How Long Do Pellets Last in a Pellet Grill (3 Main Factors)

Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: June 20, 2024

As a meat lover and experienced grill master, I am no stranger to the popularity of pellet grills.

Though my peers have all started switching to pellet grills, I have always been skeptical and wanted to do my research first. Below is the result of my study for novices and experts alike on how long pellets last.

A forty-pound bag of pellets should provide you with a burn time under the right conditions.

If stored properly, pellets can also last up to six months. These times vary depending on your grill type, quality of your pellets, and heat needed to cook.

Various factors can change the length of time that your pellets will last.

While researching this topic, it was hard to find detailed research as pellets stay different amounts of times under various pellet grilling circumstances.

Naturally, what you are cooking and the heat you need to do so will drastically affect how long your pellets last.

Quick Summary

  • Pellet consumption in a grill depends on factors like cooking temperature, weather, and pellet quality.
  • Weather conditions, especially cold, can increase pellet usage due to the need for maintaining temperature.
  • The quality and brand of pellets, as well as the type and insulation of the grill, significantly affect burn time.

Factors That Affect How Long Pellets Last

Top view close up image of wood pellets on hand

According to experts and my research, many aspects could influence how long pellets will last in a pellet grill.

This being said, pellet grills are still gaining popularity due to how effective they are and the amount of control you have.

The following things will all influence how long your pellets last while grilling or smoking meat:

1. The Temperature of Your Pellet Grills

Since the heat you need to smoke or cook meat can differ significantly. It is only natural that the amount of time your pellets last and the required number of pellets will also vary.

If you want to cook your meat at higher temperatures, you will need more pellets, as cooking at high temperatures can make your pellets burn a lot faster.

“The smoker burns 1 to 3 pounds of pellets per hour. Traeger says that means each 20-pound bag provides between 6 to 20 hours of cook time (at high or low heat)," claims
- Brian from CNET [1]

2. The Weather

A cold grill in winter

The weather at the pellet grilling time is also a variable that must be considered when estimating how long your grilling pellets will last.

When using your pellet grill in the winter, you will be using quite a bit more fuel to get your temperature right.

However, preheating will take longer, but you will probably also need to cook your meat for longer than you usually would, meaning that your pellets will not last as long.

"In cold weather, your grill is going to use more fuel to reach the right temperature; plan on using about 50% more than you would in the summer,” says

- Camp Chef [2]

Naturally, the weather outside will affect your grill's temperature and the number of pellets needed to keep the temperature steady, so always make sure you have extra.

3. The Brand and Quality of Your Pellets

A wood pellet inside an old sack

As with all other things in life, most people would prefer to buy a cheaper alternative to expensive pellet grill brands when no one is watching—the same counts for what pellets you use in your grill.

After researching the quality differences and speaking to experts, you might want to reconsider that.

Brands that produce grilling pellets usually also sell grills themselves. It means that more prominent brands have a lot to lose if they sell you lower quality pellets than what is advertised.

Not only is the reputation of a brand on the line when they sell pellets of a lower quality standard, but they also do not need to.

More prominent brands have sometimes been around for years and have had enough time to perfect their pellets to ensure that the best experience you can expect would be by using their grill and pellets in combination.

4. The Grill and Insulation

Burning wood pellets in black background

Doing some research on the subject makes it easy to see why the pellet grill you use will significantly impact the number of pellets you use and how long those pellets last.

The size of the grill makes a difference, but the quality of the pellet grill and insulation used in its making also affects your pellets.

The pellet grill you choose to buy will usually have packet deals and combos that include a grill, pellets, and even some kind of insulation.

Using all three of these things together ensures high-quality cooking and longer-lasting pellets.

Traeger, a well-known pellet grill manufacturer, says the following about using a grill insulation blanket "It provides protection from the cold to maintain consistent temperatures and reduce pellet consumption.” [3]

Though an insulation blanket is a must-have for winter, some pellet grills use double walls to insulate themselves naturally.

Using a double wall for your pellet smoker means that your cooking temperature will be more stable, your pellets will last longer, and the number of pellets you use will lower as well.

How To Store Your Pellets To Last Longer?

Man holding a big clear sack of wood pellets putting inside a storage

After doing some more in-depth research, I found that the way you store your grill pellets can significantly impact how long they last.

The pellet specialists at Traeger have also helped us with some guidelines for storing our wood pellets to ensure that they are suitable to be used when we need them [4].

The following are the best guidelines for storing your pellets:

  • Keep your pellets stored in a dry place to avoid any moisture from ruining the pellets and preventing them from burning.
  • Do not use zip-lock bags, and do not keep the heating pellets in their original pouch.
  • Use an airtight sealed container to keep any unwanted elements from affecting your pellets and making them unusable.

These tips might seem straightforward but can significantly extend the storage time for your Traeger pellets before they become unusable. In some cases, these heating pellets can last up to six months.

Related: Are Pellet Grills Healthy?


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About the author

Timothy Woods
CEO / Co-Founder
Timothy Woods holds a Kinesiology and Exercise Science degree from Jacksonville University and is CCC & GMU Certified. He's also the main man behind Carnivore Style. This food aficionado combines science and experience to spread the word about the carnivore lifestyle.
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