Pellet Grill vs Smoker – Which One to Choose between the Two?

Pellet Grill vs Smoker – Which One to Choose between the Two?

“When the cravings for delicious and tender meat hit hard, one only thinks about either getting a pellet grill or smoker!”

Pellet grill vs smoker is an all-time debate, ever since the new grill combos came out on the market. Both of these are versatile machines that work on the almost same pattern, with a slight range of differences, in order to produce smoke-flavored food. 

With that being said, plenty of potential buyers out there find it difficult to make the final decision regarding their choice of the best BBQ equipment. Among a plethora of models with excellent features, the choice of whether to go for a smoker vs pellet grill has become a daunting task.

So here we are with a helpful piece of advice for you to make the decision easier. Down below is a detailed guide on the comparison of both – smoker and pellet grill – completely based on personal use, expert review, and user feedback. 

That said, let’s get straight to it:

What is a Pellet Grill?

Before we get to anything else, let’s make things clear about the basics of the two. So here is a brief account of pellet grills and smokers, prior to their comparison:

Pellet grill is a comparatively new name in the field of BBQ equipment, as it is somehow a recent invention. Apart from that, pellet grills are designed for making all the tender, juicy, and smoky food for you, without any hassle. 

With that being said, pellet grills are designed to work with ignited wood pellets and a system of fans to provide heat and regulation to the machine. Adding to this, these fans make sure that the smoke reaches every corner of the smoker. That said, all of this procedure begins by simply plugging in the power cord at the start.

What is a Smoker?

Smokers are cooking equipment that is meant for preparing meals at low temperatures and in a controlled environment; in order to produce smoky and tender meat. With that being said, smokers are of multiple types, as offset smokers, charcoal smokers, etc.

Moreover, they come in various sizes as well, so that you can choose from the variety as per your preferences. With that aside, these barbecue apparatus are powered by a number of fuels, for instance, electricity, natural gas, wood, or charcoal. 

Pellet Grill vs Smoker – A Comparison

Before we move any further, let’s have some add-ons to what we’ve mentioned about the two leading BBQ equipment, previously. Starting off with the basic functioning of the two, pellet grills are designed for great ease of use, as people often refer to it as a convection microwave as well. 

On the other hand, smokers are of numerous types; including the following: offset smoker, grill smoker, charcoal smoker, electric smoker, gravity smoker, and so on. With that said, unlike pellet grills, these smokers require continuous monitoring while the meat is inside, as the smoke inside the smoker needs to be maintained. 

All things considered, let’s get down to some other important stuff, which is none other than a comparison guide to which one’s better: smoker vs pellet grill. So without wasting another minute, let’s dive right into it:

Wood Pellet Grill vs Smoker – Comparing the Features

Ease of Use

First things first, the major element of any BBQ equipment is the ease of use. These handy machines help in making cookouts more fun and convenient. However, there lies a difference in the usage of these leading barbecue units; and that’s exactly what we’re going to discuss!


Pellet grills set the bar high for all the other types of smokers out there when it comes to the convenience of its users. So much so, they do not involve any kind of complex setup procedures, which would end up serious exhaustion.

With that being said, the start-up time estimated for both the gadgets is poles apart; as pellet grills take much less of the time to get started when compared to pellet grills vs charcoal smokers.

Also, when using the temperature gauge, pellet grills come up with the easiest options instead of manual controlling in smokers. Apart from that, the auto-filling system of pellets in the burn box makes it way too favorable for its users.

Taste and Flavor

Now here comes the real question: which one makes the tastiest and sought-after food: vertical smoker vs pellet grill?

In order to give a one-liner about it, the matter of choice between the two is massively based on personal preferences. Some people might prefer pellets’ taste over charcoal; while others would wait for hours even, just to have the charcoal-taste food.

So it all comes down to personal choices. However, on average, the demand for smokers is widely more than the pellet grills, when compared the tastes and flavors.

Cleanliness and Maintenance

At the end of an amazing cookout session, what’s left is the used, unclean smoker or grill, with a plethora of points to be cleaned up extensively. With that being said, no matter if you have a pellet grill vs gas grill, or any other smoker type by your side, every single unit takes up pretty much the same effort to maintain it properly.

However, the different models of these grills and smokers make the difference in defining which one would be more difficult to clean and which one’s cleaning would be a breeze.

On that note, pellet grills take the lead here as well, because of their enormously convenient cleaning mechanism. They tend to be easier in maintaining hygiene and thus are a no-hassle while removing ashes and the leftovers of the produce.

Price Comparison

When it comes to the price comparison of pellet grill vs electric smoker, or of any other kind of smoker, the former falls behind in this regard. To get things simple, smokers are cheaper and affordable when compared to pellet grills, and hence they are more preferred by masses out there; be it gravity smoker vs pellet grill or any other leading smoker type.

Pellet Grill vs Charcoal Smokers: Pros and Cons

Now that you know the major difference between pellet grills and smokers, it’s high time that we get down and summarize the whole thing discussed above. That said, we’re going to be mentioning the pros and cons of both the machines so that you have a better idea of what to have and what to avoid.

So on that note, let’s begin with our discussion:

The first and foremost thing to talk about is that pellet grills feature a set-and-forget feature, which means that you can keep your side hustles going while the pellet grill prepares your meal. While in the case of smokers, you have to babysit the whole cooking session, in order to get the desired results.

With that being said, the pellet grill type enables an automated temperature control system, which means that you don’t need to keep a check on the increase or decrease of the heat. Unlike smokers, the pellet grill maintains the highs and lows of the temperature required to cook the meat appropriately.

Lastly, some of the other perks of having a pellet smoker are that it comes equipped with a Wi-Fi connectivity option, a perfect ventilation system, and efficient fuel usage capability. However, in the case of most of the smoker types, electricity isn’t required, which makes the usability more convenient and versatile.

Having said that:

Coming to the negatives of pellet grills, they run on electricity, which might not be a suitable option all the time. Apart from that, the price range of this is higher than any other BBQ apparatus out there.

So you gotta spend a lot of your hard-earned money in order to get this. Apart from that, the flavor and taste of the food coming out of pellet grills is also not up to the mark, especially in comparison with charcoal smokers. Nevertheless, smokers are pretty much affordable and make juicy, smoky, and best-tasting food.

Is a pellet grill better than a smoker?

Overall, pellet grills seem more reasonable to most of the users; in terms of their usage and workability. However, the results coming out of it tend to be a little below standard, as the off-set smokers utilize more smoke and make the meat more tender and smoky.

Is a pellet smoker as good as a regular smoker?

Pellet grills are a one-of-its-kind invention in BBQ equipment; however, they are not as good as regular smokers. And the reason for that is pellet grills are less smoky than offset or regular smokers.

Can a pellet grill be used as a smoker?

For sure a pellet grill can be used as a smoker; as it features wood-fire smoking at a set temperature. Apart from that, the automatic feed system provides smoke and flavor to the meat, hence making it a perfect meal for everyone.

Is a pellet grill the same as a smoker?

Pellet grills are made up of a versatile functioning system that performs as a grill as well as a smoker. The small pellets made up of hardwood sawdust burn down quickly to produce smoke, and hence making the same food as that of a smoker.

Final Words

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Kirsten Popescu
By Kirsten Popescu

I'm a Chef with an unmatched selection of BBQ and grilling products. I have turned my passion for outdoor cooking into expert knowledge that will help you make the perfect meal, whether it's at your home or mine!

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