Home Reviews Best Vertical Pellet Smoker Reviews: 4 Must-See Options

Best Vertical Pellet Smoker Reviews: 4 Must-See Options

by Burning Brisket
Best Vertical Pellet Smoker

If you like the set and forget but still wood-smoked promise of pellet smokers but don’t have the space for a typical horizontal one, a vertical pellet smoker is the way to go. Offering maximum space with a smaller footprint, vertical pellet smokers are great for smaller backyards and patios, and, what you really wanted to know, is that you won’t sacrifice any of the performance you’d get from a regular pellet smoker.

In terms of range, there isn’t a whole lot of choice when it comes to vertical wood pellet smokers. Camp Chef do an amazing one, Pit Boss have a range, and, Masterbuilt are branching out into these types of smokers too. You will notice here that we haven’t recommended any of the Masterbuilt Vertical’s. When they work, they’re great. But, as of writing this, there’s just too much inconsistency for us to whole heartedly say go out there and buy one. Hopefully down the track, we’ll be adding them to this list too.

But, with that, here’s our selection of the best vertical pellet smokers. Lets find the one that’s right for you.

The Best Vertical Pellet Smokers for 2020

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Camp Chef Vertical XXL Pellet Smoker

Not only is the Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet smoker our best overall vertical pellet smoker, it also ranks as one of our best pellet smokers in general. A bestseller for anyone who wants a huge and reliable set and forget smoker, this thing is easy to use, consistent and really versatile. All for a very competitive price.

Coming standard with 4 meat racks, 3 jerky racks, and, a hanging rack with 12 hooks, you can load it up with rack after rack of home-made bacon, or, take most of them out to fit a couple of whole turkey’s. You’ve got a heap of options!

And, Camp Chef’s 33,000 BTU Smart Smoke digital temperature controls can handle the volume too. Simply load the pellet hopper, set the dial and walk away. The heat is consistent and holds steady, even in less than ideal weather conditions. Expect to get a respectable 10-12 hours out of 18 pounds of pellets at 225°F.

But, the fun doesn’t stop there. The Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Smoker features a grease management system, ash clean out bucket and lockable pellet purge. Together these make clean up super easy and mean that you can easily use fresh wood pellets for every cook.

Basically, the Camp Chef XXL Vertical is everything you from an automated smoker for consistently great results each and every time.

Specs for the Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Smoker

Fuel type: Pellets

Barbecue material: Dual layered stainless steel door

Grate material: Unspecified

Cooking capacity: 1,950 sq. in.

Pellet hopper capacity: 18lbs

Temperature range: 150-350°F

Model: PGVXXL

Dimensions: 55(H) x 24(W) x 15.5(D)

Weight: 145lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Smoker:

  • Huge cooking capacity, holding up to 8 racks at a time
  • Accurate temperature maintenance, even in wilder weather
  • Even heat distribution thanks to internal fans
  • Includes 2 meat probes to stop you from overcooking meat ever again
  • Jerky racks and sausage hooks are standard
  • See-through pellet hopper window so you know when to add more fuel
  • Lockable pellet purge effectively removes all leftover pellets without needing to vacuum
  • Easy to clean with external ash bucket
  • Sturdy lockable castor legs

Cons of the Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Smoker:

  • Can leak smoke as its heating up
  • Solid front door means the only way to look inside is to open it up

Pit Boss Sportsman 7-Series Vertical Wood Pellet Smoker

Topping off Pit Boss’s line of vertical pellet smokers is this one, the Sportsman 7-Series. But, this one doesn’t just look the part. Built from heavy-gauge stainless steel, it’s designed to lock heat while outlasting it’s generous 5 year warranty.

And, over those years, trust us, you’ll be knocking your own socks off with the results you’ll get and the ease at which you’ll get them from this one.

From automatic ignition to reliable temperature control, a huge 55 pound capacity pellet hopper and one of the widest temperature ranges on the market, the Pit Boss Sportsman couldn’t be easier to use. Simply configure your 6 adjustable cooking grates, load it up and set it to smoke for up to 24 hours.

Offering a sizeable 1,815 square inches of cooking space, smoke all that fish you just caught, have your son’s football team over, and, pride yourself on being able to make the best thanksgiving turkey.

Solid, steady and reasonably priced, it the Sportsman 7-Series rivals the ever-popular Camp Chef XXL when it comes to a top of the line vertical pellet smoker.

Specs for the Pit Boss Sportsman 7-Series Vertical Pellet Smoker

Barbecue material: Stainless steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated steel

Cooking capacity: 1,815 sq in

Pellet hopper capacity: 55 lbs

Heat range: 150°F – 420°F

Fuel type: Wood pellets / electric

Model: V5P1

Assembled size (in): 58.5(H) x 29(W) x 28(D)

Weight: 142lbs

Warranty: 5 years

Pros of the Pit Boss Sportsman 7-Series Pellet Smoker:

  • Durable stainless steel design
  • Very large cooking capacity
  • Huge pellet hopper allows set and forget smoking for up to 24 hours
  • Reliable temperature regulation
  • Wide temperature range to suit whatever you’re cooking
  • Attractive design with glass window
  • Effective quick pellet removal door
  • Comes with 6 stainless steel hooks for hanging meats
  • Also includes 1 meat probe (port for another as well)

Cons of the Pit Boss Sportsman 7-Series Pellet Smoker:

Pit Boss 5-Series Wood Pellet Vertical Smoker

A little smaller than the Camp Chef XXL, but with a huge 55 pound pellet hopper, the Pit Boss 5-Series Vertical Wood Pellet Smoker is ideal for anyone who wants to do really, really long cooks.

With the ability to smoke, untouched for up to 24 hours in a insulated, double-walled, vertical design, this barbecue is the definition of set and forget! There’s even an auto-on and auto-off setting making 4am wake-ups a thing of the past.

Pit Boss’s VP1 digital temperature controller holds the heat at a pretty steady temperature. And, the 5-Series Vertical has one of the largest temperature ranges on the market. Cold smoke at 150°F or take it all the way up to 420°F, you’ve got plenty of flexibility to cook what you want, how you want it on 5 removable racks.

In terms of downsides, you’ll want to position this smoker under cover. It’s not great with rain or high humidity which can cause water to soften the pellets, blocking the feeder and stopping the fire.

Overall, the Pit Boss 5-Series Vertical Wood Pellet Smoker is easy to use and performs well on a wide variety of meats. The clear pellet hopper window, simple pellet clean out door and bonus meat probe make it great value for money.

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

Barbecue material: Double walled insulated steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated

Cooking capacity:  1513 sq. in.

Pellet hopper capacity: 55 lbs

Temperature Range: 150°F – 240°F

Fuel type: Electric / wood pellets

Model: 77550

Dimensions: 29″ W x 55″ H x 28″ D

Weight: 131 lbs

Warranty: 5 years

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

  • Good sized cooking capacity without taking up lot of floor space
  • Huge pellet hopper lets you smoke for up to 24 hours without touching a thing
  • Wide heat range
  • Holds temperature reasonably steadily
  • 5 removable racks for flexibility
  • Glass door lets you see what’s going on without opening it up
  • Pellet hopper is easy to fill and easy to empty
  • Includes 1 meat probe with a spot for another for extra feedback on when your meat is ready

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

  • Pellet hopper design allows pellets to absorb moisture in high humidity, clogging auger – use under cover
  • Some quality inconsistencies – 5 year warranty may cover any problems

Pit Boss 3-Series Vertical Wood Pellet Smoker

Ideal for anyone who doesn’t need a huge capacity, or, is looking for a budget-friendly option, the Pit Boss 3-Series is pretty much a smaller, cheaper version of the 5-Series reviewed above.

Made with the same insulated, double-walled design, the 3-Series performs well in a cooler climates, powered by an identical VP1 digital controller to heat anywhere between 150-420°F.

It’s slim and sleek but still very functional with 4 removable racks that offer a maximum cooking space of 721 square inches. As to be expected, the Pit Boss 3-Series also has a smaller pellet hopper and, therefore, a reduced, untouched cook time. But, it’s still got a whopping 39 pound pellet capacity giving about 18 hours of smoke time at a moderate temperature which is comparable to most other pellet smokers.

To use, the Pit Boss 3-Series is simple and straight-forward. It holds the temperature steady enough, has a clear window for easy viewing and is easy to clean. And, although this model is one of the cheapest in Pit Boss’s line-up, it still includes 1 meat probe that’s nice not to have to buy as an extra.

Specs for the Pit Boss 3-Series Vertical Pellet Smoker

Barbecue material: Double-walled, insulated steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated

Cooking capacity: 721 square inches

Pellet hopper capacity: 39 lbs

Temperature range: 150°F – 430°F

Fuel type: Wood pellets / electric

Model: PBV3P1

Dimensions: 26″ W x 53″ H x 22″ D

Weight: 97 lbs

Warranty: 5 years

Pros of the Pit Boss 3-Series Pellet Smoker:

  • Great value for money, especially for a pellet smoker!
  • Compact, space-saving design
  • Reliable temperature control for complete set and forget experience
  • Auto on and off features
  • Large pellet hopper allows you to smoke for up to 18 hours without touching a thing
  • Removable racks for flexibility
  • Pellet purge door empties any unused pellets effectively
  • Clear pellet hopper window allows easy check of progress
  • Clear smoker door for viewing
  • Comes with 1 meat temperature probe

Cons of the Pit Boss 3-Series Pellet Smoker:

  • Pellets have been known to absorb a bit of moisture in wet or humid conditions so essential to use under cover to prevent clogging
  • Some reports of quality control issues – but, good warranty

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