Pellet grill, the superstar of any tailgating trip, family gathering, and BBQ party. It is an eco-friendly way to give you a nicely smoky flavor of the food, and at under $500, you can have one good grill to enjoy such dishes at home.
But as our experts point out “They are not all the same”, you should make it clear between a poor-quality grill and an affordable yet good unit.
Below are the 6 best pellet grills under 500 that they prefer the most and why:
Here are the best pellet grills under 500 you can buy in 2020:
- Best Overall: Camp Chef SmokePro DLX
- Best For Tailgating: Green Mountain Grills DCWF
- Best For Small Families: Traeger Pellet Grills TFB30LUB 33698
- Best For Big Families: Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E
- Best For Steak: Z GRILLS ZPG-550B
- Best For Camping: Masterbuilt SH19260119
|Top 6 Best Pellet Grills Under 500|
|Camp Chef SmokePro DLX||Read Our Review|
Best For Tailgating
|Green Mountain Grills DCWF||Read Our Review|
Best For Small Families
|Traeger Pellet Grills TFB30LUB 33698||Read Our Review|
Best For Big Families
|Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E||Read Our Review|
Best For Steak
|Z GRILLS ZPG-550B||Read Our Review|
Best For Camping
|Masterbuilt SH19260119||Read Our Review|
Best Overall: Camp Chef SmokePro DLX
- Convenient & deliver better cooking results - Automatic pellet auger
- Effort- and time-saving - Large capacity pellet hopper
- Easy to clean – the ash clean-out pull and dump design
- Sometimes hard to set and keep a specific temperature
- Smoke is a bit less when running at a lower heat
Our favorite is the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX as it balances all the best things you’d expect to find in a pellet grill under 500.
To start, it highlights an ultra-large capacity pellet hopper – up to 18 pounds, which means of more smoking, less filling.
The automatic auger helps dispenses smoke thoroughly the griller interior while cooking for even smoky flavors on your food and it will also auto-shutdown when done. Meanwhile, the included meat probe lets you watch for your meat internal temperature more easily. Beginners? No problem!
This assists you to make plenty of dishes, from smoking, grilling, barbecuing, to roasting, braising, and baking, with no need for any other kitchen equipment.
|Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Specifications|
45 x 21 x 51 inches
429 square inch Total 570 inch
Total Rack Surface Area: 573 sq. in - Hopper Capacity: 18 lbs. of pellets
Designed to help you with grilling, smoking, barbecuing, roasting, braising, and baking, the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX is our top choice for most people.
Best For Tailgating: Green Mountain Grills DCWF
- Compact yet roomy – 219 square inches of cooking area
- Easy to operate – run at 12V/110V with 3 power options
- Full of control & easy to use - a digital Wi-Fi controller & a thermal sensor
- The drip tray is prone to warp
- The outer layer materials are easily corroded
The Green Mountain Grills DCWF was a pleasant surprise in our small-grills test.
We didn’t expect a roomy cooking area from such a compact grill, but we got it. This unit succeeded in grilling a large hen, stand-up chicken, and rib racks, making crisp skin with no charring. You’ll also get a convenience tray, peaked lid, and a meat probe to cook with ease.
Size aside, the reason why we decided to vote this Green Mountain Grills as the best for tailgating parties is its 3 power options. Some certain components need electricity to operate and this grill can run in 12V or 110V.
It’s also full of control when providing not just a thermal sensor to track constantly the inner temperature but also a digital Wi-Fi controller.
|Green Mountain Grills DCWF Specifications|
29.5 x 20 x 14.5 inches
12.5" x 17.5"
219 square inches
Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett WiFi Controlled Portable Wood Pellet Grill
Featuring compact foldable design to fit in most trunks with 3 power options, the Green Mountain Grills DCWF is a perfect choice for tailgating parties or camping BBQs.
Best For Small Families: Traeger Pellet Grills TFB30LUB 33698
- Spacious enough for 3-6 servings at a time – a 300-square-inch interior area with 36” x 37” x 18” of cooking size
- Versatile – Can afford multiple cooking styles: bbq, braise, roast, bake, smoke, and grill
- Easy to set the temperature – the Integrated Digital Elite Controller & a dial-styled knob
- Unclear instructions
- Small hopper
The Traeger TFB30LUB 33698 has most of the features of a higher-end pellet grills and almost the same performance. That makes it a great choice for budget-minded people who still want to get a high-quality grill with multifunction.
Providing a 300-square-inch interior area with 36” x 37” x 18” of cooking size, it is big enough to hold 3 rib racks, 2 hens, or 12 buns at a time, which is equivalent to 3-6 servings.
Its 6-in-1 design allows you to cook in versatile styles, whether low and slow or hot and fast. Either way, it offers to juicy perfection with the original wood-fired taste.
|Traeger Pellet Grills TFB30LUB 33698 Specifications|
Height: 38 inches, Width: 35 inches, Depth: 22 inches
300 sq. in.
300 sq. in. of portable grilling space
Can accommodate up to 12 burgers, 2 whole chickens, or 3 racks of ribs
Offering a 300-square-inch cooking surface with an integrated digital Elite controller, this is the best pellet grill under 500 for small families.
Best For Big Families: Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E
- More cooking, less waiting, no babysitting – 694 square inches of capacity, auto-ignition feature, & digital LED display board
- Extremely versatile – the 8-in-1 construction
- Reliable – a 3-year warranty
- Wish the pellet hopper was easier when changing pellets
Of course, we also have picked the best pellet grill for big families and here it is – the Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E with 694 square inches of total cooking area and a 3-year warranty.
We found in this 2019-upgraded version some notably advanced features, such as the control system in pellet feed and temperature.
This feature automatically ignites the grill and keep the heat consistent within 180 to 450 degrees F. That means with it, you can rest the heart to enjoy the cooking with no babysitting anymore. The grill also features a digital LED display board to be easily used at night.
Above all, it allows for more cooking styles, consisting of char-grilling, barbecuing, braising, searing, roasting, baking, smoking, and grilling.
|Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E Specifications|
48" x 22" x 51"
19. 2 x 26 inches
694 sq in
8 in 1 BBQ Grill Auto Temperature Control
700 sq inch Cooking Area
Updated with a more optimal control board and plenty of automatic useful features, the 8-in-1 Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E makes it perfect for big families with no babysitting.
Best For Steak: Z GRILLS ZPG-550B
- Fuel efficiency – offers 20 hours of cooking per 20 pounds of pellets
- Keep steak juicy and flavorful - the automatic electric feed system & the wide temperature ranges of 180-450 degrees F
- Can’t char-grill and sear the food
- Hard to change pellets
We would say fuel efficiency is the shining feature of this Z GRILLS ZPG-550B. Per 20 pounds of pellets, you get merely 20 hours of constant cooking, which is incredible.
In comparison, this pellet grill has some similarities and differences from the previous siblings. We found that it had inherited the durable stainless-steel exterior, the wide temperature ranges of 180-450 degrees F, the automatic electric feed system, and the auto-start ignition feature.
What sets it apart is the steak grilling performance. As keeping the temp effortlessly, it makes the steak grilling much easier than other competitors, such as the CharGriller with a Texas firebox.
And the result is always juicy and full of smoky flavors.
|Z GRILLS ZPG-550B Specifications|
47" x 20" x 45"
15.5” x 21”
538 sq in
550 sq Inch
If you are a “steak person” looking for an affordable grill to mainly cooking the best smoky steaks with effortlessness and enjoyment, this fits just right to the bill.
Best For Camping: Masterbuilt SH19260119
- Resist rust and corrosion efficiently – stainless steel exterior & porcelain-coated warming rack and grate
- Afford different outdoor barbecue cooking styles – provide a wide range of accessories and tools
- The main grate sometimes moves around, which isn’t good
If you are looking to pinch some pennies, consider the Masterbuilt SH19260119.
Despite the lowest price tag, it still gives you 390 square inches of cooking area, an 11.5-pound pellet hopper, a porcelain-coated warming rack, and grate. Particularly, it highlights an easy-to-dial temperature control knob with an LED board readout.
There also comes in a wide range of accessories and tools needed for different cooking styles to help you prepare the next outdoor BBQ just the way you like, whether that’s boating, picnics, camping, or tailgating.
|Masterbuilt SH19260119 Specifications|
21.4 x 43.4 x 40.9 inches
Stainless steel exterior & porcelain-coated warming rack and grate
Provide a wide range of accessories and tools
Highlighting exclusive finishes and features for outdoor use, the Masterbuilt SH19260119 will surely make any true BBQ artisan appreciate.
How To Choose The Best Pellet Grills Under 500?
Portability, Cooking Area, & Size
- Don’t worry! Under $500, you still find a wide range of pellet grill’s sizes, from large grills for commercial use to the portable ones for tailgating.
- What to do now is determining your needs and the available room you have for a pellet grill.
- If you have plenty of BBQ parties, tailgating trips, or large family, a larger pellet grill is what you’re after.
- How large?
- Due to our experience, a pellet grill that has a primary cooking space of 350 to 800 square inches should be fine.
- On the contrary, for solo camper and small families, you will need a smaller one featuring 450 square inches of primary cooking area and 100 to 150 square inches of the upper rack. It’d better have wheels so that you can easily lift it to your car trunk or for storage.
- Quality construction is key to ensure your pellet grill lasts for years.
- Nobody wants to save little money upfront by spending on a cheap pellet grill but turns out it costs more in the long run just because of poor quality. So, pay attention to the materials a pellet grill is made from. In the price range of under $500, there are two reasonable options in the market:
- Painted steel
- As this kind of steel will rust once exposed, it must be painted to last longer. So while focusing on the steel materials, look in the paint coating.
- We highly recommend choosing a good high-temp powder coat paint as it offers higher heat resistance to not easily flake or blister as the other paints.
- Also, choose a pellet grill that features replaceable diffuser plate and firepot so that after a long time of use, you just need to change them to continue using.
- Stainless steel
- This metal is a lot more durable and long-lasting than the painted steel as it’s rust-resistant in addition to easy to maintain. The only flaw is high price ranges.
- However, stainless steels come in different types, which means some are cheaper than others, such as the 430 stainless steel. It is incredibly affordable than the commercial-grade 304 but still durable.
- Temperature range could be important depending on your cooking type.
- Most pellet grills under $500 have no problem hitting any temperature between 180 to 425 degrees F. They are very good at indirect cooking.
- But if you want to fire-bake pizza or sear some food, which requires the temperature up to 500-550 degrees F, you should consider choosing a grill with a higher temperature range (500 to 700 degrees F). Such heavy-duty grills will also have a direct grilling option alongside the indirect.
Which Brands Make The Best Pellet Grills Under 500?
- Camp Chef pellet grills are one of the most popular lower-priced grill manufacturing brands and tend to fall into the low to mid-hundreds. Founded in 1990 and with merely 30 years’ expertise in the industry, products from Camp Chef set out by their extraordinary portability and powerful design.
Green Mountain Grills
- Green Mountain Grills are another reliable pellet grill brands where you can find only the highest products at the best price. The brand takes pride in their local brick and mortar retailers as this is key for their competitive price ranges.
- With over 30 years of experience in manufacturing pellet grills with innovation, Traeger has now been the market leader and the No.1 seller in this realm. It’s also well-loved for the caring services.
Do pellet grills give good flavor?
Pellet grills do give excellent smoke at low temperatures, but not strong, intense smoke.
Do pellet grills make enough smoke?
Yes, they do.
Hardwood pellets give the longest overall burn times per pound than the fruit pellets.
Are pellet grills expensive to operate?
No, they aren’t.
At under $500, you can definitely find a good one for your needs and even cheaper if buying online.
Are pellet grills cost-effective?
The reason why you can totally expect to spend less on a pellet grill over the charcoal is pellet grills feature a convection fan.
How do you know when the grill is ready?
You will know your grill is ready when seeing thick clouds of smoke.
How much electricity does a pellet grill use?
300W of peak operating and 50W to keep running.
We hope that with this top list of 6 best pellet grills under 500, you have as much as we did with whatever one you end up choosing.
As pellet grill keeps more functional and easier to use, our testers will keep on updating the research, testing, and present our findings here. So, don’t forget to come back!