Invented in the mid-1980s the Pellet Grill has become a major appliance in the outdoor cooking world. The promise is authentic smoke from real hardwood with the convenience of a gas grill. You pour in wood pellets, set the controls for the desired temperature, and cook. It is supposed to be no more complicated than that. Of course, there is more to it than that. Pellet grills do require some maintenance and just as with gas grills, there are good cookers and not-so-good ones.
I have combed through the more than 100 models of pellet grills out there, broken them down into price ranges, and listed the ones that I think are worth buying. Some are small, and perfect for the typical backyard cook. Others are large enough to cater events. Some have high-temperature grilling capabilities, but most are restricted by the basic fact of pellet grills, they can be great smokers or decent grills. If you are looking for incredibly high temperatures you are going to have to spend a lot more money or pick a different type of grill. If, however, you want something that can grill burgers and smoke briskets, a pellet grill might be the best choice.
For those interested, I also have a list of Pellet Grills made in the USA.
Price Breakdowns of the Best Pellet Grills
Best Pellet Grills under $1000
With more and more companies making pellet grills, there has been something of a race to the bottom. Constantly trying to undercut the competitor has put a lot of mediocre pellet grills out there. The simple truth is that pellet grills are mechanically complicated and require an investment to make them right. I have selected for this price range a range of pellet grills in terms of size and performance. None of them will reach extreme temperatures, but they can all smoke up some barbecue and grill up some burgers. If you like a high-temperature sear on your steak, you might want to use something else.
Best Pellet Grills between $1000 and $2000
Now we are starting to see some really good pellet grills. The units I have selected for this list are better at holding consistent temperatures and many of them have direct grilling space for putting a sear on something. There are units with large capacities and some are constructed of stainless steel. While these might not be the best of the best, these are the workhorse pellet grills that will get the job done, no matter what that job is.
Best Pellet Grills over $2000
There are only a few models on this list, but if money isn’t a factor, these are the pellet grills to buy. They can all produce a lot of food, create great smoke flavor, and most can do high-temperature grilling. These units also use the most advanced technology and some of them can be remotely controlled via wi-fi. Expect a lot from these models because they are the best of the best.
Best Built In Pellet Grills
Yes, there are pellet grill inserts for your custom outdoor kitchen. See my list of the best built-in pellet grills.
Best Built-in Pellet Grills
With the explosion in the popularity of pellet grills, it was only a matter of time before they became available as grill inserts. These units allow you to design your ultimate outdoor kitchen and still have the smoky flavor of a pellet grill. Like drop-in gas grills, built-in pellet grills tend towards the more expensive, but more affordable solutions are starting to show up. If you want to customize your outdoor cooking space, these are the pellet grills to look at.
See the Best Built-in Pellet Grills