Best Budget Pellet Smokers

Best Pellet Smokers Under $500 - thecookwareexpert.com
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One of the best things to do when bonding with family or friends is eating good food together. And what better way to prepare delectable and easy home cooks than by grilling.

However, the challenge is when you don’t have the right outdoor cooker to prepare all the food.

If you are someone who enjoys getting your loved ones together and having meals outdoor, then a pellet smoker is perfect for you.

In this article, we list down five of the best budget pellet smokers and why they landed on top of our list.

If you don’t have time to read the whole article, here’s our recommendations:

Best: Z Grills 450A

Runner-up (and if you want one with a large cooking surface): Z Grills 6002B

1. Green Mountain Davy Crockett

Features:

  • 219 square inches of cooking area
  • Digital WiFi controller
  • Food probe for monitoring grill temperature
  • Programmable custom cooking profile
  • Open Flame Technology (optional, can be bought separately)

Pros:

  • Portable
  • Fair price

Cons:

  • WiFi feature can be unreliable sometimes

The GMG Davy Crockett model has 219 square inches cooking area, a digital WiFi controller, a food probe to monitor grill temperature, and a programmable custom cooking profile.

With a foldable leg feature, it folds neatly to fit, especially in trunks. It is very portable, and at a fair price, you can own the best budget pellet smoker in your hands.

It weighs 57 lbs, which means that you need an extra helping hand to carry that griller with you.

It also has an Open Flame Technology provision for grease trays, but it is optional. Thus, if you want to have this feature, you will have to buy it separately. 

It is designed for travel, but you might want to put extra care when folding the legs. Legs can gradually become clunky, so be careful.

Its WiFi feature can be unreliable at times too, as it loses connection from time to time. To secure connectivity, you must stay close to the grill. 

2. Z Grills 450A

Features:

  • 452 square inches of cooking surface
  • Large-scale pellet hopper
  • Porcelain-coated

Pros:

  • Efficient in using pellets
  • Consistent temperature
  • Easy to clean up

Cons:

  • Sometimes, error codes pop up when turning it on
  • Heavy

With a 452 square inches cooking surface, it’s perfect for small households. Z Grills 450A is efficient in using less pellets and easy to set up. Once the temperature is set, you’re good to go.

It has a large-capacity pellet hopper that can contain as much as 15 lbs. You can just fill it once, and it goes a long way.

The front and side preparation shelves also give you more workspace. As for the cooking residues, the grills are porcelain-coated, so it’s easy to clean the whole cooking grid. 

Heads up! Error codes pop up, especially when you did not get it right when turning it on. Still, you need to do some research.

Lastly, the hopper can be pretty annoying with its loud grinding sound, so expect a noise machine too.

3. Z Grills 6002B 

Features:

  • 573 square inches of cooking surface
  • PID technology
  • Non-stick porcelain grates

Pros:

  • Large cooking surface
  • Consistent temperature
  • Easy to clean with its non-stick porcelain feature

Cons:

  • Confusing assembly instructions
  • Does not produce enough smoke sometimes

Z Grills 6002B offers a large cooking surface, which is perfect for a larger group. An expandable upper warming rack provides a total of  573 square inches to grill.

It is also equipped with PID technology that cooks between 180 to 450 °F with consistent results. Moreover, there is no sweat in cleaning because its non-stick porcelain grates are easy to clean-up. 

Designed with a slide plate flame broiler, it’s easy to use for direct flame searing. This feature is just something you want to have in a smoker.

It also has a durable and appealing built with solid steel and a polished finish. Z Grills 6002B is quite the looker.

However, a common pet peeve for average consumers is its confusing assembly instructions. If you’re like me and you’re not exactly gifted in assembling things, you might struggle where to place those bolts and screws.

Moreover, it sometimes doesn’t produce enough smoke for that strong smoked flavor of the meat. Despite these minor issues, we can’t deny that it’s still one of the best budget pellet smokers.

4. Pit Boss Classic Wood Pellet Grill

Features:

  • 700 square inches of cooking surface
  • Porcelain-coated
  • Flame broiler

Pros:

  • Really large cooking surface
  • Great for direct flame cooking
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Temperature sometimes fluctuates

Practicality is the perfect word that describes this 8-in-1 grill.

The Pit Boss Classic Wood Pellet Grill features 700 square inches of cooking surface and has porcelain-coated steel. It also has a flame broiler for direct flame cooking. 

You can bake, braise, barbecue or char-grill, smoke, grill, roast, and sear with its cooking temperature range of 180 to 500°F.

Don’t even worry about that extreme heat because this grill is made to last with its high-temperature powder-coated steel. It can withstand prolonged use.

A common concern with the product is its temperature control. It sometimes fluctuates can be inconsistent at times. Users do have to monitor the temperature every now and then to see and re-adjust.

5. Traeger Tailgater 20 Pellet Grill

Features:

  • 300 square inches of cooking surface
  • Digital arc controller for temperature control

Pros:

  • Easy to fold legs for storage
  • Portable
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • Small hopper capacity; needs to be refilled often

It may come as a surprise but Traeger offers their Tailgater 20 without burning a hole in your pocket. This super brand gives us their best budget pellet smoker yet.

With a compact design of 300 square inches, this 6-in-1 grill is equipped with a digital arc controller to keep temperature precise and consistent.

There’s more value you can get with your money. This model has easy to fold legs that allow for easy storage.

It is portable, which is great when cooking in you patios or a balcony.

It also comes with a “Keep Warm” mode that keeps your food hot until served.

The model is built with an 8 lbs hopper capacity; so unfortunately, you have to refill every now and then. It does grill well for 2-3 people.

So if you’re cooking for a large group, you might end up doing several batches. It is not the ideal grill when cooking for parties, but it can go well with a meal for a couple or a trio.

Conclusion

In deciding what to get for the best budget pellet smokers, there are a lot of considerations to make.

All the models presented are below $1000, but despite the affordability of these models, it is still important to consider the durability and quality of the grill.

With the pros and cons of each brand mentioned above, it will be easier for you to come up with a smart decision.

If we’re forced to recommend one smoker, however, you can’t go wrong with Z Grills 450A.

But if you’re looking for a budget pellet smoker with a large surface area, the Z Grills 6002B is a close runner-up.