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Best Vertical Pellet Smoker In 2021 (5 Contenders)

by Lianne Jones February 22, 2022

Best Vertical Pellet Smoker In 2021 (5 Contenders)

A vertical pellet smoker is a great tool for cooking and smoking meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits, and more. It’s also ideal for grilling because it has the ability to cook food at high temperatures without burning it.

If you are looking for a quality product that will last for years to come, you'll want to invest in a good quality pellet smoker that can take some abuse and really stand the test of time.

Once you've got the hang of vertical pellet smoking, you'll definitely want to do it all the time, so you want a smoker that can keep up with your demands!

We'll go through the best pellet grill reviews below to help you make an informed decision on which one fits your needs. We'll start by describing what makes a good pellet grill before we get into our top picks.

Next, we'll cover how each model stacks up against its competition based on features like size, temperature control, and price. And finally, we'll give you our recommendations on the best pellet smokers out there.

There are a lot more budget-friendly options out there, but as the title suggests, we're going to be looking at the cream of the crop- the best of the best in the vertical pellet smoker world, and see how they compare to one another. 

What Is A Vertical Pellet Smoker?

If you're new to pellet smokers, you may be wondering what the heck it is? A vertical pellet smoker is basically just a big box with a lid that's used to smoke meats or other foods.

The unit sits on legs and is usually placed over a heat source, such as charcoal or wood pellets. You load the hopper full of pellets, then place the lid on the smoker and wait for dinner to cook.

The first thing you should look at when choosing a pellet smoker is whether or not it's vented. Vents allow air to flow freely around the firebox, keeping the smoke from getting trapped inside the unit and causing it to build up.

This means less cleaning and maintenance for you. Some models have vents built right into them, while others require you to purchase separate venting components.

Pellet smokers are generally designed to work with either natural hardwood pellets or compressed sawdust pellets. Sawdust pellets tend to produce a cleaner, crisper smoke flavor than hardwoods, but they cost more.

Hardwood pellets are typically made from oak, maple, cherry, hickory, apple, pecan, mesquite, and many other types of woods. They are available in different sizes and grades depending on their density.

Generally speaking, larger pellets burn hotter and longer than smaller ones.

Most pellet smokers come with a digital controller that allows you to set the desired temperature for the entire chamber. In addition, most models include a thermostat that regulates the temperature within the chamber.

These controllers and thermostats are very easy to use and adjust.

A Few Things To Consider

You'll need to buy a chimney starter if you don't already own one.

If you plan to use a propane tank, you'll need a regulator to convert the gas pressure from liquid to gaseous form.

Some models come with a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chamber. Others don't.

Many models include a grease tray to catch any drippings from meats or veggies.

Some models come with a side door so you can access the meat without opening the whole lid.

When buying a pellet smoker, you'll want to choose a model that has a large enough cooking area to accommodate all of your food.

It also helps to find a model that comes with multiple racks so you can easily add additional food items during the smoking process.

When selecting a pellet smoker, keep these factors in mind:

How much space do you have to store the machine?

Do you plan to use the pellet smoker often? If yes, will you need to transport it frequently?

How much time do you have to spend preparing meals?

Do you prefer an electric or manual control?

How much money do you want to spend?

What type of fuel do you like best?

Are you looking for something that looks nice, or does functionality matter more to you?

Once you've decided which features you want, compare prices among various manufacturers. We recommend comparing prices on several different websites because some retailers charge extra shipping costs.

Also, make sure to read customer reviews about each product before making your final decision.

Best Vertical Pellet Smokers

Let's get into it, shall we?

We're going to have an in-depth look at our favorite 5 vertical pellet smokers currently on the market today.

Pit Boss 7 Series XL

    This is one for the big boys. If you love the idea of smoking meats, but want to do large quantities for a barbeque, special occasion, or just for a big family, having a huge smoker like this is a real plus.

    Pit Boss is known for making absolutely stunning vertical pellet smokers and pellet grills, and this beauty is really no exception! 

    This probably isn't going to be your first choice if you are just dipping your toes into the world of pellet smoking, but if you are a 'seasoned' meat smoker you'll really appreciate the amazing build quality, attention to detail, and of course the extra-large capacity for all the meat your heart could desire, or cope with! 

    The Pit Boss 7 Series XL  has a lot going for it. It’s easy to set up, comes with everything you need to start smoking right out of the box, though it’s fairly expensive compared to some others on the market.

    On top of that, it’s one of the most versatile smokers we’ve tested because it can burn pellets, briquettes, wood chunks, and even sawdust.

    The PIT BOSS 7 Series XL has a number of great features including a large capacity hopper, a removable ash pan, and a removable drip tray. It comes with a pellet feeder which makes it easy to load pellets into the hopper.

    The PIT BOSS 7 Series XL has a digital temperature gauge and a built-in firebox fan. The PIT BOSS 7770 also includes a stainless steel auger and a charcoal filter.

    The WIFI functionality is another great bonus as it means you can adjust your temps on the go!

    PROS
    • Monitors the internal temperatures with a digital LED display and an inbuilt meat probe.
    • Six porcelain-coated cooking grids, 1815 sq in for maximum meat smoking capabilities. 
    • Includes a porcelain-coated water pan and heat deflector. 
    • 40 plus lb hopper capacity with an integrated pellet purge.
    • 24 plus hours of use at one time, perfect for low and slow smoke. 
    • Stunning, rich copper color that looks even better as it patinas with age.
    • Fully programmable 150 - 450 temperature range.
    • Auto-start 300-watt igniter with auto shut-off safety features.
    CONS
      • Whilst still not the most expensive on the market by far, it's still a serious cash drop for a smoker so be aware that you could find something for cheaper if value for money is important to you.
      • A couple of reviews suggest that longevity is a bit of an issue with this, which is a real issue when you have to pay return postage out of pocket to get it fixed. 

      Masterbuilt MB20050716

        Next up on our list is the impressive Masterbuilt MB20050716, a beautiful name, we know. Masterbuilt is known for making exceptional

        The best thing about this brand is its quality. It has a wide range of products from grills to smokers. They are made of high-quality materials and are durable.

        The best thing about the Masterbuilt brand vertical smoker is its durability. It has a stainless steel body which makes it easy to clean. It comes with a removable drip tray which allows you to easily remove any grease from the grill.

        Its lid is made of heavy-duty plastic which ensures that it will last long.

        This particular Masterbuilt vertical smoker has all the features you would expect from a quality product at a somewhat reasonable price.

        It comes with a built-in thermometer so you don't have to worry about checking the temperature manually.

        Whilst this model is a BBQ wood pellet smoker, they also carry a similar model for propane-powered, charcoal pellets, and they also have a dedicated range for the tabletop pellet grill. 

        Some of the notable features in this vertical smoker is the design, it's not quite as sleek as a few of the others on this list but it is hardwearing, has double-walled construction, and comes in a number of different fuel sources. 

        PROS
        • Temperature sensor controls burner to maintain the desired temperature
        • Four chrome-coated smoking racks for even heat distribution and 
        • A safety valve shuts off Burner if the flame is extinguished.
        • Type 1 regulator with fuel level Gauge and hose – Fuel level Gauge indicates the amount of propane in the tank if you choose to use the propane model. 
        • Different models can handle multiple fuel sources. 
        • The heat diffuser evenly distributes heat from the burner, giving you an even texture and smoother smoking experience. 

        CONS

        • Kind of clunky looking compared to a few of the other designs in this list. If that's really important to you, you may be better off with one of the other vertical smokers. 
        • Parts aren't all fully metal- whilst a lot in hardened plastic, this won't have the same longevity over time if you are really pushing this smoker to its limits. 

        Bradley Smoker BTDS76P Food Smoker

          This Bradley Smoker BTDS76P Food Smoker really is the sleekest-looking model of all! It's a beautiful stainless steel body construction with a very modern look.

          The Bradley BTDS76P food smoker is designed to give you the perfect smoke flavor every single time.

          This is because it uses a patented convection system, which circulates air around the meat, ensuring that the smoke stays close to the surface of your meat.

          It has a large capacity, allowing you to cook up to 20 lbs of meat at once. It has a total cooking area of 679 square inches, which means you can comfortably fit 4 people inside the Bradley BTDS76P.

          You can adjust the temperature by using the digital control panel located on top of the unit. There are two settings, low and high, and each setting allows you to select between three temperatures.

          These include 225° F, 275° F, and 325° F. The Bradley BTDS 76P food smoker comes with a set of four smoking racks, which help to distribute the heat evenly across the entire cooking space.

          They are made out of heavy-duty cast iron and come pre-seasoned. The Bradley BTDS766P food smoker comes with 2 sets of wheels, so you can easily move it wherever you want.

          With its sturdy build quality, you can be sure that this will last you for years to come.

          The Bradley BTDS76P is easy to clean, thanks to the removable drip tray. Simply remove the tray, wash it thoroughly under running water, then put it back into place.

          The Bradley BTDS6P also features a safety shut-off valve, which prevents the fire from spreading outside the smoker.

          It’s easy to set up and use. It produces great-tasting smoke and it’s quiet enough to enjoy without disturbing others.

          It’s not cheap but it’s worth every penny if you want to enjoy smoking without all the hassle.

          PROS

          • With a Bradley smoker, you can enjoy delicious food smoking without any hassle. It has an insulated double-wall carbon fiber construction, stainless steel interior, and durable powder epoxy outer shell.
          • Measures 31.5" x 17" x 14" (80 x 43.5 x 36cm) 24.6" inches (62.5cm) wide when the generator is attached.
          • Large Capacity Oven With 76L Internal Capacity: The digital smoker is specially designed for cooking large quantities of meat. It has an internal capacity of 76L, which means you can cook up to four turkeys at once.
          • Easy To Clean the stainless steel interiors and will not rust.
          • Smoke diffuser systems keep the smoke flowing, eliminating any old smoke and preventing black rain from dripping on your delicious food.
          • With dual heating elements that control smoke temperature and smoke production, it’s ideal for all types of smoking including hot smoking, cold smoking and dehydrating.
          • Automatic wood feeder works for up to 9 hrs without refilling and never lets wood burn down to ash, ensuring pure, clean smoke flavor.
          • An outdoor barbecue smoker with full digital controls for temperature, time, smoke, and even humidity.
          • 4 cooking racks for meats, poultry, pork, fish, etc.
          • Seriously good looking smoker.

          CONS

          • The Bradley brand briquettes are wildly expensive if you use them exclusively. 
          • Not ideal if you live in very cold climates and you want to use your smoker year-round. 

          PIT BOSS PG5000SP Wood Pellet Smoker

            Another great option from the masters at Pit Boss, this PIT BOSS PG5000SP Wood Pellet Smoker is

            It has a built-in thermostat so it automatically adjusts the temperature based on the wood pellets used. The pellet hopper holds 30 pounds of pellets and the ash pan holds another 20 pounds.

            There's also a digital display that lets you know how many hours left before the pellets run out.

            And if you're worried about running out of pellets, this model comes with a remote control that allows you to start and stop the burn from anywhere in the house.

            It’s easy to set up, it has a large firebox, and it produces delicious wood pellets. The only downside is that the pellet hopper fills up quickly.

            It has all the features you could want in a pellet smoker – easy to clean, easy to assemble, and it smokes like a dream. The only downside is that this model doesn’t come with a thermostat, so you’ll need one separately.

            The heat control knob is easy to turn, and it's got a nice digital display. There's also a built-in ash catcher, which is pretty cool.

            It comes with a bag of hardwood BBQ pellets, but if you want to use wood chips instead, or switch up your pellet grill game or pellet quality,  they're available separately.

            PROS

            • Pit Boss 5-Series Vertical Smoker.
            • All-natural hardwood pellet fuel.
            • 150°F to 420°F temperature range.
            • Great for smoking, roasting, baking, braising, and barbecuing.
            • 1,721 sq.in cooking capacity.
            • Five adjustable cooking racks.
            • A  Pit Boss Meat Probe included.
            • A large 55 lb. hopper capacity.
            • Heavy-gauge stainless steel construction for longevity.
            • Large pellet view window that's really useful for knowing when to refill before it's too late. 

            CONS

            • Pretty expensive, though you do get a massive smoker for the price. 

            Camp Chef PGVXXLC Wi-Fi Pellet Smoker

              Last, but certainly not least Camp Chef PGVXXLC Wi-Fi Pellet Smoker is an awesome example of style and function combined into one.

              With app functionality, wi-fi controls, and a host of new features, the Camp Chef delivers all of the modern additions you could want with a vertical wood pellet smoker but looks the spitting image of a classical and rustic smoker that wouldn't be out of place in your grandpa's backyard.

              It looks the part but has some serious modern upgrades that really make it a pleasure to use. 

              The Camp Chef PGVXXLW pellet grill has a large cooking area and features a digital control panel. It comes with a built-in WiFi module so you can connect it to your smartphone or tablet and monitor its status from anywhere.

              This awesome Camp Chef pellet smoker has become one of the most popular smokers among outdoor enthusiasts. It’s easy to use and provides excellent results.

              The pellet smoker has become one of the most popular smokers on the market today, though Camp Chef also has many other styles available if you want to switch it up, and this will of course change the typical price. 

              It’s easy to clean, it heats quickly, and it produces amazing results. If you want to start smoking meat, this is one of the best options out there.

               PROS

              • A new Wi-Fi controller has been added.
              • Comes equipped with 4 Smoking Grill Grates, 3 Jerky Racks, 2 Temp Read Probes, 1 Hanging Rack w/ 12 Sausage Hooks
              • It works with Deluxe Collapsible Shelves (PGXXLSH).
              • Grease Management System, Pellet Hoppers, Smart Smokers, Ash Cleanout Systems
              • Unrivaled Camp Chef quality
              • Power source type: Electric

              CONS

              • High price-point again with this one. 
              • Wi-fi syncing can be a little bit of an issue if you don't have a constant strong connection. 

               Final Thoughts

              Whatever you're looking for in a great vertical smoker, these boys seriously deliver a punch! Yeah, there are definitely better value and lower-priced vertical smokers on the market to be sure.

              But, the ones we've chosen above are in our opinion, the 'best' and have some really cool features that are fun to play around with, especially if you are looking to up your grill game and start exploring the world of smoking more.

              Happy smoking!

              Lianne Jones
              Lianne Jones


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