The Battle of the Grills: Reviews of the Best Pellet Grills Under $500 For 2023

Nothing tops a heavy-duty pellet grill for creating the smoky, deep flavor of a legitimate barbeque joint right in your own backyard, tailgating cluster, or campsite.

Fueled by flavor-enhancing wood pellets, pellet grills are amazing for creating your own signature flavor because of their versatile options for smoking, baking, or roasting different meats for hours while you passively watch the magic happen. 

The portability and robust cooking capacity of pellet grills make it possible to prepare favorites like hamburgers or smoked meats that are so perfectly tender and juicy that cutting into them with a knife feels like Christmas morning! 

Today we’ll be taking a look at the best pellet grills under $500. So keep reading!

The Z GRILLS ZPG-450A Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker is a 6-in-1 BBQ grill that features automatic temperature control, a built-in meat probe, and a fan-forced convection cooking system. It is constructed with heavy-duty steel and is marketed as an upgrade from the 2022 model.

Product Specifications

Here are the product specifications for the Z GRILLS ZPG-450A Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker:

  • Cooking Area: 450 square inches
  • Fuel Type: Wood pellets
  • Automatic Temperature Control: Yes
  • Built-in Meat Probe: Yes
  • 6-in-1 Cooking Capabilities: Grilling, smoking, roasting, baking, braising, searing
  • Fan-forced Convection Cooking System: Yes
  • Heavy-duty Steel Construction: Yes
  • Grease Management System: Yes
  • Warranty: 3-year warranty on the grill body and 1-year warranty on all other parts
  • Dimensions: 45.5″ (L) x 43″ (W) x 49″ (H)
  • Weight: 105 lbs
  • Power Supply: 110V
  • Temperature Range: 180°F to 450°F

Note: These specifications are subject to change and may vary slightly based on the manufacturer’s current offerings.

What We Like

  • Versatile cooking capabilities: The ZPG-450A is not just a standard grill; it can be used for grilling, smoking, roasting, baking, braising, and searing. This versatility makes it a great option for outdoor enthusiasts who want to try various cooking methods.
  • Automatic temperature control: The automatic temperature control feature is a major convenience for grillers who want to ensure their food is cooked to perfection without constantly monitoring the grill. Set the desired temperature and let the grill do the rest.
  • Large cooking area: With 450 square inches of cooking space, the ZPG-450A is a great choice for entertaining or cooking for a family. There’s plenty of room to cook multiple items at once.
  • Wood pellet fuel source: One of the standout features of the ZPG-450A is that it runs on wood pellets. The smoky flavor that wood pellets impart to food is hard to match with other fuel sources, making the ZPG-450A a great choice for those who love the taste of smoky barbecue.
  • Built-in meat probe: A built-in meat probe is a handy tool for monitoring the internal temperature of your food as it cooks. It lets you know when your food is done without constantly opening the grill to check.

What We Don’t Like

  • Pellet management: While the wood pellet fuel source is a great feature, some users may need help managing the pellets. They can be prone to spillage, messing, and waste pellets.
  • Inconsistent temperature control: Some users have reported that the automatic temperature control on the ZPG-450A can be inconsistent at times, resulting in fluctuations in temperature. It can make it difficult to achieve consistent cooking results.
  • Price: At a higher price point than other grills on the market, the ZPG-450A may be a concern for some users looking for a more budget-friendly option.

Comparison to Other Wood Pellet Grills 

Compared to other wood pellet grills on the market, the ZPG-450A stands out for its 6-in-1 cooking capabilities, automatic temperature control, and large cooking area. However, there may be better choices for those looking for a more budget-friendly option.

Cooking Results

In our experience, the ZPG-450A produced excellent cooking results. The food was evenly cooked and had a delicious smoky flavor due partly to the wood pellet fuel source. The built-in meat probe made it easy to monitor the internal temperature of our food, ensuring that it was cooked to perfection.

Customer Service 

We did not have the opportunity to interact with Z GRILLS’ customer service. Still, from what we have seen online, they have a good reputation for being responsive and helpful to their customers.

Ease of Assembly

Assembling the ZPG-450A was a straightforward process that took about an hour. All the necessary tools were included in the package, and the instructions were clear and easy to follow.

The Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker (7002E) is a multi-functional outdoor cooking solution that offers a range of cooking capabilities, including grilling, smoking, roasting, baking, braising, searing, barbecuing, and char-grilling. This 8-in-1 BBQ grill is designed to make outdoor cooking a breeze, with features like automatic temperature control, a large cooking area, and a fan-forced convection cooking system.

Product Specifications

  • Cooking area: 697 square inches
  • Fuel source: Wood pellets
  • 8-in-1 cooking functions: Grilling, smoking, roasting, baking, braising, searing, barbecuing, and char-grilling
  • Automatic temperature control system
  • Built-in meat probe for monitoring internal meat temperature
  • Fan-forced convection cooking system for even heat distribution
  • Grease management system for easy cleaning
  • Heavy-duty steel construction
  • Weight: 140 lbs

What We Like

  • Large cooking area: The 7002E offers a large cooking area of 697 square inches, making it a great choice for outdoor cooking for large groups of people.
  • Automatic temperature control system: The automatic temperature control system makes setting and maintaining the desired cooking temperature easy, allowing you to focus on the cooking process.
  • Fan-forced convection cooking system: The fan-forced convection cooking system provides even heat distribution, ensuring that your food is cooked evenly and consistently.
  • 8-in-1 cooking capabilities: The 7002E has eight different cooking functions, making it a versatile and multi-functional grill for outdoor cooking.
  • Durable construction: The grill is built with heavy-duty steel that can withstand the elements.

What We Don’t Like

  • Heavy: At 140 lbs, this grill can be difficult to move around, especially if you plan on relocating it frequently.
  • Expensive: The 7002E is more expensive than some of its competitors, which may make it less accessible for those on a budget.
  • Customer service issues: Some customers need help reaching customer service for support and warranty claims.

Comparison to Other Wood Pellet Grills

Compared to other wood pellet grills, the Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker (7002E) offers a large cooking area, a fan-forced convection cooking system, and 8-in-1 cooking capabilities. However, it is more expensive and heavier than some competitors, which may make it less accessible for some people.

Cooking Results

 The cooking results with the 7002E are excellent, thanks to the automatic temperature control system and fan-forced convection cooking system. The built-in meat probe also allows you to monitor the internal temperature of the meat to ensure that it is cooked to perfection.

Customer Service

While some customers have reported difficulty reaching customer service for support and warranty claims, Z Grills does offer a 3-year warranty on their products, providing peace of mind to customers.

Ease of Assembly

Assembling the 7002E is relatively easy, and the grill comes with detailed instructions and all the necessary tools. However, at 140 lbs, this grill can be difficult to move around, especially if you plan on relocating it frequently.

In conclusion, the Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker (7002E) is a versatile and well-designed outdoor cooking solution that offers a range of cooking capabilities and features. While it is more expensive and heavier than some competitors, its durability and features make it a great investment for outdoor.

The PIT BOSS 71700FB Pellet Grill is a versatile, high-performance grill designed for outdoor cooking. This 8-in-1 barbecue grill and smoker is capable of smoking, baking, roasting, braising, grilling, barbequing, char-grilling, and searing. With a large 700 square inches of cooking surface and a digital control board, this grill provides an excellent grilling experience for both amateur and professional pitmasters.

Product Specifications

  • Dimensions: 49.5 x 23 x 48 inches
  • Cooking Surface: 700 square inches
  • Material: Heavy-duty steel construction
  • 8-in-1 versatility: Smoke, bake, roast, braise, grill, barbeque, char-grill, and sear
  • Digital control board with easy temperature control
  • Pellet hopper capacity: 20 pounds
  • Built-in meat probe
  • Double-walled lid to maintain a consistent temperature
  • Side shelf for additional prep space

What We Like

  • Large cooking surface: With 700 square inches of cooking space, this grill can cook large cuts of meat, multiple burgers, and even several side dishes simultaneously.
  • 8-in-1 versatility: This grill allows you to cook various dishes using different methods, making it ideal for outdoor cooking.
  • Digital control board: The digital control board makes setting and maintaining your desired temperature easy, allowing for precise cooking results.
  • Built-in meat probe: The built-in meat probe helps monitor the temperature of your food and ensures it is cooked to perfection.
  • Pellet hopper capacity: The 20-pound hopper capacity provides ample space for long cooking sessions without needing to refill the hopper frequently.

What We Don’t Like

  • Assembly can be challenging: Some customers have reported that the assembly process can be challenging and time-consuming.
  • Customer service could be improved: Some customers have reported that the customer service provided by the manufacturer is only sometimes helpful or responsive.

Comparison to Other Wood Pellet Grills

The PIT BOSS 71700FB Pellet Grill is a high-quality and versatile grill that compares favorably to other wood pellet grills in its class. Its large cooking surface, 8-in-1 versatility, and digital control board offer excellent value for its price.

Cooking Results: Customers have reported that the PIT BOSS 71700FB Pellet Grill produces delicious and flavorful food with even cooking results. The built-in meat probe ensures that meat is cooked to the desired temperature, and the digital control board allows for precise temperature control.

Customer Service: Some customers have reported that the customer service provided by the manufacturer is only sometimes helpful or responsive.

Ease of Assembly: The PIT BOSS 71700FB Pellet Grill assembly process can be challenging and time-consuming, according to some customers. However, the grill comes with clear instructions. Once assembled, it is a high-quality, durable grill that provides excellent cooking results.

Overall, the PIT BOSS 71700FB Pellet Grill is a versatile, high-performance grill designed for outdoor cooking. Its 8-in-1 versatility, large cooking surface, and digital control board provide an excellent grilling experience for amateur and professional pitmasters.

The PIT BOSS PB440D2 Wood Pellet Grill is a high-quality grill that offers a large cooking surface and precise temperature control for a great grilling experience. With its unique design, the PB440D2 is a great choice for experienced and beginner grillers.

Product Specifications

  • Control Type: Dial-in digital control with LED read-out
  • Cooking Temp Range: 180° to 500°F Standard
  • Flame Broiler: Simple slide-plate for direct and indirect flame grilling
  • Steel Bottle Opener: Stainless steel bottle opener
  • Fuel Type: 100% All Natural Hardwood Pellets
  • BTU Value: 40,000 BTU
  • Air Flow: Convection Cooking
  • Igniter: 200 Watt Auto Igniter
  • Exhaust: Vent holes on the back of the barrel
  • Start/Stop Cycle: Automatic start and cool down
  • Power Source: 120 volts, 50/60 Hz, 3.1 amp, three-prong
  • Total Cooking Area: 465 sq. inches
  • Cooking Grid Construction: Porcelain-coated steel
  • Main Level: 341 sq. inches
  • Upper Rack: 124 sq. inches
  • Burger Capacity (4″ ): 20

What We Like

  • Large cooking surface: The PB440D2 offers a large cooking surface, making it ideal for cooking for large groups or families.
  • Precise temperature control: The dial-in digital control system allows for precise temperature control, ensuring that your food is perfectly cooked.
  • Natural fuel source: The PB440D2 uses 100% all-natural hardwood pellets as fuel, making it a more environmentally friendly option.
  • Fan-forced convection cooking: The fan-forced convection cooking system ensures even heat distribution, making it easy to cook your food perfectly.
  • Direct flame grilling: The simple slide plate for direct and indirect flame grilling is a unique feature not often found on pellet grills, making the PB440D2 a great choice for those who like to sear their food.

What We Don’t Like

  • Assembly time: Assembly of the PB440D2 may take some time and requires some technical knowledge.
  • Price: While the PB440D2 is a high-quality grill, its price may be higher than other similar options on the market.

Comparison to Other Wood Pellet Grills

The PB440D2 is a high-quality wood pellet grill that offers a large cooking surface, precise temperature control, and fan-forced convection cooking. Compared to other pellet grills, the PB440D2 is competitively priced. It offers unique features, such as a direct flame grilling option and an all-natural fuel source.

Cooking Results

The PB440D2 produces excellent cooking results, with even heat distribution and precise temperature control. The large cooking surface and direct flame grilling option make it easy to cook various foods perfectly.

Customer Service

 Pit Boss has a reputation for excellent customer service, with knowledgeable and helpful staff available to answer any questions or concerns. They also offer a product warranty, ensuring you are covered for any defects or malfunctions.

Ease of Assembly 

According to customer reviews, the PIT BOSS PB440D2 Wood Pellet Grill is easy to assemble and provides clear instructions. The unit is shipped with all the necessary components and basic tools. It can complete the assembly process within a few hours.

Customers have reported that the grill is well-designed and the instructions are clear, making the assembly process straightforward. However, some customers have reported that the grill is heavier than expected, which may make the assembly process more challenging for one person.

Overall, the PIT BOSS PB440D2 Wood Pellet Grill is easy to assemble and well-designed, making it a great choice for those looking for a high-quality wood pellet grill.

Traeger Grills Ranger Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker is a compact and portable grill that is perfect for outdoor cooking. It is designed for those who love to cook on the go, whether for a camping trip, tailgate, or any other outdoor adventure. With its advanced Grilling Logic, digital Arc controller, and Keep Warm mode, this grill provides precise temperature control for consistent cooking results every time.

Product Specifications

  • Cooking area: 184 square inches
  • Product weight: 60 lbs
  • Pellet hopper capacity: 8 lbs
  • Max temperature: 450°F
  • Voltage: 120V
  • Cast iron griddle included
  • Advanced Grilling Logic
  • Cook timer
  • Easy-to-clean porcelain-coated grill grates
  • Digital Arc controller

What We Like

  • Portability: The Traeger Grills Ranger is a compact and lightweight grill that is easy to transport and set up. Whether going on a camping trip or tailgating, this grill is an excellent choice for outdoor cooking.
  • Temperature Control: The digital Arc controller provides precise temperature control, allowing you to cook your food perfectly every time. The Keep Warm mode is also a great feature, ensuring that your food is ready to eat whenever you are.
  • Cast Iron Griddle: The included cast iron griddle is a great addition to this grill. You can cook various breakfast dishes or sides, making this grill a great option for any meal.
  • Advanced Grilling Logic: The advanced Grilling Logic ensures consistent cooking results every time. The grill maintains the desired temperature and provides precise cooking performance, giving you great results every time.

What We Don’t Like

  • Small Cooking Area: The 184-square-inch cooking area may be small for some users, especially if you cook for a large group.
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: The 8 lbs pellet hopper capacity may need to be increased for longer cooking sessions.

Comparison to Other Wood Pellet Grills

The Traeger Grills Ranger is a compact, portable grill for outdoor cooking. It is similar to other wood pellet grills in terms of temperature control, cooking performance, and ease of use. However, the Ranger’s compact size and portability set it apart from other grills.

Cooking Results

The Traeger Grills Ranger provides consistent cooking results every time. The digital Arc controller and advanced Grilling Logic ensure that the grill maintains the desired temperature and provides precise cooking performance. The cast iron griddle also allows you to cook various dishes, making this grill a great option for any meal.

Customer Service

Traeger Grills has a reputation for providing excellent customer service. The company’s customer service team can assist you if you have any questions or issues with your grill.

Ease of Assembly

The Traeger Grills Ranger is easy to assemble and comes with clear instructions. Most users should be able to set up the grill in less than an hour.

The Traeger Grills Ranger Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker is a compact and portable grill that is perfect for outdoor cooking. With its advanced Grilling Logic, digital Arc controller, and Keep Warm mode, this grill provides precise temperature control for consistent cooking results every time.

The cast iron griddle allows you to cook various dishes, making this grill a great option for any meal. Whether going on a camping trip, tailgating, or any other outdoor adventure, the Traeger Grills Ranger is an excellent choice for outdoor cooking.

What Is A Pellet Grill

As a pro griller, I would like to introduce you to the world of pellet grilling. A pellet grill is a unique type of grill that uses wood pellets as fuel to produce heat and smoke. This type of grill combines the convenience of an electric grill with the delicious smoky flavor of a traditional wood-fired grill.

Pellet grills consist of several key components: a hopper, an auger, a fire pot, a fan, a digital control panel, and grill grates. The hopper is where you store the wood pellets. An auger system automatically feeds the pellets from the hopper into the fire pot, igniting them with an electric heating element.

The fan circulates air through the grill, allowing you to control the temperature. With the digital control panel, you can set the desired temperature, and the grill will maintain it by adjusting the fan speed and fuel supply. It allows for precise temperature control, making it easier to cook low-and-slow, hot-and-fast, or anything in between.

The heat from the burning pellets mixes with the smoke, infusing the food with a delicious smoky flavor as it cooks. The ash from the burned pellets accumulates in an ash pan, which can be easily removed for disposal.

Here are some of the most popular cooking methods that can be done with a pellet grill:

  • Grilling: Pellet grills can cook burgers, steaks, chops, vegetables, and other foods over direct heat.
  • Smoking: Pellet grills can be used to smoke ribs, brisket, pork butt, and other meats.
  • Baking: Pellet grills can be used to bake bread, pizzas, casseroles, and other baked goods.
  • Roasting: Pellet grills can roast chicken, turkey, beef roasts, and other meats.
  • Braising: Pellet grills can be used to braise stews, pot roasts, and other slow-cooked dishes.
  • Searing: Pellet grills can sear scallops, salmon, and other seafood.
  • Grilling in indirect heat: Pellet grills can be used to grill foods in indirect heat, such as whole chicken, prime rib, and other more significant cuts of meat.
  • Grilling in a wood-fired oven: Pellet grills can be used to simulate the experience of cooking in a wood-fired oven, making it possible to bake pizzas, bread, and other dishes with a crispy crust.

Benefits of Pellet Grills

Pellet grills offer a unique experience that distinguishes them from traditional charcoal and gas grills. Here are some of the advantages of pellet grills:

  • Versatility: Pellet grills allow you to grill, smoke, roast, and bake all in one appliance. It makes them ideal for outdoor cooking enthusiasts who want to create various delicious meals without the hassle of multiple grills.
  • Convenient Temperature Control: Pellet grills use a digital control panel that makes it easy to set and maintain the perfect cooking temperature. It takes the guesswork out of grilling, allowing you to achieve consistent results every time.
  • Consistent Heat Distribution: Pellet grills use wood pellets as fuel, which burn consistently, providing even heat distribution throughout the cooking surface. That ensures that your food is cooked evenly every time.
  • Easy to Use: Pellet grills are incredibly easy to use, unlike traditional grills requiring a lot of effort to get started and maintain. Fill the hopper with pellets, set the temperature, and let the grill do the rest.
  • Flavorful Food: The use of wood pellets adds a delicious smoky flavor to your food that cannot be achieved with gas or charcoal grills. It makes pellet grills an excellent choice for those who love flavorful, juicy, tender meats, poultry, and fish.
  • Eco-Friendly: Wood pellets are a renewable and sustainable fuel source, making pellet grills an environmentally friendly option. Unlike gas grills that release harmful emissions, pellet grills emit very little smoke, reducing their environmental impact.

In conclusion, pellet grills offer a unique grilling experience that combines convenience, versatility, and great flavor. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced griller, a pellet grill is an excellent investment for anyone who loves to cook outdoors.

Drawbacks of Pellet Grills

Here are some of the drawbacks to consider when it comes to pellet grills:

  • Price: Pellet grills can be pricier than traditional charcoal and gas grills, which may be a factor for those on a budget.
  • Maintenance Requirements: Keeping a pellet grill in top condition requires more maintenance than a traditional grill, including cleaning the grates, hopper, and other parts after each use.
  • Limited Availability: Wood pellets are not as widely available as traditional grilling fuels, which can be a problem for those living in rural areas or wanting to switch to pellets from another fuel.
  • Messy and Requires Proper Storage: Pellets can be messy and prone to dampness and mold, requiring proper storage to prevent degradation.
  • Fluctuating Fuel Cost: The cost of pellets can be more expensive than other fuels and may fluctuate, making it difficult to budget for grilling expenses.
  • Variable Smoke Quality: The smoke quality from pellet grills can vary based on the brand and quality of the pellets used, potentially impacting the taste and texture of food.
  • Weight: Pellet grills can be heavier, making them more challenging to move around, especially for those wanting to take them on camping trips or with limited storage space.

When deciding whether a pellet grill is right for you, it is essential to consider these drawbacks alongside the benefits. The pros and cons of pellet grills should be weighed before making a purchase.

How Pellet Grill Works

As a mechanical engineer, I would like to explain the inner workings of a pellet grill. Here is a step-by-step guide on how a pellet grill operates:

  1. Fuel Supply: Wood pellets are stored in a hopper, which automatically feeds them into the fire pot.
  2. Ignition: An electric heating element ignites the pellets in the fire pot, creating heat and smoke.
  3. Airflow: A fan circulates air through the grill to control the temperature and distribute smoke evenly.
  4. Temperature Control: The grill has a digital control panel that allows you to set a specific temperature, which the grill will then maintain by adjusting the fan speed and fuel supply.
  5. Combustion: The heat from the burning pellets mixes with the smoke, infusing the food with flavor as it cooks.
  6. Ash Management: The ash from the burned pellets accumulates in an ash pan, which can be easily removed for disposal.
  7. Cleaning: After each use, the grates, hopper, and other parts of the grill need to be cleaned to ensure it remains in top working condition.

In conclusion, a pellet grill combines the convenience of an electric grill with the delicious smoky flavor of a traditional wood-fired grill. The precise temperature control and convenient ash disposal make it an ideal choice for outdoor cooking enthusiasts.

Buyer's Guide For The Best Pellet Grill Under $500

With so many models on the market, choosing the best pellet grill for your needs can be overwhelming. This buyer’s guide will help you find the best pellet grill under $500 that meets your grilling needs.

Size

One of the most important considerations when choosing a pellet grill is the size. You need to consider the amount of space you have in your outdoor area and the number of people you will be cooking for. Pellet grills come in various sizes, from compact models serving a family of four to large models that can feed a crowd of twenty.

Cooking Space

The cooking space is another essential factor when choosing a pellet grill. The amount of cooking space you need depends on the number of people you plan to cook for and the type of food you want to prepare. A larger cooking space will allow you to cook for a larger group, while a smaller space may be suitable for a small family.

Temperature Range

Pellet grills have a temperature range that varies from model to model. Some models can reach high temperatures for searing steaks, while others are better suited for low and slow cooking. Make sure to choose a model with a temperature range that meets your cooking needs.

Fuel Type

Pellet grills use wood pellets as fuel, but not all wood pellets are created equal. Some models use 100% hardwood pellets, while others use a combination of hardwood and softwood pellets. Hardwood pellets are more expensive but provide a better flavor, while softwood pellets are less expensive but have a lesser flavor impact.

Hopper Capacity

The hopper is the container that holds the wood pellets in a pellet grill. The hopper capacity will determine how long you can cook without refilling the pellets. A larger hopper capacity means you can cook for longer without having to refill the pellets, but it will also increase the grill cost.

Ease of Use

Pellet grills can be complex, and some models are easier to use than others. Look for models with an easy-to-read temperature gauge, a simple control panel, and easy access to the hopper. A pellet grill that is easy to use will make grilling more enjoyable and reduce frustration.

Warranty

Finally, make sure to consider the warranty offered by the manufacturer. A good warranty will give you peace of mind if anything goes wrong with your pellet grill. Look for models that offer at least a two-year warranty.

When shopping for the best pellet grill under $500, consider the size, cooking space, temperature range, fuel type, hopper capacity, ease of use, and warranty. Considering these factors, you can find a pellet grill that meets your needs and provides an enjoyable grilling experience for years.

Best Pellet Grill Brands

When purchasing a pellet grill, choosing the right brand is just as important as selecting the suitable model. With various options on the market, it can be overwhelming to pick the best one for your grilling needs. To help make your decision easier, we’ve put together a list of the top pellet grill brands based on expert reviews and customer satisfaction.

Traeger Grills 

Traeger is one of the original manufacturers of pellet grills and has been in the game for over 30 years. Traeger grills are a popular choice among grillers because of their innovative design and high-quality construction. Their grills offer a range of temperature options, from low and slow smoking to high-heat grilling, and come in various sizes to accommodate any outdoor cooking space.

Pit Boss 

Pit Boss is a newer player in the pellet grill market, but they’ve quickly made a name for themselves with their affordable and feature-rich grills. Pit Boss grills are known for their high-temperature capabilities, making them an excellent option for those who love to sear and grill. They also offer a range of sizes, from portable models to full-sized outdoor kitchens.

Green Mountain 

Grills Green Mountain Grills is another well-respected brand in the pellet grill industry. They are known for their user-friendly grills, designed with the latest technology and convenience. Their grills feature an easy-to-use digital control panel and a powerful fan system, making it easy to achieve the perfect cooking temperature every time.

Camp Chef 

Camp Chef is a well-established brand in the outdoor cooking industry, and their pellet grills are no exception. Camp Chef grills are known for their sturdy construction and innovative design, which make them an excellent choice for those who want a durable and long-lasting grill. They offer a range of sizes and features, including WiFi connectivity and built-in temperature probes.

When selecting a pellet grill, it’s essential to consider the brand and its reputation in the market. The brands listed above are known for their high-quality grills and customer satisfaction, making them a great starting point for your search. Consider your grilling needs, budget, and desired features, and choose the best brand.

Pellet Grill Vs Smoker

Pellet Grill

  • Fueled by wood pellets
  • Automated temperature control through an electric auger system
  • Versatile cooking options, including grilling, baking, smoking, and roasting
  • Convenient, as pellets are readily available and easy to use
  • Typically more expensive than traditional charcoal or gas grills

What we like:

  • Automated temperature control system for consistent and accurate cooking
  • Versatility in cooking methods, including grilling, baking, smoking, and roasting
  • Convenient to use with readily available wood pellets
  • Ease of cleaning with removable ash catcher and grease tray

What we don’t like:

  • Typically more expensive than traditional grills
  • Dependence on electricity to power the auger system
  • Can be prone to malfunctions with electrical components

Smoker

  • Fueled by charcoal, wood, or gas
  • Manual temperature control through vents and dampers
  • The primary cooking method is slow-smoking, but you can also grill or bake
  • Requires more hands-on attention and management compared to pellet grills
  • It can be more affordable than pellet grills, depending on the type and model

What we like:

  • Traditional and hands-on cooking experience
  • Affordability, depending on the type and model
  • Option to use different fuels, such as charcoal, wood, or gas

What we don’t like:

  • Manual temperature control requires more attention and management
  • It can be less consistent in cooking compared to pellet grills
  • It can be more difficult to clean, depending on the type of fuel used

In conclusion, both pellet grills and smokers have pros and cons, and the choice between them depends on personal preferences and cooking needs. Pellet grills are great for those who want convenience and versatility in cooking. At the same time, smokers are ideal for those who want a more traditional and hands-on smoking experience.

Pellet Grill Vs Gas Grill

Pellet Grill

  • Operates on wood pellets as fuel
  • Automated temperature control through an electric auger system
  • Offers versatility in cooking methods such as grilling, baking, smoking, and roasting
  • Convenient, as wood pellets are readily available
  • Typically costs more than gas grills

What we like:

  • Consistent and accurate temperature control
  • Versatile cooking options
  • Easy to use with readily available pellets
  • Simple cleaning with removable ash catcher and grease tray

What we don’t like:

  • Higher cost compared to gas grills
  • Dependence on electricity to power the auger system
  • Possibility of malfunctions with electrical components

Gas Grill

  • Powered by propane or natural gas
  • Automated temperature control through gas flow regulation
  • Primarily used for grilling, but it can also bake and roast
  • Convenient, with a readily available fuel supply
  • Generally more affordable than pellet grills

What we like:

  • Consistent temperature control through an automated system
  • Easy to use with readily available fuel
  • Simple cleaning with removable grates and grease tray
  • More budget-friendly compared to pellet grills

What we don’t like:

  • Limited cooking options
  • Dependence on a steady gas supply, requiring refilling of propane tanks or connection to a natural gas line

In summary, pellet and gas grills have unique benefits and drawbacks. Pellet grills provide versatility in cooking methods, while gas grills offer affordability and ease of use. The choice between them ultimately comes down to personal preference and cooking needs.

Final Verdict on the Best Pellet Grill Under $500

What is there to say about buying an inexpensive pellet grill? Try to narrow your search down to at least the 5 best pellet grills under 500 before committing to a pellet smoker grill or pellet smoker.

As we’ve covered, the PIT BOSS 700FB takes the cake as the best pellet cooker out there under $500 because it offers the best price for such a large cooking space. 

However, it’s not the only game in town if you’re looking for something a little lighter to lug around. Any of the pellet grills reviewed above will give you a decent amount of working space with a good amount of capacity in their hoppers for well under that 500 sweet spot.

All of the grills on our shortlist ensure that something good is on its way once you set your timer!

FAQs

How to operate a pellet grill?

Grills from different brands can have different startup methods. However, the general cooking protocol with a pellet grill is to begin by loading up your pellets. You’ll then select your setting based on the food you’re preparing.

Next, wait for the smoke to appear to let you know that your pellets are heating properly. You should then notice convection action moving the flame within your grill to signify that it’s time to begin grilling! 

What can you cook on a pellet grill?

Generally, pellet grills are used for meats. Cuts like brisket, pork belly, racks of ribs, beef cheeks, and filets are popular among pellet fans.

Oysters, chicken, lamb, beef, and pork are really all on the table here. People also use pellet grills to make pizza, jerky, apple crisp, and more!

What is a PID controller for a pellet grill?

A PID (proportional, integral, derivative) controller is a high-tech feature that some brands of pellet grills include for creating highly precise temperature conditions.

Unlike standard controllers that time your grill’s fuel feed to its burn pot, PID controllers use-real time metrics to adjust and anticipate cooking conditions. The result is a more precise and optimal cooking temperature. 

Can you cook burgers on a pellet grill?

Yes, pellet grills can cook up phenomenal burgers offering wood-fired deliciousness! Typically, it takes under 30 minutes to cook a burger all the way through on a pellet grill.

Do pellet grills cause cancer?

While it’s true that some recent studies have drawn potential links between consuming smoked or grilled meats with cancer risks, pellet grills aren’t considered to be any more dangerous than other grilling methods available in the market.

Do make sure you’re cleaning your cooking area with a grill brush regularly to create an overall healthier grilling environment. 

Is Traeger better than Pit Boss?

Generally, Pit Boss beats Trager if you’re only looking at grilling space per dollar spent. However, you really have to do an apples-to-apples comparison based on features to see which brand offers what you want.

Is a pellet grill worth the money?

A pellet grill is a solid purchase if you’re looking for a portable option that really does recreate the flavors of a classic BBQ joint. Many people find this to be an economical, easy way to cook up batches of flavorful meat while tailgating or entertaining guests. 

What is the best pellet grill for the money?

Coming in at well under 500, the porcelain-coated PIT BOSS 700FB Pellet Grill with 700 square inches of cooking space is hard to top. That’s why it wins the spot for our top pick.

Pellet grills in the same class that offer just 500 square inches cost $100 to $150 more in most cases. This PIT BOSS model also wows by reaching temperatures of up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also, it earns points for a pellet hopper capacity of 21 pounds that blows all of the Trager pellet grills and Green Mountain grills in the same 500 price category out of the water.

While this grill is bigger in terms of a square inch based on the cooking surface, it’s still very easy to move as a portable grill with help from sturdy wheels.

Z Hashan

Z Hashan

Hi, my name is Z Hashan, and I’m passionate about smoking the best BBQ. There’s nothing more satisfying than cooking a delicious piece of BBQ and seeing the joy on people’s faces while they have a bite of it.

Z Hashan

Z Hashan

Hi, my name is Z Hashan, and I’m passionate about smoking the best BBQ. There’s nothing more satisfying than cooking a delicious piece of BBQ and seeing the joy on people’s faces while they have a bite of it.

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