Best Pellet Grills for the Money

1. Traeger Texas Elite 34 – Elite Product for Elite Grillers

Our rating:

Cooking surface 646 square inches
Ideal for Beginners  [usr 5]
Delicious wood-fired food flavor  [usr 5]

The Elite series is a whole specter of premium wood BBQ systems that would have their place among the best pellet grills for the money. You can also check out Lil Tex Elite 22, Junior Elite that can be purchased for under $400 at the moment, or Select Elite, which is an even more expensive than the one we are focusing on today. As for us, we focused on the unit that has best customer reviews on Amazon.

When describing why Texas Elite 34 can do, you have to start with the versatility feature. Traeger has been making fabulous grills for decades, and they are proud to emphasize the 6-in-1 cooking option in their models. That means that you can use the same unit to grill, barbecue, roast, smoke, braise, or bake your food. You will admit that the versatility is unmatchable by other grill types.

The unit uses digital heat control that makes adjusting the desired temperature and cooking the food a piece of cake. The only thing you need to do is to take the controller in your hands and choose one of the settings labeled. They vary from a low heat “Smoke” option that slowly roasts your food on less than 180 degrees up to 450F, which is the highest setting available.

While we are on the topic of how simple it is to use this grill, let’s mention that it also has an electronic ignition that enables jumpstarting the unit quickly. That is another reason why wood-fueled BBQ products are getting more popular these days. You don’t have to get your hands dirty while arranging the charcoal or going through the trouble of getting the fire started. Turning on the best pellet grills for the money requires you only to push the ignition switch.

Texas Elite 34 uses hardwood pellets as fuel. However, there is a trick with this unit and all other grills from the series. You have to use exclusively hardwood manufactured by Traeger. Otherwise, you risk losing a generous warranty that comes with the product. The good news is that there are various types, including the classics such as hickory, but also cherry and mesquite. You don’t have to put only one kind in the hopper, which means that you can mix and match until you find the perfect flavor. The capacity of the hopper is 18 pounds, which should cover you for about 15-20 hours of cooking.

As for the grilling surface, you will enjoy the spaciousness that 646 square inches offer. That is more than enough to cook for up to 10 people, which means that you can invite some friends and make a BBQ party in no time. Just so that we can paint a picture, you can fit six average-sized whole chickens on the cooking surface! As for the grill grates, they are a stainless steel non-stick surface, which eases both grilling and cleaning.

On the outside, Texas Elite 34 looks like traditional smokers, which should appeal to all those grilling enthusiasts that have been barbecuing for decades. High-quality steel was used, and the entire item weighs 125 pounds, which puts it into the category of robust BBQ systems. The powder coat finish adds elegance and helps the product to fight rust.

The core components of the unit are set on a stand that lies on four wheels. Thanks to the easy-glide feature, you can swiftly move the product around your backyard. You can use the locking casters to ensure the sturdiness of the unit once you set it up in the desired location.

Pros

It’s hard to start mentioning all the benefits of owning a Texas Elite 34. For starters, let’s say that even beginners now have the chance of grilling like professionals. They can set up the machine in a matter of minutes and let it do the entire job. Thanks to the automatic heat control, there is no babysitting required, which means that you can go inside and watch TV while your burgers are grilling.

The flavor and deliciousness that wood-fired grills deliver are superb. The results that you get with this unit will always be phenomenal, regardless of the mode you are trying. And there is a total of six cooking options, from slow roasting and smoking up to regular grilling or baking. All that is secured to the temperature range that goes up to 450F. You might think that the unit could use a bit more power, but it overcomes that by providing consistent heat.

Finally, you shouldn’t underestimate the durability and lifespan of the product. Perhaps you will initially have to splash the cash on purchasing it, but it will pay off quickly once you realize that you bought a real gem among the pellet grills.

Cons

While we understand that the manufacturer wanted to secure that you don’t use low-quality food for this premium grill, it’s still a burden that you have to use only Traeger pellets for this unit if you want to keep the warranty. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of choices, but we would still like to have the option of trying some other brands, too.

Also, you should make sure not to leave the unit outside while it is raining, even if you cover it. The problem can occur with the auger getting jammed with the pellets that are still in the unit, which can be troublesome to clean later. That’s the hassle you undoubtedly want to avoid.

2. Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe

Our rating:

Cooking surface 573 square inches
Digital heat control accuracy  [usr 5]
Admirable versatility  [usr 4]

We are now moving to a more affordable model that can be purchased for less than $500, but it also delivers excellent results when it comes to cooking. Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe provides the same versatility as the Traeger unit. That means that you get six cooking options for the price of one product. It can grill, barbecue, roast, smoke, braise, or bake your favorite food. And the crucial part is that it only requires attention like a typical convection oven thanks to the no babysitting feature.

The product comes with advanced digital temperature control that enables you to “set it and forget it.” Once you adjust your desired settings and turn the unit on by pressing the switch button, you can freely talk to your friends or do any other activities while it prepares the food for you. Turning the knob to the next level increases the heat for 25F, and the settings vary from low smoke to grilling. The temperature range of Camp Chef PG24DLC is anywhere between 160F, which you can use for smoking a steak, up to 500F, which is suitable for quicker cooking. That spans a bit broader than the Traeger Elite series, which can save impatient grillers some time. You can also use the internal meat probe to check the temperature inside the cook box at any time.

On the other hand, this unit provides somewhat smaller grilling surface. However, it’s still enough for the model to be considered massive in size. We are talking about 429 square inches of the central cooking area, which is supported by a warming rack of 144 square inches. The unit can cook for up to eight people at once, and that is enough to serve even large parties. Don’t forget the added convenience of the warming rack, which can keep your burgers hot or be used to prepare side dishes, such as simmering vegetables.

The hopper capacity is standard 18 pounds, and you don’t have to worry about the brand you use. The auger will automatically feed the grill with fuel, and you should only make sure that there are enough pellets in the hopper. As for the efficiency, it’s pretty much on par with other grills, which means that you will get 15-20 hours of grilling with a single hardwood bag.

As for the design, the components of the grill are made of durable steel that will last for years to come. The entire unit is painted black and if you are fans of colored systems that don’t have that classic silver color, you will undoubtedly like this one. It looks similar to other traditional grills, but some accessories can make it stand out. One of them is the sear station, which can be purchased on Amazon. It might be a bit pricey, but putting the sear marks on your food is worth the money. You can also consider buying the Camp Chef Woodwind, which has a direct heat cooking box included.

The dimensions of the PG24DLX are 51 x 21 x 45 inches. The product weighs 132 pounds and stands on four legs. Two of them have wheels to make the transport possible.

Pros

The best pellet grills for the money are capable of infusing that delicious smoky flavor into the food, and that is just what this model does. Regardless of the cooking option, you select (and there are six of them), you can rest assured that it will deliver fantastic results. The critical thing is the accuracy of the digital heat control. It never goes wrong by more than 15-20 degrees, which secures consistent temperature that makes tasty food.

Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe offers a wide primary cooking area, as well as a secondary warming rack that increases the versatility of the product. Also, you can never underestimate the grease management and ash cleanout systems that collect all the residue and make the cleaning a piece of cake. Some users were worried about the potentially tricky assembly of a large grill, but the instructions are unequivocal. In case you run into any issues, check out this video on YouTube.

Cons

While the product itself is durable and the components can withstand rain, the water can get through the cover and soak the pellets. That can cause the auger to stop turning, and you need to dismantle other parts to clean it, which is a hassle. There are two ways to go about this issue – either store it in the garage or make sure there are no pellets in it during rain.

Aside from that, a couple of customers complained that their meat probe broke after several uses. While this is a rare issue, you can still contact customer support and get it replaced.

3. REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill

Our rating:

Cooking surface 700 square inches
Grill for the entire neighborhood  [usr 5]
Broad heat range  [usr 4]

If you ever performed a search on Amazon, you know that the customers are realistic (or brutal, if you are the seller) with their ratings. That is why it’s almost impossible to reach 4.8 stars rating, but it’s where REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill currently stands. The fact that the consumers loved it should be enough to recommend this as one of the best pellet grills for the money, but it also shows that this model deserves to be discussed.

The Smart Grill technology that this unit uses is nothing else than automatic heat control. However, REC TEC went one step further and enabled the users to adjust the temperature in 5F increments, which offers incredible freedom. Of course, the heat inside the box will vary a bit, but no more than +/- 10 degrees, which means that you will get the most consistent temperature for cooking your food.

The settings vary from 180F up to 500F, which means that you have enough freedom to smoke, barbecue, grill, and even bake yourself a meal. If you are looking to slow roast a whole chicken, it’s possible on this unit. And if you are looking for a grilled hot dog that is incredibly tasty, you have once again found a suitable model. There is a tip that we can give you – removing the catch pan will cause the unit to heat up quickly. You might spend a minute or two more cleaning, but it will save you time while grilling.

REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill is colossal, and you will be surprised at its size even if you have all the information about it. The product itself weighs over 200 pounds, which is an excellent indicator of the thickness of the stainless steel used to design it (10 gauge steel). All the components have state-of-the-art quality, and the product even has a porcelain enamel & powder coat finish to extend its durability and improve fighting rust.

The 700 square inches of cooking space is more than enough for you to pack several full-sized ribs. If you can’t comprehend just how broad the grilling area is, it’s enough to serve a party of 12-15 people at once, which means that you can feed an entire basketball team. The hopper capacity is also massive as it can hold up to 40 pounds of pellets. There is also a divider that can help you combine two types of hardwood and experiment with tastes.

As usual with these models, REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill stands on a cart that has four wheels. Two of them are smaller and have locking casters to ensure that the product stays in one place. There is also a rack that can be used as a storage space, especially for excess hardwood bags that you might have.

Pros

Each of the best pellet grills for the money we presented in this article is durable, but this manufacturer takes the quality of components an extra step forward. The ten gauge stainless steel is an extremely thick material, and the porcelain enamel and powder-coat finish contribute to resisting rust. On top of that, you get a red-themed unusual design.

The digital heat control is also an enhanced version of our standard expectations. The temperature can go up to 500F, and you can adjust it in 5-degree increments, which is an admirable level of freedom. Furthermore, it manages to be extremely accurate and keeps the heat very consistent throughout the entire cooking process.

If you are looking for a giant grill that can feed an entire neighborhood and you often organize BBQ parties, you won’t be wrong if you purchase this product.

Cons

There is no ash cleanout system in this unit. Fortunately, if you use top quality pellets, you won’t make a big mess. In that case, the entire cleaning process comes down to a couple of minutes of using a vacuum. You can check out a product that is uniquely designed for vacuuming ash. Aside from that, there is a small complaint about the design. Although the red color and the look that reminds of a bull with horns are unique, it makes a bit tricky to open the lid unless you are in the right position.

4. Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill

Our rating:

Cooking surface 700 square inches
Reminds of an outdoor kitchen  [usr 5]
Six cooking options available  [usr 4]

The last model we will present is the Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill, which is similar to the previous units reviewed in a lot of aspects. It has automatic heat control and delivers temperatures from as low as 180F to 475F. You can adjust the heat in 25F increments, which is more than enough to secure the incredible versatility of the product. Smoking, roasting, barbecuing, baking, braising, and grilling are all available on this grill, and they only depend on the temperature settings and your mood.

The cooking area spreads to 700 square inches, but 187 are reserved for a secondary warming rack. Still, you have over 500 square inches of central space that you can use to prepare food for up to ten people. Add to that the fact that you can keep food warm or make a side dish on the second rack and you’ve got yourself a reliable grilling system.

The design of the unit reminds of an outdoor kitchen, which is contributed by the fact that an enclosed cabinet is a part of the stand. The hopper is located on the side, which means that you can use the entire cupboard as a storage space for all your grilling tools and essentials. The cart also has wheels and locking casters to make sure that the unit is stable. The hopper has a standard 20-pound capacity, as well as a purge system that makes it easy to empty the excess wood.

Pros

Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill is everything that you would expect from this type of product. The versatility is there, as well as an ample cooking surface. The unit also manages to provide an overall feeling of owning an outdoor kitchen. That is primarily because of the enclosed cabinet with considerable storage space, but also due to the warming rack that secures that you won’t be going back and forth to the kitchen to prepare side dishes.

The cover comes with the unit and doesn’t require you spending additional cash, and it’s nice to see that the manufacturer believes in their product and offers a 30-day return guarantee.

Cons

Although the manufacturer suggests that you can use the highest temperature settings for searing, it still doesn’t deliver the same results as when you are grilling over direct heat. Aside from that, this grill doesn’t have any critical issues, except the fact that the assembly will take an hour or two. Take a look at this YouTube video that might help.

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