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Best Pellet Smokers: 11 Detailed 2022 Reviews

by Lianne Jones February 22, 2022

Best Pellet Smokers: 11 Detailed 2022 Reviews

Pellet smokers are all the rage at the moment.

Offering many of the same features as charcoal smokers or gas grills, they are incredibly versatile and can be used to cook just about anything, without the use of charcoal or gas. 

With an auger (a tool that is used to drill holes in wood) and an automatic feed for the pellets to travel into the firebox, controlling a fire could not be easier, and it really takes your food cooked outdoors to the next level.

No barbecue will ever be the same once you have purchased a pellet smoker. 

There are so many on the market that it can be difficult to know which pellet smoker is the best for you and your needs.

This guide serves to help you make that decision, no matter what your budget is or how much outdoor cooking expertise you have, there will be one out there for you. 

This guide goes through what a pellet smoker is, how they work and then there are some product reviews and recommendations.

As well as a buyer's guide at the end to give you enough knowledge on what features to look out for or prioritize when buying a pellet smoker.

What Is A Pellet Smoker?

Pellet smokers get their origins from pellet stoves. Back in the 1970s, there was an oil crisis in the United States, which created a demand for more affordable heating with alternative heat sources.

Pellets of wood made from compressed sawdust were the solution and in the 1980s the pellet grill, or indeed the pellet smoker, was born by Jerry Whitfield and Joe Traeger of Traeger Grills.

These outdoor cookers or barbecue grills combine grilling and smoking into one housing and instead of being fueled by charcoal or gas they use compressed wooden pellets which feed into the firebox through an automatic auger, managed by control units on the cookers. 

The pellets that are used are 100% natural and can come from a variety of different tree sources. The fact that they are natural, in comparison to charcoal or propane gas means that they burn cleaner and hotter.

Thus, they are much more fuel efficient than regular charcoal or propane barbecue units. 

Their versatility and convenience is what makes them so popular.

They have a massive temperature range which means they can do anything from a low and slow smoke on your food to a hot as hell quick sear on your steaks. 

The temperature is controlled by a digital controller which monitors the temperature inside the housing unit and if the temperature needs to be increased, or maintained at a specific temperature, then the pellets are automatically fed into the firebox by the auger to achieve this.

Basically, pellet smokers offer all the flavor you would expect from a traditional smoker, without the extra fuss of having to tend to the grill.

How Do Pellet Smokers Work?

A regular pellet smoker consists of a main grill chamber with a hopper that is attached to one side.

The hopper is where the wood pellets are housed and fed into the chamber by a feeding mechanism, which is known as an auger. 

Pellet smokers are powered by electricity, and so are usually hooked up to an outlet that gives the digital controller its power.

You set the temperature that you desire from the grill or smoker using the digital controller.

The digital controller will then send a signal to the auger, which then controls the rate of which the pellets are fed into the firebox via the hopper.

Once there, the igniting rod in the firebox ignites the pellets just enough so that they begin to smoke. The heat and the smoke are evenly distributed by the use of fans or what is known as diffusion plates. 

As with normal barbecues, heat, or temperature control is critical in achieving an even cook throughout, and these pellet smokers do just that, for hours at a time. 

For beginners, using pellet smokers is a great way to get into barbecuing.

As mentioned, pellet smokers or grills are super easy to use, but, even so, a beginner may need a bit more than the instruction manual.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use your pellet smoker.

Step 1: Season the Smoker

This first step is important to do to ensure that it is protected and will prolong its life, even with continuous use.

Apply cooking oil to the grates and the firebox and then perform a dry run-use the smoker without cooking any food.

This will cook the oil into the surface of the smoker and form a protective layer on the surface. Allow to rest for at least a day before using it to cook food. 

Step 2: Preheat Smoker

Load your hopper with the pellets of your choice and simply plug in your grill and select a temperature that you wish to use for your cooking.

Generally speaking, if you are trying to do barbecue smoking, it is best to choose a temperature of 225℉; direct grilling is 400℉.

The smoker will take about 10 minutes to heat up to temperature. Setting the temperature will activate the auger to get your pellets into the firebox from the hopper. 

Step 3: Add Food

Once the smoker has reached temperature, add your food to the grates and close the lid. It is recommended to put the food in the center of the grate to achieve an even cook. 

Be aware of the fat content of the food you are choosing to cook. If something is too lean, it can dry out quickly and if the food has a lot of fat on it, the smoke will take longer to penetrate the food. 

Step 4: Switch Off

The pellet smoker needs to be shut down manually. This is done by deactivating the auger through the digital controller on the smoker.

Open the chamber and set the controller onto its lowest setting, which allows the grill to burn out whatever is left in the auger. 

The grill then needs to be turned off, usually with an off button. Allow to cool and then clean with a grill brush and clean out the grease tray as well. Cover and put away. 

Other Tips

  • A temperature of 225℉ allows for a slow, consistent cook and allows any fat to be rendered without the risk of drying the food out.
  • If you see gray smoke coming from the smoker, the pellets are not burning correctly. The smoke should be clear or blue in color.
  • Use the low and slow indirect cooking to get the best results.
  • Be aware of the type of wood you choose to use-some are better suited for some foods than others.

What Are The Benefits?

The first thing that is beneficial about a pellet smoker is their ease of use and hands-off features.

Gone are the days of standing in front of the fire constantly to make sure the temperature of the fire is consistent for the cooking that needs to be done.

Even while cooking, you do not need to put in much effort at all.

Just set the smoker to the temperature you want, put the food in after preheating, and it's done! 

The temperature control settings are much more reliable than other offset cookers, which means you can be assured of the time and temperature combination and that your food will be cooked in the time you want it to be.

The digital control settings are easy to manage and are user-friendly.

Additionally, the pellet smokers provide a beautiful smokey wood-based flavor profile to the food which propane or electric smoking does not provide.

The pellets are more efficient, which means you save more money, and they are better for you and the environment.

The pellet smokers also offer an easy clean up job, they do not create a large amount of ash and some models even have built-in cleaning systems like dump features which collect the ash and allow you to easily remove it from the smoker itself.

Reviews

Below are some of the best pellet smokers on the market at the moment. They all have different features and attributes which may suit your needs.

Traeger Ironwood 885

 

 

With Traeger as the inventor of pellet smokers, it is no wonder they are at the top of the list.

Since they started creating pellet smokers in the 1980s, they have been delivering high quality products, consistently, which provides the user with fabulous results.

The Ironwood 885 is one of the brand's most innovative products on the market.

The WiFire technology that is in-built in this smoker allows you to control the grill from anywhere and is voice enabled through the use of an Alexa device.

With this, you can change the temperatures, set times and check the internal temperature all through Alexa-giving a hands-off experience to cooking on the grill meaning you can spend more time with your guests. 

The associated app includes an array of innovative recipes as well as some handy tips and tricks to make sure that you are optimizing your experience with the grill.

The digital controller is powered by the D2 Direct Drive drivetrain, which gives you precision temperature control. This also gives more power when cooking and improved flavor.

What is more, there are sensors in the hopper that tell you when you are getting low on pellets, so you don’t ever have to worry about running out. 

The Ironwood 885 from Traeger gives 885 square inches of space to cook on, on one grate and the barbecue itself is made out of powder-coated stainless steel with a porcelain grate, with an insulated side wall to hold the heat of the grill even in cold weather. 

The hopper houses up to 20 pounds of pellets, and the temperature range of the smoker is between 160 °F – 500 °F.

It has a TurboTemp feature which heats up really quickly and True Convection fans that create a massive vortex of smoke inside the firebox. 

It has what is called a Super Smoke mode which decreases the temperature to create more smoke to increase the smokey flavor on the food, and it has an exhaust system that is designed to keep the smoke from exiting before going through the whole cooking chamber of the smoker. 

Pros

  • The WiFire and Alexa enabled technology to control the smoker. 
  • Excellent technology and design to optimize the cooking and smoking process. 

Cons

  • Although the temperature range is sufficient for smoking, the Ironwood 885 does not reach high enough temperatures that are ideal for grilling.  
  • No grease management system or stainless steel grates for easy cleaning. 

When testing this product, we loved: its overall functionality and ease of use. 

This product is also available to buy here.

Camp Chef SmokePro PG24 Deluxe

 

 

Camp Chef was born out of the need to have a powerful smoker that was portable and so the first Pro60 camping-suitable gas powered cooker was created.

Since then the company has made many advancements in the camping or outdoor cooking industry and one of those advancements is the SmokePro PG24 Deluxe.

It is a medium-sized smoker which is real value for money for the high standard of quality that you get.

What is great about the Camp Chef SmokePro is that it has cooking racks, one above another, which give a lot more room for cooking; an impressive 560 square inches, which is approximately the size of most cookers found in the backyards of many people.

This means that it comfortably cooks for a bunch of people. 

Interestingly, the SmokePro has its smokestack at the back of the chamber, giving extra space to work with.

Additionally, the smoker has warming racks which are above the main grates, which gives you the flexibility to keep food warm while you are cooking other food.

The total cooking area is around 811 square inches. 

The smoker comes with a state-of-the-art controller for the temperature which is easy to use and has a wide range allowing you to smoke anything you can imagine.

As with a lot of the modern day smokers, the temperature probe that is integrated into the smoker allows for temperatures up to 500 °F.

Included in its design is a convection fan that is useful in reducing flare-ups and heat loss. 

Again, like some of the other models of smokers out there, the SmokePro gives the option for you to set the temperature and a timer, and it does all the rest of the work for you.

It is one of the most innovative models that are available on the market, as you do not need to wait for an age before the temperature is ready to start cooking. The SmokePro takes just 10 minutes to fully heat up. 

What is more is that the SmokePro is super easy to clean up with its ash clean out system.

The system door is on the base of the smoker, which allows you to quickly and effectively empty out ash that is building up in the firebox. 

The smoker itself is made from heavy duty stainless steel, adding to its heat-holding capacity and making it a more durable smoker over time.

Because it holds heat so well, you will use less fuel, which means that it will save on costs. 

There is the option with the SmokePro to add on a sear box which gets to temperatures of up to 900 ℉. This feature allows you the ability to cook steaks and burgers in a jiffy. 

Pros

  • It’s price for what you get.
  • The option to add on a sear box which will get you to the high temperatures you want. 

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi or technology enabled on this model. 

When testing this product, we loved: its versatility for its size. 

This product is also available to buy here.

Traeger Grills Pro Series 34

 

 

This beast of a grill and smoker is one of the biggest and baddest units out there.

It has a 6-in-1 functionality which allows you to grill, smoke, roast, braise, barbecue and bake… yes, bake, all and any food dish that tickles your fancy.

Where previous Pro Series models had issues with heating up rates and retention of heat, this update is a serious upgrade with minimal issues.

It is a reliable, robust smoker that keeps the smoke in the chamber for every cooking session you have planned. 

This is because the newest Traeger engine turns the pellet auger quicker, meaning that the fuel (the pellets) are fed into the firebox at a faster rate.

This results in an accelerated heat-up time, and the smoker is also more responsive to any temperature control changes. 

The temperature gauge is in-built, so you can see the temperature readings of the smoker surface of the smoker.

The temperature controller can be adjusted in 5 ℉ increments and can work its way up to the recommended temperature for smoking of 225 ℉ with ease.

The model itself is made from a powder-coated stainless steel and has porcelain grill grates which take up the 884 square inches. Despite its size, it is relatively easy to move around as it has all-terrain wheels. 

Like the other Traeger models, they are smart grillers that are equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity and by pairing your device to the smoker, you are able to accurately control the temperature of the smoker remotely.

There are also options to use preset options available in the app if you are a novice and are unsure about time-temperature combinations for your desired end result. 

Pros

  • Fast warm up and heat holding design. 
  • Preset options to choose from for temperature time settings. 

Cons

  • Although the heat up time has improved, the smoker can still take up to 45 minutes to heat up.

When testing this product, we loved: its heat holding capacity. 

This product is also available to buy here.

Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E

 

 

Z Grills started out as a manufacturer for other pellet grill brands in the industry and was officially founded as a brand in 2016.

Because of their intrinsic knowledge of what it takes to make a high quality grill and smoker that stands the test of time, it is no wonder that they have become one of the pellet smoker favorites on the market.

The difference is that they offer the same quality you would expect from established brands at factory-direct pricing. 

The Z Grills ZPG 7002E is no exception to this. It is an 8-in-1 grill which has a temperature range between 180 and 450 ℉.

That means you have the opportunity to smoke, grill, braise, bake, sear, roast, barbecue and char-grill your food with this state-of-the-art smoker. 

The smoker has a digital controller for the temperature which is easy to use, and the hopper is larger than most smokers on the market, meaning you do not have to continuously feed in fuel. 

It boasts a quick start ignition system and an automatic auger system which has a variable speed fan attached to it which means the rate at which the pellets are fed into the fire and its oxygen supply can be adjusted to make for more consistent temperatures.

Not to mention, this whole process is superfast and great for beginners.

The firebox has a Venturi-style design which allows for a high amount of airflow and heat distribution, allowing for the complete combustion of pellets and minimal waste.

This convection heating system makes for even cooking without any flare-ups of flames. 

The 7002E has a capacity of 697 square inches which means that you can cook up to 29 burger patties, five entire chickens and six rib racks at any given time.

This size grill is perfect for everyday family use, but can also be used for larger gatherings.

The smoker itself is made from heavy duty stainless steel and has porcelain grates, which means that it will last a long time. There are additional features like extra hooks and racks for utensils and storage.

Pros

  • Option to cook a variety of dishes with different cooking methods at your disposal.
  • Quick start up process.
  • Heat holding capacity.

Cons

  • Does not get to the higher temperatures you may need for some cooking methods, such as searing. 
  • Not much tech enabled-more traditional model. 

When testing this product, we loved: The quick start-up process and quality for the price.

This product is also available to buy here.

Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett

 

 

As far as portable and beginner grills go, the Davy Crockett from Green Mountain Grills is a contender for first place. Because it is portable, it is great to take out on the road, to tailgate events or camping trips. 

It is compact and offers a wide range of features despite its size.

It is even Wi-Fi enabled, which means that you can control it remotely, without having to worry too much about the coals dying out on you, so to speak. 

Likewise, it is important to note that before its first use, you should prepare it first or at least have a try-out at home before taking it on the road because it has got quite the setup which may be complicated to do as well as time-consuming, just out of the box. 

The chamber of the smoker itself is thick and insulated which has not been cut back on, even though it is a relatively light smoker to carry around-no cut backs on quality here!

Sometimes, with portable and lighter smokers, they can often be too flimsy for practical use. The Davy Crockett, however, is sturdy and durable.

The Davy Crockett has a regular plug option, auto plug option and can run on a 12V battery as well. Included in this model are jumper cables, so it can be hooked up to a car battery in a pinch. 

The temperature is controlled by the app which is available across devices and inside the smoker are the internal sensors that measure the internal temperatures of the smoker as well as the ambient temperature outside.

This also allows for monitoring of the distribution of heat throughout the smoker. Like most models, it comes with temperature probes, which is handy for cooking meat and poultry. 

Inside the smoker, there is a one-piece pan system and heat shield, which is adjustable so that you can apply indirect heat to your food and can be slid into place if you want to expose food to flames for a seared-finish.

Overall, it has a cooking capacity of 219 square inches and can get up to temperatures of 550 ℉. 

The app also comes with a bunch of recipes and time-temperature combinations so that you can attempt to cook anything with the assurance that it will come out just right. 

Pros

  • Portable but durable. 
  • Compact but does the job nicely. 

Cons

  • Thinner steel in comparison to other models which means you may use more fuel. 
  • Smaller so that means less space to cook and less space to keep pellets in the small hopper. 

When testing this product, we loved: that even though it is small and lightweight, it does not compromise on quality. 

This product is also available to buy here.

Camp Chef Vertical XXL Wi-Fi Pellet Smoker

One of the most innovative inventions of the century is the Wi-Fi enabled vertical pellet smoker from Camp Chef, which has all that you love about pellet smokers in one vertical and compact space. 

It has four cooking racks, racks for making jerky and 12 hook hanging racks which are all adjustable and gives you the ability to smoke just about anything you want-from salmon to brisket and of course jerky.

The Vertical XXL can do it all. 

It has a PID controller which is also known as a proportional integral derivative which is used to control and monitor the cooking conditions which allows for reliable and accurate  temperature settings and timers so that you don’t need to be too involved in the smoking process. 

What is great about this pellet smoker is that you can set the smoke levels from a level 1 to a level 10 regardless of how hot you have set the temperature.

The Vertical XXL Pellet Smoker has a quality grease management system and ash clean out feature that makes cleaning up a breeze after a big smoke out. 

It boasts a massive 2,408 square inch cooking capacity and can reach temperatures up to 350℉, which is best suited for low and slow cooking or smoking.

The vertical design takes up less space in your yard while giving you more space to cook inside it. It also has a handy clear window on the pellet hopper, so you will know when you are running low on fuel. 

This pellet smoker is super sturdy, and it is also Wi-Fi enabled meaning you can control it in an app across devices. 

Pros

  • Being able to adjust the smoke levels no matter what the temperature.
  • The sheer amount of cooking space.

Cons

  • No option to grill or do any other types of cooking like braising and baking. 

When testing this product, we loved: the cooking capacity and the flexibility it offers you from a smoker-focused product. 

Z Grills 8-in-1 ZPG-7002C

 

 

Like its counterpart, the ZPG 7002E, it has 700 square inches of cooking capacity and has an 8-in-1 functionality, which means you can do just about anything with it. 

It has a manual feed function which decreases the heat-up time and there is a PID controller which makes setting the temperature and having a hands-off approach to cooking easier than ever. 

The pellet hopper can hold up to 20 pounds of pellets and there is a clear pellet view window which allows you to see how much fuel you have left without opening up the smoker.

Along with that, on the back of the smoker there is a pellet clean-out door which is easily opened during the cooking to eliminate any ash and pellets in one swift movement. 

The assembly of the smoker is really easy and takes no time at all. Z Grills even provides you with the tools needed to set it up correctly.

The stainless steel lid and firebox give the smoker sturdiness, and the grates are porcelain coated for easy clean up.

Because of its construction, it holds temperature adequately and has a fast heat recovery function with the Feed function that boosts the smoke for maximum flavor. 

Pros

  • The Feed function boosts smoke, and it also increases the temperature.
  • Easy to clean.

Cons

  • There is not much difference between the Z Grills models in terms of functionality, but this model does include a PID system. 

When testing this product, we loved: the feed function which gave a lot of smoky flavor.

This product is also available to buy here.

Camp Chef Woodwind 36

Although on  the more expensive side, the Camp Chef Woodwind 36 inch with Sidekick packs a lot of features all in one.

It is versatile, robust and has all the added extra features that make you able to cook and grill anything. 

It has a temperature controller in the form of the Camp Chef’s unique PID controller.

It offers extremely precise and accurate temperature control and allows you to control the exact amount of smoke that you would like to add into your smoker without influencing the amount of heat output into the firebox. 

The Wi-Fi capabilities allows you to control the PID from the Camp Chef Connect app across any device.

It is quite a basic app, but it does the job well. Included with the Woodwind 36-inch model are 4 temperature probes and a Sidekick attachment.

The Sidekick is an additional hot plate that reaches temperatures of over 650℉ which is perfect for searing, boiling, or grilling anything you want.

The Sidekick is propane powered and is a great addition if you are looking for something that gets ultra hot or more space to grill and smoke at the same time.

Since its upgrade in 2020, the Camp Chef Woodwind 36-inch boasts a taller cooking chamber and has an easy Ash Clean out feature, which is super convenient and easy to use. 

The smoker itself is made from standard stainless steel that is powder-coated with enamel coated racks.

It has a total cooking capacity of 1,236 square inches, and a temperature range between 160 and 500℉ sans Sidekick.

Pros

  • Huge cooking capacity. 
  • Sidekick system allows you to grill and sear while you smoke. 

Cons

  • Has been known to leak some smoke, but it is nothing major. 

When testing this product, we loved: the size and the addition of the Sidekick.

This product is also available to buy here.

Pit Boss 700FB

 

 

Pit Boss Grills has been a leading manufacturer of exceptionally well engineered and innovative grills of all types and materials.

They also manufacture a range of barbecue accessories and sell to many retailers and directly to consumers across the world. The 700FB is by far their best product yet.

Designed to deliver matchless quality across the board in terms of construction and providing restaurant quality meals to your home.

When compared to other brands offering up the same features, this is an affordable alternative, with little compromise in quality. 

It too, has an 8-in-1 capability and so allows you to cook just about anything all in one machine.

Incorporated into the design is their nifty Flame Broiler Lever, with which you can achieve instant heat directly or indirectly between a temperature range of 180 and 500℉.

This Flame Broiler Lever allows you to expose the food to extremely high temperatures after cooking, which will give a nice finish to the food. 

Additionally, the digital control panel allows you to stand monitor temperatures of the smoker without having to open it up.

It does the work for you. Inside the 700FB is a dome thermometer which allows for accurate measurements of temperature.

The 700FB is constructed out of dense stainless steel, has reinforced legs and is finished off with a high temperature powder coat finish to insulate the smoker.

The total cooking capacity is 700 square inches and the grates are porcelain coated steel.

Inside the smoker is a sliding searing plate which allows for the searing of food up to temperatures of 1000℉ while you smoke. 

The hopper has a 21 pound capacity, which means that you don’t need to refuel too often and has a pretty basic feeding technology that is automatic.

Although it is not the best out there, for an entry level smoker it is quite adequate. 

Overall, the Pit Boss has great heat retention and has a large enough cooking space for cookouts or just to use every day for the family.

For the price it is offered at, it is real value for money and does not compromise on quality. 

Pros

  • Flame Broiler Lever.
  • The side searing plate.
  • The price for what you get. 

Cons

  • The automatic feeder of the hopper is not the best on the market. 

When testing this product, we loved: the value for money and the variety of cooking capabilities. 

This product is also available to buy here.

Z Grills ZPG-1000D

 

 

If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to the Traeger models out there, then this is the one for you.

This update, the 1000D, has a digital control board which counteracts the temperature control and regulation issues that Z Grills faced in the past on these larger models.

This temperature control maintains heat even in cooler weather. 

It is constructed out of heavy–duty stainless steel and comes in a bronze or stainless steel finish and offers a large 1060 square inches of cooking capacity.

There are also three grates which use the space more efficiently.

It has a temperature range between 180 and 450℉, but if you are looking for a quick and hot sear, the temperature is not sufficient. 

Overall, it is great value for money.

Pros

  • Space utilization inside the smoker. 
  • Offers all the features you expect from an 8-in-1 model at a fraction of the price. 

Cons

  • Temperatures don’t go above 450℉, which will decrease the capabilities somewhat. 

When testing this product, we loved: the price for the functionality you get. 

This product is also available to buy here.

MEMPHIS ELITE CART ITC3

 

 

If money is no object for you, and you are looking for a premium branded product, then the Memphis Elite Cart ITC3 is the smoker for you.

The smoker offers their IntelliBurn Technology, which utilizes a principle of secondary combustion for an efficient and clean burn of the pellets.

This upgraded model offers a speeded up starting power and quicker startup and cooldown times. It has Bluetooth and is Wi-Fi enabled, which means that you can control its setup remotely from the app.

The 1,275 square inch cooking capacity smoker gets up to temperatures of 700℉, which means that you can easily sear your food.

The smoker is made from 304 stainless steel and is double walled, making it retain heat very well.

There are also indirect and direct flame modes, which you can control depending on what you would like to do with your food. 

The control panel is part of an ergonomic seven-inch touch display screen and comes with a pre-programmed cleaning routine to take the pain out of the cleanup. 

Pros

  • Cost-efficient in terms of fuel usage. 
  • High temperature range maximum which is great for searing food.

Cons

  • Very expensive. 

When testing this product, we loved: the functionality of the cleanup program. 

This product is also available to buy here.

Buyer’s Guide

As you can tell from the above reviews, no two smokers are the same, and your choice of buying will largely depend on what you are looking for.

When making a buying decision, there are some factors that should be considered, which have been detailed below.

Budget

One of the biggest influencers on which pellet smoker to buy is the price and cost of upkeep.

A cheaper model may be good to get if you are a beginner and just want to try it out, or if you are looking for something more lightweight and portable. 

However, the more money you spend does not mean that you will automatically get more features, some middle of the road models offer all the features you could want for a very reasonable price. 

Temperature Control System

Pellet smoker temperature controllers send a message to the auger on how quickly it should feed pellets to the smoker while maintaining a temperature that is desired.

There are generally two types of controllers- time based controllers and PID controllers. 

Time Based Controllers

Also known as multi-position controllers, allow you to incrementally adjust the temperature by increments ranging from 5-20℉ at a time.

The controller then turns the auger at certain speeds depending on the temperature that the smoker has been set to. 

These controllers are not capable of monitoring the internal temperatures of the auger, so they cannot change the speed of the auger accordingly, when the temperature is too high or low.

This type of controller has a more rigid feeding cycle, which does require you to monitor the temperature inside the smoker. 

PID Controllers

These days, most of the higher-end models out there come with a PID controller.

This type of controller monitors the temperature inside the smoker and will adjust the auger speed accordingly to maintain the temperature at which the smoker was set on. 

PID controllers use an algorithm which predicts and controls the cooking temperatures accurately, and it will only experience slight variations in temperatures. 

It is important to decide how accurate you want your temperature of your smoker to be before making a decision to spend the extra money for a PID controlled system. 

Construction

Most smokers are made from stainless steel, with the ultra high-end smokers made from 304 stainless steel.

Most of the models in the review are powder-coated which does increase longevity of the smoker, but it is important to note that over time, the coating is susceptible to cracking and will then be left vulnerable to corrosion. 

However, stainless steel is extremely durable and holds heat well. Obviously, the higher the grade of stainless steel, the more durability and heat retention the smoker will exhibit. 

Pellet Hopper 

Hoppers are where the pellets are housed, which are then fed into the firebox. The bigger the hopper capacity, the less frequently you will need to top up.

Depending on the smoker, the hoppers can hold anything between 10 and 60 pounds of pellets. 

If you decide to buy a smoker with a smaller hopper, there are options to add on a hopper extension box.

However, these are brand and model specific, and so it is essential that you look for ones that are compatible with your smoker. 

Hoppers should be easy to change or top up and to clean out. A lot of the models above include easy clean out doors and some even come with buckets. Be sure to look out for that when buying. 

Wi-Fi Capacity

Although not a necessity for all smoker-users, the new pellet smokers all include Wi-Fi capabilities, which means that you can control the smoker remotely.

If you are after a more hands-off approach to cooking, then this may be for you, as you will not have to constantly be at the fire checking on the food and the temperature. 

Some models come with apps that will alert you when your smoker is ready to use, when you need to top up your hopper or when the smoker is cooling down. It is a handy feature to look out for. 

Size and Capacity

Depending on your needs, you may go for a smaller or larger capacity smoker.

The majority of the reviews above are medium-sized smokers, ranging between 700 and 1200 square inches cooking capacity. These comfortably cook maps for 3-9 people at a time. 

Your smaller smokers (300 – 500 square inch cooking capacity) are good for up to 3 people and your larger grills can accommodate cooking for up to 20 people with their cooking capacities of between 1200 and 2500 square inches. 

Built-in Thermometers 

Some of the more expensive smokers have built in probes which are useful for the control system to keep track of the internal temperatures, and it is important to know that your food is reaching the optimal, food safe temperatures. 

Shelves

Shelf space is extremely handy to have and even though it is not a dealbreaker, it is handy to have so that you do not need to move back and forth from the kitchen and/or outdoor counter space with the food.

This just makes the whole process more efficient and enjoyable. 

Warranty

Most smokers come with a reasonably long warranty (about three years is the minimum).

This is because they are a major financial investment and a warranty gives you peace of mind on the longevity of the product that you purchased.

Be sure to get one and see what they offer as grounds for replacements or refunds. 

Customer service

Having good customer service or support is always a must when you buy something. This is because there may be faults or defaults on the product, or you may have questions about how to set up the smoker. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Pellet Smokers Good for Grilling?

While a lot of pellet smokers do not reach temperatures high enough for grilling, there are some that have direct modes which will give the food direct exposure to the flame. 

What are the best pellets for smoking?

Depending on what you are smoking, you will use different types of wood.

For pork, applewood is a great choice as it brings out a sweetness in the meat, cherry is best for venison cysts and hickory is great for beef brisket. 

Conclusion

There you have it, the ultimate guide to pellet smokers out on the market today. When making a decision to buy a pellet smoker, you can often feel overwhelmed by the amount of choice out there.

It is a good idea to do lots of research, look at customer reviews, and take our reviews and buyer’s guide as a point of reference to making your decision. 

Hopefully, after reading this, you have a greater understanding on what makes a pellet smoker good and which model suits your needs best. 

Lianne Jones
Lianne Jones


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