Top 10 Best Cheap Pellet Grills of 2022

In the beginning, I was discouraged when I saw the prices for pellet grills.

It’s important to make sure you’re investing in a quality product, though there are plenty of affordable options out there.

Here are some of the best budget pellet grills on the market today.

Pellet Grills on a Budget: Everything You Need To Know

You can get a decent pellet grill for a bargain price, but you need to know what you’re looking for before buying. Hopefully by the end of this section, you will know what to look for.

Why Should You Choose a Pellet Grill in the First Place?

As a first benefit, these units can be ready to cook within minutes, so you can decide on the spot whether to cook.

A pellet grill also imparts a smoky flavor to your food. Pellets are made of real wood, so they provide a variety of flavors that a gas grill cannot match.

You’ll also have more control over the temperature when you cook with a pellet grill. Most models have digital control panels that let you choose a temperature and simply walk away while it cooks. This feature comes in handy when entertaining guests and is often referred to as “set it and forget it.” In some cases, pellet grills are even equipped with WiFi, so you can use an app on your smartphone to control the temperature.

Furthermore, pellet grills are more versatile than gas or charcoal grills since the temperature can be controlled manually.

How to Choose the Best Pellet Grill

A pellet grill is a major appliance, so when buying one, you’ll want to pay close attention to how it’s built and how durable it is.

You should invest in a grill that’s made from heavy-gauge steel, often with a powder finish. Sometimes, manufacturers will advertise the materials used for the hopper as well.

The grilling grates should be made of steel or cast iron. If it’s steel, choose 304-grade stainless steel because it’s corrosion-resistant and should last a long time.

Cast iron grates are likely to be coated with porcelain. Porcelain is easy to clean, but it can chip and flake over time. This damage will negatively affect how well the grates conduct heat. Porcelain-enameled surfaces are also difficult to sear properly.

Here are some of the most important characteristics to look for in a pellet grill, besides value and construction.

Cooking Surface

For a family of four to six people, a grill with 400 to 600 square inches of cooking space will be sufficient. Since you’ll typically pay more for a large pellet grill, cheap pellet grills are usually smaller. You might consider this a perk, especially if you plan to take the grill on camping trips or afternoon picnics.

Hopper Capacity

The hopper of the grill should have a capacity of at least 15 pounds unless it is a travel-sized grill with less than 400 square inches of grilling space. This will reduce the amount of time you need to spend refilling the hopper during cooking.

Temperature Range

The unit should have a temperature range of at least 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. A unit with a wider range will be more versatile.

Warranty

Look for manufacturers who offer warranties on parts for at least three years after the date of purchase. This indicates that the company is confident in their product and ensures that you can get a replacement if something goes wrong.

The Best Way To Use a Pellet Grill

Pellet grills open up a whole new world of cooking opportunities. You can use them to prepare beef jerky or dehydrated meats if the temperature goes below 160 degrees. For smoked pulled pork, try different fruit woods. For grilled steaks, use hickory or mesquite. You can even smoke an entire turkey on the grill if it is large enough.

Safety Precautions

Electricity runs the motors in pellet grills, so make sure you check them for signs of damage frequently. Also, make sure the cord is safely out of the way during use, so it doesn’t pose a tripping hazard. You should never use your pellet grill when it is raining or snowing. You will be more likely to receive an electrical shock if you do this.

Review of the Best Cheap Pellet Grills

It’s the best pellet grill for the money you’re likely to find anywhere on this list, even though it includes mostly budget-friendly options.

1. Traeger Tailgater 20

Traeger Tailgater 20

This 62-pound pellet grill has a powder-coated steel body and a hopper that holds 8 pounds of pellets. It’s compact and easy to transport.

The ceramic-coated steel grilling grates keep cleanup chores to a minimum, and two sturdy wheels make it easy to transport. The cooking area measures 300 square inches, which is adequate for a travel grill. Cooking for a large group requires some finesse, however.

We find it a bit cumbersome to carry alone, but it’s easy for two people to handle. It has “E-Z Fold” legs, so it can fit easily into your truck bed or trunk.

Traeger offers a three-year warranty for defective parts. Also, note that the cord is fairly short, so plan ahead if you’re using it in an unfamiliar area.

Pros:

  • Very easy to use
  • Portable grill
  • Folding legs
  • Shut down setting allows it to cool slowly

Cons:

  • Electrical cord is a little bit too short
  • Hook for drip bucket could be larger
  • Temperature control can be erratic

Buy on Amazon

2. Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22

Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22

The Lil Tex Elite is a versatile Traeger grill that can be used as a home grill as well as a tailgating grill. With 418 square inches of grilling space, it’s ideal for couples or small families. Despite Traeger’s claim that the grilling surface can accommodate 16 hamburger patties or four chickens, we have discovered that this estimate is slightly overstated.

The hopper holds up to 18 pounds of pellets, which makes it great for home use as well as tailgating.

Traeger’s Digital Elite Control system ensures that temperatures are accurate to within 20 degrees Fahrenheit in either direction on this model. The controller doesn’t always deliver on its promise, so you’ll need to spend some time fiddling with it during the cooking process.

It features a powder-coated steel construction with porcelain-enameled steel grilling grates, as well as straight legs and two wheels for easy maneuverability.

The Lil Tex Elite 22 is also more expensive, with a price similar to some of the larger units on our list. However, quality construction and longevity are included in the price. Traeger offers a three-year warranty on the Lil Tex Elite 22 in case of defective parts.

Pros:

  • Can be used as a travel grill
  • Quality construction
  • Works well in cold weather

Cons:

  • Finicky control panel
  • Chimney allows moisture to seep in
  • Doesn’t impart much smoke flavor

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3. Camp Chef SmokePro DLX

Camp Chef SmokePro DLX

The main cooking area of Camp Chef’s grill provides grillers with 429 square inches, while the warming rack adds another 144 square feet. The lid and handle of this unit are made of sturdy stainless steel, and the interior is lined with high-quality stainless steel.

It has a hopper capacity of 18 pounds, and the temperature can be adjusted from 160 to 500 degrees, making it suitable for use as a jerky dehydrator.

The temperature probe included in this unit lets you track your progress while the food is cooking. It provides the best smoke flavor of any pellet grill on this list.

This grill’s two straight legs have large wheels, which makes it easy to move around the patio. A side shelf provides storage and prep space.

An ash can is included for easy cleanup, and you can remove the pellet hopper during cooking to switch pellets. Camp Chef offers a three-year warranty.

Pros:

  • Great hardwood flavor
  • Makes deep smoke rings on brisket and pulled pork
  • Generous surface area
  • Easy to assemble

Cons:

  • Warming rack is awkwardly positioned when it’s in place
  • Difficult to remove pellets for storage
  • Burns through pellets quickly

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4. Z Grills ZPG-450A

Z Grills ZPG-450A

A sawhorse chassis design provides 450 square inches of grilling space and a 15-pound hopper. Porcelain coating is used on the cast iron cooking grates, while stainless steel is used for the main body.

There are two all-terrain wheels on this grill with locking casters, as well as nifty “feet” attached to the facing legs, which make the grill even more stable. Foldable shelves offer extra storage space, but they’re too small to hold anything larger than tongs. The shelf is also too close to the chimney to be used as a prep area.

It features an LED temperature display and can run between 180 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s suitable for grilling and roasting, but won’t allow you to get a good sear on grilled meats.

The grease collector is located beneath the cooking surface, but we don’t think it’s particularly effective. If you want a grill that is easy to clean, the Traeger models do the best. Finally, this grill includes a three-year warranty.

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Stable design
  • Grill grates are easy to clean
  • Maintains accurate temperatures

Cons:

  • Poor grease management system
  • Ignition system can get finicky after a few months of use
  • Unreliable customer service department
  • Shelf is small and set too close to the chimney component

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5. Z Grills ZPG-550B

Z Grills ZPG-550B

As with the ZPG-450A grill, this grill is made of stainless steel with porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grates. The cart-style model comes with an interlocking ring design with a lower storage shelf. The grill has 550 square inches of grilling area, which is slightly larger than its Z Grills counterpart. The 20-pound hopper capacity is generous for such a small grill.

Its digital control panel has a 180-450 degree range. Most of the time, it is accurate within 10 degrees of the selected temperature, and convection heat distribution ensures even cooking. The only complaint we have is the auger.

Similarly, the grease management system is similar to that of the ZPG-450A, meaning that it’s similarly inefficient when it comes to cleanup.

Pros:

  • Convenient design
  • Sturdy packaging
  • Easy to put together
  • Excellent smoke flavor
  • Can be used to bake pizza or flatbread

Cons:

  • Insufficient grease management system
  • Poor customer service
  • Pellet feed system requires supervision

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6. REC TEC RT-340

Despite being more expensive than most of the models listed here, Rec Tec’s offering offers enough good points to justify its price tag. The RT-340 features a stainless steel cooking chamber, a cart-style design with two rollerblade-style wheels and lower storage shelf, and a 20-pound capacity hopper. Grilling grates and horn-shaped handles are made of 304-grade stainless steel.

It also features WiFi connectivity, so you can control the temperature through your tablet or smartphone.

Rec Tec advertises a temperature range of 200 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which isn’t very generous. As well as offering maximum smoke flavor, the RT-340 also has a “FULL” setting that allows you to achieve a proper sear. It comes with a two-year warranty.

Pros:

  • Hopper can be used as a shelf
  • Impressive temperature range
  • Reliable customer support department
  • Maintains an accurate temperature throughout all cooking applications

Cons:

  • Relatively pricey for a budget grill
  • Lower shelf has vented holes that smaller items can escape through
  • Balance is a bit tricky

7. PIT BOSS 700FB

PIT BOSS 700FB

One of the larger models on our list, this one offers 700 square inches of cooking space. It features a cart-style design with a lower shelf, porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grids, and a temperature range of 180 to 500 degrees. It has a heavy-gauge steel cooking chamber and a solid and bulky structure.

The only drawback?

This might not be an issue if the shelf is mainly used for pellet storage, but it is worth mentioning, as there are vented holes in the lower shelf.

There is even a built-in flame broiler to give steaks that all-important char at the end of cooking, which makes the Pit Boss 700FB an excellent choice if you entertain often.

The Pit Boss 700FB is less efficient when using generic pellets, or pellets from another brand. Fortunately, Pit Boss’ pellets are high-quality and offer consumers great smoke flavor.

Pros:

  • Smoke adjustment feature
  • Versatile unit
  • Large cooking surface

Cons:

  • No side shelf
  • Flimsy lower shelf
  • Requires Pit Boss pellets in order to function properly

Buy on Amazon

8. Green Mountain Grill Davy Crockett

Green Mountain Grill Davy Crockett

The Davy Crockett grill from Green Mountain is portable, versatile, and high-tech. With 219 square inches of cooking surface and a 9-pound hopper, it’s small enough to fit easily in the trunk.

The Davy Crockett weighs just 57 pounds, and the legs fold up to function as handles. 13-gauge steel makes up the main body and cooking grids.

WiFi capability allows you to control the temperature even from a distance with this unit. An all-weather cover and a two-year limited warranty are included in the purchase price, which makes this grill suitable for a wide range of cooking techniques. The “Sense-Mate” thermal sensor provides accurate readouts throughout the grilling process. A temperature range of 150 to 550 degrees makes it ideal for a variety of cooking techniques.

Pros:

  • Portable unit
  • Very affordable
  • All-weather cover included with purchase
  • WiFi capability

Cons:

  • Construction is a bit on the flimsy side
  • Some shipping issues reported
  • Erratic temperature control

Buy on Amazon

9. Louisiana LG700

Louisiana LG700

The LG700 is equipped with 707 square inches of cooking space in total, including a porcelain-coated steel upper cooking grid. A porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking surface is used throughout the entire cooking surface, while a heavy-duty steel body is used for the main body. The cart-style design features four wheels for easy maneuverability and a storage shelf at the bottom.

This grill can be used for just about anything. It has a flame broiler for searing, and a programmable meat probe on the digital control panel.

There is some erratic behavior with the control panel, plus the 14-pound hopper is too small for a grill with this much cooking space.

This product is covered by a five-year warranty from Louisiana Grills.

Pros:

  • Generously sized
  • Excellent temperature range
  • Built-in flame broiler
  • Exceptional versatility

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive for a budget option
  • Small drip bucket
  • Some minor components can be damaged in transit
  • Small hopper

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The Verdict

If you are a fan of intense smoke flavor, we would recommend the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX. It stands out from the rest of these cheap pellet grills. A sear box option is available for an additional price if you want to heat the grill to higher temperatures. It is easy to assemble the grill, the digital control panel is intuitive, and the temperature remains accurate throughout the smoking process.

If you follow our advice, you won’t have to break the bank to purchase a high-quality pellet grill. If you pick the grill that best suits your needs, you should enjoy it for years to come.

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