Do you want to host a cookout this weekend and hope to get the right machine to make a big difference? With the right cut of meat and a finger-licking recipe, a high-quality pellet grill will help make a sumptuous meal.
However, these machines come at a high price, making finding a decent pellet grill without the hefty price tag a bit challenging. Luckily, we’ve carefully handpicked the top 7 best pellet grills under $500
Best Pellet Grill, Smoker Under 500 on The Market 2020 – America’s Test Kitchen
Best Overall – Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill w/New PID Gen 2 Digital Controller
The Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill is designed to cater to your smoking needs. It comes with a digital temperature display and dual temperature sensors, making smoking with this model a lot easier.
More so, this is an ideal choice for new cooks looking to practice smoking meats without splurging on a machine. This model couples ash cleanout with a hopper cleanout for easy cleaning and maintenance.
What’s more? It has an automatic pellet auger to feed the machine and shuts down after the smoking process. Thanks to its 573 sq inch rack surface, users have enough room to cook just about anything.
Best on a Budget – Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
Our runner up is Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker and support eight cooking functions: char-grill, sear, grill, smoke, braise, roast, bake, and BBQ. This model rocks a pellet grill technology to allow you to achieve that sweet wood-smoked flavor.
It sports PID technology to maintain the precise cooking temperature throughout the smoking process for consistent results. Even better, this pellet grill is an upgraded version to offer a more pellet feed control system and precise temperature control.
Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker is equipped with the latest digital control board that automatically ignites this machine for a reliable and hassle-free startup every time. Also, it offers a wide cooking temperature range from 180 – 450 degrees F.
Best High-end – Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill & Smoker
Without the cover included, the Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill & Smoker falls in the budget range. It offers a large cooking capacity to accommodate 24 burgers, 5 racks of ribs, or four chicken. Plus, its 18lbs hopper capacity is enough to allow you to cook for long hours before refill.
This pellet grill creates the original wood flavor and wood-fire taste. Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill & Smoker boasts of the Digital Pro Controller featuring Advanced Grilling Logic to offer precise temperature control.
Furthermore, this model offers versatile BBQ cooking: low and slow or hot and fast. Also, it allows you to braise, roast, bake, grill, smoke, and barbecue your food to juicy perfection.
Best Compact – Green Mountain Davy Crockett WiFi Control Portable Wood Pellet Grill
Another option for cooks looking to purchase the best pellet grill under 500 is Green Mountain Davy Crockett WiFi Control Portable Wood Pellet Grill. This American-made machine comes with lots of handy accessories without having to break the bank.
The Green Mountain Davy Crockett WiFi Control Portable Wood Pellet Grill is a winner when it comes to innovative grills. It features a portable design with foldable legs that double as carrying handles for easy carry and storage.
That’s not all: this grill is equipped with a WiFi temperature control system to allow you to monitor and operate the grill from your mobile phone. With the app, you can control the smoke, temperature settings and add precise cooking timers.
Best Combo – Z Grills ZPG-7002B 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
Another spot, another machine from Z Grills designed to bake, roast, grill, smoke, braise, and barbeque. This model offers an easy way to achieve wood-fired taste. Plus, it maintains the cooking temp within 10 degrees of the set temperature.
What’s more? This pellet grill and smoker offers a reliable startup with the Electronic AUTO-Start Ignition and easy temperature control, which means using this model even for a beginner is a breeze.
More importantly, this unit is equipped with a Special Designed Waste Oil Collector for safe and easy cleanup. Thanks to its upgraded cart with locking caster wheels, this machine is easy to transport and maneuver. Even better, it features fan-forced convection cooking, which makes it suitable for baking, braising, smoking, roasting, and grilling.
Best Friendly – Camp Chef PG24MZG SmokePro Slide Smoker
Similarly, the Camp Chef PG24MZG SmokePro Slide Smoker allows you to grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and barbecue. On top of that, it offers a premium wood-fired flavor easily. Also, you can toggle the grill temperature by merely pushing a button.
It includes the new Gen 2 PID Controller 1-10 Smoke Setting and easy ash cleanout for convenience to clean up after cooking. This model is easy to assemble and comes with a full-sized folding shelf.
More so, this model features a hopper and ash cleanout system for a hassle-free cleaning experience. Plus, it comes with two stainless steel meat probes for a precise cooking experience.
Z GRILLS ZPG-6002B 2020 New Model Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
Next on the list is Z GRILLS ZPG-6002B with 8 cooking functions: grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, barbeque. This model has the searing function enabled and can attain higher temperatures up to 1000 degrees F.
This model offers a more convenient way of getting a wood-fired taste. It also maintains the cooking temperature within 10 degrees of the set temperature. Another thing to like about Z GRILLS ZPG-6002B is its one-button startup mechanism using the Electronic AUTO-Start Ignition for reliable startups.
More so, this machine features an LED temperature readout and Digital Auto Temperature Control to ensure it is hassle-free to use by anyone. The Upgraded cart with locking caster wheels makes it a lot easier to use.
How to Purchase the Best Pellet Grill, Smoker Under $500
Variation in the temperature range
This is an important factor because finger-licking recipes require a specific temp range. Besides, it would be best if you considered your cooking technique. Most high-end pellet grills offer a decent temperature range of 180 – 425 degrees F, which should be perfect for smoking, baking, roasting, and grilling a steak. But keep in mind that other models can deliver higher temperatures up to 550 degrees F.
Also, check the thermometer’s accuracy, as you don’t want to be cooking at the wrong temperature. In short, splurge on a grill offering a wider range of temperatures for a versatile cooking experience.
The hopper capacity determines the smoking period. The hopper feeds the grill pellet directly via the automatic feeding system. A larger hopper capacity allows you to smoke your meat for a longer period. Also, it helps avert the hassle of refilling the hopper.
Portability & Cooking size
Budget-option pellet grills come in varying versions like best for outdoor cooking, tail-gathering, or best portable. If you want to purchase a portable grill, it’d be best to go for models with casters for easy carry and maneuvering. These models allow you to enjoy home-made grill BBQ or on the go.
Regarding size, most grills have two types of cooking area: side heating rack and main cooking rack. Therefore, you should buy a grill with a decent cooking rack size to allow you to cook a generous quantity of food at once.
Different food items, including meats, requires a different cooking temperature – every professional chef understands this. Thus, it’s important to consider a pellet grill that allows you to customize the cooking temperature for a precise cooking experience. It’s also important to go for a model with either a knob dial for manual temperature control or a screen interface for digital control. While grilling equipment can be a bit advanced and complicated, most pellet grills under 500 reviewed in this post are super easy to use, maintain, and repair.
In addition, replaceable parts such as the auger motor, fan, and many more are easy to install. Even better, you can easily purchase these grilling components from top brands to make a personalized grill to cater to your grilling needs.
Owning a top-quality pellet grill can be the last piece to creating that sought-after wood-fired taste. But being on a tight budget reduces your number of options and makes it more challenging to pick a model with amazing features.
Among our top seven picks, the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill w/New PID Gen 2 Digital Controller offers many smart and innovative features to make your cooking experience a splendid one. Also, it’s impressive portability and generous cooking capacity makes it highly recommended.
Regardless of the pellet grill you pick, we are confident that the grilling equipment will offer great value for the money.