On paper, the YS640 from Yoder seems like the perfect pellet grill. But you probably know that the wrong purchase can leave you stuck with an ineffective overpriced pellet grill that breaks after a few months. Our team of experts conducted a Yoder YS604 review to uncover what it can and can’t do. Here’s what they found.
If you're looking for a bit smaller grill with almost the same features as the YS640 from Yoder, we recommend that you get Traeger Grills' TFB88PZBO Pro with a total of 884 square inches of cooking space.
Yoder YS640 Design
When our team of experts first fired up this unit, they were surprised to find a long list of features and properties. This smoker is one of the best looking pellet grills you may ever see. It is comparable to high quality pellet grills including Pit Boss 700FB. This pellet grill has a clean exterior with sharp angles as opposed to the curves you see on most pellet grills.
This unit also has a set of two large back wheels and two lockable front ones that improve mobility. Beneath, you have a great base rack that also doubles as a shelf if you need to store pellet packs or any other kitchen utensil. You also get front and side shelves and a second level slide-out shelf for that extra cooking area.
One more thing we enjoyed about the product’s design was how accessible it all was. The controller sits pretty in front of the housing, which is great for many reasons. Firstly, the built in thermometer gives you an accurate temperature review of the burning pellets. Secondly, you can easily adjust the heat for the best possible experience.
The Yoder YS640’s build quality really stood out to our team because you don't find sturdy pellet grills that often. Everything is built to last similar to Pit Boss Austin XL, from the ceramic ignition system to the heavy duty body and chrome plated round bar steel. The main body has a 14 gauge steel construction on the hopper and 10 gauge on the steel chamber. Some of the high rated grills on the market don’t come close to this grill’s build.
Any grill owner will tell you how essential cleaning is, and cleaning this smoker is as convenient as possible. Most of its parts, from the cooking chamber to the square inches of cooking area can be tidied with a shop vac. We could clean the cooking grates just by wiping them down for a shiny finish.
Our team also found that this is one of the few pellet grills with a variable damper. Variable dampers are used to achieve different temperatures in a pellet smoker. It has a versatile adjustable slider on the outside that’s separate from the control system.
The damper makes it possible to cook at two different temperatures on the same grill. On closer inspection, we uncovered the ingenious system used by the pellet grill Yoder. By sliding the damper, you can keep the heat confined to one area of the grill. It’s incredible because we could move the damper as far as we wanted. We had to pair this function with temperature probes for best results; it’s difficult to estimate how hot a grill zone is going to be without one.
We also found great use for the heat deflector plate while using the pellet grill Yoder for indirect cooking. Without the plate, the flame sometimes rose from the pit to overcook and even burn our meat. And with a maximum temperature of about 600 f, we needed the deflector plate for the best possible grilling.
The large and heavy smoker will do very well in your backyard. Yoder will make you grilling and smoking your meat easy enough.
Yoder smokers are known for their sophisticated control panels like top-notch brands including Rec Tec and Green Mountain, and it doesn't disappoint. The control panel houses the power button, the start control, the temperature controller, and the LCD thermometer. Grills of this calibre usually have an accurate thermometer so you rarely need a third party device. The panel also has a prime button that forces the grill to maintain the preset temperatures.
The temperature controller on the control panel lets you adjust the temperature range by 5 degree increments. That’s much better than what you get on most smoker grills. We were impressed with the smoker’s heat retention because it meant we could grow overnight without checking up every hour.
The grill maintains the cooking range by varying the amount of wood pellets dropped into the fire pit. When the temperature rises past your set range, it drops less pellets, and vice versa. This system also helps with heat retention.
Unfortunately, the wireless connectivity only comes with the Yoder YS640s pellet grills. We were disappointed because the best pellet grills in the YS640's category have WiFi.
Our team of experts found a wealth of accessories on the cooking pellet grill, including a side mounted pellet hopper, grease drain, and a good counterweight.
The side mounted pellet hopper has a 20 pound hopper range, enough to hold pellets for any overnight cooking session. Additionally, it delivers wood pellets directly to the fire pit in the most efficient and controlled way possible. The delivery system also gives you more control over the temperature range and a high quality fire.
This grill’s chrome plated cooking grates are also a fine addition to the smoker. There are three cooking grates arranged on two different layers, making up over 1000 square inches of cooking space. One layer has an incredible 640 square inches, more than enough to cook two briskets at a go. We also found that the 640 square inches cooking grates could be collapsed to make more space for the layer below, which gives more versatility when used.
Some other accessories come with extra cost, like a competition cart, thermal insulation jackets, and full set stainless steel shelves. These accessory upgrades are best for competitive cookers and those who want more options from their Yoder smokers.
During our YS640 review, we were surprised to find a hood counterweight on the Yoder smoker. But it was highly effective because of the high quality single lid. The counterbalance weight helps you lift the lid when using, and it keeps it open. Without it, using the grill would have been a real hassle.
Another feature we enjoyed was the grease drain. Yoder smokers need a grease drain for an easy clean up and tidy grilling area. All we needed was a bucket to collect the grease as it dripped out of the grill. The drain also gave us one less thing to worry about when preparing the grill for another grilling, smoking or cooking session.
Our team of experts also found other great features on this wood pellet grill. One was the smokestack. This smoker has an adjustable smokestack that can be inched in and out of the fire pit. With this setting, you can adjust the airflow over the wood pellets, and ultimately, the quality of smoke the grill produces. The best strategy is to aim for clear, almost blue smoke.
Next, we loved the great coating on all the grill parts. From porcelain to steel that are stainless, and even copper, the Yoder was fashioned to retain its beauty and shine after years of use. This quality makes sense since the bbq grill is made in the USA. Yoder’s manufacturing facility is in Kansas, and every unit they make is shipped out of there.
While grilling and BBQ, we also found the stay-cool-handles very helpful. Nearly every part of the smoker, from the grates to the pellet hopper, rose in temperature. But the handles allowed our team to open the lid and use the bbq grill without a burn risk.
The probe access ports were also a great addition. Combined with the 5 degree temperature control and the heat settings, we could manage the heat with laser precision. Features like the variable damper and the high quality build make the grill’s internal temperatures vary slightly. But the probe access ports allowed us to use food probes for grilling and cooking our meal to perfection.
Finally, we loved the customization options that the bbq grill offers. We were spoiled for choice on accessories like the grill door thermometer kit, the pellet smoker half-depth shelf, and even a cast iron griddle. Instead of offering a few of these extra features for an insane price, Yoder smokers allow you to choose whatever you want for a small additional cost.
Considering the quality of this grill’s accessories, it is competitively priced. Everything from the grates to the grill body is made of high quality materials. Even though it costs more than many bbq grills and Yoder smokers in its category especially from best brands like Pit Boss and Traeger, it delivers high value.
For example, it’s similarly priced with the Traeger Timberline 850. But the Yoder smokers have better features, most notably higher temperatures, more smoke, and a sophisticated control panel. Additionally, the Yoder is a competition grill, meaning chefs get it specifically to compete. Not many bbq grilling units and smokers can do that.
By keeping extra features separate, Yoder has managed to keep the YS640’s price down. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll pay a little bit more in the long run for customizations that may be essential to your grilling and cooking process.
While using the grill, we found that we could save some cost on pellets by maximizing each cooking session’s heat. The cooking surface is large enough to accommodate much food, so it’s easier to cook and freeze as needed. That way, you don’t have to buy pellets every other week.
(Want to find more grills that are worth it? We rounded up the best pellet grill picks under 500.)
We also wanted to do YS640 from Yoder reviews on parts and their warranty. Interestingly, the manufacturer offers varying warranties for different parts just like other brands including Pit Boss and Camp Chef. For example, there’s a 10-year warranty that comes on the grill body. But you may earn only 3 years on the control system and ceramic igniter. Luckily, both of these parts are very sturdy, and you may not need any replacements throughout the unit’s lifespan. Any replacement part has an additional 1 year of coverage after invoking the initial one.
The warranty processing for the Yoder grills is very straight forward. You can open disputes by sending them an email through your email address or initiating a chat on their website. If you prefer a human touch, simply dial up the customer care number. We also love that you get the relevant information from the product packaging. You don’t have to search the internet till you find details of the warranty policy.
To preserve the grill’s lifespan, we made sure to clean the grill grates after every use. We also vacuumed ash off the ignition base because too much ash can keep the pellets from catching fire.
This unit is loaded with features for everyone who loves to cook, from an accurate temperature control panel to quick heating, a variable damper, and over 1,000 square of cooking space. Even though it’s more pricey than the competition, it delivers excellent value.
We also compared Yoder against Rec Tec pellet grills here. Read next to know which brand is better for your backyard kitchen!
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