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Best Portable Pellet Grill? Sturdy, Easy to Move & Good

BEST OVERALL

recteq Road Warrior
recteq Road Warrior
4.7/5

BEST WITH WIFI

Grilla Grills Chimp
Grilla Grills Chimp
4.6/5

BEST RUNNER-UP

Traeger Tailgater
Traeger Tailgater
4.4/5

BEST TABLETOP

Traeger Ranger
Traeger Ranger
4.6/5

BEST BUDGET

Z Grills Cruiser 200A Portable Pellet Smoker
Z Grills Cruiser
4.5/5

BEST MAX SPACE

Camp Chef Pursuit Portable Pellet Grill
Camp Chef Pursuit
4.5/5

Pellet grills are the perfect type of barbecue 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.

Instead of you having to work out what could possibly be the best portable pellet grill, use our experience to buy with confidence.

All of the pellet smokers recommended here are compact, durable, and reasonably lightweight. You’ll find larger models that sit at what’s almost a full height, and tabletop options that don’t have the hassle of folding legs. But, most importantly, you’re not sacrificing on quality or performance just because they’re a portable model.

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How We Tested the Best Portable Pellet Grills

Before making the cut as one of the best portable pellet grills on the market, these barbecues (plus some that didn’t make it) were all tested over a minimum of 10 cooks.

Pulled Pork and Pork Ribs Smoking on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

They were all assessed on the following factors:

A lot of portable smokers aren’t the best quality which doesn’t even really make sense because a life on the road is tougher than a life sitting in a backyard. But, we’ve taken the best quality models on the market at the moment and you’ll see the ones that are particularly good quality marked as so.

The MEATER Plus meat thermometer with it’s dual sensors to measure both the internal and ambient temperature was used to assess if each grill provides an accurate temperature reading on the control panel.

We also used the MEATER plus how the meat cooked to test if the temperature was even over the cooking grate’s surface.

In using the MEATER Plus to test how accurate each portable pellet grill’s control panel was, the meat thermometer also creates a graph showing the ambient temperature over the entire cook.

As such, this graph was used to help assess how steady the temperature was held in each smoker.

It’s pretty important that a good portable pellet grill should smoke well.

The same cuts of meat were cooked at least once on each model. We keep the seasoning and technique used the same to control our inputs to truly see how each barbecue performs differently.

Low and slow’s only half of the game when it comes to a pellet grill. So, each barbecue also gets tested grilling steak, sausages, burgers, and anything else we feel like eating to give you real feedback on what they’re like to use at a high temperature.

If any particular model has an open flame grilling option, this was tested in addition to the regular, indirect grilling method.

Everyone likes a good bonus. You’ll see notes made on any extras included with the recommended portable pellet grills below.

Table of Contents

The Best Portable Pellet Grill: Our Top Choices

Whether you’re after a full-sized model on wheels, or a tabletop smoker you can move around, you can confidently choose from any of these portable pellet grills.

BEST OVERALL

recteq Road Warrior

4.8/5

BBQ type: Pellet

Material: Stainless steel

Grates: Stainless steel

Grilling: Indirect heat

Capacity: 460 sq in

Hopper capacity: 14 lbs

Heat range: 200 – 700°F

Dimensions: 39.5″H X 35″W X 19D

WiFi: No

Price guide: $$

Model: 340P

Warranty: 2 years

With the exception of WiFi, this portable pellet grill’s got everything you could wish for for a life on the road. And, it does it for one incredibly value packed price.

Firstly, you’ve got a lot of stainless steel that’s put into the recteq Road Warrior. The cooking chamber, firepot, grates, plus more are all stainless offering the best in the way of durability and rust-resistance. Recteq have put a lot of emphasis on quality and it really shows.

You’ve got a reasonable 340 square inches of cooking space that’s expandable up to 510 with an extra, add-on grate. The hopper holds up to 14 pounds of pellets, giving you about that many hours of low and slow smoking time.

Grilling on the recteq Road Warrior

The PID-based temperature controller keeps a very tight handle on the temperature so that you’re free to do something better than watch your grill. And, the Road Warrior has the widest temperature range of any portable pellet smoker, getting up to a searing hot 700°F.

For grilling, there’s no open-flame option, it’s indirect over the stainless steel heat deflector only. But, with the higher than normal maximum temperature, we find that a steak grilled on here is just as good as one done over the open flame. And, because the heat’s not just focused on one small firepot, you’ve got a more practical space to grill anyway.

Once you’re done and dusted, recteq’s Collapse & Go folding leg system is top notch. It’s so easy to set up and pack down. The wheels are durable enough to handle a bit few rocks, bumps, and holes too.

recteq Road Warrior packed down

In choosing just one portable pellet grill to take the title of the best overall, this is definitely it. The quality is top notch, it’s easy to use, easy to move, and is also just a really good looking grill as well.

Pros
Cons
BEST WITH WIFI

Grilla Grills Chimp

4.6/5

BBQ type: Pellet

Material: Stainless steel

Grates: Stainless steel

Grilling: Indirect heat

Capacity: 460 sq in

Hopper capacity: 15 lbs

Heat range: 180 – 500°F

Dimensions: 41 H x 38 W x 20 D

WiFi: Yes

Price guide: $$

Model: Chimp

Warranty: 2 years

There’s not a lot of portable pellet grills that do have WiFi. Most of the time, you’re right there cooking. But, whether the technology is on your must-have list or not, the Grilla Grills Chimp is an awesome choice.

This portable model has all the same great features that Grilla’s regular smokers have, but it’s rolled into a smaller, lighter, folding version.

Built from a mix of powder-coated steel with stainless components, you’ve got the extra durability where you need it the most in the stainless chamber, firepot, and grates.

But, the Chimp is also insulated from the grates down giving you more protection from the weather while improving the fuel efficiency year round.

But, another thing that’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 smokier flavor from the traditional mode.

How about the size?

On the Chimp there’s a 340 square inch bottom rack and a 120 square inch top one which is pretty decent for a portable model.

Smoking on the Grilla Grills Chimp

The temperature stays pretty even throughout thanks to the blower fan so you can confidently use the top rack without worrying about a temperature differential. The 15 pound hopper gives a decent unassisted cook time even if you’re using it at home too.

The snap and lock legs are one of the easiest systems to set up and pack down, in our opinion.

The Chimp is one of the most feature-packed portable pellet smokers. They’ve really crammed a lot of value into this top performing model.

Pros
Cons
BEST RUNNER-UP

Traeger Tailgater

4.4/5

BBQ type: Pellet

Material: Powder-coated

Grates: Porcelain-coated

Grilling: Indirect heat

Capacity: 300 sq inch

Hopper capacity: 8 lbs

Heat range: 160 – 500°F

Dimensions: 36″ H x 37″ W x 18″ D

WiFi: No

Price guide: $$

Model: TFB30KLF

Warranty: 3 years

The Traeger Tailgater isn’t 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 features one of their older Arc Controllers. You’ve got 5 degree increments to set it in but, it’s not a PID-based system so do expect larger temperature swings. The plus side of that is that bigger variation creates more smoke and the Tailgater does give food good flavor.

Grilling on the Traeger Tailgater

Included in the price is one plug in meat probe so you can check the internal temperature without opening the lid. There’s a keep warm setting which we tend to use more on a portable grill when we’re busy doing something and the food’s got to wait.

To pack it down, the legs fold like scissors and there’s handles on the sides to pick the whole thing up. It’s not the easiest portable grill to move. But, we like that you can use it with the legs folded down on the tailgate or a table, or set it up as an almost full-sized grill.

Pros
Cons
BEST TABLETOP

Traeger Ranger

4.6/5

BBQ type: Pellet smoker

Material: Powder-coated

Grates: Porcelain-coated

Grilling: Indirect with cast iron griddle

Capacity: 176 sq inch

Hopper capacity: 8 lbs

Heat range: 165°F – 450°F

Dimensions: 20″D x 21″W x 13″H

WiFi: No

Price guide: $$

Model: Ranger

Warranty: 3 years

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.

Traeger-Ranger-Cooking-Chicken

It’s got the same older style, 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 in the compact space. 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, it can really be used anywhere. We personally like using it as a small grill or smoker when you only want one rack of ribs.

Pros
Cons
BEST BUDGET

Z Grills Cruiser

4.5/5

BBQ type: Pellet

Material: Powder-coated

Grates: Porcelain-coated

Grilling: Indirect heat

Capacity: 202 sq in

Hopper capacity: 8 lbs

Heat range: 160 – 450°F

Dimensions: 20″D x 25″W x 13″H

WiFi: No

Price guide: $$

Model: 200A

Warranty: 3 years

We’ve been cooking on this smoker for more than two years now and don’t just use it on the road, it’s great as a small at home smoker too.

Almost identical to the Traeger Ranger but coming in at a significantly lower cost, the Z Grills Cruiser 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.

Z Grills Cruiser 200A Smoking Ribs

Overall, the whole unit is lighter and slightly longer than the Traeger. The sturdy side handles make it easier to move but it’s still a pretty chunky piece of gear to pick up and move. The kids can do it by taking one side each and we like there’s no legs to have to set up. Just plonk it down, plug it in, and away you go.

The only real downsides I’d say are that the Cruiser is that it doesn’t come with a griddle for grilling that the Traeger does, and although there’s a probe port, there’s no probe included.

If you don’t have a wireless thermometer or a spare wired probe lying around, you can pick one up pretty cheap. They’re a standard fit so it’s not a special part you have to buy from Z Grills.

As for the griddle, you aboslutely don’t need it and you actually can’t get awesome sear marks without using a grate but, it is a point of difference between the more expensive model.

Measuring Temperature on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

The compact cooking space means it’s really efficient on pellet usage, even when you’re grilling at maximum temperature.

Overall, it’s a great little grill that definitely doesn’t feel budget.

Pros
Cons
BEST MAX SPACE

Camp Chef Pursuit Portable

4.5/5

BBQ type: Pellet

Material: Powder-coated

Grates: Porcelain-coated

Grilling: Direct heat

Capacity: 501 sq in

Hopper capacity: 10 lbs

Heat range: 160 – 500°F+

Dimensions: 38 W x 18.5 D x 41 H

WiFi: No

Price guide: $$

Model: Pursuit PPG20

Warranty: 3 years

Most portable pellet smokes are understandably limited in size. But, Camp Chef have really maximized the real estate in this Pursuit Portable Pellet Grill by giving you two racks that run the full width and length of the grill. Together, that gives you a very respectable 501 square inches of cooking space.

Camp Chef Pursuit Portable Pellet Grill In Use

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

There’s the PID temperature controller that reliably keeps it within 5°F of your target, adjustable smoke settings for more control over your flavor, a wide temperature range, and Camp Chef’s oh-so-good, Slide and Grill feature for direct flame grilling.

When it comes time to move it, the Pursuit’s legs fold up into a rolling suitcase. The locking lids mean you don’t need to worry about a pellet accident. And, the whole unit just feels really sturdy and secure which we do appreciate when you’re rolling it over rough ground which we always seem to be doing.

Camp Chef Pursuit Portable Pellet Grill Folded

Included in the price are two meat probes so you’ll know exactly when it’s time to eat.

And, don’t underestimate how good Camp Chef’s ash cleanout pot is! You won’t have to take the grates and heat deflector out to empty the pot. Simply slide and tip it out.

Pros
Cons
BEST EASY TO MOVE

Pit Boss Sportsman Portable

4.5/5

BBQ type: Pellet

Material: Stainless steel

Grates: Porcelain-coated

Grilling: Direct heat

Capacity: 387 sq in

Hopper capacity: 19 lbs

Heat range: 180 – 500°F

Dimensions: 38.35″D x 25.2″W x 37.56″H

WiFi: No

Price guide: $$

Model: PB 260PSP2

Warranty: 5 years

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

With powder-coated body, coated cast iron cooking grates, and a reasonable, but not overboard, 387 square inches of cooking space, the Portable Sportsman is compact, fairly lightweight, and really sturdy.

Cooking on the Pit Boss Sportsman Portable Pellet Grill

The Sportsman is by far our favorite when it comes to moving the thing. 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 with 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.

The temperature controller isn’t a PID-based system. That means the heat will jump up and drop down below your target, it’s not super steady. We have also found that the temperature isn’t super even across the grates too.

Nevertheless, the Sportsman does produce good quality smoke. Once you get used to how this thing runs, you can make some really great food. And, with the Flame Broiler™ Lever for open flame cooking, you can grill and sear really well on here (it does chomp through the pellets to do so though).

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.

The 5 year warranty is a nice bonus which is almost unheard of when it comes to portable pellet grills.

Pros
Cons

What to Look for When Buying a Portable Pellet Grill

When easy transportation is a must, there’s actually a bit more to think about when buying a portable pellet grill than there is with your regular ones.

Make sure you think about these things before you hit the buy button:

Portable pellet grills naturally have smaller cooking capacities than your typical backyard models.

Think about what you want to cook and how many people you’re likely to cook for.

If you’re cooking for a larger crowd just ocassionally, you can choose your cuts wisely for those times. Things like a whole brisket or pork shoulder to get pulled usually go a lot further per square inch of real estate than say a burger patty does.

The general rule is that 1 pound of pellets gives you about 1 hour of low and slow cooking time.

So, a 10 pound hopper should give you about 10 hours of low and slow smoking time which is usually enough to do a long smoke of a large cut like a whole brisket.

Think about how long you want to cook for on your pellet grill, not just per session, but per camping trip, tailgate session, or other occassion. I prefer to be able to just fill my hopper at home and limit myself to that one full hopper than having to take extra pellets. But, that’s not always possible or necessary. Just some thoughts…

There’s two main types of portable pellet grills, ones with a folding stand, and tabletop models.

Models with built-in stands usually sit lower than your typical backyard pellet grill but are comfortable for most people to use. Tabletop models need to be set up on a tailgate or table but are also fine to run on the ground too.

One’s not better than the other, it’s personal preference and depends on where you’re likely to take it as well.

How big is the pellet grill you’re thinking of buying? Will it fit in your car? Is it easy enough for you to pick up and move? Do you prefer a wheeled model over a tabletop one that you have to pick up and carry? And, how heavy are you comfortable lifting? Keep in mind that if it’s full of pellets, your grill will be much heavier too.

Most pellet grills are set up to use the indirect heat that’s shielded from the firepot below by a heat deflector. This is great for preventing flare ups that can char your food, but limits that real, grilled flavor.

Some models have neat designs that let you open up the heat deflector underneath to grill over the open flame. Just keep in mind that the firepot size is usually pretty small. Because of this, open flame grilling usually limits your grilling space to a small fire over the pot below and doesn’t cover the entire grill.

Whether you want WiFi or not on a portable pellet grill is purely a personal decision.

Most portable models don’t have this technology. But, if it’s a must for you, check out the Grilla Grills Chimp that’s reviewed and recommended above.

A portable pellet smoker needs to be pretty tough becuase it’s naturally going to get roughed around more than anything that’s just sitting in your backyard.

Choosing one with better quality components will pay off in the long run as your grill should last considerably longer.

Most portable pellet grills have a shorter warranty period than regular grills made by the same manufacturer.

Carefully check the warranty period instead of assuming it’s a standard length so you know how long you’re covered on before you buy.

FAQs About the Best Portable Pellet Grills

Whether you prefer a regular or tabletop pellet grill is just that, your own preference.

Standard models mean they sit at a good cooking height without needing a table or to sit down. You can wheel them around instead of carrying them everywhere. But, they are harder to fold down and set up, and more bulky for transporting.

Tabletop models are easy to pick up and go with. But, generally offer less cooking space, and can be bulky and heavy to move around.

A pellet grill, also known as a pellet smoker, gives you the benefit of set and forget smoking which can be handy when you’re distracted by the view, the kids, or anything else you came to do. They’re also very versatile with wide temperature ranges. But, you will need power.

Check out our guide on how to power a portable pellet grill to see your options.

You do need electricity to run every single pellet grill, including portable models.

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t use one in the middle of nowhere. There’s lots of easy and quite affordable ways to get a good amount of power to your pellet grill when you’re away from the grid. Choose from one of these 3 setups here.

Different brands and models of portable pellet smokers will require a different amount of power.

We go into all the fine details in our guide on how to power a portable pellet grill.

Yes! You sure can run a portable pellet smoker off of solar power. It’s a great way to do it.

Check out how to create a solar power setup for your pellet grill in our guide.

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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