With their increasing popularity, pellet grills have become more plentiful, and the fight for the lowest price has been pretty intense. To purchase a pellet grill for less than $1,000, you need to accept thin metal and a certain lack of precision in the construction.
The Bottom Line
Case in point: the Camp Chef Pellet Grill & Smoker DLX comes with a thin lid prone to warping and bending out of shape. But the controller on this model includes a meat probe, a handy feature usually found on more expensive units. This unit can grill as well as most pellet cookers and smoke efficiently.
- Built-in meat probe
- Awkward ill-fitting lid
- Lightweight construction
- Consumer reports of damaged products
The Camp Chef DLX has 429 square inches of primary cooking area with up to 573 square inches of total cooking space. It operates with a temperature range of 180 to 500 F or 82 to 260 C.
The 18-pound capacity side-mounted pellet hopper includes a quick-empty trap door; there is also a removable bottom-mounted ash catcher. The cooking grates are made of steel, and the unit has a precision control panel with a temperature probe. It's manufactured in China with powder-coated steel, a single-layer lid, and an adjustable smoke stack cap.
This DLX model is Camp Chef's equivalent to the Traeger Lil Tex Pellet Grill. While this pellet grill has an improved controller, there isn't a lot of difference between the two that the average person would notice. At around $700, this is an inexpensive pellet grill; it might seem like a big price tag, but this is a budget product. To sell it at this price, Camp Chef needs to keep the metal content to a minimum. As a result, the Camp Chef DLX is built with a very thin body, which significantly reduces the unit's ability to retain heat.
But the biggest problem with this model is the chintzy lid. Thin and easily warped or bent, the lid gives people the most trouble with this cooker. If the lid doesn't close tightly, smoke and heat escape, leading to increased pellet consumption and a higher cost per cookout. The lack of heat retention deserves attention with pellet grills. Wood pellets are the most expensive grill fuel and if you are burning through bags of them because of a 1-inch gap between the body and the lid, that deserves your attention.
Overall, the Camp Chef Pellet Grill & Smoker DLX isn't a bad unit for the price. High-end pellet grills cost a few thousand dollars. They are complicated devices with motors, augers, and specialized fire pots. The big question you should ask yourself when considering a lower priced unit is whether or not you would be better served with both a grill and a separate smoker, or perhaps a Kamado grill, which, though it lacks the larger grilling surface, is at least equally good at smoking and superior at grilling.