The Best Pellet Grills Under $1,000 of 2023

These versatile grills automate the cooking process and can grill or smoke food.

By Tony Carrick | Published Aug 18, 2023 9:32 AM

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The Best Pellet Grills Under $1,000 Option

Photo: amazon.com

Pellet grills eliminate the need to choose between a standard barbecue and a smoker (or purchasing both) by offering the best of both worlds. These outdoor cooking appliances use an electric pellet hopper that burns small wood pellets. Although they can maintain temperatures as low as 160 degrees Fahrenheit for hours for slow-and-low cooking, they can also reach temperatures in excess of 500 degrees Fahrenheit for traditional grilling. Additionally, they are able to keep the grilling and smoking process convenient and consistent by automatically regulating the grill’s temperature.

With pellet grills at about a $1,000 threshold, users can expect to find models with such attractive features as digital controls, Wi-Fi connectivity, and vast cooking surfaces. Ahead, learn more about features available at this price point and find out which models are the best pellet grills under $1,000.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Traeger Pro 780 Pellet Grill
  2. RUNNER-UP: Camp Chef DLX Pellet Grill
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Pit Boss Mahogany 440 Deluxe Wood Pellet Grill
  4. BEST FOR STEAKS: Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX 1200 Pellet Grill
  5. BEST COMPACT: Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill
  6. BEST LARGE: Nexgrill Oakford 1000 Pellet Grill
  7. BEST PORTABLE: Green Mountain Grills Trek Portable Pellet Grill
  8. ALSO CONSIDER: Z Grills Master 700E Pellet Grill and Smoker
The Best Pellet Grills Under $1,000

Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Pellet Grills Under $1,000

We considered various criteria when choosing the top pellet grills at the under $1,000 price point. Controls are critical when it comes to a pellet grill, so we limited our selections to those that offer digital controls so the user can dial in specific temperatures with little or no guesswork. A good pellet grill should have a broad range of temperature, so we chose models capable of maintaining very low temperatures of 200 degrees Fahrenheit or less for smoking and higher temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit or greater for traditional grilling.

Other factors that weighed into our decisions included hopper size, Wi-Fi connectivity, and features that make the pellet grill easier to clean and maintain. Since size demands vary, we made sure to include a broad range of pellet grill sizes, including large models capable of cooking for a big backyard barbecue and small portable models for camping and tailgating.

Our Top Picks

Our list includes quality pellet grills from some of the best-known brands in the business. All of our selections are equipped with digital controls and are capable of cooking at a broad range of temperatures.

Best Overall

The Best Pellet Grills Under $1,000 Option: Traeger Pro 780 Pellet Grill
Photo: amazon.com

Given the sky-high reputation of the Traeger name when it comes to pellet grills and smokers, it should come as little surprise that the Pro 780 is the best pellet grill available at the sub-$1,000 price point. It comes equipped with 780 square inches of cooking space, which is plenty of rack space for smoking a variety of meats at one time.

The Pro 780 also has a wide temperature range—it can smoke at temperatures as low as 180 degrees Fahrenheit and reach a top temp of 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which is high enough for searing steaks. The pellet hopper holds 18 pounds of pellets, which will last for up to 9 hours at low temperatures. With a controller that has a built-in meat probe and supports Wi-Fi connectivity, an outdoor chef can monitor and change the cook box temperature and keep an eye on meat temperatures, all from a smart device.

Product Specs

  • Cooking surface area: 780 square inches
  • Hopper capacity: 18 pounds
  • Temperature range: 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • Traeger brand has an excellent reputation for performance and durability
  • Broad temperature range for direct-heat grilling and low-heat smoking
  • Wi-Fi connectivity allows chef to control grill temperature and monitor meat probe from a smartphone
  • Ample rack space for smoking or grilling a lot of food

Cons

  • Some customers complain that the 780’s Wi-Fi connectivity is unreliable

Get the Traeger Pro 780 pellet grill at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Runner-Up

The Best Pellet Grills Under $1,000 Option: Camp Chef DLX Pellet Grill
Photo: amazon.com

With its broad temperature range and ability to control how much smoky flavor it instills in food, the Camp Chef DLX is a great all-around smoker that falls well under the $1,000 price point. It features a modest 570 square inches of rack space, which is enough for smoking a couple full racks of ribs, a few chickens, and a pork butt. With its 18-pound hopper, it can smoke for up to 9 hours before requiring a refill.

The digital controller also has a wide heat range—it can smoke at temperatures as low as 160 degrees Fahrenheit or sear at its top temperature of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The DLX also has controls that allow the user to set the amount of smoke it sends into the cook box, which is a feature rarely found on pricier pellet grills. Other useful features include hopper and ash clean-outs that make cleanup easy after smoking or grilling.

Product Specs

  • Cooking surface area: 570 square inches
  • Hopper capacity: 18 pounds
  • Temperature range: 160 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • Broad temperature range of 160 degrees Fahrenheit to 500 degrees Fahrenheit for grilling and smoking
  • Controls allow the user to manage smoke output
  • Post-grilling cleanup is easier with hopper and ash clean-outs

Cons

  • Some customers have reported that the grill arrived with damaged parts

Get the Camp Chef pellet grill at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Pellet Grills Under $1,000 Option: Pit Boss Mahogany 440 Deluxe Wood Pellet Grill
Photo: amazon.com

With its low price point, plenty of money will be left over after purchase to buy food and various wood pellet flavors to use in this pellet grill from Pit Boss. It can cook at a broad temperature range of 180 degrees Fahrenheit to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which is suitable for both grilling steaks and smoking pulled pork. Though it’s smaller than other smokers, its hopper size and rack surface still offer enough cooking capacity for smoking four racks of ribs or three whole chickens.

A hopper with digital controls helps an outdoor chef maintain the right internal temperature for the cook box. The Pit Boss’s hopper is notably smaller than those of other pellet grills. With a capacity of just 5 pounds, it requires refills much more often than other pellet grills.

Product Specs

  • Cooking surface area: 518 square inches
  • Hopper capacity: 5 pounds
  • Temperature range: 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • Broad cooking temperature range of 180 degrees Fahrenheit to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Digital thermostat controls help a cook maintain specific temperatures
  • Priced much lower than other pellet smokers with some of the same features

Cons

  • Small hopper capacity; requires more frequent refills than other pellet grills
  • Limited amount of rack space for grilling or smoking

Get the Pit Boss pellet grill at Amazon.

Best For Steaks

The Best Pellet Grills Under $1,000 Option: Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX 1200 Pellet Grill
Photo: amazon.com

While pellet grills might be great at smoking meat, not all can reach the high temperatures needed to really sear a crust on steaks and burgers. The Rider DLX 1200 is an exception. Most pellet grills top out at 500 degrees Fahrenheit, but the Oklahoma Joe’s Rider can reach top temps of 650 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to its built-in sear mode. It can also go low with a minimum temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Other notable features include a large 20-pound hopper, which can hold enough pellets for an entire day of smoking. The Rider DLX 1200 also boasts a vast cooking surface for grilling and smoking with 1,234 square inches of rack space. A digital controller allows the user to change the internal temperature of the grill and includes four ports for meat thermometers.

Product Specs

  • Cooking surface area: 1,234 square inches
  • Hopper capacity: 20 pounds
  • Temperature range: 200 to 650 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • Sear mode allows grill to reach surface temperatures of 650 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Can cook a lot of food at once with 1,234 square inches of cooking space
  • Digital controller includes 4 ports for meat probes

Cons

  • Does not have Wi-Fi connectivity for smart device control

Get the Oklahoma Joe’s pellet grill at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

Best Compact

The Best Pellet Grills Under $1,000 Option: Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill
Photo: amazon.com

With its small footprint, Traeger’s Pro Series 22 pellet grill is a great option for those who might not have the real estate on their deck or patio to support a large model. The grill measures just 41 inches wide, making it one of the narrower full-size pellet grills on the market.

Despite its compact size, the Traeger Pro Series 22 still offers ample space for smoking and grilling with a total of 572 square inches of cooking surface. It also comes with an 18-pound hopper, which is large enough to smoke for up to 9 hours. Other notable features include a digital controller for setting the grill temperature and dual meat probes for monitoring food, though this compact Traeger does not feature the Wi-Fi connectivity found on the company’s other grills.

Product Specs

  • Cooking surface area: 572 square inches
  • Hopper capacity: 18 pounds
  • Temperature range: 180 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • Takes up less space than most full-size pellet grills without sacrificing much cooking surface
  • Includes a digital controller and 2 ports for meat probes
  • One of the most reputable pellet grill brands in the business

Cons

  • Doesn’t support Wi-Fi connectivity for smartphone controls
  • Lower maximum temperature than other pellet grills at 450 degrees Fahrenheit

Get the Traeger Pro Series 22 pellet grill at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.

Best Large

The Best Pellet Grills Under $1,000 Option: Nexgrill Oakford 1000 Pellet Grill
Photo: homedepot.com

Those looking to smoke or grill for a large gathering will want to consider Nexgrill’s Oakford pellet smoker. Though it falls well below the $1,000 price range, it offers more than ample capacity for grilling and smoking with 1,008 square inches of rack space. What’s more, much of that space is available for direct-flame grilling. The Oakford can fit up to 55 burger patties, so it is ideal for large backyard barbecues or big-time smoking efforts.

The grill comes equipped with a digital controller that has four ports for meat probes; users can connect to the grill through a smartphone app. The hopper has a whopping 32-pound pellet capacity, allowing this grill to smoke for many hours without a refill. The Oakford also boasts a broad temperature range of 160 degrees Fahrenheit for low-temperature smoking to 550 degrees Fahrenheit for searing.

Product Specs

  • Cooking surface area: 1,008 square inches
  • Hopper capacity: 32 pounds
  • Temperature range: 160 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • Massive main cooking surfaces for both grilling and smoking
  • Broad temperature range of 160 degrees Fahrenheit to 550 degrees Fahrenheit for smoking or searing
  • Large hopper can hold enough pellets to smoke all day without a refill

Cons

  • Takes up a lot of space at nearly 5 feet long

Get the Nexgrill pellet grill at The Home Depot or Wayfair.

Best Portable

The Best Pellet Grills Under $1,000 Option: Green Mountain Grills Trek Portable Pellet Grill
Photo: amazon.com

Take pellet grilling to the next tailgating event or camping trip with this portable model from Green Mountain Grills. At just 30 inches wide and 15 inches deep, the Trek is small enough to fit inside most car trunks. While its capacity is much smaller than full-size pellet grills, it still offers enough space to smoke a rack of ribs or a pork butt or sear four to six steaks. It has a broad temperature range of 150 degrees Fahrenheit to 550 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for searing steaks or smoking ribs.

The Trek’s hopper has a 9-pound pellet capacity, plus digital controls and Wi-Fi connectivity for smartphone control options. There’s also a port for a meat thermometer. The pellet grill plugs into a standard outlet and includes attachments for running off a 12-volt accessory port in a car.

Product Specs

  • Cooking surface area: 219 square inches
  • Hopper capacity: 9 pounds
  • Temperature range: 150 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • Small enough to fit inside a car trunk to take along for tailgating or camping
  • Boasts a broad cooking temperature range of 150 degrees Fahrenheit to 550 degrees Fahrenheit to smoke or sear
  • Users can control temperature and monitor meat probes with a smart device

Cons

  • Heavy for a portable pellet grill at more than 60 pounds

Get the Green Mountain Grills pellet grill at BBQGrills.com.

Also Consider

The Best Pellet Grills Under $1,000 Option: Z Grills Master 700E Pellet Grill and Smoker
Photo: lowes.com

There’s a lot to like about Z Grills Master 700E. This pellet smoker and grill offers ample capacity with 694 square inches of rack space. There’s also a large-capacity hopper that holds 20 pounds of pellets, ensuring it can smoke for hours before needing a refill. Plus, it’s capable of smoking at temperatures as low as 180 degrees Fahrenheit for true slow-and-low cooking, though it has a lower maximum temperature (450 degrees Fahrenheit) than most pellet grills.

Lockable casters make it easy to wheel the pellet grill into position or onto a deck or patio. The cabinet design also provides storage for grill tools and pellets, and it comes with a cover.

Product Specs

  • Cooking surface area: 694 square inches
  • Hopper capacity: 20 pounds
  • Temperature range: 180 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • Plenty of capacity with a total cooking surface or 694 square inches
  • Able to maintain temperatures as low as 180 degrees Fahrenheit for slow-and-low smoking
  • Plenty of under-grill cabinet storage space for tools and pellets

Cons

  • Maximum temperature for grilling is only 450 degrees Fahrenheit

Get the Z Grills pellet grill and smoker at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.

Jump to Our Top Picks



What to Consider When Choosing a Pellet Grill Under $1,000

Understanding what size and capacity to shop for when choosing a pellet grill is crucial, as are temperature range, controls, and extra features. Ahead, learn more about the important characteristics of a pellet grill.

Size and Capacity

The size of the cooking surface and hopper capacity are key specs to pay attention to when shopping for a pellet grill. Cooking surface size determines how much food the grill can handle at one time. Portable units typically offer around 200 square inches of cooking surface, while the largest pellet grills at this price point offer closer to 1,000 square inches of rack space.

A pellet grill’s hopper capacity dictates how long it can smoke before it requires a refill. A 20-pound hopper, for example, will allow smoking for between 6 and 20 hours depending on the cooking temperature. Pellet grills have hoppers that range in size from 5 pounds for portable models up to 30 pounds or more for large full-size pellet grills.

Temperature Range

Since pellet grills are designed to cook with direct heat for grilling and indirect heat for smoking meats, a pellet grill must be able to cook at a wide temperature range. The pellet grill should be able to maintain low temperatures of around 180 degrees Fahrenheit for many hours to allow for the slow-and-low cooking needed to smoke ribs, port butts, brisket, and other delights. On the other end, the grill should be able to reach a maximum temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit to be able to sear steaks and burgers. The best pellet grills under $1,000 have digital controllers that have more accurate temperature control than analog controllers.

Controls

Most pellet grills at this price point have digital thermostats that allow the user to set the grill to a specific temperature. Once the user dials in a temperature, the controller automatically maintains that temperature using a fan and by regulating the flow of pellets into the cook box.

Pellet grills with Wi-Fi connectivity allow the chef to monitor and control the temperature of the grill and any connected meat probes remotely via a smartphone app. Some pellet grills also have additional controls that allow the user to regulate the amount of smoke the grill produces, which is helpful for controlling the smoky flavor of the food.

Additional Features

Many pellet grills have additional features that make them easier to cook with and to clean. Most pellet grills sit on either casters or wheels; this allows the user to move them into position when in use and back into storage when the day’s cooking is over. Some models also have meat probes, allowing the user to monitor the temperature of the food without having to open the smoker.

Some grills are equipped with grease catchers and ash collectors that are easy to remove and empty, easing post-grilling or smoking cleanup. Another useful feature includes a hopper clean-out that allows the user to empty pellets out of the hopper to easily change pellet flavors mid-smoking.

FAQs

If you’re wondering whether pellet smokers require a lot of electricity to operate or what their weaknesses are, then read on for answers.

Q. What is the best budget-friendly pellet smoker?

The Pit Boss Mahogany offers more than 500 square inches of cooking surface and a digital controller, all at a price below $500. This makes it one of the most budget-friendly smokers on the market.

Q. Do pellet grills use a lot of electricity?

Since pellet grills use wood pellets to create heat, they require very little electricity to run. A pellet grill only needs electricity to operate the hopper that adds fuel to the cook box and the fan that regulates the temperature inside the cook box. Most use so little electricity that they can operate off a 12-volt car battery.

Q. What are the cons of a pellet grill?

There are few cons to be aware of with pellet grills. While they do an excellent job of smoking, their indirect heat design makes them less effective for grilling at high temperatures. That means it’s harder to sear steaks or burgers with a pellet grill than with a gas or charcoal grill. Pellet grills also require an electrical connection to operate the hopper, which can limit their location. Finally, pellet grills are generally more expensive than other types of grills.

Q. Do pellet grills break down?

Since pellet grills have more moving parts than charcoal or gas grills, they do have a greater potential to break down. That’s why it’s so important to purchase a high-quality pellet grill.

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