Buying guide: Best pellet smoker

Buying the best pellet smoker is not as easy as the average shopper believes. Mainly, because you need to do a thorough research before making your final decision.

Namely, you do not want to spend a lot of money on a pellet smoker that won't get the job done.

That's why we wrote this guide, in order to help you decide what is the best pellet smoker to add to for your cooking.

Different kinds of pellet smokers have features that result in different cooking results.

Therefore, you should choose the best pellet smoker for your particular situation.

It does not matter whether timing, or results, whatever is key for your particular recipes should be the priority when buying your pellet smoker.

As always, we advise you to also take a look at our smoker 101 guide in conjunction with this post, if you are new to smokers. 

In this guide we will provide you with everything you need to know about the best pellet smoker options possible.

The goal is to provide you with the best market options, and let you decide which one is particularly the best for your situation.

Nevertheless, if you are also unsure if a pellet smoker is what you are looking for, also take at our buying guide.

It it we take a thorough look at everything that's related at getting the correct cooking smoker. With that being said, let's get started!


Best pellet smoker

Advantages/disadvantages of using a Pellet Smoker

There are many reasons why you should use a pellet smoker.

Firstly, you have to remember that a pellet smoker functions as a sort of oven. 

Therefore, you can fill up the cook chamber and not have to worry about your cooking.

You'll have the perfect even cooking regardless. 

Moreover, pellet smokers tend to preheat very quickly.

Usually within 20 minutes you have the smoker ready to go.  

More importantly, a lot of pellet smokers will let you play around with the temperature in small amounts, usually 5 to 10 degrees.

Moreover,  you can do quite a lot on a pellet smoker.

From the obvious smoking, to barbecues, there is much to be tried on one. 

That being said, you have to remember that most pellet smokers rely on electricity.

So you might be limited on where you can use it depending on your needs. 

In addition, it is well known that at higher temperatures, less smoke is generated.

But, overall these setbacks are minimal as long as you know what you are doing and what exactly you'll be doing with your pellet smoker.


What are pellets?

Pellets(or pellet fuels as they are also known to be called) area form of biofuel that is normally made from a form of compressed organic matter. 

These pellets can be made from quite a few forms of biomass. 

Nevertheless, wood pellets are the most common type and the ones mostly used.

As you already know, they can be used for cooking, as well as to generate electricity and power, among other things.

Namely, they are used as fuel, and for specific types of barbecues and grills.

The majority of wood pellets are made in bulk in what are known as pellet mills.

Pellets are in high demand, and while there has been concern about the future availability of pellets, the industry has grown thanks to the demand of pellets.

Therefore, there has been a conscious effort in producing more.  

They produce more heat, and as such temperatures rise a lot quicker during cooking.


Best Pellet smoker, how does grilling in wood fire work?

Firstly, let's give a quick overview on how does grilling in one of these smokers work.  

The first thing you need to know, is that the wood feeding is temperature controlled.  

A motor is in charge of turning the auger, in order to feed pellets into the firebox.

Afterwards a heated rod ignites the pellets, and with the help of a combustion fan, the pellets are kept smoking.

Furthermore, inside the pellet hopper there is a fan that has the task of making sure there isn't any burn back in the auger tube.

Usually, the heat shields used to cover the firebox has the purpose of distributing heat to the entire grill, although this can vary depending on the brand.

Nevertheless, most(if not all) pellet smokers come with very specific instructions on how each one works.

Remember that the idea of smoking is to cook meat for long periods of time, particularly at low temperatures.

Hence, it is very important that you pick a pellet smoker that is tailor made for your needs.

If you do not want to spend a lot of time for example near the smoker, while it smokes, make sure you find one that gives you that option.

Primarily, what you cook in is wood pellets.

Because of the variety of temperatures that you have in pellet smokers, you can cook a ton of things you would not be able to do in a normal grill.

Basically you can also do whatever you can cook in an oven as well. Hence, why many people love to use pellet smokers.

Let's take a look at our top 5 best pellet smoker options.


How to make wood pellets?

The first thing you want to do is make sure you gather all the wood you plan on using for your cooking.

Afterwards, you want to cut the wood pieces into appropriate sizes. You don't want the pieces to be longer than 1 inch.

Namely, you want to make them as small as possible.

Afterwards, you want to make sure you dry all the material with some form of heat.

You can either do this the natural way by placing the wood in the sun, or in a heaving oven until the wood gets as dry as you would like. 

If you plan on making your own wood pellets, then you will most likely need a batch mixer.

With one, you can place the wood material through the mixer and make sure all the pieces are equally sized.

Moreover, you will of course need a pellet mill or press to produce the actual pellets.

For smaller amounts, you will of course use a pellet press.

Hence, make sure you remember that a pellet press is either flat die or round die.  

If you are wondering what a die is, it is a metal pieces that has holes pierced through it. 

Additionally, some pellets will not form correctly, namely, you'll have pieces that fall apart.

Therefore, when this happens, make you to separate the wrongly formed pieces.

Afterwards, the pellets will come out of the press.

And, you have to make sure they cool, so give them time and space to cool naturally.

Finally, make sure you store the pellets in sealed plastic bags. And, put them away in a dry place.


Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill

The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill is a product of Green Mountain Grills, a company that specializes in wood fired pellet grills.  

This particular grill benefits from open flame tecnology.

It is considered by most the best tailgating grill on the market.

So if you are an avid tailgater then this is definitely the grill for you!

You can fit about 3 racks of Barbecue ribs in this smoker at once.

Allowing you to distribute meat evenly if you are cooking for large parties, or cook an entire portion for smaller groups in one go.

It is hands down one of the best pellet smoker options out there.

On the other hand, you can operate it at a relatively cheap cost.

The pellets range from 1 to 1.50 USD per pound. Basically, you cannot go wrong with this pellet smoker.

Features

Moreover, this pellet smoker is of course portable. You can fold the legs, they basically double as the handles.

Additionally, it includes a sense-mate. Which, is a thermal sensor that will take care of monitoring the grill temperature for you.

Furthermore, it comes with with adaptors for 3 power options, at 110V or 12V. 

The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill weighs 57.3 pounds and is 32.1 x 16.5 x 20.9 inches.

Additionally, it comes with a 2 year warranty. So you can rest assured you are well covered in case of a rare problem.

On the other hand, the temperature control in this pellet smoker is top notch, you are able to make one degree adjustments without any problems.

Particularly using the app! Which brings us to another cool feature. 

As it's name suggest, this pellet smoker is wifi enabled, meaning you can control it from your phone. 

For this reason alone, it is considered the best pellet smoker by many!

More importantly, the smoker uses a PID controller, which gives you the ability to anticipate the temperature.

Mainly, by controlling the fan and auger speed.

Additionally, the app allows you to preset instructions so that you can smoke for over 4 hours.

And, be able to keep it going afterwards at a lower temperature, for when you are ready to eat.  

This smoker also comes with a chimney with a cover, allowing it to avoid the temperature effects that hamper other smokers.

Pros:
  • Portable smoker, folded legs double to become handles
  • Thermal sensor to monitor grill temperatures
  • Open flame technology
  • plus
    adaptors for 3 power options
Cons:
  • Some consumers have claimed a leak in the trap tray

Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet Grill

The Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet Grill as the name suggest, is a product of Pit Boss.

Which is a realible producer of grills, particularly ceramic, pellet, and gas grills.

This smoker is great for cooking for large groups. It comes with porcelain coated cast iron grids.

Additionally, it comes with a digitally controlled burn system, which will allow you to really smoke your meat to perfection.

It is of course fueled by natural wood pellets, giving you the best taste possible as long as you follow your recipe to perfection.

On the other hand, it comes with porcelain coated iron grids.

Furthermore, the Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet Grill is versatile for both avid smokers and those who will only cook occasionally.  

You can cook burgers, chicken, wings, vegetables, steaks, just about anything you can possibly think of.

On the other hand, if you are into pizza stones such as these, you will love to know that you can also cook frozen pizza on this pellet.

You can replicate wood fired pizza oven with this grill as long as you know what you are doing!

Specifications and dimensions

The dimensions of the Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet Grill is 41.3 x 26.6 x 43.8 inches. It weighs 118 pounds however.

Therefore, you do not want to try to move this on your own! In addition, Pit Boss Pellet grills only use all natural wood pellets for fuel.

What that means, is basically no propane or charcoal.

It also comes with a digital control which allows you to control temperature up to 600 F.

On the other hand the flame broiler included with the purchase of the smoker allows you to dictate whether you want direct or indirect cooking.

Furthermore, this flame broiler gets rid of excess grease from whatever you are cooking!

Basically, all the features of this pellet smoker guarantees that it is perfect for both beginners and expert smokers.

Moreover, it comes with an electric ignition and air forced by fan that helps you maintain a burning flame for a lot of heat convection and clean smoke.

The goal of this pellet smoker smoker is convection.

 Mainly, air is pushed into the grill through the previously mentioned flame broiler, allowing air to navigate the entire smoker.

This is hands down one of the best pellet smoker options you will see on the market!

Pros:

  • Iron grids that are porcelain coated
  • Digitally controlled burned system
  • Natural wood pellets

Cons:

  • Issues with temperature control have been brought up
  • minus
    Problems with customer support from the manufacturer

Traeger Grills Texas Elite 34 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

The Traeger Grills Texas Elite 34 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker is designed by Traeger.

A company specializing in grills, they have a number of grills on the market, and pride themselves on providing top notch grills of all varieties, not just pellet.

More importantly, this Pellet grill is considered one of the best pellet smoker grills on the market by far, because of how versatile it is.  

It is tailored made for both beginners and experts on smoking food. With this smoker, you are bound to not only bring out the best in your recipes.

But, to also experiment with new recipes and be pleasantly surprised with the results.  

Ultimately, their goal with this smoker is for you to achieve genuine wood fired taste.

Traeger as a manufacturer, made sure that you never had to use charcoal or gas when using this smoker.

The idea is for you use wood, and see how much better your smoked foods would taste.

Basically, you use the controller to monitor the temperature. And, the pellets are kept in the hopper.

Afterwards, the induction fan makes sure to give life to the fire.

The auger then pulls pellets into the pot, and a hot rod ignites those same pellets!

Features and specifications

Especially relevant, is the fact that you have a 6 in 1 possibility, to grill, smoke, bake, bbq, braise and roast anything you desire.

Additionally, it comes with an integrated Digital controller, in order to monitor the temperature.

The point is for you to keep the temperature within 20 degrees of desired output, while having the benefit of being able to multi task.

You can accomodate over 20 pattys and 10 racks of ribs depending on the size.

The Traeger Grills Texas Elite 34 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker counts with 646 square inches of grilling space.  

The dimensions are 22 x 54 x 49 inches. In addition, the smoker weighs 150 pounds, although on a shipping delivery it is closer to 160 pounds.

Furthermore, it comes in black and bronze.

Moreover, the grill comes with a non-stick surface, which makes this grill easy to clean after smoking.  

On the other hand, thanks to its steel construction, you can rest assured that a money investment in this smoker will last you years to come.

Similarly, the Traeger Grills Texas Elite 34 Wood Pellet Grill comes with wheels to make sure you have mobility.

Something we can say that a lot of manufacturers neglect.

Not only this, but it includes locking casters  that will make sure it stays put wherever you deem fit.

Just on these simple features along, we can see why many consumers consider this pellet smoker the best pellet smoker on the market.

Pros:

  • Pellet smoker offer 6 in 1 versatility
  • Integrated digital control allows you to control the temperature
  • A lot of grilling space
  • plus
    No need to use gas or charcoal with this smoker

Cons:

  • Can occasionally see temperature fluctuations
  • Some customers have experienced random shut offs

Here is a great video from shaeferstv on traeger grills,  how they work, and how they stay at the top of the market in pellet smokers.


Traeger Grills Tailgater 20 Portable wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

Another Traeger Grill on our list, as its name suggest this Pellet Smoker is designed for all sorts of activity, as defined by tailgating.

As the one we previously reviewed, you benefit from never having to use gas or charcoal.

The idea is to cook with wood. Mainly, to achieve a wood fired tasting formula for all your recipes and your family gatherings.

More importantly, this pellet smoker is considered one of the best pellet smoker options because it is great for a variety of activities.

Mainly, tailgating, camping, and home use. Imagine having the versatility of one weekend being able to cook for a family gathering, and the next for a football game!

It is unheard of, and a pleasant tool to have.

Furthermore, it also offers a 6 in 1 versatility to go from roasting all the way to braising whatever meat you had in mind.

It is no wonder it is considered one f the best pellet smoker options on the market. 

Specifications

The Traeger Grills tailgater 20 Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker is relatively light compared to other smokers.

It weighs 70 pounds. Furthermore, it has dimensions of 23 x 21 x 21 inches, and it can be shipped to certain countries outside of the US.

Like most Traeger grills, it comes equipped with a non stick surface. Making sure the grates are easy to clean.

It also comes with EZ-fold legs, the main reason of course is the tailgating.

Basically, you have a wood fired grill option on the road for all your adventures! 

People have taken this pellet smoker to the lake, to football games, to the mountains, etc. The point is, its versatility is unmatched.

On the other hand, it is very well packed to make sure you don't experience any setback with shipping damage.

And, it is easy to assemble. If there is one knock on it, is that while it is indeed easy to assemble, the instructions manual that comes with the smoker is basically useless.

You are better off just trying to assemble it on your own.  

On another point, some customers have experience random shut offs before. 

lthough, it has been reported on very few occassions.

Pros:

  • EZ fold legs for comfortable mobility
  • No need to use gas or charcoal with this smoker
  • Integrated digital control allows you to control the temperature
  • plus
    Pellet smoker offer 6 in 1 versatility

Cons:

  • Temperature control problems have been raised before

Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker with Patio Cover

Our final review is the Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker from Z Grills. Which, of course focuses on the production of Grills.

This particular grill, has a ton of features that many smokers manufacturers would not even consider.

The Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill is an 8 in 1 wood fire pellet grill.

The 8 features included are: Braising, Char-grilling, Barbecue, Searing, grilling, smoking, baking, and roasting.

Basically, with this pellet smoker you will be able to try out any recipe and expect great results.

Of course, as we always point out, you have to tailor your recipes and cooking to the smoker you have.

It also comes with a patio cover. Design to protect your smoker from what may seem to be harmless incidents.

Nevertheless, if you want to make the cleaning easier, you can buy aluminum foil and use it as a cover before use.

That way, you'll save yourself some time after you are done cooking for the occasion.

Features and specifications

The Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill is equipped with Smart Smoke Technology, meaning that you will be able to automatically maintain temperatures between 180 F and 450 F.

On the other hand, the brand prides itself on making sure this pellet smoker is fueled by top of the line hardwood pellets to generate not only heat, but smoke as well.

The main purpose of this it to make sure your recipes get the best wood fired taste possible.

This Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill is also considered one of the best pellet smoker options because of its huge grilling capabilities.

It's main rack can carry 513 square inches. While the warm rack can carry 187 square inches.

It also comes with a 20 pound hopper capacity.  It has dimensions of 51.2 x 22.5 x 48.4 inches, and weighs 173 pounds.

Furthermore, it is quite an affordable option considering the amount of features you are getting.

And, you get a 3 year warranty as long as you buy it through Amazon. Additionally, you also get a 30-Day guarantee to make sure you are truly happy with your purchase.

On the other hand, Z grills counts with 50 years of of producing in stainless steel.

Z grills Wood Pellet Grills are fueled by natural barbecue wood pellets.

Additionally, the digital control boards allows you to turn the grill on and manage the cooking temperature between a certain range.

Because the convection is fan forced, it eliminates needing a rotisserie for cooking.

Mainly, allowing you to experiment with different cooking options and recipes. 

Pros:

  • Smart Smoke technology
  • Very big grilling area
  • 8 in 1 possibility
  • plus
    3 yeaer warranty

Cons:

  • minus
    durability concerns have been brought up by previous customers
  • List Element

Camp Chef SmokePro DLX PG24

The Smokepro DLX PG24 is without a doubt one of the best pellet smokers on the market.

In fact, consumers who own this pellet smoker will vigorously argue that this is without a doubt the #1 pellet smoker available.

And, we can see why they think so. 

First of all,  this is what you call a full feature pellet smoker. It has a cooking area of over 420 square inches.

Furthermore, it includes a 141 second rack.

More importantly, you can easily get up between 160-500 degrees in temperature, allowing you to cook at very very high temperatures.

In addition, it gives you about 25,000 BTU per hour compared to the average 20,000 of market pellet smokers(or as Camp Chef likes to describes it, compared to the competition).

Furthermore, Camp Chef makes you don't have to spend tons of time cleaning, by including a ash cleanout holder/cup.

Hence, you can spend more time cooking and enjoying your company than actually cleaning.

On the other hand, you'll love to know that it includes a free cover that has a value of almost 60 USD.

This is quite handy when you consider that a lot of these pellet smokers do not include free covers. 

With so much cooking space, a grease management system, and sleek design, it is definitely worthy of being considered the best pellet smoker available. 


Final verdict on best pellet smoker

Hopefully you, now you have a deeper understanding of pellet smokers, so you can quickly finalize your decision as to which pellet smoker is the best pellet smoker suited for your cooking needs.

Nevertheless, if you are still unsure about which one of these is the best pellet smoker, we suggest going with the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill.

It is very consistent in cooking and quality. It comes at a very affordable price compared to the others.

Furthermore, the fact that you can control it through WIFI is key! It is portable, so you'll be able to use for things such as tailgating.

And, with open flame technology and a thermal sensor that allows you to monitor the grill temperature, you cannot possibly go wrong.

That being said, you cannot go wrong with any of these choices, it really comes down to what your necessities are at home.

And how much time and money you are willing to spend towards the best pellet smoker possible.

We hope this helps you in finding the best pellet smoker possible.

Feel free to ask us any questions on the comment section below.

Also, do not forget to check our buying guides at thecookingsmokers, as well as our reviews section for more thorough reviews of specific smoker types.

And remember to pick one that is best for your needs and specifications, and get to cooking!

Resources:

Wikihow
Amazon
Wikipedia