Best Pellet Grill Under 500

Using regular gas/charcoal grills etc. has a negative effect on the environment and if you are someone who is going green, this fact will bother you. If so, then you should switch to pellet grills, and what I have here are 8 such grills, all under 500 so they won’t throw your budget out of whack:

Our Best Pellet Grills Under 500

Product Cooking Area Best For Highlighted Features
Green Mountain Grills WiFi ControlledGreen Mountain Grills WiFi Controlled216 sq. in.Best Overall
  • Foldable legs
  • Portable
  • Small
  • Peaked lid
  • 3 power options
Check PriceCheck Price
Z Grills ZPG-7002B 2019 New Model Z Grills ZPG-7002B 2019 New Model 504 sq. in.Best Large
  • 700 square inches
  • Stainless steel build
  • Fan-forced convection cooking
  • Large hopper capacity
  • Waste oil collector
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Z Grills with Digital ControlsZ Grills with Digital Controls513 sq. in.Best For Storage
  • Large grill area
  • Capacious pellet hopper
  • Electric feed system
  • 3-year warranty
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Z Grills ZPG-450A 2019 Upgrade ModelZ Grills ZPG-450A 2019 Upgrade Model342 sq. in.Best Designed
  • 450 square inches in total
  • Large hopper capacity
  • Wheels
  • Grease bucket
Check PriceCheck Price
Cooking Area
Heat Capacity
Hopper Capacity
Portability
Cleaning
Grease Bucket
Green Mountain Grills WiFi Controlled
Green Mountain Grills WiFi Controlled
216 sq. in.
550 F
9 lbs
*****
****
Z Grills ZPG-7002B 2019 New Model
Z Grills ZPG-7002B 2019 New Model
504 sq. in.
450 F
20 lbs
****
****
Z Grills with Digital Controls
Z Grills with Digital Controls
513 sq. in.
450 F
20 lbs
***
****
Z Grills ZPG-450A 2019 Upgrade Model
Z Grills ZPG-450A 2019 Upgrade Model
342 sq. in.
475 F
15 lbs
****
****
Traeger Grills Tailgater 20 Portable
Traeger Grills Tailgater 20 Portable
300 sq. in.
Around 500 F
8 lbs
*****
****
PIT BOSS 700FB Pellet Grill
PIT BOSS 700FB Pellet Grill
About 450 sq. in.
500 F
5 lbs
****
****

Best Pellet Grill Under 500

1. Green Mountain Grills WiFi Controlled

Green Mountain Grills WiFi Controlled
Highlighted Features
  • Foldable legs
  • Portable
  • Small
  • Peaked lid
  • 3 power options
KitchenFaction Rating
5

This portable grill by Green Mountains Grills is a bit on the small side, which makes it ideal for tailgating as it is easy to transport.

Construction: This grill weighs 57 pounds and has a cooking area of 216 square inches. It features legs that can fold upwards to transform into handles. The grill is equipped with a peaked lid, a meat probe, a convenience tray with hooks for utensils, a WiFi controller, and a thermal controller called Sense-Mate which monitors the temperature very closely. It also has a 12V adapter and can be connected to 3 types of power sources. Additionally, the grill is also equipped with a grease bucket and a side rack.

Function: The Green Mountain pellet grill is not very large, but that is what gives it some next-level portability. Its relatively smaller size allows you to take it with you anywhere as it can fit easily in the trunk of any car. The legs of the grill give it supreme stability and when you fold them up they become ergonomic handles that allow you to carry the grill quite easily which adds all the more to its portability. Since you can attach it to a car battery to make it function, you can have a great woodsy meal anywhere you want to.

The peaked lid of the grill means you can cook big things like chicken and turkey etc. without getting cramped for room, or ending up with a lid that won’t close properly and lets out all the smoke.

You can control the temperature of the grill (owing to the WiFi controller) from an app that you’ll need to install on your phone which will allow you to raise the temperature in 5-degree increments.

Cleaning & maintenance: Cleaning is not particularly difficult as the grill is provided with a grease bucket, so you can simply discard the contents that collect into it and you’re good to go.

Pros
  • Easy to transport
  • Ideal for tailgating
  • Peaked lid
  • Grease bucket
Cons
  • Single rack

2. Z Grills ZPG-7002B 2019 New Model

Z Grills ZPG-7002B 2019 New Model
Highlighted Features
  • 700 square inches
  • Stainless steel build
  • Fan-forced convection cooking
  • Large hopper capacity
  • Waste oil collector
KitchenFaction Rating
5

This grill is ideal if you cook on a large scale e.g. hosting large outdoor parties and the like. It has a large surface area and a capacious hopper as well.

Construction: The pellet grill by Z Grills is made of stainless steel and has a strong, sturdy build, as befits a grill of this size. It has a total grill area of a whopping 700 square inches, cooking area of 504 square inches, and its pellet hopper can hold up to 20 pounds of wood pellets at a time. You can heat the grill up to 450 F. It has two wheels and two feet. It comes with a digital auto temperature control, a waterproof grill cover, an auto-start ignition, and an LED temperature readout.

Function: You can use this grill, as claimed by the manufacturer, to sear, roast, char-grill, bake, braise, smoke, barbecue, grill… you name it. Its large size makes it ideal when cooking for large groups. The 20-pound capacity of the pellet hopper allows you to cook for about 20 hours on one load of pellets. The wheels on the grill give it great portability but the grill cover that comes with it is a great bonus as this is a rather large grill and as such, it is neither easy nor desirable to keep on moving it. With the help of the grill cover, you can keep your grill safe from the elements without having to involve much physical labor.

Cleaning & maintenance: The grill’s oil collecting system for any extra oil makes clean-up really easy as you don’t have any scrubbing to do. In terms of maintenance, the stainless steel is good enough that it will survive on its own. Even so, the waterproof bag accompanying the grill will help you keep your grill tip-top in the years to come.

Pros
  • Has a sturdy construction
  • Large cooking area
  • Wheels assist in portability
  • Large pellet hopper
  • Comes with a grill cover
Cons
  • May be too large for some

3. Z Grills with Digital Controls

Z Grills with Digital Controls
Highlighted Features
  • Large grill area
  • Capacious pellet hopper
  • Electric feed system
  • 3-year warranty
KitchenFaction Rating
4.5

This grill by Z Grills is not only large but also comes with a storing cabinet that allows you to store all your BBQ equipment safely and out of harm’s way.

Construction: This rather large grill has a cooking area of around 513 square inches and a smoking/warming area of 187 square inches. The pellet hopper is likewise very capacious and can hold up to 20 pounds of hardwood pellets. The automated electric feed system has the capacity to heat the grill anywhere between 180 F to 450 F at just a turn of the knob. The grill stands on four wheels, a rather unique feature as compared to its competition in the market as you usually find just two wheels. The manufacturer has effectively utilized the space under the grill by adding a storage cupboard underneath.

Function: The huge cooking area of this grill allows you to cook up to 5 chickens, or 5 racks of ribs, or 20 burgers at a time. This makes this grill really great for parties as you can cook a lot at the same time and hence avoid a lot of impatience from your guests. The grill is easy to move around owing to its four-wheeled portability. It’s a good thing that the grill has four wheels and you can roll it about keeping it level as the storage cupboard won’t allow you to tilt the grill and then move it (at the risk of jostling the tools and stuff inside it). Speaking of the cupboard, this is a great feature as you can keep all your stuff like grilling tools, pellets, etc. right under your grill and won’t have to look around to gather all your stuff before starting the grill. This might make it slightly difficult to transport if your trunk isn’t big enough, or if you have other stuff in there.

Cleaning & maintenance: The grill has a grease bucket. It is essentially a wire container that can hold a paper cup quite comfortably, so at the end of your grilling, you can simply toss the cup away without having to clean the grease bucket itself. Also, the grill comes with a waterproof cover so it will be protected from the elements when not in use.

Pros
  • Large cooking area
  • Has a storage area
  • Has a grease bucket
  • Gives a great smoky flavor
Cons
  • Poor start-up instructions

4. Z Grills ZPG-450A 2019 Upgrade Model

Z Grills ZPG-450A 2019 Upgrade Model
Highlighted Features
  • 450 square inches in total
  • Large hopper capacity
  • Wheels
  • Grease bucket
KitchenFaction Rating
4.5

This grill has a size that gives it an ideal placement between large and small grills, making it great for regular-sized families.

Construction: The 450-A by Z Grills has a cooking area of 342 square inches and a total grill area of around 450 square inches. It has a pellet hopper capacity of 15 pounds and can heat up to 475 F with the help of the digital controller that regulates the temperature. It has large wheels with a locking mechanism, a digital temperature read-out, and an electronic auto-start ignition. This grill is a beautiful bronze and black model, with a polished surface and a high resistance to corrosion, according to the manufacturer.

Function: The 450-square inch cooking area of this grill gives it a great medium size and you can use it to full efficiency for a fun family gathering. It’s quite easy to use as all you have to do is turn the grill on, program the temperature, and leave the grill alone to work its magic. The wheels of the grill are equipped with a locking mechanism so you can rest assured that the grill won’t roll off and cause any unwanted accidents.

Cleaning & maintenance: The grill comes with a drip tray that slopes down, internally, towards the grease bucket located outside the grill. The bucket is a wire container and you can simply put in a disposable cup to catch the grease. Also, the grill comes with a waterproof cover so it is well-protected when not in use.

Pros
  • Medium-sized
  • Digital display
  • Easy to clean
  • Portable
  • Pretty
Cons
  • May be too heavy for some

5. Traeger Grills Tailgater 20 Portable

Traeger Grills Tailgater 20 Portable
Highlighted Features
  • 300 square feet
  • 8-pound pellet hopper
  • Foldable legs
  • Integrated Digital Elite Controller
KitchenFaction Rating
4

Since Traeger was the first one to introduce pellet grills, you can be sure that you’ll be happy with this model. And it is great value for money as well.

Construction: This pellet grill by Traeger has a cooking surface of 300 square inches and can heat up as high as 500 F. It has an Integrated Digital Elite Controller that regulates the temperature quite effectively. It has 2 wheels for easy portability and has EZ-fold legs, a useful feature for tailgating. The pellet hopper capacity is 8 pounds.

Function: This grill is relatively small as compared to some of the other models that I have covered, as it has a 300-square feet cooking area, and is ideal for tailgating and for an intimate family gathering. Likewise, the hopper capacity is just 8 pounds which is marginally smaller than that of big grills that can have up to 20-pound pellet hopper capacity. Even so, that doesn’t make the grill less effective; if anything, it is better suited for tailgating (accompanied by its easily foldable legs).

This grill can accommodate up to 2 chickens or 3 racks of ribs or 20 burgers. What more can you want for an intimate family dinner?

Cleaning & maintenance: The grill features a drip tray and a grease bucket. The grease bucket is an actual bucket and not just a holder for a paper cup. Of course, this means that you’ll have to scrub out the bucket after dumping its contents.

Pros
  • Great for small families
  • Features a proper grease bucket
  • Foldable legs - great portability
  • Multiposition Thermostat Control
Cons
  • Too small for large gatherings

6. PIT BOSS 700FB Pellet Grill

PIT BOSS 700FB Pellet Grill
Highlighted Features
  • Large
  • Heats up to 500 F
  • Smoking rack
  • Grease bucket
KitchenFaction Rating
4

This pellet grill by PIT BOSS is a large grill that can accommodate an entire meal for up to six people quite comfortably.

Construction: The PIT BOSS pellet grill has a cooking area of around 450 square inches and, adding the smoking rack, a total grill area of 700 square inches. The grills are porcelain-coated, a nice feature that sets it apart from a lot of the competition. It has two wheels that allow it to be moved about quite comfortably. It is equipped with a digitally controlled burn system and its pellet hopper can hold 5 pounds of pellets.

Function: The grill is quite large and can cook, bake, sear, braise, grill, barbecue, smoke, roast, or char-grill a lot of food at a time, but it may not be large enough if you want to, say, host a party. In any case, it cooks really well and the flavors of the meat turn out perfectly woodsy. Also, you can adjust the level of smoke according to your taste.

Cleaning & maintenance: The grill is supplied with a proper grease bucket, so the grease collects in it and you can simply discard it. However, unlike grease buckets that you can line with paper cups, you will have to clean the bucket out ao any oily remains don’t go rancid.

Pros
  • Large cooking surface
  • Grease bucket
  • Porcelain-coated grills
  • Digitally controlled burn system
Cons
  • Small pellet hopper capacity

Things to look for before buying!

There are a few features in which pellet grills differ from each other, and it’s good to know them beforehand so you can make an effective buying decision that will last you a long time. There’s no use in buying a grill that’s missing one or two features that you absolutely needed.

A few things that you can keep a sharp lookout for are:

  • Cooking area
  • Cooking surface
  • Power consumption
  • Portability

Buying Guide

What exactly is a pellet grill?

A pellet grill is a type of grill that uses neither propane nor charcoal as its fuel source. Rather, it employs wood pellets, usually hardwood, to get the grill heated up. The wood pellets produce smoke that infuses the food and gives it its signature woodsy flavor.

Are pellet grills worth the money?

Even though what I have discussed so far are all relatively inexpensive models, even an expensive pellet grill is worth the money. The reason is that pellet grills work with electricity and have fixed temperature controls so that means you can load the grill up with food, set the temperature and then go have fun with your friends and family.

Also, since pellet grills use wood pellets and not gas or charcoal, they are far more environmentally-friendly than your regular grills. So if you are a go-green person then you should definitely invest in a pellet grill.

Can a pellet grill replace a gas grill?

Pellet grills cook slowly and evenly and eliminate the need to turn food and, as already mentioned, eliminate the need to stand guard over your food. So they can totally replace gas grills. However, gas is much more readily available than wood pellets and gas grills can also provide a really intense heat in addition to giving a seared look to your meat that some pellet grills don’t. So if you’re considering replacing your gas grill, be sure to always have pellets on hand as you might not get your hands on them in a hurry if you run out.

Are pellet grills bad for your health?

Pellet grills have no ill effects on your health for as long as you use food-grade pellets and not regular wood pellets. The regular ones are designed to go into furnaces etc. and have a lot of chemicals in them, according to the article by Grilling Zen. Carcinogenic elements are produced, according to the aforementioned article, when meat and juices drip on the coals. In the case of pellet grills, the meat is not cooked directly over the burning pellets so chances of the juices falling on them are slim.

Can you cook steaks on a pellet grill?

Absolutely. Although, it might take a bit more time than cooking on a gas grill so you’ll want to plan accordingly. Just put your seasoned steaks in the grill, set the temperature and allow it to cook in that woodsy smoke. Since pellet grills don’t heat up very high, you might want to use a meat thermometer for this job to be absolutely sure that the meat is thoroughly heated, through and through.

How long does it take to grill on a pellet grill?

How long a pellet grill takes to grill food is relative. It totally depends on what temperature you set it to, so you’ll have to experiment a bit to know exactly how much time your grill takes at what temperature setting. One thing is for sure, pellet grills cook food much faster than regular grills and if you leave the meat in there for too long, it’ll dry out.

Can you sear on a pellet grill?

Yes, you can absolutely sear on a pellet grill. But as pellet grills depend on indirect heat and don’t cook on direct flame, the sear marks won’t be much pronounced. So if giant black sear marks are your things and that is what you are looking for in a grill, you should not go for a pellet grill.

How to get more smoke out of your pellet grill

There are various ways you can try to get your food to come out more smokey. Firstly, you can try different brands of wood pellets, and pellets made from different types of wood. Some wood types, like hardwoods such as hickory and mesquite, produce more smoke than others, and if you choose the right one for you it will give you your required smokiness.

Also, try to make sure that there isn’t too much fat on your meat as a thick layer of fat will prevent the meat from getting smoked thoroughly. Moreover, it’s better if you cook your meat longer, and on a lower heat so that it has sufficient time to absorb all the smoky flavor from the pellets.

What wood pellets produce the most smoke?

According to the article by Pellet Grill Smoker, softer, fruity woods will impart a subtle flavor to your meat but it’s the hardwoods like hickory and mesquite that will give a strong, smokey flavor to the meat.

Can you add wood chips to a pellet smoker?

Yes, you can most certainly add wood chips to a pellet smoker, and you can do it in a manner to produce more smoke. If you put soaked pieces of hardwood or wood chips directly on the heat diffuser plate, you are likely to get a much denser flavor of smoke in your food.

Do pellet smokers give a smoke ring?

Pellet smokers are actually great at giving smoke rings. The smoke ring is formed when CO and NO combine with myoglobin in the meat to allow it to retain its pinkish hue. These chemicals are only formed when wood is burned so you can certainly get them in a pellet smoker. Much harder to get them in a gas grill, unless you put in some wood to initiate the release of the aforementioned gases. Also, be sure to trim off as much fat as possible to allow the chemical reaction to take place.

Conclusion

So, this is it. In my opinion, the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill is the best pellet smoker out there, considering its large cooking area, its internal temperature probes, and its easy ash cleanout that is nearly impossible to find in any other model. But you could get any one of the above-mentioned grills, considering your own particular requirements, and you won’t go wrong.

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