A pellet smoker is a fantastic way to achieve professional-level cooking even without the skills. In addition, amateur cooks looking to hone their culinary skills can use these versatile cookers with ease.
The best pellet smoker under 500 dollars is just about the perfect cooker to start the gastronomical journey. Of course, it also makes an excellent replacement for an old smoker you might have at home.
So come along with us and check our recommendations of the best pellet smokers that do not cost a fortune.
Our Top Picks
Below is a summary of the top picks from our SummerBaron.com team. To help you understand where each pick ranked, we have included “badges” next to each pick’s key findings. “Best Overall” is a combination of price and value. “Best Budget” is great for summer lovers who want a top-quality product but are on a tighter budget. “High End” is for people who just want the best, and price is no object.
Reviews of Each Pick
Are you just starting your smoking food journey? Don’t worry my young novice, i’ve got you covered. This is the list of the top electric smokers for people starting out.
Traeger Tailgater Pellet Grill
Traeger grills need no introduction in the smoker sphere. It is the mother of all modern pellet grills.
First off, the Tailgater 120 has a sleek black design and is packed with top features. The 6in1 functionality is our personal favorite as the smoker doubles as an oven, grill, and stove, among others.
Plus, the combination of bronze and plastic makes this smoker sturdy but lightweight. However, the temperature control in this pellet smoker is a bit unstable. So, you might want to keep an eye on your meat, especially if the cooking temperature is above 300 degrees and above.
Nevertheless, the portable design and easy setup is something we appreciate about this smoker. Lastly, if you love cooking your meat on the go, the Tailgater 20 might just be the answer to your prayers.Get the Traeger Tailgater Pellet Grill today.
How to choose the best pellet smoker.
Choosing the best pellet smoker can be daunting for a first-timer. Therefore, we have you covered with these practical tips.
Pellet smokers come in two different types.
- Freestanding pellet smokers – Best for camping or tailgating.
- Built-in pellet smokers – Best for both outdoor and indoor use.
Professional cooks will require a smoker with no less than 40lbs. However, home cooks can get away with a much smaller hopper size.
Modern pellet smokers come with different cooking options, meat probes, and Wi-Fi connectivity, among others.
What are the advantages/benefits of a pellet smoker?
Pellet smokers have several fantastic advantages:
- Versatility – You can grill, bake, broil, barbeque, sear, and smoke using a pellet smoker, making them one of the most versatile cookers.
- Effortless to use – Pellet smokers come with controllers for everything from ignition to cooking. In addition, the pre-programmed smoking cycles, with a touch of a button, takes care of everything.
- Consistent temperature and range – The temperature control features in pellet smokers are top-notch. In addition, you can monitor the smoker by adding the pellets according to the cooking requirements.
- Moreover, pellet smokers have a wide temperature range. Therefore, you can cook your meat at the perfect temperature.
- Flavor options – Pellet for smokers comes in a variety of flavors, including cherry, apple, and blended ones. The classic ones such as mesquite, hickory, and pecan are also popular.
What’s the best way to use a pellet smoker?
To get the most out of a pellet smoker, here are some ways to use the cooker.
Customize the cooking temperature.
Different types of meat and food items require different cooking temperatures. For instance, smoking a rib would require a higher temperature than baking a pizza. So make sure that you customize the cooking temperature instead of relying on the default settings.
Cook with quality pellets.
When it comes to pellets, you get what you pay for. So invest in good quality pellets. Furthermore, you should also consider whether the pellet flavors complement the taste of the meat.
Clean the smoker.
The smell of charred pellets is very unappealing and takes away the authentic taste of the meat. So occasionally cleaning the smoker is non-negotiable if you want the best meat on your palate.
Precautions for using a pellet smoker.
- Correctly installing the pellet smoker is essential.
- Conducting a burn-off for about an hour before cooking is also vital.
- Regular cleaning and servicing are necessary.
- Prevent smoker overheating by loosening the top stack up.
Pit Boss 440 Deluxe Wood Pellet Grill
Excellent construction with quality materials
It comes with a dome thermometer
Digital temperature control is not up to standard.
The Pit Boss Pb440 comes with a hopper capacity of 5lbs and a cooking area of 518sq. inch, perfect for cooking with family and friends. In addition, it has 8in1 functionality and a temperature range of 180 to 500oF.
Furthermore, the construction is sturdy and durable with stainless steel. The Pit Boss 440 is covered under a 5-year warranty.
Portable and sturdy design
It comes with a free accessory bag
Hopper capacity is on the lower side
The 450B is the 2021 addition to the 450 series of pellet grills with a distinct PID controller. In addition, this new model has a manual temperature feed for faster heating. The pellet smoker is portable and has an 8in1 functionality.
Moreover, the 459 sq. inch cooking area is enough space for grilling, smoking, or baking. And the hopper capacity is 15lbs, in case you’re wondering.
XT 24 Pellet Grill – Bronze
Top class construction and features
Excellent temperature range
This pellet smoker from XT is famous for its ash cleanout system. Besides, it also comes with a PID controller and a high-temperature range.
Moreover, the 18lbs hopper capacity and the cooking area of 570sq.inch are something you will appreciate. The price of the XT 24 pellet smoker is on the higher side, but its excellent features make up for it.
Solid steel construction
Easy to clean
Great temperature control features
Minimal hopper capacity
The 16002E smoker has 8in1 functionality and a wide temperature range. Besides, its solid steel construction ensures sturdiness and durability. In addition, the PID control allows consistent cooking.
The cooking area of 573sq.inch is not wrong at all. However, the hopper capacity is just 8lbs, which can be limiting for some.