Unlike pellet stoves, the wood pellets created for smoking are various in flavors and wood types as well as safer to use, which is the biggest reason it is widely loved. Below are the top 6 best pellet smokers for the money recommended by our experts:
Here are the Best Pellet Smokers For The Money you can buy in 2021:
- Best Overall: Green Mountain Grills DCWF
- Best For A Small Family: Masterbuilt SH19260119
- Best For Beginners: Z Grills ZPG-7002B
- Most Durable: Traeger Grills TFB57PZBO
- Best For Larger Groups: PIT BOSS 700FB
- Best For A Picnic: Country Smokers CSPEL015010497
|Top 6 Best Pellet Smokers For The Money|
|Green Mountain Grills DCWF||Read Our Review|
Best For A Small Family
|Masterbuilt SH19260119||Read Our Review|
Best For Beginners
|Z Grills ZPG-7002B||Read Our Review|
|Traeger Grills TFB57PZBO||Read Our Review|
Best For Larger Groups
|PIT BOSS 700FB||Read Our Review|
Best For A Picnic
|Country Smokers CSPEL015010497||Read Our Review|
Best Overall: Green Mountain Grills DCWF
- Quick and easy to monitor the grill temp – the Sense-Mate
- Ultra-convenient and easy to use – a convenience tray, peaked lid, and meat probe
- Compact, lightweight, and transportable – fit most car trunks
- Can’t afford for as multiple cooking styles as other pellet smokers
- Wish the drip tray was higher quality
Of the 10 experts in our team, seven recommended the Green Mountain Grills DCWF, the US-based company with proudly vast brick and mortars retails across the country.
It is compact to fit most car trunks yet spacious in capacity - giving you 219 square inches of cooking area, which is spacious enough to grill a stand-up chicken, hen, or rib racks.
The addition of a thermal sensor, convenience tray, peaked lid, and more is a truly big bonus as these features help control the temp more optimally with ease. We particularly endorse the Sense-Mate, which is able to immediately monitor the grill temp for better management.
While some specific components of the grill need running by electricity, Green Mountain Grill specifically design them to be widely adaptable to multiple power options, making it easier to run.
|Green Mountain Grills DCWF Specifications|
29.5 x 20 x 14.5 inches
12.5" x 17.5"
A thermal sensor which constantly monitors grill temperature
Weighs 68 lbs.
Folds to fits in nearly any trunk
110V or 12V with adapters for 3 power options
The Green Mountain Grills DCWF earns a Best Overall Editor’s Choice award for being an amazing pellet grill for most people.
Best For A Small Family: Masterbuilt SH19260119
- Spacious enough for 3-6 servings – feature 390 square inches of total cooking surface
- More burning time, less filling – an 11.5-inch hopper
- User-friendly & controllable - easy-to-use dial-style knob with digital display
- The temp display fluctuates up to 15 degrees, which is less accurate
The second-most-popular pellet grill, among the folks we asked, was the Masterbuilt SH19260119.
It is a bit bigger than the previous model, with 390 square inches of total cooking surface, in addition to an ultra-large pellet hopper capacity for longer grilling, less filling. If you want to change pellets, the wise design of this component, which is another bonus, will let you do with ease.
What our testers love the most is its easy-to-use dial-style knob with digital display to let you track and adjust the grill temp more easily.
At the rock bottom price tag, this extra feature is really the biggest selling point.
|Masterbuilt SH19260119 Specifications|
21.4 x 43.4 x 40.9 inches
Porcelain-coated grate and warming rack
390-Inches² total cooking area
Easy dial temperature control with digital readout
Holds over 11.5 lbs of wood pellets for hours of cooking without reloading
Whether you’re looking for the cheapest pellet grill to save money or a highly valuable one for small family usage without breaking the bank, look no further.
Best For Beginners: Z Grills ZPG-7002B
- Multifunctional – the fan-forced convection allows for different BBQ cooking styles
- Easy to track and monitor - upgraded digital temp control board
- Extra user-friendly design - auto-fire ignition and the auto electric feed system
- Low maintenance - the stainless-steel exterior
- Hard to refill pellets to the hopper
- Legs and wheels could be higher quality
If you’re a beginner, we highly recommend the Z Grills ZPG-7002B, which is even easier to use with no compromises of functionality.
It is an 8-in-1 pellet grill, which means it can barbecue, braise, bake, smoke, and grill in addition to char-grill and sear the food. To provide you with such a versatile environment, fan-forced convection has played a big role.
It eliminates the requirement of a rotisserie and combines with the upgraded digital temp control board, you can freely adjust the heat within 180 to 450 degrees F for different cooking styles.
As stated, this unit is super-easy to use based on the plenty of automatic features, such as the auto-fire ignition and the auto electric feed system plus the stainless-steel exterior for rust-free. That means cleaning this pellet grill won’t matter either.
|Z Grills ZPG-7002B Specifications|
48" x 22" x 51"
19. 2 x 26 inches
8 in 1 BBQ Grill Auto Temperature Controls
700 sq inch Cooking Area
The cooking temperature from 180°f to 450°f.; 20 pounds hopper capacity.
The Z Grills ZPG-7002B is an ultra-user-friendly pellet grill that has tons of functional add-ons to make it very easy to operate, adjust, and monitor. For beginners, this is a top choice.
Most Durable: Traeger Grills TFB57PZBO
- Extremely durable and long-lasting – the stainless-steel exterior, a durable powder finish, & all-terrain wheels
- Spacious and functional - 572 square inches of cooking space
- A bit heavy
- Some components are prone to bend
The Traeger Grills TFB57PZBO is a shining contender for outdoor use, like tailgating, camping, or backyard BBQ party. While featuring a powerful stainless-steel exterior, it is coated with a durable powder finish for rust-free and impact-resistant abilities.
The wheels are also upgraded to be more durable to handle all-terrain abuse as well as the porcelain-coated grill grates which are easier to clean and longer-lasting than the non-coated.
Regardless, the TFB57PZBO has enough spacious capacity with full controllability to handle a crowded group gathering or average-sized BBQ parties with ease. With 572 square inches of cooking space, it can accommodate 24 buns at a time, or 5 racks, or 4 chickens.
|Traeger Grills TFB57PZBO Specifications|
The stainless-steel exterior
A durable powder finish & all-terrain wheels
572 square inches of cooking space
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast who also loves hosting BBQ parties, the Traeger Grills TFB57PZBO is an ultra-durable pellet grill to last for years while helping to serve your guests with no babysitting required.
Best For Larger Groups: PIT BOSS 700FB
- Ultra-large to hold more sizes of food – 700 square inches of cooking area
- Versatile – wide temperature adjustment for 8 cooking styles
- Durable - Porcelain-coated cast iron grids
- The temperature settings are in 50-degree increments
If you are looking for a valuable pellet smoker for larger groups of 4 to 6, the PIT BOSS 700FB is a great choice.
It features a 10%-15% bigger cooking area than other pellet grills at the same price point. More significantly, the standard flame broiler and digital control board allow for wide temp adjustment within 180 to 500 degrees F, selecting between 8 different cooking styles.
As it is hotter, grilling steaks, buns, or huge food like rib racks, stand-up chicken, and a whole bird isn’t a matter at all.
|PIT BOSS 700FB Specifications|
24.8 x 22.1 x 43.1 inches
27 in. By 19 in.
700 sq. in. total cooking surface.
Porcelain-coated cast iron grids
Digitally controlled burn system
Fueled by 100% natural wood pellets.
This ultra-large pellet grill delivers wide temperature control through a readable digital board, allowing for versatile cooking styles done with no babysitting. In other words, it’s perfect for large groups.
Best For A Picnic: Country Smokers CSPEL015010497
- Transportable – compact & lightweight
- Easy to adjust the temperature – feature a dial-in digital control board with a temp range of 180-500F
- Require less fuel-refilling times - The 3.5-pound pellet hopper
- The paint in the thermostat is imperfect
- Wish the temp settings were more accurate
For small gatherings like picnics, you should look for an ultra-small pellet grill for easy transportation. With that in mind, the Country Smokers CSPEL015010497 is a nice choice and more significantly, it doesn’t sacrifice the overall performance.
Despite the modest silhouette, it still gives you 256 square inches of grilling area in addition to the dial-in digital control board for wide, easy adjustment. With it, you can go whether fast and hot or low and slow with a temp range within 180 to 500 degrees F.
The 3.5-pound pellet hopper is roomy enough for a long burning time, less refilling while you’re cooking.
|Country Smokers CSPEL015010497 Specifications|
24.40in x 17.50in x 13.60in
3. 5 pounds
The capacity of 3.5 pounds of all-natural
256 square inches of crowd-pleasing cooking surface
A temperature range from 180° - 500°F.
The Country Smokers CSPEL015010497 is an excellent pellet grill for tailgating fanatics, outdoor enthusiasts, and picnics.
How To Choose The Best Pellet Smokers For The Money?
- The controller regulates the smoker’s temp throughout the cook, which is the reason why it is one of the essential components of any pellet cooker.
- In the market, there are four popular types of controllers:
- PID controllers
- Monitoring and using this type of controllers is very easy as it features one-touch buttons with an LCD screen. The biggest selling point of PID controllers is the pellet feed is adjustable constantly to keep the right temp. It is even built with programmable meat probes to lower the temp when your food is done.
- In addition, it is considered to deliver more accurate temperatures (within a few degrees).
- One-touch non-PID controllers
- Like the PID controllers, this comes with meat probes, one-touch buttons, and an LCD screen, as well as giving you the ability to adjust the temp in 5 to 10 degrees F. The only weak point is the +/- 15-20°F accuracy.
- Multi-position controllers
- This type also features an LCD screen for easy adjustment and monitoring.
- This type lets you adjust the temp in smaller increments with +/-20°F of accuracy, in ideal conditions. Pellets will be fed in fixed cycles, which results in less precision.
- 3-position controllers
- …also known as LMH controllers. It features three settings as its name defines: high (425°F), medium (325°F), and low (225°F), commonly found on cheaper pellet smokers.
- The biggest flaw of this type is because the temp ranges are in fixed cycles, it doesn’t give you much control or customizes.
- To know whether you’re cooking the food at the right temp or not, it’s important to determine your go-to temperature ranges and have a functional thermometer.
- There are two common temp ranges in pellet smoking:
- 180-425 degrees F – ideal for grilling, roasting, smoking, and baking.
- 500-550 degrees F – provide the same functions as the previous temp range, in addition to searing meat
- After a few rounds of testing, we realized the importance of hopper size, which directly dictates the longevity of your cooking.
- A too-small hopper results in more times to refill pellets, which is effort- and time-taking.
- One pound of pellets averagely gives you one hour of cooking time. But this feature is also impacted by the outside temperature. For example, in cold weather, your smoker needs more fuel to reach the desired heat as well as retain that temperature range, meaning that its cooking time will be shortened.
- We find that an 18-pound hopper is a good start for solos or small families. For crowds, big families, or friend gathering, a 20-pound to 40-pound hopper is ideal.
- When considering this feature, make sure the hopper extender is compatible with your pellet smoker and the brand is well-known.
Which Brands Make The Best Pellet Smokers For The Money?
Green Mountain Grills
- Green Mountain Grills has been in the market for a while so they know a thing or two about manufacturing the best pellet smokers at the most affordability. They take pride in their local brick and mortar retailers, which is key to keep their rock bottom price range.
- Masterbuilt is renowned as a family-owned brand with over 45 years’ expertise in the industry. Two things that help set it apart from other competitors are innovations and the quality of the products. And, they unstoppably offer new, better versions to market.
- Z Grills provide a world-class culinary experience in their customers, highlighting the latest innovations, delicate craftsmanship, and durability integrated into their products. In 2019, they are rated as “2019 best grills” on Forbes’ official.
Do pellet smokers give good flavor?
They add unique smoky wood flavors to the food but not as strong as the charcoal models.
How do you know when the smoker is ready?
When the temperature probes show that your smoker has reached the needed temp, it is ready to cook.
At what temperature does meat stop absorbing smoke?
140-150 degrees F, depending on how hot your fire is and the meat
What is the lowest temperature you can smoke meat?
100-120 degrees F for 2 hours of smoking to ensure that smoky flavors have infused your food.
With the vast assortment of choices available, choosing the best pellet smoker for the money could be tough.
We rank temperature range and controller high on the list of essential attributes, yet other features, like materials, hopper sizes, and brands, probably prove to be significant based on your needs.
So, don’t forget to ask yourself what you are going to do in your pellet smoker before considering any model.