Best Pellet Smokers – Reviews and Top Picks

Pellet smokers have been gaining in popularity since the 80's, and they have evolved and improved dramatically over the years to become the premier backyard meat-smoking devices they are today.

In fact, pellet smokers are the easiest smokers to use, being thermostatically controlled with digital temperature displays and feeding instructions to guide you. Most modern smokers are great buys, but finding the best pellet smoker can be tricky, hence the need for the pellet smoker reviews given just below.

Best Pellet Smokers for Consideration

1) The Traeger 155.01 BBQ is a moderately compact grill at 292 inches of cooking surface and with dimensions of 21 x 23 x 21 inches. It cranks out 19.5 thousand BTUs and comes with a mid-ranged price tag. Great for small to mid-sized smoking endeavors of all kinds and can be had in a special tailgate version.

2) The Char-Broil Big Easy TRU-Infrared is a low-priced alternative that still gives you all the basic features you need for quality smoking and grilling. It offers 180 square inches of grill surface, including the upper story of the double-stack rack, and has dimensions of 36 x 18 x 24. It ranges from nine to 18 thousand BTUs.

3) REC TEC Wood "Smart" Grill is quite possibly the best pellet smoker grill on the market today. Its size at 48 x 57 x 34 inches and a cooking zone of over 700 square inches give you room to smoke a veritable smorgasbord all at once. It has "smart grill" technology and all the perks. The price is on the high end, but then, so is the value.

4) Camp Chef PG24 Pellet Grill and Smoker is mid to upper tier and is an extremely good bargain for what you get. It measures 51 x 21 x 45 inches and offers 429 square inches of grill space plus 144 additional square inches on the removable upper rack. It has very good temperature control, efficient wood use, and an easily cleaned out ash box.

5) Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet Grill with Flame Broiler is a mid-sized grill at a mid-sized price and with mid-tier smoker features. Its dimensions are 44 x 27 x 41 inches with 700 square inches of grill space. It weighs about 120 pounds and has a 10-pound pellet hopper.

Best Pellet Smokers Reviews Comparison Table

Grill Name

Cooking Area

Cooking Power


Price Range

Editor's Rating

292 Square Inches

19,500 BTUs

21 x 23 x 21 inches


180 Square Inches

18,000 BTUs

36 x 18 x 24 inches


700 Square Inches

Up to 500ºF

48 x 57 x 34 inches


429 Square Inches

25,000 BTUs

51 x 21 x 45 inches


700 Square Inches

40,000 BTUs

44 x 27 x 41 inches


Reviews of the Best Pellet Smokers

Traeger Pellet BBQ Grill 155.01 Review

Traeger Pellet Grills BBQ 155

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The BBQ 155.01 by Traeger has many special features that help it to hold its own in crowded and competitive field. At 19,500 BTU capacity, it is fairly powerful and has a maximum operating temperature of about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. It also sports a stylish bronze-finished lid and black steel body, automatic auger, auto-start function, and digital control.

You get a respectable 292 inches of cooking surface space, dimensions of 21 x 23 x 21, a fully portable 71-pound unit, and a 10-pound pellet hopper.

Most will want the Junior Elite version of this smoker-grill, but a Tailgater version with fold-down legs also exists and serves a useful purpose for those who like to combine the grilling and gaming life.

The Traeger BBQ 155.01 is not really big enough to smoke a sizable turkey, but anything smaller it handles superbly. It comes with a digital thermostat that greatly simplifies the smoking process and guards your precious meat from overcooking.

This smoker and grill more than adequately meets the great majority of your smoking needs and comes at a mid-ranged price for a great value.

Things We Liked

  • Extremely accurate thermostat that maintains even, constant temperatures
  • Easy to use digital controls and automatic start-up and auger
  • Very stylish look - This smoker is as attractive as it is effective
  • Valuable three-year warranty to protect your investment
  • Comes partly pre-assembled - Just install the legs and firebox, and it even comes with the wrench and screwdriver needed to do that
  • Heavy duty materials

Things We Didn't Like

  • Not large enough for your biggest smoking projects, like the Thanksgiving turkey
  • The folding legs on the tailgate version somewhat clumsily built
  • No quick, easy door to open to dump out the ashes

Char-Broil Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker

The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker is an upgrade on the earlier Big Easy, giving you the benefits of quick, easy, and even throughout infrared cooking. The meat will not dry out, and you can cook a wide variety of meats, within the limited space.

You get 180 square inches of grilling surface in a 36 x 18 x 24 inch unit. This includes the innovative double-stack roasting basket. The unit weighs only 52 pounds and can hold up to 25 pounds of meat. Cooking power ranges from nine to 18 thousand BTUs.

The smoker box in the side lets you add smokey flavor to your meats and works just as well with wood chips. No air damper or water pan is required to keep the meat moist, there is no spit rod to worry about balancing, and no oil or charcoals need be supplied to keep it running.

Things We Liked

  • Solid, stainless steel construction and one-year warranty
  • Porcelain-coated hood and cool-touch handles
  • Double-stack roasting basket for cooking multiple meats simultaneously
  • Infrared technology that prevents flare-ups and dry-out

Things We Didn't Like

  • The unit is small and will not be adequate for large-scale grilling and smoking
  • The smoke hopper box only holds a half-pound of pellets at a time
  • You must keep refilling it often or only have minimal smoky flavor
  • The product is Made in China, which may be a drawback in the eyes of many

REC TEC Wood Pellet Smart Grill

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The Rec Tec smoker and grill offers extremely generous cooking space, with 702 square inches available in 19.5 by 36 inch dimensions. The dimensions of the entire unit are 48 x 57 x 34, with a weight-in at just over 200 pounds. The hopper holds up to 40 pounds of pellets, and the smoker uses them effectively but slowly so they last.

Besides its size and sturdy build, the Rec Tec's number one stand-out feature is its patented Smart Grill technology that keeps the temperature very stable. It can cook at anywhere from 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit while constantly maintaining temperatures within a five-degree or so range.

The Rec Tec also features a textured-powder finishing coat that withstands high temperatures and two very stylish and Western-looking stainless steel bull-horn handles.

The body metal consists of 10-gauge steel, very thick to say the least. The burn pot is centrally located instead of off-set, like most competitors, which makes for more even cooking. The welded parts mean smoke does not escape through the joints as with some models.

Things We Liked

  • The cooking space is unbeatable - You can cook six racks of baby back ribs simultaneously
  • The heat control is probably the best on the market, with variances rarely going beyond five degrees
  • This smoker holds more pellets than any competitor, and It uses them very efficiently
  • You get the "Extreme Smoke" setting for slow and heavy smoking at 250 degrees and below
  • The swivel-and-lock wheels make this grill portable, and the bottom storage shelf and internal light for night cooking are added bonuses

Things We Didn't Like

  • Rec Tec is mostly Made in China, though the computer and powder finish are Made in the USA, and final assembly takes place in Georgia
  • The price is very imposing, though certainly worth the value you receive. And you may have to pay a bit for shipping, as the unit weighs over 200 Pounds
  • Assembly can take an hour or more. A few items are not well marked on the instructions, though few have any trouble figuring out where all the parts belong

Camp Chef PG24 Pellet BBQ Smoker

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The PG24 from Camp Chef is not quite the star of the pellet smoker world as the Rec Tec just covered above, but it may be the best value dollar for dollar. It still requires a good investment, but not nearly so much as the Rec Tec and with a large number of top-tier features still packed into it.

The dimensions are 51 x 21 x 45 with 429 inches of grilling surface, 573 if you factor in the detachable upper grill rack. The unit is of solid steel build and weighs in at around 125 pounds.

You get both a build-in digital meat probe and internal temperature sensor, along with an LED digital display. The hopper holds 18 pounds of pellets and uses them very conservatively. The ash can can be cleaned out via a patented system that eliminates the need to take the grill apart to clean it. Among other beneficial features are auto-ignition, auto shutdown, and a spacious side shelf.

Things We Liked

  • The trap door allowing easy clean up is extremely time-saving
  • Temperature range allows you to smoke everything from fish to beef brisket
  • The meat probe port means you don't need to run a probe wire under the grill's lid
  • The squared-off design in the grill's back and the positioning of the smoke stack give you extra grilling space inside
  • The sides drop down on the shipping box to aid in easy assembly

Things We Didn't Like

  • The 20-degree temp variance is good but not as great as the Rec Tec
  • The warranty is only for one year
  • Many customers report problems with the meat probe, though Camp Chef always dutifully replaces the part when it fails

Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet

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Pit Boss's 71700FB is mid-tiered model in a few ways when comparing with other products on this list.

It has a size/dimensions of 44 x 27 x 41 inches and it is also priced in the middle-range group of this list, which is a bit less than the comparable Traeger smoker reviewed above.

You do get 700 square inches of cooking surface, including a second-level rack, combined together should be more than enough cooking space for the average consumer. The burn system is digitally controlled and the grill plates are of porcelain-coated cast iron, making it very easy to set and reach the desired cooking temperature.

Most of the build material used on this product is of heavy gauged steel, and the hopper holds up to 10 pounds of pellets.

This is a great, overall well-build product with a few simple features and plenty of cooking space, all priced on a very reasonable price. 

Things We Liked

  • The price is a good value for the dollar
  • The sliding plate for searing steaks is unique and helpful
  • This unit is very durable, so you can expect years of effective smoking and grilling

Things We Didn't Like

  • Great for family dinners with four to six people but not big enough for large parties
  • Lacks the upper-tier features of the best grills, which some will wish for

Conclusion for the Best Pellet Smoker

We see the Rec Tec Wood "Smart" Grill as the clear winner of our best pellet smoker contest. It costs the most of all contenders but has the best temperature control, consumption efficiency, and grilling space.

The Rec Tec offers little room for improvement with its ease of use, wide range of grilling options, and easy portability via roller-blade-like wheels.

If there were a number two placer and a more best cheap pellet smoker , it would clearly be the Traeger BBQ 155.01, for its great "features per dollar" ratio and its easy clean-out ash can.

About Kendrick

Just a passionate man about cooking, living in Kansas who loves to share his knowledge about cooking and grilling with everyone.

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