Which pellet grill is best?
Pellet grills are often overlooked in favor of gas and charcoal grills. However, a pellet grill’s ability to maintain a temperature automatically and impart a delicious smoky flavor is hard to beat. Most can also smoke foods without needing any additional equipment.
The best pellet grill is the Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Electric Wood Pellet Grill And Smoker. It can easily feed a family of four and offers expert assembly if you can’t, or don’t want to, build it yourself.
What to know before you buy a pellet grill
Benefits of a pellet grill
Pellet grills have several benefits that make them stand out from the crowd.
- Easy: Much of a pellet grill’s operation is handled automatically by its computer system. This includes setting and maintaining the temperature as well as starting the grill.
- Consistent: By maintaining a temperature automatically, often to within 15 degrees of what’s set, your meals will turn out perfectly with far less variation.
- Versatile: You can cook just about anything with a pellet grill, and you can even mix and match the types of pellets you use to impart different flavors of smoke to your foods.
Size and cooking area
When shopping for a pellet grill, it’s important to consider how much space it takes up and how much food it can cook at once.
- Size varies greatly, and larger sizes don’t always mean larger cooking areas. Just make sure the pellet grill isn’t so big that there’s no room around it where you intend to put it.
- Cooking area is typically given as the sum total of the main rack and additional smaller racks. A family of four typically needs 300-500 square inches of cooking area, with group gatherings needing 600-plus. A one-person household shouldn’t need any more than 300 square inches.
What to look for in a quality pellet grill
The temperature range of a pellet grill is paramount, as temperatures below the range aren’t possible and temperatures above it often automatically shut down the grill for safety reasons. Most offer a range of 180-425 degrees, with better models being able to reach 500-700.
Pellet grills use a variety of temperature control systems.
- Three-position controllers only have three settings — low, medium and high. They have no system for choosing a specific temperature.
- Multi-position controllers let you set a temperature in 5- or 10-degree intervals, but they struggle to operate correctly in inclement weather.
- Proportional-integrative-derivative controllers let you set a precise temperature, but they can be a little pricey.
How much you can expect to spend on a pellet grill
Pellet grills typically cost $200-$2,500. Budget models cost $350 or less while the better midrange models run $350-$750. The best and biggest grills start around $800 and can cost several thousand dollars.
Pellet grill FAQ
Why do pellet grills need electricity?
A. Pellet grills need electricity to do things such as monitoring the temperature to feed pellets into the flames as needed, as well as running optional parts like an automatic ignition. Luckily, they don’t require any special gear — they just plug into any old outlet.
What can I cook with a pellet grill?
A. You can cook anything a gas and charcoal grill can, as well as anything a smoker can. This includes all manner of meats, vegetables and cheese. You can even bake foods such as cobblers and pizzas.
Does it matter what pellets I use with my grill?
A. Yes. You should use food-grade pellets, as non-food-grade pellets can contain filler materials that add an odd flavor at best or can be hazardous to your health at worst. Look for pellets marketed as “barbecue” or “smoker.”
What’s the best pellet grill to buy?
Top pellet grill
What you need to know: It’s roomy and effective.
What you’ll love: The small-sized 572-square-inch model can cook up to 24 burgers at once, but if you need more space there’s a larger 884-square-inch model. It has a digital control that can keep temperatures within 15 degrees of what’s desired. Several accessory bundles are available.
What you should consider: A handful of consumers had issues with parts arriving damaged from shipping. Others had problems with the smoker portion maintaining the desired temperature.
Top pellet grill for the money
What you need to know: This is no less efficient for its lower price.
What you’ll love: It has a digital controller for the temperature and an automatic pellet igniter. It has 538 square inches of cooking space — more than enough to feed a family of four — and a temperature range of 180-450 degrees. The steel construction is durable and powder coated.
What you should consider: A few customers had issues with faulty ignitions or controlling the temperature. Others found the hopper would sometimes stop feeding in pellets.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is another excellent grill that’s just a touch cheaper than the Traeger.
What you’ll love: It has a temperature range of 160-500 degrees and a digital controller for simplicity. It has an internal food temperature monitor and a bright LED screen. It uses a patented system to make cleaning out ash quick and easy. It comes in black or bronze.
What you should consider: Some purchasers reported struggling to cook effectively at first while they adjusted to the new grill. Others had trouble maintaining a temperature.
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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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