We’ve just got to love Z Grills! They’ve really brought affordable pellet smokers to the market, and, they’ve done a darn good job of it. But, what makes Z Grills so good? They listen to their customers and just keep on improving!
And, the 700D3 is no exception!
The 2021 upgrade of this fan favorite adds a PID temperature controller and hopper clean-out to the mix in what was already such a solid, great value for money pellet smoker. The Z Grills 700D3 performs like you paid way more than the price tag that’s on these things.
So, if you want all the details before you buy including the low-down on it’s features, performance, extras and warranty, read on for our full Z Grills 700D3 review.
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Features of the Z Grills 700D3 Pellet Smoker
- Heavy-duty steel with a stainless steel lid
- Double wall insulation for improved heat retention
- 20 pound pellet hopper
- Enclosed storage cabinet
- Moderately large capacity that fits large cuts
Ease of use:
- PID temperature controller automatically keeps heat within a tight range of your target
- Wide temperature range lets you smoke, bake, roast and grill at a pinch
- Hopper clean out door makes it fast and easy to empty unused pellets
- Easy to read LCD temperature display
- Two meat probes give accurate feedback on how done your meat is
- Waterproof cover
In-Depth Review of the Z Grills 700D3
Instead of making a whole new model, they’ve taken what people loved from the 700E and added a few new features. Doing so has taken the 700D3 to the next level in terms of an affordable and reliable pellet smoker that’s results simply speak for themselves.
But, instead of taking our word for it, read on to hear the nitty gritty on how the Z Grills 700D3 performs.
The first thing we noticed about Z Grills in general is that their build quality is impressive, especially when you consider the price of their smokers. And, the 700D3 is no exception.
Made from high-quality steel with a stainless steel cooking chamber and hopper lid, they’re the ideal mix of durable and affordable.
The metal is a bit thinner than more expensive pellet smokers. But, the parts fit together well. And, the enclosed storage cart gives stability to the unit as a whole.
But, the best thing (in our opinion), about the upgraded 700D3 is that the cooking chamber now has double-wall insulation! That means that if you like to smoke during the colder months, it’s going to hold the heat better and use less pellets than the older 700E.
Insulation in a smoker of this price is practically unheard of. So, if you’re on a budget and live somewhere colder, it’s a huge pro.
For the cooking grates, they’re pretty standard porcelain-coated. Easy to clean, fairly non-stick and rust-resistant, they do the job well.
Low and slow is where the Z Grills 700D3’s performance shines. With a simple LCD panel, two stainless steel meat probes, and, a PID controller that reliably keeps your target temperature steady, smoking really is simple and hands-off.
The temperature variance from one side of the grill to the other is almost nothing. Like, we’re talking a couple of degrees difference between the right and left-hand side at 225°F. So, you don’t need to worry about hot spots or rotating your meat to make sure it’s all cooked the same.
To get it going, you load up the pellet hopper, connect the power and run the start-up function. It takes about 10 minutes to get up to a decent smoking temperature. Then, load up your meat, connect the temperature probes, and, get busy doing something else.
As long as you’ve got enough pellets in there, you can just leave it and come back to check the internal meat temperature hours later, wrap it or baste the meat. But, the temperature sticks within about 10°F of your target for consistent results every time.
Depending on what type of pellets you use, we find the results to have a good level of smokiness. The bark you get on the meat using the 700D3, or any other pellet smoker, isn’t going to be as crispy as you’d get on an offset. But, the flavor is good, the meat retains plenty of moisture, and, it’s pretty much effortless. A big win for anyone who doesn’t want barbecuing to consume the whole day.
If you want even more smokiness to your meat, you can also use the ‘Smoke’ feature for the first hour or so. That’ll pump more smoke through the meat at the time when it’s absorbing the most. Just be sure to set it to a normal cooking temperature after to ensure the meat is safe to eat.
The Z Grills 700D3 is advertised as being suitable for grilling. At a maximum temperature of 450°F, you can do it. But, do remember that it’s indirect heat so the results aren’t going to be the same as you’d expect over an open flame on a gas or charcoal grill.
But, what does grilling on the 700D3 look like?
It takes quite a while to heat the barbecue up to maximum temperature. Like about 40 minutes from stone cold. But, once you’re there, you will get a good sizzle as you place the meat on the cooking grates. The meat doesn’t end up as smoky as it does when you smoke. But, you can even get a bit of a sear mark.
Overall, it’s doable and the results are alright. But, it uses pellets FAST.
If you want to smoke most of the time and grill occasionally, it’s all good. But, we wouldn’t recommend the 700D3 primarily as a grill. It just wasn’t built for it and there ain’t nothing wrong with that!
The Z Grills 700D3 gives you a total of 697 square inches of cooking space split over two cooking grates.
The bottom rack is 504 square inches and will easily fit 4-5 pork butts, chickens, or a whole brisket.
On the top, you’ve got an extra 193 square inches. It’s about half as narrow. But, is ideal for racks of ribs or vegetables. Just keep in mind the clearance between the top and bottom racks is about 3.5 inches. So, if you’re doing taller cuts, you’ll need to remove that top rack and you’ll lose a bit of cooking space.
But, the bottom rack alone is enough to cook for a large family, or have guests over. You could even load the whole thing up with 29 burger patties to host a bit of a crowd.
Hopper capacity? You can fit a whole 20 pound bag of pellets. That should give you at least 20 hours of low and slow smoking time without needing to refill.
The Z Grills 700D3 pellet smoker comes with 2 stainless steel meat probes and a waterproof cover.
It’s everything you really need to get started, except for the pellets and the meat of course!
The meat probes measure accurately and plug straight into the control panel. They’ll give you the real-time internal temperature of your meat at the push of a button so you don’t need to open the lid and let all that valuable heat out. If you’re cooking more than 2 things, or, want updates without having to walk outside, you can get a wireless meat thermometer. But, it’s totally not necessary.
The cover fits securely, looks smart and does the job well. It’s a nice bonus that saves you forking out an extra $50-$100.
A 3 year comprehensive warranty is what you’re looking at with the 700D3.
Z Grills have a reputation for good customer service and, from what we’ve seen, they’re very responsive to sorting out any issues you’ve got quickly.
But, what really sets this brand apart is their 30 day money back guarantee.
After using Z Grills, I don’t think a lot of people would be taking them up on it. But, if you’re on the fence about buying one, it gives you that extra hit of confidence. Be sure to check the Z Grills website for up to date information on their guarantee.
Cleaning the Z Grills 700D3
Cleaning the Z Grills 700D3 is pretty similar to any other pellet smoker.
First, you should always scrape back and clean the grates after each use. It’s easier to do this when the barbecue’s still a bit warm. Z Grills make a Grill Rack Scrape and Grab Tool. Or, there’s a cheaper top-rated grill scraper on Amazon.
Z Grills recommend lining the grease tray with aluminum foil to make clean up easier. We did this and it works really well. Depending on what you cook, except to change it every 3 or 4 cooks.
At the same time, whip out the grease tray and baffle plate to access the firepot. Then, vacuum out any ash from the bottom of the cooking chamber and the firepot. You might have something you can use to do this already. Otherwise, we like this one.
Other than that, you can give the rest of the smoker a wipe down every now and then. But, that’s all you really should need to do to keep it working well.
Watch the Z Grills video below for more details.
Pros of the Z Grills 700D3
- Accurate temperature regulation with minimal fluctuations thanks to the new PID controller
- Consistent temperature across all grates
- Solid build with stainless steel components to improve durability
- New double wall insulation improves heat retention and minimizes fuel usage in colder conditions
- Moderate capacity suits most people’s daily needs, plus, can handle entertaining
- Comes with 2 meat probes so you can check the internal meat temperature without letting heat out
- Also includes a waterproof cover
- Hopper is large enough to hold a whole bag of pellets
- Hopper clean out feature makes it easy to empty unused pellets
- Built in storage for convenience
- 3 year warranty
- 30 day money back guarantee
Cons of the Z Grills 700D3
- Still no WiFi – you can get a wireless meat thermometer if you want to be able to see the internal meat temperature without going outside. But, you can’t change the temperature remotely at this stage. We don’t think it’s a major because we just set it at low and slow for the entire cook anyway
- We’d ultimately like a couple more meat probes for a smoker of this size. But, again, don’t think it’s a huge downfall either
Specs for the Z Grills 700D3 Pellet Smoker
Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel with stainless steel lid
Grate material: Porcelain-coated
Cooking capacity: 697 square inches
Pellet hopper capacity: 20 lbs
Temperature range: 160°F – 450°F
Fuel type: Wood pellets
Price guide: $$$
Dimensions: 48″ W x 51″ H x 22″ D
Weight: 132 lbs
Warranty: 3 years
FAQs About the Z Grills 700D3
Q. Does the Z Grills 700D3 have WiFi?
No. Currently there’s no WiFi connectivity to the 700D3.
Q. Is there an easy way to empty the pellet hopper?
The 700D3 features a pellet hopper clean out door. So, you simply twist the door open and they’ll all come out (have a bucket ready).
Q. What’s the difference between the 700D3 and the 700D2?
Q. Can I grill on the Z Grills 700D3?
Yes. The 700D3 gets up to 450°F. That’s hot enough to make grilling doable. But, keep in mind that it’s indirect heat. It’s a bit like grilling in a really hot oven. It’ll get the job done but it’s not optimal. Grilling at high heat also uses a lot of fuel fast.
Q. Can I use the Z Grills 700D3 colder weather?
The 700D3 is the best Z Grills smoker choice if you live somewhere that gets colder. The side wall insulation offers better heat retention for improved performance. Plus, it’ll also improve fuel efficiency so you won’t be burning through the pellets trying to smoke in winter.
Q. What pellets can I use in a Z Grills smoker?
Any high quality cooking pellet will work well in the Z Grills 700D3. If you’re buying online, you can grab a bag of Z Grills pellets too. Or, check out our review of the best pellets for smoking for more top choices.
Our Verdict on the Z Grills 700D3 Review
For the price, the Z Grills 700D3 is pretty unbeatable!
It’s well-built and does an excellent job of auto-regulating the temperature, which you can clearly see, translates into easily repeatable great results.
The 2021 upgraded features of side wall insulation, a hopper clean out door and PID temperature controller, mean that this budget-friendly pellet smoker has just about everything you could ask for. It’s lack of WiFi is the only suggested downfall, and, it won’t be a major for a lot of users.
Suitable for anyone looking for an affordable pellet smoker that ticks all the must-have boxes, the Z Grills 700D3 is almost too good to be true!