Pellet smokers are bomb! Especially when you’re camped out or tailgating. But, of course, there’s the question of where you’re getting power from…
Pellet smokers not only run for a long time, they require a different amount of power in the startup and running cycles. And, every model is different. So, finding a suitable portable power solution isn’t always easy.
We’ve done the work for you and put together a list of 3 simple setups you can use to run almost any pellet smoker in the wild.
Prices vary. But, we’ve got everything from more affordable options to the ultimate.
Let’s jump in, here’s our top power options for portable pellet grills…
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Table of Contents
How Much Power Does a Pellet Grill Need?
Before we get into the actual recommendations, we will say, your exact power requirements for a portable pellet grill or smoker will depend on what model you’re running.
To find out exactly how much power your pellet grill needs, grab the owners manual that came with it. It should be detailed there.
All pellet smokers will have two different figures, a higher power draw while it’s running the more intensive start-up phase and a lower draw that it uses to maintain the temperature once it’s running.
In general, most pellet smokers don’t use more than about 500 watts of power during the start-up cycle and 30 watts of power per hour after that. Some pellet smokers let you manually start them to save on that initial high draw as well.
The solutions we’ve suggested in this article are appropriate for pellet smokers that draw an average amount or less.
If the smoker you’re trying to run draws more, the setups detailed below can still be used. You’ll just need to up the system size accordingly.
You can work out roughly how many watt hours your smoker uses using this formula:
How Long Can You Run a Portable Pellet Grill For?
As long as you want.
The different portable power solutions for pellet smokers suggested in this article are all available in a range of sizes.
More power costs more. So, size your system accordingly.
But, you can go big, link systems, or even go solar panels so you can recharge off the grid for the next night’s barbecue…
Portable Battery Power Station
This solution isn’t the cheapest and it’s not the most expensive either. But, it is the most simple and most convenient.
A portable battery power station will set you back a few hundred dollars.
And, if you haven’t heard of these before, they’re pretty much a large battery in a durable, easy to carry case that’s already got all of your standard outlets built into it.
Simply charge it up at home, take it with your smoker, plug it in and you’re good to go.
They’re available in all sorts of sizes. How large you need to go will depend on how long you want to smoke for. Plus, having some spare battery in there to charge phones, run a laptop or plug in some lights while you’re camping is a nice side benefit.
There’s a lot of different brands that make portable battery stations at different sizes, qualities and prices. These are our top choices for powering a portable pellet smoker.
Our Favorite Portable Battery Power Stations
Jackery Explorer 500
- Explorer 500 should power average pellet grill for approx. 12 hours (Explorer 300 should give about 5.5 hours)
- Leading, reputable brand
- No noise
- Rugged case
- Multiple outlets to fit any pellet grill
- Recharges from regular wall outlet or car charger
- Solar panel add-on available
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station
- Should power average pellet grill for about 8.5 hours
- Great brand
- No noise
- Multiple outlets to fit range of uses
- Recharges via regular wall outlet
- Solar panel charger available
MAXOAK Portable Power Station 500Wh
- Cheaper option
- Still reasonable quality
- Should run average pellet grill for about 12 hours
- Easy handle case
- Multiple power outlets
- Compatible with solar panels
Inverter + Deep Cycle Battery
Not so pretty but, a lot more affordable, you can use an inverter/deep cycle battery/battery charger combo to power your portable pellet grill.
Yes, you can use the battery on your car. But, car batteries aren’t made to be discharged and recharged regularly. So, running your pellet smoker off your car battery will increase the wear and tear on it dramatically.
Instead, grab yourself a dedicated battery to run it off.
Deep cycle will work best because they’re made to provide a steady stream of power for hours and be recharged when done.
If your pellet grill has a regular 110v power cord (everything except Green Mountains typically do), you’ll need an inverter to hook it up to the battery pack.
You can’t just grab any inverter! You need one that can handle the higher discharge of the start-up cycle. Traeger recommend 400W as a minimum.
And, if you haven’t bought a portable pellet smoker already, check out the Green Mountain Trek. It runs off 12V and comes with the alligator clips to connect straight to a battery so will save you some money on the inverter.
But for everything else, inverter to deep cycle battery. Plus, you’ll need a battery charger to recharge the battery once you get it home.
If you’re not too keen on the battery sitting exposed, you can get a battery box too.
Our Favorite Inverter, Battery and Charger Solution
BESTEK 500W Power Inverter
Mighty Max 12V 35 AH Deep Cycle Battery
- Good enough to handle the large initial draw of a pellet grill
- 35 AH should be plenty to run an average pellet smoker for up to about 12 hours (for long smokes you might want to size up to 55 AH because the inverter will make it slightly less efficient)
- Maintenance free
NOCO GENIUS1 1-Amp Fully-Automatic Smart Charger
A generator is the last option on this list because it’s not one of the best power sources for portable pellet smokers.
They’re more expensive, heavier and bulkier than the alternatives, you’ll have to take fuel with you too, and, they don’t draw enough power which will damage the generator over time.
Generators typically like to be run with a 80-85% load. And, while your pellet smoker will use a reasonable amount of power in the inital startup, once that’s done it’ll be drawing almost nothing.
So, although we don’t recommend a generator for a pellet grill alone, if you are running other electrics off it like for an RV, it might be a good solution for you.
Keep in mind you’ll need an inverter generator so you can save on buying a separate inverter too.