Cooking Reviews

Best Pellet Smoker Reviews: Complete Buyer’s Guide

Are you looking for the best pellet smoker for great outdoor cooking? Then read on as we review the top options available with all the Pros & Cons.
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With the summer fast approaching, and Americans tired of being cooped up inside, it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy the good weather. Nothing celebrates the start of the summertime better than a barbeque.

If you’re a seasoned BBQ enthusiast, do you smoke meats? If you’ve never experienced the enjoyment of smoked ribs, burgers, and sausage, you’re missing out. The smoker adds unique flavors into the meat that delight the taste buds.

Pellet grills, otherwise known as smokers, use a thermostat and electronic feeding system to add pellets to the smoker while you sit back and enjoy the afternoon. The smoker does all the work, keeping the heat consistent throughout the smoking process.

The wood pellets used in smoker systems are safe for use with food. Depending on the types of chips used to make the pellets, you can add exciting flavors to your food.

Are you sold on the idea of a smoker for your summer yard activities? Check out this review of the best pellet smoker. We looked at the best models available, choosing our top picks for dozens of choices.

Our Top Picks

Out of all the pellet smokers contending for the title of the best-of-the-best, these three smokers are our top picks for this review.

Best Pick: Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill

Green Mountain Davy Crockett WiFi Control Portable Wood Pellet Grill
  • Features Sense-Mate, a thermal sensor which constantly monitors grill temperature
  • Includes a meat probe, peaked lid for rib racks, convenience tray
  • Weighs 68 lbs. and folds to fits in nearly any trunk, making it the ultimate Tailgating Grill
  • 110V or 12V with adapters for 3 power options

The Davy Crocket from Green Mountain Grills wins our top pick for the best overall model in this review. With a large hopper capacity, auto-ignition, and Wi-Fi enabled control of the smoker; it’s the dream model for anyone’s backyard this summer.

Premium Pick: Camp Chef PG24STX SmokePro Pellet and Smoker

Camp Chef PG24STX SmokePro Pellet & Smoker with Digital Controls & Stainless Temp Probe
  • ADVANCED DIGITAL CONTROL & PROBE- The digital temperature control and automatic auger feed pellets into the grill to maintain the heat, producing the optimal amount of smoke for that desired taste. Just set it and let it work—no more babysitting.
  • ADVANCED DIGITAL CONTROL & PROBE- The digital temperature control and automatic auger feed pellets into the grill to maintain the heat, producing the optimal amount of smoke for that desired taste. Just set it and let it work—no more babysitting.
  • LARGE COOKING AREA- 429 square inches of cooking surface area. Reliable smoke everytime, Smoke Pro STX series
  • PATENTED ASH CLEANOUT- Cleaning between cooks is as easy as pulling a lever, thanks to the exclusive Ash Cleanout system you won’t find on any other grill. That means less time wrestling with the vacuum and more time enjoying heavenly food.
  • EASY ASSEMBLY AND START UP-Get cooking right away. In just a few minutes, you’ll be ready to load up the grill with whole chickens, brisket, ribs, jerky, the best hamburgers and more

This model from Camp Chef wins our top spot for the best premium model in this review. With a built-in meat temperature probe, digital temperature control, and large capacity, it’s the best choice for anyone wanting to hold backyard cookouts this summer.

Runner-Up Pick: Z-Grills ZPG-7002E Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker, 8 in 1 BBQ Grill Auto Temperature Control, inch Cooking Area, 700 sq in Stainless
  • ★ULTIMATE 8-IN-1--Barbecue wood fire pellet grill: grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, barbeque.
  • ★PELLET GRILL TECHNOLOGY--★ FLAVOR--There just isn’t an easier way to get the flavor of wood smoked food than with a pellet grill. Try it and you’ll taste the difference from a GAS or CARBON grill; ★ ACCURACY--Most stay within 10 degrees of the set temperature, no matter if its 10 degrees or 110 degrees outside; ★EFFICIENCY--You can cook for about 20 hours per 20 lbs. of pellets. When you do the math, you will find that pellet cooking typically costs less than a comparably sized GAS or CARBON gr
  • ★EASIER THAN YOU THOUGHT--One button starts up and temperature control eliminates starter fluid. No need to run to the local station to trade in your propane.★EASY TO USE--Electronic AUTO-Start Ignition, Digital Auto Temperature Control, LED temperature readout. Super easy cooking even for beginners. ★EASY TO CLEAN--Special Designed Waste Oil Collector to assist you with safe and easy cleanup. ★EASY TO MOVE--Upgraded cart with locking caster wheels.
  • ★2020 UPGRADE--Known Issues Fixed and More Precise Temperature Control and Pellet Feed Control System. The new upgrade digital control board auto ignites the grill and allows you to set the cooking temperature from 180°f to 450°f.
  • ★AUTOMATED ELECTRIC FEED SYSTEM--maintains the heat within 10 degrees of the set temperature for you from 180ºf to 450ºf and produce the optimal amount of smoke. Just set it and let it work: No more babysitting. Enjoy the cooking!

This model has a versatile 8-in-1 functionality makes it suitable for a variety of outdoor cooking activities. This model has a large grill, auto-start, and digital temperature control. Best of all, it comes with an affordable price tag.

Best Pellet Smoker Reviews

Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill – The Best Overall Pellet Smoker

The Green Mountain Grills Davey Crocket Pellet Smoker is our top choice in this review for the best overall pellet smoker. This model gives you that great smoky flavor in your food with effortless preparation and cooking.

This unit is remarkably lightweight, compact, and incredibly portable. Take it on the road with you to your next tailgate or cookout in the park. The Davey Crockett comes with foldable legs, and it weighs less than 60-lbs. With dimensions of 32-inches long, 16-inches wide, and-21 inches in height, the Davey Crockett fits easily in the back of your truck or SUV.

This pellet smoker operates on 120 or 110-volt power sources, and it comes Wi-Fi enabled. Yes, you read that right. This Green Mountain grill comes internet-ready, with the Green Mountain app available for download on iOS or Android.

With the app, you control everything about the cooking process, right from your phone. There’s no need to even be at home while the smoker is doing its thing. Run it overnight or start it a few hours before you arrive home from work. The digital interface with this smoker gives you total control over all the functionality of this model.

The Davy Crocket pellet smoker comes with auto-ignition technology. You can set it up to your preferences, and it controls the burner pot, keeping the heat stable and to your preferences. With variable temperature adjustment between 150F to 550F, this Green Mountain model is an excellent choice for searing and slow cooking.

Pros:
  • Lightweight and portable smoker
  • Electric operation
  • Wi-Fi enabled smart smoking
  • Auto-igniting
  • Large hopper capacity
Cons:
  • Grease catching system is messy

View Details

Camp Chef SmokePro Pellet Smoker – Premium Pick

Homeowners looking for the best premium model pellet smoker available can look at the Camp Chef SmokePro. If you have the budget, then this unit is your top choice. This smoker comes with plenty of additional features that make paying the extra on the price tag worthwhile.

The Camp Chef Smokepro STX comes with 400-square inches of cooking space, and full digital temperature control. The heat range on this smoker goes from 160F to 500F, and there’s room for grilling and smoking meats.

You also get a meat temperature probe, allowing you to ensure you cook your meal to perfection. The automatic pellet feeder enables you to take a hands-off approach to your cooking. The auger automatically pushes the hardwood pellets to the burner box as the temperatures start to fall inside the cooking chamber.

The Smokepro STX comes with digital temperature control, including an adjustable temperature switch. The temperature meat probe allows you to plug it right into the console. With this feature, you can measure the internal temperature of your meat. Therefore, there’s no reason to open the smoker to check on the status of your cook.

One of the most irritating parts about owning a smoker is the cleanup. These machines can get messy. However, this model comes with a convenient ash catcher that collects the ash from the burned pellets in the burner box. It detaches easily for no-hassle cleaning and maintenance.

The 429-inch grilling space is a little on the smaller side. If you have more than four or five guests, you might have to get a bigger model. However, those homeowners looking for a classy pellet smoker with all the bells and whistles will enjoy the Smokepro STX.

Pros:
  • Auto-pellet feeding
  • Built-in meat probe
  • Easy-cleaning ash catcher
  • Digital temperature control
Cons:
  • Relatively Small Grilling Area

View Details

Z-Grills ZPG-7002E Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker – Runner-Up Pick

This grill is a homeowner’s dream, and it has plenty of versatility for your next cookout. While this review is all about pellet smokers, the model from Z-Grills features 8-in-1 functionality.

You get roasting, braising, searing, smoking, grilling, barbecuing, char-grilling, and baking, all in one handy outdoor cooking system. That might sound too good to be true – but wait! There’s more! The Z-Grills models come in as our best budget buys in this review.

Therefore, if you’re looking for an affordable pellet smoker with plenty of functionality, good reviews, and a solid reputation – the Z-Grill is for you. The smoker section in this model works in the same manner as most other premium-line pellet smokers.

The auger features an automatic pellet feeder that allows you to set up the smoker and let the smoker do its work. The auger automatically feeds the burner pot in the smoker. This auto-feed system will enable you to set-and-forget your meat while you attend to other activities around the home.

The digital temperature control on this model is accurate and ensures that you get a consistent cooking temperature throughout the entire cooking process. You also get a 700-square-inch grilling surface that is more than enough to serve 8-people or more.

The auto-start ignition feature is a nice touch, taking away more of the hassle of using your pellet smoker. This smoker is an excellent cross-model. It allows you to change up your BBQ habits from week-to-week if you want. Try the pellet smoker one weekend, and the grill the following weekend. Use it to braise your lamb or bake a salmon.

The overall build quality of this machine doesn’t look cheap, but it comes with an affordable price tag and a 3-year warranty.

Pros:
  • Versatile 8-in-1 functionality
  • Large grilling area
  • Good for large families and people that entertain
  • Decent stainless steel build quality
  • 3-year warranty
  • Good value for money
Cons:
  • Some user reports about the pellet-feeder malfunctioning

View Details

Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill

If you’re going to be cooking for large crowds regularly, you’re going to need to look at a commercial pellet smoker. Commercial models feature design and construction with the best materials, and they are popular for use with catering firms. If you’re a serious entertainer, then adding a commercial smoker to your backyard is a great way to keep friends and family members happy at your backyard cookouts.

The Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy’s is a professional-level pellet smoker with commercial-grade potential in a compact and affordable package. This model features construction with 304 stainless steel, giving it durability and corrosion resistance.

You get 800-square-inches of cooking space on the grills, with plenty of room for the largest cuts of meat and big racks of ribs. The large capacity hopper feeds the pellets through the auger into the burner pot, regulating the temperature in the cooking chamber.

You get digital temperature controls coupled with an LCD control panel for easy reference during the cook. You have an upper and lower cooking deck on this model, with two warmer trays below the burner.

This model also features large doors making it easy to access the cooking chamber. The side table and under-burner warming drawers give you plenty of storage space for your cooking utensils and accessories.

However, Fast Eddy PG500 is not the most eye-pleasing model available. As mentioned, this model is more for professional caterers, and it might look out of place in your outdoor kitchen.

However, installing this model will give you a smoker that’s the envy of your entire neighborhood. It will be cookouts round at your place for the foreseeable future this summer.

This unit is also cumbersome and heavy, and there no way you can move it around. It suits a permanent installation, weighing 330-lbs, you might have to have a professional team handle the fitment for you.

Pros:
  • Electronic ignition
  • Large grilling area
  • Additional storage
Cons:
  • Temperature range fluctuates slightly

View Details

Louisiana Grills Country Smoker

If you want a full-size smoker for the biggest cookouts, then this model is the best choice.

You’ll find the grease catcher mounted out of the way no-one gathering around the smoker will bump it and cause it to spill. This model comes mounted on casters, with large locking wheels that control this large grill during movement.

You also get auto-start tech in this pellet smoker, including independent temperature management for both sides of the pellet smoker.

The whole hog comes with favorable pricing, and it’s an excellent choice for caterers that want a large smoker for events, considering the size of the pellet smoker. However, your average homeowner will find this unit to be too big for their yard, unless you want it to take up the entire length of your wall.

We like the simplistic feeder. There’s no induction fan or auger to auto-delivery of your pellets directly to the burner. With this model, you control the pellet distribution yourself. Load the burner pot manually through the loading chute.

Therefore, you might need some special attention to the cooking process when using the smoker. It’s easy to pour in too many or too little pellets during the cook, resulting in uneven cooking temperatures. Always take care to keep your eye on the temperature reading.

Pros:
  • Unmatched capacity
  • Versatile
  • Functional grease catcher
  • Wheels
  • Electronic ignition
Cons:
  • Costly
  • No induction fans

View Details

Other Best Selling Options

SaleBestseller No. 1
Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker 6 in 1 BBQ Grill Auto Temperature Control, 450 sq in Bronze
  • ★ULTIMATE 6-IN-1-- Barbecue wood fire pellet grill: bbq✓bake✓roast✓braise✓smoke✓grill
  • ★PELLET GRILL TECHNOLOGY--★ FLAVOR--There just isn’t an easier way to get the flavor of wood smoked food than with a pellet grill. Try it and you’ll taste the difference from a GAS or CARBON grill; ★ ACCURACY--Most stay within 10 degrees of the set temperature, no matter if its 10 degrees or 110 degrees outside; ★EFFICIENCY--You can cook for about 20 hours per 20 lbs. of pellets. When you do the math, you will find that pellet cooking typically costs less than a comparably sized GAS or CARBON gr
  • ★EASIER THAN YOU THOUGHT--One button starts up and temperature control eliminates starter fluid. No need to run to the local station to trade in your propane. ★EASY TO USE--Electronic AUTO-Start Ignition, Digital Auto Temperature Control, LED temperature readout. Super easy cooking even for beginners. ★EASY TO CLEAN--Special Designed Waste Oil Collector to assist you with safe and easy cleanup. ★EASY TO MOVE--Upgraded cart with locking caster wheels.
  • ★2020 UPGRADE--Known Issues Fixed and More Precise Temperature Control and Pellet Feed Control System. The new upgrade digital control board auto ignites the grill and allows you to set the cooking temperature from 180°f to 450°f.
  • ★AUTOMATED ELECTRIC FEED SYSTEM--maintains the heat within 10 degrees of the set temperature for you from 180ºf to 450ºf and produce the optimal amount of smoke. Just set it and let it work: No more babysitting. Enjoy the cooking!
Bestseller No. 2
Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker, 8 in 1 BBQ Grill Auto Temperature Control, inch Cooking Area, 700 sq in Stainless
  • ★ULTIMATE 8-IN-1--Barbecue wood fire pellet grill: grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, barbeque.
  • ★PELLET GRILL TECHNOLOGY--★ FLAVOR--There just isn’t an easier way to get the flavor of wood smoked food than with a pellet grill. Try it and you’ll taste the difference from a GAS or CARBON grill; ★ ACCURACY--Most stay within 10 degrees of the set temperature, no matter if its 10 degrees or 110 degrees outside; ★EFFICIENCY--You can cook for about 20 hours per 20 lbs. of pellets. When you do the math, you will find that pellet cooking typically costs less than a comparably sized GAS or CARBON gr
  • ★EASIER THAN YOU THOUGHT--One button starts up and temperature control eliminates starter fluid. No need to run to the local station to trade in your propane.★EASY TO USE--Electronic AUTO-Start Ignition, Digital Auto Temperature Control, LED temperature readout. Super easy cooking even for beginners. ★EASY TO CLEAN--Special Designed Waste Oil Collector to assist you with safe and easy cleanup. ★EASY TO MOVE--Upgraded cart with locking caster wheels.
  • ★2020 UPGRADE--Known Issues Fixed and More Precise Temperature Control and Pellet Feed Control System. The new upgrade digital control board auto ignites the grill and allows you to set the cooking temperature from 180°f to 450°f.
  • ★AUTOMATED ELECTRIC FEED SYSTEM--maintains the heat within 10 degrees of the set temperature for you from 180ºf to 450ºf and produce the optimal amount of smoke. Just set it and let it work: No more babysitting. Enjoy the cooking!
SaleBestseller No. 3
Masterbuilt MB20251719 MWS 330S, 30" Pellet Smoker
  • Four chrome-coated smoking racks
  • Meat probe thermometers for perfect results every time
  • Digital panel controls on/off, temperature, cook and smoke time – preset smoke and cook cycles automate the pellet smoking process
  • Removable crucible makes cleaning out pellet ash in crucible easy
  • Pellet hopper door allows for easy pellet clean out
Bestseller No. 4
Traeger Grills TFB88PZBO Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill and Smoker, 884 Sq. In. Cooking Capacity, Bronze
  • Never use gas or charcoal again: cooking with wood just tastes better. Traeger created the original wood-pellet grill as the ultimate way to achieve wood-fired taste
  • Versatile barbecue cooking: hot and fast, or low and slow, the Traeger Pro Series 34 pellet grill offers 6-in-1 versatility to grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and BBQ food to juicy perfection
  • Precision temperature control: The Digital Pro Controller rocks Advanced Grilling Logic, which maintains a +/- 15 degree F temperature control to guarantee precision grilling
  • Sturdy and Durable: Powerful steel construction and durable powder coat finish, easy to clean porcelain grill grates and all-terrain wheels
  • Large cooking capacity: 884 sq. in. cooking capacity that can accomodate 8 chickens, 7 racks of ribs or 40 burgers
Bestseller No. 5
Green Mountain Davy Crockett WiFi Control Portable Wood Pellet Grill
  • Features Sense-Mate, a thermal sensor which constantly monitors grill temperature
  • Includes a meat probe, peaked lid for rib racks, convenience tray
  • Weighs 68 lbs. and folds to fits in nearly any trunk, making it the ultimate Tailgating Grill
  • 110V or 12V with adapters for 3 power options

Pellet Smoker Buyer’s Guide

In this section, we’ll go over everything you need to know about your new pellet smoker. We’ll unpack all the features of a good smoker, and what to look out for when purchasing your model.

Why Buy Yourself a Pellet Smoker?

If you already enjoy a good barbeque with family and friends during the summer, then a smoker will take your cookout skills to the next level. A smoker is an awesome piece of equipment, and a pellet smoker is a top-of-the-line model for smoker-style BBQ units.

Traditional smokers rely on fires or electric elements to produce heat and smoke. However, with a pellet smoker, the pellets generate the smoky flavor. You can choose between different pellet types, such as cherry and hickory, for beautiful flavor enhancement.

However, it’s important to note that an entry-level pellet smoker will set you back more than a premium model gas or charcoal model. Pellet smokers often come with electrical components and other engineered features that drive up the unit’s cost.

However, for some extra money upfront, you get to enjoy years of convenience and hassle-free BBQs in your backyard. A pellet smoker will make you look like a restaurant-quality chef when you invite friends round for a cookout.

Pellet smokers are a relatively new BBQ method. Around 10-years ago, it seemed like there were only a few brands out there, MAK and Traeger come to mind. However, in the last decade, dozens of brands started developing pellet smokers. Today, there are plenty of models to choose from, and you need to know what you’re looking for when selecting your ideal smoker.

There are various models of pellet smokers starting at around $400 to $1,000. We looked at all the models and selected our picks from the smokers offering the best value to the homeowner.

The two primary factors you should be looking for with any smoker are versatility and convenience. Price isn’t that much of an issue because there is so much choice at each price point. Set your budget and look at the options available to you in this review.

Pellet smokers are electric units, so you can “set-and-forget” them to do the cooking while you enjoy time with friends and family.

How Do Pellet Smokers Work?

Pellet smokers have the same “set-and-forget” operation as the gas and electric model. However, a pellet smoker uses a vastly different method for creating the cooking heat you need for a tasty BBQ. As the name suggests, pellet smokers operate by burning small, cylindrical pellets.

The setup for this smoker includes a large hopper filled with your choice of hardwood pellets. To start the smoking process, you need to set the digital heat controller, and the hopper starts feeding the pellets into the smoker to start the cooking process.

The pellets burn, providing the heat you need to cook the food. However, the smoke from the hardwood also mingles with the meat, allowing it to absorb flavors of the wood into the meal.

The digital temperature controller is the central “brain” of the pellet smoker. This unit operates by controllers like what you find on modern convection ovens. Set the LED display to your preferred temperature setting and walk away.

The system will monitor the heat and push more pellets into the burner pot when the temperature starts to drop. There’s no need to open the smoker if you know your temperature setting and cooking time. The smoker produces beautifully cooked food flavored to perfection, every time.

Pellet smokers also rely on an auger to push pellets into the burn chamber in the smoker. The burn pot is typically the size of half a soda can. The smoker operates by moving the pellets into the burner pot, with an igniter rod sitting at the bottom.

When the temperature falls below your setting, the ignitor glows and light the pellets, producing more heat in the smoker. As the pellets ignite, a fan blows out the flames, feeding the pellets oxygen to help them burn and produce heat. As the smoker reaches the required temperature, the igniter switches off.

The digital temperature controller acts as the central piece of your smoker, controlling all its functions. There are different types of digital temperature controllers available for pellet smokers.

3-Position Temperature Controllers

These controller units are common on low-cost, entry-level pellet smokers. These models offer BBQ enthusiasts three temperature settings – high (425°F), medium (325°F), and low (225°F).

The industry also knows these models as LMH controllers. The controllers help the smoker feed pellets into the burner in timed cycles so that you won’t have any control over your smoker’s temperature at any stage of the process.

Multi-Position Temperature Controllers

These temperature controllers permit you to adjust your temperature settings in small increments. The auger feeds the pellets to the burner in fixed cycles, so you can’t expect fantastic accuracy from these models either.

Multi-position controllers are usually accurate within tolerances of +/-20°F, in ideal cooking conditions. Most of these models will come with a digital LCD screen for easy interface.

Single-Touch Non-PID Controller

This temperature controller is the most accurate, providing you with technology that allows for increments of between 5-10°F in your cooking temperatures. However, it’s important to note that these machines also use the fixed cycle method of feeding pellets into the burner.

Therefore, these models only offer temperature accuracies of between +/- 15-20°F. You also get LCD screens, and one-touch button functionality with temperature probes for the meat as well.

PID Controllers

BBQ enthusiasts will find that PID controllers are the benchmark for all pellet smoker controllers. These machines rely on complex algorithms to keep temperatures as accurate as possible, within minimal tolerances.

The controller continually monitors the pellet feed auger and burner element to maintain the correct temperature. This type of controller offers you the best accuracy because it measures the temperature around and inside the food.

The meat probes included with many of these models ensure that you cook your meal perfectly. You also get the same-one-touch functionality with these models.

Design, Construction, and Materials

When searching for your preferred pellet smoker, don’t rely on the smoker’s external look alone. There are plenty of other components that go into a versatile and useful smoker for your backyard cookouts.

Even if the manufacturer makes a body out of stainless steel, they might skimp and cut corners on other components like controllers. It’s for this reason that you must rely on other people’s assessments of smokers before spending your hard-earned money.

We selected the best pellet smokers for this review. The components of the ideal pellet smoker include the following.

  • Burner pot
  • Temperature controller probes
  • Flame detector
  • Drip pan
  • Grates or grilling shelves

Ensure that the manufacturer includes stainless steel fabrication with all these essential parts. 304 stainless steel won’t rust or corrode, and it’s safe for use in humid coastal environments rust metal in a matter of months. Buying chromed or other types of steel components will have your smoker fall apart in a few years.

Ensuring you invest in a model with high-quality build materials ensures that you get efficient pellet consumption and stable cooking temperatures in cold weather.

Hopper Size

The hopper is the container on your pellet smoker that stores the hardwood pellets for use in the burner pot. Therefore, you can think of it as the size of the hopper determines how long you can run the machine before it runs out of fuel.

Small hoppers are annoying, and you need to refill them to make sure they last through the cook. However, that’s not what owning a pellet smoker is all about. You want to set-and-forget your cook and let the smoker do the work.

As a guide – a 40-pound hopper on your pellet smoker will last about 40-hours of cooking time, which is plenty of cookouts. However, some cooks can last as long as 20-hours, and an 18-pound hopper is going to present you with a problem of refilling it, during the most critical time of the cook. That kind of inconvenience can get annoying, especially if you do long cooks frequently.

It’s also important to note that if you live in colder regions of the United States, the pellet smoker will require more fuel to keep temperatures stable throughout the cooking process. Some brands offer hopper extensions for models in its range, check with your manufacturer to see if they provide hopper extension kits for your unit.

Plan Your Smoker Size

How much cooking space do you need inside your smoker? That answer is going to play a significant role in determining the right pellet smoker for your needs. Before you settle on your smoker, ask yourself a few questions.

  • How many people will in need to cook for on family or friend cookouts?
  • Am I going to be smoking large cuts or whole pigs?

It’s important to note that buying a bigger smoker doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get better results. More cooking real estate is not always a good thing if you’re cooking for a few people. The expense of using a larger smoker for a few people might put you off using this appliance as often as you would like.

A critical feature of your pellet smoker should be its ability to keep the cooking temperature consistent across the entire cooking surface. There should be no difference in temperature between food on the top or bottom racks during the cook.

Additional Features for Your Smoker

Unlike traditional offset or charcoal smokers, pellet smokers come with plenty of fancy technology options included in the package. Some of the additional features you can expect with your pellet smoker include the following.

Wi-Fi Enabled Cooking

Yes, you read that right. Some of the premium-level pellet smokers out there integrate with your smartphone. What does that mean? You get complete control over the cooking process in the palm of your hand. Set up the smoker overnight and monitor the cooking process on your phone when you wake up in the morning.

With Wi-Fi enabled pellet smokers, you can control the cook from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection. Leave your smoker running, go out for the day, check on the smoker’s temperatures and the food through a convenient app on your mobile device of choice.

Meat Temperature Probes

If you want to cook your food to perfection, then look for a model with meat temperature [probes. Most smokers only offer temperature control for the cooking chamber. However, with the temperature probes for your meat, you get more data for your cook, allowing you to pull the meat out of the smoker as it peaks.

Readouts from your probes are available on the LCD on the smoker. Or you can view them through the app on your smartphone if you’re using a Wi-Fi enables smoker.

Grill Options

A previous drawback of earlier generations of pellet smokers was that they lacked any grilling capability. Some manufacturers changed this attitude, building multi-function versatility into the new generation of pellet smokers.

If you want versatility ion your cookouts, look for a model with a removable diffuser plate, or a dedicated grill-area within the smoker.

Warranty Length

Your pellet smoker should give you years of hassle-free operation. All the models in this review come from leading brands that have a good reputation for producing quality smokers.

However, it’s important to note that pellet smokers come equipped with plenty of technology. The digital controllers, temperature probes, and LCD monitors are all tech pieces prone to malfunction. The auger and burner are also components where you might encounter operational issues.

Therefore, it makes sense to choose a model takes comes with a manufacturer’s warranty against defects. Good warranties will last from one to three years, depending on the manufacturer.

Consumption of Pellets

No BBQ enthusiast wants a pellet smoker that turns into a pellet hog in terms of consumption during a cookout. Ensure that the body of your pellet smoker has a decent thickness to provide some insulation to the cook and prevent heat loss. The more heat the smoker loses through the body, the more pellets it needs to burn to maintain stable cooking temperature.

Price and Value

Consumers need to know that pellet grills are expensive smokers. They also vary widely in price. Some smokers cost as little as $400, while other models cost you thousands.

You need to understand the difference between a cheap pellet smoker and an affordable pellet smoker that offers you good value for money. For instance, our pick for the best budget model smoker in the review is a good value buy, but it’s not cheap.

Cheap pellet smokers won’t last you in the long run. The lousy build quality and inferior materials will start to corrode the smoker and cause malfunctions. Cheaper models might also come with inferior electronics, thermostats, and temperature [probes. If these parts malfunction, it could ruin your cookout.

Rather spend a little more on your first pellet smoker, and get a high-quality machine at a good price point.

Safety Tips for Using a Pellet Smoker

Before you fire up your pellet smoker for its trial run, adhere to the following safety tips to ensure you have a pleasant experience with your new best friend.

  • Always keep your pellets dry and in a safe space.
  • Don’t use your smoker in the rain.
  • Don’t leave your smoker alone until you are confident with its performance.
  • For the first few cooks, make sure you attend to the smoker from time-to-time
  • Keep all electrical cords away from water or moisture.
  • Inspect all electrical components for damage
  • Only use the pellet smoker in a well-ventilated area.
  • After you finish cooking, lean your smoker, and unplug it from the electricity supply.
  • Make sure all electrical cords are out of the way to prevent tripping.
  • Clean your smoker after each use to ensure that you have along with service life

Different Hardwood Pellet Types for your Smoker

The type of hardwood you use in your smoker makes a difference to the final flavor and aroma of the meat. You can choose different types of pellets made with the following types of hardwood to enhance your new smoker’s flavor experience.

  • Alder – poultry, salmon, and game bird
  • Apple – poultry, lamb, pork, lamb, and seafood
  • Cherry – all red and light meat
  • Hickory – ribs, and pork
  • Maple – poultry, cheese, and vegetables
  • Mesquite – red meats
  • Oak – all meats, make a good cross-blend with other wood types
  • Pecan – poultry and game bird

Pellet Smoker FAQ

By now, you should have a better understanding of how wood pellet smokers work and the benefits they bring to your next family BBQ. Here are a few frequently asked questions you might find useful when selecting the best pellet smoker.

Can I use hardwood pellets with my smoker?

Yes, you can use hardwood pellets with your smoker this summer. Meat tastes better when infused with hardwood flavors. As a bonus, hardwood pellets burn slower, producing a richer smoke that adds plenty of flavor to the food. Hardwood pellets also burn cleaner than softwoods, and we recommend them as our preferred smoke source for our cookouts.

How do manufacturers make smoking pellets?

Smokers rely on hardwood pellets to produce the smoky flavor in the food on the grill. Most pellets feature manufacture with 100% all-natural hardwoods, dried and ground into dust. The manufacturer then packs the sawdust into pellets using high-compression methods at extreme heats. As a result, the pellets hold themselves together thanks to a coating on the natural lignin in the sawdust.

Do I have to soak my pellets before using them in my smoker?

A: No, there is no need to soak the pellets before use. The manufacturing process for making the pellets removes contaminants through the heating process, ensuring your pellets are safe for cooking.

At what temperature do wood pellets start smoking?

BBQ enthusiasts will find that they get the best flavor from the pellets if they run the smoker at temperatures under 250F. Don’t let your pellets get wet, as they will start to rot and ruin the other around them.

Can I leave the pellets in the smoker’s hopper?

Remove all the pellets in your hopper after you finish using your smoker. If you wait too long between BBQs, the hopper’s pellets might draw moisture from the environment and start to rot. Empty the hopper and store your pellets in a sealed plastic bucket.

The Verdict for the Best Pellet Smoker

Do you have an idea of the best smoker to suit your backyard cookouts this summer? If you’re still on the fence, then why not rely on our top picks? All our selections are the best we could find available. We relied on customer testimonials, reviews, and ratings to compile our top choices for this review.

For the best overall performer in this review, you can rely on the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill as the top choice for your yard this summer. There are so many unique features on this grill, and we love the Wi-Fi-enabled cooking functionality.

If you’re cooking for large groups of people, such as the extended family, or you entertain friends, then the Camp Chef PG24STX SmokePro Pellet and Smoker is a great choice. This model has a large grill area and built-in temperature meat probes for simplistic and easy cooking.

If you’re on a budget looking for the best pellet smoker you can afford, we recommend you look at the Z-Grills ZPG-7002E Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker. This model is versatile and has everything you need to enjoy smoked meats at your next cookout.

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Robin Watson

Robin owns his own Landscape Gardening company based in the UK and has over 10 years professional experience working outdoors, creating beautiful landscapes for his clients in the UK. He is also a keen garden-grower and maintains his own fruit and vegetable gardens. He also has a level 3 Certificate in Practical Horticulture from The Royal Horticultural Society and is currently working on his first book about gardening. Contact him at Robin@gardenbeast.com

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