Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255. This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
Pellet smokers are the ultimate backyard amateur BBQ chef’s tool. Smoking meats to perfection, these grills come in all shapes and sizes with the sole purpose of cooking delicious smoked delight! These pellet smokers come in many shapes and sizes and are specially designed to add that signature smoked taste to any number of backyard BBQ creations you could possibly come up with! What really is the best pellet smoker?
The Best Pellet Smoker
Pellet smokers rely on a combination of solid fuel and gasses, sometimes operating on either one or both for dual-purpose units. Whether it’s charcoal, propane, or electric heat all of these units rely on various fuel methods and you should select one that has the right configuration for your needs. If you’re already using a charcoal grill, you may want to upgrade to a wood pellet and propane fueled smoker so you can stick with your tanks!
Why get a Pellet Smoker?
That being said, nothing compares to the satisfaction of cutting into a perfectly smoked piece of meat. To that end, you’ll have to consider which pellet smoker can deliver you the best results. They’re an essential for aspiring backyard BBQ heroes, and armchair chefs in the making. Let’s be honest, any dad out there would be happy to unwrap a pellet smoker as a gift! In these reviews I’ll hope to narrow down the winner, a pellet smoker that is the most versatile, reliable and useful for its price point.
Pellet grills combine the best of both worlds when it comes to getting that perfect smoked, mesquite and BBQ taste. With some units adding grilling capability, it allows for foods with different cooking times to be cooked at once. They vary in fuel source, size, cooking surface as well as design. We’re going to review a few of the more popular pellet smokers on the market so you can decide which one would best fit on your back deck.
Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker/Grill
This little pellet smoker is the ultimate middle ground in price, convenience and features.it’s small, lightweight and perfect for just about any occasion whether it’s the backyard or the campground. It even incorporates a fair bit of technology into the craft of smoking meat with its wifi-enabled operation and temperature monitoring, as well as a built in probe thermometer.
Compact, foldable and well designed this small grill also has the ability to tackle a wide variety of jobs. Ever wanted to try smoked beer can chicken? This pellet grill features a peaked lid design for just that purpose! Whether it’s a stand-up bird or a rack of ribs, you can be sure it will fit on the Davy Crockett pellet smoker’s cooking surface.
- Pellets are delivered by an electronic hopper eliminating the need to replenish pellets during the cooking process.
- Wifi-enabled operation allows for wireless temperature monitoring and ‘set it and forget it’ smoking.
- Compact size and relatively mid-range price point make for a great portable value pellet smoker.
- Cooking surface accommodates large meats but not very many of them, preferable for small gatherings.
- Might not look impressive on the back deck, definitely more ideal (in looks) for the campsite, festival or hunting trip.
- Wifi-enabled/app supported devices rely on updates and support for longevity. While the likelihood of experiencing an issue with newer phones is lower, not everyone who uses this grill might consider themselves technologically inclined.
Big Horn Outdoors Pellet Smoker
This is a slightly more traditional style pellet smoker, featuring the timeless barrel-designed cooking chamber with a standard pellet feeder, smokestack and fixed legs. With very sturdy construction this steel pellet smoker will be a backyard boss, with two different cooking shelves it has increased smoking surface of up to 700sq inches, (that’s 20 burgers, or 3 chickens)..
The one thing I’ve got to say I like about the Big Horn pellet smoker is its looks. It’s exactly what you’d expect to see in a smoker and it delivers in cooking results what it does in style. Combining the best of a grill and smoker all in one, this unit is completely wood pellet fueled. This means it dosen’t rely on charcoal, propane or any other heating fuel for smoking and cooking the meat.
This is definitely one for those looking for that pure pellet smoker experience.
- Mid-to-high range price point delivers lots of cooking surface and good all-steel construction
- Digital temperature control provides precise control over cooking temps.
- Temperature relies on the amount of pellets used allowing for a wide variety of cooking styles.
- Lid does not seal quite as tightly as other models although it affects temperature variation very little over the cooking process.
- Only offers a small fold-out wire table for plates or trays.
- Slightly higher-end price range for good quality, but few differentiating features.
Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Pellet Smoker
Traeger is a top of the line name in backyard grills. This grill is completely wood fired, featuring a pellet hopper with an auger driven system that delivers the perfect amount of pellets throughout the cooking process. Quality comes with the higher-end price tag. You can also rely on Traeger’s own proprietary pellets for optimal performance, which for someone like me makes it an easy ‘one stop shop’ experience.
Speaking in terms of cooking surface, the 572 sq inches of space on this pellet smoker allow for 24 burgers, or 4 chickens. While you’re looking at a higher price tag, you get a lot for what you pay for with this Traeger pellet smoker.
- Large cooking space
- Auger-powered pellet feeder
- Sturdy construction and well designed finish
- Higher price point may not fit into everyone’s budget
Z Grills ZPG-7002B
This wood pellet smoker/ grill combo by Z Grills is a great compromise if you’re not quite ready to ditch your grilling ability in the backyard! This grill runs purley on wood pellets supplied by a hopper just like the other models, except without the option for multiple fuel sources.
One thing that sets this unit apart from the others is the addition of a convection fan to decrease cooking time and distribute heat more effectively. This feature can actually be used in place of a rotisserie add-on, spreading heat all over the meat instead of requiring the use of a turning rod.
An electronic ignition makes lighting the grill easy, so it’s ready to go as soon as your meat is prepared! Temperature controls make easy work of maintaining a consistent cooking environment. Personally I find the features on the Z Grill pellet smoker to be a welcome addition, anything that makes cooking easier is a win for me!
- This grill champions its ease-of-use with a convection fan for even cooking and an automatic wood pellet feeder with electronic ignition
- Largest cooking surface in its class, with a large open space for cooking just about anything.
- Sleek and consistent design that will match your backyard well.
- Mid-range pricetag
- Might be considered too general purpose for those looking for a single-use pellet smoker.
- Slightly lower temperature limit due to wood pellet only fuel, more well suited for longer smoked meat times as opposed to a quick burger grilling session.
Pit Boss 77220 Pellet Smoker
This smoker is more suitable for longer cooking times, and less for backyard entertaining. This pellet smoker uses electronic power and wood pellets or chips for smoking and cooking meats. It also features fully analog controls for power-free operation. It’s stacked design lets your pellets last a big longer, and exposes meats, cheeses or vegetables to a higher volume of smoke and therefore flavor.
It’s temperature maxes out at 325F, in other words you definitely won’t be using this to cook up a few burgers. This is designed for cooking chicken, brisket and roasts for hours on end using smoke and wood heat to slowly bring meats to their delicious, smokey perfection.
- Great utility smoker for long cooking times using only wood pellets or chips
- Electronic and analog operation for versatility.
- Tight seal and stacked design to maximize smoking results
- Low price point.
- Relatively smaller cooking area, more designed for cooking a few large cuts as opposed to lots of burgers, hotdogs etc.
- Blue finish makes this pellet smoker one of the less attractive looking models, definitely not designed as a backyard BBQ centerpiece.
What is the Best Pellet Smoker?
As far as versatility, design and quality are concerned, I would pick the Traeger pellet smoker out of all the units I reviewed. Its design offers a great backyard cooker you can really be proud of. I also find the availability of proprietary pellets and the backing of an American company to give some piece of mind which compliments the design quality of the unit really well.
While it’s on the more expensive end of the spectrum, this pellet smoker is more or less a luxury item so the use has to be taken into consideration. You get what you pay for with the Traeger Pro Series 22 pellet smoker. Also I enjoy the versatility of a grill and smoker, with an industry leading construction and smart design. It has a large cooking surface for burgers and hotdogs for the family, as well as briskets and chicken for longer wood pellet smoking cooking sessions. It’s built-in auger also makes quick work of making sure wood pellets are evenly distributed throughout the entire cooking process so you can ‘set it and forget it’.
Thanks for checking out my pellet smoker reviews! Hopefully you’ve had the chance to get some different perspectives on some of the units you’ve been looking at! Do you currently own a pellet smoker? If so, how much use do you get out of it, and what do you find it gives the best results? Thanks again for stopping by, let me know which unit you decided to pick up!