Pellet grilling offers one of the best ways to create a mouthwatering BBQ feast. While it doesn’t get exceptionally hot like the charcoal grills, it has fewer flare-ups, excellent heat distribution, convenient ignition, ease of use, and taste.
However, choosing the best pellet grill under $500 can be challenging considering the almost endless options out there and so-good-to-be-true promises.
In this post, we’ll review the top 5 pellet grills out there and how to make an informed decision without breaking a bank.
Top 5 Best Pellet Grill Under $500 by Consumer Ratings & Reports
#1 – Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill w/New PID Gen 2 Digital Controller
The Camp Chef is one of the leading brands offering high-quality and reliable pellet grills to resonate with its customers. The SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill is a top-of-the-line product running on wooden pellet fuel.
This model comes with a large cooking space to allow you to roast, grill, smoking, BBQ, and much more. It offers a 573 sq inches grilling space and an extra 140 sq inches of secondary cooking rack. The SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill provides up to 25,000 BTU/hr and up to 500 degrees F cooking temperature to cook just about anything in quick time.
Furthermore, it comes with an easy-to-use ignition system for a reliable startup at all times. The Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill is equipped with an electronic control system to feed the wood pellets and ignite the system. This unit attains high temperatures above 400 degrees F in a couple of minutes.
What’s more, this unit generates sweet, smoky flavor and is contained inside the grilling machine to guarantee your food gets properly smoked. On the downside, the grill is on the heavier side, which makes transporting this device a challenge. However, it comes with two wheels for easy maneuverability around your house.
- 18lbs hopper capacity
- Electrical ignition system
- Automatic auger for hands-free operation
- Easy to clean
- LED temperature readout
- On the heavier side
- The temperature could be more consistent
#2 – Z Grills ZPG-7002B 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
Next on our list is the Z Grills ZPG-7002B, with impressive versatility. This unit offers up to 8 cooking functions, from braising to barbequing, baking, roasting, smoking, and grilling. This pellet grill is your best bet for smoky wood flavor.
One of the hallmarks of this grilling machine is its ability to keep the temperature within 10-degrees of your set temp regardless of the outdoor temperature. This model comes with a 20lbs hopper capacity which is plenty enough to offer up to 20 hours of smoking.
In addition, the Z Grills ZPG-7002B is easy to operate for both seasoned pros and newbies, thanks to its one-button startup design. Talking about ease of use, this grill is equipped with an electronic Auto-Start ignition system to eliminate the need for a lighter or the hassle of lighting the device.
That’s not all: this unit has a digital Auto Temperature Control and an LED temp readout, making this machine more user-friendly. Thanks to its waste oil collector, the Z Grills ZPG-7002B is a breeze to clean.
Lastly, it comes with locking caster wheels to allow smooth transportation and a wobble-free grilling experience. Its wide temperature range, 180 – 450 degrees F, supports any cooking function.
- Easy to clean and move
- Versatile grilling environment
- 20-pound hopper capacity
- Extra-large cooking area
- Customer service could be better
#3 – Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2021 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
Another spot, another pellet grill from Z GRILLS, is the ZPG-450A. This unit is quite similar to the Z Grills ZPG-7002B. It offers several cooking functions – baking, searing, smoking, braising, roast, char-grilling, and barbequing.
It infuses your food with a sweet, smoky flavor depending on the type of wood pellets used. The pellet grills offer a hands-free grilling or smoking experience. The pellet grill makes sure of the PID technology to maintain the set temperature for consistent cooking results.
Even better, this unit does not require any effort to startup or babysit for great results. It has a wide temperature range from 180 – 450 degrees F to allow you to cook just about anything with mouthwatering hardwood flavor.
While this pellet grill is best for small families because of its 452 square inches of cooking space, it has a more pronounced wood flavor. The Z GRILLS ZPG-450A is made of stainless steel that guarantees this model will last almost a lifetime.
Also, it comes with a 15 lbs hopper capacity for prolonging smoking hours without having to refill in between sessions.
- Sturdy stainless steel construction
- PID technology for consistent cooking temperature
- Large pellet hopper capacity
- Easy to use and clean
- Not suitable for large families or hosting parties
#4 – Green Mountain Davy Crockett Sense Mate Wood Pellet
The Green Mountain Grills is a US-based brand focused on delivering budget-friendly grilling machines and accessories. With a lot of options from this company, Davy Crockett is innovative and provides a fulfilling outdoor grilling experience.
This pellet grill features a portable design to allow you to go on trips, picnics, and cookouts with it. Its legs are affordable and can convert into carrying handles for convenience. Furthermore, it features a 12V adapter for easy connection to a small generator or car battery to power up the grill. Equipped with Sense-Mate technology, grillers can cook at precise temperature by easily reading off the food and grill’s internal temperature.
Also, it comes with a generous 17lbs hopper capacity and auto auger system to feed the grill with pellet hands-free. More so, the Green Mountain Davy Crockett Sense Mate Wood Pellet has a massive temperature range from 150 to 550 degrees F with a 5-degree F increment.
The best part of all: this model features a digital WiFi controller to allow you to control the grilling machine from your smartphone. With this function, you can set and adjust the cooking time, smoke level, and temperature from anywhere.
Equally important, this model comes with a generous cooking space to cook for a small family and an auto-ignition system for a hassle-free lightning experience.
- Portable and foldable design
- Generous pellet hopper capacity
- Digital WiFi temperature control
- Precise temp control
- Grease drainage could be better
- Small cooking capacity
#5 – Monument Grills Octagonal Column Wood Pellet Grill
The most striking feature is its octagonal column oven design that looks stunning and guarantees outstanding cooking performance. It’s sturdy, energy-saving, and heat-insulated.
The chimneyless design is great for both outdoor and indoor use and delivers even smoke circulation. It has a wide cooking area of 530 sq inches and two adjustable chrome-enameled grilling racks to create more cooking space to cook any type of food.
What’s more? The Monument Grills Octagonal Column Wood Pellet Grill is equipped with an automatic auger system and precise temperature control for more cooking precision. More so, this grilling machine comes with two additional food-grade stainless steel probes to keep track of the ambient temperature of the grill or smoker or the internal temperature of the food.
- Elegant design
- Sturdy construction to last many years
- Decent 530 sq inches of cooking space
- Removable and adjustable cooking racks
- Issues with ERL code
Things to Consider When Shopping for the Best Pellet Grill
The best pellet grill should come with a digital temperature controller to make it easier to set and cook at the precise heat level. Therefore, it’s best to settle for models equipped with temperature controllers to take out the guesswork. The controller might be either electronic or manual. The former has a display interface to read out the cooking parameter, while the latter uses a knob.
The grilling surface area should be enough to cook a meal to feed your intended crowd or people. Many pellet grills are offering up to 1300 square inches of grilling space to cook for a hungry crowd. However, if you need the best pellet grill under $500 to feed your family alone, then you should stick with portable options. You don’t want to end up with a bulky pellet grill; it can take up more space and be challenging to store.
When trying to purchase a pellet grill, you want to consider the durability before splurging on one. There are newer models with solid construction and a powder stainless steel frame. A well-built pellet grill comes with a rust-resistant and weatherproof design to guarantee it will last for many years.
Another worth noting feature is the rate of pellet consumption. Models with thick metal bodies tend to consume more pellets since the walls of the stove store heat away from the cooking space. On the other hand, lean construction means heat loss, which might not be best for precise cooking.
The best pellet grill under $500 for you should feature some bells and whistles for a more delightful grilling experience. You want to consider additional features such as adjustable and removable cooking racks, sear boxes, built-in lighting, WiFi connectivity, and more.
There are different brands out there promising from good to great; only a few are known to produce products that live up to the hype. Considering the price point, you want to stick with reputable brands like Pit Boss, Camp Chef, Green Mountain Grills, RecTec, and Traeger Grills.
Although these pellet grills are under $500, it’s best to go for a product with some sort of warranty to protect your investment. These grilling machines have moving parts like the auger, which can break at any time, and it would be great to be covered by a decent guarantee.
How To Choose A Grill/Smoker/Pellet Grill
What Is the Most Affordable Pellet Grill?
If you need to go for the cheapest option, the Camp Chef SmokePro is where your money should go. It offers amazing cooking performance without having to break the bank. However, you are only getting the basic stuff – nothing fancy with this model.
Can My Pellet Grill Attain High Temperatures?
Pellet grills are better used as smokers than grills. They can not offer the searing temperatures you get with charcoal and gas models.
Are There Portable Pellet Grills Under $500?
Yes, we recommend the Green Mountain Davy Crockett Sense Mate Wood Pellet. It has a compact design and foldable legs that convert into convenient carrying handles.
Does an Electric Pellet Grill Need Electricity?
Yes, it is a must to connect the pellet grill to an electrical supply that will power its parts. It powers the auger, controller, and igniter, among other components.
How Do You Clean a Pellet Grill?
Use a grill brush to scrub the surface of the grates. Do it as soon as you are done grilling. Waiting too long will cause the dirt to harden, making it more difficult to remove.
For the body, use a cloth or sponge soaked in water with mild soap. Make sure that the electrical components do not get wet.
How Long Do Pellets Last in A Grill?
This depends on a couple of factors, such as the size of the hopper, quality of the pellets, and level of heat. A 2-pound bag of pellets will last about one hour for smoking. Meanwhile, for grilling, four pounds of pellet can last one hour.
All in all, we’ve reviewed the top 5 best pellet grills under $500. Now, it’s up to make a conscious decision considering the factors explicitly discussed in the buying guide section.
Nonetheless, we’re confident that any of the products on our list will offer a delightful grilling/smoking experience.