Your gas BBQ grill is on its last leg and now you’re wondering if you should just replace it with a pellet smoker grill? If so, you’re in the right place, I’ve put together a huge list of things to consider when researching for a new pellet smoker grill.
What Should I Look For When Buying A Pellet Grill?
Whether you’re into grilling as a hobby or looking to become the next BBQ champion, the main things to consider when shopping for a new pellet smoker are price, lifestyle, configuration, temperature controllers, size, grill class, and a few other things we’ll mention below.
I know all this sounds confusing, so be sure to scroll to the bottom to read our in-depth guide on choosing the right pellet smoker.
*This page contains affiliate links to products I recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.
What Is The Best Smoker For Beginners?
After spending several hours researching, these are some of the best smokers for beginners. They all have high reviews online and some of them use pellets or charcoal.
Be sure to read this post as I go into more detail about the features and benefits of each individual one.
I personally chose to go with Pit Boss, because my brother had a Traeger and said that Pit Boss was just as good. I wasn’t ready to spend a lot of money on a Traeger.
Be sure to check out this list of the best smoker grills that will have something for everyone, regardless of what you’re looking for!
11 Things To Look For In A Smoker
Buying a new smoker isn’t as big of a decision as buying a new vehicle. However, depending on the brand, type, and features you get, they can get pretty expensive.
Before you make the final decision, you should consider the following options to help you make the right buying decision.
First and foremost, are you planning on using this to cook up meals for your family occasionally? Maybe you’re the type of person who loves inviting people over and grilling for your friends and family?
If it’s just you and your family, you may not need a big wood pellet grill with 836 square inches of grilling space or a 42.5 pound hopper like the Traeger XL.
Instead, you can save money and buy something that is more affordable and doesn’t have as much grilling space.
Are you looking for a grill that allows you to cook low and slow, hot and fast or something in between?
If you’re not sure, then the next time you use your old gas or charcoal grill, pay attention to how you cook. Ask yourself is it too small? Does it cook fast enough or is it cooking too slow?
Your lifestyle will play a huge role on the type of grill you get.
Unless you’ve been saving for months or years to get the exact smoker you want, there’s a good chance you have a budget to follow.
Don’t worry, you can find affordable smoker grills to fit any budget. So don’t think that you can’t afford one, with a little bit of research, you can find the right one for your family.
In fact, I’ve shared with you some of the best and most affordable smoker grills for beginners, scroll back up to see the table.
Yes, pellet grills are expensive, but they are worth it.
After spending months researching for the right smoker pellet, I’ve learned that the weakest point of a grill is the ignitor rod.
Most of the rods are made of steel and will corrode over time. Don’t worry, there are usually YouTube videos that will help walk you through the process of it.
The more expensive grills offer a ceramic ignitor rod that will give you more lighting cycles than one composed of steel.
I personally had no clue about this when I purchased my Pit Boss. I’ve heard that some people have been able to get over 350 cooks before they had to change the ignitor rod, so I’ll be happy to get that with mine.
Before you get a grill, find out which type of grilling you plan on doing. This can help save you money and help you pick the right type of grill.
#4 Fuel Type
Believe it or not, there are several types of smokers on the market. All of them will work just a little bit differenent and will provide different results.
The major fuels to choose from are:
Electric: Electric smokers run off energy and have high tech sensors that color the temperature of the grill. These smokers are less likely to produce the smoky flavor people love out of all the fuel types.
Gas: This smoker uses propane as its heating source, which is why are often referred to as vertical propane smokers. Some people say they are easier to cook on than charcoal grills, which makes them a great choice for beginners.
Pellet: These smokers use gas, or electricity to burn wood pellets. Traeger made the wood pellets popular, but today, there are several other companies that now offer affordable and high-quality pellet grills for anyone.
Charcoal: These grills use a combination of charcoal and wood as the heating source to provide that smoky flavor you love. These are harder to cook on because they rarely have precise temperature, which means that your food may not come out the way you want.
Charcoal grills are designed more for people with more grilling experience.
#5 Temperature Controller
Opt for a smoker that has a P.I.D (Proportional, Integral, Derivative), which is the computer that controls the temperature on its own based on the weather and the type of food you’re cooking.
It does this by either restricting fuel or adding more fuel to reach the desired temperature to cook the food, without any effort on your part.
P.I.D. is a must for anyone who wants to cook on a smoker.
#6 Space and Size
When it comes to measurements of a grill, it can become confusing. Some measure by main grates and others include auxiliary grates.
Auxiliary grate measurements mean they are taking the measurements of both the bottom and top grates and coming up with the measurements. This usually means that you’re not getting as much cooking space as you thought.
Are you the type of person who likes to bring you grill camping or tailgating? If so, then you might want to consider a freestanding model that makes it easy to move wherever you want to grill.
If you have a beautiful outdoor kitchen or an area where you always do your grilling, you may want to consider a luxury grill like a built in model.
Maybe you prefer a vertical smoker? These grills are vertical and don’t hit super high temperatures. You won’t be able to sear, but they make a great smoker. This can be a great addition if you still plan on using your gas grill.
A pellet grill is for someone who is looking for an all-purpose grill that can do everything. It can cook at low temperatures, high temperatures, and possibly even sear.
Is a smokestack important to you or will you add one later? Find out the difference between smokestack vs no smokestack.
#8 Pellet Consumption
You want a pellet grill that is efficient and won’t cost you a lot of money. Every grill is different and the amount of wood pellets they consume will vary.
According to my research, grills that have a centered firepot will burn fewer wood pellets than those with an off-centered one.
Again, I had no clue about this when I purchased my Pit Boss, but the firepot on the Pit Boss seems more centered than my father in laws Traeger? But who really knows?
Like smartphones, there are several different models of pellet smokers.
Some come with both WI-FI and Blue-tooth capacities, where you just connect to the grill via WI-FI to Android and IOS phones, and you can operate the grill via your smart device.
Unfortunately, most Pit Boss grills didn’t have Wi-Fi capability until recently. However, you can make your Pit Boss WiFi capable by installing the WiFi control board.
These types of capabilities allow you to check the temperature, turn the grill up, on or off using your phone while you’re watching television or playing with the family.
Are you looking for the convenience of controlling your grill with your phone? If not, then you don’t need to pay for these extra features.
#10 Company Warranty
Choose to buy from a company that is a well-known and reliable warranty that covers the electrical components and defects in material workmanship.
One of the main reasons I chose a Pit Boss was because they offer a five year warranty, and some of the other brands I looked at only had a three year warranty.
#11 Customer Service
One of the biggest things missing from today is the old class customer service where you can easily get in touch with a company and ask a question.
A company should make it easy for you to logon to their website and register your product as well as contact them if you have any questions or concerns and about your purchase.
12. Best Bang For Your Buck
You work hard for your money, so it’s important ensure you get the best quality product with the features you desire at an affordable price.
This means don’t jump into the first grill you see, take your time and do you research.
Buying a new smoker grill doesn’t have to be complicated. As long as you know what you’re looking for in a grill and how you’re planning on using it, you should have no problem finding the right one.
Hopefully, these tips helped you know what questions to ask before you spend any money.
Regardless of which one you decide to get, I have no doubt you’ll enjoy those backyard BBQ’s with your family.
So have fun grilling!