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Wood pellet grills, or pellet smokers, are known for imparting smoky, rich flavor onto whatever you’re cooking, and they leave behind almost no waste, making them a breeze to clean up. Pellet grills can generally cook at temperatures between 150 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning that you can smoke foods at low temperatures or sear foods at higher temperatures. Plus, because these machines are operated electronically, it’s much easier to control and maintain temperatures than if you were using a charcoal grill or traditional smoker.
To find the best pellet smokers available today, we purchased several top-rated models for our expert food writers to test at home. We looked at factors such as their setup process, heat control, heat retention, and size, using each grill to cook a wide range of foods and rating its performance accordingly. Thanks to our at-home testing, we also were able to experience the delivery process for each grill, which can be somewhat complicated due to their large size.
Whether you're a novice griller who wants to try something new or a seasoned smoking enthusiast, here are the best pellet smokers, according to our testing data.
Best Overall: 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
For a high-performing pellet smoker with all the bells and whistles, this Weber model is a top contender. It has a temperature range of 200 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, making it ideal for grilling as well as smoking, and it's equipped with Weber Connect technology, which allowed us to monitor the grill temperature, recipe progress, and temperature probes from a distance in our at-home testing. With close to 700 square inches of cooking space, the Weber Pellet Grill has plenty of room for large cuts of meat or a ton of burgers, and our tester thought it was easy to start and convenient to operate, as the two included probes keep tabs on the doneness of food. Plus, the stainless steel flavorizer bars make for extra tasty meats, and the grease tray allows for quick and easy cleanup.
The large 20-pound pellet hopper allows you to cook for long periods of time without needing to refill the pellets, but in the event you want to swap in a different flavor, there's a release door that allows the pellets to drain out of the bottom of the grill. Convenient side handles and a porcelain-enameled lid provide convenience and durability, while the locking wheels allow you to slide the smoker around between uses. For a grill with all the added features, look no further than this thoughfully designed model.
Dimensions: 30.3 x 43.5 x 31.3 in. | Weight: 170 lbs. | Grilling Area: 672 sq. in. | Hopper Capacity: 20 lbs. | Temperature Range: 200-600ºF
"Thanks to WiFi, it’s possible to monitor the grill temperature, recipe progress, and temperature probes from a distance, so there’s no need to hover over the grill to see what’s going on." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Budget: Green Mountain Davy Crockett WiFi Control Portable Wood Pellet Grill
Lightweight and compact
Included portable power options
Learning curve on temperature interface
Some design quirks
If you're looking for a budget-friendly pellet smoker that can be used at home or on the go, the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Grill and Smoker is a top choice. While its setup process isn't the most user-friendly, our testers loved that this grill gives you the ability to control and monitor the temperature from your phone thanks to its portable Wi-Fi control feature.
With 210 square inches of cooking, the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett smoker has plenty of space for big groups and entertaining, and its legs can open and close, making it super easy to transport in a compact and easy manner. In our home testing, we found the legs to be a little short—it's best used on a tabletop, truck bed, or other elevated surface if you plan to grill standing up. The grill is very well-built, though, and it offers reliable heat control that stays within 50 degrees of your set temperature.
Comparatively speaking, this grill is on the smaller side, but its “smart” capabilities make it easy to use and worthwhile addition to your outdoor cooking toys.
Dimensions: 29.92 x 14.96 x 21.65 in. | Weight: 57 lbs. | Grilling Area: 219 sq. in. | Hopper Capacity: 9 lbs. | Temperature Range: 150-550ºF
"The grill's included cable options meant I was ready to smoke anywhere I could imagine connecting to power." — Justin Park, Product Tester
Best Splurge: Traeger Ironwood 885 WiFi Pellet Grill and Smoker
Able to grill, smoke, and bake
Wi-Fi abilities are reliable and convenient
Delivers extremely even cooking
Hopper cleanout door makes it easy to switch pellets
Takes a while to heat up
If you spend time grilling and smoking every weekend, the high-end Traeger Ironwood 885 is a worthwhile splurge for your home. The Spruce Eats received a free unit for at-home testing, and we found that the heavy-duty grill delivered impressively consistent results on a wide range of foods, including everything from smoked pork to chocolate chip cookies. While it doesn't come cheap, this pellet grill offers a wide range of convenient features that make it a joy to use, and it's versatile enough to replace all your other outdoor cooking tools.
The Ironwood grill boasts 885 square inches of cooking space across two racks, and it can hold up to 20 pounds of wood pellets in its hopper, which has a trap door that allows you to easily switch out pellet flavors. Its temperature can be set anywhere between 165 and 500 degrees, and the "Super Smoke" setting produces extra smoke for a more flavorful result. In our testing, the grill did an unbeatable job maintaining a consistent temperature, never straying more than 10 degrees from its set temperature, even with the lid open. However, we did notice that it usually takes 10 to 15 minutes to heat up.
Another one of this grill's selling points is its Wi-Fi capabilities, which allowed us to monitor and adjust the grill and its temperature probe from anywhere. The app can even follow a recipe automatically, adjusting the temperature after a set period of time. How's that for fancy?
Dimensions: 53 x 27 x 47 in. | Weight: 175 lbs. | Grilling Area: 885 sq. in. | Hopper Capacity: 20 lbs. | Temperature Range: 165-500ºF
"The grill does an amazing job maintaining a consistent temperature. In the many hours I spent cooking on it, the Ironwood never strayed more than 10 degrees from the set temperature, even after the lid was open." –Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester
Best for Smoking: Z Grills 450A Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
Affordable price point
Food is extremely flavorful
Maintains consistent heat
Comes with rain cover
Prep tables are too small
Doesn’t get hot enough to sear
For those who want a pellet grill to create delicious smoked foods, the Z Grills ZPG-450A Wood Pellet Grill is a budget-friendly option. It has a modest temperature range of 180 to 450 degrees, and during our at-home testing, we found that it doesn't get quite hot enough to get a good sear on burgers or steaks. However, this pellet smoker shined when it came to smoking pork at a low temperature, yielding an absolutely delicious, flavorful meat.
With 450 square inches of cooking space, this pellet grill is a great size for families and fits nicely into a humble outdoor cooking area. It can hold up to 15 pounds of wood pellets at a time, and we liked that it comes with a cover, which is essential for protecting the hopper from the elements when left outside. The grill did take quite a while to preheating in our testing—sometimes as long as 20 minutes—but it managed to maintain consistent heat within 15 degrees of its set temperature, even in windy conditions.
Dimensions: 45 x 28 x 49 in. | Weight: 84 lbs. | Grilling Area: 450 sq. in. | Hopper Capacity: 15 lbs. | Temperature Range: 180-450ºF
"The pork smoked at 250 for around 7 hours, and the grill did a perfect job maintaining its heat, even though it was somewhat windy. There wasn’t a ton of smoke given off at 250 degrees, but the end result was still packed with flavor and fall-off-the-bone tender." –Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester
Best Traeger: Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill & Smoker
Easy hopper clean-out
6-in-1 cooking options
Large temperature range
No Wi-Fi capabilities
Known for smokers and grills, Traeger makes a slew of great products for all of your outdoor cooking needs. This particular grill and smoker gives you the option to grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, or BBQ whatever it is that you’re cooking. With 572 square inches of cooking space, you can cook four chickens, five racks of ribs, or 24 burgers all at once. The hopper cleanout options make for simple cleanup that you can’t beat.
The steel construction is undeniably durable, so there’s no need to worry if you’re keeping the grill in a location that’s subject to intense weather and outdoor conditions. While this particular model is not equipped with Wi-Fi capabilities, it still offers reliable temperature monitoring.
Dimensions: 49 x 41 x 27 in. | Weight: 103 lbs. | Grilling Area: 572 sq. in. | Hopper Capacity: 18 lbs. | Temperature Range: Up to 450ºF
Best for Entertaining: Oklahoma Joe's Rider Deluxe Pellet Grill in Black
1,200+ square inches of cooking
175°F to 650°F temperature range
20-pound wood pellet capacity
No Bluetooth capabilities
No pellet purge system
If you’re in need of a whole lot of surface area for cooking, then this grill has what you need. With over 1,200 square inches of cooking, Oklahoma Joe's Rider Deluxe has the capacity to cook a ton of food at once. The tall-body smoke chamber offers premium capacity and two levels of cooking on porcelain-coated cast iron grates. Whether you’ll be cooking large cuts of meat or just a whole lot of food at one time, this smoker can accommodate a huge amount of food.
Aside from its large size and unparalleled capacity, it also offers a bunch of other noteworthy features. The pit control system affords you smart, high-tech cooking while monitoring the internal temperatures of the foods that you’re cooking. Removable ash cups allow for easy cleanup and heat-proof handles ensure you won’t accidentally burn yourself while maneuvering the grill. A convenient front shelf and towel bar give you added room for food prep and storage. Wagon-style wheels give you the choice to cart the grill around, if needed, and lock it in place when it’s time to use it.
Dimensions: 46.5 x 30.5 x 22.4 in. | Weight: 223 lbs. | Grilling Area: 1,200 sq. in. | Hopper Capacity: 20 lbs. | Temperature Range: 175-650ºF
Best Tabletop: Traeger Ranger Pellet Grill and Smoker in Black
Easy to transport
Cannot control temperature digitally
No grease pan
For a pellet smoker that won’t take up your entire outdoor entertaining space, this compact model is a great option. You can prop this up on a table outside easily or bring it on your next outdoor adventure. The 8-pound hopper is quite large considering the humble size of the grill. The grill also comes with an optional griddle that you can use for eggs, breakfast meats, and pancakes if desired. Reviewers love how easy it is to transport, noting that the grill probably burns about a pound of wood per hour, so you should be set with one full hopper for a weekend of cooking.
Because of the lack of a grease tray, reviewers recommend staying on top of the maintenance by vacuuming out dust and wiping away residual grease. Though you lose some of the added features and high-temperature capabilities that other grills offer, you cannot beat the ease of transporting this one.
Dimensions: 20 x 21 x 13 in. | Weight: 60 lbs. | Grilling Area: 184 sq. in. | Hopper Capacity: 8 lbs. | Temperature Range: Up to 450ºF
Best Vertical: Pit Boss Copper PBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker
Uses a probe to monitor temperatures
Large hopper for 24+ hours of cooking
Uses vertical space efficiently
No grilling/high-heat capabilities
Vertical smokers offer a lot of cooking space without taking up all of your outdoor cooking area. If you’re not interested in using your pellet grill for high-heat cooking and want to focus mainly on smoking, this is a great option. This smoker allows you to monitor internal temperatures with a probe and digital LED readout. Not to mention, the 40-pound hopper gives you more than 24 hours of cooking, so you can definitely slow cook things overnight without worrying about your wood pellets running out. If low and slow meats are your priority, then this smoker is going to become your next outdoor cooking companion.
With a temperature range of 150 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, you can easily achieve all your smoking and oven roasting temperatures. Auto shutoff is a great safety feature to ensure that the machine cools down slowly and carefully. The porcelain-coated cooking racks are also extremely durable and heat evenly. Reviewers are impressed by how easy it is to assemble and use.
Dimensions: 26 x 22 x 53 in. | Weight: 97 lbs. | Grilling Area: 901 sq. in. | Hopper Capacity: 40 lbs. | Temperature Range: 150-400ºF
According to our testing, the Weber SmokeFire EX4 (2nd Gen) Wood Fired Pellet Grill is an unbeatable choice for both beginners and experienced grillers. In addition to a sleek design, it offers a larger-than-average temperature range, precise temperature control, and a large number of convenient smart features. Or, for a high-end model with ample automation, consider the Traeger Ironwood 885, which can be used to grill, smoke, bake, and more.
How We Tested
To test these pellet smokers, we sent them directly to the homes of our expert food and grilling writers. Our reviewers spent weeks using them to see how they stood up to a variety of cooking tasks, from everyday grilling to smoking meat and more. They were also able to offer additional insights including how quickly the products shipped, how easy they were to set up and store, and more. After testing, our writers submitted their feedback about what they liked and didn’t like and rated each one on the following factors: setup, heat retention, heat control, size, and features.
What to Look for When Buying a Pellet Smoker
While the actual temperatures that a grill can achieve depend partly on ambient temperature and weather, if you want to cook at extremely high or low temperatures, it’s good to check out the grill’s rated temperatures to make sure you can get close to your desired cooking heat.
Pellets go into a hopper, which then feeds the fire. The larger the hopper, the less often you need to fill it. If you plan on doing a lot of low and slow cooking, a bigger hopper is a good idea. If you cook a lot of steaks, burgers, and seafood, a big hopper is much less important.
While any of these grills will cook your food well, they all have their own unique features, and their own look and feel. The sizes and shapes are different, as are the controls. Some have smart capabilities, some have better wheels for transporting, and some have easy hopper-cleanup options. When you’re spending a lot of money on a grill, it’s important to pick the one that has everything you want as well as what you need.
What is a pellet smoker?
Pellet smokers are outdoor cookers that are known for imparting a rich, wood-smoked flavor onto all of the food that it cooks. These grills typically combine smoking and grilling, and they are electric machines that run on hardwood pellets, rather than being fueled by propane. They come in a variety of different styles and sizes, depending on how you’ll plan to use the smoker. Pellet smokers heat up quickly and you don’t have to worry about potential flareups, which are common occurrences with gas grills.
How does a pellet smoker work?
Pellet smokers are fueled by wood pellets, which are also generally known as the easiest fuel to use. The pellets produce less than 1 percent of ash (significantly less than charcoals), which means that a large 40-pound bag of pellets will amount to ½ cup of ash in total. Wood pellets also provide rich, smoky flavor. Pellet smokers work by pouring wood pellets into a small compartment called the hopper. Then, these pellets are fed into a chamber by an electric-powered auger. The wood pellets ignite because of combustion, thus heating the cooking chamber. Air is brought in by small intake fans, and this combination of air, smoke, and heat creates a hot, smoky cooking area.
Are all pellet grills smokers?
Different pellet grills have different temperature capabilities, but generally speaking, pellet grills can cook at temperatures between 180 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which allows you to cook low and slow, or at super high heats. So yes, pellet grills can act as smokers because of their potential to cook at super low heat and with wood pellets. Some home cooks like to use their pellet grills overnight (a “set it and forget it” kind of project) so that food can cook for an extra-long time in the hot, smoky chamber. Pellet grills use an automated fuel and air system, which means it’s much easier to control their temperature than that of a traditional smoker.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Sara Tane has written nearly a dozen buying guides for The Spruce Eats, understanding what consumers and cooks need to consider before making a new purchase for their culinary adventures. After researching gas grills, charcoal grills, budget grills, and portable grills, she can help you find the best outdoor cooking set up for your home.