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Z Grills Cruiser 200A Review: Buy for RV’s, Camping, Home?

You’re looking for a portable pellet smoker to use on the go? And, you’re wondering how the Z Grills Cruiser 200A really performs?

We’ve got your back.

Z Grills is one of our favorite pellet smoker brands out there because they simply perform so well, especially when you consider they’re significantly cheaper than the competition.

The Cruiser 200A is Z Grills’ first portable model.

So, we wanted to have a good look at how they’ve wrapped up their value for money into this tabletop design. And, in this Z Grills Cruiser 200A review, we dive into all the details.

Here we share how this compact pellet smoker really performs.

We look at what they’re like to cook on when both smoking and grilling. But, we’ll also cover the basics in terms of build quality, capacity, how portable this smoker actually is, and, any optional extras you’ll need.

So, if you’re wondering if the Z Grills Cruiser 200A is right for you, let us walk you through our experience to help you decide if it’s the right choice for your next adventure.

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Table of Contents

The Quick Version of Our Z Grills Cruiser 200A Review

Ribs smoked on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

If you’re looking for a portable pellet smoker that gives you a good mix of quality, price and performance, the Z Grills Cruiser 200A is a great choice.

No, it’s not full of fancy features. But, what it is is solid, reliable, and most importantly, it’s a good little performer.

With the impressively even Z Grills Updated Temperature Controller, the Cruiser creates the consistent cooking environment you need for effortlessly repeatable results every time you cook.

The 202 square inch capacity isn’t huge. But, it’s larger than a lot of the portable competition, and, is easily enough to cook for 2-4 people, sometimes more, depending on what meat cuts you’ve chosen.

The 8 pound pellet hopper is large enough to give a good long smoke time without needing to refill. And, because the area you’re heating is smaller, I’m very impressed with the efficiency in pellet usage, even when you’re grilling.

Outside, the Cruiser’s body is strong and durable enough to handle a bit of rough and tough.

The side handles make it very easy to pick up. And, the briefcase design, in my opinion, is so much easier than the folding leg, portable pellet smoker design.

Coming in at a price that’s considerably less than the major competition, the Z Grills 200A definitely performs very well and is a great solution for oh-so-easy wood smoking and grilling on the go.

It’s also a perfectly good at home pellet smoker for individuals, couples and smaller families.

We highly recommend it!

About Z Grills

Z Grills is a company that was founded in 2016 after having manufactured pellet smokers for some of the major brands for years.

To compete in what’s become a very popular and competitive market, Z Grills aimed to deliver great quality smokers at lower factory prices.

And that they have done!

The extensive line-up of Z Grills barbecues is very well priced compared to the competition.

But, what’s more impressive and, more important, is that their products are actually really great!

We’ve used many different Z Grills smokers over the years. And, while the quality and features aren’t quite as up there as some of the way more expensive options, they work brilliantly and turn out some incredible food!

For anyone looking for a very decent pellet smoker without a high price tag, Z Grills should definitely be on your to consider list.

About the Z Grills 200A

Launched at the end of 2021, the Cruiser 200A is Z Grills’ first portable pellet smoker.

It’s brief-case style design competes with the more expensive Traeger Ranger, promising quality, durability and great performance in a more affordable package.

Opening the Lid of the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

No, it can’t cook a heap of food at once. And, it’s 8 pound pellet hopper isn’t going to give you the same sort of extra long smoking sessions that a regularly-sized Z Grills will do.

But, it’s large enough to cook for 2-4 people (or more depending on what you smoke).

Right up front, I’m going to put it out there. After cooking on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A for a while now, I do recommend this smoker for smaller families, couple or individuals to use at home as well as on the road.

The smaller cooking space makes it pretty efficient to run in terms of pellet usage. And, it’s nice not to have to heat a huge barbecue when you just want to cook up a few burger patties mid-week or grill a butterflied chicken.

If you are taking it on the road or don’t want to keep it permanently set up outside, the small size of the Cruiser 200A means it’s a lot easier to move, and a whole heap sturdier to use than a portable pellet smoker with folding legs.

So, if a smaller cooking space is workable for you, keep on reading.

Note – The Z Grills Cruiser 200A that we trialled and photographed for this review is the celsius version for the overseas market. This means that the display panel has been changed out to show the temperature in celsius only and also says ‘Grilled’ instead of ‘Z Grills’.

All the other components are exactly the same as you will get in the US.

The temperature scale displayed in no way affects the performance of the unit.

Features of the Z Grills Cruiser 200A


  • Powder-coated steel case
  • Porcelain-coated steel cooking grates
  • 202 square inch cooking capacity
  • 8 pound hopper

Ease of use:

  • Automatic temperature regulation keeps within +/- 15°F of your target
  • 180 – 450°F temperature range
  • Latched lid for easy transportation
  • Port to connect meat probe for accurate monitoring of doneness
  • Grease management system

Included extras:

  • 100% money back guarantee

Unboxing and Setting Up the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

Being a smaller, briefcase-style, portable pellet smoker, there’s no where near as much setting up to do of the Z Grills Cruiser than there is to a regular pellet smoker.

Inside the box, everything is neatly packaged inside of the smoker itself, except for the instructions and a handy pair of gloves.

Unboxing the Z Grills ZPG 200A Cruiser

Remove the polystyrene, lift the whole unit out of the box, open the pellet hopper and the single box inside and you’ve got all that you’ll need to put the Z Grills Cruiser together.

Setting up the Z Grills 200A Cruiser

Setting everything up should only take about 10 minutes or so.

You’ll screw the side and front handles on with the provided screwdriver, position the feet, remove the packaging from the grill grate and put the drippings bucket in place.

Z Grills Cruiser 200A Components

Before you start cooking on the Cruiser, you’ll need to do a burn in.

Simply fill the pellet hopper, plug the unit into the power and follow the instructions. You’ll eventually let the Cruiser sit at it’s highest heat for a while to burn off any leftover residue from the manufacturing process.

Then, you’re actually good to cook.

Construction and Build Quality

The Z Grills Cruiser is made from powder-coated steel. It’s an affordable, durable and good looking shell option that definitely looks more expensive than it’s price tag suggests.

Z Grills Cruiser 200A Brand New Lid Open

If you’re comparing the Z Grills 200A against the more expensive Traeger Ranger, you’ll be very impressed with it’s build quality.

The briefcase style design is strong and sturdy, the metal is thick enough to give decent heat retention and protection from dings and scratches, and, all the moving parts work smoothly, fitting together well.

The Cruiser is definitely durable enough to withstand a good life on the go.

There’s two latches to keep the lid locked shut during transportation. Plus, unlike most competitive models, it’s got robust side handles that make light work of lifting and moving it’s reasonable weight.

Z Grills 200A Side Handles and Lid Latches

Inside, the porcelain-coated cooking grate is durable and easy to clean.

And, most importantly, the steel of heat deflector and firepot is thick and strong enough to handle it’s max heat without getting damaged or warping when you’re grilling.

Z Grills Cruiser 200A Heat Deflector

The neat heat deflector design actually pokes straight out the back of the smoker, so that the drippings flow straight into the grease bucket that hangs on the back of the Cruiser.

You’ll also notice that there’s a felt gasket between the cooking grate and the pellet hopper. This helps to keep the heat in the cooking area, away from the pellets and it does a good job of doing just that.

Underneath the heat deflector, the firepot and auger are well designed and strong enough to house a high heat fire.

Firepot of the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

Overall, I don’t have any complaints about the build quality of the Z Grills 200A Cruiser.

It’s a really well built barbecue, especially when you consider how much cheaper it is than other comparative models. Z Grills have done a great job like usual! 


On the Z Grills Cruiser 200A you’re looking at 202 square inches of cooking space.

Z Grills state that will do 6 burgers, 1 rack of ribs or 1 butterflied chicken, depending on it’s size.

5 Burgers on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

And, that it will do with plenty of extra space around.

Rack of Ribs on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

But, if you do want to cook for more people on this smaller smoker, we’ve managed to fit quite a lot more on the Cruiser by choosing larger cuts and arranging it well.

Rack of Ribs and Pork Shoulder on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

Because there’s a sizable 6 inches in height inside the cooking chamber, it’s easy to fit taller or thicker cuts like a pork butt without the meat hitting the smoker lid.

You could even do a smaller or half brisket if you wanted to.

And, the 8 pound pellet hopper should give you well over 8 hours of low and slow smoking time without needing a refill.

Full 8 pound hopper of the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

In fact, I’ve never needed to refill the hopper on the Cruiser mid-grill or mid-smoke.

Of course, if you’re grilling at high heat, you’ll burn through the pellets a lot faster than when you’re smoking at a lower temperature. But, your meat will also be cooked sooner so you still shouldn’t need a refill.

Unless you’re doing extra long smokes, which you probably won’t be doing with a portable pellet smoker, the hopper size on the Z Grills Cruiser is perfect for probably everything you’ll want to cook on there without having a heap of extra pellets stored in the hopper.

Smoking Performance

Smoking on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A is really super simple.

Fill the hopper, then, with the lid open, set the dial to ‘smoke’ for startup. Once the smoke is white and you can hear the fire roaring, select the cooking temperature you’d like, close the lid and let it heat for 5-10 minutes.

When you’re at or near your target temperature, add your meat and it’ll do the rest.

Running Startup Cycle on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

If you missed the note at the top of this article, just be aware that the Z Grills Cruiser 200A that we tested is the Australian and New Zealand model. It therefore shows the temperature in celsius.

If you purchase the Cruiser through the Z Grills website or Amazon in the USA, you will be sent one with the temperature markings and display panel showing fahrenheit only. You won’t have to convert celsius to fahrenheit. Do not worry!

Every other component of the model that we tested is the same as you’ll get on the US sold model.

But, back to what the Cruiser is like to smoke on, the rear exhaust vents pull the smoke through the cooking chamber nicely so you do get a nice smoke ring and a good smoky flavor.

Rear Exhaust Vents on Z Grills Cruiser 200A

To monitor the doneness of your meat without having to open the lid and rely on the ‘it looks done? test’, there is one meat temperature probe port on the Z Grills 200A.

The probe itself doesn’t come with the grill. You can get a generic one off Amazon here, or, use your existing one if you’ve got a full-sized Z Grills smoker.

But, if you do use it, you’ll be able to see the internal temperature of your meat directly on the control panel so you’ll never over or under-cook your meat again.

We did test the smoker with a Z Grills probe plugged into the port. But, as you’ll see from our photos, we prefer the wireless connectivity of the MEATER wireless meat thermometer so we use that most of the time we smoke or grill instead of using the wired, plug-in thermometer into port setup anyway.

Testing the Z Grills probe against the MEATER probe on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

Using the MEATER means you don’t have to carefully thread the wire through the rear drip vent or deal with the messy, hard to clean wire afterwards.

To learn more about the MEATER, read our full review.

But, if you do want to go with the cheap plug in probe option, we found that a Z Grills one worked accurately and gave us a temperature reading that was within a few degrees of the MEATER probe.

With accurate internal temperature measurement from either a standard wired temperature probe or the MEATER, the quality of what you can smoke on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A is really good.

Without much effort, you should get a decent smoke ring and good flavor.

Z Grills Cruiser 200A Smoking Ribs

My only comment or complaint (and this will happen with other briefcase style portable smokers too), is that because the Cruiser is quite small, the meat sits quite closely to the heat deflector plate and can burn or dry out a little on one side.

It’s really not a major. But, if you want really great smoked meat, simply combat it by turning the meat when it’s about half way through it’s cooking time.

Then, the meat comes off tender, evenly cooked and full of awesome, wood-smoked flavor.

Grilling Performance

Set at it’s maximum temperature of about 450°F, you can grill up a steak, burgers, sausages, fish, or anything else you’d like on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A.

Just keep in mind, like most pellet smokers, it’s indirect heat. The heat deflector can’t be removed so it’s kind of like you’re trying to grill in a really hot oven.

In saying that, the Z Grills Cruiser definitely does the job and it’s honestly, surprisingly decent. You’re not going to get that crispy, seared up steak flavor that you’d get over an open flame. But, you’ll still get a decent sear mark.

Grilling Sausages on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

When trialing a pellet smoker, we usually smoke much more than we grill. But, we found that because the 200A is smaller than a full-sized grill to heat and is a good size for just a few steaks, we probably grilled on it just as much as we smoked.

It works well.

Grilling a Butterflied Chicken on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

Just like when you’re smoking, make sure you do flip whatever you’re grilling so you get even color and cooking from both sides. You do grill with the lid down though so the heat is fairly even and you won’t be left with one side of the chicken underdone.

The Cruiser will use more pellets per hour when you’re grilling than you will when you’re smoking because you’ll need more fuel to maintain the higher heat.

But, because you’re only heating up 202 square inches of cooking space and not a huge barbecue, it’s a pretty efficient way to cook up burgers, a few steaks or some sausages for the family mid-week.

Grilling Burgers on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

Meat grilled on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A should turn out noticeably but not overly smoky.

I’d definitely recommend still using your meat probe, meat thermometer or MEATER so you don’t accidentally overdo and dry out what you’re grilling. It is pretty easy to do because you’re cooking quite close to the firepot even though it’s hidden below the heat deflector.

Temperature Accuracy

As with any pellet smoker where the temperature is automatically controlled, making sure the heat stays where you set it is vital to get good results.

You don’t want to set your smoker to low and slow only to find the heat ramped up, cooked your meat too fast and everything’s dried out.

So, we test the accuracy of temperature control as one of our major checks.

The Z Grills Cruiser 200A features their Updated Digital Temperature Controller. Z Grills states it’ll keep the heat within about 15°F of where you’ve set it.

And, we’re pleased to report that not only did we find that statement to be true, but that the swings aren’t even that big.

When both grilling or smoking, the digital temperature controller managed to maintain a temperature that was + or – 10°F of our target. It did that consistently over a large number of cooks in a range of weather conditions too.

Z Grills 200A Controller Temperature Dial

In terms of how even the temperature stays throughout the grill, we found that the Cruiser kept a consistent temperature too.

There’s not that much space for there to be hot spots. But, the temperature was fairly even over the whole cooking area creating a consistent environment that’s essential for great results when you’re smoking or grilling.

Measuring Temperature on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A


The Z Grills Cruiser 200A has been designed to be Z Grills’ portable pellet smoker.

And, while some ‘portable’ pellet smokers are really quite awkward, heavy and hard to move around, the Cruiser is one of the best portable smokers we’ve had the pleasure of using.

The side handles make lifting it a breeze, the weight, although heavy, is reasonable to move, and, the latched lid prevents any pellets from being spilt during transportation.

Z Grills Cruiser 200A Lid Latches, Side Handles and Sturdy Legs

After having used different types of portable pellet smokers, the briefcase style design of the Z Grills Cruiser is by far our favorite.

Yes, you need a table or something to set up on (the ground is okay as long as you don’t have kids running around).

But, not having to mess around with unfolding and folding legs that usually make the whole unit a bit more unstable is just so nice. And, as long as you’ve got a flat surface, the Z Grills Cruiser always feels solid and steady to cook on.

Using the Z Grills Cruiser At Home

Even though the Z Grills Cruiser has been designed as a portable smoker, after having used it for a while now, I’d definitely say it’s also a great choice for anyone who wants a smaller pellet smoker for at home.

The 202 square inches of cooking space is enough to smoke a pork butt or some ribs. You can easily throw 6-8 burger patties on there to grill, quickly do up some steaks, or, cook a whole butterflied chicken without the cooking grate feeling too small.

Pulled Pork and Pork Ribs Smoking on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

And, because the cooking space isn’t that large, you’re not burning through extra wood pellets to heat a huge barbecue. It’s really pretty efficient.

Leave it set up outside undercover. Or, simply pick the Cruiser up and move it into the garage when you’re not using it.

This smoker is ideal for individuals, couples or even families who don’t want the pressure of feeling like they need to smoke a whole brisket, 2 pork shoulders, a rack of ribs and what else should we throw on there to fill the leftover space?!?

Powering the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

As with any pellet smoker, you will need access to electricity to power the igniter, auger and fan.

If you’re using the Z Grills Cruiser at home, you can simply plug it into a wall outlet or run an extension cord to it and away you go.

The same setup will probably do you just fine if you’re in an RV as well.

But, if you’re using the Cruiser in even more remote locations, you might need an inverter and/or battery setup to run it off.

While the Cruiser uses a reasonable amount of power to get started, once the fire is going, the power draw isn’t large and running it for hours off of a smaller sized battery is fine.

Learn more about powering your portable pellet smoker in our guide. We give you 3 easy setup options that suit a range of budgets as well.

All of these will work for the Z Grills Cruiser too.

Which Pellets Does the Z Grills 200A Need?

Although you can and they are good, you don’t need to use Z Grills pellets in the Cruiser 200A.

Smoker pellets are made to the same size so, any good quality, 100% hardwood pellet will work just fine. Unless your pellets are wet (just make sure you store them properly), you shouldn’t have any problems with the auger jamming.

Most of the time, we use Traeger pellets in our pellet smokers and we’ve used the same in the Z Grills Cruiser.

But, just grab any quality cooking wood pellet for the Cruiser. Or, choose from our favorites on this list.

Using the Z Grills 200A Cruiser with Traeger Pellets

Included Extras

Unlike a lot of other Z Grills smokers, the Cruiser 200A comes with nothing in the way of extras.

You do have all the basics you need for grilling and smoking. This includes the heat deflector, grill grate and drip bucket. But, the meat probe that plugs directly into the control panel isn’t even included (you can grab a generic one here).

But, if you do want to save some cash, Z Grills do offer package deals with the Cruiser 200A sometimes.

Check their website for up to date information but you might score yourself some pellets or accessories for cheaper than you otherwise would by grabbing them at the same time as your new smoker.

Optional Extras

Unless you’ve got a separate wireless meat thermometer like the MEATER, you’ll want to grab a meat probe to hook up to the control panel. This will let you see the internal temperature of your meat to get it perfectly cooked without having to eyeball it.

At the time of writing this, Z Grills aren’t actually selling them anymore. So, if you’ve got another standard pellet smoker probe lying around from a full-sized smoker, you can use that. Or, grab a generic one from Amazon.

They’re a cheap add-on even if it’s a bit annoying that you’ve got to buy something separately.

If your budget does allow for it, or you want to put it on your birthday or Christmas list, we do always prefer using a wireless meat thermometer with all of our smokers!

There’s no wires to have to feed through holes, nothing messy to clean, and, you can see exactly how your meat is going from wherever you are without having to go out and check the barbecue.

Our favorite wireless meat thermometer, and, the one we use with the Z Grills Cruiser 200A is the MEATER.

Using the Z Grills Cruiser 200A with the MEATER Block

You’ll notice in our photos, we have used the 4 probe MEATER Block set. But, if you’re only using this thermometer on the Cruiser where you’ll most likely be cooking 1 or 2 different meats maximum, the cheaper MEATER Plus will probably do you just fine.

For more details on what the MEATER is like to use, read our full review.

As for any other optional extras to use with the Z Grills 200A Cruiser, you really don’t need anything. Just a table or spot to set it up on.

Cleaning the Z Grills 200A Cruiser

If you’re familiar with any other full-sized pellet smoker, cleaning the Z Grills portable 200A is pretty much the same.

After each use, you’ll be scraping down the grates while they’re still warm (this all natural wood tool is our favorite) as well as cleaning any meat probes you use.

Because the firepot on the Z Grills Cruiser is quite small to match the cooking size, I find that I need to clean out the firepot more frequently than I do on a full-size pellet smoker.

Z Grills Cruiser 200A Firepot

So, probably every 2 or 3 smokes I’ll remove the grill grate and heat deflector when they’re 100% cool and vacuum out the ash from the firepot.

Doing this just keeps the smoker running well with enough airflow to burn the pellets effectively.

I do have a dedicated small shop vac that I use for ash only. It’s the fastest and easiest way to get the job done and I prefer having a dedicated pellet smoker vacuum to avoid contaminating the cooking surface with general floor mess.

For full-time RV use, you’ll want a more portable style vacuum. You don’t need to get something that’s specifically for ash. Just always make sure that the ash you’re vacuuming up is fully cold so you don’t melt the inside of the vacuum and cause a fire.

If you don’t want to buy a vacuum though, you can scoop out the ash. It’s a bit messier but is a free option!

Another thing you will have to clean out with any pellet smoker including the Cruiser is the drip bucket and heat deflector.

All of the fat drippings will drain onto the heat deflector, running to the back of the smoker and out into the drip bucket.

Simply pour any liquid out of the drip bucket and wipe clean with a paper towel.

And, if you want to avoid having to actually scrape and clean the heat deflector, use the Z Grills hack of lining it with some aluminum foil.

Foil Wrapped Heat Deflector on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A

You’ll need to change the foil every 3-4 uses. But, simply taking the used foil off and replacing it with a new piece is 1000% times easier and quicker than tackling a dirty heat deflector that’s not meant to get/stay wet because it will rust.

So, I’d definitely recommend grabbing some wide aluminum foil and just wrapping that baby up.


Even though it’s a portable model and most have shorter warranties, Z Grills gives you it’s standard 3 year warranty on the Cruiser 200A.

Of course, you’ve still got to be careful with the unit. But, if there’s any problems, Z Grills should be able to help you out. We’ve always had great experiences with their customer service. And, never had any issues that required a warranty claim.

Pros and Cons of the Z Grills 200A

What We Like About the Cruiser 200A

  • Really strong and sturdy box-like design that can actually hold up to an adventure-filled life
  • Decently large cooking area for this type of portable smoker
  • Good sized pellet hopper
  • Side handles and latching lid make moving it really easy
  • Simple digital control panel is all you need for easy operation
  • The fact that you can cover the drip tray with foil makes clean up so much easier
  • Reliable temperature control

What We Don't Like About the Cruiser 200A

  • It doesn’t come with an internal meat temperature probe…? (We just use our wireless MEATER but still…)
  • You’re cooking quite close to the heat source and heat deflector which can cause a little drying out unless you flip the meat half way through your smoke or grill
  • The whole unit weighs 40 pounds which is pretty typical for this type of smoker. But, is more than a lot of people expect

Should I Buy the Z Grills Cruiser 200A?

The Z Grills Cruiser 200A is ideal for people who are looking for:

  • Easy portability
  • Don’t need a large cooking capacity
  • Enjoy a lightly smoked real wood flavor
  • Don’t want to have to mess around with lighting it and maintaining the right temperature
  • Aren’t fussed about extras like WiFi
  • Appreciate some good value for money

What Other Portable Pellet Smokers Should I Consider?

The Z Grills Cruiser 200A really is a great tabletop portable pellet smoker.

But, if you’re not quite sold on it, you’ve got to ask yourself why.

If you prefer the backing of a larger brand, the Traeger Ranger is a very similar alternative. It’s a bit more pricey but does include a few extras that the Cruiser doesn’t.

Traeger Ranger Portable Pellet Smoker

  • More expensive than the Z Grills Cruiser
  • Smaller cooking capacity but heavier
  • Comes with griddle and meat probe

If having WiFi is a must for you then there’s the Green Mountain Grills Trek. This one’s not quite as compact. But, is at a more similar price point.

Green Mountain Grills Trek

  • A little more expensive than the Z Grills Cruiser
  • Digital WiFi controller
  • Comes with both a 12V cable and standard power cord giving you easier portable power options

And, if it’s a little more space you’re after, there’s the Pit Boss 150 Tabletop with a two tier rack design.

Pit Boss 150 Tabletop Pellet Smoker

  • Similar price to the Z Grills Cruiser
  • Larger cooking capacity but smaller hopper
  • Max temp of 500°F is a little hotter for grilling

A tabletop pellet smoker might not be the best choice for you if you:

  • Prefer a stronger smoky flavor – You might be better off going with a charcoal smoker like the Pit Barrel Cooker
  • Like sitting there with a beer, checking the temperature, adding fuel and adjusting vents – Try the Weber Smokey Mountain
  • Need to cook for a crowd, even sometimes – The larger but still portable Traeger Tailgater with folding leg design can handle a lot more meat
  • Don’t have access to power or don’t want to spend money on a portable power solution – The Pit Barrel Cooker is a set and forget charcoal smoker that doesn’t need any electricity

FAQs About the Z Grills 200A

Q. Does the Z Grills Cruiser 200A have WiFi?

No. There’s no WiFi on the Z Grills Cruiser. You can use a wireless Bluetooth thermometer like the MEATER to monitor progress. But, you’ll have to be around to turn on/off and change the temperature.

Q. How do I empty the hopper?

You can’t really empty the hopper on the 200A. You can try to pick the whole unit up and tip them out. But, really you’ll just need to burn them through.

The hopper lid plus cooking chamber lid does seal pretty well though. So, if it’s water damage you’re worried about, you can keep the pellets in the hopper short to medium term without any problems.

If you want to change flavors though, yes, you’ll have to burn through them to get all of the pellets out.

Q. Can I grill on the Cruiser 200A?

Yes. The Cruiser’s temperature maxes out at about 450°F. That is hot enough to grill on.

But, keep in mind that the heat is indirect. There’s no open flame so it’s a bit like grilling in a really hot oven.

We do grill a lot on the Z Grills Cruiser 200A because we like the efficiency of the smaller sized pellet smoker. The results are pretty decent. You will use more pellets by running it at a high heat for grilling though.

Q. What type of power do I need to run the Z Grills Cruiser?

The Z Grills Cruiser has a standard 110 volt power cord so you can plug it into any regular power outlet. If you want to use it off a car battery, grab an inverter like this one.

We also really like the Jackery battery packs for an easy portable power solution.

To learn more about how to power a portable smoker, check out our full guide with 3 simple setup options.

Q. Do I have to use Z Grills pellets in the 200A?

No. You can use any brand of cooking pellets in the 200A. But, quality is important to create great smoke and prevent blockages. Check out our favorites here.

Q. Can I use the Z Grills Cruiser at home?

Of course! We regularly use the 200A to grill and smoke for a family of 5.

The smaller size of the Z Grills Cruiser will be more efficient than running a bigger pellet smoker if you just want to cook up a few steaks or a single rack of ribs. You’ll probably just want a permanent table to set up on for regular at home use.

It’s also the perfect sized smoker for individuals or couples.

Q. Is the Traeger Ranger better than the Z Grills Cruiser?

Yes and no. The Traeger Ranger is a better quality barbecue. And, it’s got a few extras included. But, a lot of the features of the Traeger Ranger are the same as on the Z Grills Cruiser.

The Z Grills Cruiser doesn’t weigh as much, and, it’s cheaper. So, it does have a few things going for it.

Specs for the Z Grills Cruiser 200A Pellet Smoker

Barbecue type: Wood pellet grill and smoker

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated steel

Cooking capacity: 202 sq. in.

Pellet hopper capacity: 8 lbs

Heat Range: 180-450°F

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Price guide: $$

Model: Cruiser 200A

Assembled size (in): 25 L x 20 W x 13 H

Weight: 40 lbs

Warranty: 3 years


Kate Brown, the founder and voice behind Burning Brisket, is not your typical pitmaster or restaurateur. Her expertise in barbecue grew from a humble desire to cook exceptional meals for her family. From overcoming burnt brisket mishaps to establishing her boutique cattle ranch, Kate shares her passion to help 'ordinary' individuals cook extraordinary barbecue, believing that simplicity often yields the best flavors. Kate is committed to making great barbecue accessible to all with the right resources and some tasty practice.

About Burning Brisket

Burning Brisket is one of the leading, independent authorities on all things barbecue. Family-owned and run, it's our mission uncomplicate the art of smoking to help you enjoy making incredible food at home for your family and friends to create memories over.

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