Best Wood Pellets for Smoking of 2018 – Everything You Need to Know

Jun 1, 2018 | Grill

Once you’ve got a nice new pellet smoker, some perfectly grained cuts of meat, and a beautiful day to make some magic happen – all you’re missing are the best wood pellets for smoking.

A great smoker is only as good as the quality of the pellets, so you’re wise not to underestimate this part of the equation.

Every brand of smoker will tell you that they have the best smoker pellets, but can they all be telling the truth?

Granted, specific pellets excel in different types of conditions or have tastes that may appeal to different people; some will burn a bit hotter, some will cook a bit longer, some will burn more quickly but offer a smokier flavor.

The point we’re trying to make is that there isn’t necessarily a be-all-end-all number one choice that’s going to be perfect for everyone, but none the less – we’ve taken the best offerings from the top brands around the block for a test drive, and we’re here to report back with our results.


Camp Chef

Competition Blend

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Camp Chef


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Pit Boss

BBQ Wood Pellets

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Prosaffordable, all natural blend, less dust and ashhigh-quality wood, four premium hardwoods100% apple wood, perfect for smoky apple tastegreat price, 100% natural hardwoodsaffordable, produce less ash than other options
Consmix/blend of several woodsmore expensivenot the cheapest optionmix/blend of several woodsNone
Shipping Weight20.25 lbs42.2 lbs20.25 lbs40.15 lbs20.1 lbs

As always, you can’t go wrong with any of the pellets on this list, and we can’t account for what tastes best for you.

Here are our top picks for the best smoker pellets for your pellet grill, and make sure you stock up because it’s going to be an excellent season for smoking!

What are the Best Wood Pellets for Smoking?

wood pellets for smoking

1. Best Overall Pellets

Camp Chef Competition Blend Smoker Pellets

Natural Products  
Premium Solid Hardwoods  
Made in the USA  

You don’t need to be at a fancy BBQ competition to use these, and they’re not expensive either. Some people prefer one type of wood in particular and would rather avoid using blends, or they prefer to put their blends together, and if that’s you – all the more power to you, but you’ll want to skip past these and check out another highlight from this list. We reviewed a number of pellet grills, and camp chefs line is solid.

If you’re not at the point where you’re trying to dial in every single detail of your smoke to the exact decimal point, and you’re fine with using a blend that someone else has put together, especially when that “someone else” is Camp Chef, one of the top companies in the game, then this is an excellent option.

Some have remarked that this blend seems to leave behind less dust and ash then some other brands, it’s undoubtedly a premium product. The price of a 20-pound bag is reasonable, and it’s well-reviewed overall.

These are 100% all natural, food grade pellets for your pellet grill and smokers. It’s made from a variety of premium hardwoods, namely cherry, hickory, and maple. Can’t decide which type of wood to use? Then here’s a chance to try all 3 of the best, together at the same time. It gives you a very well-rounded and versatile smoked flavor that goes great with just about anything you could toss in that smoker of yours.

These pellets are made in America and are appealing for their reasonable price and the overall quality and taste that you’ll get with them.

bbq smoker pellets

2. Best Premium Option

CookinPellets Perfect Mix Smoking Pellets

Hardwoods Composition Top 4 hardwoods
Made in the USA  

Here’s another favorite choice, this time around it comes in a 40-pound bag. This is another blend, meaning it consists of multiple types of wood. Per pound, it’s a bit more expensive than some of the others we’ll be looking at, but CookinPellets is a brand that gets right down to business, no frills, no gimmicks, just high-quality pellets for your smoker. There’s no fancy packaging, no distractions… if you’re in the business of cooking up some perfectly smoked food, business is good.

While our top listed blend featured three different premium hardwoods, this one has four, for an even more diverse taste. These pellets are made using only the heartwoods from the center of the log, and never contains any bark.

They don’t add any oils or filler woods (When it comes to smoking, oak and alder are sometimes known as filler woods, or filler can just be lower quality parts of the same tree) It’s just the right stuff here. It’s got a hickory base and contains hard maple, apple, and cherry. It makes a great combination no matter what’s on the menu.

They call it the “Perfect Mix, ” and it’s hard to argue with that. It’s worth mentioning that some manufacturers claim that using other brands of pellets can void your warranty, however that’s most likely illegal wherever you live  (For them to actually deny warranty issues based on that, not for them to say they can), yet some still decide to put those stickers on their machines in order to mislead people into avoiding other brands of pellets.

Granted, some very low-quality pellets could cause issues, but these from CookinPellets will not void your warranty at all, they’re at least as good as any of the grill manufacture’s brands, and even better in a lot of cases.

wood pellets for smoking

3. Best in Apple

Camp Chef Premium Applewood Smoking Pellets

Natural Products  
Clean Burning Hardwood  
Made in the USA  

Looking for something that’s not part of a mix or combination? Let’s get things going with these apple wood grill pellets by Camp Chef. These will work great with any brand of grill, and if you want that smoky apple taste, this just might be your best bet. The flavor of the applewood stands out a lot more compared to some of the combination bags we’ve looked it because there’s no mixture here – it’s just 100% apple. Combine these pellets with a camp chef pellet grill we reviewed, and you can’t go wrong.

There are no oils or additional flavors added, no filler at all; this is made from strictly high-quality 100% clean burning virgin apple hardwood. These pellets are made in the United States of America and are a standard for any home-smoker. They burn well and give you an incredible flavor.

These pellets aren’t just for Camp Chef brand pellet grills; they’ll work with any brand, from Traeger to Pit Boss, and anything else. You can check out some of the different pellet grill recipes out there to get a feel for what you’re going to be smoking, and which woods may suit it best, or just go with a mixture.

This is an excellent quality wood; the price is solid too, these are a solid choice, especially if you’re picking up multiple different bags to try – we strongly recommend grabbing one of these. They’re very-well reviewed, and may just become your “go-to” when you’re looking to load up some Applewood into the ‘ol smoker.

best bbq pellets

4. Best Value

Pit Boss Competition Blend BBQ Wood Pellets

No Artificial Products  
Clean Burning  
Made in North America  

Pit Boss is another big name in the smoker world and these are some of their very best wood pellets for smoking. You can use them with any pellet grill, don’t fall for the old myth that the brand of pellets need to match the grill.

Pit Boss’ wood pellets are available in a competition blend, in hickory, or in apple, depending on which flavor you prefer for whatever you’re going to be smoking up. Again, we think it’s a good idea to simply buy multiple bags. This bad right here is 40 pounds. Most of the time, pellets either come in twenty or forty pound bags. Pit boss always makes solid starter grills, we reviewed pit boss in this article, be sure to check it out.

The raw wood for these pellets is sourced right here in North America. These pellets are free from any spray-on scents, glues, or chemicals and they can burn hotter and cleaner than lower-quality options. These pellets are bound together by the natural adhesives in the wood itself, there’s nothing else added in, which helps them burn so cleanly.

The flavor profile of the competition blend is a combination of very mild tartness, and a lot of savory and sweet tones. It combines hickory, maple and cherry hardwoods from North America and offers a very versatile option if you aren’t really sure what else to get.

These Pit Boss pellets are also available in apple, which offers a smoky taste with a mild sweetness on top. It goes great with pork, or baked goods. There are no artificial flavors in this bag, no glues, no chemicals, none of that stuff.

Finally, these are available in hickory. The flavor profile is very rich, almost reminds you of bacon. These are great for any meats, really, it’s hard to pick one over another, but chickens and turkeys and other birds go particularly nice with the hickory taste.

A 40 pound bag will last you a while, but why not grab a couple bags at once? We’re strong advocates of comparing them “side to side” (As in, one day you use one type of pellet, then the next day or later that week you try the other kind).

Alternate, see what you like best, then you can really start to dial in the perfect temperatures and settings for different foods. You wouldn’t have just one type of herb or spice in your pantry, right? So why have just one type of wood pellets for your smoker?

best wood pellets for grilling

5. Best Pellets for Beginners

Traeger Hickory Barbeque Pellets

Hardwood Composition  
Limited Ash Production  
Environmental Friendly  

This twenty-pound bag of pellets from Traeger is another solid choice. The Hickory BBQ flavor that comes out in the smoke will make you salivate; the hardest part is going to be waiting for the food to be done.

These pellets are known to produce less ash than some other options out there, which is a nice feature. Less ash produced means less ash to clean up afterward. These pellets contain no fillers or additives in them and are made from 100% hardwood. They burn clean and don’t harm the environment or your food; they’ll simply add a beautiful smoky flavor profile. The hickory pairs well with beef, poultry, pork, vegetables, and wild game.

Traeger does have a variety of pellets to choose from but the hickory will have you coming back for more. If you are new to pellet smokers and can’t decide on which pellets to use, go with a simple but bold hickory from Traeger and thank me later.

Traeger does have a variety of pellets to choose from but the hickory will have you coming back for more. If you are new to pellet smokers and can’t decide on which pellets to use, go with a simple but bold hickory from Traeger and thank me later.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, when you’re dealing with any decent pellets and you’ve already weeded out the duds (Each one on our list is good, we didn’t include any of the less impressive options, so you’re all set), but at this point it really comes down to price and taste. If you want to spend a bit more, a bit less, and finding the taste you like the most.

That ideal taste may come from cheaper pellets, or it may come from a more expensive bag, the best option is trial and error so we often recommend that people buy at least 2-3 bags to start with. With 2 bags, you can compare them directly to each other, and see which you like best. Then when it’s time to re-order, just head back to this page and re-order the bag that you liked the best, and another bag to compare it to this time. After a few orders, you’ll know exactly which type of pellets taste best and work best in your grill, just remember it’s a bit of a process.

You might love the first ones you go with, you might hate them (Not likely!), but either way, if you start with a couple of bags you’re well on your way. Some people just stick with one brand and are happy with it and never even try anything else and that’s a perfectly legitimate option too. Either way, you’ve got to start somewhere, and any of the choices on this list will have you off to a great start.

Billy StewartBilly Stewart

Founder of

Find me on Twitter: @barbequesmoked

1 Comment

  1. Great information…I’ve just joined the pellet smoking world. Was looking for some guidance with so many brands and options out there. This is a great base line to start from in finding my favorite pellets.


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