Best Portable Pellet Grill For Automatic Cooking

You would have heard a lot about gas, charcoal, or even infrared grills to make food. Pellet cooking, on the other hand, is almost unheard of in any BBQ talk. In this guide, we will share what we know about cooking with pellet grills and will also share tips about choosing the best portable pellet grills.

However, if you are looking for a quick recommendation, we suggest that you go with the Z GRILLS ZPG-450A. This model offers a large grilling area with all the essentials of a pellet grill; all of it at an unbelievably affordable price.

The Models That We Are Going Through In This Guide

What Is A Portable Pellet Grill And How Does It Work?

A pellet grill combines elements of charcoal, gas, and oven. A pellet grill feeds wood pellets into the grill via the hopper into the firebox. In there, a hot rod automatically ignites the wood pellets. After that, a fan below the flaming pellets feeds oxygen to it constantly to keep the fire burning. When it started smoking, the charred wood flavor makes it ways across the tube and into the main cooking area, seeping into your food.

Cooking with a pellet grill is almost hands-free, you would need to do some work such as feeding the wood pellets into the hopper, pre-heat the pellet grill for a couple of minutes and set the temperature at the start of the grilling. After that, the onboard sensor inside the grill will send real-time data to the chip, with the feedback, the controller adjusts the air and pellet flow to maintain the temperature you set.

Imagine the possibilities you can do it, you can get the grill going in the morning, set it to smoke and come home to a delicious, melt in your mouth food in the evening.

What Are The Advantages Of A Portable Pellet Grill?

A wood fire pellet grill helps you to grill food easily and with less smoker than if you are using charcoal, but still gives you that smoky flavor. Generally, the design of the pellet grill works like a convection oven, which cooks food more evenly and faster than traditional contact grilling. These are the advantages of a pellet grill if you choose to use one.

Advantage #1. Wooden Pellet Grills Are Better At Temperature Control

If you have ever used a charcoal grill, you would know that there is a rather steep learning curve at the start when you are learning to use the vents and dampers to regulate the temperature inside the grill. With a wood pellet grill, one of the biggest benefits is that it offers a much better way to monitor the heat inside the chamber without you constantly checking out on it. We know that we always like to sneak a peek at our food while it sizzles.

Wooden pellet grills also offer a built in thermostat linked to an external chip that helps to regulate the temperature inside the grill automatically. The grill will automatically dispense pellets and maintain the internal temperature as per what you have set at the beginning. There is no more need for you to constantly check your meat thermometer to see if your food is going to be over or undercooked. As you would have known, proper regulation of the temperature is so that the food can exhibit its maximum flavor.

Advantage #2. Wooden Pellet Grills Offers More Variety In Flavors

A big advantage of owning a pellet grill is the variety of flavors. With a traditional charcoal grill, you will most likely get one type of flavor, which is the charred smoky flavor. Gas grills do have that flavor and would most like taste like your marinade mixed with some natural sweetness of the food you are grilling. Pellet grill, on the other hand, offers much more options in the flavor of the smoke via the different wooden pellets. In the market, there are many pellets flavors such as apple, cherry or even competition blends concocted by professionals. Mix and match several of these and you can get a unique smoke flavor that caters to your own taste. No two pellet grills food taste the same anymore.

Advantage #3. Wooden Pellet Grills Are Very Easy To Use

Due to the relatively obscure nature of a pellet grill compared to those traditional grills. Many people might get a little flustered and intimidated at the thought of using a pellet grill, but those worries are unfounded and will go away as soon as you start your first frill.

Like a gas grill, wooden pellet grills can be started with the flick of a button and there is no need for lighter fluid to get the food going. You do have to regulate the temperature as the grill will do it for you. You look like a professional from the get-go.

With a pellet grill, it’s really that easy. You want a perfectly slow smoked brisket? You will be relieved to know that this doesn’t require you to spend 10 over hours of unyielding focus and attention any more. With a pellet grill, there’s no learning curve for making great food unlike other types of traditional grills.

It’s literally as easy as filling up the hopper with your preferred flavor of pellets. After that, push a button and place your meat on the grill. The grill’s thermostat and board will control the temperature and all you need to do is remove it from the grill when it is done.

Advantage #4. Wooden Pellet Grills Acts As A Smoker And A Grill

A pellet grill temperature varies in the range of 178 degrees Fahrenheit to approximately 500F. That is plenty of heat options to sear, smoke, or roast your meat. For those people who are looking to find a versatile package to do all of this in one grill. Then there is no need to look further.

What Are The Considerations Before Getting That Portable Pellet Grill?

Consideration #1. The Size Of The Pellet Grill

A pellet grill can be rather large in size for some models. Do you have enough space in your backyard for it? Will the addition of the grill sit in well with the overall design of your patio? If you are going to put it on your deck, you might need to consider if it will fit in.

Consideration #2. The Cooking Area Of The Grill

This is important. How many people are you going to cook for? While a pellet grill can control the temperature of the grill on your behalf and remotely, it cannot add more chicken for you. And if you are using it for the smoking function where you have to leave the meat on the grates for up to half a day, you would need a day to cook food for 2 persons if you got a small pellet grill.

The size of the grill also directly correlates to the grill area if you are going to use for your next BBQ party. The last thing on earth is to make your guest wait for a long time before the food is served.

Consideration #3. The Structural Quality Of The Pellet Grill

The pellet grill is either going to spend a large amount of time smoking your meat or going to endure high heat to grill your food. Either way, it is going to a lot of punishment. Hence, it would be more prudent to select a pellet grill that can take that kind of punishment. Here, we suggest that you go with either steel or cast iron.

Consideration #4. The Budget Of The Grill

As we have mentioned, the price of the pellet grill can be as expensive as a gas grill, depending on which model and features you selected. Moreover, the fuel cost to run a pellet grill is as expensive, if not, more expensive than charcoal. Therefore, the idea here is not to overstretch your budget and get only what you really need.

Consideration #5. The Warranty That Comes With The Pellet Grill

Now, if you have no choice but to replace or repair that grill. The most positive thing that can happen to you is either the replacement is free or the company on the other line is helpful and empathetic to your situation.

So, a good and extensive warranty is a good investment. A quality pellet grill can be darn expensive and that also translates to a hefty replacement cost if it does break. Chances are, the warranty is already free if you get the right one and you will only need to pay extra if you decide to get more coverage. Also, check out what the others say about their customer service. It can make or ruin your entire day.

Best Portable Pellet Grills You Can Find

#1. Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill


One of the biggest brands in the Pellet Grilling space. The Davy Crocket model is one of the better portable pellet grills, and of course, it will make our list. This model features a cooking area of 219 square inches, where it can easily accommodate up to 5 chicken thighs at any one point in time. If you want to roast a whole chicken, the lid clearance is about 7.75 inches.

The GMG digital controller has a temperature range of 150-500° F in 5° increments on the Davy Crockett. Every digital controller comes standard with a meat probe for instant food readings inside your grill for precise temperature control.

This grill also comes with a digital Wi-Fi controller with an IOS or Android App so that you can control how your food will turn out from miles away. The hopper capacity for this model is about 9 pounds which is ample to roast your food for hours. Moreover, the sloped design makes sure pellets are fed properly into the mouth of the auger.

To take the grill around, The Davy Crockett features fold-able legs so that it can be easily placed in the trunk of any car. At the time of writing, the Davy Crockett is protected under a 2-years limited warranty on materials and workmanship.

Features And Specifications At A Glance

  • Voltage: 12V
  • Wattage: 60 watts
  • Weight: 68 Pounds
  • Dimensions w/ Legs Open: 31.75 (H) x 34 (W) x 23 (D) Inches
  • Dimensions w/ Legs Closed: 20.5 (H) x 27.75 (W) x 17.5 (D) Inches
  • Surface Cooking Area: 219 square inches
  • Height of Cooking Surface to Lid Clearance: 7.75 Inches
  • Hopper Capacity: 9 Pounds
  • Warranty: 2-year Limited Warranty On Materials And Workmanship

What Other Users Feedback About This Model?

People have feedback that the grill holds temperature very well and is fuel-efficient. The mobile app is also amazing as you can control your grill from anywhere. Many have touted the Wi-Fi capability as the one best reason to get this pellet grill. Many owners have also feedback that the grill is relatively inexpensive.

#2. Cuisinart CPG-4000 Wood BBQ Grill & Smoker Pellet Grill


The next model in our list comes from Cuisinart. Cuisinart isn’t really a name that I would associate with outdoor cooking but the CPG – 4000 offers a large 450 square inches of cooking space that can see about 11 – 12 chicken thighs on it at the same time. The cooking space is divided between two levels.

With a larger cooking demands a larger amount of fuel. The CPG – 4000 wood pellet hopper can hold up to 15 pounds of pellets, allowing you to grill and smoke up to hours. For precision temperature control, the thermostat features an LED display of the temperature and maintains the heat automatically. When needed, the grill will add pellets to the grill automatically.

To move it around in your backyard, the Cuisinart all-terrain wheels and a stable handle enables the Cuisinart Wood Pellet BBQ Grill and Smoker to move around easily. Now, you can move it back and forth the shed with minimal effort.

During the grill, The grill stays cleaner with an integrated spigot that drains hot grease into a cup instead of accumulating in the bottom of the grill like traditional grills. Do note that the cup is not included in the purchase. At the time of writing, there is a 1-year limited warranty on this product.

Features And Specifications At A Glance

  • Weight: 103 pounds
  • Dimensions Of The Grill: 45 x 39.4 x 49 inches
  • Surface Cooking Area: 450 square inches
  • Height of Cooking Surface to Lid Clearance: Not Stated. But It Can Fit A 20 Pound Turkey
  • Hopper Capacity: 15 Pounds
  • Warranty: 1-year Limited Warranty

What Other Users Feedback About This Model?

People are saying that this model offers an unbeatable price, it is also relatively simple to assemble. One owner mentioned that he found that the temperature gauge on the door isn’t very accurate. The user also mentioned that the wood tray has a design flaw where if the fat drips onto the wood chips, it will cause ignition issue.

#3. Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill with Sear Box


Wants more grilling space? The next model from Camp chef features a grilling area of a whopping 811 square inches while still remaining portable enough to move around in your back yard. At 811 square inches, it is enough to smoke and grill up to 20 people worth of food ay any one point in time. Now, you can go off to work in the morning and come back to a BBQ fest, literally. Invite your neighbors and colleagues and feast.

What makes this model attractive is the exclusive sear box. You can sear your meat in it and finish the cooking in the main area. The sear box can reach up to a temperature of 900F. For the main grilling area, the temperature range of this grill is from 160F (smoke) to 500F (grill). As with any decent pellet smoker, the digital temperature control and automatic auger feed pellets into the grill to maintain the heat for you and produce the optimal amount of smoke

Cleaning between cooking sessions is easy with their self-designed Ash Cleanout system. Also, the racks are entirely removable for cleaning. Durable lockable wheels at all 4 of its leg make it easy to wheel it around. At the point of writing, this grill comes with a 3-years warranty.

Features And Specifications At A Glance

  • Weight: 187 pounds
  • Surface Cooking Area: 811 square inches (Upper rack: 141 square inches, Lower Rack: 429 square inches
  • Height of Cooking Surface to Lid Clearance: Not Stated. But It Can Fit A 20 Pound Turkey
  • Hopper Capacity: 18 Pounds
  • Warranty: 3-years Limited Warranty

What Other Users Feedback About This Model?

People are saying that this grill is way more efficient than similar models. The sear box is a worth its add to the grill. The ash cleanout system does seem to work. Owners are also saying that that the larger than usual pellet hopper is a welcome feature of the grill. However, there are people who are facing difficulties in assembling the unit. This is kind of expected due to that larger than usual size of this grill.

#4. Z GRILLS ZPG-450A Upgrade Model Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker


The next model comes from Z Grills. This brand is relatively unheard of in the traditional grill space but makes its mark in the pellet grill market. The ZPG-450A is an easy to use model that eliminates the learning curve even for beginners. The grill features a cooking area of 450 square inches, second only the Camp Chef model in our list.

The cooking is made up of a primary grill area of 324 square inches and a warming rack of 128 square inches. When you are using it for smoking, the temperature difference between the grilling area and the warming rack is negligible.

This model touts to be consistent in temperature regulation, which is key to making great food. The grill will stay within 10 degrees of the set temperature as the Digital temperature control automatically adds pellets as needed to regulate the temperature.

The temperature of this grill ranges from 160F (Smoke) to 450F (Grill.) At 450F, it is enough to sear your meat. The hopper capacity is 15 pounds, which is one of the highest in the list. The grates are made of steel. At the point of writing, the grill is covered with a 3-years limited warranty.

Features And Specifications At A Glance

  • Weight: 98 pounds
  • Surface Cooking Area: 452 square inches (Main Grilling Area: 324 square inches. Warming Rack: 128 square inches.)
  • Height of Cooking Surface to Lid Clearance: Not Stated. But It Can Fit A 20 Pound Turkey
  • Hopper Capacity: 15 Pounds
  • Warranty: 3-years Limited Warranty

What Other Users Feedback About This Model?

People are saying that this grill is more affordable than models of the same size. Given that the brand of this grill is less known than that of other more well-known brands, we are not surprised that they are delivering more bang for your buck to compensate for that. Not that well known brands are not good, they are expensive because they have trust equity. Owners are also saying the that grill holds temperature well, which is exactly what we need.

Portable Pellet Grills Gives A Whole New Perspective To Grilling

In this guide, we have shared what we know about pellet grilling and along the way, we have made several recommendations on what are the best pellet grills that you can use for your next smoke or grill session. If at this point, you are still unable to decide which one to start off with, we suggest that you go with the Z GRILLS ZPG-450A. This model offers a large grilling area with all the essentials of a pellet grill; all of it at an unbelievably affordable price.

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