Choosing the Best Pellet Smoker/Grill can be a daunting task, especially when everybody claims to be the very best the market has to offer. So, we collaborated with some of America’s Top Chefs to help us select the Top 5 Pellet Smokers/Grills and put them in perspective for you.
Rec Tec RT700 – If you don’t want to compromise on quality and want the best pellet smoker money can buy, then the Rec Tec is exactly what you need. With 702 sq. in. of cooking space and a thermostat ranging from 200ºF to 500ºF, we can easily declare it as the “King” of Pellet Smokers out there.
But if you want something that handles the basics while not making a dent in your pocket, then the Camp Chef PG24 is the one for you. With 573 sq. in. of cooking space, a thermostat ranging from 170ºF to 400ºF and thoughtful features like Pellet Drain Chute and Ash clean-out system. It is undoubtedly the budget-friendly choice.
Recommended Pellet Smokers
Best Pellet Smoker Reviews
#1 Recommendation: Camp Chef PG24 Pellet Grill and Smoker
Ever since its launch in early 2014, the Camp Chef DLX PG24 has been rated as the best mid-sized pellet smoker because of its high quality built, hardwood flavor and most of all the ash cleanout system.
The Camp Chef PG24 is full of thoughtful and useful features, some of them small, some of them big. Let’s go through its in-depth review to see what it lacks & what earns it the #1 Recommendation spot.
The Camp Chef has 429 sq. in. of cooking space, and the additional cooking rack adds another 144 sq. in. to it.
The upper rack, drip pan and heat deflector are stainless while the main cooking grate is steel coated with enamel. In short, you can expect it to last a long time.
Anyone who has had a pellet smoker knows that you do have to clean the ash out of the bottom, and the majority of it collects in the firepot, where the pellets burn. Camp Chef has introduced a fire pot clean out mechanism that drops the ashes from the firepot directly into a cup affixed at the bottom of the grill.
The hopper capacity is the same as the Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite 22, but what sets it apart is the “Pellet Hopper Drain Chute Technology”. So if you are looking to try a different wood or just storing the grill for a long time, then all you need to do is hang a bucket on the chute and pull out the knob to catch the pellets… and before you know, the tedious task will be over, leaving you with nothing but love for your Camp Chef Grill.
These functions alone not only makes it unique but also earns it the title of “People’s Best Pellet Smoker/Grill Choice” leaving behind its the Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite 22.
Camp Chef’s Controller gives you digital temperature control, a meat probe port and an easy access to the fuse. The notched dial temperature controller has settings from 175F to 400F, alongside the shutdown, feed, lo smoke, hi smoke and high temperature settings.
Camp Chef has made use of auger timing and temperature setting to provide you with a low smoke (180F) and a high smoke (215F) setting to make the grilling process even easier.
Using the probe temp button on the controller, you can even toggle between the set temperature and meat probe temperature to keep the grilling temperature in check.
Cooking Surface (429 sq. in. to 573 sq. in.)
Pellet Hopper (18lbs)
Temperature- 170ºF to 400ºF
Pellet Hopper Drain Chute
Ash Clean-out System
Short Warranty Period (1yr)
Overall, if you are a fan of BBQ, and want hassle free experience, then the Camp Chef PG24 is worth having on your side. It has a lot of thoughtful features (Pellet Hopper Drain Chute, Ash Clean-out System and high/lo smoke settings) which is set it apart from the Traeger and the Pit Boss.
We would recommend this over the Traeger and Pit Boss, as it offers advanced features at a lower price. However, if you want the best pellet grill on the market, then you can go for the Rec Tec RT700.
For those who find themselves barbecuing every other weekend, the Camp Chef Smoke Pro Pg24 is undoubtedly the preferred pellet grill for you.
#2 Recommendation: REC TEC Grills Bull RT-700
For as long as I can remember, the REC TEC RT-680 has been setting the standards for the best pellet smokers on the market, which is why REC-TEC is America’s fastest growing Pellet Smoker Company. And when they came up with the 2018 version of the REC TEC Pellet Grill, we knew it was going to be the very best pellet grill any barbecue lover could get their hands on.
In this detailed review, we will go over what the RT-700 does right, what it struggles with and who should go for this.
Moving on from the orangish-red looks of the predecessor RT-680, this newer model has a black hood, with stainless steel built. It is 2.5” taller than the RT-680 and has 2 stainless steel bull horn handles on the outside that will have you falling in love with its built. Everything from the towel rings, the controller shelf, the hopper lid to the spill-proof bucket hook is stainless steel and even the smallest of details like the laser cutout of “Rec Tec Grills” on the side will never fail to impress.
The 40-pound hopper capacity promises over 40 hours of continuous barbecuing experience, which is impressive to say the least.
Coming over to the cooking area, you will find 2 stainless steel grill grates that give you 702 sq. in. of cooking space with an option of the second shelf that makes it 1054 sq. in. Its tall enough for turkeys and large enough to fit 6 large-sized racks of ribs. So, hosting a bunch of people for a BBQ party, and cooking delicious meat for them, would be as easy as it could get.
Towards the bottom, you’ll find a bottom shelf for storage and rollerblade style wheels with casters for moving around and locking your pellet grill in place.
Additionally, the heavy duty stainless steel construction ensures that it will last for a long time, and the modular layout makes the components easily accessible and individually replaceable.
With the RT 700, REC TEC has introduced a brand new smart controller that has everybody talking about it. It has superior built quality and houses a temperature dial, 2 meat probes and wifi button, alongside the power on/off button.
Using the wifi and the app, you could not only turn on your pellet smoker from your smartphone, but also set and monitor its temperature. Impressive, right?
The thermostat guarantees temperature ranging from 200ºF, all the way up till 500ºF. A temperate test done by our friend George from Backyard Smokin’ revealed that it takes about 5 minutes to heat up to 200ºF, and north of 25 minutes for the RT-700 to reach 500ºF.
Cooking Surface (702 sq. in. to 1054 sq. in.)
Pellet Hopper (40lbs)
Temperature- 200ºF to 500ºF
Non-rustic Stainless Steel Built
Easy to clean
Not tested as much. Recently Launched.
For all the serious barbecue lovers out there, the Rec Tec Bull RT-700 would be the perfect choice for you. It has all the features and you know, coming from Rec Tec, it just couldnt go wrong, because of which the company provides a 6-year warranty with it.
It offers 700 sq. in. of cooking space and a powerful thermostat for a higher price, but makes up for it as soon as you start cooking on it. Also, it has a stunning design with the bull horns, which sets it apart yet again. But if you find yourself not spending as much and could do with a lesser cooking space, then the Camp Chef PG24 is a no-brainer for you.
If you really like to get control of your meat and find yourself hosting people every now and again, then the Rec Tec is for you.
#3 Recommendation: Traeger TFB42LZBC Grills Lil Tex Elite 22 Wood Pellet Grill
The Lil Tex Elite 22 is Traeger’sbest-sellingg pellet grill/smoker. Because of the same hopper capacity and cooking space, it’s often compared to the Camp Chef PG24. But due to lack of certain advanced features like Ash Cleanout System and Pellet Hopper Drain Chute, we’ve listed it at #3.
The Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22 is an evolved version of the Traeger Lil’ Tex Pellet Smoker, with a few minor touchups. It has 418 sq. in. of cooking space with a porcelain enamel steel grate inside. Brackets for the second shelf are provided inside the body, but the second shelf will have to be bought additionally.
The digital controller has a temperature dial (180 F to 400 F), shutdown cycle setting and an on/off switch which is very basic. Compared to the Camp Chef, it misses out on bypass startup button, food probe, feed button, lo smoke/high smoke settings and most importantly access to the fuse. In order to change the fuse in the Traeger, you’ll have to remove both screws on the digital controller and pull out the controller.
Another flaw would be the no easy hopper cleanout system, which means you’ll have to remove the pellets manually if you plan to leave your grill unused for a long time, else your pellets could get moisture and swell up.
Cooking Surface (418 sq. in.)
Pellet Hopper (18lbs)
Temperature- 180ºF to 400ºF
3 yr warranty
No inbuilt food probe
No access to fuse on the controller
No Easy Ash Cleanout System
No easy hopper cleanout system
Trager Pellet Grills are known for their quality, because of which they occupy a vast majority of the pellet smoker/grill market. The Lil Tex Elite 22 has all basic functions, but lacks certain ‘advanced’ features that would add on a lot of convenience.
But the Traeger does not fall short on quality, it will make you fall in love with bbq with its ability to cook. And dont let the numbers fool you, the cooking space is enough to hold 4 chickens or 4 rib racks or 16 burgers.
So, if you don’t mind missing out on a few functions and want to own a Traeger, then you should feel free to get one. But, in our opinion the Camp Chef PG24 is a much advanced pellet grill for a less price than the Traeger.
#4 Recommendation: Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet Grill
Pit Boss was developed by the same developer as of Louisiana Grills, to provide a more affordable pellet smoker with the same functions as Traeger. It has all the basic functions that a pellet smoker should and is a cheaper alternative to the Traeger, but it doesn’t come close to what the Camp Chef provides for the same price.
Made with 16 gauge black powder coated steel, the Pit Boss Pellet Grills can ensure a long lasting life along with rust-free cast iron grates and cooking racks.
With the 700 sq. in. of cooking space provided in this grill, it does surpass the Camp Chef and Traeger in terms of space, but when it comes down to features, it faces a huge competition from the Camp Chef which has a lot of thoughtful & useful features comparatively.
Features & Functionality
The 71700FB from Pit Boss has a flame broiler, with a slide-plate that provides an option for both direct and indirect flame cooking. If you simply want to smoke your meat, you can just slide the plate close and you’d have it smoking in no time.
The digital control center provides access to the temperature dial that can manage 180 F to 500 F. But loses out on features like hi smoke, lo smoke, easy fuse access, bypass startup and most importantly a meat probe.
Talking about another upside, the Pit Boss uses 100% natural cooking grade wooden pellets. No fillers. No adders. No spray scents or adhesives.
Although it does not have an easy ash cleanout mechanism, requiring you to vacuum the leftover ash from time to time, it does have an easy pellet cleanout option, which would come in handy every time you want to store your grill, without worrying about the pellets swelling up from moisture if you don’t take them out.
Cooking Surface (700 sq. in.)
Pellet Hopper (18lbs)
Temperature- 180ºF to 500ºF
Easy Pellet Cleanout Mechanism
100% natural wooden pellets
No inbuilt food probe
No access to fuse on the controller
No Easy Ash Cleanout System
The Pit Boss 71700FB is the perfect pellet grill for someone who like control over his meat. It covers all the basic functions and lets you bake, braise, grill, roast, barbecue smoke, sear and chargrill. It has an option for both direct and indirect cooking which is a unique feature amongst competitors.
It uses 100% natural wood pellets and does a decent job with the meat. In comparison to the Camp Chef, it misses out on the food probe and the Easy Ash Clean-out System, if you wouldn’t mind losing out those while gaining some more cooking space, then this is the smoker for you.
#5 Recommendation: Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill
The Davy Crockett By Green Mountain Grills is perfect for a small family, tailgaters, and campers.
With the fold-able legs function, compact size (20.5” H x 27.75” W x 17.5” D) and considerably light weight (68 lbs), it can fit into almost any car trunk, making it undoubtedly the Ultimate Tailgater Pellet Grill for any outdoor cooking lover.
The 8lbs hopper capacity and 219 sq. in. of cooking space is enough for all kinds of portions (including 2 racks of ribs or 5-6 steaks.), making it our go-to smoker for weekend barbeques.
Versatility and Accessibility
The wifi functionality displays both the temperature of both the grill and meat probe, using the same on your smartphone app you can tweak it according to your needs. The App also lets you set up profiles which you can configure once and use in the future as well. This adds a great accessibility feature that none of the big smokers have comparatively.
The PID Controls and the auger work along with the temperature gauge & fan to keep a consistent temperature for your meats. It can maintain temperatures all the way from 150 F to 550 F, which is very impressive for a pellet smoker.
The Davy Crockett can be powered by 12V or 120AV using a battery. It also has meat probe along with a plate that allows direct cooking; so you can use that to get a sear on the meats.
Cooking Surface (219 sq. in.)
Pellet Hopper (8lbs)
Temperature- 150ºF to 550ºF
Perfect for camping
Takes time to get used to.
The Davy Crockett is a small portable grill that has all the pellet grill functions including Wifi controls. Its a dream for anyone who loves cooking outdoors and is a camper /tailgater.
The pellet grill runs on battery and doesn’t take much to set up, which is why it is crowned as the Ultimate Tailgater Pellet Grill. If you’re talking portability and barbecuing, you simply must have this pellet grill on your side.