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Wood pellet grills are versatile cookers. They require less hands-on operation and are healthier than charcoal grills. The amount of smoke you’d get from your average coal smoker is a cause for concern.
Because of these features, wood pellets are more expensive. But with a decent budget, you can still buy a fully functional pellet grill for your barbecue hangouts. Here is the best pellet grill under $500 in 2023.
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|Camp Chef - XT 24 Pellet Grill (Black)||Prime||Check Price|
|PIT BOSS PB440D2 Wood Pellet Grill, 440 SERIES, Black||Prime||Check Price|
|Green Mountain Grills GMG Davy Crockett NEW Trek WiFI Pellet Grill - TREK||Prime||Check Price|
Our pick for the best pellet grill under $500
As a brand, Camp Chef has been a leader in designing stoves, smokers, fire pits, and cast iron cookware since 1990. Now it’s giving tough competitors like Traeger a run for their money, having introduced its new pellet grills to the scene.
The Camp Chef PG24XTB SmokePro XT earns its spot as our top pick because of its simple and promising design. From its brilliant ash cleaner system to the spacious cooking area, you have enough to grill on the spot.
With digital temperature control technology, you can tailor the heat to suit your cooking preferences. There’s no question of temperature accuracy. These rich features make the Camp Chef PG24XTB SmokePro XT the best pellet grill under $500 in 2022.
Factors to consider when buying an inexpensive pellet grill
Material and quality
Carbon steel is the most common material used to make grills. That’s because it’s resistant to rust and can withstand any weather condition.
A carbon steel grill guarantees you 15 years of use without needing to repaint or worry about the coating chipping into your food.
The most expensive stainless steel type is the Type 304. It has 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel.
The cheapest stainless steel has 17 per cent chromium and 0.12 percent carbon, which is the Type 430. The presence of chromium is what makes the steel resistant to corrosion.
One way to tell what quality your stainless steel grill falls under is by performing a magnet test.
Get a magnet and place it on the grill. If it sticks, then that means the grill has a higher concentration of nickel or another material.
Nickel is a common component for making faux steel. But if the magnet doesn’t stick, that means it’s a Type 304 grade and it’s of good quality.
Size and cooking area
Purchase your grill based on your estimated servings. Small grills typically have a cooking area starting from 150 square inches. If you plan to serve a large crowd, you’ll need a bigger grill.
Bigger grills typically have a cooking area from 800 square inches to over 1000, perfect for competitions and crowded events. A $500 or lower budget grill should fetch you around 400 square inches of cooking area. This is room enough to grill 24 frozen burgers at once.
Small grills like the Traeger TFB29LZA Junior Elite have flexible designs that allow you to fold the legs. So you can lug it into your tailgate or compress it safely in your minivan.
Whether you’re going camping or on a long-distance trip, you won’t have to worry about damaging any parts. Most large grills don’t have this feature. Rather, they come with wheels that allow you to push and roll them to your desired location.
Overall, the portability of the grill depends on its size and design. If you care much for wider cooking areas, pellet capacities, and extra accessories, then you’re most likely going to end up with a wheeled grill.
The Proportional, Integral, Derivative (PID) controller is the best choice for pellet grills. A PID-controlled grill can automatically set the right temperature based on factors like the weather and the type of food you’re cooking.
So if you’re cooking a tough or soft brisket, the controller will decide to reduce or increase pellet flow within the grill to cook it properly.
The Hopper is a metal box with a chamber inside for storing wood pellets. The chamber narrows down to the auger, which is responsible for burning the pellets. The bigger the size of your hopper, the longer the duration you can grill.
The average ratio for determining how many pellets your grill will consume is 1:1. That means you will burn 1 pound of pellets per hour.
But the brand of the grill matters significantly in determining how much pellets are consumed. Some brands are more efficient than others.
Best wood pellet grill under $500
1. Camp Chef PG24STX SmokePro
Our number one best pellet grill under $500 2023 has a sleek black design and weighs 110 pounds. Compared to high-end brands like Reqteq and Yoder, it’s much easier to shift around and transport on long trips.
It’s also equipped with an automatic pellet auger. The auger delivers the right amount to the burn pot and immediately shuts down once your meat is cooked to prevent burns.
You also get 429 square inches of the cooking area paired with controllable temperature from 160º F – to 500ºF, thanks to the digital temperature controller. So there’s enough heat to circulate the grill and ensure your meat isn’t undercooked.
Pit Boss 440D2
On the right side of the grill is a detachable side tray that serves dual purposes. You can use it to hold food ingredients like mustard and barbecue sauce or as a serving platter for food.
Added to that is a 200-watt auto-igniter feature that saves you the stress of lighting up your grill yourself. All you need to do is just plug it in and you’re good to go.
The Pitboss is a step down from the Camp Chef PG24STX, but it’s also worth the money. It has less surface area for cooking, which is at 465 square inches and can only hold 5 pounds of pellets. But it’s still worth the money.
- Digital controller with LED read-out screen.
- Vent holes at the rear for automatic cooling.
- Stainless steel bottle opener.
- High-temperature powder coat finishes for corrosion resistance.
3. PIT BOSS PB440FB1 Pellet Grill, 482 Square Inches
PIT BOSS PB440FB1 is a standard grill. It weighs 90 lbs and offers 482 inches of cooking area. The large area is perfect for hosting a group of friends and having a BBQ party at your house. The grill has a steel outer body and a cover, keeping the dirt and smoke away from your food.
PIT BOSS has an auto start and off button and a digital display to keep track of the temperature. It also offers a heat range from 180° to 500° with the flames searing up to 1000°. The stainless steel grill inside ensures that the food is not burned or stuck. It is also safe for food as stainless steel does not carry any bacteria.
The black powder coat finish gives an attractive look to the grill. Lastly, PIT BOSS only fuels on natural wood, so the quality of your food is not compromised, and you get a perfect charcoal taste.
- 6-in-1 grilling system (grill, roast, smoke, braise, bake, and barbecue).
- Porcelain-coated grates for rust prevention.
- Automatic pellet feed system & temperature control.
- Real-time LED temperature display screen.
4. Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill w/New PID Gen 2 Digital Controller
Camp Chef SmokePro DLX grill is a pro when it comes to grilling. Say goodbye to spending hours standing on a grill and bearing all that smoke and spice to get the perfect charcoal taste, as SmokePro DLX has a smoke-control and PID feature. You can now adjust the amount of smoke your food gets with the smoke-control option available on the digital screen.
SmokePro comes with a side grill, so you can use it to heat and BBQ the veggies. One of the best features is the detachable ash collector that is featured in this grill. After you are done cooking, you pull the button, and the ash falls into a cup at the bottom. You can then take out the cup and purge the burnt charcoal.
- Digital Elite Controller that keeps the temperature within 20F.
- Electric auto-start igniter.
- 6-in-1 versatility for grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, braising & BBQ.
- 8 pounds pellet capacity.
5. Green Mountain Davy Crockett Tailgating Grill
Go for this grill if you need a fancier version of the Traeger TFB29LZA Junior Elite. It weighs slightly more at 68 pounds and can fold neatly into a compact size.
More importantly, it features a thermal sensor, Sense-Mate. The sensor automatically detects the heat from the grill and relays the information on the LED screen. This gives you real-time visibility into meat temperatures to regulate them appropriately.
But the trump card this grill holds over the others on the list is its WiFi controller. You can monitor food temperature while sitting in your living room or bedroom via the app. So you don’t always have to be close to your grill.
How do I know what size of pellet grill to get?
To know what size of pellet grill to get, determine how many servings you expect to have. For a family size of 3 to 5 people, you should target grills with 450 to 500 square inches of cooking area.
But if you live alone and don’t expect to serve large groups of people frequently, you can aim lower. Get a grill with at least 200 square inches of cooking area.
Larger family sizes or gatherings should aim for 500 to 700 inches. These cooking areas are wide enough to contain 24 or more hamburgers at one time.
But the space in your house and your plans to accessorize also matter. If you have a spacious apartment balcony or patio, then you can afford to buy a grill with side trays, buckets, and cupboard space all in one.
If your house is already cramped and you have a small backyard, then it’s best not to get tempted with these aesthetics. You’re better off getting a small and portable-sized grill like the Traeger TFB29LZA Junior Elite.
What is the difference between a pellet smoker and a pellet grill?
The major difference between a pellet smoker and a pellet grill is its versatility. Pellet grills allow you to grill, smoke, roast, and bake food all in one machine. Pellet smokers restrict you to only smoking food.
Another difference is that pellet grills depend more on heat than raw smoke to cook food. Because of this, they tend to cook faster. Their temperature range starts from 300°F to 550°F.
Pellet smokers use less heat, which means longer cooking hours for you. Their temperature range starts from 190°F and 300°F. Also, because of their versatility and intelligent features like WiFi connectivity, pellet grills are more expensive than smokers.
Is a pellet grill right for me?
Pellet grills are right for you if you prefer more flavor and less smoke. Their flexible design allows them to cook anything from grilled chicken to steaks, salmon, and other Seafood in 2022. If you frequently make these types of dishes, then you should consider buying a pellet grill. But if you’re the type that only makes hamburgers once in a while, a pellet grill is overkill.
Also, pellet grills are perfect for novices who are still yet to grasp temperature control in grills. If you don’t want to burn your brisket on your first grilling experience, then you’ll need a smart grill that can handle the bulk of the work for you.
Conclusion – Best pellet grills under $500
Now that we’ve shown you the 5 best pellet grills under $500 in 2022, it’s up to you to pick which one is fit for your money. If you’re a sucker for spacious appliances, the Camp Chef PG24STX SmokePro offers a cooking area fit for a feast.
To recap, our recommendations for a pellet grill if you budget $500 or under are:
- 1. Camp Chef PG24STX SmokePro
- 2. Pit Boss 440D2
- 3. Cuisinart CPG-6000
- 4. Traeger TFB29LZA Junior Elite
- 5. Green Mountain Davy Crockett Tailgating Grill
For minimalists who don’t care much for such things, the Green Mountain Davy Crockett or the Traeger TFB29LZA Junior Elite will do just fine. Hopefully, this review makes your purchase decision easier.