Best Pellet Grills of 2024 for Every Barbecuing Budget and Space


Sure, the best gas grills provide push-button convenience, the best portable grills ensure camp meals are spectacular, and the best charcoal grills bring back childhood nostalgia. But the best pellet grills? They earn the distinction of rendering the best cuts of steak a deep, smoky flavor. Modern pellet grills exist at a sweet spot, offering easy, computer-controlled temperature regulation and faster startup times. That means you get greater complexity of flavor without committing to a full day of hands-on cooking (an incredible hack when learning how to grill a steak).

Pellet fuels also come in a variety of wood types so you can dial in the specific flavor you’re looking for, like mesquite for chicken or applewood for bacon and pork loin. Many of the best pellet grills also crank up to gas grill-like temperatures, so you can get a quick sear. With prices ranging from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand for grills with many of the same basic features, it’s hard to decide how much to spend and which features actually matter. 

Men’s Journal aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission.

We assembled eight of our favorite pellet grills in a range of sizes and price points, to make your decision easier. We’ve also broken down some of the common types of pellet grills and their features to help you understand the marketplace a bit better. Our pick for the best pellet grill overall is Traeger Ironwood, a sophisticated and versatile grill built to smoke and roast for years—if not decades—to come.

Read more of the greatest hits from our 2024 Grilling Awards, including the best griddles, best pizza ovens, and best grill tools—plus pro tips on how to clean a grill and where to find the best online steaks.

Best Pellet Grill Overall: Traeger Ironwood The Traeger Ironwood is our pick for the best pellet grill of 2024.

Matt Allyn

Pellet grills may feel like a recent trend, but their roots date back to the 1970s—as wood pellet stoves were developed to heat homes on alternative fuel sources during the oil crisis. Joe Traeger, with a background in home heating, founded Traeger Pellet Grills in the mid-1980s and launched the category. Traeger has arguably led the market since inception, offering sturdy, thoughtful products that constantly evolve to integrate the latest technology. Though Traeger now has stout competition, its flagship Ironwood is our favorite in this year’s testing.

Traeger Ironwood Overall Impressions 

The beauty of a Traeger is they’re designed for pellet grill newbies and veterans alike. The app, programming, and smart design can hold a first-timer’s hand, automatically seasoning the grill, offering more than a thousand recipes, and keeping an eye on the fuel And for those who consider BBQ a lifestyle (we salute you), Traeger Ironwood offers all the precision and control one desires, thanks to the grill’s impressively steady heating and multiple outlets for temperature probes.

You can cook a bunch of smoke-tinged food with the Traeger Ironwood, and even do a respectable searing job with the optional ModiFIRE Sear Grate.

Matt Allyn

Like many of the best grills, Traeger offers a slew of custom accessories, such as storage bins, cup holders, a griddle grate, and paper towel rack. My favorite is the ModiFIRE Sear Grate ($140), which I used with nearly every cooking session. While searing is considered a weakness of pellet grills due to the lower max temperature compared to propane and charcoal grills, I had no trouble achieving a browned exterior on even thinner skirt steaks and burgers.

Final Verdict

The greatest advantage of Traeger Ironwood is its smoke factor. There’s no avoiding an injection of smoky flavor on this grill. I’m in full agreement with Traeger’s oft-repeated line that everything tastes better cooked over wood. So the fact that even roasting smaller vegetables, like asparagus, at higher temperatures, around 400 degrees, still imparted a distinct smokiness impressed me. There’s no question this is the best pellet grill of 2024.

The Traeger Ironwood’s impressive control panel and app integration allows you to automatically season the grill, provide more than a thousand recipes, and keep an eye on the pellet level.

Matt Allyn


  • Wi-Fi connection and Traeger app allow you to watch and control the grill remotely.
  • Guaranteed smoky flavor at any level of heat.
  • Exceptional at holding steady temperatures.
  • Relatively easy to clean and maintain.


  • Lower maximum heat (500 degrees) than gas and charcoal grills.
  • If you’re cooking for someone who dislikes smoky food, they’re S.O.L.
  • You will also smell like smoke. I needed a shower after every session.

One notable highlight of the Traeger Ironwood is its exceptional grease management, often a pain point for pellet grills.

Matt Allyn

Key Features and Tech

I kept marveling, They thought of everything! during my month of testing. The sturdy, double-walled steel construction, plus a thick lid gasket hold heat and smoke in. And the Downdraft Exhaust design circulates the smoke much more thoroughly and effectively than pellet grills with a simple smoke stack.

Though food is the focus, Ironwood’s grease management also stood out among our pellet grills. The porcelain grates are easy to scrape and wipe down, but the star here is the drip tray. Its gently sloping design takes a cue from griddles, helping to guide grease to the Grease & Ash Keg collector. 

While Wi-Fi connections and app control centers are standard features, Traeger’s WiFIRE system is especially rich, providing your grill status and actions alongside recipes and how-to videos.

  • Cooking area: 616 square inches
  • Size: 40 x 59 x 25 inches
  • Hopper capacity: 22 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years

Read our full Traeger Ironwood review.

From $1,800 at traeger

Related: These Are the 10 Best ‘Dupe Travel’ Destinations for Avoiding Crowds and Saving Money

Best Budget Pellet Grill: Z Grills ZPG-L6002B  Z Grills ZPG-L6002B Pellet Grill

Courtesy Image

Z Grills is a relative newcomer among the best pellet grills, delivering quality smokers at a slightly lower cost. The company produced “white label” grills for other brands for 30 years. In 2016, it started making its own pellet grills under the Z Grills banner, and now can be found at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sam’s Club, grocery stores, and farm ’n’ feed stores.

The medium-sized Z Grills ZPG-L6002B delivers a substantial 573-square-inch grilling area and a simple, reliable design at a reasonable price. The 20-pound hopper capacity is pretty standard, as is the temperature range of 180 to 450 degrees. This skews high enough to sear, but the low end definitely isn’t low enough for cold-smoking. I like the placement of the smoke chimney to the side, which permits pushing the grill flush against a wall or deck railing, but it does make the prep shelf on that side slightly harder to use.

  • Cooking area: 573 square inches
  • Size: 46 x 46 x 22 inches
  • Hopper capacity: 20 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years
$349 at Home Depot

Best Pellet Grill for Small Spaces: Traeger Pro 22 Traeger Pro 22 Pellet Grill

Courtesy Image

If you’re fitting your pellet smoker onto a smaller deck or balcony, a full-size smoker is a bit much, especially for smaller households. Even if you have the space, adding a pellet grill alongside a traditional gas or charcoal grill can eat up outdoor space quickly. If you want a pellet grill that lets you operate at a normal height, Traeger Pro 22 packs a lot of cooking surface into a 41-inch-wide footprint via an additional half-depth rack above the main rack.

This isn’t a cheap pellet grill, but it’s on the more affordable end of the Traeger lineup by eschewing add-ons such as Wi-Fi control. It’s also not tiny nor light (103 pounds), so if space limitations have you looking for a pellet grill that’s as small as it gets and stows away when not in use, look to Traeger Tailgater pellet grill highlighted below.

  • Cooking area: 572 square inches
  • Size: 49 x 41 x 27 inches
  • Hopper capacity: 18 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years
$499 at home depot
$500 at traeger

Best Pellet Grill for Professional-Level Smoking: Yoder Smokers YS480S Yoder Smokers YS480S Pellet Grill

Courtesy Image

If you have aspirations of creating contest-worthy smoked meat creations, take a look at the high-end Yoder Smokers YS480S. This model packs the same build-quality of its oversized competition-grade pellet smoker carts into a more reasonable size for the home pitmaster. The grills are built robustly in the heart of barbecue country in Yoder, KS, with ¼-inch steel for durability backed by a 10-year warranty.

As a result, this is a beefy, 277-pound pellet grill, and it packs 800 square inches of cooking surface into a relatively small frame. Beyond the burliness, it also boasts a control board meant to handle temperature swings without overreacting and causing costly flameouts or temperature spikes that can spoil a project. It also bests most other pellet smokers on range, starting at 150 degrees up to 600. You can spend a lot less on a pellet smoker, but if you’re ready to upgrade from mass-produced mediocrity to a pro-grade, made-in-the-U.S.A. smoker, it’s hard to beat the YS480S. Need more mobility for competitions or backyard pellet grill races? Step up to the YS480s on Competition Cart, which gives you semi-pneumatic tires on 360-degree casters and a sturdier frame. 

  • Cooking area: 800 square inches
  • Size: 53 x 55.1 x 36.1 inches
  • Hopper capacity: 20 pounds
  • Warranty: 10 years on grill body, 3 years on control system, 3 years on igniter
$2,139 at All Things Barbecue

Related: The 13 Best Field Watches of 2024

Best High-Capacity Pellet Grill: Recteq Flagship 1100 Recteq Flagship 1100 Pellet Grill

Courtesy Image

Many at-home barbecue enthusiasts like to smoke foods in bulk. If you’re going to spend 12 hours tending a smoker, you might as well make it worth your while. And sometimes, if your finished product is good enough, there are just a lot of mouths that turn up to be fed. Stepping up to a larger, competition/catering-size smoker can get pricey, but Recteq’s 1100 smoker gives you capacity without the cost. As the name suggests, you get an ample 1,100 square inches of cooking surface and Recteq quality backed by a 6-year warranty.

Despite a relatively low price point for a grill of this size, there are also plenty of pro-grade features, including Wi-Fi control via the Recteq app. It also has excellent searing capacity, reaching up to 700 degrees, so you can turn your smoker into a de facto grill as needed for cranking out large volumes of steaks, burgers, and dogs. PID controller also gives consistent temperature regulation, so you can count on the the brains of the unit to keep the heat right where you want it.

  • Cooking area: 1,009 square inches
  • Size: 56 x 52 x 20 inches
  • Hopper capacity: 40 pounds
  • Warranty: 6 years

You Might Also Like