Chefs hands add sauce to meat cooking on one of the best pellet grills for under $500

Best Pellet Grills under $500 [Reviewed + Rated]

If you are looking to get your groove on as a bit of a pitmaster you might well be thinking that a pellet grill is a good way to go. And I totally agree! 

Pellet grills (or pellet smokers as they are also known) are one of the best choices for anyone getting started with smoking barbeque since they are easy to use and the food tastes amazing with a true wood-smoked flavor. 

In this post, we are looking at some of the most affordable models that are available as we review the best pellet grills under $500. 

You will be pleased to see that we have found some pretty amazing pellet smokers for under $500 so you can certainly grab a machine to be proud of. 

What is a pellet grill?

Pellet grills are the new kids on the block when compared with the likes of charcoal and propane smokers. They were originally invented by Traeger but these days there is a whole range of manufacturers turning out quality machines. 

As you may have guessed from the name, pellet smokers work by burning wood pellets. These create both the heat and smoke that are needed for beautifully smoked meat

What you might not realize from the name is that pellet smokers also need electricity. Unlike electric smokers, this isn’t needed to actually cook your food, it is to power the pellet grill making it the most hassle-free way to cook that you can imagine. 

Pellet grills have a hopper that you fill up with wood pellets. These are fed into the firebox by an automated auger. This is an automatic process that moves pellets as required to keep the smoker at the temperature that you have set. There are also fans that control the inflow of air and this is controlled in turn by the temperature gauge. 

This might all sound a bit complicated, but in reality, you hardly need to know this. All you do is put pellets in the hopper and set the cooking temperature and duration. Then you can sit back and relax. 

What is important is that pellet grills are designed to produce lots of smoke and maintain a steady temperature. These are exactly the conditions that you need for smoking delicious meat. And this is why they are so popular, you get a true woodsmoked flavor but it is something anyone can do without much practice or skill, and it is a more or less hassle-free way to cook. 

Another feature of pellet smokers is that they can be used for all sorts of cooking, including baking, smoking, charring, grilling, and roasting, all from one unit. This makes them way more versatile than electric smokers (which are also dead easy to use).

This versatility may lead to a little confusion since the terms pellet grill and pellet smoker are used to describe the same machine. 

It is worth noting that not all pellet smokers work well as a grill. To work as a decent grill, you really need a smoker that can get up to 600F which not all pellet smokers are capable of. Some pellet smokers have an attached grill area for direct grilling and this really does offer the best of both worlds.

The Top 5 Best Pellet Grills under $500


Z Grills have only been around as a brand since 2017 but before that, they made high-quality products for other manufacturers. They have quickly built a reputation for producing top-quality grills at amazingly low prices. The 700 series is one of the most popular and the 700E pellet grill can be bought for less than $500 

(I’ll admit at the time of research it was on sale so the price could creep just above 500, hopefully not though! You can check the current price here). 

Pros of the Z Grills 700E

  • Built to last
  • Large cooking area
  • 8-in-1 versatility cooking
  • Precise temperature control

Cons of the Z Grills 700E

  • No proper ash disposal system
  • No meat probes

The ZPG-7002E Pellet Grill can do lots. Z Grills call it 8 in 1 versatility since you can grill, roast, braise, BBQ, smoke, bake, char-grill and also sear all on the one appliance. This makes it incredibly versatile for all your cooking needs and it is sure to get a lot of use.

It is a good size too with 504 square inches of primary cooking space, along with a warming rack to give you a total of 700 square inches of cooking space. This is enough for 29 burgers, 6 racks of ribs, or 5 chickens.

It is a great-looking pellet grill made from durable stainless steel which offers some rust resistance. The cooking grates are made from durable porcelain-coated steel which will not chip easily and retain heat evenly. 

The huge 20-pound pellet hopper capacity will keep you cooking for hours on end while the pellets are fed to the fire by an automatic auger. A convection fan disperses the heat evenly inside the air-tight chamber for even cooking and precise temperature control.

Despite the sub $500 price tag, this pellet grill has plenty of features like an electrical ignition system for faster start-up, a side and bottom shelf for holding utensils, and a waste oil collector for easy clean-ups.

The digital control on the grill allows you to set the temperature anywhere between 180 and 450°F (so not the hottest on this list) the temp can be adjusted in 10-degree increments. A clear LED screen displays the internal temperature (use a thermometer to check the temp of your meat).

I am a big fan of ZGrills, they make quality machines for fantastic prices and I generally think that they are some of the best value grills on the market. This is without doubt one of the best pellet smokers under $500.

Specs for the Z GRILLS ZPG-7002E  

  • Barbecue material: Stainless steel
  • Grate material: Porcelain-coated steel
  • Cooking capacity: 700 sq in
  • Pellet hopper capacity: 20 lbs
  • Heat range: 180°F – 450°F
  • Fuel type: Wood pellets
  • Model: ZPG-7002E 
  • Assembled size (in): 48 L × 22 W × 51 H
  • Weight: 112 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years

Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill

Camp Chef has been around for a few years now, having been founded in 1990 and based out of Utah. They are well known for making robust, high-quality outdoor cooking appliances. They have a thorough testing regime to ensure they produce quality products, this experience has helped to make this model one of the best pellet grills under $500. 

Pros of the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX

  • Wide temperature range allows you to smoke, grill, roast and bake
  • Easy to control flavor thanks to separate heat and smoke settings
  • Easy to clean the firepot thanks to the ash clean-out system 
  • Large 18-pound hopper means you can smoke all day without topping up
  • Comes with meat probe so you can check your meat without opening the lid
  • PID temperature controller keeps temperature within 5°F of target

Cons of the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX

  • Some pellet smokers have more cooking space
  • No door to empty out unused pellets

The DLX Pellet Grill has a stainless steel body that offers rust resistance and should last you for a good while. It is easy to move around thanks to the two caster wheels so you can simply move it to where you want it to be whether you are seeking a pleasant spot to cook in or to tuck it out of sight when not in use (not that it looks ugly!). 

You get a large cooking capacity of 570 square inches thanks to the main cooking space of 471 inches square and an upper warming rack that measures 141 square inches. This is all set within a sturdy powder-coated steel body. 

The DLX Pellet Grill has a PID temperature controller that can keep the heat within 5 degrees Fahrenheit of your target temp. An integrated sensor measures internal temperature whilst the automatic auger feeds wood pellets as needed – so all you have to do is sit back, relax and let your pellet smoker do its thing.

There is a wide temperature range of 160 to 500° F so it gets hot enough that you can use it for grilling. 

You won’t need to worry about topping up with wood pellets thanks to the 18-pound hopper which will keep you smoking for hours on end. 

One of the top features of this bargain pellet smoker is the smart ash cleanout system which allows you to clean out all of the ash and debris from the pellets by just pulling a lever. 

We also like that there is a separate control that lets you set the level of smoke from 1 to 10. This is not connected to the temperature setting and allows you to set your desired level of smokiness for cooking perfect brisket, turkey or salmon.

Specs for the Camp Chef SmokePro XT 24

  • Barbecue material: Stainless steel and powder-coated steel
  • Grate material: Enamel-coated steel
  • Cooking capacity: 570 sq. in.
  • Pellet hopper capacity: 18 lbs
  • Heat Range: 160°F – 500°F
  • WiFi: No
  • Fuel type: Electric and wood pellet
  • Model: PG24XT
  • Assembled size (in): 22(D) x 25(W) x 40.5(H)
  • Weight: 133 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years

Traeger Tailgater Pellet Smoker

You might not expect a post on the best pellet smokers under 500 to feature a Traeger grill since they are known as a top-quality, premium brand. Well, you can get one for under $500 if you are happy to go for a smaller, lighter, portable model – the Traeger Tailgater. 

Pros of the Traeger Tailgater Pellet Smoker:

  • Top-quality from leading brand
  • The Arc Controller accurately keeps temp where you set it
  • Can be used for smoking, baking, and roasting
  • Small and portable with folding legs so easy to store or transport
  • 3-year warranty

Cons of the Traeger Tailgater Pellet Smoker:

  • Small cooking area and small hopper
  • Not great for grilling

You are here because you are looking for an affordable smoker rather than a portable one specifically, so does the Tailgater do what you need it to do? 

For the most part yes. Obviously, it isn’t going to be the biggest smoker on this list but you still get a respectable 300 square inches of cooking space which is enough for 12 burgers, three racks of ribs, or two chickens. Not bad, enough to do some entertaining for sure, but maybe not enough for everyone’s needs. 

The Tailgater comes with Traeger’s Arc Controller which allows you to set the temperature fairly precisely in 5 degree increments. This smoker does a great job of maintaining the set temperature. 

The maximum temperature is 450 degrees Fahrenheit which is hot but not quite hot enough for decent grilling. It is more like a hot oven than a true grill so despite the marketing claims this is probably not the ideal pellet grill if you are planning to do much grilling. 

This smoker has been designed for portability and has nice sturdy legs that fold away when needed. This can also make it convenient for anyone that lacks storage space at home and even though it is a bit smaller and lower than full-size pellet smokers, it is still worth considering as a reliable but cheap home smoker that you can get for less than $500. 

Specs for the Traeger Tailgater Pellet Smoker

  • Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel
  • Grate material: Porcelain-coated steel
  • Cooking capacity: 300 sq in
  • Pellet hopper capacity: 8lbs
  • Heat range: 160°F – 450°F
  • Fuel type: Wood pellets
  • Model: TFB30KLF
  • Assembled size (in): 36(H) x 37(W) x 18(D)
  • Weight: 62lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years

Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill

The Davy Crocket portable is a very popular smoker that is great value at well under $500. It may be budget-friendly but there is nothing budget about the quality of the materials used for this pellet grill. 

You get solid stainless steel construction, precision control of the temperature, a peaked lid for tall meats and you even get wifi connectivity. All for an amazingly low price. 

Pros of the Green Mountain Davy Crockett 

  • Very low price
  • Quality materials provide durability and protection from the weather. 
  • You can smoke, bake, roast and grill on one machine thanks to the wide temperature range.
  • WiFi connectivity – sit back, relax and adjust the temp from your chair!
  • Temperature stays where it should for reliable cooking
  • Extremely portable
  • Includes a meat probe and waterproof cover

Cons of the Green Mountain Davy Crockett 

  • It’s small so you can’t cook for a crowd
  • Grease doesn’t drain away too well

What’s the catch? I hear you ask. Well, it’s simply the size of the thing. This is a scaled-down smoker that is mainly designed for portability and taking away with you, rather than as a main home smoker. 

The Davy Crockett has 219 square inches of cooking space so it is easily the smallest smoker under $500 that we have included in this review. 

You won’t be feeding the neighborhood from this smoker but it should be fine for your family. You can cook 6 steaks or two chickens, or a couple of racks of ribs. So you wont exactly be going hungry!

What the Davy Crockett lacks in size it makes up for in performance (where have I heard that before?). It maintains a steady temperature and can be cranked all the way up to 550°F which is higher than most on this list and makes it a good option for grilling. 

The Sense-Mate technology allows you to read the internal temperature quite accurately too.

The grill flexes the portability credentials as it comes with comes 12V adapters that allow you to connect it to a car battery or small generator for powering the grill. 

The Davy Crockett grill which is rated as one of the best pellet grills under $500 is shown at the top of a mountain with far reaching views of other mountains behind
You really can take this anywhere!

Despite the low price tag, this portable wood pellet grill is packed with features, even wifi connectivity. You can adjust the temperature, smoke settings, and cooking times from your phone. This really is smoking at its most simple.

It is worth remembering that this isn’t a full-size smoker. The legs aren’t full height and they fold in to double as handles. It’s nicely done but this is clearly aimed at people who like to smoke on the go. 

If that’s you, then great, this could be the perfect smoker for you. 

If you just want to set up something at home there could be better options, although some people will like that this one is so easy to store and won’t take up a lot of space. For these reasons, we think the Davy Crockett is worthy of a place amongst the best pellet smokers under $500. 

Specs for the Green Mountain Davy Crockett WiFi Pellet Grill

  • Barbecue material: Stainless steel
  • Grate material: Stainless steel
  • Cooking capacity: 219 sq in
  • Pellet hopper capacity: 9 lbs
  • Heat range: 150°F – 550°F
  • Fuel type: Wood pellets
  • Model: Davy Crockett
  • Assembled size (in): 31.75 (H) x 34 (W) x 23 (D)
  • Weight: 68 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years

Pit Boss 440 Deluxe

This pellet smoker grill from Pit Boss is a great option if you are looking for a big and powerful pellet grill for less than $500. It is very easy to set up and use. The instant ignition system means that you will be smoking in no time and the digital controls make it simple to set the temperature and make adjustments while you cook.

Pros of the Pit Boss 440 Deluxe

  • Wide temperature range (170-600°F)
  • Flame Broiler for direct grilling
  • Automatic start and cool down

Cons of the Pit Boss 440 Deluxe

  • Some issues maintaining an even temperature

This wood pellet grill has a great temperature range of 170-600 degrees Fahrenheit which means that you can use it for all types of cooking from baking, grilling, and smoking to searing and even pizza.

There is also a brilliant side plate for direct grilling which is a perfect accompaniment to the main smoker and makes this a very versatile machine. 

As you would expect from a pellet grill, the auger automatically feeds the pellets into the grill so there is no need to worry about managing the level of fuel, just set it and forget it. Once you are done the digital controls will run a cooling down period before shutting the grill off. 

 This is a decent-sized pellet smoker with 440 square inches of cooking space so you can cook a fair bit of food in this and it is big enough to use when entertaining a few friends. 

The porcelain-covered cooking grid is made of stainless steel, it can easily be removed for cleaning. We like the look of this budget pellet grill as it has been given a nice dual-tone and black copper finish. All in all, it could well be the best pellet grill under $500. 

Specs for the Pit Boss 440D 

  • Barbecue material: Stainless steel
  • Grate material: Porcelain Coated Cast Iron
  • Cooking capacity: 440 sq in
  • Pellet hopper capacity: 10 lbs
  • Heat range: 170°F – 600°F
  • Fuel type: Wood pellets
  • Model: 440D
  • Assembled size (in): 41″T x 49″W x 24″D
  • Weight: 88 lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year

Best Pellet Smokers under $500 – The Verdict

We hope that this post has helped you to find the best $500 pellet grill. I think that there a a few great options but my top pick is the ZGrills 700E for all round quality and preformance in a full size grill.

I don’t think you necesarily need to spend any more, but if you want to up your budget, you could check out our best pellet smoker post.

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