Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smoker Review – Series 3, 5 & 7

Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smoker Review

For a smoker to hold a serious amount of food, there’s just no beating the vertical setup. Max space, minimal footprint and you’re good to go whether it’s the weekend’s catch, a batch of jerky, or, inviting the whole extended family for Christmas.

And, when it comes to vertical pellet smokers, Pit Boss are one of the go-to names!

But, just how good are Pit Boss’s vertical range? Is there a reason why not so many brands make vertical pellet smokers? And, what’s the difference between the different Pit Boss models available?

In this Pit Boss vertical pellet smoker review, we answer these questions plus more to give you all the details you need to choose the best smoker setup for your needs.

Before we get started though, we want to point out that the difference between the 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series is just the size and price of course. They’re also called the Copperhead range. So, although it looks like the Pit Boss range is huge and a bit confusing, there’s actually just a good choice of sizes, pretty much all with the same features.

Let’s get started.

Burning Brisket is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read our affiliate policy to learn more.

Table of Contents

The Skinny on the Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smokers

Space-saving, holds a huge volume, gives it a succulent wood-smoked flavor, and, one of the cheapest options per square inch that’s available, the Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smoker range was designed for people who want to COOK!

Built so they couldn’t be any easier to use with insulated walls, huge pellet hoppers, and, one of the most flexible multi-position racking systems on the market, the Pit Boss Copperheads are perfectly capable of turning out some absolutely great food.

You get a choice of 3 sizes, all with the same features, Pit Boss’s Vertical Smoker Range is ideal as a superior alternative to electric or gas smoking. The flavor you’ll get from those pellets simply doesn’t compare. And, you’ll also forgo the hassle of dealing with wood chips, awkward water trays and bulky gas bottles.

With a lengthy 5 year warranty to back Pit Boss’s bigger, hotter, heavier claim, the Copperhead’s are a go-to solution for anyone who wants to smoke, bake or roast serious quantities with ease.

Features of the Pit Boss Copperhead Series 3, 5 and 7's

Construction:

  • Huge cooking capacity spread over vertical shelves
  • Large pellet hoppers give long unaided smoke times
  • Double-wall insulated design holds in heat so you can smoke effectively in colder conditions
  • Quality porcelain-coated cooking grates

Ease of use:

  • VP1 temperature controller automatically regulates temperature within an acceptable range of your target
  • Fan-forced convection distributes heat for an even cook
  • Large window lets you see how everything’s going without opening the door
  • Multi-position racking system gives you maximum adjustability to suit what you’re cooking
  • Ash management system makes for easy cleaning

Included extras:

  • One meat probe for accurate internal temperature monitoring

In-Depth Review of the Pit Boss Copperhead Vertical Pellet Smokers

Pit Boss’s 3 part Copperhead Series are best-sellers when it comes to large vertical pellet smokers. They’re space-savers for people who want to be able to cook serious quantitates. And, because they’re set and forget, they’re the easiest way to cook real wood-smoked food at home.

Then, there’s also the fact that vertical are one of the cheapest pellet smoker options per square inch of cooking space that’s available today.

They’ve got a lot going for them. But, before you buy, read on to find out what Pit Boss’s vertical pellet smokers are really like to use and what the differences between the different models are.

Construction

Pit Boss’s Copperhead Vertical Pellet Smokers are made from heavy-duty steel with double-wall insulation and a durable powder-coated finish.

They’re not the most high-end build on the market. But, they’re exceptionally good value for money on what’s definitely not a flimsy design. They’ve also got the added bonus of actually being very efficient and effective in cooler weather conditions.

Inside, the grates are a pretty standard porcelain-coated steel. Hardy, easy to clean and rust-resistant, there’s nothing to complain about there. But, Pit Boss’s multi-position racking system is seriously next-level for anyone who wants or needs extra flexibility in setting the right spaces in their smoker.

On the Pit Boss vertical pellet smokers, you don’t just have a few guides to choose from to slot in the racks. Instead, they’re fully-adjustable with pins so that not only do you get more choice of where you want to set them, there’s no bulky metal guides on the side taking up unnecessary space.

It’s one of our favorite things about the vertical Pit Boss’s and it’s particularly good when you want to cook up a huge variety of things from bulky turkey’s to thinner salmon or jerky.

Capacity

When you’re talking about the Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smokers, no option is small.

The 3 Series holds 721 square inches of cooking space on 5 racks while a 39 pound pellet hopper lets you smoke for up to 18 hours (we’ve done more) without adding more pellets.

The 5 Series gives you 5 larger racks with 1,513 square inches of space and a huge 55 pound pellet hopper for up to 35 hours of smoking time. And, the largest 7 series holds a mammoth 1,853 square inches on 6 grates with the same 55 pound hopper.

So, what does that mean in terms of practicality?

On the mid-sized 5 Series, you’ll easily fit 10 whole chickens or 10 racks of ribs (more with a rib stand). Less on the smaller Copperhead and more on the largest. But, that’s not even fully packed out. You should still have a bit of breathing room around the meat which is nice to leave a bit of space to let the smoke and heat circulate well.

Smoking Performance

Because it looks like an electric smoker, you sort of expect the results to be like an electric smoker. But, smoking on one of the Pit Boss Copperhead’s is nothing like it. The results are moist, smoky and so easy to achieve. There’s a good smoke ring left on the meat and a reasonably good bark for a pellet smoker.

As is normal for a pellet smoker, the smoky flavor isn’t quite as strong as you’d get on an offset or charcoal barbecue. But, you can always use a stronger pellet variety if you’re after a more distinctively smoky taste.

In terms of temperature regulation, we found the Pit Boss Verticals to be very good. The heat distribution is fairly even throughout so the same type of cuts were ready to take off at about the same time as each other. And, with fluctuations, the Copperhead sat at a max of about 15°F either side of our target.

Something that’s a bit different on the Pit Boss Vertical’s compared to regular pellet smokers is that there’s a water pan that sits above the firepot at the base of the cooking chamber. Full, you can expect about 8 hours at a low and slow temperature. And, we do think it’s worth using. But, if you didn’t want to, the pan also helps to catch drippings to make clean up easy.

The Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smokers also have a couple of smoke settings that are worth mentioning.

Firstly, there’s the ‘prime’ button that lets you speed up the rate the pellets drop into the firepot to boost the temperature faster. It’s particularly useful if you’ve opened the door and want to get the heat back up quickly.

And, secondly, the ‘smoke’ setting will turn the temperature right down so you get maximum smokiness out of your pellets.

If you like a stronger smoked flavor than pellet smokers usually give, you can use the smoke setting for the first hour or two when the most smoke is absorbed. After that, you’ll need to turn the temperature up to a regular smoking level to make sure the meat cooks and is safe to eat.

Grilling Performance

One of the only real negatives about a vertical pellet smoker instead of a regular horizontal one is that you can’t grill on it.

It’s not something that’s unique to Pit Boss. The firepot is simply too far away from the racks to be used for grilling. So, you’re looking at smoking only. But, with one of the widest temperature ranges available on the market, you can also roast and bake absolutely anything you’d cook in your regular oven.

The pizzas this guy can make are impressive!

Included Extras

The Pit Boss 7, 5, and 3 Series Vertical Pellet Smokers all come with 1 stainless steel meat probe included.

Stick one side in your meat to monitor exactly when it’s fall-off-the-bone ready and plug the other directly into the control panel so you can read the temperature along with the set and actual cooking temperatures.

All of the Copperheads actually have 2 ports to plug a probe into although only one is included with the smoker itself. You can buy them separately here. Or, if you want to go wireless, check out our top rated wireless meat thermometers reviewed here.

With such a large smoker where you’re usually cooking a few different cuts of meat at one time, investing in a separate wireless thermometer with more probes is probably going to make your life a lot easier anyway.

Warranty

Backing up Pit Boss’s bigger, hotter, heavier claims, you get an impressively long 5 year warranty with all of their vertical pellet smokers. Good coverage, decent customer service reputation, and, most importantly, confidence that your smoker’s going to last a decently long time.

Optional Extras

Even if you’re keeping your smoker indoors, we always recommend getting a cover to keep it in tip top shape for longer. Pit Boss do make a cover for the Series 3, Series 5 and Series 7 Vertical Smokers. Click on the links to take you right to the prices.

If you want to cook pizzas in your new Pit Boss, a stone will take your crusts to a new level (you’ll be able to fit one per rack).

And, like we’ve already mentioned, getting a wireless meat thermometer, or at least a second probe that plugs straight into the Copperhead’s control panel is definitely worth the money!

Actually, one really good thing about Pit Boss’s optional extras is that they’re a really good price! Some brands do get you with all the add-ons.

Cleaning Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smokers

Cleaning a Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smoker is pretty similar to a regular pellet smoker.

After each use, you’ll need to scrape down the grates and the water pan.

Then, every few cooks, remove the heat baffle and vacuum out the ash that’s accumulated. This step has to be done when the ash is 100% cool! Here’s a link to our favorite ash vacuum if you need one of those.

And lastly, the sides of a vertical smoker get pretty mucky after a while so wiping out the inside is a good idea. We actually love Pit Boss’s degreaser that makes light work of this not so fun job. A bottle lasts a long time too.

Check out the video below to see how it’s all done.

What We Like About The Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smokers

  • Huge cooking capacity compared to the amount of space they take up in your backyard
  • Choice of 3 sizes to suit your needs
  • Wood pellet smoked food is just SO much better than you can cook in vertical electric or vertical propane smokers
  • Temperature controller does a great job of regulating the temperature for consistent results
  • The multi-position grates give the ultimate flexibility in how you use the space
  • Huge pellet hoppers mean you don’t really need to think about refilling
  • Manual feed button really boosts the rate at which the smoker gets back up to temperature after opening the door
  • Pellet hopper emptying door lets you change and store pellets easily

What We Don’t Like About the Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smoker

  • You really can’t grill on it
  • There’s only 2 meat probe ports to monitor what could be a lot of different cuts of meat so we feel like a wireless system with more probes is an essential
  • There’s no WiFi – if you want a vertical pellet smoker that has WiFi, check out Camp Chef’s XXL Vertical

Specs for the Pit Boss 3 Series Vertical Pellet Smoker

Barbecue type: Wood pellet smoker

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material:  Porcelain-coated steel

Cooking capacity: 721 sq. in.

Pellet hopper capacity: 39 lbs

Heat Range: 150-420°F

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Price guide: $$

Model: 77350

Assembled size (in): 53”H x 26”W x 22”D

Weight: 97 lbs

Warranty: 5 years

Specs for the Pit Boss 5 Series Vertical Pellet Smoker

Barbecue type: Wood pellet smoker

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material:  Porcelain-coated steel

Cooking capacity: 1,513 sq. in.

Pellet hopper capacity: 55 lbs

Heat Range: 150-420°F

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Price guide: $$$

Model: 77550

Assembled size (in): 53”H x 29”W x 27”D

Weight: 127 lbs

Warranty: 5 years

Specs for the Pit Boss 7 Series Vertical Pellet Smoker

Barbecue type: Wood pellet smoker

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material:  Porcelain-coated steel

Cooking capacity: 1,853 sq. in.

Pellet hopper capacity: 55 lbs

Heat Range: 150-420°F

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Price guide: $$

Model: 77700

Assembled size (in): 57”H x 29”W x 28”D

Weight: 138 lbs

Warranty: 5 years

FAQs About the Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smokers

Q. Do Pit Boss Vertical Smokers have WiFi?

No they don’t. It’s one of the ways that Pit Boss help to keep their prices competitive. And, pellet smokers are designed to be set and forget after all. But, if you do want some sort of wireless capability, grab a wireless meat thermometer and you’ll be able to watch and countdown until dinner.

Q. Where is the pellet hopper on the Pit Boss Verticals?

The super large pellet hopper sits at the back of the Pit Boss Vertical Smokers. That’s how you get so much space and it still looks clean and slimline.

Q. How do you get the pellets out of the Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smokers?

There’s a small door you can swing open that’ll release most of the pellets from the Pit Boss hoppers. A few will stay in there really deep down that you’ll need to burn through or vacuum out but the door makes it much easier and faster.

Q. Can I use a Pit Boss Vertical Smoker to cold smoke?

The Series 3, 5 and 7 Vertical Smokers start at 150°F which is really a bit too hot for true cold smoking. But, if you use a pellet tube, the vertical chamber makes an ideal setup for cold smoking.

Q. Can I fit whole turkey’s in the Pit Boss Vertical Smokers?

Most certainly! Even the smallest 3 Series will fit 2 good sized turkeys.

Q. What’s the difference between the 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series?

The only difference is the size. The 5 and 7 Series have a larger cooking capacity and pellet hopper. Everything else is the same.

Our Verdict on the Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smoker Review

For anyone who wants an easy way to smoke huge, a vertical pellet smoker is the way to go! And, the Pit Boss Series is seriously strong option that works great and won’t break the bank.

With a choice of 3 sizes, all with oversized pellet hoppers, one of the widest temperature ranges, and, their handy multi-position grate system, the Pit Boss Vertical Smokers are versatile and easy to use.

Yes, the features, except for the side-wall insulation, are a bit basic. There’s no WiFi, no fancy extras, and, only 2 meat probe ports. But, they’ve got everything you need to successfully smoke all of your next catch, cook for your kids football team, or, roast a couple of turkeys plus sides come Thanksgiving.

Competitively priced, the Pit Boss Copperheads are easily one of the lowest priced smokers per square inch of cooking space. And, the quality and performance you’ll get from these 5-year warrantied smokers makes them one of the best value for money options out there as well.

Not Quite What You Were Looking For? Other Options...

Camp Chef XXL WiFi Vertical Pellet Smoker

  • WiFi
  • PID temperature controller
  • Separate smoke level setting

Read our full review of the Camp Chef XXL WiFi Vertical Pellet Smoker here.