easy.

And, thanks to the ever increasing range of pellet grills on the market, you now have a lot of choice when it comes to portable models. They’re not sub-par options either.

We’ve checked out what’s on the market, red hundreds of real user reviews and paired it with our own experience to select the must-have choices when it comes to the best portable pellet grill.

All of the pellet smokers recommended here are compact, durable and reasonably lightweight. But, most importantly, you’re not sacrificing on quality or performance just because they’re a portable model.

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Table of Contents

Grilla Grills Chimp

Strongly siting as a newer contender on the block, the Grilla Grills Chimp is their self-proclaimed powerfully portable model. And, powerful it definitely is.

The Chimp features all the same great features as Grilla Grill’s regular smokers rolled into a smaller, lighter, folding version.

It’s built from a mix of powder-coated steel with stainless components. Most importantly, the firepot and cooking grates are made of stainless steel, offering better durability where you really need it.

But, what’s really different about the Grilla Grills Chimp is it’s temperature controller. Forget PID vs traditional. You get both to choose if you want the most precise temperature control, or, a bit more of a smoky flavor from the traditional mode.

And, because you might be smoking in cooler or windier conditions on the go, the cooking chamber is insulated from the grates down to help the temperature stay more steady.

How about the size? On the Chimp there’s a 340 square inch bottom rack and a 120 square inch top one. The temperature stays pretty even throughout thanks to the blower fan so you can confidently use the top rack too. The 15 pound hopper gives a decent unassisted cook time even if you’re using it at home.

Another thing we really like about the Grilla Grills Chimp is their folding legs. If you’ve ever used a portable pellet smoker, getting them folded down can be a bit tricky. But, Grilla Grills use a ‘snap lock’ feature so you just press the button and fold the leg away easily.

With a few well thought out improvements over their competition, the Grilla Grills Chimp does a great  job of balancing great value and great performance.

Specs for the Grilla Grills Chimp

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel with stainless steel lid

Grate material: Stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 460 sq in

Pellet hopper capacity: 15 lbs

Heat range: 180°F – 500°F

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: Chimp

Price range: $

Assembled size (in): 38W x 20D x 41H

Weight: 90 lbs

Warranty: 2 years

Pros of the Grilla Grills Chimp:

  • Combination stainless and powder-coated steel construction balances durability and affordability
  • Dual temperature controller gives you the choice of PID preciseness or traditional smokiness
  • Suitable for smoking, baking, roasting and grilling
  • Insulated cooking chamber helps regulate temperature and improve fuel efficiency
  • Blower fan circulates the heat for even temperature throughout
  • Snap lock folding legs are so easy to use
  • High and low heat safety shutdown
  • Comes with 1 meat probe

Cons of the Grilla Grills Chimp:

  • Max’s out at 500°F which is okay for grilling but isn’t great for high-heat searing

Camp Chef Pursuit Portable Pellet Grill

There’s a lot of really great things about the Camp Chef Pursuit Portable Pellet Grill. But, our absolute favorite thing might have to be that the folding legs turn into a rolling suitcase that, paired with the locking lids, make transportation really easy.

The whole unit just feels sturdy and secure which is appreciated over rough ground or when you don’t have anyone else to help with the lifting.

But, that’s definitely not all that’s earnt the Camp Chef Pursuit a spot in our best portable smokers review.

There’s the PID temperature controller that keeps it within 5°F of your target, adjustable smoke settings, wide temperature range, double layered full width cooking racks and Camp Chef’s oh-so-good Slide and Grill feature for direct flame grilling.

You also get 2 meat probes so you’ll know exactly when it’s time to eat. And, cleaning it out at the end isn’t too time consuming.

Specs for the Camp Chef Pursuit Pellet Grill

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel with stainless steel lid

Grate material: Enamel-coated wire

Cooking capacity: 501 sq in

Pellet hopper capacity: 10 lbs

Heat range: 160°F – 500°F

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: Pursuit PPG20

Price range: $$

Assembled size (in): 38 W x 18.5 D x 41 H

Weight: 82 lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Camp Chef Pursuit Pellet Grill:

  • Solid construction
  • PID temperature controller keeps the heat within about 5 degrees of your target
  • Separate smoke level adjuster gives you greater control over how smoky your flavor is
  • Slide and Grill feature means you can grill at higher heat over the direct flame by simply sliding a lever
  • Folding legs turn into handles and wheels so you can pull the unit behind you
  • Locking cooking chamber and pellet hopper lids
  • Comes with 2 meat probes for accurate feedback on how your cook is going
  • Full sized top rack gives more space for food
  • Very good warranty length for a portable smoker

Cons of the Camp Chef Pursuit Pellet Grill:

  • No WiFi
  • Not insulated so it will use more fuel in cooler conditions in order to maintain a steady temperature

Traeger Tailgater Pellet Grill and Smoker

Of course the original makers of the pellet grill, Traeger, would feature in our best portable pellet smokers. And, here it is, the Traeger Tailgater.

The Tailgater is a lot cheaper than the rest of Traeger’s range. And, at this stage it’s not feature-packed like a lot of the competition. But, for anyone who values the solid reliability that this industry-leading brand delivers, the Tailgater is a great option for on the go smoking, or, even small backyards.

Compact, consistent and well-built, Traeger’s portable Tailgater Pellet Smoker now features their Arc Controller so you can set your temperature in 5 degree increments and it’ll do the rest for you.

It comes with 1 meat probe so you can check the internal temperature without opening the lid. There’s a keep warm setting too. It definitely comes in handy when you’re too busy with the game or your family and want the food to wait a few minutes.

The legs fold like scissors and are fairly easy to get down.

And, we like that this model is a little lighter than the competition.

Specs 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 – 450°F

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: TFB30KLF

Price guide: $$

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

Weight: 62 lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Traeger Tailgater Pellet Smoker:

  • Good quality, sturdy build
  • Upgraded Arc Controller maintains a steady temperature well
  • Comes with 1 meat probe
  • Keep warm setting
  • Scissor folding legs are fairly easy to fold down
  • Lightweight
  • Decent 3 year warranty

Cons of the Traeger Tailgater Pellet Smoker:

  • Smaller cooking capacity and pellet hopper capacity than competing portable pellet smokers
  • Temperature maxes out at 450°F which in our opinion is marginal for great grilling
  • No WiFi

Pit Boss Sportsman Portable Pellet Grill

For something that looks more rugged and hardcore than the standard, the Pit Boss Sportsman Series Portable delivers durability and reliability in a package that couldn’t be easier to take with you wherever you go.

With powder-coated stainless steel construction, porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates and a reasonable, but not overboard, 387 square inches of cooking space, the Portable Sportsman is compact, lightweight and super sturdy.

The legs are built to slide together in one movement instead of having to do each of them separately. And, there’s built-in handles and a latching lid so you can comfortably wheel this baby quite a way.

You’ve got both direct and indirect heat options so you can smoke, grill, sear, bake, braise or roast anything from burgers and brisket to your latest catch.

At this price, you won’t get WiFi control. But, you do get a great quality portable smoker and grill that’s robust, reliable and tough enough to handle more than a parking lot cookout.

And, it’s covered by a 5 year warranty which is huge for a portable pellet smoker!

Specs for the Pit Boss Portable Sportsman Pellet Grill and Smoker

Barbecue material: Powder-coated stainless steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated cast iron

Cooking capacity: 387 sq in

Pellet hopper capacity: 19 lbs

Heat range: 180°F – 500°F

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: PB 260PSP2

Price range: $$

Assembled size (in): 25.2W x 25.2D x 37.5H

Weight: 80 lbs

Warranty: 5 years

Pros of the Pit Boss Portable Sportsman:

  • Premium gauge stainless steel construction
  • Durable porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates
  • Compact design
  • Sliding folding legs work together so you can put it up or down with one movement
  • Wide temperature range with direct and indirect cooking lets you smoke and grill excellently
  • Convection fan helps to keep temperature steady throughout the cooking chamber
  • Comes with 1 meat probe
  • Great warranty for a portable grill

Cons of the Pit Boss Portable Sportsman:

  • No WiFi
  • No insulation so fuel usage will be higher if using it in cooler conditions
  • Not PID temperature controller so the temperature will have larger swings

Green Mountain Grills TREK

If you’re looking for portable, the Green Mountain Grills Trek has one major thing the competition doesn’t, WiFi.

The GMG WiFi controller lets you choose the temperature in 5° increments anywhere between 150°F to 550°F. Plug in the included probe and monitor your cooks’ progress wirelessly on your phone. Adjust the temperature and set alarms, it can all be managed remotely.

The downside is that doesn’t hold as much as the standard with folding legs portable type.

You’ll have 219 square inches of cooking space. That’s enough to smoke for 4-6 people with ease.

And, the fact that the Trek doesn’t have those folding legs actually makes it really easy to set up. Just pop it on a table and you’re good to go.

With stainless steel components and a peaked lid to give the extra height you need for larger cuts, the Trek is one great value for money option when it comes to portable smoking.

We also need to mention, the Trek runs directly off of 12V power. That means you can plug it into your car’s lighter port (it comes with a really long cord). But, they also give you an attachment for a standard 120V plug and alligator clips for your car battery!

Specs for the Green Mountain Trek WiFi Tabletop Pellet Grill

Barbecue material: Stainless and powder-coated steel

Grate material: Stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 219 sq in

Pellet hopper capacity: 9 lbs

Heat range: 150°F – 550°F

WiFi: Yes

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: Trek

Price guide: $

Assembled size (in): 24H x 32W x 16D

Weight: 63 lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the GMG Trek Pellet Grill:

  • WiFi connectivity lets you set, change and monitor your cook from your smartphone
  • Wide temperature range suitable for most types of cooking
  • Decent cooking capacity that’s all on a single rack with a tall chamber height to fit larger cuts
  • Stainless steel lid and grates give an extra layer of durability and rust-resistance vs powder coated
  • Externally accessible pellet hopper so you can add more fuel without opening the lid
  • You can get an open flame grease tray if you want to do open flame even higher heat cooking
  • Includes 1 meat probe
  • Runs off 12V power to plug directly into your car. But, also comes with a regular cord for at home-use

Cons of the GMG Trek Pellet Smoker:

  • Not quite as hardy and durable as the briefcase style tabletop pellet grills
  • This style needs to stay upright and the lid doesn’t latch closed

Traeger Ranger Portable Pellet Grill

If you’re looking for something that’s even more compact for portable pellet smoking, you can’t beat the quality and performance of the Traeger Ranger.

Designed to look just like a hard shell suitcase, the Ranger is pretty much a 21 inch square. And, with a locking lid and weighing only 60 pounds, you should have no problem finding enough cargo space to fit this grill, no matter where you’re going.

In terms of cooking space, the Ranger has 184 square inches. That’s enough to cook for 2-4 people, fitting 4 steaks, 6 burgers or even 2 small chickens. The pellet hopper is a reasonable 8 pounds and the max temp is 450°F, giving you just enough heat to grill as well as smoking and roasting.

It’s got the same Digital Arc Temperature Controller as the larger Traeger Tailgater, letting you set the heat in 5°F increments. And, it does a good job of keeping it there. There’s also a keep warm mode if you’re not quite ready to eat as well.

Included with the Traeger Ranger, you get a cast iron griddle as well as a regular cooking grate. And, there’s a meat probe so you can check exactly when you’re food is ready without opening the lid.

Well-built at a great price, the Traeger Ranger is a great option for RVs and car camping. But, can really be used anywhere.

Specs for the Traeger Ranger Pellet Smoker

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated steel and cast iron griddle

Cooking capacity: 184 sq in

Pellet hopper capacity: 8lbs

Heat range: 160°F – 450°F

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: TBT18KLD

Assembled size (in): 13(H) x 21(W) x 20(D)

Weight: 60 lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Traeger Ranger Pellet Smoker:

  • One of the most compact portable pellet smokers
  • Reasonable cooking capacity considering the size of the unit
  • 8 pound pellet hopper gives you a decent amount of unassisted cook time
  • Precise temperature controller lets you set the temp if 5 degree increments
  • Comes with a regular smoking grate plus a cast iron grate for excellent grilling
  • Locking lid keeps things safe during transportation
  • Comes with 1 meat probe for accurate feedback on how well-done your meat is
  • Good warranty

Cons of the Traeger Ranger Pellet Smoker:

  • It’s still a reasonably heavy 60 pounds even though it doesn’t take up a lot of space
  • The hopper is inside the unit so you do need to open the lid to add more fuel. No a big deal if you’re expecting it but something that’s a little different to most pellet grills
  • Make sure you buy one of the new versions like the latest on because the first generation had problems with grease leaking and creating a fire hazard.

Z Grills Cruiser 200A

If you had the ultra-compact profile of the Traeger Ranger in mind but didn’t want to spend quite that much, the Z Grills 200A is definitely NOT a sub-par option!

It’s build is comparable to the Ranger with a powder-coated body porcelain-coated steel.

You’ve got a slightly larger 202 square inches of cooking space (still on the single rack) with the same sized 8 pound pellet hopper.

The max heat is identical and you can expect similar swings of about +/- 15°F throughout your cook.

Overall, the whole unit is lighter and slightly longer than the Traeger. It’s got sturdy side handles that actually make it a whole heap easier to move around.

The only real downsides I’d say are that the 200A doesn’t come with a griddle for grilling (but, it’s not necessary), and, although there’s a port to plug one in, they haven’t included the meat probe itself.

You can either get your own, or, if you’re already using something wireless like the MEATER, you’re good to go.

Use our exclusive code – 5%off – at the checkout for 5% off anything Z Grills, including already on sale smokers!

(Valid on the Z Grills website only)

Specs for the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated steel

Cooking capacity: 202 sq. in.

Pellet hopper capacity: 8 lbs

Heat Range: 180-450°F

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Price guide: $$

Model: Cruiser 200A

Assembled size (in): 25 L x 20 W x 13 H

Weight: 40 lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Z Grills Cruiser 200A:

  • Consistent temperature control
  • Good capacity for a tabletop pellet smoker
  • Wide temperature range lets you smoke, grill, barbecue, roast, bake, etc.
  • 8 pound hopper should give about 8 hours of low and slow
  • One of the most lightweight options
  • Side handles make it easy to move
  • Solidly built

Cons of the Z Grills Cruiser 200A:

  • Doesn’t include a meat probe although there’s a port (this Pit Boss one works, or, go compeletely wireless with a MEATER)
  • With this style of portable pellet smoker, you have to open the cooking chamber lid to check and/or refill the hopper

Use our exclusive code – 5%off – at the checkout for 5% off anything Z Grills, including already on sale smokers!

(Valid on the Z Grills website only)

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 commited to making great barbecue accessible to all with the right resources and some tasty practice.