The joy of heading out to the yard or patio to use the grill or offset smoker to cook up a feast is usually only made better by great company and a cool beverage. But you can also add to the experience by putting new twists on old classic dishes. A pellet tube smoker can help you do just that and get the full use out of your smoker or grill.
These BBQ accessories are simple metal tubes designed with numerous small holes. Once you fill the tube with wood pellets and add heat, it can produce a slow-burning smoke that flavors fish, pork, beef, vegetables, and even cheese. Pellet tube smokers also work with charcoal, electric, and gas grills, so you aren’t limited by your outdoor cooking choice.
Keep reading for shopping tips and recommendations to find the best pellet tube smoker for your grill.
- BEST OVERALL: Skoo Pellet Smoker – BBQ Hexagonal Smoking Tube
- RUNNER UP: LIZZQ Premium Pellet Smoker Tube 12 inches
- BEST BUDGET: DIMESHY Pellet Smoker Tube – 12” 304 Stainless Steel
- UPGRADE PICK: BBQFAM 6″ & 12″ EZ Smoker Tube Set
- ALSO CONSIDER: KampFit Pellet Smoker Tube 6 Inch – Stainless Steel
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Pellet Tube Smoker
Before choosing the best tool for flavoring your favorite food, ensure you select a high-quality product made with durable, corrosion-resistant stainless steel. Also consider the size and shape of the pellet tube smoker as well as its total burning time, ease of cleaning, and any additional features that might come with the product. Read on for more critical pellet tube smoker considerations.
Pellet tube smokers are typically used for flavoring meat dishes cooked slowly over the heat of a grill, but they can also add flavor when cold-smoking fish, cheese, and other foods. Cold smoking is the process of flavoring food by slowly smoking it at a low temperature for a long time, from several days to a month. During this time, the temperatures should remain between 70 degrees and 90 degrees, which allows the smoke to flavor the food but prevents the food from cooking.
Typically, pellet tube smokers work with gas, charcoal, or electric grills, but it’s always a good idea to refer to the product information and manufacturer’s recommendations for use. Keep in mind, if the goal is to lightly flavor each meal, then a smaller pellet tube is appropriate. However, cold-smoking is much more involved since even the largest pellet tubes will burn for only 5 hours before needing refilling and relighting.
Size and Shape
There is some variety with pellet tube smokers when it comes to size and shape, but most products fit into a few standard categories. The length of a pellet tube smoker falls between 6 inches and 12 inches on average. Most products fit these averages; however, products with extendable tubes can add another 6 to 12 inches. The length of the pellet tube is the main factor in determining its total burning time.
The shape of the pellet tube smoker also can vary between products. Circular tubes, square tubes, and hexagonal tubes are all common, though changing the shape of the tube usually doesn’t produce significantly different results. The main benefit of having a square or hexagonal pellet tube over a circular one is that they don’t roll when placed horizontally on grill racks.
Most pellet tube smokers consist of stainless steel. In fact, it’s probably a bad idea to invest in a product that isn’t made of stainless steel, for the simple reason that stainless steel is a tried-and-true material common among the best pellet tube smokers. However, it’s still important to look at the quality of the steel, including the pellet tube cap, body, and hole distribution.
The cap of a pellet tube smoker should be wide enough for pellets to go into the tube easily; it should also have an interior lip to help to prevent pellets from spilling out once the contents are lit.
The body of the pellet tube can have a circular, square, or hexagonal shape. For the most part, this has very little effect on the way the smoker performs, but square and hexagonal tubes must dedicate a portion of the body to the corners of the tube, while a circular tube can fill the entire length with properly distributed holes for a more even release of smoke from the burning pellets.
The total burning time of a pellet tube smoker relies on a few simple factors that are generally easy to understand. Still, measuring the exact time down to the second—or even the minute—can be difficult. The most important factor that helps determine the burning time is the length of the smoker. Tubes on the smallest end (6 inches) need checking and refilling every couple of hours, while 12-inch tubes can burn for up to 5 hours before needing attention.
The second factor that impacts burning time is the number of wood pellets in the tube. If the user does not fill the tube properly, then it won’t burn for the maximum amount of time. In addition, substituting wood chips for wood pellets is acceptable, but it can shorten the total burning time.
Ease of Cleaning
It shouldn’t be a surprise that a pellet tube smoker can get quite dirty after sitting in a greasy grill and burning flavored wood pellets for several hours. So, it’s important to properly clean the tube after each use to ensure that no acrid flavor from built-up creosote on the tube’s interior taints the taste of the next food cooked.
Some pellet tube smokers are dishwasher safe, but typically require cleaning by hand. Use soap and hot water or a grill-cleaning solution to help free stuck-on grease and creosote. Scrub lightly with a pellet tube cleaning brush; these brushes fit down the length of the tube to thoroughly clean the interior and unclog the holes.
Some of the best pellet tube smokers come with additional features, such as an included cleaning brush, hanging hooks, cookbooks, or an extendable tube that users can adjust for the ideal smoking time. These add-ons can make them easier to use, clean, and maintain.
- A cleaning brush is an excellent addition to a smoker since these brushes are specifically designed for cleaning the inside of the pellet tube (where traditional brushes cannot reach).
- Hanging hooks enable hanging the tube from a second-tier grill grate so it doesn’t take up space on the main grate. This method also enables each side of the pellet tube to produce smoke, whereas sitting the tube on the grill grates blocks some of the holes.
- Cookbooks might come with a pellet tube smoker, though they are generally e-books and not hard copies. Still, they can have several recipes that beginners might want to try or that experienced cooks can turn to for inspiration.
- Extendable tubes enable one pellet tube smoker to expand from 6 inches to 12 inches, depending on the food being cooked and the desired taste. This eliminates the need to have multiple pellet tubes on hand.
Our Top Picks
Keep the above shopping considerations in mind for help in finding the best pellet tube smoker to flavor your next backyard feast. This list of top pellet tube smokers was selected based on quality, price, and overall efficacy.
For beginners and experts alike, the Skoo smoker tube has a simple design that’s easy to use as well as an e-book download with smoking tips and a digital user’s guide. This pellet tube smoker works with charcoal, electric, gas, and wood grills due to its durable, corrosion-resistant stainless steel construction. The Skoo tube is 12 inches long and has a hexagonal shape that users can fill with either wood pellets or wood chips.
Fill the tube and light it vertically before laying it horizontally on the grill where it will continue to burn and produce flavored smoke from pellets for up to 5 hours. The pellet tube smoker also comes with a long cleaning brush that can reach right to the end of the tube, and an accessory hook to hang the cleaning brush when it’s not in use.
- Stainless steel body
- Slowly burns pellets for up to 5 hours
- Easy to fill and use
- Comes with accessories, including a digital user’s guide
- Must be full to light properly
The corrosion-resistant LIZZQ Premium pellet tube smoker is made of high-quality stainless steel so it won’t rust or chip while in use or after proper cleaning. The pellet tube provides hot smoking on gas, charcoal, electric, and wood grills and can support cold-smoking of cheese, nuts, fruit, and more. It comes with an e-book download full of recipes and smoking tips that users can read with a compatible PDF viewer.
The pellet tube smoker has a horizontal shape with a sealed cap on one end and an open cap on the other end where users can load wood pellets or wood chips into the tube. At a length of 12 inches and a width of 2 inches, the tube can stay lit for up to 5 hours before needing to be refilled and relit.
- Designed for use with wood pellets or wood chips
- Corrosion-resistant stainless steel
- Can stay lit and burn pellets for 5 hours
- Hexagon shape spreads out smoke but stays put on the grill
- Opening in the tube is narrower than on some tube smokers
- Requires long brush to clean inside
The affordable DIMESHY pellet tube smoker comes with a 12-inch-long cleaning brush that can reach the bottom of the tube, plus a storage bag to keep the brush and pellet tube safe and clean while tucked away between uses. The square-shaped body has broad 2-inch-wide sides that lie flat on the grill, regardless of whether the tube sits horizontally across the grill grates or runs vertically with the grates.
The pellet tube is 12 inches long and can burn for a maximum of 4 to 5 hours when filled with wood pellets. The pellet tube is made of durable stainless steel. For convenience, it can go straight in the dishwasher—no tedious scrubbing by hand. This product is suitable for use with electric, gas, charcoal, and wood grills as well as for cold-smoking various foods.
- Rectangular shape spreads smoke but stays put on the grill
- Affordable tube made of durable stainless steel
- Comes with a cleaning brush and storage bag
- Can burn pellets for 4 to 5 hours
- Designed for pellets only
This pack of BBQFAM pellet tube smokers comes with a 6-inch pellet tube and a 12-inch pellet tube so grillers can select the appropriate smoker, depending on the desired flavor. Both tubes are hexagonal in shape. The 6-inch tube can hold only enough wood pellets or wood chips to burn for up to 2 hours, while the 12-inch tube can burn for up to 4 hours. BBQFAM welded the end of each pellet tube to the body so wood pellets cannot escape, and the open end has an interior lip to help keep pellets inside the tube while they burn.
To help beginners get started right away, these pellet tube smokers also come with three e-books. The books have recipes for cold-smoking, curing jerky, and low-carb and diabetic-friendly meal options. Both pellet tube smokers are made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel that’s easy to clean with soap and hot water.
- Set of two sizes for long or short burns
- Hexagon shape to stay put on the grill
- Corrosion-resistant stainless steel
- Comes with three e-books with tips and recipes
- Pricier than other options
- Might have features beginner smokers won’t need
The KampFit pellet tube smoker comes with two stainless steel S-hooks that are ideal for hanging the smoker tube so there is more space on the grill for the food. Grillers can also hang the smoker close to the food for better flavoring while cold-smoking cured meats, cheeses, and fruits.
The pellet tube smoker has a hexagonal design that prevents it from rolling on the grill grates and is made with corrosion-resistant stainless steel for use on electric, gas, charcoal, and wood pellet grills. The short 6-inch pellet tube can hold only enough wood pellets to burn for a maximum of 2 hours, a simple solution for flavoring fast-cooks.
- Short tube for fast cooks
- Inexpensive solution for smoking food on the grill
- Compact hexagon shape stays put and out of the way
- Made of 100 percent stainless steel
With its hexagonal shape that’s crafted of stainless steel, the Skoo pellet tube smoker can fill a grill with smoke for up to 5 hours, and it comes with some helpful accessories like a cleaning brush. Grillmasters who add flavor to food often will appreciate an upgrade to the BBQFAM set, which includes 6-inch and 12-inch stainless steel tubes plus three e-books.
How We Chose the Best Pellet Tube Smokers
Pellet tube smokers can help cold-smoke cheeses or flavor meats and other foods with slow heat and smoke. For those who want to occasionally cook and smoke food for 4-plus hours, we considered the type and size of the tube and its burn time. To add a little smoky flavor to lots of grilled meals, a shorter tube like the 6-inch KampFit smoker tube can work fine.
We also looked at the tube’s shape, since circular tubes can roll on the grill. All the picks in this guide are hexagon- or rectangular-shaped to stay where the cook sets them. These all are made of stainless steel for top quality. Finally, we considered ease of cleaning, since the tubes can fill with grease and creosote.
FAQs About Pellet Tube Smokers
As with any new endeavor, it can initially be difficult to figure out how to use a pellet tube smoker, and you will likely still have some concerns. To help you understand pellet tube smokers better, take a look at these frequently asked questions to get the answers you need to effectively use the pellet tube smoker.
Q. Can you use wood chips in a pellet tube smoker?
Most pellet tube smokers produce smoke when loaded with either wood pellets or wood chips. However, to ensure the specific pellet tube smoker is suitable for use with wood chips, it’s a good idea to check the product information and the manufacturer’s recommendations for use. You can also learn how to adjust the smoking time if necessary.
Q. How long does a pellet tube smoker run for?
Typically, 6-inch pellet tube smokers will burn for about 2 hours, while 12-inch tubes will burn for about 5 hours.
Q. How do you clean a pellet tube smoker?
Clean pellet tube smokers with a long, bristled scrub brush. A brush may or may not be included with the tube smoker, depending on the product. For help removing stuck-on grease, use a grill cleaner, like Goo Gone Grill Cleaner, which won’t damage the metal tube.
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Timothy Dale is a freelance writer, specializing in the home repair and construction niche. He spent his post-secondary years working in the plumbing trade, while completing degrees in English Literature and Psychology, before taking on a Project Management position that ended up lasting 10 years. Mr. Dale has worked in residential plumbing and carpentry over his time as a Project Manager and also spent a year of his career in the commercial and industrial sector.