There aren’t many things more enjoyable than a summer BBQ. If you are looking to take your BBQ experience to the next level, a pellet smoker is a must have.
Pellet smokers are easier to use than traditional charcoal smokers, and produce delicious smoked meats of all different kinds.
Today we are going to take a look at some pellet smokers under 500 dollars. This is a great price point for someone who is looking to dabble with a pellet smoker, or is just looking for a pellet smoker to augment their existing BBQ setup.
Best Pellet Smoker Under 500
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when you are looking for the best pellet smoker under 500.
First and foremost is the cooking are of the grill. While 500 may be a great price point for a gas grill, it is on the low end when it comes to pellet grills which can go over 1000 dollars easy.
This means we’re going to have a few tradeoffs.
For example, none of these grills have wifi, for that, you have to bump up your price point to pellets smokers under 1000.
Besides cooking size is the grill controller itself.
While pellet grills are set it and forget it for the most part, think about if you are looking for a digital or an analog display.
While we’re talking about set it and forget it another important aspect is how many pellets it can hold. The more pellets, the longer you can forget about your grill and even do overnight smokes.
Now, let’s take a closer look at these grills.
PIT BOSS Portable Pellet Grill
Pit Boss is a big name on the grill scene.
This Pit Boss portable pellet grill has a whopping 440 square inches of cooking space in a smaller form factor.
It also features wheels, and removable legs. If you are in the situation where you plan on storing your pellet grill in the garage, and rolling it out to the driveway or parking space for use, this is a serious contender.
It is easily moved and somewhat lighter than other models, which does also make it easy to take camping or tailgating, since it can be used without the legs.
Simply turn the knob to the desired temperature, and you can see the temperature on the LED digital display, and 5 pound pellet capacity.
Pit Boss Classic
If you like the looks of the first pit boss, but it simply isn’t big enough, then consider the Pit Boss classic at 700 square inches of cooking space.
Think of this as the big brother to the first Pit Boss we looked at.
With this mode, we have a similar digital controller, and bigger size, but we lose the portability benefits of the first grill.
Did we mention you can plug your temperature probe right into the controller for perfect smoked meats each and every time?
It can also hold 21 pounds of pellets.
Z GRILLS ZPG-550B
This Z GRILLS pellet smoker has 550 square inches of cooking space.
It has been redesigned for 2020, addressing some customer feedback. The temperature control system has been redesigned, along with the pellet control system.
This also has an easy to use digital display, and a 10 pound hopper capacity.
Cuisinart has really been upping their game, expanding from the kitchen electric and cookware space into the grilling space.
It has a huge hopper that can store 20 pounds of pellets, and a whopping 500 square inches of cooking space, plus a warming rack.
It has a simple to use digital controller, along with a storage cabinet underneath, something we haven’t really seen at this price point with the other grills.
It even comes with a grill cover.
Traeger Junior Pellet Grill
When it comes to pellet grills, Traeger is the gold standard. Unfortunately, the Traeger model at the under 500 price point is a bare bones model.
It has 292 square inches of cooking space, and an analog thermostat with just three settings – smoke, which is 150 degrees F, medium, and high.
The good news is that you can purchase an aftermarket thermostat to give it the look and feel of the other models we looked at.
Even if you count the thermostat replacement, you will still be under the 500 dollar price point, which makes this grill a serious contender. If you don’t replace the thermostat/control unit it will be difficult to use.
If it is important for you to be able to say you have a Traeger, or if you don’t need a large cooking area, you may still want to consider this model.
Picking the Best Pellet Smoker Under 500
There are really a lot of great pellet smoker options under 500 dollars. Let’s take look at our models one more time:
The best pellet grill really depends on what you are looking for.
All around, the Pit Boss Classic is the most fully featured pellet smoker. It has a digital probe for meat which the others do not, and a large pellet capacity.
Next on our list is the Cuisinart CPG-6000 which is the only grill in this class to have a cabinet underneath, which may be an important factor for some purchasers.
If you need portability for any reason, then the PIT BOSS Portable Pellet Grill is a fantastic option.
Next up is the Z GRILLS ZPG-550B which is a great value.
Last but not least is the Traeger Junior Pellet Grill. If you are handy enough to replace the thermostat, and don’t need a huge cooking area this is a serious contender/
Last update on 2020-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API