Pellet smokers are chosen by most home chefs because they use a unique system to indirectly cook all of their favorite meats. When you turn a pellet smoker on, you activate its igniter rod, and the rod starts to feed wood pellets into the unit’s firebox. This creates the smoke that you need to cook your favorite foods; it does this automatically, so you don’t have to spend time messing around with charcoal, wood or temperature settings.
When you can set and forget your unit, it gives you free time to do other things during the lengthy smoking process. This isn’t the case with conventional wood or charcoal smokers; they need a full day of maintenance and tending.
The pellets used for smoking contain all natural materials; they are compacted units of sawdust. Unlike charcoal, pellets don’t contain any additive or fillers, so you always know that your food will come out safe and perfectly cooked. When you cook with a pellet smoker, you never need to add extra wood chips or flavoring agents, the natural pellets produce a smoke flavor that rivals all conventional smoking methods.
Top 3 Best Pellet Smoker Comparison Chart
|Smoker Model||Our Review||Cooking area (inches)||Color|
|REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill – Featuring Smart Grill TechnologyTM||19 x 34||Black & Red|
|Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill – Digital Thermostat Controlled||15 x 20||Black|
|Camp Chef PG24 Pellet Grill and Smoker BBQ – Digital Controls and Stainless Temp Probe||45 x 21 x 51||Black|
3 Best Pellet Smoker Reviews
The REC pellet grill is an easy to use unit that automatically turns on with the click of a button; once on, the unit keeps a level temperature for the whole time that it is running. As a user, you can easily change the unit’s temperature to smoke, sear, bake or grill your favorite barbecue recipes.
The REC TEC uses all natural wood pellets, so you always get an authentic barbecue flavor, and with their six-year warranty, you never have to worry about your smoker breaking down. The smoker is calibrated to give you precise cooking temperatures, and the pellets are automatically fed into the firebox to prevent temperature fluctuations. The unit gives you a generous 19 x 34 inch cooking area, and it allows you to adjust temperatures from 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
REC TEC Pros:
- Large cooking area
- Smart Grill Technology to keep up an exact temperature
- Temperature control from 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
- Powder coat finish for durability
- Wheels for easy movement
- Great warranty and customer support
The instructions that come with the unit could be a little clearer, but most people find that they can assemble it in under an hour. People have experienced great customer service with this company; they quickly walk you through any problems you are having, and they will send replacements for broken items with no hesitation. If you need a dependable smoker with a great warranty, then this unit will fit your needs perfectly.
The Traeger Junior Elite is a compact unit that’s perfect for people who are just getting into pellet cooking; the unit is ideal for tailgating, small spaces and households that don’t have enough room for a large unit.
The 15 x 20 inch cooking area give you a generous 292 square inches of cooking space, and its digital thermometer lets you accurately control the temperature of the unit. The unit uses convection technology to make sure that air circulates around your food at all times; you never have to worry about hot or cold spots with this unit.
The Traeger is made of solid steel, and it uses wood pellets to accurately maintain temperature throughout the cooking process. When you turn the unit on, you simply need to set the temperature; the unit will automatically dispense pellets when they are needed.
The natural pellets allow you to grill, smoke, bake or roast your favorite recipes in a healthy way. The grill comes with an easy start button, porcelain-coated grate, smoke exhaust and an EZ grease drain system for easy cleanup.
Traeger Junior Elite Pros:
- 15 x 20 inch cooking area
- Digital thermostat with 11 settings
- Easy start button
- Solid steel construction
- Compact unit
- Heats up quickly
The Traeger Junior Elite is a great unit for both novice and expert home chefs. It’s a compact unit that weighs in at about 70 pounds because of its steel construction.
The Camp Chef is a perfect unit for people who want to take their outdoor grilling and smoking to the professional level. The unit was designed for home chefs, and it does its best to simplify the cooking and smoking process; it includes a digital thermometer to help take the guesswork and variance out of the smoking process.
This innovative smoker has dual temperature control sensors that allow users to maintain a consistent temperature without any fuss, and its dual temperature readout gives you both the chamber’s temperature and your food’s internal temperature. The unit is turned on with the push of a button, and it will automatically dispense pellets until your food is done. It has a large capacity pellet hopper; that means you don’t have to refill it often. Its ash can and unique easy access design makes cleanup a cinch.
Camp Chef PG24 Pros:
- Dual LED temperature display
- Recipe booklet included
- 560 cubic inches of cooking space
- Removable upper rack
- Easy cleaning
- Large capacity hopper
The unit weighs in at 132 pounds, so you might need a hand when you are putting it together. It’s a solid unit that is constructed of steel, so you know that it’s going to last for a long time.
Factors To Consider When Buying A Pellet Smoker
If you rush into buying a unit without proper consideration, you may end up with something that you aren’t completely satisfied with. Make sure to consider the following factors before buying a new unit:
The first thing that you need to look at when buying a pellet smoker is your budget. There are tons of different models on the market, and they all come with various accessories. If you’re looking to spend a lot of money, then you can buy a unit that comes with tons of bells and whistles, but if you’re like most people, you are better off buying a decently priced unit that cooks well.
Pellet Availability – Depending on where you are located, you might need to buy pellets in bulk; it can be difficult to buy pellets year round in some regions. The best way to buy pellets is to buy a lot of them at one time, or you can buy them over the Internet. You need to make sure that pellets are available before you start cooking. If you don’t have enough of them, you won’t be able to properly smoke your meat.
Pellet smokers can be quite large, and if you don’t have the room for a unit, it can become a hassle. Always make sure to look at a unit’s weight and dimensions; this gives you a good idea of how mobile the unit is. If you’re going to be moving your unit a lot, you probably want to get a smaller unit that can be easily moved. If you plan on leaving your unit in one spot, then you need to buy a unit that is the right size; you don’t have to put as much consideration into its weight and mobility features.
Quality And Durability
When you buy a pellet smoker, it should last you for years. If you buy a unit that’s dependable, then you won’t have to worry about costly repairs and replacements. It’s important to buy a smoker that comes from a dependable manufacturer; when you do this, it’s much more likely that your unit will produce quality smoke without breaking after a few uses.
Criteria for Choosing
A pellet smoker gives one limitless options on what to cook. One can entirely cook anything and everything because the pellet smoker gives a combination of abilities from grilling and smoking to kitchen oven. One can grill chicken, hot dogs, burgers sea foods and even vegetables. Brisket and ribs BBQ can be smoked. Baking of pizza, blueberry pie, bread pudding and cakes. This is why the pellet smoker is best considered than other grillers.
So how to choose a good one?
Considering quality construction of anything is among the most important factors that should be kept in mind while shopping for a pellet smoker. No one would wish to buy an item, no matter the price, that is not of good quality and that will have rust or get destroyed without giving the user enough service. That is a loss. A good quality pellet smoker will last longer and will need less or little maintenance.
A buyer should make sure the pellet smoker he or she is choosing is of good quality. The pellet smoker should be well built, original and its features and components be of good construction. When in the store, one can feel the lid of the grill by lifting it to feel its weight. The lid should not be delicate or too hefty. The weight should be manageable and not light enough that wind can blow it. When one closes the lead, it should lay on the grill in a comfortable way that provides a good seal.
Other important parts of the pellet smoker that one should watch out the joints, the welding and the hardware. They should be made of good material, most preferred, aluminum or steel. The joints of the pellet smoker should be well lubricated in a way that they do not produce uncomfortable sounds while the cooking is on. The grill should generally feel sturdy with all the seams and joints fitting together snugly, leaving no spaces for heat produced to escape in any way.
It is recommended to compare and contrast specs of different pellet smokers in the store. One should also look at different reviews and researches and not be shy to ask about the quality of the pellet smoker they are wishing to have. A good pellet smoker store should have staff that are well equipped with information about pellet smoker and they should be able to advice their customers which grills are best for them having compared variety of the different models.
The temperature range
Temperature vary depending on different cooking, making this an important factor to consider when selecting the best pellet smoker for you. What type of cooking do you practice? Most if not all pellet smokers are good when used at indirect cooking and the maximum temperature they can get ranges from 180 – 425 degrees. This temperature range is good when one is grilling, roasting, baking or smoking. It becomes a challenge when you want to sear, which requires a temperature range of 500 – 550 degrees.
You should consider the temperature range of what you will be cooking mostly before choosing the desired pellet smoker, to avoid choosing one that is not fit cooking foods of higher temperature. Pellet smoker with higher temperature range are better that those with low temperature range because they can cook more foods with different styles of cooking.
Is the size of the pellet smoker fit for the selected cooking area? This is a question everyone should have in mind when selecting the best pellet smoker. They comes in different sizes. Big and small. Getting a big pellet grill that is bigger for the set cooking area will inconvenience the buyer. On the other side getting a smaller pellet smoker that is less fit for selected space will make it look unfit.
It is advisable and recommended for you to relate the physical dimensions of the cooking area and lifestyle to the size of the pellet smoker.
Features and capabilities
You should make sure the pellet smokerhas all the features you want. The control board is a feature used to input meat to the grill. Some pellet smokers though have an outdoor control board for meat probes. Some other important features include Wi-Fi capability, direct grilling option, secondary cooking racks and included probes. A computer, tab or mobile phone connectivity is also another important consideration because it helps with regulating heat.
The choosing and purchase of any item or device should be mostly favored by the preference of the buyer. A pellet smoker is not different. A buyer should pay for something that is appealing to his or her own eyes. This will make the buyer have an easy time and have appreciation while using the grill. The user though should consider other factors equally with the personal choice.
Q. Can I use my pellet smoker in a cold weather season?
A. yes it is possible to use it in a cold weather season. It is however important to consider that some pellet smokers work better in cold weather conditions than others. Pellets grills that have been tuned into ideal conditions use a standard non-PID controller making them to lose their temperature range maintenances ability in windy or cold weathers. The PID controller though after measuring the temperatures of the pellet smoker, it maintains the heat produced to achieve the desired temperatures in all conditions.
Q. What is the difference between the smoke flavor produced by pellets and wood chips or wood chunks?
A. The main difference is that pellets produce smoke flavor that is milder than a traditional offset and cleaner. Pellets burn cleanly making the flavor and smoke more purified. The food hence will have a lighter flavor and no heavy smoke produced.
Q. What are the recommended flavors that I should use?
A. There are two mostly and popular pellet smoker flavors. Apple and hickory. With these two types of flavors, one can cook entirely anything. When cooking poultry or pork, hickory is the best flavor. It is though a strong flavor to be used in cooking red meat. Apple on the other side can be good on vegetables and seafood but can also be used when cooking poultry, red meat and pork.
Q. After buying my pellet smoker, where is the most appropriate place to store my pellets?
A. pellets can easily be affected by humidity and moisture, making the user to be very careful when storing the pellets. A dry place with extremely no moisture or humidity is conducive. Moisture and humidity can cause difficulty or no lighting of the pellets when one is cooking. The pellets can hence swell causing jam in the cooking grill.
Q. What is the recommended duration of a pellet bag last?
A. Cooking pellets depend on the amount of heat temperature used in cooking. On normal circumstances, a pound of cooking pellets should last a duration of an hour to an hour and a half when cooking at a temperature of 250 degrees in ideal conditions of no wind. When the temperatures are increased, the number of burning pellets also increase because the pellets tend to burn more quickly. In cold weather conditions, the pellets tend to burn faster that in normal or sunny weather conditions.
Q. While using the smoker, does it really matter the brand of pellet one is using?
A. The brand of the pellet does not matter when cooking in a grill. The quality of the pellets matter. Most pellet smoker companies would recommend for a buyer to use pellets from their own models. This is because they want to insist on use of quality pellets and selling their products too. Though any good quality pellet can be used to cook in model of a pellet smoker and cooker.
When you buy the best pellet smoker, you get a unit that automatically controls the temperature of your food; this is great for people who don’t want to sit around and keep a careful eye on their unit all day. The units come with many accessories, so you have many choices when it comes to what you want your unit to do.
Always make sure that you get a unit that is appropriate for the size of the meals you are going to be cooking; you don’t want to buy a small unit that only allows you to cook for yourself. The units can be heavy, so if you are going to be moving your smoker a lot, you probably want to buy something that is a little lighter and comes on wheels. If you find a unit from a dependable manufacturer, you’ll get a great warranty; this ensures that your unit will last you a long time.