By generating heat by burning genuine hardwood pellets, pellet grills give you a totally unique way of cooking.
Electronic control systems control the rate of these pellets into the burn chamber, while a series of fans ensure that the fire gets plenty of airflow and heat circulates evenly throughout the cooking area.
On many of the latest models, wifi, Bluetooth, or cloud-based controls give you fine control over the cooking temperature from across the house or even across the city.
Perhaps most importantly, the use of genuine hardwood pellets ensures that your food comes off the grill with a distinct smoky taste, allowing you to produce professional-grade barbecue in your own backyard.
But what sort of pellet grill should you buy? Here’s a quick rundown on 11 of the best pellet grill brands on the market today.
We’ll discuss their strengths and weaknesses to give you a better idea of which manufacturers you should look at when it comes time to purchase a pellet grill or smoker for yourself.
Traeger invented the modern pellet grill in Oregon in the 1990s. Now based in Salt Lake City, Traeger still maintains a tremendous lead over its competition.
While its patent on the pellet grill expired in 2006, the company’s experience in the design and manufacture of pellet grills ensures that the rest of the market still struggles to keep up.
Since 2006, Traeger has relied on foreign manufacturing to keep its grills affordable.
Traeger exclusively produces pellet grills, which they’ve nearly perfected. Their grills aren’t the cheapest or the fanciest. Instead, they dominate the middle of the market.
If your budget isn’t extremely low or extremely high, a Traeger pellet grill will usually offer the best blend of features, design, and durability.
Camp Chef has a reputation for producing solid, effective grills that offer good value for money. Based in Cache Valley, Utah, the company produces a wide range of outdoor cooking equipment and accessories.
Like Traeger, they design their grills in the United States and use foreign manufacturing to help keep costs down.
Camp Chef produces pellet grills, propane smokers, modular outdoor cooking systems, flat-top grills, and more. Like Traeger, Camp Chef excels at offering solid mid-range grills and smokers that offer great value for money.
Expect great build quality, some modern bells and whistles, and convenient, efficient design that lets you concentrate on the meat.
About 70 years ago, Weber founder George Stephen invented the modern kettle grill. His company has grown to be a market leader in outdoor cookers, producing electric, gas, charcoal, and wood pellet grills.
Weber grills are known for their rugged construction. While they’re assembled in the United States, Weber is a bit cagey about where some of the components are manufactured.
Weber’s product lines include some of the most iconic American charcoal grills.
Their SmokeFire pellet grills compete with specialist brands like Traeger, and their gas-fueled grills are the perfect adornment for any backyard.
In addition to their famous build quality and time-honed designs, look for modern amenities like wi-fi connectivity on many of their modern grills.
One of the more recent additions to the pellet smoker market, Pit Boss was founded in 1999 in Alberta, Canada. Since then, it’s moved to Arizona and made a name for itself in the barbecue world.
Pit Boss offers serious products for the serious barbecue enthusiast, with a grill for almost every size or budget.
If you want a smoker or pellet grill at a very reasonable price for the quality, Pit Boss is often a great choice. Pit Boss’s selection of barbecue machines is truly impressive.
They sell pellet grills, vertical smokers, portable grills, griddles, charcoal grills, gas grills, and even fire pits.
Their combination grills are probably the best on the market, offering various combinations of pellet grills, smokers, gas grills, and griddles on a single cart.
When you choose Pit Boss, expect a serious grill that shows up ready to work.
Broil King is an established brand with reputation for being reliable and well made. When it comes to propane grills it comes among the top three names on the market.
Founded in 1986, it has made name for himself in recent time because of its high quality product but is yet to be considered a large manufacturer in comparison with brands with decades of expertise.
Broil King is committed to producing high quality grills and smokers in its north American factories located in US and Canada. In 1999, the Broil King brand was purchased by Cadco.
They sell pellet grills, gas grill, large and small smokers, griddles and portable grills.
Green Mountain Grills
Founded by Jason Baker in 2006, Green Mountain Grills was founded to produce innovative, low-cost pellet grills for the barbecue enthusiast.
In recent years, they’ve worked overtime to emphasize the low-cost part of that equation. Green Mountain Grills shine in the middle section of the price bracket, especially when you can find one on sale.
Sure, they’re made overseas and aren’t quite as over-engineered as many of the other grills on the market, but they give you an impressive amount of cooking power for their price.
As a somewhat recent competitor in the field, Green Mountain Grills works hard to ensure that their pellet grills offer every feature, bell, and whistle possible.
They’re a very specialized manufacturer, offering only pellet grills and a few accessories.
Green Mountain Grills claims that their combination of firebox technology and extra fans helps their grills cook better and cleaner than some competing brands.
Given how affordable and fully-featured their grills are, it’s not a bad idea to try one out and see how it holds up.
Unlike other brands, which focus on mass-market appeal, Yoder designs its grills with one customer in mind: the competitive barbecue chef.
Their high-quality, American-made grills are specifically built to give you an edge during formal competitions.
They’re big, they’re incredibly easy to adjust, and they let you fine-tune the way heat flows through the grill with an impressive degree of precision.
Yoder offers grills, smokers, pellet grills, combinations, and even trailers.
Yoder’s pellet grills are some of the most powerful and versatile on the market. Some models even give you the ability to stick a flame directly below the grilling surface, something most other pellet grills can’t manage.
They’re incredibly well made, too, with generous warranties and amazing customer support. All of this comes at a cost, however. Expect to spend a fair bit more on a Yoder than you would most other brands.
Many of the brands on this page contract out design and manufacturing work for some of their product lines. Z Grills started off as one of those contractors, building grills for top pellet grill brands.
In 2016, they branched off and entered the market as their own brand, rapidly building a following and cementing their reputation as an incredibly affordable brand.
Z Grills’ experience leveraging overseas manufacturing from their days working under other brands has allowed them to massively undercut the competition.
Z Grills offers a surprisingly wide range of pellet grills given how new of a player they are.
They do not, however, offer other styles of grills or outdoor cookers. When you choose Z Grills, expect to pay a fair bit less than you would with most other brands for an impressive set of features.
Their grills are some of the best choices for anyone looking to get started with pellet grilling on a smaller budget.
If Yoder aims to deliver a high-quality competition grill for the barbecue competitor, recteq tries to do the same thing for the backyard chef.
Their carefully built, well-designed grills are backed by some of the best customer service in the industry. When you buy a recteq, you don’t just buy a grill. You also get an invitation to the recteq family.
A few years ago, recteq was known as REC TEC. They changed their name in 2020 to “recteq” in all lowercase. Some manufacturing is performed in China, but quality assurance takes place in the United States.
Recteq offers mostly pellet grills and accessories, although a gas wok cooker has somehow crept into their product lineup.
While their pellet grills are priced similarly to other midrange options, they tend to be a bit better built, and their commitment to customer service helps them squeak out an edge over some of the other brands.
Their smaller product line makes it a bit harder to find the grill you want, however, so you might have to settle on a grill that’s bigger or smaller than the one you need if you want to choose recteq.
Memphis Wood Fire Grills
Memphis Wood Fire Grills took the market by storm in 2010, introducing a range of innovative, American-made pellet grills. While they’ve moved some manufacturing to Asia to cut costs, they remain a standout source of high-end pellet grills today.
Memphis Wood Fire Grills are stuffed to the gills with consumer-friendly features, including cloud-based functionality that allows you to monitor and control your grill from your office across the city.
Memphis Wood Fire Grills makes pellet smokers, built-in units, cart models, kitchen islands, and accessories.
Their products are built more like high-end indoor appliances than outdoor grills, giving them incredible performance. They’re quite pricey, however.
If you’re after a truly modern pellet grill and you don’t mind spending a bit more, Memphis Wood Fire Grills can give you one of the best units around, period.
One of the few grill manufacturers that still makes its grills in the US, Cookshack has partnered with BBQ competitor “Fast Eddy” Maurin to produce an innovative line of pellet grills for the backyard.
These standout products include some surprising twists on the classic pellet smoker formula, including a total rehashing of cooking zones in relation to the flame.
This makes Fast Eddys’ By Cookshack one of the few pellet smokers that can grill a steak over direct heat.
Cookshack makes a fairly small selection of smokers and pellet grills. They’re somewhat pricey, as you might expect from a product manufactured in the US with considerable attention to detail and quality.
They’re darn fine to cook on, though, and you should definitely consider them if they fit into your budget.