Best Pellet Smokers 2017 – Guide & Reviews
We all love barbecues but these days, barbecue grilling is becoming more popular! It also seems like wherever you go people can set up their barbecue grills or smokers that quick thanks to the companies that also made the best electric smokers and barbecue grills.
One of the awesome ways to create food is the use of best pellet smokers and if you want to know what pellet smokers are, this article will help you with that!
Pellet Smoker vs. Electric Smoker
So what is a pellet smoker anyway? Is it any different from an electric smoker? You might think that they look the same so they probably work the same, right? In order to understand the difference, here’s what we have gathered about the two smokers.
Pellet Meat Smoker
A pellet smoker is similar to an electric smoker but its convenience is the combination of propane and electric smokers but with the flavor that is similar to charcoal. Pellet smokers are usually set on an ideal temperature in order to cook food.
The one difference about this smoker is that it makes use of wood pellets thus giving it a deeper smoky flavor. You can also match it with different wood flavors like you do with charcoal smokers but the flavor is a bit distinct than that of a charcoal smoker.
Electric Meat Smoker
Electric smokers are more “modern” if you ask me. This appliance is created to be as convenient as pushing a button whenever you are using it. It needs to be plugged in an outlet too and it isn’t as portable as other smokers. These electric smokers come in two types; analog and digital ones.
The analog model comes with a thermostat that can be adjusted according to the temperature you want. A digital smoker on the other hand comes with buttons to push and a display screen for the user to monitor. It can also cook food a lot faster than propane smokers but it doesn’t give the best smoky flavor that you are looking for.
Top Five Best Pellet Smokers to Choose From
1. REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill
Featuring Smart Grill TechnologyTM – one of the truly reliable pellet smokers out in the market today belongs to REC TEC. Now their products are not just good but is also one of the most trusted by many users.
- One of the main features of this pellet smoker is that it automatically lights up and heats easily according to the temperature that you have set it to. You can choose from 180ºF to 500ºF in 5º increments.
- It can keep the temperature all throughout the cooking process.
- It does not only allow you to smoke but also sear, grill and even bake meats.
- It comes with durable textured powder coat finish that you will be happy to flaunt to your family, neighbors or friends.
- The handles are micro polished stainless steel bull horn so you know that it’s not only durable but also stylish.
- The cooking area for this smoker is about 19.5 inches by 36 inches. That’s plenty of space to place all types of meat.
- It is backed up with 6 years warranty so you can enjoy your pellet smoker even better.
There are many ways to enjoy a pellet smoker and here’s what we have found out about the REC TEC pellet smoker.
- It lights up and heats up well after you have started it.
- It can keep the temperature well.
- It is a versatile pellet smoker; you can use it for smoking, grilling, searing and baking.
- It provides you with the best smoky flavor.
- It’s controlled by computer so it’s a lot easier to use.
- It is easy to clean and start up.
- It can produce the best tasting smoky flavored meats.
- It’s sold at a reasonable price.
- It has a large cooking space
- It has powder coat finish that is durable.
- It comes with wheels so it’s easy to move around.
- It comes with a valid warranty of six years.
- It’s easy to use.
To weigh your options better, it is recommended that you check out the disadvantages of a product too. Here’s what we have gathered about this pellet smoker.
- Painted parts tend to peel off.
- Some customers reported that smoke does not come up at high temperatures.
- Some parts are made weak or wobbly after assembly. Make sure to check in with the customer care representative of the company.
2. Traeger Pellet Grills BBQ155.01 19.5K BTU Pellet Grill
If you want something that’s worth buying then this is an interesting pellet smoker to get. Here’s why:
- This pellet smoker makes use of the standard 110 VAC electric current for household making it easier for the user to start up the smoker.
- It also contains an auger and induction fan that work simultaneously as soon as the smoker is started up.
- A heat shield is added just above the fire pots which is helpful in spreading the heat all over the smoker.
- It is designed with 292 square foot of cooking surface so you can put all the meats that you want to cook.
- The temperature control can be automatically shut down and turned on by the auger and induction fans making it a lot easier to operate.
- The Digital Thermostat is another awesome feature of this smoker as it can detect the internal heat inside the Traeger which in return determines the amount of pellets needed to be placed in the fire pot. This temperature control can be set in to medium or high settings as preferred.
So what makes this smoker great? Is it something worth buying? Here’s what we have found out about the Traeger Pellet Grills.
- It’s smooth to operate.
- It’s automatic and safe to use.
- It can result to quality barbecues.
- The controllers are excellent features that allow you to set the machine at the right temperature.
- You will be using pellets so it’s a lot safer to use and less harmful to the environment.
- Constructing and assembling this grill is easy.
- The grill space is so much more meaningful as you can actually use it all unlike charcoal.
- A big bag of pellets can last for a long time.
- It heats up quickly upon start up.
- It does not need any gas or lighter fluid in order to create fire or heat.
- The meat comes out tasting much better.
- It uses a lot of electricity when it is starting up.
- It can only fit small chunks of meat at a time.
- It may take a while for the system to fully heat up but once it does, it works like a gem.
- Pellets may not always be available to use so it’s best to keep some in hand.
3. REC TEC GrillsTM Mini Portable Pellet Grill
For those who are looking for a portable grill to use at home, REC TEC comes up with a mini portable grill that you will surely love and enjoy using. Here’s what you need to know about the new REC TEC mini portable pellet grill.
- One of the best features of this mini grill is how the company simplified the complex design of a pellet griller. You don’t actually have to add wood pellets as this can be operated with one push of a button which makes it a lot easier to use.
- Operation is easy as all you have to do is push a button and the grill with automatically light up. You can then select the temperature you prefer and rest assured that this grill will maintain that temperature setting all throughout the entire cooking process.
- You don’t have to worry about overcooked or undercooked meats any longer as this grill can be set by timer and it will do the rest of the process for you.
- It is also designed with a lightweight yet durable frame so it’s a lot easier to transport this griller.
- The wheels are added at the base of the grill and a pulley side is designed for its handles so you can take this grill wherever you go.
- Temperature settings for this grill are around 180 degrees to 550 degrees F.
- A drip pan is also added to this grill so it can catch the fat drippings from the food you will be cooking so as to prevent any potential fire.
- It can accommodate 15 pounds of pellet which allows you to grill more time without worrying if fire will ever die out in the process.
Love to own the REC TEC mini? You will surely enjoy it because of the advantages that you can gain from this griller.
- The temperature is constant.
- It can hold the heat pretty well.
- It has a space wide enough for meats.
- It is sold at a reasonable price.
- It can cook meats easily.
- It’s portable so it’s easy to move around.
- The handles are built well so it’s easy to carry.
While this grill looks perfect, it also has some downfall.
- It does not have a warranty long enough to cover.
4. Pit Boss Grills 440 Deluxe Wood Pellet Grill
Pit Boss is another name you can trust when it comes to pellet grills. They are known for their grills that are not only durable but also stylish.
- The pellet grills are easy to use as they make use of 100% all natural wood pellets. It does not require you to use fuel, propane, charcoal or gas when you need to light up the grill.
- The temperature of this grill is around 180 to 500 degrees F so you have control of the temperature setting.
- There is a digital control board added on this grill along with a meat probe so it will be easier for you to monitor your food’s cooking progress.
- A fan forced convection seals in all the juices from the meat and removes the need for a rotisserie.
- A copper embossed lid is also another great feature of this grill. It adds a chic touch to this griller even if you are grilling a lot of meat.
- It also comes with side shelf as well as serving tray.
- A solid bottom shelf is also a good addition to this grill. If you love drinking beer while grilling, a bottle opener is also added.
- The entire dimension of this griller is 36 inches by 18 inches by 39 inches and weighs around 73 pounds.
- It’s easy to operate and really heavy duty construction (16 gauge).
- It is made of sturdy materials which makes it very reliable.
- It can hold around 18lbs of pellets.
- It has large wheels for moving.
- Reaches temperature fast and can get up to 500 degrees in a hurry.
- It’s portable and can move around.
- Pellets can catch fire and can burn the entire bottom.
- Cannot be left alone or it will burn the meat you are cooking.
Customers also complained about bent units upon delivery as well as broken parts. Make sure to contact the company and ask for a replacement while it is under warranty.
5. Traeger TEXAS ELITE Black and Bronze
If you want something that is solid, heavy-duty and all time durable then the Traeger Texas Elite is what you are looking for. This wonderful pellet grill is not just easy on the eyes but can also give you the best results when it comes to grilling needs.
- Its dimension and grilling area is around 646 square inches which gives you enough space to grill anything you like.
- It comes with Digital Elite Controller that has LED display which gives you the best temperature. Basically it’s like your oven except that it is so much more.
- It can be fueled by 100% pure hardwood pellets so it gives you the best smoky flavor that you are looking for.
- This griller has an electronic auto-start ignition so you don’t have to worry about lighting fire or adding lighter fluid to heat up the grill.
- Cleaning is also easy.
- It’s around 22 inches by 54 inches by 49 inches.
- The weight of this grill is 126 pounds, a bit heavier than others but it’s only because the pellet grill is spacious enough to cook all types of meat at once.
The Traeger Texas Elite is a gem and if you are planning to buy this griller, you will surely enjoy it.
- It’s easy to assemble and can be put together in a matter of minutes.
- It is spacious.
- It’s easy to clean.
- It’s durable thanks to the materials used in it.
- It comes in two colors; black and bronze.
- It’s easy to use and start up.
- It can be operated with one button.
- It’s a powerful griller if used correctly.
- It’s a bit expensive for those who are looking for cheaper grillers.
- It has problems holding the temperature.
- Some parts may break down after a few months.
In case your grill has broken or bent parts, contact the company right away and make sure that you have a valid warranty to present. This way it will be a lot easier to have them repaired or replaced.
Choosing the Best Pellet Smoker: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning One
Call me old school but I like my smoked meats rich in flavor. While the electric smoker is a good choice to buy it doesn’t give you the kind of smoky flavor I’m looking for. Now if you are like me then it is important that you know why you should choose the pellet smoker over an electric one. Here are the reasons why:
- They can heat up in less than 15 minutes upon startup which is better compared to other types of smokers.
- There are different brands and types of pellet grills that allow you to control the temperature of the smoker for at least 5 degree increments so you can cook more precisely.
- Pellet grills come in different sizes and will definitely suit anyone’s smoking or grilling needs.
- The pellets used in smoking come in different flavors that you can mix together. This also helps in enhancing the flavor of your food.
- A bag of excellent food-grade wood pellets can last for a long time if you are using a medium sized grill.
- They are versatile which means you can use it as a barbecue grill, smoker, roaster and you can even bake from it.
- It can preheat fast probably around 10-15 minutes max.
- There is no fear of uneven cooking as this grill works like a convection oven.
- Pellets come in variety; you can choose from pecan, hickory, cherry, apple, maple and a whole lot of selections for that distinct smoky flavor that you want.
- Some companies offer you with extra accessories.
While these all sound great, there are also a few drawbacks for pellet smoker/grill. Here’s what we have gathered:
- They are dependent on electricity which limits their portability. Unless you have an outdoor outlet or generator then you don’t have to worry about that.
- They run on fan-drive indirect heat.
- Pellet grills are mostly expensive and if you don’t have the budget, you might just be wasting money if you buy a cheap one. Some can go as high as $5000, yikes!
- It generates lesser smoke if the cooking temperature goes higher.
- Grills with moving parts and electrical components can break down easily.
- The pellets disintegrate the moment they are exposed to moisture. So having a pellet smoker in humid areas or people who are living in areas like these might not be a great idea. But if you are determined to own one, just make sure that you place your pellets in dry, airtight containers.
Here’s What to Consider When Buying a Pellet Smoker
Understand that besides the top five pellet smoker that I have mentioned here, there are tons of other good brands and companies that make the best pellet smokers. So if you don’t like the thought of digging through all of them one by one then all you have to do is remember these tips when it comes to buying or choosing a pellet smoker.
By doing so, you will understand the smoker’s benefits and why it is important to not rush when buying an appliance such as this:
- Consider the price. Always – sure there may be a lot of cheap pellet smokers out there but are they really worth buying? Just because they are cheap that doesn’t mean that they are of quality. If you have the budget then go ahead and pick out the best one that money can buy. However, you must also see if you are going to pay for something that’s worth buying. Remember that there are tons of different pellet smoker models, designs and they all come with awesome features and accessories these days. But if you are like me who is more practical when it comes to buying an appliance then you have to buy something that’s decently priced but can also get the job done.
- Check the pellet availability that you will be using – there are times when certain pellets may not be available in your location so you need to buy them in bulk. So it is important to check the availability of the pellets you will be using even before you start cooking. Although you can always buy it online but then you won’t be able to cook properly in case your pellets run out. So always check for the pellets you will be using and see if you need to buy them in buik.
- Check the durability and quality of the pellet smoker – a reliable pellet smoker must be able to last for years. It should be dependable so you don’t have to worry about having it repaired or replaced. It should come from a company that is well-known for durable products and it should have a valid warranty that you can use in case of replacement or repairs in the future.
- Consider the space of the smoker – a good smoker must have enough space or room so cooking meats, fish or vegetable isn’t going to be a problem. Check the unit’s capacity, dimension and weight. This will give you an idea as how big it is and how much meat you can place inside. This way you can determine if you need a big one or one that is fit your smoking needs at home.
- Always consider the mobility of the unit – some pellet smokers are built to stay put but if you are someone who constantly change or switch places when smoking meats or simply grilling them, you need to have a unit that comes with wheels. This way you don’t have to worry about moving it around or leave it in one spot.
Cleaning up a Pellet Smoker
One of the things we hate to do is cleaning up after our mess especially after cooking. Now when it comes to smokers, you definitely need to clean it up as quickly as you can so that there’s no buildup of food on the cooking grates. You might need your heavy duty apron and gloves to get it all cleaned if you ask me.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way, some pellet smoker models can be cleaned thoroughly within 30 minutes tops. This means that the greasy grates and the icky food sticking on the deflector plates can be removed after scraping and washing them. There are also models with detachable parts made of stainless steel.
These can be easily removed and placed in the dishwasher however you must first remove the grease and tar buildup in these parts as it can stick inside the dishwasher. If you have a steamer, you can also use that to remove the stubborn grease buildup.
Remove the ash using the burn cup and throw it away after 15 hours of cooking. If the ash builds up, you will have problem with the ignition later on. However, ash accumulated at the bottom part of the unit does not really do harm with your food during cooking.
If you hate ash then you can always vacuum it up. Just make sure that the vacuum cleaner you have is able to get the job done. You should also check the deflectors and remove the ash around that lower part of the grill so you can be sure that your smoker is as clean as you want it to be.
The Brands Recommended in Terms of Pellet Smoker/Grill
If you love the idea of a pellet smoker then you might as well check out these brands. They are amongst the most trusted and highly praised brands that offer you great deals on pellet smokers/grills:
- Memphis Wood Fire Grills
- Yoder Smokers
- Rec Tec
- MAK Grills
- Traeger Pellet Grills
Keep in mind that pellet smokers are expensive so in order to get the best one, make sure to save up for it as they don’t really come in a couple of dollars. Prepare at least $1000 for one so you can truly enjoy using it for a long period of time before you decide to buy another.
Make sure also to study the pellet smoker that you like. Know what the pros and cons are and compare them to others. With this best pellet smoker reviews you should have an idea on what to buy. You don’t need to be overwhelmed with the brands let alone the options.
All you have to do is to know what you want and find the smoker that has it all. Make sure to search for the best too; after all, it is an investment! We hope that you find this helpful, enjoy your shopping!
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Table Of Contents
- Pellet Smoker vs. Electric Smoker
- Top Five Best Pellet Smokers to Choose From
- Buy This Pellet Smoker on Amazon
- Buy This Pellet Smoker on Amazon
- Buy This Pellet Smoker on Amazon
- Buy This Pellet Smoker on Amazon
- Buy This Pellet Smoker On Amazon
- Here’s What to Consider When Buying a Pellet Smoker
Categorised in: Pellet Smoker