If you're looking for a flexible, easy-to-use grill, take a pellet smoker seriously. Although you won't win any points with old style pit masters, the potential to make excellent barbecue easily makes it very tempting to buy a pellet smoker.
In this guide, we will break down the best pellet smokers available in 2020. We're also going to go through some of the pros and cons of pellet cooking to help you make up your own mind.
Don't be confused if you note the "pellet grill" and "pellet smoker" are used interchangeably. They're pointing to the same thing.
Here are the best pellet smokers for beginners you can buy in 2021:
- Best Overall: Char-Broil 18202078 Pellet Smoker
- Runner Up: Z GRILLS ZPG-450A Pellet Smoker
- Best Value: Z GRILLS ZPG-700D Wood Pellet Smoker
- Premium Choice: Camp Chef PG24MZG SmokePro Pellet Smoker
- Best Portable: Green Mountain DCWF Portable Pellet Smoker
- The Largest: Cam Chef DLX Pellet Smoker
|6 Best Pellet Smokers for Beginners|
|Char-Broil 18202078 Pellet Smoker|
|Z GRILLS ZPG-450A Pellet Smoker|
|Z GRILLS ZPG-700D Wood Pellet Smoker|
|Camp Chef PG24MZG SmokePro Pellet Smoker|
|Green Mountain DCWF Portable Pellet Smoker|
|Cam Chef DLX Pellet Smoker|
Best Overall: Char-Broil 18202078 Pellet Smoker
- Temperature gauge mounted on the cooking chamber
- Prep and storage space allow for easy access to cooking material
- Body construction isn’t durable enough for heavy-duty smoker
This device will give you 605 square inches of cooking surfaces. It might not seem like anything to include the bigger smokers on this list, but the char-boil makes up for it with its other features.
Black, powder-coated steel structure makes it durable, and porcelain-coated cooking grates make it easy to clean and preserve.
This offset smoker comes with a firebox fitted with an ash door, which ensures that the ashes are easy to clear after smoking.
It also boasts a lot of storage and prep capacity. There's a shelf at the bottom, and there's another one on the side of the cooking area.
|Char-Broil 18202078 Pellet Smoker Specifications|
54.3 x 43.9 x 22.7 inches
Ideal for the first-time user.
Runner Up: Z GRILLS ZPG-450A Pellet Smoker
- Balance of traditional and digital features of smoking
- Automatic pellet feeding and built-in temperature regulation
- Can’t handle more than 20 hours of smoking
For beginners who do not yet know what they want to do, this flexible alternative may be the right smoker for you.
As a new form in the sector, this pellet smoker comes with all the features you would expect from a creation.
You will use the automated control board to reach an accurate smoking temperature. In addition, it is fitted with an electrical feed system that controls the volume of heat and smoke it generates.
This smoker will have a clear taste as it is intended to use wood pellets if it thinks like there is a need for more heat and smoke to reach and sustain precise temperatures.
|Z GRILLS ZPG-450A Pellet Smoker Specifications|
45 x 28 x 49 inches
Electric, Petroleum Gas
Ideal for using wood pellet.
Best Value: Z GRILLS ZPG-700D Wood Pellet Smoker
- Value for money
- 3-year warranty
- Unused pellets
- No insulation blankets
With 700 square inches of cooking surface (split between 513 "main and 187" raised grate) and a 20 lb. hopper, the nearest competitor to the Z-Grill 700E will be the Pit Manager 700FB or the Traeger Pro 575.
With the Z-Grill you get more cooking space, a storage cabinet and a comparable quality style to Traeger at a lower price.
You do give up WIFI functionality, but if that's important to you, we suggest looking at one of the other choices in this section.
If you want to save a few bucks, the 7002E is the most common model and comes with no storage cabinet. We think it's worth investing a little more on the 700D package, which includes a useful storage cabinet for pellets or BBQ equipment.
|Z GRILLS ZPG-700D Wood Pellet Smoker Specifications|
48 x 22 x 51 inches
Electric, Petroleum Gas
Ideal for new beginner.
Premium Choice: Camp Chef PG24MZG SmokePro Pellet Smoker
- Easy to clean
- Smoke stack position
- Efficient pellet consumption
- Searing capability
- Quality control issues with temperature sensor
Camp Chef recently launched their latest Gen 2 PID controller, which gives you excellent temperature control and the ability to control precisely how much smoke you want to make.
With a cooking area of 429 square inches (plus a 382 square inch rack) you can comfortably fit multiple racks of ribs at once. Unlike a carbon smoker, you'll be up and going in 10 minutes.
If you need more space, you can always upgrade to our top major choice, the SmokePro SGX model, which gives you 1236 square inches of cooking space to work with.
The PG 24 ticks all the boxes you 'd expect from a pellet grill at this mid-price point. You'll love the package and forget about cooking style with two meat probes included as well as a clean smoke scent and minimum ash to clean up.
The new model also features Wi-Fi 33 so you can track and manage your barbecue from your phone.
|Camp Chef PG24MZG SmokePro Pellet Smoker Specifications|
40.5 x 25 x 22 inches
Electric, Petroleum Gas
: Ideal for versatile smoking tasks.
Best Portable: Green Mountain DCWF Portable Pellet Smoker
- Portable feature
- Precise temperature control
- Smart alerts
- Hard for one person to move
- WIFI connection issues
For one thing, you need to provide a supply of power to plug the grid in. You can't just take a bag of charcoal and fire it somewhere.
Having said that Davy Crockett, the Green Mountain, was built to take with you.
The legs were designed to be folded into a handy carrying handle.
You'll also get a few accessories included so you can get electricity from your home plug, from your car cigarette lighter or from your car battery. You may have a generator as well.
Nothing that gets near at this price point in terms of features and portability. WiFi control via tablet or smartphone is a fantastic feature that lets you control the temperature of your BBQ remotely (handy if you're lying by the pool).
|Green Mountain DCWF Portable Pellet Smoker Specifications|
21 x 20 x 15 inches
Ideal for convenient grill party.
The Largest: Cam Chef DLX Pellet Smoker
- Huge size
- Easy to cleanup
- Option to add sear box
- Bad quality meat probe
- Calibration issues
Camp Chef PG24DLX, but the 429 square inches of kitchen space leaves you wanting more.
The Camp Chef SmokePro LUX is a broad boy pellet grill packing 875 square inches of cooking rack surface and weighing 180 lbs.
While the capacity of the hopper is only 18, "a single load will last 12-14 hours in warm weather. It will go for longer if it's warmer outside.
|Cam Chef DLX Pellet Smoker Specifications|
45 x 21 x 51 inches
Electric, Petroleum Gas
Ideal for big grilling meal especially BBQ party.
How To Choose The Best Pellet Smoker for Beginners?
Durability and Material
Don't be fooled by the attractive outside of the pellet grill. Even if there is a lot of stainless steel on the exterior, the maker could have cut corners and used inexpensive materials to rust on the inside.
The most critical components of your pellet grill are the fire pot, the flame deflector, the drip pan and the grates. If these parts are made of marine grade stainless steel, you have a cooker that will last a lifetime.
When you're looking at a grill made of powder-coated plastic, make sure it's a really high-quality coating. As soon as the blister and chips are sprayed, the cooker will start to rust and the components will deteriorate.
Size of Hopper
As a guideline, a 40-pound pellet grill can give you about 40 hours of cooking time at normal smoking temperatures. Considering that certain cooks take about 20 hours, an 18-pound hopper, for example, is going to be troublesome.
And note, if you're living in a cooler environment, the cooker can need much more fuel to put the smoker up to keep the temperature down.
You should buy extensions for your pellet grill. Be sure that the hopper extender you buy is consistent with the pellet smoker you purchased, and that the vendor is reputable.
Nobody likes a pellet hog, that is, a pellet burner that chews over waste pellets. If your pellet cooker is too thin, the heat would be lost through the boiler body. It would need a lot of pellets just to keep the temperature down.
If the metal is so dense, you'll have a lot of pellets as well. A thick-bodied smoker's walls serve as a "heat drain." The heat is withdrawn from the cooking area and placed in the walls of the cooker. So, it's going to take a lot of pellets to get the cooking area to the target temperature. Although thick walls are suitable for certain types of cookers, they are not needed for pellet smokers.
WiFi Capability: Companies have begun to take advantage of the fact that pellet smokers have a machine in them by default. By adding WiFi access, you can track and regulate the temperature of your barbecue from just about anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. Companies like Green Mountain Grills are also selling free applications that you can download and use for supreme convenience.
Meat probes: Some pellet cookers have outputs in their controller that allow the meat probes to be plugged in directly. Readings taken from your meat will then be easily viewed on your cooker screen.
Grilling options: in the past, the lack of grilling capacity was a downside for pellet cookers. Any manufacturers have made it possible to grill, either by eliminating part of the diffuser plate or by having a dedicated barbecue area inside the cooker.
Pellet grills are somewhat different in price. Some are going to put you back a few hundred bucks, some cost thousands. One note of advice – don't compare a cheap cooker with a cooker of high value.
Cheap cookers can save you up front, but if they start rustling, parts fall down after a few short years, you don't have a decent warranty, and customer service isn't up to scratch, you'll pay more money in the long run.
On the other hand, if you buy a cooker that has all the bells and whistles, but you never use them, you'll have spent your hard-earned cash while a simpler cooker that cost less would possibly have done the trick.
Which Brands Make The Best Pellet Smoker for Beginners?
Char-Broil, located in Columbus, Georgia, is a maker of biomass, gas and electrical outdoor grills, smokers, freezers and associated appliances. Char-Broil has been one of the most respected outdoor cooking companies since it was founded in 1948.
Camp Chef is located in the heart of Cache Valley, Utah, surrounded by the stunning Bear River Mountain Range, the ideal location to test your venture. Each product is the culmination of Camp Chef 's commitment to outdoor cooking and its dedication to enhance and produce innovative products that meet the needs of its highly valued customers.
As a market leader in manufacturing for more than 20 years, Camp Chef manufactures high-quality items that deliver effective ways to prepare for virtually every outdoor event. From social activities to camping or even dinner on the back patio, Camp Chef will do it all.
Z GRILLS is the market pioneer and maker of the wood pellet barbecue! Our items are ranked "2019 Best Grills" on Forbes' official website! They We give our customers world-class culinary experience via our revolutionary 8-1 oven, including the opportunity to BBQ, smoke, bake, roast, braise & barbecue!
Pellet smokers are proving to be more than just a fad. While some old timers argue that they are nothing more than an 'expensive oven' for more novice smokers, the ease of usage and the consistency of the food they manufacture can not be overtaken.
Hopefully this tutorial will make you learn a bit more about the pros and cons of cooking with a pellet grill and help you find the best one for your budget and needs. Enjoy your smoking!