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Best Pellet Grill Under 500

Updated On May 21, 2020

A pellet grill is an outdoor cooker that combines the elements of a gas grill, a charcoal smoker, and an oven, giving you great versatility in cooking.

Unlike gas grills, pellet grills produce a distinct flavor that many barbecue purists love.  While there will be endless debates on which type of grill is king, pellet grills will always have loyal followers that swear it's the best.  

So let's explore and review the 9 Best Pellet Grill Under 500 and what makes each of them great.  Also, find out why after many hours of research, the Z Grills ZPG-7002E is our # 1 Top Choice.

Short on time? Here's a quick roundup of our top 3 picks and why you need them!
Product
Photo
Cost
Pros
Link
*Best Overall

$$$

An 8-in-1 pellet smoker grill with large 700 square inch cooking area
*Runner Up

$$$

6-in-1 versatile grill with a thermostat and LED Display to maintain a certain temperature
*Also Great

$$$

Great for tailgating with WiFi enabled for easy cooking

Top 9: Best Pellet Grill Under 500

Best Overall

An ultimate 8-in-1  barbecue grill that's super versatile that makes cooking your favorite foods hassle-free. 
Quick Summary
  • Cooking Space:  700 square inches
  • Portability:  Good
  • Hopper Load Capacity: 20 lbs.
  • Weight: 112 lbs.
The Z Grills ZPG-7002E 2020 Upgrade Wood  Pellet Grill & Smoker is an improved grill that gives precise temperature and pellet feed control system. It's an 8-in-1 pellet grill which means you can grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise,  barbecue, and more. With a 700 square-inch cooking surface, grilling multiple burgers, steaks, chicken, or even whole turkey is easy.  Its stainless steel construction makes it durable and rust-free.

The 20 lbs hopper capacity is more than enough to cook for hours with your choice of wood pellet flavor to add that smokey flavor in your foods. The fan-forced convection cooking eliminates the need for a rotisserie as it slowly and evenly cooks your whole chicken or turkey or whatever you wish to roast. The secret lies in the automated electric feed system which maintains the heat for you from 180ºf to 450º F. Just set it and let it do all the work!

With the electronic auto-start ignition, digital temperature control, and LED temperature readout, cooking has never been easier even for beginners. A specially designed waste oil collector makes it easy to clean after use. And to cap it all off, you will get a 3-year manufacturer's warranty and a 100% satisfaction with a 30-days full refund. All these make it the best pellet grill under 500 on our list. 
Pros
  • An 8-in-1 pellet smoker grill 
  • Large 700 square inch cooking area
  • Electronic Auto Ignition 
  • Digital temperature control 
  • 3-year Manufacturer's warranty 
Cons
  • Takes a bit of time to regulate the heat after firing the grill
Runner Up

A versatile 6-in-1 pellet grill that is durable and highly capable of producing great tasting food on a consistent basis.  
Quick Summary
  • Cooking Space:  450 square inches
  • Portability:  Good
  • Hopper Load Capacity: 15 lbs. 
  • Weight: 102.8 lbs. 
Cuisinart is a well made and sturdy piece of equipment. The 450 square-inch grilling space can easily accommodate multiple foods all at once. This smoker and grill have a large capacity hopper, that can hold up to 15 lbs of your favorite pellets at once. Easy to assemble and easier to use, you can cook food in different ways from grilling, baking, roasting, smoking, and much more.

With precision temperature control, this smoker can cook foods low and slow, or hot and fast. The thermostat features an LED display of the temperature and maintains the heat automatically. Adding pellets is done automatically with its built-in sensor, so you don't need to worry about running out of fuel. It works like a convection oven so food is cooked evenly with no hot and cold spots.

Choose different types of naturally flavored pellets such as pecan, hickory, cherry, apple, and many more, to get your desired flavor. You can be sure that there will be no flare-ups as the wood chips have no direct contact with the flame. Cuisinart's doors are sealed tightly allowing minimal heat/smoke loss for consistent and faster cooking. The all-terrain wheels and lift handle allows for mobility and portability. It also comes with side and front shelves for extra space. The integrated spigot drains hot grease into a cup (not included) which is easy to clean. 
Pros
  • 6-in-1 versatile grill 
  • A thermostat and LED Display to maintain a certain temperature
  • Automatic pellet feeding mechanism
  • No flare-ups 
  • Side and front shelves for prep and extra space
  • Integrated spigot for easy cleanup
Cons
  • Cup for the integrated spigot not included
Also Great

An ideal tailgate wood pellet grill that comes with a digital WiFi controller, that allows you to monitor your grill and create perfectly-cooked foods.  
Quick Summary
  • Cooking Space:  219 square inches
  • Portability:  Very Good
  • Hopper Load Capacity: 9 lbs. 
  • Weight: 68 lbs. 
If you're looking for a wood pellet grill that is best for tailgating, then look no further. The Green Mountain Davy Crockett pellet grill is smaller compared to regular pellet smoker grills, which makes it portable and ideal for outdoor cooking. Where the green mountain shines is its flexibility in better temperature control which allows you to smoke and grill perfect foods all the time.

With a wireless capability, this smoker allows you to manually control it or through an App. It's so convenient that you can program a series of instructions for smoking food for 4 hours, cooking for 2 hours, and then lower the temperature prior to serving. It features Sense-Mate, a thermal sensor that constantly monitors grill temperature every time.

The small capacity hopper (9 lbs) is ideal for fast cooking, but with the WiFi-capable monitoring of this Davy Crockett pellet, cooking for long hours is not a problem. It also comes with a meat probe and a convenience tray. The peaked lid shape makes it easy when cooking large meat portions. With a 2 year warranty, you can have peace of mind of grilling great-tasting food for a long time. The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett is one of the very best pellet smokers around. 
Pros
  • Great for tailgating
  • WiFi enabled for easy cooking
  • Features Sense-Mate, a thermal sensor monitoring mechanism
  • Comes with a meat probe and convenience tray
  • 2-year warranty
Cons
  • Small capacity hopper for wood pellets
Also Great

A sturdy and portable pellet grill that cooks multiple ways great for camping and tailgating.  
Quick Summary
  • Cooking Space:  300 square inches
  • Portability:  Very Good
  • Hopper Load Capacity: 8 lbs. 
  • Weight: 62 lbs. 
Traeger is known for coming up with the original wood pellet grill and for that alone, the Traeger Tailgater 20 deserves a spot on our best pellet grill under 500. This smoker can cook hot and fast, or low and slow. Whether you want a quick burger or a slow-roasted turkey, this grill will do the job.

Great for home, camping, and tailgating, the 300 square-inch cooking surface can accommodate up to 12 burgers, 2 whole chickens, or 3 racks of ribs. The integrated digital elite controller keeps temperatures within +/-20 degrees Fahrenheit and makes setting the grill temperature very easy. The auger is fully automatic to control the pellets and the electronic auto-start makes starting the Traeger a breeze. It features EZ-fold legs that allow you to pack it up and grill on the go. 
Pros
  • Great for camping and tailgating
  • Integrated digital elite controller for temperature control
  • Electronic auto-start 
  • EZ fold legs for portability 
Cons
  • Takes time to regulate the heat
Also Good

The 501 square-inch cooking surface is best for multiple foods that need to be cooked at once.
Quick Summary
  • Cooking Space:  501 square inches
  • Portability:  Good
  • Hopper Load Capacity: 10 lbs. 
  • Weight: 100 lbs. 
The Camp Chef Pursuit Portable Pellet Grill is a slide and grill technology which means it can smoke and grill at the same time. The 501 square-inch cooking surface is best for multiple foods that need to be cooked at once. Chicken wings, baby back ribs, boneless chicken thighs, burgers, steaks, pizzas, and many more can be cooked to perfection using this portable grill smoker.

The dual meat probe allows you to monitor the internal temperature of your food, so you don't have to worry about overcooking it. The electric auto-igniter and simple temperature select system make cooking fast and easy. The small details such as the bottle opener and the latches on the grill door are really useful when you need it. This is a very well made smoker grill and the 2-year warranty adds to the reasons why it's easily one of the very best pellet grills on our list.  
Pros
  • A large surface area at 501 square inch
  • Slide and grill technology
  • Dual meat probe used for the internal temperature of food
  • Electric auto-igniter for easy start
  • 2-year warranty
Cons
  • Foldable legs could be better designed
Also Good

A pellet grill that beginners and pro grillers will enjoy with its ease of use and versatility.  
Quick Summary
  • Cooking Space:  570 square inches
  • Portability:  Good
  • Hopper Load Capacity: 18 lbs. 
  • Weight: 133 lbs. 
Another Camp Chef making it to our list of the best pellet grill under 500 is the Camp Chef SmokePro. Made from stainless steel firebox, this is a very sturdy and rust-free smoker. It has one of the most advanced digital control systems which lets you set it and let it work. No more babysitting so you get to enjoy cooking while doing other things that you equally love. Just like any Camp Chef smoker, you can bake, roast, braise, barbecue, and more with this grill.  

It's easy to assemble and start-up. Within minutes, you'll find yourself loading up your Camp Chef grill with whole chickens, pork shoulders, burgers, ribs, steaks,  and much more. With a stainless steel probe that goes inside the meat, you can be sure that it's going to be a perfect grilling every time.

With a 570 square-inch grilling space, you can cook multiple foods all at once saving you precious time, while making all your guests full and satisfied. And when the last steak or burger leaves the cooking grates, you will thank the patented ash cleanout of this grill and smoker for making your life easier. It's all these conveniences and its reasonable price that makes it one of the very best pellet smoker grill on our list. 
Pros
  • Stainless steel firebox
  • Advanced digital controller 
  • Stainless steel temperature probe
  • Smart smoke technology
  • Patented ash cleanout
Cons
  • No easy emptying system for the pellets
Also Good

The best value per square inch of a cast-iron cooking grill that is capable of slow cooking and searing meats.  
Quick Summary
  • Cooking Space:  700 square inches
  • Portability:  Good
  • Hopper Load Capacity: 20 lbs. 
  • Weight: 118 lbs. 
The Pit Boss 700 series is an 8-in-1 grill that is as versatile as they come. With 700 square-inch of cooking surface, this pellet grill and smoker has prime real estate space for all your favorite foods. The porcelain-coated grills are rust-resistant and prevent food from sticking. The digital controls board and standard flame broiler allow you to select the temperature range and your preferred cooking style. Just set it and forget about it.

Whether you're slow-roasting a whole chicken to a golden brown crisp or searing the juiciest of steaks, this is all that you will need. And with your choice of wood pellets, from hickory, cherry, mesquite, or apple, you will savor that smokiness and exceptional taste on your foods. With heavy-gauge steel components, you can be sure that this is one of the very best pellet grills under 500  that will last you for years.  
Pros
  • Large cooking surface
  • 8-in-1 multiple ways of cooking
  • Porcelain-coated cooking grids
  • Digital controls for preset cooking styles
  • Heavy gauge steel components for durability
Cons
  • Auger seems to favor Pit Boss pellets 
Also Good

A great 8-in-1 ways to cook pellet grill equipped with a smart smoke technology for consistent and hassle-free grilling. 
Quick Summary
  • Cooking Space:  538 square inches
  • Portability:  Good
  • Hopper Load Capacity: 10 lbs. 
  • Weight: 83.8 lbs. 
Grilling and smoking using the Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill are extremely satisfying. With smart smoke technology, all you need to do is set it on your desired cooking style and let it do the work. The automated electric feed system maintains temperature from 180 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The digital controller keeps the temperature within +/- 20 degrees F and makes setting the grill very easy.

Weighing at less than 90 lbs., this grill and smoker is portable and can be easily taken anywhere whether camping or tailgating. The surface area for grilling and smoking is large enough to make 10 burgers, 3 whole chickens, or  3 racks of ribs. A warming rack that sits on a 139 surface area is ideal for holding those veggies or warming meats prior to serving. With a lifetime guarantee, this is easily one of the best pellet grills under 500 that offers lots of features at a reasonable price.  
Pros
  • Smart smoke technology for easy cooking
  • Large cooking area and a warming rack
  • The automated electric feed system for hassle-free grilling
  • Portable and weighs less than 90 lbs. 
  • Lifetime guarantee
Cons
  • Control of  temperature takes getting used to
Also Good

A small, portable, but powerful wood pellet grill with a  dynamic range of cooking temperature that results in precision cooking.  
Quick Summary
  • Cooking Space:  340 square inches
  • Portability:  Very Good
  • Hopper Load Capacity: 5 lbs. 
  • Weight: 36.3 lbs. 
The Pit Boss Grills 340 Wood Pellet  Grill is the smallest in the Pit Boss wood pellet series.  But don't be fooled by its size as its a very capable smoker grill. The 340 square-inch of the cooking area is enough to accommodate 15 regular-sized burgers. It's highly recommended to use 100% all natural-cooking grade pellets from Pit  Boss to maximize the flavor that this pellet smoker can deliver.

A dial-in digital control with LED readout makes it convenient for you to achieve precision cooking with the turn of a dial. A fan-forced convection cooking seals in meat juices without having to use a separate rotisserie system which can be expensive. Aside from grilling and smoking, the Pit Boss 340 is ideal for slow-cooking and searing making it a very versatile smoker.

The heavy-duty 16 gauge steel construction ensures that this smoker is going to give you great tasting foods for many years. With its durable construction and affordable price, it's one of the best pellet smokers under 500 that you will find.  
Pros
  • 340 square-inch of grilling area 
  • Heavy-duty 16 gauge steel construction for a durable body
  • Dial-in digital control with LED readout for precision cooking
  • Fan forced convection cooking for sealing meat juices 
  • A versatile pellet smoker grill
Cons
  • Small hopper capacity 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth buying a pellet grill?

Aside from the flavor that pellet grills are known to produce in foods, the versatility it brings is easily the best reason to have one.  A pellet grill can smoke, grill, bake, braise, barbecue, and more.  Others can even sear meat to bring out the golden crust outside, while keeping the inside tender and juicy.   If you love to have flexibility in your cooking, it's hard to go wrong with a pellet grill. 

Are pellet grills better than gas grills?

When it comes to smoking food, a pellet grill is the best choice because it is designed for that purpose.  In terms of versatility, it is more versatile since aside from grilling, it can also do other things. Baking, braising, roasting,  are just some of the things a pellet smoker grill can do which a regular gas grill cannot.  

Do pellet grills need electricity to operate?

Yes.  The reason is that there's an auger mechanism that needs to be powered to push the wood pellets into the cooking chamber. 

What are the most common types of wood pellets?
The following are the most popular types of wood pellets: 
  • Hickory
  • Mesquite
  • Cherry
  • Pecan
  • Apple
  • Oak 
  • Alder

What To Look For When Buying A Pellet Grill

Best Pellet Grill Under 500
While it's true that pellet grills are fundamentally the same, there are of course features or qualities that are viewed differently by different people. What's important to me may not be as important to you, so below are the things to look for when deciding on which pellet grill is the best for you. 

Capacity

This is important for all types of grills. And for a pellet smoker grill, you need to consider the cooking capacity. Is it only going to be used for family meals? Or are you the type who loves to invite guests and cook delicious foods for them? If it's the latter, then a larger capacity pellet grill may be your best bet. A larger cooking space and hopper for the wood pellets will make sure that you don't have to worry about impatient friends waiting for their turn to taste your delicious steak. (1)

Durability

Manufacturers will often save on the cost of their pellet grills by cutting some corners to meet the price range customers are willing to buy. When looking for a pellet grill, check the materials used whether it's sturdy or heavy-duty. This is where known brands have an edge since they have a reputation to protect. But, sometimes there are lesser-known brands that try to establish their names and produce durable and lasting pellet grills.  

Portability

Are you going to use your pellet smoker mostly in the comfort of your backyard, or are you the kind who loves camping, going to picnics, or tailgating? Consider the size and weight as well as the ease to carry it around if you will transport your pellet grill most of the time. You don't want to burden yourself with a heavy smoker grill that is a pain to carry on your camping site, taking most of the fun out of grilling.  

Special Features

While most pellet grills boast the same sets of features, some have a slight edge over others. There are pellet grills that have WiFi capabilities that allow you to monitor your food from afar. There are grills that have thermal sensors which others don't have. If these are important features for you, then you need to consider the ease of use and the reliability of these types of smoker grills. (2)

Warranty

If you're spending a couple of hundred dollars on your smoker grill, you deserve a grill that will last you for a number of years. A warranty is an "insurance" against products that breaks down on you when you've hardly used it. It's great to have that peace of mind knowing that you can either refund or have a new unit when the smoker grill you recently purchased malfunction.

Final Words

Pellet grills give so much flavor to the foods that we cook. That's why so many satisfied owners swear that they will never try other types of grills again. The versatility and the inexpensive use of a pellet smoker grill make it an easy choice for most grill owners. And with many flavors of wood pellets to experiment with, you may just find yourself a believer in a growing community of pellet grill enthusiasts. (3)
Best Overall

An ultimate 8-in-1  barbecue grill that's super versatile that makes cooking your favorite foods hassle-free. 

References

(1) ​hopper - https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/hopper
(2) ​WiFi - https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/what-is-wi-fi/ 
(3) ​enthusiasts - https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/enthusiast

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About the author 

Albert Thompson

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  1. Bookmarking this for future references. I was able to buy one before I found this page. Anyway, great guide here! Thank you!

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