Devon Ferguson
Published by Devon Ferguson
Last Updated On: January 25, 2023

As a carnivore lifestyle devotee, BBQ food is at the top of my list. I use my pellet grill at least once a week, so I wanted to find a model I can use when I go camping, fishing, or spending a day at the beach.

I tested portable pellet grills from several of the industry’s biggest brands and ranked them on mobility, cooking capacity, build quality, and food flavor.

Here’s my selection of the seven best portable pellet grills you can get.

7 Best Portable Pellet Grills

1

1 - Traeger Tailgater

Traeger Tailgater

Traeger is one of the most well-known brands in the world of pellet grills, and the Traeger Tailgater pellet grill justifies the brand’s reputation.

The Tailgater portable grill has folding legs you can latch onto the grill’s side for safe portability.

This small pellet grill has a 15 Amp power source and a built-in meat probe, so it’s easy to cook at your tailgate. It has 300 square inches of cooking area, which is enough to cook for several people.

I can easily fit two chickens or three racks of ribs without cramping the cooking area.

Moreover, this portable pellet grill can be used as a smoker whenever you crave smoke-infused food.

The pellet hopper is 8 lbs, which is on the small side, but I could smoke for several hours without refilling.

There’s also no direct-flame access or a PID temperature controller that higher-end Traeger grills have.

Pros
  • Good temperature range
  • Can grill and smoke food
  • Foldable wheels
  • LCD screen located at the front
Cons
  • No Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity
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Quick Facts:

  • Dimensions : ‎37 x 18 x 36 inc
  • Weight : 62 lbs
  • Material : Porcelain-coated and stainless steel
  • Cooking Surface : 300 square inches
  • Pellet hopper capacity : 8 lbs
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2 - Camp Chef Pursuit Pellet Grill

Camp Chef Pursuit Pellet Grill

Camp Chef Pursuit portable pallet grill has a locking lid and hopper. The folding legs turn into handles, so it’s easy to pack and safely transport the grill. You can roll it behind you.

The cooking area is among the largest found in portable pellet smokers. There are 253 square inches of lower grill area and 248 on the upper rack, for a total of 501 square inches of space.

This grill reaches an impressive 500 degrees, which means you can sear your food.

The Pursuit pellet grill is equipped with a Camp Chef Gen 2 controller with PID technology [1]. This means you’ll have accurate temperature — the maximum the temperature can vary from the set level is five degrees.

This pellet grill has a temperature range of 160 to 500 degrees, and you can have both direct and indirect cooking areas.

I used it for different cooking styles, from braising, roasting, searing, and baking and the results were amazing.

Pros
  • Ash cleanout system for easy cleanup
  • Direct and indirect cooking
  • 10 smoke levels
Cons
  • No smart connectivity
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Quick Facts:

  • Dimensions : 38 x 18.5 x 21 in
  • Weight : 82 lbs
  • Material : Powder-coated steel with stainless steel lid
  • Cooking Surface : 501 square inches
  • Pellet hopper capacity : 10 lbs
3

3 - Traeger Ranger

Traeger Ranger

Traeger Ranger portable pellet smoker belongs to the tabletop pellet grill category. It has 184 square inches of cooking space, which fits six burgers, ten hot dogs, or a rack of ribs.

Unlike other portable pellet grills, Ranger has large cast-iron grates without any gaps, making cleaning easier.

This pellet grill has Traeger Digital Elite Controller that lets you choose between 12 temperatures at once, so you can have direct and indirect grilling.

What sets Ranger apart from the Tailgater is the grilling technology. You can control this grill from your phone or tablet, so there’s no need to keep an eye on the grill or stand next to it during the grilling.

Ranger also has a Keep Warm feature that lets you maintain the warmth in the cooking chamber by setting the temperature at 165 degrees. This keeps the food warm but prevents overcooking.

Pros
  • Compact design
  • Warm mode keeps the food warm until you’re ready to eat
  • Cast iron griddle included
Cons
  • Hopper is located inside, so you need to open the lid to add wood pellets
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Quick Facts:

  • Dimensions : 13 x 21 x 20 in
  • Weight : 60 lbs
  • Material : Powder-coated steel
  • Cooking Surface : 184 square inches
  • Pellet hopper capacity : 8 lbs
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4 - Z Grills Pioneer 450B

Z Grills Pioneer 450B

Z Grills Pioneer has one of the largest pellet hoppers on this list at 15 lbs, so you can grill for hours before having to refill. Moreover, the hopper has a window, so you can check on the pellet level without opening the lid.

Another nice feature is the pellet hopper cleanout chute. I could open the rear cleanout on the hopper and easily switch out the pellet flavors. This means you don’t need to burn through the wood pellets first to clear out the hopper.

This pellet grill has 128 square inches of cooking space on the top rack, which is removable, and another 331 square inches on the main rack for a total of 459 square inches.

The portable wood pellet grill can be used as a grill and a smoker. The PID controller keeps the temperature stable, especially around 250 degrees when smoking meat.

Pros
  • Two casters and two large wheels for easy movability
  • Large pellet hopper
  • PID for stable temperature
Cons
  • Time-consuming cleanup
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Quick Facts:

  • Dimensions : 41 x 18 x 23 in
  • Weight : 95 lbs
  • Material : Powder-coated steel
  • Cooking Surface : 459 square inches
  • Pellet hopper capacity : 15 lbs
5

5 - Pit Boss Sportsman 820 Wood Pellet Grill

Pit Boss Sportsman 820 Wood Pellet Grill

Pit Boss Sportsman portable pellet grill has the largest pellet hopper capacity on this list at 21 lbs. It also has a massive cooking surface of 849 square inches, so you can cook up to 45 burgers at once.

This grill has a digital control panel that makes the use very simple. The control board works together with the meat probes to check the meat’s doneness and adjust the temperature as needed.

You can set the pellet grill and walk away. The grill will do the work for you.

You can use the Sportsman portable pellet grill to smoke, bake, roast, barbecue, sear, grill, braise, and char-grill, so you get incredible versatility.

The legs are foldable and made to slide in one movement without having to fold one at a time. The handles are compact and lightweight, so it’s easy to carry the pellet grill.

Pros
  • Porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates for easy cleanup
  • Sliding folding legs
  • Convection fan keeps the temperature steady
Cons
  • No insulation, which means high fuel usage in cold weather
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Quick Facts:

  • Dimensions : 58.2 x 32.3 x 52.2 in
  • Weight : 157 lbs
  • Material : Powder-coated steel and porcelain-coated cast iron grates
  • Cooking Surface : 849 square inches
  • Pellet hopper capacity : 21 lbs
6

6 - Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill

Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill

Green Mountain Davy Crocket pellet grill has a standard wall plug, but you can also plug it into a 12 V socket in your generator, battery pack, or vehicle, which is incredibly useful when grilling on the road.

I even used the alligator clips that came with the portable grill and clamped them onto my car’s battery. Overall, you can grill anywhere with this portable pellet grill.

The support legs fold up over the cooking chamber, and you can use them as handles. The portable pellet smoker weighs 71 lbs, so you may need help carrying it, but the portable design is still useful.

I liked that the grill has temperature probes that connect straight to the digital display, so I didn’t have to guess if the meat was done or buy a digital thermometer.

This is a rare portable pellet grill with a side shelf and utensil hooks, so you can set things down.

Pros
  • Side shelf and utensil hooks
  • Smartphone temperature control
  • Comes with a portable pellet grill cover
Cons
  • Hopper on the smaller side
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Quick Facts:

  • Dimensions : 28 x 20 x 14 in
  • Weight : 71 lbs
  • Material : Stainless steel
  • Cooking Surface : 219 square inches
  • Pellet hopper capacity : 9 lbs
7

7 - Cuisinart CPG-256 Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

Cuisinart CPG-256 Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

Cuisinart CPG-256 is a tabletop pellet grill. It’s the lightest on this list at 45 lbs, so you can easily take it anywhere.

This portable pellet grill has 256 square inches of cooking space with an integrated sear zone that lets you smoke, barbecue, grill, bake, braise, char-grill, roast, and sear.

Its temperature range is 180 to 500 degrees, so you can cook various meals and sear food. It’s also one of the more affordable portable and tabletop pellet grills, so it’s a good choice if you’re on a budget.

The start is extremely easy, thanks to the electronic auto-start ignition. All you need to do is press a button. The LED display shows the temperature in real-time, so it’s easy to keep an eye on your food.

Pros
  • Small and lightweight for easy portability
  • Affordable
  • Wide temperature range
Cons
  • Small hopper capacity
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Quick Facts:

  • Dimensions : 24 x 18 x 15 in
  • Weight : 45 lbs
  • Material : Stainless steel
  • Cooking Surface : 256 square inches
  • Pellet hopper capacity : 4 lbs

Best Portable Pellet Grill Buyer’s Guide

Here’s everything you need to know about portable pellet grills before purchasing one.

1. Portability

An image of a man pulling a portable pellet grill

Portability is all about the size. Ideally, you want to take a grill wherever you go, so the portable wood pellet grills should be easy to pack up and take with you.

Remember to check that the grill’s dimensions match the boot of your car or the back of your truck.

Go for portable pellet grills with folding legs, such as the Traeger Tailgater. Check how easy it is to fold away the legs and if the setup and takedown need more than one person.

Also, check how lightweight a grill is. Think about what weight you can carry. Are 40 lbs too heavy, or can you take on 100 lbs? Or, will you have help on the trip?

A bulky grill is almost impossible to take with you on a trip, even if it comes with wheels. Don’t let wheels and handles fool you, but check the weight and dimensions.

2. Type of Portable Pellet Grills

There are two types of portable pellet grills: tabletop and collapsible.

A tabletop pellet grill is box-shaped. This is the smallest version of portable pellet grills. It’s usually compact and light but has a small cooking surface.

Collapsible pellet grills are bigger than tabletop. They have legs you can fold and carry the grill. You usually need to assemble these grills.

They are heavier than the tabletop but have a larger cooking capacity.

3. Hopper Capacity

An image of wood pellets with fire on the background

Hopper capacity also influences the size of the portable pellet grill. A larger pellet hopper means larger portable pellet smokers.

But it also means you can load more wood pellets and smoke for longer without having to refill.

The largest hopper capacity on this list is the Pit Boss Sportsman at 21 lbs, but this is also one of the largest portable grills.

You don’t necessarily need a huge pellet hopper. Camp Chef Pursuit has a hopper of 10 lbs which is sufficient. Traeger Tailgater’s 8 lbs hopper is also fine for grilling and smoking on the road. Both of these will work for hours before having to be refilled.

4. Power Source

Unlike a charcoal grill, a pellet grill needs electricity to operate. Most portable pellet grills can work using a 12-volt car battery, but a larger model will need a good source of energy, such as a home electrical outlet.

Some models can be powered by a car hook-up, a battery, or a generator. The more power options a portable grill has, the bigger the usage flexibility.

5. Temperature Control

Best portable pellet smokers have meat probes, digital displays, and PID controllers for temperature control. PID is especially important, as it can precisely control the temperature within five degrees of the level you set.

PID stands for Proportional, Integral, Derivative [2]. It measures the actual temperature in the portable pellet grill smoker and feeds or restricts the fuel so the smoker always has desired temperature. This results in consistent cooking results.

For example, Z Grills Pioneer and Camp Chef Pursuit all have PIDs. However, Camp Chef Pursuit is the only one that provides direct flame access, which means better searing.

6. Connectivity

Connectivity is about smart technology, i.e., Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. A Wi-Fi-controlled portable pellet smoker lets you walk away from the grill.

You can chat with guests, relax, and monitor what’s going on in your grill on an app on your phone from any distance.

Overall, the app and Wi-Fi connectivity make it easy to manage the grill, but it increases the price.

Read More: Best WiFi Pellet Grills & Smokers

7. Build Quality

An image of a person cooking using a portable grill outdoors

Not to sound like a broken record, but a portable grill needs to withstand travel at the back of your vehicle, occasional drops, and hits.

Portable smokers tend to get knocked around, so this is why you need to pay attention to the materials used to make the best tabletop pellet grill or a collapsible one.

Steel is the most durable material, so look for a grill with stainless steel components. Cast iron and porcelain are also good choices.

Some grills have porcelain-coated grill grates, which spread the heat evenly and are rustproof but need proper maintenance.

Overall, look for materials that can withstand natural elements and harsh weather conditions, such as stainless steel or powder-coated steel.

Also, check for any bits and pieces that stick out, as these are likely to break off when you transport the grill.

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FAQs

How Long Will a 40 lb Bag of Pellets Last In a Smoker?

A 40 lbs bag of pellets will last for about 26 hours in a smoker at a low setting.

How Long Does a 40 lb Bag of Wood Pellets Last for a Grill?

A 40 lb bag of wood pellets lasts for about 24 hours for a grill.

What Are the Cons of Pellet Grills?

The cons of pellet grills are that they are heavy and need electricity, so most aren’t portable. Moving pellet grills can damage the electrical parts, and these grills aren’t meant to be used in wet weather.

What’s the Best Portable Pellet Grill for You?

Tailgate parties are my favorite pastime, and these seven grills never failed to make my BBQ sessions memorable.

Although each of them has its irrefutable perks, my vote for the best portable pellet grill goes to Traeger Tailgater. It has foldable legs that are easily attached to the grill’s side, so it’s easy and safe to move the grill.

The cooking surface is 300 square inches which fit two whole chickens. You can cook for your entire family on the Trager Tailgater pellet grill.

The LCD screen located at the front always shows the correct temperature. Finally, you can grill or smoke food and always have delicious results.

Traeger Tailgater

Our #1 Recommendation

  • Good temperature range
  • Can grill and smoke food
  • Foldable wheels
  • LCD screen located at the front
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of January
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