7 Best Pellet Grills Under $500 (Our 2024 Top Elite Choices)

Devon Ferguson
Published by Devon Ferguson
Last Updated On: February 14, 2024

Having spent a decade exploring the world of outdoor cooking, I've come to rely on pellet grills as an essential tool. As an avid griller and enthusiast, I understand the nuances of achieving that perfect wood-fired flavor without breaking the bank.

So, I tested seven of the best pellet grills under $500 to see if I could get the same quality of pricey grills without breaking the bank.

If you are embarking on the journey of finding the ultimate pellet grill under $500 this comprehensive buyer's guide can steer you toward the perfect choice that aligns with your outdoor cooking aspirations.

The Best Pellet Grills Under $500

Top 7 Pellet Grills under $500

1

1 - Z GRILLS-550B Wood Pellet Grill (Best Overall)

Rated 4.8/5
Z GRILLS-550B Wood Pellet Grill
4.9
Quality
4.8
Price
4.7
Durability
4.8
Capacity
4.9
Features
4.7
Warranty
Pros
  • Comes with "Set and Forget" operation
  • Pellets deliver great wood flavor
  • Convection cooking heats evenly
  • Holds up to 10 lbs of pellets
Cons
  • The pellet hopper does not come with an emptying slot

Who is it for?

Who is it for?

  • Small families or couples

Who is it not for?

  • Large gatherings

Final Verdict

A budget-friendly option with precise temperature control. Ideal for those who want consistent results in a compact size.

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The Z Grills 550B is an excellent wood pellet grill for those looking for a quality product on a budget.

With an impressive 560 square inches of cooking space on two cooking racks and a precise PID temperature controller, this sturdy grill works well for family gatherings and backyard barbeques.

You can cook at temperatures that range from low and slow to fast and hot with complete confidence.

With a wide temperature range and high-temperature powder coating for its heavy-duty steel body, these pellet smokers can provide years of delicious wood-fired flavor.

As someone who enjoys experimenting with diverse cooking techniques, the fact that this versatile grill offers eight distinct cooking methods is a major plus for me. From searing to roasting, this grill caters to the culinary explorer in me.

The versatility allows me to cook my meat creatively and produce superb results.

Quick Facts:

  • Total Cooking Surface : 560 sq. in.
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity : 10 lbs
  • Temperature Range : 180-450 °F
  • Material : Porcelain-coated steel
  • Dimensions : 47×24×48
2

2 - Traeger Tailgater Pellet Grill (Best Portable)

Rated 4.7/5
Traeger Tailgater Pellet Grill
4.8
Quality
4.7
Price
4.8
Durability
4.6
Capacity
4.8
Features
4.6
Warranty
Pros
  • Long-lasting porcelain-coated grill grates
  • Included meat probe speaks to a digital elite controller
  • Comes with a bucket to assist with clean up
Cons
  • Assembling this grill might require an extra pair of hands, making it a bit of a team effort

Who is it for?

Who is it for?

  • Tailgaters, campers

Who is it not for?

  • Home cooks needing large cooking space

Final Verdict

Portable and versatile, perfect for outdoor adventures. Limited cooking space might not be suitable for big events.

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The Traeger Tailgater is perfect for anyone who loves to tailgate. This small and portable design offers you the same unique backyard smoking, wood-fired grilling experience that Traeger is known for in a more compact size.

The digital control board allows you to set the temperature up to 450°F with accuracy and precision, while the cooking area of 300 square inches means you can cook 14 hot dogs and 10 burgers at once.

Traeger Grill construction is made from durable steel, and the grill's exterior has been finished with powder coating for extra protection against the elements.

Mobility is key, especially for outdoor enthusiasts like myself. The addition of wheels and foldable legs to the Traeger Tailgater isn't just a convenience; it's a testament to the thoughtful design that understands the needs of those who enjoy grilling on the move.

I like that this grill has a "keep warm" function which means I don't have to interrupt the fun and games just because I have finished cooking.

The food stays fresh and warm with the flavor of an open wood-fired flame while using only minimal fuel.

Quick Facts:

  • Total Cooking Surface : 300 sq. in.
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity : 8 lbs
  • Temperature Range : 180-450 °F
  • Material : Porcelain-coated steel
  • Dimensions : 37×18×36
3

3 - Pit Boss 700FB Wood Pellet Grill (Best Heavy-Duty)

Rated 4.7/5
Pit Boss 700FB Wood Pellet Grill
4.7
Quality
4.7
Price
4.9
Durability
4.8
Capacity
4.7
Features
4.6
Warranty
Pros
  • Large cooking area
  • Heavy-gauge steel construction
  • Simple grease management system
Cons
  • Wheels are small

Who is it for?

Who is it for?

  • BBQ enthusiasts

Who is it not for?

  • Users needing advanced tech features

Final Verdict

Offers great versatility and a large cooking area. Ideal for those who want a robust, no-frills grilling experience.

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When it comes to combining affordability with top-notch quality, the Pit Boss 700FB pellet grill takes the crown. With its expansive cooking space and precision temperature control, it stands out in the realm of budget-friendly grills.

This large pellet grill has an expansive 700 square inches of cooking surface and uses sturdy steel construction, giving it excellent heat retention.

The Pit Boss 700FB has a hopper capacity of 21 lbs and can give you steady, fan-forced convection heat for up to 24 hours over the entire grilling space.

You can also use the precision temperature control system with a temperature range of 180-500°F that allows you to cook low and slow for maximum flavor or high and hot for a delicious char.

One of my favorite features of this Pit Boss grill is that there is a level that enables you to do direct flame searing at a max temp of 1,000°F. This leaves perfect sear marks from the porcelain-coated steel cooking grids every time I use it.

Quick Facts:

  • Total Cooking Surface : 700 sq. in.
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity : 21 lbs
  • Temperature Range : 180-500 °F
  • Material : Porcelain-coated steel
  • Dimensions : 41.3 x 26.6 x 43.8
4

4 - Camp Chef Pursuit Pellet Grill (Best Lightweight)

Rated 4.7/5
Camp Chef Pursuit Pellet Grill
4.7
Quality
4.6
Price
4.7
Durability
4.6
Capacity
4.8
Features
4.5
Warranty
Pros
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Smoke settings using Camp Chef smoke control technology
  • Slider to shift from indirect to direct flame broil
Cons
  • At 500 square inches, smaller than some other options

Who is it for?

Who is it for?

  • Adventurous cooks on the go

Who is it not for?

  • Users needing a large, stationary grill

Final Verdict

Excellent for portability and quick setups. Its smaller size is great for limited spaces but not for big gatherings.

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Embarking on culinary journeys amidst the great outdoors has been a passion of mine, and the Camp Chef Pursuit Pellet Grill aligns perfectly with this pursuit. As a versatile and mobile cooking companion, it promises to deliver mouthwatering flavors no matter where your adventures lead.

It has an adjustable temperature range from 160°F to 500°F, allowing you to sear or slow-cook whatever is on your menu.

You can tell when something is done cooking by understanding what reactions you want to trigger and then detecting when those reactions have occurred. -Jeff Potter, Author of Cooking for Geeks

This Camp Chef model has a digital temperature control that allows you to dial your desired temperature level precisely, and the automatic auger dispenses pellets as needed.

It also has a smoke control technology that creates the right amount of clean smoke for your taste.

One of the clever features I've grown fond of in the Camp Chef grill is the ingenious sliding mechanism. This innovation seamlessly transitions me from slow indirect cooking to a blazing direct flame for that perfect finishing touch on my smoked creations.

There is no readjustment of hot or clunky parts - one simple sliding movement, and I can put the final char on a smoked brisket.

Quick Facts:

  • Total Cooking Surface : 501 sq. in.
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity : 10 lbs
  • Temperature Range : 160-500 °F
  • Material : Stainless steel
  • Dimensions : 38 x 18.5 x 21
5

5 - Monument Grills 89679 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

Rated 4.6/5
Monument Grills 89679 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
4.6
Quality
4.6
Price
4.7
Durability
4.7
Capacity
4.7
Features
4.5
Warranty
Pros
  • Automatic, self-lighting fire and pellet feed systems
  • Convenient 6' 6" electrical cord
  • Adjustable smokestack to dial-in smoke flavor
Cons
  • Assembly can be challenging

Who is it for?

Who is it for?

  • Gas grill users

Who is it not for?

  • Wood or charcoal grill purists

Final Verdict

A variety of options available, perfect for gas grill users looking for reliable performance. Limited flavor compared to wood/charcoal.

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The Monument Grills 89679 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker is an excellent option for those who want to enjoy smoking with wood pellets.

It has an impressive 572 square inches of cooking space over two racks, with one being excellent for a warming rack that can also be used for slow cooking.

This pellet grill keeps the temperature at your set point by funneling just the right amount of pellets into the fire pot. This means you can cook from 180 to 475 °F without closely monitoring the grill.

I found that this grill uses less than 2 pounds of pellets per hour. And with its 15-pound hopper capacity, I only needed to refill it during the most prolonged grilling sessions.

Quick Facts:

  • Total Cooking Surface : 572 sq. in.
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity : 15 lbs
  • Temperature Range : 180-475 °F
  • Material : Cast iron
  • Dimensions : 47.75 x 21.38 x 49
6

6 - Recteq RT-B380 Bullseye (Cheapest)

Rated 4.6/5
Recteq RT-B380 Bullseye
4.6
Quality
4.8
Price
4.6
Durability
4.5
Capacity
4.7
Features
4.4
Warranty
Pros
  • Electric ignition system
  • Accurate temperature control
  • Included meat probe
Cons
  • No access to the auger chute

Who is it for?

Who is it for?

  • Tech-savvy grillers

Who is it not for?

  • Traditional charcoal enthusiasts

Final Verdict

High-temperature grilling with smart features. Great for those who appreciate modern grilling tech, but pricier than basic models.

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When size meets performance, the Recteq RT-B380 Bullseye emerges as a standout pellet smoker. Sporting a substantial 380-square-inch main cooking area, this grill strikes a balance between space and efficiency that sets it apart from its competitors.

This pellet smoker has a long-lasting stainless steel cooking surface and a sizable 15-pound hopper, which doubles as a heat-resistant side tray.

The grill has a digital thermostat system that fires as high as 749 degrees Fahrenheit. The PID temperature control ensures that the set temperature stays constant and within your desired range so that you can concentrate on the rest of the meal.

I like that the Recteq RT-B380 Bullseye's kettle design harkens back to the traditional charcoal grill but is much more convenient. The pellets are directly fired so there is no need for a separate fuel source.

Quick Facts:

  • Total Cooking Surface : 380 sq. in.
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity : 15 lbs
  • Temperature Range : 200-750 °F
  • Material : Porcelain Coated Steel
  • Dimensions : 40 x 22.5 x 36
7

7 - Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill

Rated 4.5/5
Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill
4.5
Quality
4.5
Price
4.6
Durability
4.4
Capacity
4.6
Features
4.3
Warranty
Pros
  • Great wood flavor
  • Bluetooth temperature probe and Wi-Fi controller
  • Peaked lid to accommodate large cuts of meat
Cons
  • Small hopper and cooking capacity

Who is it for?

Who is it for?

Who is it not for?

I have also been intrigued by the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett. Its portability and wood-fired essence ignited my curiosity. Tailored for adventurous spirits who enjoy tailgating and camping, this portable pellet smoker brings wood-fired flavor to every corner of nature."

This model has a 219-square-inch cooking area and uses natural hardwood pellets as fuel.

It is also equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so you can adjust the temperature from your phone if desired. It also has a digital temperature control system and can reach temperatures up to 550°F.

What I love about this model is that it is designed for portability, making it easy to bring along on camping trips or any outdoor event.

The Davy Crockett folds up and fits in my trunk while bringing a convenient side rack, ash cleanout system, and meat probe.

Quick Facts:

  • Total Cooking Surface : 219 sq. in.
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity : 9 lbs
  • Temperature Range : 180-550 °F
  • Material : Stainless Steel
  • Dimensions : 31 x 24 x 33 (legs open)

Buyer's Guide for the Best Pellet Grill under $500

Here is a buyer's guide to help you navigate your way through the best pellet grills under $500.

1. Cooking Area

An image of a man using a pellet grill with a good cooking area

Sufficient cooking space and grilling area are one of the most important factors I consider when buying a pellet grill.

If you plan on hosting large backyard barbecues, your cooking area must be large enough to accommodate all of your guests' food. However, if you just need something basic for small family meals, you won't need as much cooking space.

Double-check the dimensions of any pellet grill before purchasing it so that you get one with enough cooking area for your needs.

2. Portability

Portability is another key factor in choosing among the best pellet grills under $500. Most models have handles, making them easy to move from place to place.

However, larger models may not be as mobile – so if portability is an important factor for you, then select one with caster wheels or other means of transportation.

Read More: Best Portable Pellet Grills

3. Durability

A close up image of an open budget pellet grill that is made from durable materials

Having delved into the intricacies of wood pellet grills, durability has emerged as a vital factor. As someone who prizes longevity in culinary investments, I've learned to seek models that withstand the test of time.

Fortunately, most reliable pellet grills are made of durable materials such as stainless steel or powder-coated metal to withstand the weather and last for years.

Check the warranty period before making your purchase; some companies offer extended warranties of up to 10 years.

4. Performance

The reason to buy a pellet grill smoker is to get great cooking results without worrying about charcoal or gas grills' inconvenience or mess.

In my quest for flavor consistency, I've come to appreciate that the best pellet grills under $500 derive their culinary prowess from the use of hardwood pellets or compressed sawdust. This choice of fuel source leads to reliably delectable outcomes in these pellet smokers.

Look for models with digital temperature gauges so you can set and monitor your desired cooking temperature accurately and efficiently.

Also, a large pellet hopper capacity is essential, so you don't have to add pellets continually while cooking.

5. Power

An image of a person adjusting the temperature of a pellet grill

Most of the best pellet grills under $500 offer temperatures ranging from 180°F up to 500°F—plenty of room for low-and-slow smoking as well as searing steaks.

Some models even allow you to adjust the temperature in 5° increments so that precise temperatures can be achieved when needed, making them ideal for more complex recipes, like pizza or bread.

Many modern grills also have advanced features like direct flame broiling and app control capabilities that allow you to monitor your food without opening up the lid.

6. Convenience

Having evaluated an array of pallet grill smokers throughout my culinary journey, I've found that a discerning examination of a grill's features is the key to pinpointing the ideal companion for your grilling ventures.

Many of them come with digital control systems for precise temperature settings, as well as automatic ignition, automatic shutoff timers, and meat probes.

Additionally, some pellet grills come with pellet hopper extensions or larger hopper capacity so that you can cook for longer periods without reloading pellets.

7. Accessories

A close up image of a pellet grill that has Wi-Fi feature

Pellet grills come with all kinds of helpful accessories, even when you're shopping on a budget.

Look for models that include side shelves for prep space; handles for easy portability; integrated thermometers for precise temperature control; and even Wi-Fi connectivity so you can monitor your food from anywhere.

And don't forget about storage space—look for larger grill models with plenty of room in the hopper, firebox, and ash pan so you can stock up on supplies before your next cookout.

Also Read: Best WiFi Pellet Grills & Smokers

8. Safety

When using pellet grill, you need to take several safety tips into consideration to enjoy fun grilling or smoking [1].

Seven out of every 10 adults in the U.S. have a grill or smoke, which translates to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires. -National Fire Protection Association

Fortunately, most pellet grills have integrated sensors and controllers that keep temperatures consistent throughout the cooking process.

Plus, some high-end grills feature built-in shutoff timers that turn off the grill after a period of non-use - a great feature if you tend to forget about your grill while while doing other things.

FAQs

Is Buying a Pellet Grill Worth the Investment?

Yes, buying a pellet grill is worth the investment because these grills offer convenience, consistency, and control that you wouldn't get with a traditional charcoal grill.

Many models come with helpful accessories like side shelves and thermometers for easy internal temperature monitoring.

Does Food Taste Better on a Pellet Grill?

Food tastes better on a pellet grill because of the wood pellets' smoky flavor. Additionally, many pellet grills allow you to cook food at a consistent temperature which helps ensure that everything is cooked evenly.

Are Pellet Grills Easy to Clean?

Yes, most pellet grills are very easy to clean. The best pellet smokers come with a removable ash pan and a grease management system that allows you to quickly dispose of any leftover ashes or debris after cooking.

What Is the Best Inexpensive Pellet Grill for You?

The best inexpensive pellet grill for you is one that is versatile and of high quality that rivals even the most premium counterparts.

My vote for the best pocket friendly pellet grill goes to the Z GRILLS-550B.

This model offers plenty of features, like a good hopper capacity, temperature monitoring system, and convection cooking––all for a great price.

Plus, online users rave about the flavor that this grill produces thanks to the wood pellets it uses. So, if you're on a budget but still want a quality pellet grill experience, consider the Z GRILLS-550B.

Z GRILLS-550B Wood Pellet Grill (Best Overall)

Our #1 Recommendation

  • Comes with "Set and Forget" operation
  • Pellets deliver great wood flavor
  • Convection cooking heats evenly
  • Holds up to 10 lbs of pellets
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of June

References:

  1. https://www.hpba.org/Consumer-Information/Barbecue-Outdoor-Living/Grill-Safety/Pellet-Grill
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About the author

Devon Ferguson
Senior Editor
Devon Ferguson is the senior editor at Carnivore Style who loves dining and traveling. This well-traveled meat hunter has scaled cities high and low to scout sources for the finest meats. He's tested and reviewed nearly every grill, smoker and meat delivery box on the market.
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