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This updated Top 10 Wood Pellet Grills Ratings Guide for 2018 includes several new first time entries to this list that I am excited to share with you.  Can any of these new entries replace last year’s choice for best wood Pellet grill?  You will have to read on to find out.

Pellet smokers are here to stay folks and it’s time to get in on the action.  It’s almost impossible to talk grilling nowadays without the topic of wood pellet smokers coming up.  To give you an example, two of my most visited articles are “Are Pellet Grills Healthy?” and “Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill”.  People seem to really want to know what all the fuss is about.  For some, it’s still a curiosity, but for a lot of folks who like to slow cook and smoke meats, it’s become a full-blown obsession.

So many outdoor chefs are no longer satisfied with their dad’s hockey puck hamburgers and dried out rubbery chicken and are ready to explore the world of smokey BBQ goodness.  And with Pellet smokers being so user-friendly and fun to use, many enthusiasts are jumping on board.  They are truly as close to a set it and forget it experience you can find in the outdoor cooking arena and they definitely offer award-winning results.

If you’re not familiar with how a Pellet grill works and what to expect to achieve from them, take a few moments to familiarize yourself by reading this article first: What is a Pellet Grill? – An Introduction to Pellet Grilling.  It will be worth your time.

I put together this top 10 Wood Pellet Grill rating guide to help you choose the best wood pellet smoker to fit your budget and needs.

*Note: “I included a list of my Top 10 Wood Pellet Grills for a quick view option below.  Continue reading on for more information and pictures for each, along with my ranking system, a buying guide, and user and maintenance tips.”

Why This Guide Will Be Helpful For You

After reading this guide, you will be armed with all the information you’ll need to make an informed decision on your next purchase.  Consider this guide a checklist for all the categories you should take into consideration before buying.

“As always, my goal is to save you time and money by doing all the research and testing for you, so you don’t have to.”

Because Pellet smokers have become much more common, it helps to pay attention to the many options of each and to research and comparison shop before you make a final pick.

However, with such a large number of choices to choose from, it can get downright confusing to try to decide which one best fits your needs and to get the best bang for your budget.  It all comes down to being informed on the different choices to help you decide which one is best for you.  That’s where I come in.  Let me do the heavy lifting for you.

There is a broad range in prices depending on features and brands and I’ve done my research.  Using this guide, I am confident you’ll be informed enough to find exactly what you are looking for in a wood Pellet grill for the perfect addition to your outdoor cooking arsenal.

This product overview acts as a buyer’s guide to ten of the best Pellet grills on the market today.  I’ll show you what features to look for, and give you several worthy options of Pellet grills with a wide range of prices along the way.  My choices are also backed by many expert opinions and strong user reviews so you can count on them.

*Make sure to keep reading after the final review for a buyer’s guide to help you with your decision when it’s time to make your purchase.

Who Can Benefit From Pellet Smokers?

Anyone who enjoys the taste of juicy and tender, wood smoked BBQ will benefit from a Pellet smoker.

Pellet grills are thermostatically controlled which means that anything that you would make in your oven can be cooked just as easily in a Pellet grill but with the added bonus of that wood-grilled flavor.  People can benefit from a pellet grill for two simple reasons—convenience and flavor.  But the true beauty of a pellet grill is their versatility.  You can use a pellet grill as a smoker, as a convection oven, and with many newer models, for direct grilling.

They combine big time wood smoked flavor, versatility and set it and forget it technology with the accuracy and ease of your kitchen oven. They can grill, smoke, bake, braise, roast and most new models can even sear your food with just a simple push of a button.  They are designed to automatically maintain their set temperature allowing you to walk away and focus on other tasks.

They are also great for people who love that distinct smokey grilled food taste but don’t have the time to hover over a charcoal grill or smoker fighting to maintain the proper temperatures to slow cook it properly.  With the benefits of push-button ignition, controlled fuel feeds, auto temperature control, consistent temperatures, and simple clean up, it’s easy to see the benefits of a Pellet grill.

Another unbeatable perk is that the learning curve is extremely low but the benefits are huge.  This makes them ideal for beginners, all the way up to pitmasters competing in competitions.

The Rating Criteria – Best Wood Pellet Grills Ratings

What matters most in a good pellet grill is a burner that will give you control and accuracy, a build that will retain the heat, convenience, and ease of use.  Build materials, cooking surface size, heat distribution and wanted extras are all top considerations.  It’s up to you to include any personal bells and whistles or deal breakers to your list as your mileage may vary.

Below are the main things I consider when rating the best pellet grills.

What Are They Made Of And Build Quality

If you want your new investment to last for years, it’s important to find a pellet grill that is built well and of quality construction.

I look for grills that are made entirely of, or mostly of high-quality steel (304-stainless steel is the best option) that will stand up well to outdoor weather conditions; heavy duty lids that close snuggly with a good seal and solid hardware featuring clean joints and welds with no gaps for heat and smoke to escape.

It should be sturdy, feel solid and be designed for maximum airflow and heat retention.  A quality built grill will ultimately perform better, reduce pellet consumption and last longer.

 

Even Heat Distribution (Or Controller Type)

The controller is the brains of the operation and is responsible for reading the internal temperature correctly and using that information to know when to feed more pellets to the firebox.

There a few different types of controllers being used but the most precise pellet grills use PID controllers for the most accurate heat distribution.  PID controllers are the most technologically advanced and will work the best even in cold or windy conditions.  They will also cost you a little more though.

That’s not to say other controllers won’t do a good job, I’ve used many pellet grills that don’t use PID’s and was still able to produce great results.  But for our purposes, PID controllers get the top marks.

 

Temperature Range

It’s important to know what type of cooking you want to do and the temperature ranges needed for your style.  But for our ratings, the wider the temperature range, or the grills that can produce the lowest and highest consistent cooking heat makes for the best choices.

 

Extra Features

This is usually a wish list of a feature add-on and is in no way mandatory, but any grill that adds extra bells and whistles (a sear station for example) at competitive pricing of comparable models, this is a value we look for.

 

Price Vs Value

Cheap does not always mean affordable.  Buying an inexpensive pellet grill might seem like a great deal at first, but it will most likely end up costing you more money in the long run.  The cheap material will rust, parts will break down and you may end up having to replace that inexpensive grill in just a few years’ time.  In this case, we are looking for the best value for our money or a quality grill that’s built to last and offers consistent performance at a competitive price.

Sometimes it really pays to spend a little more money up front.

 

Warranty

A grill that is not backed by a solid warranty, or includes poor customer response time or overall poor customer service is not going to hack it on this list.  Manufacturer reputation definitely carries some weight on the final decisions as well.

 

Real User Feedback And Reviews

Finally but just as importantly, I took into account verified purchaser reviews and feedback.  I scoured every manufacturer site and Amazon seller pages for feedback and comments on 30 plus Wood Pellet Smokers to narrow down this list of the best of the best.  I don’t believe any review is complete without taking into serious consideration actual long-term users and their experiences with using a product.

The Top 10 Best Wood Pellet Grills

Using the criteria above, I’ve compiled a list of the 10 best wood pellet grills to act as a guide. “The list includes a variety of grills, prices, sizes, and features. You should always do your own due diligence, however. Don’t be swayed by salespeople and never buy a grill on-sight.”

 

“Editor’s Choice – Best All Around Luxury Wood Pellet Grill”

 

If you’re looking for the best cooking performance of any pellet grill on the market today, then the Memphis Grills Elite Wood Fire Pellet Smoker is the one for you.  This is the Cadillac of wood pellet grills and is one of only a few premium quality pellet grills you can find.

What really sets Memphis grills apart is their emphasis on technology, construction, and performance.  They combine all the best features of a high-end gas grill, a convection oven, real wood fire direct cooking and a smoker making it one of the most versatile outdoor cookers period.

The Build

Made of 304-grade stainless steel inside-and-out, this durable grill is built to stand up to the elements.  The double walled construction makes it easy for this grill to maintain its heat even in the worst weather conditions.  The hopper has the capacity to hold up to 24 pounds of pellets.  As a result, it can slow smoke your meat for as many as 60 hours without having to refill.

The Memphis Elite comes with two internal high-powered convection fans that circulate the heat for super even heat destitution.  This is convection cooking at its finest.

The Controller

The brains of the Memphis Elite is an intelligent PID, WiFi controller.  The ability to monitor and control the grill over a Wi-Fi connection is a real standout feature on the Memphis Grills Elite. The built in Wifi connection lets you adjust and monitor temperatures from anywhere you are connected to the internet.  Another great feature to love is the three built in ports that allow you to connect up to three metal probes to monitor the internal temperatures of your food.

The Best Temperature Range Of Any Pellet Grill

You can set the temperature of the grill in 5-degree increments anywhere from between 180 degrees up to blazing 700 degrees Fahrenheit and feel safe knowing the grill will maintain your desired temperature.  Many other pellet grills claim they can sear your meat, but in actuality, they just don’t get hot enough to really do so properly.  Only the Memphis Elite can reach temperatures up to 700 degrees to truly sear your food.

The Memphis also comes with a cool app that tells you the temperature of the grill, the temperature of the meat, and comes pre-loaded with mouthwatering recipes.

Additional Features Include:

  • Oven quality gaskets for a tight seal
  • 844-square-inch cooking surface
  • An ITC temperature probe
  • 6mm nickel-plated steel cooking grates

The Memphis Grills Elite’s price tag is no joke at around $4,999.  This will definitely put off most buyers, but if you are in the market for a premium wood fire pellet grill with outstanding cooking abilities that is built to last, there is none better.

Memphis offers one of the best warranties available and backs it up with top-notch customer service.  The Elite model is available in both a freestanding and a built in version so you can now feature a pellet grill in your outdoor kitchen.

Memphis grills maintain that their products provide unbeatable reliability and durability “Guaranteed” and they do a damn good job of living up to their claim.  Best of all, it is made of heavy-duty stainless steel, right here in the USA.

 

“Editor’s Choice – Best Premium Small Size Wood Pellet Grill”

 

If you’re looking for something smaller and less expensive but just as durable and versatile as the Memphis Grills Elite model, then their Advantage Plus model is just up your alley.

The Memphis Advantage Plus is a 26” freestanding pellet grill that has many features to get excited about.  Like all Memphis grills, it is built with durability in mind and is made from 430 stainless steel construction with 8mm stainless steel cooking rods.  The tightly sealed construction and dual-walled design make for excellent heat retention even in the worst weather conditions.

Like its big brother, this 3-in-1 cooker offers versatility you won’t find on your standard gas grill.  You can slow smoke any cut of meat until it’s so tender that it falls apart.  You can cook directly over an open flame, or you can roast your food just as you would with a convection oven.

Cook your meat low at 180 degrees Fahrenheit, or go all the way up to 600 degrees.  Using the direct flame insert, you can sear your steak to perfection, or simply remove it for low and slow cooking.  As with its big brother, the Memphis Grills Advantage Plus has an app that allows you to control the temperature and keep an eye on the degrees as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. The good news is that it’s compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

The grill is controlled using the digital Intelligent Temperature Controller system, which includes three built in food probe ports for monitoring your grill and foods temperature.  The grill comes with plenty of storage for extra pellets and grilling accessories with its convenient cart cabinet.

Additional Features Include:

  • Oven quality gaskets for a tight seal
  • Dual-wall firebox
  • 427 square inches of main cooking area
  • Four heavy duty locking wheel casters

The Memphis Advantage includes many of the same features that make the pricier Pro and Elite lines so desirable but in a more compact size and price point.  The Advantage comes in at about $2,499.  Memphis offers one of the industry’s best 7-year warranty and excellent customer service.

All in all, the Memphis Grills Advanced Plus is a great wood smoker for the money.  It’s on the smaller side, but if you are looking for a more affordable, premium wood fire pellet grill that offers durability, outstanding cooking performance, and versatility, you will love this grill.

 

“Editor’s Choice – Best Mid-Level Wood Pellet Grill”

 

First of all, it deserves to be mentioned that the Louisiana Grills LG 900 comes in several sizes. The 913 square inch model is smack dab in the middle, but at less than $850, it’s one of the more affordable smokers on this list.  But don’t let the lower price fool you.  This grill still offers some serious power.

It also offers ample room—the main porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grate is 633 square feet, and the upper grating is 280 square feet.  You can remove that upper grid, which is also made of porcelain cast steel.  That makes for extra headroom and easy cleanup, which is always convenient.

With a cooking range from 180 degrees up to 600, you can smoke, slow roast, braise, bake, sear and BBQ with this do it all grill.  Using the large stainless steel burn grate over the burn pot in open flame mode, you can sear your meat over an open flame.

The grill’s Digital Control Center adds to the convenience of the unit—you get so much more control with digital controls. The controller includes a built in food probe for monitoring you meat every step of the way.

The grill is made of heavy-duty, powder-coated 14 gauge steel so it will hold up to the elements better than most.

Additional Features Include:

  • Cart with solid bottom shelf for additional storage
  • Heavy-duty wheel casters for easy mobility

With a ton of cooking space, a solid build and a wide temperature range, this grill gives you all the versatility you need to create delicious BBQ.  The Louisiana Grills LG900 comes in at less than $850 and offers you a huge value for your buck.  This is definitely a solid choice without having to drain your wallet.

 

“Runner Up – Best Mid-Level Wood Pellet Grill”

 

For less than $700, you can treat yourself to the Camp Chef Woodwind grill, which doesn’t come with a sear box.  Or you can spend $200 more and upgrade to the model that does include a dedicated sear box.  Either way, you would be getting a damn good pellet grill.

No matter which one you choose, they both use Smart Smoke technology.  This feature offers the ability to digitally control the temperature, while an automatic auger effortlessly feeds the grill with pellets.  This guarantees your set temperature will remain within +/- 15 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.  That ensures that once you adjust the settings to what you want, the grill will produce the perfect amount of heat and smoke.  You don’t have to hang around checking it every five seconds.

Don’t assume that you’re restricted to smoking meats, however. The Woodwind boasts 570 square inches of space to bake, barbecue, braise, grill, and roast, as well.  Everything you make gets that signature wood flavor, however.  Since the grill’s temperature capabilities range between 160 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit, you can go fast and hot or slow and low.

Probably the best thing about the Woodwind is the easy clean-out system for the ash bin.  Pull a lever, dump the ashes, and you’re done. The pellet hopper is just as effortless to clean.  Just open the pellet drain spout to easily empty out the pellets.  You can switch pellets for different flavors in seconds.

Speaking of the hopper, it can hold up to 18 pounds of pellets at a time making those long cooks effortless.  The grill itself is made of durable powder coated steel with a stainless steel lid and a stainless steel fire box.

Additional Features Include:

  • Digital display can toggle between internal temp and food temp
  • 25,000 BTUs of cooking power
  • Two swivel wheel casters for easy maneuverability
  • Powder coated steel side shelf
  • Powder coated steel bottom shelf

The Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill is a real value at only $699, or you can opt for the dedicated sear box upgrade and only pay $899.  Either way, you will be getting a durable grill that performs well.  You also get a 3-year warranty to go along with it.

It’s hard to find any negative comments about the Woodwind, except for the fact that the clean-out system isn’t perfect.  Even with that said, it still does a good job of making clean up easier.  That lack of negative feedback regarding performance and durability sends a pretty clear message about the grill’s quality.

 

“Editor’s Choice – Best Premium Wood Pellet Grill”

 

Of all the standout features you’ll find in the Cookshack Fast Eddy’s grill, I’m a fan of the durability. The body of the grill has a riveted assembly and is made entirely of 304-stainless steel.  This grill can stand up to a lot—which is not to say that you shouldn’t take care to keep it covered and out of the elements, but I still prefer knowing that my grill’s not going to rust out if it rains before I get it covered. That’s especially true if I just paid over $1,900 for it.

Is Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill worth that much?  Well, you get 784 square inches of space and you can control the temperatures electronically, which significantly cuts down on heat fluctuations and flairs. That’s a bonus since nothing makes your meat dry out faster than wildly shifting temperatures.

The direct flame grate is stainless steel, while the indirect grate is nickel-plated.  You get a terrific sear from the 36,000 BTU burner over the direct cooking area.  All told, there are four zones—direct, indirect, a place for cold smoking, and an area for holding and warming your finished food.

Additional Features Include:

  • Front access ash drawer
  • Warming drawer
  • 22lb hopper capacity
  • Electronically controlled temperature gauge
  • Side shelf
  • Four wheel casters
  • Slider hole for temperature probe

The attention to detail and the high-quality build of this grill makes the higher price easier to justify.  For $1,899, you will be getting a tank of a grill that is built to last.  Oh, and it cooks awesomely too.  Fast Eddy’s has a reputation for excellent customer service and a warranty that last up to two years.

It’s hard to find anything negative about the Cookshack, but its price is pretty high.  The cook performance is why you save up for this grill.  If you want competition grade smoked meat with a great bark, the Cookshack won’t disappoint.

 

“Runner Up – Best Luxury Wood Pellet Grill”

 

The Pro isn’t much different from the other Memphis Grills smokers in this list, at least in the specifics and performance.  For instance, it’s made of 304-grade stainless steel and it’s capable of cooking for as many as 62 hours.  The hopper holds up to 18 pounds, meaning that you can really stoke the fire.

The temperature gauge encompasses a range between 180 and 650 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing you to cook extremely high or low.  It also has a handy Wi-Fi PID controller that’s compatible with iOS devices and Android devices. The coated grates are non-stick, giving you the ability to cook almost anything. You can even try your hand at a wood-grilled pizza.

The real difference is in the size.  The Memphis Grills Pro’s cooking area is 562 square inches.  Technically speaking, you can cook your entire meal on the grill, from proteins to starches to vegetables. The app makes it easy to control the temperature down to the degree.

With a duel convention fan and double walled construction, you get all the awesome features and durability we have come to expect from a Memphis grill.  Grill longevity, excellent heat retention, and rock solid performance in all weather conditions make this grill a stand out in the pellet-cooking arena.

Additional Features Include:

  • Three built in food probe ports
  • Food probes
  • Cart side shelves
  • Cart side shelves open for plenty of storage
  • Four heavy duty locking wheel casters
  • Direct flame insert

You might have noticed by now that Memphis Grills are all over this top 10 list.  There is a very good reason for that.  Memphis grills are truly a work of art that melds form and function.  This grill will set you back around $3,899 but you will be getting a grill that will last you practically a lifetime.

The Memphis Grills name speaks for itself in terms of durability and value.

 

“Editor’s Choice – Best Portable Wood Pellet Grill”

 

The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett portable pellet grill is perfect for tailgating, camping or for stopping by a friend’s house for an impromptu smoking session!  The Davey Crockett is a true portable pellet grill that can actually perform to high standards.  If you don’t believe me, just check out the many positive reviews for this take it along smoker.

What really makes this a true mobile electric grill is the dual voltage control, which lets you power it using both a 12-volt or 110-volt outlet.  This means you can use it with a standard wall outlet, a cell phone adapter or lighter outlet in your car, or you can hook it up straight to a 12-volt car battery.  A plug and adapter are included or each option.

Another great feature you normally wouldn’t find on a pellet grill in this price range is built-in Wi-Fi capabilities.   This lets you monitor and control your grill from your cell phone.  There is a smart app for both iOS and Android devices.  The grill also comes with a built in temperature probe so you can know what’s going on with your food at all times.

The Davey Crockett has an excellent temperature range of 150 degrees up to 550 degrees letting you slow smoke or cook hot and fast and sear your meat to perfection.  Even with its small size, it still boasts a decent cooking space that will hold up to eight burgers at once.  The legs conveniently fold in so the grill can be placed in the trunk of any car or on a fold down truck tailgate.

The Davy Crockett uses Open Flame technology for direct fire cooking and a peaked lid so you could even fit a stand-up beer can chicken.

Additional Features Include:

  • 110V or 12V with adaptors for 3 Power Options
  • 9-pound capacity pellet hopper

You might think that a pellet grill that costs around $350 can’t be that great, but that’s a mistaken line of thought. The Davy Crockett even has a Sense-Mate, which is a thermal sensor that monitors the grill’s temperature the entire time you’re using it.

As long as you’re careful with the grill—don’t toss it around when it’s folded, in other words—it will serve you well.  It’s an excellent way to experience smoking without dropping a huge wad of money all at once.  You can always upgrade or relegate it to a camping and tailgating grill.

 

“Editor’s Choice – Best Entry-Level Wood Pellet Grill”

 

Is there anything better than the ability to flame broil your food from the comfort of your own yard?  Forget Burger King. You can have it your way all the time.  The Pit Boss 71700FB pellet grill is a whopping 700 square inches, which means you can basically slow smoke the side of a pig if you like.  The cast iron grate grids are coated in porcelain for durability and a smooth cooking surface.  The burn system is digitally controlled, which is convenient beyond belief.

The Pit Boss only uses natural wood pellets, cooking grade.  You can tell in the flavor, but more importantly, that’s an altogether greener, healthier option.  Cook at temperatures between 170 and 600 degrees Fahrenheit.  In other words, this grill can handle anything from fish and biscuits to burgers and ribs.

The Flame Broiler cooker allows for both Indirect and direct cooking that adds a ton flavor into your cooking.

Additional Features Include:

  • Removable upper Cooking Rack Space
  • 21-pound hopper with a safety grid
  • Side shelf with tool hooks and towel bar handle

Running less than $500, this is a good starter grill to enter the world of real wood fire pellet cookers.  But don’t let the entry-level cost fool you, the Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet Grill can still churn out some delicious BBQ that you will be proud to serve to your family and friends.

 

“Editor’s Choice – Best Looking Wood Pellet Grill”

 

Based on looks alone, REC TEC grills are my favorite of any grills on the market.  These grills look Sharp!  Featuring a bright orange powder coated hood and incredibly cool shining polished stainless steel bull horn hood mounted handles, they really stand out from the crowd.  There is even a “nose ring” towel holder adding to the look.

To give you an idea of how stupendous REC TEC’s pellet grill is, let me point out that it has a 4.8 rating on Amazon, out of 378 reviews—that’s an impressive average.  Its reputation comes down to its precision and performance.  While many grills—including those on this list—promise temperatures you can control, it often comes down to your ability to feed the fire the exact right amount.  REC TEC implements their Smart Grill Technology just for this purpose.

It’s a step ahead because it maintains the temp in increments of 5 degrees.  Using the touchpad PID controller, you have massive flexibility to control and maintain the heat.  Beyond that, you can cook between 180 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

A really cool feature REC TEC incorporated is an “Extreme Smoke” button.  While cooking at lower temperatures, the Extreme Smoke option will make the fan oscillate off and on making the pellets smolder more to create additional smoke.  What an excellent idea.

The powder coating covering the grill is high-temperature safe, and the porcelain enamel finish offers even more durability.  The hopper can hold up to 40 pounds, which gives you an idea of the heat you can put forth.  It powers 702 square inches of cooking space and even includes an interior light making night grilling easier.

Additional Features Include:

  • 304 stainless steel cooking grids
  • Built in hood thermometer

The Coyote C-Series can be had for about $999.00.  Size aside, the Coyote C-Series is a more than serviceable little grill. That being said, it is on the smaller side, so if you’re an enthusiastic or frequent BBQer, or if you regularly grill for larger groups, then you might need a bigger unit.  This is an affordable grill that is still packed with great features.

 

“Runner Up – Best Entry-Level Wood Pellet Grill”

 

At less than $500, the Camp Chef Deluxe Pellet Grill is a steal.  It features advanced digital temperature controls and an automatic auger feeder, which helps it to maintain the temperature you want and the perfect amounts of heat and smoke.  You just set the temp and smoke amount that you want, and you’re good to go.

Thanks to a 160-500 degree Fahrenheit range, you have the ability to cook, roast, grill, bake, barbecue, or braise. No matter what you do, you get that mouthwatering wood flavor.  Camp Chef has an ash clean-out system, too.  Instead of using a vacuum or an ash broom, you just pull a lever and dump the ashes.  Who doesn’t want that?

The digital temperature display lets you switch between food temperature and cooking temperature.  The smart smoke controller will keep the desired temperature within +/- 15 degrees Fahrenheit making for an even cook.  Made from durable powder-coated steel and with a stainless steel fire box, this grill can stand up to the elements.

With 570 inches of cooking space and 25,000 BTUs of cooking power, you can create awesome meals for the whole family.

Additional Features Include:

  • 18 pound Hopper
  • Pellet drain system for quickly changing pellets
  • Included stainless steel meat probe with built in probe port
  • Powder coated steel side shelf

At only $499.99, this grill is definitely a bargain.  If you are looking for a low-cost pellet grill that won’t break the bank, but still provides decent performance and value, the Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe Pellet Grill might be for you.

I’m always bothered by complaints of bad customer service, which is a common theme among negative reviews. However, they’re few enough compared to the positive reviews that I still can’t help but love the Camp Chef Deluxe.

Buyers Guide – What To Look For In A Wood Pellet Smoker

Any big purchase requires comparison and care.  I’m a firm believer in doing your homework and getting informed before making the leap.  Never buy the first shiny grill you see or let a salesperson sell you into one before checking out your options.

Burners that give you fine-tuned temperature control, vents and blowers that provide maximum hot air and smoke circulation and long lasting, solid materials are just some of the qualities the top pellet grills should have.

Comparison shop, research different models and reference the following checklist as you pick out the perfect wood pellet smoker.

Price Factor

It should go without saying that you usually get what you pay for.  If you buy the cheapest model you can find while trying to save money, you will most likely end up paying more for a poor quality product in the long run.  I get it; everyone likes saving a buck or two, but try to find a balance between a quality build at an affordable price and you will be happier in the end.  Your investment will perform better and last longer and you will ultimately enjoy it more.

 

Build And Materials

Look for heavy-duty materials and high-quality stainless steel builds (304-stainless steel is your best bet).  Check not only the lid and body but also interior features like burners and cooking grates for quality stainless steel materials as well.  Check all seams and welds to make sure they are smooth and airtight.  Give the grill a good shake to make sure it feels sturdy and built to last.

 

Temperature Range

An important feature to consider is the temperature range of a pellet grill.  The wider the temperature range, the more versatile the grill will be.  The majority of pellet grills will reach temperatures between 180°F and 425°F, which is just fine for most grilling, smoking, baking and roasting needs.  But if plan on searing your meat, you need temperatures that reach 500-600°F.

Look for grills with digital temperature controls that can reach 550°F or more if possible.

 

Controller Type

Temperature consistency is key if you want to produce great food.  The best pellet smokers should function as seamlessly as your kitchen oven when it comes to maintaining your desired temperature.  The controller or control board is the high tech brains responsible for this precision.  And the type of controller can make a big difference.

There are several different controllers available but the main four are:

3-Position Controller

These types of controllers have only 3 temperature settings which are low, medium and high.  The temperatures for each are approximately 225°F, 325°F, and 425°F.  The pellets are fed to the firebox at fixed settings depending on which setting you choose.  With this type of controller, you have less control over temperature and accuracy and they are usually found on low cost, base model pellet grill.

Multi-position Controller

The next level up is the multi positions controllers which come with a turntable knob for temperature settings from 180°F to 450°F in 25° or 50° increments.  They may sometimes come with an LCD display as well.  They offer better temperature control than the 3-position types.  The downside is that the fixed cycle pellet feed means the temperatures they provide can fluctuate between +/-20°F of your true settings in ideal weather conditions.  It can be worse in cold, wet or windy conditions.

One-Touch Non-PID Controller

The one-touch non-PID will have an LCD display with one-touch buttons that allow you to set the temperature at 5° or 10° increments for more precise heating control. The downside is that just like the above two, they use a fixed cycle pellet delivery, which limits their accuracy to +/-15–20°F.  You will most likely see ports available for built in food temperature probes with these types of controllers.

PID Controllers

The most advanced of the controllers, the PID’s are able to achieve and maintain temperatures to within a few degrees of your desired settings.  They come with one touch buttons, LCD displays and temperatures that can be adjusted by 5° increments.  Instead of delivering pellets on a fixed cycle method, they are able to continuously gauge the grills internal temperature and adjust the pellets feed when needed on the fly.  The PID controllers will offer the best temperature control and accuracy, even in cold and windy weather, but will cost more.

 

Cooking Area, Overall Size, And Portability

Just like other types of grills, pellet grills come in a variety of sizes to fit different needs.  It’s up to you to decide the size that suits those needs.  Take into consideration both the actual cooking space as well as the physical size that best fits your outdoor area when making your decision.

Consider how many people you will regularly be cooking for.  Larger parties and the frequent family get together will require larger cooking dimensions.  Smaller, portable grills will be better for functions such as tailgating, camping or park cookouts.

Just remember, bigger doesn’t always mean better.  Why pay extra for cooking space you will never need?

 

Direct Grilling Options

One of the biggest limitations of early pellet grill models was the inability of a direct grilling option.  In essence, pellet grills only cook with indirect heat making them fine for smoking, baking, roasting, etc.  For the traditionalists who enjoy cooking over an open flame and can’t imagine a steak without a char crusted sear, this was a deal breaker.

Pellet grill manufactures recognized this shortcoming and have started updating their models with direct heat, or open flame cooking options.  This opens the door for many more possible cooking solutions with pellet grills and increases their versatility.  Add direct grilling capabilities to your pellet grill search options and you will be glad you did.

 

Ability To Empty The Hopper

Look for a grill that allows you to easily empty out the pellets from the hopper between uses.  It’s fine to leave them in for a few days between cooks, but any longer and your pellets can start to absorb moister from the air and become stale.  It also makes changing out different flavors of pellets for different meats very convenient.

 

Additional Features Or, “The Bells And Whistles”

Pellet grill manufacturers are continuously forced to come up with innovative and advanced capabilities and technologies to stay ahead of the competition.  That’s great news for us, the consumers.  This means easier and more ways to create our outdoor masterpieces to amaze our family and friends with.  While none of these features are mandatory, they sure are excellent options to wish for. 

Some of the more useful options to consider are:

  1. Direct grilling options or sear stations
  2. Built in meat probes for keeping track of the internal temperatures of both the grill and food.
  3. Programmable meat probes that will give high and low-temperature alerts
  4. Built in WiFi capabilities for monitoring your cooks from afar

Built In Gas Grills FAQ

User Tips And Product Care Guide For Your Pellet Smoker Investment

Are Pellet Smokers The Same As Pellet Grills?

Yes, the name is interchangeable.  Wood pellet grills can go by several different names, but they all mean the same thing.  Some of the names you will hear are pellet grills, pellet smokers, electric pellet grills, electric pellet smokers, wood pellet grills, wood pellet smokers…you get the gist.  Any of these names will refer to an outdoor grill that is fired using hardwood pellets.

Are All Pellet Grills Electric?

Yes, all pellet grills are electric and dependent on electricity to power the digital controller board, pellet-feeding auger and heat-circulating fan.  You must have access to a 110v outlet close enough to your grilling area.  This definitely limits their portability to a point, but by using a generator or inverter, you can get around this problem.

What Are The Best Brands Of Wood Pellets?

Often times this comes down to brand loyalty or flavor profile for many wood pellet users.

But can different brands really make a that much of a flavor and performance difference?  Yes, actually they can.

The following brands stand out the most in terms of quality, performance, and flavor in no particular order.

  • Camp Chef Competition Blend Smoker Pellets
  • BBQR’s Delight Smoking BBQ Pellets
  • Lumberjack Pellets Wood Pellets
  • CookinPellets Perfect Mix Smoking Pellets
  • Camp Chef Premium Applewood Smoking Pellets
  • Pit Boss Competition Blend BBQ Wood Pellets
  • Bear Mountain BBQ Pellets
  • Traeger Mesquite Barbeque Pellets
  • SmokeHouse All Natural Wood Pellets

Many of these brands can be had on Amazon with free shipping.

Is There A Way To Boost The Smoke Flavor?

Pellet grills produce a much milder, clean burning, elegant smoke than a charcoal grill burning natural wood does.  You will always get a more intense wood smoke flavor using the later.  The good news is, it’s almost impossible to over smoke your food on a pellet grill.  The bad news is, food may taste under smoked to some who are used to the intense natural wood smoke flavor.

If you fall in the second category, don’t give up hope.  There are ways to still enjoy the ease and convenience of a pellet grill, and still get the deep smokey flavor you desire.

Two great ways to boost your smokey flavor are:

MojoBricks – Mojobricks are tightly compressed wood chunks designed to burn slowly and produce a big smoky flavor profile.  They are ECO-friendly and made only with organic materials so they are safe for your food.  Simply place one on top of your grills heat plate or next to the fire pot for wood smoked goodness.

Pellet Tubes – Pellet tubes are lightweight, steel cylinders that you fill with food grade wood pellets that you place inside the grill.  They are basically a portable wood smoke generator and can produce a great quality smoke for cold and hot smoking.  They can really kick the smoke flavoring up a notch and are easy to use.

Tips for Cleaning a Pellet Smoker

Pellet grills do a good job of self-cleaning with a built in grease tray and grease trap.  And because pellets burn much more cleanly than charcoal, there is much less ash left over.  But, just like any grill, grease and gunk build up over time and your grill can use a good spring cleaning from time to time.  With just a little elbow grease, a little nontoxic degreaser like Simple Green and your pellet grill will be almost as good as new.

It’s also handy to keep a small Shop Vac on hand for cleaning out leftover ash that builds up in the fire box and surrounding area after a few long cooks.

Not Getting The Results You Expect From Your Pellet Smoker?

There could be several reasons for this, but the good news is that they are all pretty easy to fix.  The first and most obvious thing to try is to give your grill a good cleaning.  You’ll be surprised by what a difference this can make.

  1. Clean out the fire pot – Leftover ash can build up and interfere with burning pellets.
  2. Check your seams and gaskets – Make sure there is nothing impeding the lid from closing securely and snuggly. Then check the seams and gaskets to make sure they are not worn down.  They may need replacing every few years after frequent use.  There are plenty of kits online and the replacement process is not that difficult.
  3. Check the burners if your pellet grill comes with them – If the burners are starting to corrode or there is an obvious blockage from leftover food or grease buildup, it is time to clean or replace them.

Pro Tip: Line The Drip Pan And Grease Catcher

Lining the drip pan and grease catcher with tin foil before use will save you a ton of clean up time later.  It’s as simple as changing out the foil from time to time.

Conclusion

The sudden popularity of pellet grills and the manufacturers rush to improve technology to keep up with the competition has made this a great time for outdoor cooking enthusiasts.  But it has also made it extra tough to find the best value for our money.  While the basic features can be found on just about every pellet grill, several qualities should stand out from the rest.  It comes down to these qualities that separate average value and performance from the best.

Know how much you want to spend.  The electric smokers on this list range from as low as $339 to as high as $5,000.  For the serious outdoor cook who understands their grill is a long-term outdoor kitchen investment, the higher price may not phase you in the slightest.  For those who are a little more conscious of their bank account, the budget pellet smokers on this list are still solid and proven options.  They may not have as many of the extra bells and whistles, but they will definitely get the job done better than most.

It’s important to know what type of cooking you want to do and match this up with the features of the grill you have in mind.  If it’s missing some of the qualities you need, move on to the next one.  Lastly, take a close look at the building materials and the quality of the build before making your final decision.  A quality grill should and will last for years if treated properly.

Final Verdict – Which Wood Pellet Grill Is Best?

Once again, Memphis Grills dominated this year’s list.  Without a doubt, Memphis provides quality and performance that can’t be beaten in the wood pellet cooking world.

But you can’t really go wrong with any of the pellet grills on this list.  You can still get great value and cooking performance from the mid-level and budget grills described above.  It really comes down to your budget and needs.  I am confident you will enjoy the outcome.

I hope this 10 Best Wood Pellet Grills Of 2018 Review And Buyers Guide proves helpful for you.  As always, if you or someone you know is interested in venturing into the world of pellet grilling; please consider sharing with your friends or on social media.  I truly appreciate your support!

If you would like to leave a comment or have a review of your own to share on the any of these wood pellet grills, please do so below.  We always welcome your input and I would love to hear about your experiences with them.

Thank you to all who have read this far.  I know it was a long one but I hope I was able to help you.

Cheers,

Patrick

Disclosure

At The Grilling Life, I am committed to researching and writing thoughtful, informative and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your outdoor cooking needs.  If you like what I do, you can support me through my chosen links, which earn me a commission.  This allows me to continue sharing with you my love for all things barbecue.  Your support is truly appreciated.


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