The Best Pellet Grills Under $500 of 2023

Get the versatility and automation a pellet grill offers without spending a ton of money.

By Tony Carrick | Updated Sep 8, 2023 9:37 AM

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The Best Pellet Grill


While pellet grills offer versatility and set-it-and-forget-it automated cooking technology that you won’t find with other types of grills, they also often come with a steep price tag. But you don’t have to fork over upwards of $1,000 for a quality pellet grill—there are plenty of good options under $500.

Many of these budget-priced pellet grills have features found on pricier models, including large cooking surfaces, high-capacity hoppers, digital thermostats, stainless steel construction, and ports for meat probes. Ahead, learn more about what you can expect at this price point and find out which models are the best pellet grills under $500.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Camp Chef DLX Pellet Grill
  2. RUNNER-UP: Pit Boss Mahogany 440 Deluxe Wood Pellet Grill
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Asmoke AS550 Wood Pellet Grill Smoker
  4. BEST FOR GRILLING: Recteq RT-B380 Bullseye Wood Pellet Grill
  5. BEST LARGE-CAPACITY: Pit Boss Austin XL 1000 Wood Pellet Grill
  6. BEST PORTABLE: Traeger Ranger Portable Pellet Grill
  7. ALSO CONSIDER: Z Grills 550B Wood Pellet Grill Smoker
Best Pellet Grills Under $500


How We Chose the Best Pellet Grills Under $500

When researching products at this price point, we chose wood pellet grills that offer excellent quality, performance, and features. Controls are key with a pellet grill, so we limited our selection to those with digital controls that make it easy to set accurate cooking temperatures. Since pellet grills are designed to both smoke and grill, we chose models capable of maintaining low temperatures of 200 degrees Fahrenheit or less for smoking and high temperatures of at least 450 degrees Fahrenheit for grilling.

Other factors we took into account include the size of the pellet grill’s hopper, which dictates how long it can operate on a single load of pellets; accessories like grease and ash catchers that make the grill easier to clean; and additional features, including meat probes and prep space.

Our Top Picks

The pellet grills below offer excellent value, digital controls, broad temperature ranges for both smoking and grilling, and durable construction. The list includes large grills with ample rack space and smaller models compact enough for camping or tailgating.

Best Overall

The Best Pellet Grills Under $500 Option: Camp Chef DLX Pellet Grill

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more high-quality low-priced pellet grill than the Camp Chef DLX. It’s loaded with value, beginning with a controller that allows you to manage the grill’s temperature and control its smoke output by dialing in a “smoke number.” The DLX also covers a broad temperature range from as low as 160 degrees Fahrenheit for very low-and-slow cooking up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit for barbecuing.

There are also two meat probes, a hopper cleanout that makes it easy to change pellet flavors, and a grease-management system and pull-out ash catcher for post-grilling cleanup. Other notable features include a bottle opener on the front of the hopper and a durable stainless steel hood.

Product Specs

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


  • Controls allow you to manage smoke output as well as temperature
  • Ash cleanout and grease catcher help with post-grilling cleanup
  • Broad temperature range from 160 degrees Fahrenheit for smoking to 500 degrees Fahrenheit for grilling


  • Has a limited amount of primary cooking surface for grilling

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


The Best Pellet Grills Under $500 Option: Pit Boss Mahogany 440 Deluxe Wood Pellet Grill

This versatile pellet grill is a great option for those who love to grill just as much as they love to smoke. It features a digital controller that allows the chef to dial in temperatures ranging from as little as 180 degrees Fahrenheit for slow-and-low smoking up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit for grilling. It’s also equipped with a “Flame Broiler” lever that produces heat up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, ideal for searing steaks and burgers.

The 440’s 5-pound hopper is notably smaller than other models, so you should expect to refill pellets more often. Other notable features on the Pit Boss 440 include a removable side shelf that doubles as a serving tray, a built-in bottle opener, and two large wheels for maneuvering it around a deck or patio.

Product Specs

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


  • Includes a “Flame Broiler” feature that reaches temperatures high enough for searing
  • Side table comes equipped with a removable tray for serving food
  • Broad temperature range makes it especially adept at both smoking and grilling


  • Smaller hopper size means this grill requires more frequent pellet refills

Get the Pit Boss 440 pellet grill at Amazon, Walmart, or Pit Boss.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Pellet Grills Under $500 Option: Asmoke AS550 Wood Pellet Grill Smoker

Even though this model from Asmoke is priced well below the $500 price point, the AS550 includes a surprising amount of cooking surface. It has 484 square inches of main cooking space with an additional 216 square inches of secondary cooking surface for smoking food. While most full-size pellet grills come equipped with hoppers that hold 18 to 20 pounds, the Asmoke boasts a 25.8-pound hopper, allowing you to smoke for many hours before having to add more pellets.

The Asmoke also has digital controls that allow you to dial in specific temperature settings, and it has a broad temperature range of 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Other useful features include a pull-out tray under the cookbox that helps when cleaning up ash post-grilling.

Product Specs

  • Cooking surface: 700 square inches
  • Hopper capacity: 25.8 pounds
  • Temperature range: 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit


  • A lot of grill at a price point well under $500
  • Comes with 700 square inches of total rack space for smoking and grilling
  • Equipped with a large 25.8-pound hopper for longer smoking efforts


  • Some customers complain that they have difficulty maintaining a consistent temperature

Get the Asmoke pellet grill at The Home Depot or Walmart.

Best for Grilling

The Best Pellet Grills Under $500 Option: Recteq RT-B380 Bullseye Wood Pellet Grill

To get a good sear on hamburgers or steaks, you need to grill with a direct flame. The problem is that most pellet grills use indirect heat. The Recteq is an exception. It comes equipped with a “Riot” mode, which uses direct heat to grill at temperatures of up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit. This is well above the typical 500 degrees Fahrenheit of indirect heat most pellet grills can reach. In addition to grilling at searingly hot temperatures, the Recteq RT-B380 can cook at lower temperatures of just 200 degrees Fahrenheit, making it adept at both grilling and smoking.

In addition to its versatile cooking ability, the Recteq RT-B380’s kettle grill design makes it one of the more compact full-size pellet grills available—a good option for those who like to tailgate or who have limited space for a smoker. Potential buyers will want to note that it does have less rack space than other pellet grills.

Product Specs

  • Cooking surface: 380 square inches
  • Hopper capacity: 15 pounds
  • Temperature range: 200 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit


  • Capable of reaching a high max temperature of 750 degrees Fahrenheit for grilling
  • Compact enough for small outdoor living spaces or taking on the road for tailgating
  • Grill body is made from durable and rust-resistant stainless steel


  • Can only maintain a minimum temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit for smoking
  • Has less rack space for food than other full-size pellet grills

Get the Recteq pellet grill at Amazon, Wayfair, or Recteq.

Best Large-Capacity

The Best Pellet Grills Under $500 Option: Pit Boss Austin XL 1000 Wood Pellet Grill

With over 1,000 square inches of cooking surface, the Pit Boss Austin XL is one of the largest smokers available at the sub-$500 price point. Along with offering a vast surface for grilling and smoking, the grill also boasts a massive 30-pound hopper that houses enough pellets for a full day of smoking without needing a refill.

The Austin XL can hold temperatures ranging from 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and comes equipped with two meat-probe ports for monitoring food temperature. It also has side and bottom shelves for prep and storage space as well as four wheels on the base for maneuvering around a patio or deck. While the Austin XL offers plenty of rack space for food, it also occupies a large footprint at more than 5 feet long.

Product Specs

  • Cooking surface: 1,007 square inches
  • Hopper capacity: 30 pounds
  • Temperature range: 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit


  • Massive cooking surface spans more than 1,000 square inches
  • Can smoke for many hours without a refill thanks to its large hopper
  • Comes with 2 meat-probe ports for monitoring food temperature


  • Takes up a lot of space at more than 5 feet long

Get the Pit Boss Austin pellet grill at Walmart.

Best Portable

The Best Pellet Grills Under $500 Option: Traeger Ranger Portable Pellet Grill

Traeger is one of the premier names in pellet grills. Most of its grills fall outside the under-$500 price range, but this portable model is an exception. This compact pellet grill features the same Traeger quality its larger brethren are known for, including heavy-duty iron construction and porcelain-coated steel grill grates. It comes equipped with 184 square inches of cooking surface, weighs just 60 pounds, and is small enough to fit in a car trunk, making it an ideal option for camping trips or tailgating events.

It also comes with a griddle attachment, allowing it to function as a flat-top grill for cooking other types of foods, including pancakes and bacon. As with full-size Traeger grills, the Ranger comes equipped with a digital thermostat and a port for a meat probe.

Product Specs

  • Cooking surface: 184 square inches
  • Hopper capacity: 8 pounds
  • Temperature range: 165 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit


  • Durable, heavy-gauge steel construction with lockable lid
  • Compact enough to fit easily inside a car trunk
  • Comes equipped with digital controls and a meat-probe port
  • Can function as a flat-top grill with included griddle attachment


  • Has under 200 square inches of total cooking surface, which is smaller than most pellet grills

Get the Traeger pellet grill at Amazon, Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, Walmart, BBQGuys, or Traeger.

Also Consider

The Best Pellet Grills Under $500 Option: Z Grills 550B Wood Pellet Grill Smoker

With the rack space and features offered at a price well under $500, this pellet smoker from Z Grills is an excellent buy. In addition to its 560 square inches of cooking surface, it also comes equipped with a 10-pound hopper that can keep the grill burning for up to 10 hours on a single load.

Its digital controls make it easy to dial in temperatures. With a maximum temperature setting of 450 degrees Fahrenheit, the 550B doesn’t get as hot as other pellet grills; however, it is able to maintain temperatures as low as 180 degrees Fahrenheit for smoking. Z Grills also boasts durable construction with a rustproof stainless steel hood. Though the 550B lacks a dropout for easy post-grilling ash removal, it does come equipped with a removable grease catcher.

Product Specs

  • Cooking surface: 560 square inches
  • Hopper capacity: 10 pounds
  • Temperature range: 180 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit


  • Features a removable upper cooling rack for easy serving and cleaning
  • Equipped with plenty of rack space for grilling and smoking
  • Durably constructed with a rustproof stainless steel hood


  • Only capable of reaching a maximum temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Does not come with a removable ash pan for post grilling clean up

Get the Z Grills pellet grill at Amazon, Lowe’s, Best Buy, Target, or Z Grills.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Pellet Grill Under $500

When choosing a pellet grill at this price range, it’s important to consider several factors, including rack space, hopper capacity, temperature controls, and portability. Ahead, learn more about these and other characteristics of pellet grills.

Rack Space and Hopper Capacity

A pellet grill’s rack space determines how much food you can cook at one time. The rack space on pellet grills under $500 varies. Small portable models have under 200 square inches of cooking surface, enough for a few burgers or a small rack of ribs. Full-size pellet grills have up to 1,000 square inches of rack space, which fits several racks of ribs, chickens, and pork butts. Remember that rack space a pellet grill lists may include a warming rack and upper rack, as well as the main cooking surface.

The hopper on a pellet grill holds the pellets the grill uses as fuel. Its capacity determines how long the grill can cook before you need to add more pellets. Hopper size significantly impacts ease of use, given that smoking certain types of food, such as brisket, can take 15 hours or more. Hoppers can hold as little as 5 pounds of pellets, which is enough for about 3 to 5 hours of smoking (depending on the size of the grill and the temperature settings) up to 25 pounds, which is enough for up to 20 hours of cook time.

Temperature Control 

One of the biggest advantages of a pellet grill is its ability to manage its own internal cooking temperature using an auger that automatically feeds pellets into the cookbox and a fan for heat distribution. Pellet grills at the sub $500 price point have digital controls that allow the user to dial in a specific temperature, making them very easy to use.

Since pellet grills are designed to allow for both smoking and grilling, they must have a wide range of temperature settings with a low of at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit for smoking and a max temperature of at least 450 degrees Fahrenheit for grilling. Some grills also come with searing features that allow you to grill at much higher temperatures of 700 to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal for searing burgers and steaks.


Pellet grills vary in how portable they are. Most pellet grills weigh more than 100 pounds and measure more than 5 feet long—far too big to transport to another location. However, many of these full-size models have wheels on their base that allow you to move them short distances, such as around a deck or patio. Portable pellet grills weigh under 70 pounds and are small enough to fit inside a car trunk, making them ideal for tailgating gatherings or camping trips. These portable versions can be small enough to fit on a tabletop or large enough to stand on their own using attached foldable legs.

Additional Features 

While you won’t find smart features on pellet grills at the sub-$500 price point, many still come with useful accessories that make them easier to use. Most pellet grills have controllers with meat probe ports that allow you to monitor food temperatures without opening the hood. Pellet grills under $500 also have features that make them easier to clean once the grilling is done, including removable ash pans and grease catchers. Other common features include side tables for food prep, cabinets and hooks for grill tool storage, and built-in bottle openers.


If you’re wondering how hard a pellet grill is to use or how long your pellet grill will last, then read on for answers to these and other commonly asked questions.

Q. How many years do pellet grills last?

The number of years you can get out of a pellet grill is directly related to how well you take care of it. Whereas a grill left uncovered and rarely cleaned may only last a few years before it succumbs to rust, a grill cleaned regularly and protected from the elements with a good cover can last 10 years or more.

Q. How do I get my grill to 500 degrees?

Achieving a temperature of 500 degrees Fahrenheit is easy with a pellet grill. To get a pellet grill to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, simply load the grill’s hopper with pellets, light it per the manufacturer’s instructions, and set the thermostat to 500. Once the thermostat is set, the pellet grill will automatically feed the firebox with the right amount of pellets and oxygen to reach and maintain that temperature.

Q. What is the best quality of pellets?

The best-quality pellets consist of 100 percent all-natural hardwood. This type of pellet will last longer than pellets that use filler, will better maintain the temperature you set on the thermostat, and will produce more flavorful food.

Q. How long will 20 pounds of wood pellets last?

Depending on the cooking chamber size and the thermostat temperature, a 20-pound load of wood pellets should last anywhere from 6 to 20 hours.

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