There is nothing more beautiful than having a pellet smoker in your backyard.
Whether you choose to put it on the deck or by the poolside, the results will remain the same you are looking to have at all a lot of fun and family entertainment.
Modern pellet grills come in various shapes and sizes, making it easier to find a pellet smoker for your family’s needs. This, however, does not make the decision process any more comfortable, and that is where we step in. Not only have we identified the best pellet smokers’ in their category, but we have even gone ahead and tested four of these smokers for you. You can find the results of our test results in the testing experience below.
We hope that the information shared will be incredibly beneficial to you in your search for the best pellet grill.
How Do Pellet Smokers Work?
Looking at a pellet grill, one may be convinced that this cooker is hard to use and complicated to understand. This misconception over there could not be further from the truth. Like any new appliance, all you need is a bit of understanding and the patient to let it work. No, we break down for you to understand just how a pellet smoker works.
All pellet cookers have a cooking chamber in which air is circulated. Once this chamber is heated, you can cook your favorite rack of ribs, fish, turkey, and you name it. The cooking chamber is sometimes referred to as the firepot or burn pot, and this is where you can add charcoal or hardwood pellets to burn.
When the fire starts getting low, pellets are automatically dispensed from a hopper that is generally above the cooking chamber.
The pellets are pushed down a chute into the heart of the burning chamber. On some pellet cookers, the airflow can control the temperature of the range. For higher temperatures, heavy-duty fans pull air into the range while heat is released through the smoker’s top lid to reduce the temperature.
What Makes a Good Pellet Smoker?
Given The number of pellet smokers on the market, each creator tried to add their creativity to the products. What that leaves us with are a wide variety and options to choose from. There are pellet grills with WIFI connectivity and a variety of cooking options. So what you will find is that the main thing that makes a good pellet smoker is the ability to see all the options you would need in one smoker.
Some other factors to consider are:
- How much space is on the grill:
The grill you choose must be able to accommodate the number of persons in your family. The grill that works for a family of six may not work for a family of fifteen.
- What can be cooked on your grill:
You would want to ensure that the smoker can prepare all your favorite meals without any alterations. Whether it is barbecuing, Smoking, braising, or baking. Consider your cooking options before purchasing your grill.
- How modern do you want your grill to be:
There are now grills that can monitor and control and pellet dispensation and temperature of your grill using wifi connectivity. While they make life easier and more convenient, these options are not for everyone, so you can decide if you want this feature in your smoker.
How We Picked and Tested?
Choosing the pellet smokers that are the best in their categories was not an easy task. We tested four of the nine pellet smokers in our in-home kitchen. Some of the criteria they were tested on include how easy they are to clean, how easy they are to operate, how evenly they cook, and the temperature control, especially for indirect cooking. Other Pellet smokers that we did not get the opportunity to test were rated based on customer experience, amazon reviews, and manufacturers’ information.
We also considered factors like the smoker’s size and how particles the tool would use and operate. We also thought of the company’s reputation and the material they put into their products. All of our findings can be found on this page and will affect your decision in one way or another. Our only job here is to state the information as we see it, to assist you in making the right decision.
Quick List of The Best Pellet Smokers for 2021 and beyond.
As mentioned before, we have tested 4 of the 9 pellet smokers on this list in our in-home kitchen. The smokers we tested include (Click on the arrow ⇩ if you would like to jump to section) :
- (⇩) – Best Overall Smoker: Traeger Pellet Grill TFB30KLF tailgater 20 grill, black
- (⇩) – Best for Travelling: Traeger Grill ranger grill TBT18KLD Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
- (⇩) – Best for beginners and new users: ASMOKE Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
The pellet smokers for which we have relied on consumers experience and feedback:
- (⇩) –Best portable grill: Green Mountain Davy Crockett Sense Mate Electric wifi Control Foldable Portable
- (⇩) –Best versatile smoker: Z GRILLS ZP-450APRO Wood Pellet Grill Smoker
- (⇩) –Best durability in a Smoker: Pit Boss PB440D2 Wood Pellet Grill Mahogany
- (⇩) –Best newest model: Z Grills ZPG-6002E 2020b smoker 6 in 1
- (⇩) –Best compact smoker: Ozark Grills – The Razorback Wood Pellet
- (⇩) –Best offset pellet smoker: Ivation Automatic Wood Pellet Smoker
The Complete List of the Best Pellet Smokers Reviewed for 2021
Here is another smoker from Traeger, the tailgater 2 model, which includes a stable and even look and design. Manufacturers stated that they created this grill with Arc control and advanced grilling logic. This Traeger has a meat probe, a 5-degree temperature setting, and can be powered by both wood pellets and electricity.
The total cooking space is 300 Square inches, and up to 8lbs of pellets can hold in the hopper at a time. This smoker is not bulky, which makes it easier to store than larger smokers. It conveniently comes with two wheels for transportability, which are also barely noticeable. The finish and design on this smoker are clean full black with a compact design. You can fold the grill to fit in the back of a vehicle or for easy storage. It does have a small LED display with easy to use and understand standard controls.
The entire grill is lightweight when compared to other grills of some capacity. While the price is on the higher end, it is a favorite among buyers and grill lovers.
Our Testing Results:
The Traeger tailgater 2 is one of the first smokers we tested in our in-home kitchen, and we were not disappointed. While we were a little down about the smoker’s size, the other functionalities made it easy not to miss having a larger smoker. One thing about this smoker is that it has a meat probe that allows you to test the meat’s internal temperature without opening the lid smokers lid.
The grill on the inside is non-stick, making it a little easier to clean and get the meat off. There is also an option for the smoker to keep the meat warm even after the grill is turned off. Set up was a bit time consuming, which was our fault; if you read the manufacturer’s instructions, you should be fine. We added 12 burgers to the grill to test out the evenness and temperature control, and we had no evident problem even after a few trials. Our main downer, as mentioned before, was the size of the smoker.
- Lightweight and Easy to transports
- Easy to assemble and operate
- The cooking space may be too small
- The price is on the higher end
The green mountain davy smoker is portable, but it has several impressive features, including wifi capabilities controlled by a smart app. It also has a meat probe, a peaked lid for larger poultry, and a handy utensil holder. While many customers have both positive and negative remarks about this smoker, manufacturers have stood by their product and offered a warranty against the manufacturer’s damages.
The brand that produced this smoker is no stranger to the smoker industry and is becoming a household name. The fact smoker uses 110v or 12v and includes an adapter for three power sources. The old is peaked, making it easier to prepare whole poultry and larger racks of meat. A convenience tray and a meat probe are also included with this grill.
- Temperature sensor for consistent monitoring
- The legs and other areas fold so the smoker can fit in the back of a car
- Quality of the grill called into question too many times
- The handle may get scalding causing burns
Here is an impressive smoker with even more remarkable features. These include Supporting up to 6 probes, two probes in the standard configuration according to manufactures. Temperature Setting for this smoker can vary from Rare, medium rare, medium, medium-well, well done, or any way you would like for differently cooked food.
This range is said to have wifi configuration with 30 meters or 100ft (Indoor),50 meters or 160ft (Outdoor) ranges. Two L5V AA batteries are used to power this smoker, and the Pellet Purge System is said to be digitally controlled. The total cooking area for this smoker’s total cooking area is 452 sq. in, with the main cooking area being 324 sq. in. This 8 in 1 grill offers so many options, and most customers have not used all of them. This product too has customers with both positive and negative remarks, which we explore below.
- Compact and well designed
- The smoker has alarms and digital controls
- eliminates the need for an electric smoker
- Temperature control not always accurate
- Customer service is not as attentive as one would like.
- The grill may be smaller than some would like
The Pit Boss Grill in the 440D2 model is made from heavy-duty steel, and this particular unit is in Mahogany with a High-Temperature powder finish. The grill is complete with two large wheels that make it easy to carry around and a hopper lid and side shelves.
The 440D2 model also comes with a firm bottom bracket and a stainless steel thermometer. Manufacturers state that this grill was built to last and come equipped with an LEd digital display and dial-in temperature control. The temperature range on this grill is between 180 to 500 degrees. Like most modern-day pellet smokers, this Pit Boss used convection cooking to provide versatility to meals and prepare its meat. The 465 squares for cooking give endless possibilities to what you can prepare with this grill, from whole poultries to racks of ribs and more. You can cook up to 20 burgers at once using this smoker.
- Competitively priced
- easy to maneuver and transport
- Attractive finish and design
- Maybe too small for some household
- Maybe hard to assemble
- Customer service could be improved
Here is another pellet smoker from Z-grills. This smoker is modern with the versatility to braise, roast, bake, smoke, grill, barbeque, and more while providing the natural pellet wood taste. The temperature on this grill goes to a maximum of 1000 degrees, and you have the option of changing this grill to sealing mode.
The temperature is said by manufacturers to be well controlled as it stays within 10 degrees of the temperature that it is set for. It burns the wood pellets very efficiently, giving you a ratio of 20 hours of cooking for each 20lb of the pellet. This will save both time and money. This grill has an electronic ignition, which makes it even easier to start up your smoker. A digital automatic temperature control, an electric automated feeder system, and a LED temperature display are only a few of this smoker’s features.
The cart itself has a locking caster wheel for easy movement and transportation.
- Made from high-quality stainless steel material
- up to 3 years warranty with this grill
- two cooking racks
- setup was complicated for some customers
- The temperature on this grill is not always consistent
- The hopper could be better constructed
Here is another smoker that is much different than what you are used to, but according to customer reviews, it works just as well. It has latched leads, a mood to keep your food warm, meat probes that allow you to test the meat’s temperature without opening the lid, and digital Arc control. This smoker is not very large, which makes it an ideal travel size. While you may have to cook your food in smaller portions, the quality and Taste are not compromised.
This smoker can fit in the trunk of your vehicle, great for forest cooking and outdoor living, especially if you do not have a lot of space. You were okay with the temperature control on this range that your food will be the precise temperature you set it at. This smoker was built for the road.
The total weight of this grill is 60 pounds, and it comes with most of the features of a standard grill.
Our Testing Results:
When the smoker arrived, we were excited to try it out based on the customer reviews and comments. The packaging was well put together, and the setup process was the most manageable for the smokers in our testing experience.
We wanted to see how your average burgers would smoke as well as a rack of rib. After trying both, this smoker did live up to its positive reviews. The main problem we found was the size of the grease bucket for larger portions of meat. You will need to keep emptying the bucket to keep everything clean and to avoid a spill. Other than that, the smoker worked just as expected. Six burgers fit this smoker comfortably; larger racks of meat will need to be done one at a time.
- Great for camping and outdoor experiences
- Easy to control and maneuver
- I would not recommend it for home or personal use.
- A smoker with a convection fan may give more flavor.
Manufacturers aim to bring backyard cuisine to life with this Ozark pellet smoker. This smoker has an electronic control panel and can smoke, sear, grill, bake, and more. The smoker uses advanced technology to fuel the fire when it is running low without manual help.
The brand itself is known for providing quality products and good customer service. Manufacturers give straight forward and precise instructions on getting your smoker up and running, which most persons appreciate. Temperature control is said to be maintained with little to no change during the cooking process.
The digital display on the smoker allows the user to understand what is happening without much guesswork. The smoker is the smaller size, but not everyone likes or has space for a larger smoker.
- This grill is compact and relatively lightweight
- This smoker is versatile and easy to use
- Not ideal for a family of more than four
- The quality of the material used to make this grill could be better.
The next smoker on our list is also compact, travel size, and easily portable. From the A Smoke brand comes a smoker with innovative technology with temperature control and programmable meat probing. The temperature range on this smoker is between 180 to 500 degrees. With the smoker holder the right amount on its cooktop despite its small size.
The smoker has aunty magic pellet reloading and distribution, taking some leg work out of what the cook has to do. This smoker comes with a 5-year warranty and several bonus accessories and features. Manufacturers state that you will save up to 20% on pellets, compared to other smokers. Included in this smoker’s purchase is a waterproof covering to protect your smoker from water damage and harsh winter days.
Our Testing Results:
This smoker was one of our favorites in the testing experience. It came in well-placed packaging and was no hassle at all to set up. There is a lot of automation with this smoker. You can set it up to your requirements and leave it to do its thing in many ways. The rack of our grill was a bit loose, which we quickly fixed by adjusting. There was no guesswork with the assembly as the manufacturer’s instructions were easy to follow.
Hot dogs on this grill came out just like we wanted them, with even the grill lines to the side. The fire pit is right in the middle of this grill like we like it, which provides an even cook of whatever is on the grill. Overall the issues we found with this grill needed minor adjustments to be addressed. While it is not a larger grill, some would be preferred; it works just fine as a small grill.
- Easy to store and transport
- Superior temperature control and distribution
- It does not come with a stand
- Maybe too small for some groups
This all in one smoker and grill from Ivation has a unique design and look with several bonus features. For one, it has a digital LCD Precise Temperature Control, a built-in meat probe, utensils rack, a grease bucket, and a Flame Tamer. These smokers come with a covering and extra rack included and two large wheels for more comfortable transportation. Apart from the flavor from your wood smoked meat, manufacturers swear by the temperature control’s reliability on this smoker.
This smoker can perform all the tasks one would expect from their smoking, including barbecuing, smoking, roasting, baking, and braising. The LCD dashboard on the grill is easy to read and understand. The lid of the grill is indented purposely to improve the flavor and trap the smoke. The shelves on this grill are built-in and foldable drop shelving, which provides room for food preparation and larger portions of meat.
- Smoker seems to be made from high-quality material
- Modern Features and functionality
- Assembly is somewhat complicated.
- No way to remove the fire pit
Pellet Smokers Brands
For many customers, the quality of a pellet smoker is just as good as its name. In this case, we speak of the brands that produce quality smokers that customers can rely on. Many companies will try their very best to develop customer loyalty by providing value for money and quality products. The Pellet smoker industry is no different. That being said, here are some pellet smoker brands to consider for more reasons than one.
One of the most reputable companies in the Pellet smoking industry, with years of service and its reputation for producing high-quality and long-lasting pellet smokers. Over time, the company has successfully made pellet smokers with at least six in one capability, including grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, braising, and BBQing. They have been known to produce quality results, which some customers love.
The master built brand is American made products that cater to both professionals and beginners alike. They also have innovative features such as wifi configurations and Bluetooth capabilities. The company has been in operation since 1973 and has offered quality products to several customers. They feature several analogs and digital options where smokers are concerned, which is one reason they are a favorite among consumers.
This company offers a wide range of smokers in different sizes and with additional capabilities. Most notable about this company is that their grills come with a wide range of add-on options that can complement the smoker and make the experience even better. The creative design behind these smokers makes them a go-to brand in the smoker industry, right in the league of the more popular brands.
- Green Mountain
Another reputable company in the pellet smoker industry is the Green Mountain brand. Being a competitor with top brands, this company aims to be the best in price, innovation, and quality of products. They, too, offer products with modernized technology and accessories to enhance the smoking experience.
As you may have realized by now, the brands listed above are among the leading and main competitors in the smoker industry. While some of their products may be similar, each company tries to add a personal touch to let their product stand out in the market. We hope you can find what you are looking for in a pellet smoker from one of these popular brands. We recommend popular brands as we would be most familiar with their reputation.
Care and maintenance
While A pellet smoker is a convenient tool that looks good in your backyard, many people are not prepared to care for the smoker. Without proper care, your smoker can cause more harm than good.
You could be faced with buildup problems causing rust and deterioration, cross-contamination causing food poisoning, and more, Harmful chemical extortion that can create health problems once inhaled, and much more. However, no need to worry as we have some tips to assist you in caring for your smoker.
Let us begin:
- Cleaning your smoker can be a very tricky task. These are areas of the smoker that most will not pay attention to, but eventually, those would be the most important parts to clean. Some of these parts include cleaning the thermostat and grease chutes, Cleaning the grates, and scraping away buildup from the smoker’s lid.
- It is recommended that you clean your smoker after each cook and then perform a deep clean by pulling your smoker apart after every 50 hours of cooking.
- Ensure to power down and then unplug the grill. Unplugging the smoker without powering down may be problematic for the next user if they do not know this.
- Empty the grease bucket after each use.
- Clean the grill’s exterior with damp nylon cloth, do not wash down or put too much water on the smoker.
- If possible, use a vacuum to vacuum all the interior of your smoker and the fire pit. Make sure all the oils in your smoker are clear from obstruction.
- Do not use harmful chemicals to clean your smoker. Natural cleaners are recommended.
- Regularly replace the foil on the drip pan to avoid grease fires.
Now that you have found the pellet cooker you have been looking for, you must safely use your smoker. One is to ensure that at all times, they take every safety precaution needed to ensure the protection of themselves and their family members. Here are a few safety tips to consider when using your pellet smoker:
- Even if you’re a smoker is stored outdoors, try to keep your grill dry at all times and never use your smoker in the rain.
- Try to provide some form of covering for your smoker, whether it is an outdoor roof covering or purchasing a cover for your cooker. This will protect your appliance from exposure to sun rays and rain, and other unwanted moisture. In The winter months, try to store your oven in our garage if possible.
- Before unplugging your cooker, ensure that the control knobs are turned off.
- Clean your smoker once it cools down after each use. This will avoid unnecessary buildup and cross-contamination.
- Remember to keep the grill chimney open while cooking and operate your smoker in an area that is adequately ventilated.
- Please do not allow children to operate the grill or to touch it once in use. On some grills, even the handles can become hot at times.
- Close the grill properly to avoid small animals from crawling inside when you are not aware. For this reason, also your grill should always be thoroughly checked before use.
While we cannot exhaust all the safety precautions to consider when operating your grill, one should always remember that this is a hot appliance that is utilized mostly outdoors and bear this in mind once attempting to cook on the smoker.
A pellet smoker can be an easy and convenient way to bring all your favorite meals to the table. Not only does it have significant benefits since not much oil or fat is needed in the preparation process, but it also gives many options for variation in your meals. Whether you choose to barbecue, smoke, braise, bake, or roast your meat; a pellet cooker may be just what you need. In this article, we explored several smokers that stood out among their competitors.
We do not only take customer reviews and manufacturer information into account, but we also tested four of these smokers personally in or in the kitchen. The result of our tests was documented and presented here for you.
We have even gone ahead to adding safety tips and various ways to care for and maintain your smoker. Not all smokers are made equal, but if you have an idea of what to look for, you will undoubtedly be able to find one that will work for you.
We hope you would be better positioned to identify the pellet smoker that is right for you and your family by the end of this article.