I love this price point for a pellet grill because you can score a big bad grill with a top level pellet system that’s going to make grilling and smoking SO easy.
Pellet grills are sort of life-changing and one of the better kept grill secrets out there. If you’re a die-hard fan of smoking, I don’t know how you can really go with anything else.
All of the grills on this list are fan favorites and have serious backyard cred.
This list is a compilation of our favorites with a complete spec breakdown to help narrow the field.
The Woodwind is an exceptional smoker grill that offers a well-rounded experience for new and veteran pellet users, along with a few upgrades at a price point closer to the $1,000 mark.
Like the Z Grills in our third spot, the Camp Chef offers auto-start ignition and a dual LED temperature display with a slightly larger range of 160-500 degrees. The dual LEDs monitor internal food and cooking temps.
The smart smoke technology is designed to allow for precision temperature selection with a variance of +/- 5 degrees, just like the Z Grills, which means if you’re a control freak griller or a carefree cook, you can pretty much set it and forget it.
The hopper and augur-feed system is also automatic so you’re not constantly regulating operations. Total hopper capacity is 22lbs.
A few fun features that I like on the Camp Chef are the attached bottle opener, streamlined grease management system, and the simple ash cleanout. Total cooking area between the two racks is 811 square inches, not as large as the other two in our top 3 but it’s not off by much.
The main difference between this grill and the Z Grills that accounts for the big price jump is the Sidekick.
This is the little side burner rack on the left of the grill that can act as a sear station, griddle or extra grill space. It includes a propane hookup and the cast-aluminum burner offers 30,000 BTUs of power.
Like other standard gas grills the sidekick has one touch ignition, an independent grease management system and wind baffled technology to protect your grilling from the elements. This is the bell and whistle upgrade that is a great value if you have a little more flex in your spending.
If you have the extra to spend, this should be your top pick, hands down.
This price range of pellet grills really allows you to upsize your cooking space and this Pro Series model from Traeger is no exception. From every grill on this list you’ll start to see more square inches and bigger hoppers.
As the creators of the original wood pellet grill, Traeger models are dialed in and provide a killer experience for new grillers and old pros. Their customer service isn’t my favorite so they aren’t getting our top spot here.
This model is big and beefy with an 884 square inch cooking area – that’s large enough to handle 8 chickens, 7 racks of ribs or 40 freaking burgers. You can comfortably cook for your whole neighborhood on this guy without breaking a sweat.
Versatility is also big here, this is a 6-in-1 model and can be used to smoke, bake, roast, braise and BBQ just about anything you’re feeling wild enough to throw on it.
Additional features worth highlighting include an electronic auto-start ignition, precision temperature control in 15 degree increments with a range from 180 to 450 degrees, a digital LED readout display, automatic pellet feeding to maintain temps and easy grease collection maintenance.
The pellet hopper capacity is also solid at about 18lbs so you’re not continually refilling.
Construction is durable and made to last with a steel external casing coated with a long-lasting powder finish. Grill grates are also porcelain coated for easy cleaning and conduct heat evenly across the entire cooking area.
The whole set up is outfitted with heavy duty all terrain wheels for easy maneuverability.
This is an excellent pick if you’re looking for something large and reliable, even if you’re new to pellet grills and smoking.
Packed with updates for 2020, the 10002E from Z-Grills is a smoke lover’s backyard dream.
The grill area here is huge, there’s no other word for it at 1060 total square inches encompassed by three separate porcelain-coated racks. This grill is so massive you could smoke a whole small hog if you wanted to.
It also comes with dual meat probes so you can monitor different types of meat simultaneously for a perfect cook.
Z Grills considers this an 8-in-1 which pretty much means you can cook any way you want and cook anything you want. It offers a temperature range from 180 to 450 degrees and can be adjusted in 20 degree increments to dial in your cooking.
Additional features include an electronic ignition for auto-starts, a micro-adjusted variable speed fan and motor to maintain precise oxygen and pellet levels through the auger, a waste oil collector that’s easy to empty and clean, an LCD digital temperature display and a durable steel overall construction.
I really like the overall design with an additional front and side shelf for prep and took hooks to keep spatulas, tons and flippers close at hand. The lower cart is also convenient for storing extra bags of pellets and other grilling essentials and the all terrain wheels make it easy to move around.
The pellet hopper capacity clocks in at 20 lbs which is the sweet spot for us when it comes to grills of this size.
This particular model also comes with a cover and two bags of pellets.
Traeger offers some of the best built pellet grills on the market, but have dropped in our rankings due to customer service issues users have been experiencing recently.
The grills themselves are top performers, but when issues arise, the Traeger team has been a disappointment. Customer service issues aside, these are some of our favorite grills so we’re including them for their product performance and specs when functioning as expected, which is generally the case.
So what can you expect from the Renegade? For starters, 380 square inches of grilling area and a 18lb hopper capacity. Versatility isn’t quite as high as the top performers – the Renegade is a 6-in-1 grill.
The automatic temp control keeps temperatures within a +/- 20 degree spread and allows for low and slow cooking on the “smoke” setting. The electronic ignition is auto-start and grill grates are easy to clean porcelain for a non-stick surface.
I do like the lower rack on previous versions of this model, but the extra handle bar for hanging tools and the overall quality build and stability make up for the change in design.
What I like best about this model from Camp Chef (and all of their pellet smokers) is the high end of the temperature range.
With these pellet smokers, you get a lot of grills that top out at 450 degrees. That’s fine, but if you really want to cook a beautiful steak and finish it with a nice sear, those extra 50 degrees matter. The low end also starts at 160 degrees.
Overall size is a comfortable 429 square inches with a nice 18lb pellet hopper capacity which is perfect for just about any long smoke project. Total BTUs for quick grilling is 25,000 per hour and the grill grate is porcelain-coated for even heat distribution.
Included features worth highlighting are an included internal temperature probe for the meat, an upper warming rack, auto-start ignition, smart smoke technology to monitor heat and disburse smoke into every morsel of meat, and a simple ash clean out system. The control panel is dual digital LED with a dial knob, reporting both internal meat temp and cooking temp.
I wish this model had a lower cart (I know I say this a lot!) as I generally appreciate the extra storage, but the build is solid and it comes with all-terrain casters for easy mobility.
Overall, this is a flavor puncher, doing a really solid job of infusing that smoky taste into every bite of whatever you’re cooking up.
Think the Camp Chef in the spot above is pretty sweet? Let me introduce you to his souped up brother, the SGX.
This is the SmokePro on some grill steroids. It is the biggest beat on our list, coming in at 1,236 square inches in cooking space – that’s 7,000 public inches. You can throw a whole hog on here, not just a small one either.
You’re going to want this model if you’re regularly cooking for a horde of hungry friends and family or if you’re a competition-level smoker and this is your second job.
All other features are pretty much the same as the smaller SmokePro, including the electric auto-igniter, automatic auger, simple temp selection sister, dual meat probes and a dual LED readout.
Pellet hopper capacity is also a few pounds larger than the SG model at 22lbs.
Ok guys, if you’re reading through this list looking for a big old honking vertical smoker, here she is, the XXL from Camp Chef. This is a vertical style pellet smoker and has the capacity to handle anything you throw in it.
It comes with eight 12.5×14’’ racks that you can pack full or ribs, pork butt and whole chickens. It includes dual meat probes so you can monitor different types of meat simultaneously, and also offers a special hanging rack with 12 sausage hooks.
The total temperature range is 150 to 350 degrees and pumps out heat at 33,000 BTUs per hour. It has an easy ash cleanup system and a fun bottle opener attached right on the pellet hopper so you have everything you need right at your fingertips.
The total hopper capacity is a whopping 18lbs, one of the largest on this list. The hopper itself has a pellet window so you can easily monitor the fill level as you’re cooking.
This is a great mega smoker for the serious and dedicated griller.
Keeping the Camp Chef love going, here’s another big guy that is a middle ground between the Smoke Pro SG and SGX.
The LUX is a very generously sized grill at 875 square inches of cooking area with porcelain coated cooking grates and a hefty 18lb capacity pellet hopper.
It has all our favorite Camp Chef features, including the auto-start electronic ignition, dual LED temperature readout for both internal cooking and food temps, a stainless steel temperature probe for monitoring meat heat, a warming rack, automatic feeding system and easy access ash collector and grease bin.
The overall utility of the design gets top marks with a large lower cart, side table and locking casters. The powder-coated stainless steel build is also durable and made to last season after season.
This is a great wi-fi enabled grill if you’re looking for a little extra tech and a little less in terms of square inches.
The size is 340 square inches of primary cooking area, which leaves enough headroom for both whole turkeys and roasts or 3 racks of ribs, an added warming rack that bumps up the space to 511 square inches. Cooking grates are 304 stainless steel that are easy to remove and clean.
It also includes a Smart Grill Technology controller for maintaining precise temps, automatic lighting, auto shut-down when grilling is over, a 200 to 500 degree range adjustable in 5 degree increments, dual meat probes, and a special full setting allowing you to jack the temps up past 500 when needed for a sweet sear.
The bonus feature on this model is the Wifi technology that allows you to control and monitor your grill from your smartphone remotely.
The outer build is also solid with a stainless steel cook chamber, and external framing. The lower cart shelf is ideal for extra storage and a side handle leaves room for hanging tools.
This has been a pretty Camp chef heavy list but that’s because they just really excel at pellet grilling and their line-up has so many solid options.
Total square inches is 570 with a solid 18lb hopper capacity with Camp chef’s exclusive ash cleanup system.
Full features include all the usual must-haves including electronic ignition system, a dual LED temperature readout showing both internal food and cooking temperatures, simple temperature selection, automatic auger dispenser for smoking maximization, a simple grease collection system and porcelain-coated cooking grates.
The overall build mimics the rest of the Camp Chef line with a solid stainless steel exterior with powder-coated finish, all terrain wheels and a convenient side table for prep and holding meat as you unload the grill.
Your Camp Chef pick is really going to come down to size and the scale you need for the type of smoking and grilling you do.
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I am a grill freak! It's hard to pick my favorite thing to grill, but if I had to choose... it is still a tie between pork ribs and a juicy beef burger. I am currently grilling on a Weber S210(I live in a small space) but my dream grill is definitely a summit. Those things are bad ass. Anyways I would love to hear from you, leave a comment or question below!