The 6 Best Pellet Smokers of 2020

Infuse your meat with delicious, smoky flavor

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Our Top Picks
"It has an automatic hot rod ignition for easy start ups in under 5 minutes."
"It's smartphone compatible, meaning that you can monitor and control the appliance remotely."
"This space-saving option is equipped with four wheels and a 45-pound hopper for easy non-stop smoking."
"Thanks to its wood chip box, this electric smoker will still give you that wood-fired flavor."
"This model is perfect for users who are new to pellet smoker technology."
"This 8-in-1 grill can be used to grill, smoke, bake, roast, sear, braise, barbeque and char-grill your favorite foods."

Best Overall: Traeger Eastwood 22 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

What We Like
  • Spacious grilling area

  • Cooks quickly and evenly

  • Easy to assemble and operate

What We Don't Like
  • Not easy to change wood pellet flavors

One of the biggest brands of pellet smokers and grills is Traeger, and their Eastwood 22 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker is arguably the best model you’ll find on the market today. This smoker is fueled exclusively by hardwood pellets, and it has a spacious 418 square inch grilling area that lets you cook all sorts of food. 

The Traeger Eastwood 22 boasts a steel construction and powder-coat finish, and it’s capable of grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, BBQing, and more. It has a digital controller that maintains its temperature, feeding more pellets into the burn cup as needed. The smoker has an 18-pound hopper, and Traeger offers a variety of wood pellets to use with this cooker, including hickory, applewood, and their signature blend. 

The most compelling aspect of this wood pellet smoker has to be the glowing reviews. Buyers say it’s beginner-friendly and the perfect size to cook meals for a family. Plus, many note it gives food an unbeatable flavor and cooks quickly and evenly. 

Best Smart: Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett WiFi Control Portable Wood Pellet Grill

What We Like
  • Lightweight and compact

  • Well built

  • Included portable power options

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Learning curve on temperature interface

  • Some design quirks

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could monitor and even control your pellet smoker from inside the house, instead of running out to check on it? Well, with the Green Mountain Davy Crockett Wi-Fi Control Portable Wood Pellet Grill, you can! Believe it or not, this smoker is Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to monitor and control the appliance right from your smartphone. 

This pellet grill and smoker has 210 square inches of cooking area, and its legs open and close to make it portable enough to bring camping or to the big game. It has a meat probe to help you monitor the temperature of your food, as well as a peaked lid for rib racks, a side tray with utensil hooks, and a thermal sensor. While it is on the smaller side, you can’t beat the convenience of this “smart” pellet smoker.

Our tester's friends raved about the flavorful burgers and brats that were prepared on this grill after a ski trip; they even enjoyed the light smoke ring effect.

"The grill's the included cable options meant I was ready to smoke anywhere I could imagine connecting to power."Justin Park, Product Tester

Best Vertical: Pit Boss 4 Pro Series Vertical Wood Pellet Smoker

What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Hopper can hold up to 45 pounds of pellets

  • Precise and consistent temperature control

What We Don't Like
  • Smoke may leak out of door seal during heavy smoking

Vertical pellet smokers have a small footprint while providing more cooking area, thanks to their tall, thin design. One of our favorite vertical pellet smokers is the Pit Boss Pro Series 4, which features an impressive 1,322 square inches of cooking space on its five porcelain-coated cooking racks. 

This pellet smoker can hold up to 45 pounds of pellets in its hopper, and the 5-in-1 cooking system can be used for smoking, roasting, baking, and more. The Pit Boss Pro includes a meat probe to help you measure the temperature of your food—without opening the door—and the dial-in digital control is easy to set. Thanks to its large hopper, this smoker can run for up to 25 hours, and reviewers say you shouldn’t hesitate to get one, as it’s easy to use and delivers mouth-watering results.

Best Electric: Pit Boss Silver Star 3-Series Digital Electric Vertical Smoker

What We Like
  • Cooking temp stays fairly consistent

  • Easy to assemble and use

  • Meat consistently comes out flavorful and moist

What We Don't Like
  • Digital display can be hard to read in daylight

Electric smokers are different than traditional pellet smokers in a few ways—the major difference is that the heat comes from an electric rod, as opposed to the combustion of wood pellets. However, electric smokers like the Pit Boss Silver Star 3-Series Digital Smoker still give you that wood-fired flavor thanks to a wood chip box. 

This digital electric smoker has four porcelain-coated cooking racks and a total cooking area of 748 square inches. The door has a large viewing window so you can watch your food cook, and the 1,650-watt electric heating element can deliver temperatures from 100 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The wood chip box is accessible from the exterior so you can add more chips as needed, and the unit’s rolling caster wheels make it easy to move around your deck. 

Several customers praise how consistently flavorful and moist their meat comes out after cooking. One customer notes, however, that it's difficult to make out the digital display when looking at it daylight.

Best Budget: Masterbuilt Analog Electric Smoker with 3 Smoking Racks

What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Heats up quickly

  • Spacious

What We Don't Like
  • Analog temp control takes some getting used to

Pellet smokers can get really expensive—we’re talking thousands of dollars—so if you’re new to the technology, you might want to start out with a budget-friendly product like the Masterbuilt 35B Electric Smoker. While this electric model technically uses wood chips instead of pellets, it will give you similar results at a lower price point. 

This vertical smoker includes three chrome-coated smoking racks that can hold up to three whole chickens at once. A 1,500-watt heating element delivers consistent smoke, and the unit has a built-in temperature gauge and variable temperature control. There’s a removable water bowl in case you need to add moisture to your food, and the wood chip tray slides out so you can add more wood while cooking. This electric smoker is easy to use, according to several customers, and delivers a taste the same as traditional pellet smokers. 

Most Versatile: Z GRILLS Upgrate Wood Pellets Grill Outdoor Smoker Grill

What We Like
  • Easy assembly

  • Sturdy construction

  • Spacious hopper

What We Don't Like
  • Has a bit of a learning curve

Sure, this pellet grill from Z Grills can grill and smoke—but it can do so much more than that! This 8-in-1 grill can be used to grill, smoke, bake, roast, sear, braise, barbeque and char-grill your favorite foods, making it the only appliance you’ll ever need in your yard. 

This pellet grill and smoker has a 432 square inch main cooking area, as well as two warming areas. It has an electric pellet feeding system that keeps the temperature precise, and it can be set anywhere from 180 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, it comes with a free cover! Buyers says this pellet smoker performs just as well as high-end brands thanks to its heavy-duty construction and spacious hopper, which can hold up to 20 pounds of wood pellets.

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Traeger Eastwood 22 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker because it's great for beginners and those cooking for families. Plus, it cooks quickly and evenly. Want to be able to pellet grill at tailgate parties or even ski trips? Try the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett WiFi Control Portable Wood Pellet Grill. It even offers Wi-Fi capability.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Camryn Rabideau is a writer and product tester for The Spruce Eats. She's written almost a dozen roundups on all types of grills and smokers, including the top gas grills under $200 and the best gas grills for tailgating.

What to Look for in a Pellet Smoker

Temperature range: While the actual temperatures that a grill can achieve depends 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 temperatures.

Hopper size: 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.

Unique features: 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. 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.

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