If you buy something through our posts, we may get a small commission. Read more here.

4 Best Vertical Pellet Smokers You Can Rely On in 2021

by Outdoor Cooking Pros September 30, 2021

4 Best Vertical Pellet Smokers You Can Rely On in 2021

Why settle for standard wood pellet models when vertical pellet types are finally around? We'll tell you why: Because it's not always easy finding one.

That's why we made sure to test these outdoor cooking babies first before sharing our best options.

Out of all we tested, only 4 made it to the list.So what's the best vertical pellet smoker? Between Louisiana Grills, Pit Boss, and Camp Chef, Pit Boss takes the trophy home.

 

Vertical Pellet Smoker Reviews: 4 Top Vertical Pellet Smokers [2021]

1. Best Overall Pellet Smoker: Pit Boss Grills 77550 5.5 Pellet Smoker

Pit Boss Grills 77550 5.5 Pellet Smoker

  • Dimensions: 28" (D) x 29" (W) x 53" (H)
  • Weight: 131 pounds
  • Cooking area: 1,548 sq. in.
  • Hopper capacity: 60 pounds
  • Temperature range: 150 – 450°F 
  • Additional inclusions:porcelain-coated water pan and heat deflector

The Pit Boss 77550 5.5 Pellet Smoker is essentially the big brotherof the Pit Boss PBV3P1.

Each of the five cooking racks measures 21.75 inches by 14.25 inches. For an easier translation, that amounts to 1,548 square inches of cooking space!

Perfect for hosting a large party in your backyard with up to 40 guests!

These cooking racks are also adjustable and coated with porcelain, so you don't have to worry about this smoker breaking down on you all of a sudden.

What If I Want to Smoke Meats for an Entire Day?

Been there, done that. And it's all possible ONLY to a few selected vertical pellet smokers. Luckily, Pit Boss is one of them!

Pit Boss' pellet hopper can hold up to 60 pounds of smoker pellets! The increased capacity allows for up to 35 hours of continuous cooking time.

That's even longer than a day! Plus, enough time for you to get out of bed, shower, make coffee, and probably even do yoga!

There's also a pellet hopper purge feature, which lets you swap out the pellets mid-cook.

How does this help you? If you want to experiment with different flavors for your meat, get your purge game on! And it's much easier to clean the hopper, which is always a plus. 

And nowm for the more technical parts of this smoker: 

  • Like the PBV3P1, the Pit Boss 77550 has viewing windows set in the door and the hopper. It also includes a meat probe and a digital LED readout.
  • It has the same auto-start igniter and auto shut-off function for your convenience. These features are why pellet smokers are known for "set it and forget it" cooking.

For only a slight price increase, the Pit Boss 77550 5.5 improves upon the already excellent features of the PBV3P1. It's among the best vertical pellet smokers for both entry-level and mid-level users.  

Pros

  • Double-walled construction and blanket insulation retain more heat 
  • Viewing windows set in the door and the hopper allow you to check both your food and your fuel without having to open anything.
  • Hopper purge feature allows you to expand your culinary flavor horizons

Cons

  • Bulkier and less portable than the Pit Boss PBV3P1
  • Doesn't have a hanging rack or hooks
  • Not WiFi- or Bluetooth-compatible 
  • The cover is sold separately

 


2. Best Value Pellet Smoker: Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Grill and Smoker 

Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Grill and Smoker

  • Dimensions: 24" (D) x 38" (W) x 54.5" (H)
  • Weight: 145 pounds
  • Cooking area: 2,100 sq. inches
  • Hopper capacity: 18 pounds
  • Temperature range: 150 – 350°F

With 2,100 square inches of cooking space, the Camp Chef XXL has the largest cooking area of the vertical smokers on this list.

So what's better than a Sunday brunch with 40 of your friends? A party for the entire neighborhood.

Of course, you're welcome to do so, but if you're simply a serious smoker who needs a HUGE smoker to feed friends with the appetite of aBlue Whale,you have to get the Camp Chef XXL.

Even better than its already huge size are all the convenient add-ons this smoker comes with:

  • Four standard smoking racks
  • Three jerky smoking racks
  • One hanging rack with 12 hooks

Thateasily makes it the most versatile vertical pellet smoker on the list. And for the finishers...

  • The Camp Chef XXL has a built-in grease management system, ash cleanout system, and hopper purge feature for easier cleaning.
  • Its Smart Smoke technology lets you control how much smoke you want in the cooking chamber.
  • There are TWO temperature probes included with your purchase. Newer models even have a WiFi controller for more precise temperature control. 

All told, the Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Grill and Smoker packs a lot of versatility at a great price!

Pros:

  • Has three jerky racks and one hanging rack for different types of food
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Newer versions come with a companion smartphone app
  • The hopper has a window so you can easily check the fuel levels

Cons:

  • Relatively small hopper capacity
  • Low maximum cooking temperature 
  • WiFi-compatible version costs more 

3. Best Budget Pick: Pit Boss PBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker

Pit Boss PBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker

  • Dimensions: 26" (D) x 22" (W) 53" (H)
  • Weight:97 pounds
  • Cooking area:901 sq. in.
  • Hopper capacity: 40 pounds
  • Temperature range: 150 – 450°F 

If you're new to pellet smoking, the Pit Boss PBV3P1 may be the best vertical pellet smoker for you.  

Here's why:

  • Each of the four porcelain-coated cooking grids measures 12 inches by 14 inches, giving you a TOTAL cooking space of 901 square inches - perfect for newbies who don't want toaccidentallysmoke a large batch of meat overcooked.
  • The cooking racks are adjustable, so you can easily smoke or roast big cuts of meat, like whole turkeys or rib racks.
  • The pellet hopper is located on the back of the smoker. It can hold up to 40 pounds of wood pellets, allowing you to continuously cook for 18 hours.
  • It also has a viewing window so you can quickly check how much fuel you have left.  Say goodbye tosquintingand calling customer support for help.
  • The auto-start igniter and an auto shut-off function make life much easier in the kitchen. Once you set the internal temperatures and turn the smoker on, you can leave it to its own devices.

Other features include a meat probe thermometer and a digital LED readout.

All in all, the Pit Boss PBV3P1 is a great entry-level model. It offers all the essential functions of a good pellet smoker at an affordable price.

Pros:

  • Double-walled construction provides top-tier durability
  • Blanket insulation keeps more heat in the smoker
  • User-friendly viewing window for checking food and fuel level

Cons:

  • Doesn't have hooks or hanging racks
  • No Wi-Fi or Bluetooth compatibility

 4. Best Cooking Capacity Pellet Smoker: Louisiana Grills 7 Series Vertical Pellet Smoker

Louisiana Grills 7 Series Vertical Pellet Smoker

  • Dimensions: 27.95" (D) x 28.94" (W) x 57.76" (H)
  • Weight: 144 pounds
  • Cooking area: 2,059 sq. in. 
  • Hopper capacity: 60 pounds
  • Temperature range: 100 – 420°F

If you like to host big gatherings, the  Louisiana Grills Vertical Pellet Smoker might be the one for you.

It comes with SIX porcelain-coated cooking racks. These give you a WHOPPING 2,059 square inches of cooking space.

We're speechless with the size.

It also has a large pellet hopper, which can hold up to 60 pounds of pellets. This gives you 35 hours of continuous cooking time!

Other features include dual meat probes and a digital control board, so you can easily monitor the smoker's internal temperature.

The best part? Double-walled insulation to retain as much heat as possible and evenly cook your meat.

And finally, the Louisiana Grills Vertical Pellet Smoker features its lowest minimum cooking temperature at 100°F.

You know what that means? You can smoke more delicate foods like fish or vegetables!  That's one vertical pellet smoker you won't find easily these days.

Pros:

  • Spacious area
  • Lower minimum temperature than most pellet smokers, making it a versatile option
  • Easy to assemble
  • The cover is included with your purchase

Cons:

  • Hard to take out the grease pan when it's full
  • Lacks hooks or hanging racks
  • No WiFi or Bluetooth compatibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Be Looking for in a Vertical Pellet Smoker?

Cost

A budget or entry-level vertical pellet smoker costs around $400-500. Similarly, a higher-end vertical pellet smoker costs around $1,000 and up. 

Ease of Use

The more precise the settings on your vertical pellet smoker are, the better your food will taste. Try to look for a model that stays within +/- 5°F of the preset temperature settings.

The Smart Smoke Technology feature on the Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Grill and Smoker is another good example of precise, easy-to-use settings.

A meat probe also makes it easier for you to check whether your food has reached its optimal temperature.

Temperature Range

Vertical pellet smokers with a wider temperature range are more versatile. You can EXPERIMENT and venture into more types of food recipes using different methods. The Louisiana Grills Vertical Pellet Smoker is a good example of this.

Cooking Area

The multi-level cooking racks in a vertical pellet smoker give you a greater cooking area within a smaller footprint. The greater the cooking area, the more food you can cook in one smoking session.

Another factor to consider is the number of people you plan to serve. For example, if you have a small family, you probably won't need a large cooking area.  

Pellets flowing from the Pit Boss PBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker

Hopper Capacity

The hopper capacity determines how long you can use your vertical pellet smoker without having to refill it.

If you want to smoke meat for a longer time, you need vertical smokers with a large pellet hopper. 

NOTE: Generally, pellet smokers burn about ½ to 1 pound of wood pellets per hour at lower temperatures. At higher temperatures, it's double that amount.

Extra Features

  • Size: If you want something more portable, get a smaller model.
  • Ease of cleaning: Cleaning the hopper or the grease pan isn't fun at any time, so any features that make cleaning easier are a welcome addition.
  • Wi-Fi[1] or Bluetooth capability: This isn't strictly necessary, but it's definitely convenient. You can check on the status of your vertical pellet smoker from your phone without even having to physically walk over or bend down.

What’s the Difference Between a Pellet Grill and a Pellet Smoker?

A vertical pellet grill is capable of higher temperatures, around 700°F. They're PERFECT for cooking methods like grilling and searing. 

In contrast, most vertical pellet smokers only reach around 450°F. These are SUITABLE for slow smoking and other methods that require low heat and slow cooking, such as roasting and baking.

Is a Vertical Pellet Smoker Better Than a Horizontal Pellet Smoker?

It depends.

Both types use fan forced convection cooking, but a horizontal smoker can be used as either a smoker OR a grill. Vertical pellet smokers, on the other hand, can ONLY be used as smokers because of their low maximum temperature.

However, horizontal pellet smokers also have a larger footprint and are much less portable. Vertical pellet smokers, on the other hand, have a greater cooking area within a smaller footprint. 

Our Winners

Our best overall pick is the   Pit Boss Grills 77550 5.5 Vertical Pellet Smoker. With a cooking area of over 1,500 square inches and a maximum cooking time of 35 hours, it's just right for both beginners and mid-level users. 

Pit Boss Grills 77550 5.5 Pellet Smoker

Our best value pick is the  Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Grill and Smoker. It has multiple kinds of racks for cooking different kinds of food. Plus, its WiFi compatibility and easy-cleaning features make it a very versatile smoker.

Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Grill and Smoker

Our best budget pick is the  Pit Boss PBV3P1 Vertical Smoker. While smaller than the Pit Boss 77550 5.5, this budget smoker still offers all the essential functions at a very affordable price.

Pit Boss PBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker

We hope that after looking through the best vertical pellet smoker options we've offered, you can pick the perfect one and start cooking delicious food!

Outdoor Cooking Pros
Outdoor Cooking Pros


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Best Charcoal Smoker for Your Grilling Needs
Best Charcoal Smoker for Your Grilling Needs

by Outdoor Cooking Pros October 01, 2021

The best charcoal smoker can give you the SMOKIEST flavor for your MEATS. You’ll end up with a delicious and JUICY slab each time!
Read More
How to Grill Ribs on a Propane Grill
How to Grill Ribs on a Propane Grill

by Outdoor Cooking Pros September 30, 2021

 

Read More
What is the Best Grill Pan? — Must-Haves For Your Kitchen This 2021
What is the Best Grill Pan? — Must-Haves For Your Kitchen This 2021

by Outdoor Cooking Pros September 30, 2021

Read More