The 5 Best Pellet Grills and Smokers of 2018

Oct 13, 2018 | Grills, Reviews

When it comes to grills, it’s absolutely imperative to make sure you’re using the best one. After all, you’ve paid for your meat, and you want to prepare it so that it wakes up all your senses and inspires hedonism. Moreover, a pellet grill should help you prepare delicious dishes quickly and without too much hassle. Thus, only the best quality will do.

But what are the best pellet grills? What’s more, how can you know if you haven’t tried them all? Are there any particular factors that you should take into account? Is the price the only thing that separates them?

Let’s take a look at what differentiates the brands that inhabit this area of barbecue.

Top 5 Pellet Grills and Smokers

NameCooking SurfaceTemperature Range 

Z Grills

700 sq. inches

180°f - 475°f

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Camp Chef

811 sq. inches

160°f - 500°f

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REC TEC

340 sq. inches

200°f - 500°f

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Traeger

418 sq. inches

180°f - 450°f

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Pit Boss

700 sq. inches

200°f - 500°f

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Z Grills

Cooking Surface

700 sq. inches

Temperature Range

180°f – 475°f

Check Price

Camp Chef

Cooking Surface

811 sq. inches

Temperature Range

160°f – 500°f

Check Price

REC TEC

Cooking Surface

340 sq. inches

Temperature Range

200°f – 500°f

Check Price

Traeger

Cooking Surface

418 sq. inches

Temperature Range

180°f – 450°f

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Pit Boss

Cooking Surface

700 sq. inches

Temperature Range

200°f – 500°f

Check Price

1. Best Overall

Z Grills ZPG-700D Pellet Grill

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What’s great about this particular grill is that it’s all about that wood flavor. Furthermore, we ought to mention that it is the perfect grill for someone who’s looking to up their game. It’s versatile enough so that you never get bored, yet it’s not that difficult to use.

With it, you can easily grill, bake, roast, smoke, and barbeque all sorts of food. But you won’t have trouble keeping the temperature optimal. It comes with an integrated digital controller that’s very user-friendly, and more importantly, precise. However, do keep in mind that there can be some temperature swings in the beginning because it uses a thermostat style system.

Regarding the grilling space, you’re looking at 418 square inches of it. Thus, you won’t have any trouble cooking a few dishes at the same time. In fact, you can even cook about five racks of ribs on it in one go.

But of course, Traeger knows that it’s all in the details. That’s why they’ve included an electronic auto-start ignition button and porcelain grates that will not make you spend hours cleaning them. The grill itself is built to last, as it’s made from steel and topped off with a powder coat finish.

Pros and cons

  • 8-in-1 product
  • Digital control board
  • Ample grilling space
  • Easy to move
  • Beginner friendly
  • No pellet cleanout shoot

2. Best Value

Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill

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If you’re looking for a versatile grill that will give that wonderful wood-fired flavor to your meat, then this next pellet grill from Camp Chef might be the right choice for you.

This grill is also an “independent” pellet grill. Thus, it comes with a digital temperature controller that helps you maintain optimal temperature without babysitting it. It features an automatic auger that will make sure the grill is not producing too much or too little smoke.

With 811 square inches of grilling area, this grill is bound to make meat enthusiasts happy. It also comes with an upper warming rack that you can easily remove. In essence, it is a big grill suitable for large families and great BBQ parties.

The SG 24 pellet grill is also great for baking, roasting, braising, and smoking meat. But what’s incredible is its searing ability. Its sear box can go up to 900° F, which means that caramelized meat that just melts in your mouth will finally become a reality.

And lastly, cleaning it is easy, as it comes with a patented ash cleanout. All you have to do is pull the lever, and the ash will disappear.

Pros and cons

  • Comes with a sear box that reaches 900 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Versatile
  • Sturdy and well built
  • Value for your money
  • Expensive
  • A bit of a learning curve

3. Best for Professionals

REC TEC Grills Trailblazer

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The first thing you need to know is that this grill comes with rollerblade-style wheels and lockable, foldable legs. Therefore, you know how this story goes — the RT-340 is great for outdoor BBQs. What’s more, since you can fold the legs and store it easily, you can even take in on camping or road trips.

We also love the fact that this grill uses Wi-Fi technology to control the temperature. It also comes with built-in meat probes, so there’s little chance you’ll burn the meat. Moreover, you can also use a wireless device to control the temperature.

The RT-340 also comes with an automatic shutdown feature, and you can even cool the grill down in 5º increments. It also features a stainless steel cooking chamber that’s built to last and never flake, as well as a stainless steel hopper lid.

Pros and cons

  • Easy temperature control
  • Maintains temperature nicely
  • Great for beginners and enthusiasts
  • Not the cheapest option

4. Best Carnauba on a Budget

Traeger Grills Lil Tex

Our Rating

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What’s great about this particular grill is that it’s all about that wood flavor. Furthermore, we ought to mention that it is the perfect grill for someone who’s looking to up their game. It’s versatile enough so that you never get bored, yet it’s not that difficult to use.

With it, you can easily grill, bake, roast, smoke, and barbeque all sorts of food. But you won’t have trouble keeping the temperature optimal. It comes with an integrated digital controller that’s very user-friendly, and more importantly, precise. However, do keep in mind that there can be some temperature swings in the beginning.

Regarding the grilling space, you’re looking at 418 square inches of it. Thus, you won’t have any trouble cooking a few dishes at the same time. In fact, you can even cook about five racks of ribs on it in one go.

But of course, Traeger knows that it’s all in the details. That’s why they’ve included an electronic auto-start ignition button and porcelain grates that will not make you spend hours cleaning them. What’s more, the grill itself is built to last, as it’s made from steel and topped off with a powder coat finish.

Pros and cons

  • Reputable brand
  • Beginner friendly
  • Porcelain cooking grates
  • Uses old school temperature controls

5. Best for Beginners

Pit Boss 700FB Pellet Grill

Our Rating

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Our final pick is the Pit Boss’s 700FB pellet grill, which is another practical piece of equipment any grilling enthusiast would love to have.

700FB offers a ton of grilling space — 700 square inches, to be exact. So no matter if you’re having a party or just cooking for your family, you can bet that you’ll easily cook a few dishes in one go.

Furthermore, this grill is also one of those that offer eight functions in just one product. It’s versatile and practical to have at your home, as it allows you to experiment with your recipes. Moreover, its temperature range is from 180° to 500°, which is enough to make some sizzling steaks and delicious barbeque every weekend.

This grill also comes with a digital control board, and it features a standard flame broiler. Also, if you take into account its robust build, you’ll certainly be using it for years to come.

Pros and cons

  • Affordable
  • Easy to clean
  • True beginner option
  • Bit of temperature variance
  • Maintaining a lower temperature is troublesome

What to Look for in a Pellet Grill

Here are some tips that will help you pick out the best option.

Consider the Temperature Range

What kinds of dishes are you looking to cook on your pellet grill? You need an answer to this question, as the temperature range you choose will depend on it. But you can also buy one of those 8-in-1 solutions and ensure that you’re always ready for grilling. Some pellet grills are also better at maintaining these temperatures due to different temperature devices. Beginner grills will use a dated thermostat controller with accuracies of +/- 20 degrees. Where-as newer grills will use PID controllers that allow for accuracies of 5 degrees.

Look for a Grill That’s Easy to Clean and Move

Pellet grills are sometimes really compact, so they’re useful to have on road trips. But for you to carry such a grill with you, it needs to be easy to move. You will save yourself a lot of trouble if you buy a pellet grill that is easy to clean. That way, you’ll have more time to grill and eat and won’t have to spend hours scrubbing the grill. Look for grills that have ash clean-out options as well as removable grates.

The More Modern, the Better

Lastly, make sure you don’t get a pellet grill that uses outdated technology. Nowadays, the best ones come with digital temperature controls that are both accurate and easy to use. While some still use dial thermostats, they are still easy and and cost a lot less than PID controllers.

Conclusion

It’s evident that there are some fantastic options on the market today. However, if we have to pick just one to recommend, it would definitely have to be Z Grills ZPG. It has it all, and it packs a lot of punch in terms of meat flavoring and quality. There are a few things we would improve about it, but overall, its price/quality ratio is superb.

Nevertheless, make sure you pick a grill that’s best suited to your needs. Only then will you be able to unlock the wonderful world of sizzling steaks and mouth-watering burgers!

Happy Grillin’!

Billy Stewart

Chef and Reviewer for Barbequesmoked.com

Barbeque Smoked

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