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If you're searching for a grill that's easy to use and extremely versatile, a wood pellet grill might be just the product for you. These grills are powered by wood pellets that you put into a hopper attached to the grill, and they're automatically fed into the grill's firebox as you cook. This results in extremely even heat and minimal smoke and flare-ups, and most pellet grills automatically regulate their own temperatures, taking a lot of the trial and error out of grilling.
That's not all, either. Wood pellet grills are also extremely versatile and can be used for grilling, smoking, searing, and even baking. Some of today's top models are even Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to control the unit right from your phone.
Here, the best wood pellet grills to add to your grilling arsenal.
Best Overall: Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill
Consistent temperature control
Many unique features
Pellet feed issues
Somewhat narrow dimensions
Wood pellet grills are taking over patios in America, and it’s no surprise. With their convenience and versatility, these grills do almost all of the work for you using electricity. While there is a wide range of grills to choose from, we found that none compare to the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill. This model comes with a number of extra features, such as its included meat probes, adjustable smoke settings, large-capacity hopper, and side table for holding utensils, that make it stand out from the competition.
One standout feature is the automated auger, which feeds wood pellets to the grill. This unit also has an auto-start electric ignition, which means you can start the grill with a simple twist of a knob versus having to use lighter fluid and matches. Reviewers especially love how simple it is to clean. There is both a grease drain and a removable ash system that makes for a quick and easy cleanup.
This grill offers a lower rack measuring 429 square inches and an upper smoking area of 141 square inches. It also comes with a PID controller, a top-of-the-line feature that allows the user to adjust grill temperature more accurately (to within a few degrees). The temperatures for this model range between 160 and 500 degrees.
Weight: 140 lbs. | Grilling Area: 570 sq. in. | Hopper Capacity: 18 lbs. | Temperature Range: 160-500ºF | Dimensions: 45 x 21 x 51 inches
"In testing with standalone grill thermometers, the SmokePro DLX actually stayed within 10 degrees of the set temperature most of the time." — Justin Park, Product Tester
Best Portable: Green Mountain Davy Crockett WiFi Control Portable Wood Pellet Grill
Lightweight and compact
Includes portable power options
Learning curve on temperature interface
Some design quirks
If you’re someone who likes to grill when on vacation, this model is one of the most portable options available and one of the more affordable. Measuring 32 x 16 x 21 inches and weighing 68 pounds, this grill is great for picnicking or camping. The legs can be folded into convenient carrying handles so that it fits in the car and is easier to carry around.
There are 219 square inches of surface cooking area. It also has a large hopper, which can hold up to 18 pounds, making the need to refill much less frequently. This grill also features Sense-Mate technology, which monitors the grill temperature, and includes a convenient side rack for holding grill utensils. The temperature can be adjusted from 150 to 550 degrees in 5-degree increments.
This unit also comes with digital Wi-Fi control settings, which can be set on the mobile app. Users can control both the smoke and temperature remotely. The app also allows users to set timers for their food or program their grill with unique instructions. For instance, users can set up their grill to cook at one temperature for a set time and then automatically change to another temperature for a different set time.
Weight: 68 lbs. | Grilling Area: 219 sq. in. | Hopper Capacity: 9 lbs. | Temperature Range: 150-550ºF | Dimensions: 32 x 16 x 21 inches
"The grill’s thought-out tailgating power capabilities really set it apart. We were able to run the grill off a separate 12v marine battery for several hours without issue." — Justin Park, Product Tester
Best Budget: Z Grills ZPG-7002E Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
Improved pellet feed
Convection heat distribution technology
Great value for its size
Some temperature control issues
At around $500, this grill may not scream budget-friendly, but considering its size (and the fact that others cost upwards of $700), it's actually a great bargain. This unit uses convection heat distribution technology (like previous versions), which provides a versatile environment for grilling, baking, roasting, and searing. However, this model also has a number of upgrades.
The 7002E is unique in that it is stainless steel built, meaning it is less susceptible to corrosion. Other upgrades include a more precise temperature control (most stay within 10 degrees of set temperature) and a new and improved pellet feed system. This automated electric feed system maintains the temperature of your grill for you, ranging from 180 to 450 degrees.
In terms of space, it has a large, 513-square-inch grilling area and a 187-square-inch smoking/warming rack (totaling 700 square inches). This grill also has a whopping 20-pound hopper (equivalent to 20 hours of cooking), an electronic auto-start ignition, and an LED temperature readout. Many users claim this grill is super easy to use and makes maintaining temperature a piece of cake. It also comes with two wheels to move it around easily, a grill cover, and a three-year warranty.
Weight: 112 lbs. | Grilling Area: 700 sq. in. | Hopper Capacity: 20 lbs. | Temperature Range: 180-450ºF | Dimensions: 48 x 22 x 51 inches
Best Electric: Traeger Pro 575 Wifi Pellet Grill and Smoker
"Set it and forget it" temperature control
TurboTemp allows fast startup
Expensive for its size
Wi-Fi abilities are unreliable
All wood pellet grills are dependent on electricity, but not all grills have an electric starter and temperature control. As the brand behind the first wood-pellet grill, Traeger has upgraded the original with bells and whistles such as an auto-ignition to fire up the grill quickly as well as an automatic auger system that feeds the pellets and controls the heat to your desired temperature.
Reviewers rave about the “set it and forget it” temperature control because it makes grilling so much simpler. Simply turn the dial to your desired temperature, push ignite, and the grill does the rest of the work. The total cooking space measures 575 square inches and includes an 18-pound hopper capacity. It supports temperatures of 165 to 500 degrees. This grill is also versatile in that it can smoke, bake, braise, and barbeque.
This unit is also equipped with Wi-Fi technology, allowing users to monitor and adjust their grill’s temperature from their phones.
Weight: 124 lbs. | Grilling Area: 575 sq. in. | Hopper Capacity: 18 lbs. | Temperature Range: 165-500ºF | Dimensions: 41 x 53 x 27 inches
Best for Beginners: Weber Smokefire EX4 Wood Fired Pellet Grill
Lots of automation
App is easy to use
App doesn't always allow customization
Only two probes included
The first-generation Weber SmokeFire Pellet Grill—a highly anticipated product from the trusted brand—was plagued with issues, including hopper jamming and poor grease damage. However, Weber has since addressed these problems and released the second-generation SmokeFire EX4, which performs notably better than its predecessor.
This pellet grill offers 672 square inches of cooking space across its upper and lower grates, and it can be programmed anywhere between 200 and 600 degrees, allowing you to smoke, sear, and more. It has a DC-powered engine to prevent pesky pellet jams, and it comes with two meat probes, as well as built-in Weber Connect, a handy grilling assistant that will walk you step-by-step through the cooking process—ideal for those who are just learning their way around the grill.
Weight: 160 lbs. | Grilling Area: 672 sq. in. | Hopper Capacity: 20 lbs. | Temperature Range: 200-600ºF | Dimensions: 47 x 43 x 33 inches
"The cooking programs and recipes were nice, but I also liked that I could set my own cooking temperatures when I wanted to." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best for Pizza: Ooni Fyra Portable Wood-Fired Outdoor Pizza Oven
Reaches extremely high temperatures
Cooks pizza quickly
Breaks down for easy storage
Good for more than just pizza
Learning curve for operation
If you’re looking for something smaller that still maintains high temperatures, this model is incredibly powerful and petite. Reaching temperatures of up to 932 degrees, this compact unit (measuring 29.1 x 15.3 x 28.3 inches) heats up in only 15 minutes and can cook pizzas in just 60 seconds. It is also very portable due to its lightweight design (weighing only 22 pounds) and the ability to break down.
Users can remove the unit’s chimney and hinged legs, so they can take it along to the beach or park for a party. Beyond pizza, this grill can also roast meat, fresh bread, fish, and vegetable dishes in just minutes. This grill has a cooking surface of 12 inches and comes with a stone baking board. The stone is very durable and can be used for other foods besides pizza as well. This model also comes with a three-year warranty when registered on the manufacturer’s site.
Weight: 22 lbs. | Temperature Range: Up to 950ºF | Pizza size: 12 inches | Dimensions: 29 x 16.25 x 28.75 inches
Best Large Capacity: Oklahoma Joe's Rider 900 Pellet Grill
More than 900 square inches of cook space
Two cooking modes
Ability to sear over live fire
Reasonable price for its size
Issues operating in cold weather
If you regularly cook for a crowd, the Oklahoma Joe's Rider 900 Pellet Grill has more than 900 square inches of cooking space across its two porcelain-coated cast iron grates. It's so big that it can accommodate six racks of ribs or multiple whole chickens at once!
This pellet grill has easy-to-use digital controls, and you can choose between two modes: Timer Mode, which cooks food for set amount of time at your desired temperature, or Temp-Probe Mode, which indicates when your food has reached its target internal temperature. The grill has a QuickDraw hopper with a 20-pound capacity, as well as dual smoke stacks for more even heat.
Weight: 185 lbs. | Grilling Area: 900 sq. in. | Hopper Capacity: 20 lbs. | Dimensions: 35.2 x 49.4 x 55.1 inches
We highly recommend the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill, which is easy to use and delivers top-tier performance for a moderate price. If you're looking for something that you can take on the road, the Green Mountain Davy Crockett Wood Pellet Grill is lightweight and compact, and it yields delicious food with great smoky flavor.
What to Look For in a Wood Pellet Grill
As with any grill, you'll want to look for a wood pellet grill that's an appropriate size for your cooking needs. Consider the dimensions of the grill, which will impact how it fits into your home, as well as its cooking area. It's specifically beneficial to look at the primary cooking area, as some brands inflate the overall cooking space of their grills with the addition of multiple racks.
Wood pellet grills are most commonly used for cooking low and slow, but if you're looking for a model that can do traditional grilling, be sure to look at its temperature range. A pellet grill that only goes up to 400 degrees isn't going to be very effective at searing meat—at the minimum, you'll want a model that goes up to 500 degrees to put beautiful char marks on your food.
All pellet grills have a hopper where you load wood pellets, and there are a few things you'll want to look at as you shop. First of all, consider the hopper capacity. Models with larger hoppers can be operated for longer periods of time without needing to be refilled, which is essential if you're planning to smoke brisket or other time-consuming recipes.
Another feature you may want to look for is the ability to empty the hopper. Certain pellet grills have a trap door that allows you to empty pellets out of the hopper, and this allows you to switch to a different pellet flavor or remove the fuel to troubleshoot your grill. Cheaper grills often lack this feature, forcing you to use up all the pellets in the hopper before switching to new pellets.
If water gets into the hopper of your pellet grill, the wood pieces will expand, clogging the hopper and auger. As such, it's important to cover your grill when not in use, especially if you're planning to keep it outdoors. You'll want to look at whether the pellet grill you're buying includes a cover, and if it doesn't, be sure to check the price of buying one separately.
How does a wood pellet grill work?
Wood pellet grills are unique in their operation, and it can take a while to get used to them if you typically cook on a gas or charcoal grill. Pellet grills are fueled by hardwood pellets, which you load into the grill's hopper. These small pellets of wood are slowly fed into a fire pot in the main cooking chamber by an auger, and they are burned a little at a time. Heat and smoke from the fire pot are dispersed throughout the grill, which cooks food with indirect heat instead of open flames, and the grill will maintain its set temperature by feeding more or less pellets into the fire pot.
Are all wood pellet grills electric?
Wood pellet grills require electricity to operate their augers, fans, and other internal components, so make sure you have an outdoor outlet nearby where you can plug in your grill.
How fast do wood pellets burn in a grill?
The speed at which you go through wood pellets depends on the temperature you're cooking at. If you're cooking at a high temperature, you'll likely go through around 2 pounds of pellets per hour. At low smoking temperatures, your grill may only go through 1/2 pound of pellets in an hour.
How do you light a wood pellet grill?
Wood pellet grills are extremely easy to start—it requires almost no effort on your part and is similar to preheating an oven. You'll want to open the lid of your grill, then power the grill on. Once you select your desired cooking temperature, the grill will begin heating up its fire pot and feeding pellets into it from the hopper (at which point you can generally close the lid). It often takes 10 minutes or more for pellet grills to reach the desired cooking temperature.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Cheyenne Elwell's favorite part of outdoor cooking is the smell of food fresh off the grill, especially in the hot days of summer. She has experience testing and using a variety of grills including electric, gas-powered, wood-fired, and charcoal models.
This article was updated by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce Eats. She's written close to a dozen pieces on all styles of grills and done firsthand testing of smokers and grills featured in her articles.