Z Grills 450B Review: 2021 New Updates for Old Fav!

Z Grills 450B Review

I’m guessing you’ve seen the price on these things and that’s partly what’s brought you here. Because, the Z Grills 450B is one of the best priced pellet smokers out there. And, it’s low price doesn’t mean it lacks features… No, the 2021 updated 450B has a lot going for it!

From a solid build to a precise PID temperature controller, manual feed system, and, a pellet hopper cleanout door, the 450B is a great option for anyone looking for a smaller-sized pellet smoker that can still handle a large cut of meat.

But, before you buy, I’m sure you’ve got questions.

In our Z Grills 450B review, we dive into what it’s really like to cook on, how much space you’re getting, and, what kind of results to expect from this bargain buy.

At the moment, the 450B is a Z Grills exclusive. It’s only available through their website. If you click on one of our links, it’ll take you straight there. We will earn a small commission if you purchase the 450B or any other product through our links. But, it won’t cost you any extra AND we’re not just talking this smoker or any other up for a sale.

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 Z Grills 450B

The Z Grills 450B is a great budget-friendly option for individuals, couples, or small families.

It doesn’t have some of the top-end features like WiFi and insulation. But, it’s PID temperature controller does a great job of creating a consistent cooking environment for easily repeatable results. It’s well-built and easy to use, especially with it’s newly upgraded hopper cleanout system and manual feed button.

The Z Grills 450B looks and performs like a pellet smoker that’s worth much more than it’s attractive price tag.

Features of the Z Grills ZPG 450B

Construction:

  • Quality powder-coated steel
  • Porcelain-coated steel cooking grates
  • Ideal size for couples and smaller families, but, large enough to cook bigger cuts of meat as well
  • Decently sized 15 pound pellet hopper gives approximately 15 hours of low and slow time

Ease of use:

  • PID temperature controller keeps the heat within 5°F of your target
  • Max temp of 450°F which can handle grilling
  • Pellet hopper window shows when a refill is needed
  • Hopper cleanout door lets you empty and swap pellets easily
  • Manual feed system lets you heat it up faster
  • Upgraded cart with larger wheels makes it easier to move

Included extras:

  • Waterproof cover
  • 30 day money back guarantee when purchased through the Z Grills website

In-Depth Review of the Z Grills 450B

The Z Grills 450B is the 2021 update to their popular 450A model.

And, while both of them are cheaper Z Grills options, this is a company that listens to customer feedback and makes real changes to improve on their already impressive line-up.

If you’re familiar with the 450A, to give you a quick summary, the upgraded 450B features include:

  • A PID temperature controller;
  • Pellet hopper window;
  • Pellet hopper cleanout door;
  • Manual feed button; and,
  • An upgraded cart.

And, you get all of that for pretty much the same price as the older 450A. It’s a killer deal. But, read on to learn more about what it’s like to use.

Construction

The Z Grills 450B is made from powder-coated steel. It’s not the thickest out there, but, it does rival Traeger’s basic builds. It feels solid, fits together well, and, should definitely be durable enough to well outlast the warranty.

For the cooking grates, you’re looking at porcelain-coated steel. Pretty standard, no complaints there. They’re easy to clean, fairly non-stick and strong enough to last and last.

The cart on the 450B is a new version. Z Grills have updated the wheels with 2 large ones to handle rougher terrain and 2 locking casters for smoother movement and to secure the grill in place. Overall, the legs are large and sturdy. In fact, the whole smoker feels steady and like it’s much more expensive than the price that’s on the tag.

Capacity

The 450B has been designed for couples and smaller families. There’s 459 square inches of cooking space. 311 of those are on the main bottom rack and the remaining 128 are on the top rack.

In terms of pellet smokers, the 450B is pretty small. But, you can actually fit a good amount of food on here. You’re looking at 3 whole chickens, 4 racks of ribs or 18 burgers. So, you can definitely still entertain and cook up enough food for a good amount of people.

The bottom grate is just over 21 inches long. That’s even big enough to fit a whole brisket. It’s really pretty flexible.

With a smaller grill capacity, you’re also looking at a smaller pellet hopper. But, the 450B holds a generous 15 pounds of pellets. That should get you about 15 hours of low and slow smoking time. When you’re grilling, it’ll use pellets faster. But, it also doesn’t take so long so you probably won’t need to refill anyway.

Smoking Performance

Smoking on a Z Grills 450B really couldn’t get any easier, especially with the latest PID temperature controller.

If you’ve never used a pellet smoker before, you literally fill the pellet hopper, plug it in, open the lid, turn the dial to smoke and wait for the fire to get going. Once it does, turn the dial to your target temperature, close the lid and the PID controller will change the auger speed to keep the heat within about 5°F of where you’d like it.

And, one of the, if not the most impressive things about Z Grills in general is how even it’s temperature distribution is! The variance from one side to another, top rack to bottom is so minimal, you don’t need to worry about turning and arranging your meat for the best cook. Just put it in there, close the lid and go and do something else while your dinner cooks.

Because of the consistent temperatures, you should find that your results are the same every time you cook. It’s simple, easy, and repeatable.

The 450B also has a couple of smoking settings that are interesting to mention.

Firstly, there’s the smoke setting. It’s used for starting the smoker up. But, you can also keep it set to smoke for the first hour or two when the meat absorbs the most flavor. This helps it to take on a stronger smoky flavor.

The smoke setting will keep the temperature really low so the fire will pump out more smoke. You’ll just need to put the temperature back up to a regular cooking temperature after a bit so the internal temperature reaches a point where the food’s safe to eat. Watch the video below to see it in action.

But, the new 450B also has a new manual feed feature. This is actually something we use ourselves a lot.

Pressing the feed button speeds up the auger so that the pellets drop into the fire pot faster. It’s great to speed things up when you’re getting the smoker going. But, it’s also a great way to help the smoker get back to temperature faster after you’ve opened the lid.

It might not sound like much, but, we dig it as a great time-saver!

Grilling Performance

450°F is the maximum temperature the 450B gets to. That’s hot enough that it can grill and sear. But, it is indirect heat so it’s not ideal for high-heat cooking.

Instead of comparing it to a gas grill, grilling on a pellet smoker is more like using a very hot oven. It does get the job done and will leave a bit of a sear mark as well, but it’s not going to get you that same flame-grilled flavor.

That being said, the 450B does a surprisingly decent job of grilling burgers, sausages and even steak. Because they’re not on the grill for as long, they don’t taste super smoky. But, you can still get delicious and moist grilled meats on this barbecue.

A couple of things to keep in mind about grilling on the 450B. One, you can only use the bottom grate so you’re looking at a reduced capacity of 331 square inches. And, two, it uses A LOT of pellets to cook at high heat. Higher temperatures mean more pellets, and, it takes a while to reach grilling temperature so, it’s not where this grill’s most fuel efficient.

But, if you’re alright with that, grill away! We use ours as a smoker most of the time but grill occasionally.

Included Extras

The price of the Z Grills 450B is amazing enough on it’s own. But, it actually comes with a waterproof cover included as well. It’s well-made, features the Z Grills logo, and, is something every smoker should have to keep it in tip top condition.

Warranty

All Z Grill models come with a 3 year warranty. It’s pretty standard for pellet grills but gives you confidence that this seemingly great priced smoker will last a decently long time.

They’ve also got a great reputation when it comes to customer service. So, if you do have any problems, you should be well looked after!

But, what’s extra cool is that the 450B comes with a 30 day money back guarantee. At the time of writing this, we don’t know of any other smoker manufacturers that do that. But, it shows that Z Grills stand behind their product.

Optional Extras

There’s two things you might need to grab alongside your 450B

The 450B doesn’t come with any meat probes. So, you might want to grab yourself a set of these.

Without trying to sell you something extra, they’re an essential for smoking because they’ll tell you exactly what the internal temperature of your meat is so you can avoid undercooking and overcooking your meat without even having to open the lid.

Z Grills sell an awesome set of 6 that you can add on to the 450B package. Or, check out our review of the best wireless meat thermometers for more choice.

The only other optional extra that could be an essential for you is the thermal cover.

The 450B doesn’t have any insulation built into it. So, when it’s cold, it’ll use a lot more pellets and might still struggle to reach the temperature you’re after. The thermal cover is a cheap way to keep winter running costs down and reduce the strain on your smoker. You can add it to your purchase for a package price as well.

Cleaning the Z Grills 450B

To clean the 450B you pretty much follow the same process as any other pellet smoker.

The grates should be scraped down after each use (we like using a timber grill scraper tool). But, you’ll also need to scrape down the grease tray and vacuum the ash out of the firepot and bottom of the cooking chamber every 3-4 cooks.

You can cover the Z Grills drip tray with aluminum foil to make light work of cleaning it later. We’ve tried both and would definitely recommend it to keep the smoker in good condition as well.

But, one awesome addition of the 450B is the pellet hopper cleanout door! This means you don’t need to shop vacuum out any unused pellets. Simply open the door and let them pour back into your bag or bucket for moisture-free storage.

The video below shows the full process.

Pros of the Z Grills 450B

  • PID temperature controller precisely does the job for you and keeps the heat steady
  • Quality build gives a sturdy feel
  • Perfect size for smaller families that still gives enough space for entertaining
  • Consistent results
  • Pellet hopper cleanout system
  • Pellet hopper window makes it easy to see when a refill is needed
  • Smoke mode lets you create even smokier meats
  • Manual feed button helps bring the grill back up to temperature after opening the lid
  • Can be used for grilling and searing too
  • Updated cart is strong and sturdy to move
  • Comes with a branded waterproof cover

Cons of the Z Grills 450B

  • Doesn’t come with any meat probes for accurate monitoring of how cooked your meat is
  • No WiFi – but grab a set of wireless meat probes and you’ll be able to watch the temperature of your meat from your phone
  • Even though it’s a smaller pellet grill, the legs don’t fold so it’s not easily portable

Specs for the Z Grills 450B Wood Pellet Smoker

Barbecue type: Wood pellet grill and smoker

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material:  Porcelain-coated steel

Cooking capacity: 459 sq. in.

Pellet hopper capacity: 15 lbs

Heat Range: 180-450°F

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Price guide: $

Model: ZPG-450B

Assembled size (in): 47”H x 43”W x 24”D

Weight: 75 lbs

Warranty: 3 years

FAQs About the Z Grills 450B

Q. Does the Z Grills 450B have WiFi?

There’s no WiFi on the 450B. Our tip – use a wireless meat thermometer so you can at least see your cook’s progress without having to go outside.

Q. How do you empty the pellet hopper on the 450B?

There’s a little door on the side of the hopper. Get a bucket ready and open it.

Q. What’s the Z Grills 450B like to grill on?

Grilling on the 450B get surprisingly good results considering it’s just using indirect, high heat. The grill takes a long time to heat up (like 30 minutes +), and uses a lot of pellets. But, you can fill the whole bottom rack and even manage to get a bit of a sear mark.

Q. Where are Z Grills smokers produced?

Like almost all pellet smokers available today, Z Grills are made in China. They are subject to strict quality controls and have a good money back guarantee and warranty to cover any defects.

Q. What’s the difference between the 450B and 450A?

The 450A is the 2020 model while the 450B was first made in 2021. The 450B adds a PID temperature controller, pellet hopper window, hopper purge and manual feed function while improving on the cart design of the 450A.

Q. Do I need to use Z Grills pellets in a Z Grills smoker?

No. The Z Grill pellets are great quality. But, any high quality cooking pellet will work well in the 450B. Keep in mind, some types of wood might struggle to reach the maximum temperature. If you have trouble hitting it with one type of pellet, try another. We like the Z Grills Oak for high heat grilling.

Our Verdict on the Z Grills 450B Review

If you’re like us, a sucker for value, Z Grills is it. And, the 450B pellet smoker is one of the cheapest good quality options out there.

With a host of features including a precise PID temperature controller, a quality powder-coated body, a new manual feed function, and, a pellet hopper cleanout door, the 450B’s got a lot wrapped up into it’s compact size.

Ideal for individuals, couples, or even smaller families, the 450B gives you quality, durability, and all the necessary functions wrapped up in a well-priced package. It looks, feels, and performs like a much more expensive smoker. The waterproof cover thrown in there for good measure and protection, is just the icing on the cake.