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Pellet grills have increased in popularity over the last few years, and for good reason. Like pellet smokers—many of which are also pellet grills—they give you that bold smoky flavor without much effort on your part. They’re a “set it and forget it” style of cooking, allowing you to smoke and grill anything from whole chickens to brisket to game meat. The name of the pellet grill game is low and slow.

Armed with a bag of wood pellets, some meat from our local butcher, and a hearty appetite, I fired up pellet smokers and grills from top brands like Traeger, Weber, and Pit Boss to test them out and see how they really perform. After reviewing their features and cooking capabilities and eating a lot of smoked meat, I’ve determined the best pellet grills for any occasion and budget below.

Best Pellet Grills

Best Overall: Traeger Timberline

Specs

  • Weight: 238 lbs
  • Max Temperature: 500 F
  • Cooking Space: 880 sq. in.
  • Hopper Capacity: 22 lbs
  • Warranty: 10 years

Pros

  • Tons of awesome features—very well-designed
  • Comes with Meater probes
  • Cooks meat evenly with terrific smoke flavor
  • Has an induction cooktop and cutting board for prepping sides

Cons

  • The most expensive grill on our list

Traeger is arguably the most well-known brand in the world of pellet grills and smokers with a reputation for some of the highest quality cookers. And the Traeger Timberline certainly lived up to that reputation, if not exceeded it. From the minute we started setting it up, I knew it was on a whole other level. For starters, it’s incredibly easy to put together—it even ships with a ratcheting wrench to use for assembly, and the box itself turns into a kids’ playhouse.

From there, the Traeger Timberline just looks good. From the natural wood shelves to the magnetic removable bamboo cutting board, it’s a statement piece that would look good in any outdoor space but especially lends itself to an outdoor kitchen aesthetic. Those same features are as practical as they are attractive, too. The shelves provide ample storage space for tools, seasonings, and the like, while the cutting board is clearly for prepping your meat and veggies. It snaps easily to the grill via a strong magnet.

Our experience cooking with the Traeger Timberline XL was like no other. There’s so much to love about it. It has a touchscreen control panel that feels high-tech yet is easy to use and navigate at the same time. If you’re planning to leave the grill while your meat smokes, it connects to WiFi so you can use the app to adjust the grill’s temperature, check your meat’s cooking progress, browse and bookmark recipes, and more. It’s just as intuitive as the on-grill control panel. The Timberline comes with a Meater probe—which we dubbed one of the best meat thermometers—so you can monitor the temperature of your meat from your phone. We’ve owned a Meater for awhile and our big fans, so this was a pleasant surprise to find inside. There’s also an interior light, eliminating the need for an extra grill light attachment, and plenty of hooks and rack space for additional accessories (or for hanging towels, utensils, etc.).

From a smoked chicken to pork tenderloin, everything we made on the Traeger was delicious, flavorful, and infused with just the right amount of smoke. In fact, my husband dubbed the chicken we made the best he’s ever eaten. Coming from him, that’s high praise. One thing that improves the smoke flavor is the Traeger’s unique down draft technology, which pulls smoke down through the grill to allow the flavor to soak deeper into your food. It also has “super smoke” mode, should you want an even bigger burst of smokiness.

Another huge draw of the Timberline—and one of the features that makes it our number one pick—is the induction cooktop on the side. No more running from the grill to the kitchen back to the grill. You can prep your sides without ever stepping away from the grill. It boils water within minutes, and is big enough to hold your average induction-compatible saucepan.

The Best Pellet Grills of 2024
The interior and exterior of the Traeger Timberline.

Just know that you’ll be shelling out upwards of $3,000 for this bad boy. It’s well worth the cost, though. You won’t find a more well-designed pellet grill, in my opinion.

Best for the Money: Weber SmokeFire Sear+ Pellet Grill

Specs

  • Weight: 166 lbs
  • Max Temperature: 600 F
  • Cooking Space: 1,156 sq. in.
  • Hopper Capacity: 20 lbs
  • Warranty: 5 years

Pros

  • High temperature range
  • Massive cooking space
  • Easy to monitor remotely with the app

Cons

  • Doesn’t drain grease well

We’ve owned a Weber gas grill for years, so I had high hopes for the Weber pellet grill. It didn’t disappoint. Some of the highlights include the SmokeBoost feature, which allows you to add a burst of smoke at the start of cooking for an even richer flavor, and the built-in interior light that comes in handy when you’re grilling in the evening or at night. The SmokeFire also comes with Weber’s famous Flavorizer bars, which are made with porcelain-coated steel that’s durable and easy to clean and designed to enhance the flavor as well as distribute heat evenly.

What sets the Weber SmokeFire Sear+ apart from other pellet grills is that it can reach temperatures up to 600 degrees F—perfect for searing, as the grill’s name suggests. It delivers on that. When we cooked steaks on the pellet grill, we were able to get the char and sear marks that are so often lacking when cooking in a pellet smoker. We weren’t able to achieve that kind of sear on any of the other grills we tested. To date, it’s one of the only pellet grills that offers the capabilities of both a gas grill and smoker all in one. It’s the best of both worlds.

The Best Pellet Grills of 2024
The interior and exterior of the Weber SmokeFire Sear+ Pellet Grill.

When smoking meat on the Weber pellet grill, we found the beef to be cooked through evenly and with a surprising amount of smokiness. The included probes provided accurate temperature readings and the grill stayed within a 5-degree range of the set point while it was running.

Best Smoker: Yoder Smokers YS640S Yfi Pellet Grill

Specs

  • Weight: 335 lbs
  • Max Temperature: 600 F
  • Cooking Space: 1,070 sq. in.
  • Hopper Capacity: 20 lbs
  • Warranty: 10 years

Pros

  • The largest cook space on our list
  • Holds temperature impressively well
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Expensive

Known for its competition-level smokers, Yoder Smokers has garnered a cult following of pit masters. The brand also has a line of pellet smokers and grills for residential use—a.k.a. what you want for your own backyard. The most popular in its line-up is the Yoder Smoker YS640S Yfi Pellet Grill. With a cook space of 1,070 square inches (the largest on our list), it’s perfect for anyone who wants to cook meat in bulk or for a crowd. It can fit a couple slabs of brisket, racks of ribs, whole chickens—the choice is yours.

What makes the Yoder Smoker pellet grill so good is its heat retention. While it smokes, it holds its temperature within +/- 5 degrees of your desired temperature the whole time. That means evenly cooked food without you having to monitor it or fiddle with the controls once you set it. The Fireboard app allows you to control almost everything from your phone, which is convenient. And the removable heat shield gives you direct access to the open flame should you want to get sear marks on your meat after you smoke it. With stainless steel components, this Yoder Smoker has some pretty solid construction—it’s built like a tank and worth the expense.

Best Rated: Camp Chef Woodwind Pro 24

Specs

  • Weight: 182 lbs
  • Max Temperature: 500 F
  • Cooking Space: 811 sq. in.
  • Hopper Capacity: 22 lbs
  • Warranty: 6 years

Pros

  • Customizable with plenty of different cooking options
  • Can control smoke level through app
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Somewhat complicated to set up

I’d heard a lot of good things about Camp Chef (they make one of our favorite camping grills) so I was excited to try out the highly rated Camp Chef Woodwind. What’s cool about this pellet grill—and what sets it up apart from others—is that you can create flavor with more than just wood pellets. Because of the design of the smoke box, you can also use wood chips, chunks, or even charcoal. We only used pellets but the versatility is definitely a great option. Plus, you can get the Sidekick attachment, which gives you a propane-powered side burner for additional cook space.

Like others on this list, the Camp Chef pellet grill is WiFi-connected, with an app that’s intuitive to use. You can do almost everything, including controlling the smoke output, setting timers for your food, and recording your past cooking data. As we cooked on the Camp Chef, we liked how efficient it was at heating up and that we could customize the amount of smoke flavor infused into our meat. Everything turned out flavorful and juicy in the expected time predicted by the included probes. One underrated perk is how easy it is to clean after you’re finished cooking. All you have to do is pull the Ash Cleanout knob on the side of the grill, which dispenses the ash neatly into a cup. No mess whatsoever.

The Best Pellet Grills of 2024
The interior and exterior of the Camp Chef Woodwind Pro 24 Pellet Grill.

However, make sure you have plenty of time and patience to set this pellet grill up. It took us longer than expected to assemble and we found the instructions a bit tricky to follow. Of course, it’s worth it in the end when you’re enjoying a slab of perfectly smoked brisket.

Best Budget: Pit Boss Sportsman 820

Specs

  • Weight: 157 lbs
  • Max Temperature: 500 F
  • Cooking Space: 849 sq. in.
  • Hopper Capacity: 21 lbs
  • Warranty: 5 years

Pros

  • More affordable price point
  • Easy to use digital control panel
  • Large hopper capacity for wood pellets

Cons

  • Temperature isn’t always super precise
  • No app for remote control

If you don’t want to spend thousands on a new pellet grill, we recommend the Pit Boss Sportsman 820. At just $699, we dubbed it the best budget pellet smoker and grill thanks to its versatility, ease of use, and high quality construction. The digital control panel is intuitive so even the most beginner griller can use it. All you have to do to adjust the temperature and smoke level is turn the “P-setting” on the panel up or down. (Note, however, that unlike many pellet grills on this list, the Pit Boss does not have an app or WiFi connectivity so you cannot control it from afar.) With the Pit Boss, you get a subtle smoke flavor in your meat with nice color and a juicy interior. And if sear marks are what you’re after, you can achieve them with the porcelain-coated cast iron grill grates along with the lever that allows you access to direct heat.

This Pit Boss pellet grill also comes with a few thoughtful features that really elevate the cooking experience. Think: a built-in spice rack on the side, two digital meat probes, and even a bottle opener so you can crack a cold one while you’re waiting for your food to be done. The hopper also has a window that allows you to easily keep tabs on your wood pellet status and know when it’s time for a refill. If you need more prep space, there’s also a removable side shelf that has more than enough room for marinating or slicing meat. I like that you can take it off if you’re short on space or want to make the grill easier to store, too.

Best Portable: Traeger Tailgater Portable Pellet Grill

Specs

  • Weight: 62 lbs
  • Max Temperature: 450 F
  • Cooking Space: 300 sq. in.
  • Hopper Capacity: 8 lbs
  • Warranty: 10 years

Pros

  • Lightweight (compared to other pellet grills)
  • Heats up fast and maintains temperature
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble

Cons

  • Smaller cooking space
  • Not as sturdy

Maybe you want a portable pellet grill you can take camping or tailgating. Or maybe you just want a Traeger without blowing your budget. Enter the Traeger Tailgater. At just 62 pounds, it’s a fraction of the weight of most pellet grills, making it easy to transport and travel with. Plus, it has folding legs so you can use it as a freestanding grill or set it on your tailgate or tabletop. Don’t be fooled by its size—it smokes just as effectively as a full-size Traeger and can still fit 12 burgers. It heats up quickly and has a “keep warm” setting so your food doesn’t get cold when you’re waiting for everyone to get back to the campsite after a day of hiking.

How We Tested Pellet Grills

As someone who loves to eat—and someone with a family obsessed with grilling—I was more than happy to tackle the challenge of testing the most popular pellet smoker grills. To start, I researched the most popular models out there from top brands like Traeger, Pit Boss, Weber, and Yoder Smokers. Then, once the grills arrived and we (a.k.a. my husband) assembled them, it was time to start the tests. We smoked all different kinds of meats, from whole chickens to pork to brisket, on the pellet grills and evaluated them on factors including the following:

  • Ease of use
  • Performance
  • Temperature and cooking
  • Efficiency
  • Helpful features

Buying Guide

Because a pellet grill is an investment—they can get very expensive very fast—you’ll want to do all your research before buying one. Below are some things to consider when deciding which is the best pellet smoker grill for you.

Size

How many people will you typically be cooking for? Or more importantly, how much meat do you want to be able to smoke at a time? Pellet grills come in a range of sizes, especially when it comes to the cook space. You can find them as small as 300 square inches (as in the portable Traeger Tailgater) and as large as upwards of 1,000 square inches. Many can fit multiple whole birds or racks of ribs or dozens of burgers. Which size you choose depends on what you plan to use it for.

Performance

This is likely going to be the biggest deciding factor when choosing a pellet grill. After all, you want something that gets the job done and gets it done well. Consider the grill’s maximum temperature and how well it retains heat while smoking. How quickly does it heat up? What is the smoke output like? Can you control the level of smokiness? How precise is the temperature while cooking? You’ll also want to think about added features, like WiFi connectivity. A smart pellet grill that has an app that allows you to control it from anywhere and everywhere is very convenient.

Hopper Capacity

The size of the hopper is measured in how many pounds of wood pellets it can hold. The larger the hopper capacity, the less you’ll have to refill it. Some pellet grills—like the Pit Boss Sportsman—have a window on the hopper so you can see the current level and know when you need to add more.

Price and Warranty

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—pellet grills aren’t cheap. Many cost upwards of $1,000, with some triple that. That said, you can find some decent budget pellet grills for under $1,000 (like the Pit Boss Sportsman). It’s important to pay attention to the warranty, too. If something breaks or malfunctions on your grill, you don’t want to have to pay for expensive repairs or worse, a whole new grill. Many brands offer at least a five-year warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship.

FAQs

Q: Are pellet grills worth the money?

Absolutely. Of course it depends on how often you plan to use your pellet grill, but even if you only use it for events and occasional backyard BBQs, it’s a great investment. You can find a good budget pellet smoker for under $500, too, so you don’t even have to shell out $1,000-plus.

Q: Does a pellet grill need electricity?

Yes, pellet grills require electricity to operate. The electricity is used not just for the electronic features (like the control panel) but also to run the fan and to pull the pellets into the hopper via the auger. Fortunately, you don’t need a ton of power to use a pellet grill, so you can plug it into anything from an electrical outlet to a portable generator.

Q: What are the advantages of pellet grills?

The biggest benefit to a pellet grill (or a pellet smoker, for that matter) is that coveted smoke flavor that you can’t get from a gas or charcoal grill. But there are more pluses, too, like the fact that you can set it and forget it—no slaving over the grill here. Pellet grills are also very versatile and considered more environmentally friendly than their propane-powered counterparts.

Just like with anything you buy, the right pellet grill for you may not be the right one for someone else. It all depends on your use and preferences. However, you can’t go wrong with any of the best pellet grills and smokers we tested above. Choose what you will, but I can’t emphasize enough how deserving the Traeger Timberline is of our best overall award. It does everything you want—and so much more. Is it expensive? Yes. But is it worth it? Also yes.

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For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.