Best Portable Pellet Grills

Best Portable Pellet Grills

There’s nothing like grilling or smoking over wood. But while most grilling these days is done over gas and charcoal, with wood chips and chunks added to give that smoky taste and feel, grilling and smoking over wood is the method most faithful to the roots of barbecuing. 

Pellet grills give you the best of both worlds. It’s the convenience of a modern grill combined with the real grilling-over-wood experience.

Plus, if your pellet grill is portable it’s even more convenient as you can take it anywhere and enjoy delicious, smoky meals no matter where you are. Cooking over wood has never been easier! As pellet grills only become more popular, you now have more options than ever before when it comes to portable models. 

Below, you’ll find seven of the best portable pellet grills on the market right now, as well as a buyer’s guide that will tell you all about the features to look out for when buying a pellet grill, and answers to all the questions you could possibly have about pellet grills. Let’s get started!

Is A Pellet Grill Better than a Gas or Charcoal Grill?

Of course, this is a tough question to answer and it all comes down to personal preference, but we believe that in a lot of ways a pellet grill is better than a gas or charcoal grill.

The main reason is because of the flavor you can achieve with a pellet grill. The natural, smoky flavor of food cooked over a wood fire is hard to beat! Charcoal struggles to release this smoky flavor properly, while gas can’t achieve this at all, although you can add wood to both.

Wood pellets also make cooking with wood super easy. Cooking with a pellet grill eliminates the need to cut and clean the wood, or arrange it for optimal burning - pellets come ready to burn and the auger feeds the pellet into the fire when needed. All you need to do is to set the thermostat to the temperature you want and let the auger do its thing!

However, one of the downsides to a pellet grill is that you need electricity to run the automatic auger. So while you can take a portable pellet grill pretty much anywhere, you do need to take it somewhere with access to electricity for it to work properly. 

Another great thing about pellet grills is their ability to do any kind of cooking. Their average temperature range is 160-500F, meaning that with a pellet grill you can smoke, grill, sear, roast, and even bake.

OUR TOP PICK

Grilla Grills Chimp Tailgater Bundle | Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill | Foldable Legs | Dual Mode PID Controller | Non-Wifi | Stainless Steel Construction | Up to 580 Sq. in Cooking Space

Specs for the Grilla Grills Chimp

  • Barbecue Material: Stainless Steel
  • Grate Material: Stainless Steel
  • Cooking Capacity: 340 sq in (bottom rack) and 120 sq in (top rack)
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 15 lb
  • Heat Range: 200 °F - 500 °F
  • Fuel Type: Wood Pellets
  • Model: Grilla Grills Chimp Tailgater Bundle
  • Assembled Size (in): 20 (L) x 38 (W) x 40 (H)
  • Weight: 90 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years

We’re kicking off our list with a relative newcomer to the portable pellet grill, the Grilla Grills Chimp prides itself on being a powerful, portable pellet grill. 

The Grilla Grills Chimp has all the features you’d find on Grilla Grills’ regular smokers, just in a smaller, lighter, and foldable package.

It is made of a combination of powder-coated steel and stainless steel components. The firepot and cooking grates are also made of stainless steel, providing durability in the places you really need it.

But what really makes Grilla Grills Chimp stand out is its temperature controller. You no longer have to choose between PID and traditional with this portable grill.

With the Grilla Grills Chimp you can choose both if you want a more precise temperature control, or more of a smoky flavor from the traditional mode.

Plus, if you find yourself cooking in cooler or windier conditions, the insulated cooking chamber from the grates down helps to regulate the temperature and keep it steady. As for its size, the Chimp has a 340-square inch bottom rack and a 120 square inch top one.

The blower fan helps to keep the temperature pretty even so you can safely use the top rack too. The 15 lbs hopper gives a decent unassisted cooking time even if you’re using it at home.

Another plus for the Grilla Grills Chimp is its folding legs. If you’re familiar with a portable pellet smoker, you’ll know that getting them folded down can be a bit tricky and frustrating, but the Grilla Grills Chimp’s ‘snap lock’ feature means you can fold its legs away easily with the press of a button.

All these clever innovations make the Grilla Grills Chimp a highly-performing portable pellet grill and excellent value for money.

Pros

  • The combination of stainless steel and powder-coated steel construction provides the perfect balance between durability and affordability.
  • Dual temperature control lets you choose between PID preciseness or traditional smokiness.
  • Versatile cooking options. With the Grilla Grills Chimp you can smoke, grill, roast and bake.
  • The insulated cooking chamber regulates temperature and improves fuel efficiency.
  • Even temperature is easily achieved thanks to the blower fan circulating heat.

Cons

  • Only has a maximum temperature of 500°F which is adequate for grilling but not for high-heat searing.

EDITORS CHOICE

Camp Chef 20' Pursuit Portable Pellet Grill, PPG20, Black, Stainless, Total Rack Surface Area: 501 sq. in

Specs for Camp Chef Pursuit Portable Pellet Grill

  • Barbecue Material: Stainless Steel
  • Grate Material: Stainless Steel
  • Cooking Capacity: 501 sq in
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 10 lbs
  • Heat Range: 160 °F - 500 °F
  • Fuel Type: Wood Pellets
  • Model: PPG20
  • Assembled size (in): 40 (L) x 22.5 (W) x 20 (H)
  • Weight: 100 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years

There’s a lot to rave about with the Camp Chef Pursuit Portable Pellet Grill, but one very exciting feature is the folding legs that transform into a rolling suitcase. When paired with the locking lids you have an easily portable, unstoppable grill!

The whole unit is incredibly sturdy and secure, which is what we’re looking for when cooking on tough terrain or when it’s just you doing the lifting. But the good stuff doesn’t stop there.

Another great feature is the PID temperature controller that keeps it within 5°F of your ideal temperature. There’s also the adjustable smoke settings, the wide temperature range, the double layered full width cooking racks, and Camp Chef’s Slide and Grill feature for direct flame grilling.

The Camp Chef Pursuit also has 2 meat probes, so you’ll be in no doubt when your food is ready to eat. Plus, when you’re done cooking, it’s easy to clean out. 

You may notice that the Camp Chef Pursuit isn’t as expensive as Grilla Grills, and that’s because it has stainless steel components. The pellet hopper is also slightly smaller at 10 lbs and gives you 8-10 hours of smoking. There is also no WiFi or remote control with the Camp Chef Pursuit. 

But if you’re after a solid, portable smoker that nails all the basics for a great performance and are not too worried about extras, then the Camp Chef Pursuit is for you!

Pros

  • Solidly built.
  • PID temperature control makes sure you never lose control of the heat as it keeps it within 5 degrees of your target.
  • Separate smoke level adjuster also gives you more control of how smoky your meat is.
  • The Slide and Grill feature lets you grill at a higher heat over the direct flame by simply sliding a lever.
  • The folding legs transform into handles and wheels so you can pull the unit behind you like a rolling suitcase.

Cons

  • Will use more fuel in cooler conditions to maintain a steady temperature as it is not insulated.

BEST VALUE

Traeger Grills Tailgater 20 Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker, Black

Specs for Traeger Tailgater Pellet Grill and Smoker

  • Barbecue Material: Stainless Steel
  • Grate Material: Stainless Steel
  • Cooking Capacity: 300 sq in
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 8 lbs
  • Heat Range: 165 °F - 450 °F
  • Fuel Type: Wood Pellets
  • Model: Tailgater 20
  • Assembled size (in): 37 (L) x 18 (W) x 36 (H)
  • Weight: 62 lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year

We couldn’t make a list of the best portable pellet grills without mentioning Traeger, as they were the original makers of the pellet grill. The Traeger Tailgater is the first of their portable pellet grills we’ll be talking about. 

The Tailgater is one of the most affordable grills in Traeger’s range, and isn’t packed with too many features. But it’s still ideal for those who just want something solid and reliable for on-the-go smoking or cooking in small backyards.

The Traeger Tailgater is compact and well-built and now features a super convenient Arc Controller that lets you set your temperature in 5 degree increments while you sit back.

It comes with one meat probe that lets you check the internal temperature without opening the lid, and also has a ‘keep-warm’ setting which is useful when you’re smoking at a family barbecue and have other things to do before serving. 

As well as being one of the lighter portable grills on our list, the legs fold like scissors and are easy to get down.

Pros

  • Sturdily built.
  • Upgraded Arc Controller maintains a steady temperature well.
  • Has 1 meat probe. 
  • Has a ‘keep-warm’ setting.
  • Scissor folding legs make the grill easy to fold down.

Cons

  • Has a smaller cooking and pellet hopper capacity than rival pellet smokers.
  • Has a maximum temperature of 450°F.

RUNNER UP

PIT BOSS 10538 PB206PSP2 Wood Pellet Grill, Black

Specs for Pit Boss Sportsman Portable Pellet Grill

  • Barbecue Material: Stainless Steel
  • Grate Material: Stainless Steel
  • Cooking Capacity: 387 sq in
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 19 lbs
  • Heat Range: Max Temperature of 250 °F
  • Fuel Type: Wood Pellets
  • Model: PB206PSP2
  • Assembled size (in): 38.35 (L) x 25.2 (W) x 37.56 (H)
  • Weight: 79.81 lbs
  • Warranty: 5 years

If you’re after a rugged pellet grill, then the Pit Boss Sportsman Series Portable Pellet Grill might be for you. It’s durable, reliable, and despite its rugged appearance, is incredibly portable. 

It has a powder-coated stainless steel construction, porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates and an ample 387 square inches of cooking space while still being compact and lightweight.

The legs have been designed to slide together in one movement rather than having to do each of them separately. The built-in handles and latching lid also mean that you can comfortably wheel this grill quite a long way.

The Pit Boss Sportsman has direct and indirect heat options, giving you great cooking versatility. You can smoke, grill, sear, roast, braise or roast anything from burgers to fish.

Unfortunately, the Pit Boss Sportsman doesn’t have any WiFi, but we can overlook that for a great quality, portable smoker that is robust, reliable and tough enough to take anywhere. Plus, it’s backed by a generous 5-year warranty.

Pros

  • Made with premium gauge stainless steel.
  • Durable porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates.
  • Compact.
  • Sliding folding legs work together for quick and easy foldability. 
  • Indirect and direct cooking gives you wider cooking options.

Cons

  • Since the grill has no insulation, you’ll end up using more fuel in cooler conditions.
  • Does not have a PID temperature controller. 

RUNNER UP

Traeger Grills Ranger Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker, Black Small

Specs for Traeger Ranger Portable Pellet Grill

  • Barbecue Material: Stainless Steel
  • Grate Material: Porcelain coated
  • Cooking Capacity: 184 sq in
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 8 lbs
  • Heat Range: Max Temperature of 450 °F
  • Fuel Type: Wood Pellets
  • Model: Ranger Grill
  • Assembled size (in): 20 (L) x 21 (W) x 134 (H)
  • Weight: 60 lbs
  • Warranty: 5 years

For a super compact pellet grill, look no further than the Traeger Ranger that is high-quality, high-performing, and comes in a neat, compact package. 

With its hard-shell suitcase design, the Ranger is a 21-inch square pellet grill. It has a locking lid and weighs just 60 lbs, making it perfect to slot into the trunk of your car no matter where you’re heading.

It also has 184 square inches of cooking space, enough space to cook for 2-4 people. Or, in other words, enough space to cook 4 steaks, 6 burgers, or even 2 small chickens. The pellet hopper weighs 8 lbs and it reaches a maximum temperature of 450°F, which gives you just enough heat to grill, smoke, and roast. 

It also has the same Digital Arc Temperature Controller as the larger Traeger Tailgater we talked about earlier, that lets you reliably set the heat in 5°F increments. Like the Traeger Tailgater, it also has a ‘keep-warm’ mode if you’re not quite ready to eat yet.

You also get a cast iron griddle with the Traeger Ranger as well as a regular cooking grate, and a meat probe you can use to check exactly when your food is ready with no need to open the lid.

This well-built portable pellet grill is great for those who like to take their grills on RVs and enjoy car camping, but it can be used pretty much anywhere. 

Pros

  • One of the most compact portable pellet grills.
  • Despite its compact size, it has reasonable cooking capacity.
  • The 8 lbs pound pellet hopper gives you a good amount of unassisted cooking time.
  • Precise temperature controller allows you to set the temperature in 5-degree increments.
  • Regular smoking grate and cast iron grate lets you achieve great grilling results.

Cons

  • Although it's compact and does not take up a lot of room, some may find its 60 lbs weight a bit heavy.
  • The hopper is inside the unit, meaning you’ll have to open the lid to add more fuel, which isn’t the case with most other pellet grills.
  • Some of the first generation Traeger rangers had problems with grease leaking and being a potential fire hazard, but this problem has been rectified with the newer models.

RUNNER UP

Camp Chef SmokePro SG Wood Pellet Grill Smoker, Black (PG24SG)

Specs for Camp Chef SmokePro PG242SG

  • Barbecue Material: Stainless steel
  • Grate Material: Cast iron
  • Cooking Capacity: 811 sq in
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 22 lbs
  • Heat Range: 175 °F - 500 °F
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Model: PG24SG
  • Assembled size (in): 40.5 (L) x 28 (W) x 22 (H)
  • Weight: 22 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years

It’s hard not to be blown away by the advanced features on the Camp Chef SmokePro PG24SG. It has a spacious cooking surface area of 811 square inches - perfect if you’re cooking for a large party - and a massive hopper with a capacity of 22 lbs.

The cooking space consists of a grilling area and a warming rack that measures 429 and 382 square feet respectively. 

The LED display lets you monitor the heat while the auger utilizes the automated pellet feeding mechanism to regulate the temperature according to the settings you’ve selected, preventing fluctuations in heat.

You can choose the temperature from a diverse range of 175 to 500 degrees, allowing you to cook a wide range of foods.

The SmokePro also has an ash cup that uses patented cleanup technology, making the cleaning up process quicker and easier. Meanwhile, the pellet hopper cleanout system alternates between different flavors of pellets for a truly unique taste.

Starting this grill couldn’t be easier either, just use the electric auto-igniter! The dual meat probes let you cook a few meats at once without the stress of worrying if one of them is undercooked. You can also alternate between direct and indirect heat by pulling on the knob which slides the heat deflector. 

However, this is one of the more expensive portable pellet grills on this list, and it’s also one of the heaviest at 150 lbs.

Pros

  • High-capacity hopper.
  • Has an automatic auger.
  • Has a pellet hopper and ash cleanout system that doesn’t just make clean-up easier, but the pellet hopper cleanout system can also enhance the flavor of the meats!
  • Dual meat probes let you cook a few meats at once.
  • Direct and indirect heat options.

Cons

  • One of the more expensive options on this list.
  • Although portable, this grill is pretty heavy.

RUNNER UP

Cuisinart CPG-4000 Wood BBQ Grill & Smoker Pellet Grill and Smoker, 45' x 49' x 39.4', Black

Specs for Cuisinart CPG-4000

  • Barbecue Material: Stainless steel
  • Grate Material: Stainless steel
  • Cooking Capacity: 450 sq in
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 15 lbs
  • Heat Range: 180 °F - 475 °F
  • Fuel Type: Wood Pellets
  • Model: CPG-4000 Wood Pellet BBQ Grill & Smoker
  • Assembled size (in): 45 (L) x 39.4 (W) x 49 (H)
  • Weight: 103.6 lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year

The Cuisinart CPG-4000 is a versatile, 6-in-1 grill with a wide temperature range of 180 °F to 475 °F, giving you plenty of cooking options like baking, smoking, grilling, roasting, braising, and barbecuing.

You also have plenty of cooking space with the Cuisinart, thanks to the two-tiered grate. The Cuisinart CPG-4000 also has two shelves. One shelf is on the side and is stationary, and the other shelf at the front is collapsible. Both are great places to store ingredients and utensils. 

You can check the temperature whilst cooking thanks to the thermostat’s LED display, and you can also activate the selected temperature from there and keep it consistent by automatically adding pellets which come in a variety of flavors.

The huge 450 square inches of cooking space lets you cook a large amount of food at once, and there’s no need to worry about refueling in the middle of cooking thanks to the 15 lbs hopper.

If you want a smokier flavor, you can just set the temperature to one of the lower settings and let the wood pellets smolder. It’s also easy to keep your grill clean with the built-in spigot that drains excess fat. This also makes sure your food is always healthy!

Its all-terrain wheels and lift handle makes it ideal for using outdoors, whether it be for picnics or camping. The stainless steel material is also rust-resistant, and it also comes with a cover so your grill is always protected if the weather takes a turn for the worse. As you can see, versatility is the name of the game with the Cuisinart CPG-4000!

One downside is that you have to regularly monitor the water pan and refill it as it quickly dries out. 

Pros

  • Huge, spacious cooking area.
  • Versatile cooking options.
  • Good sized hooper.
  • Wide range of adjustable temperature.
  • Wheels and handles make it extra portable.

Cons

  • Shallow water pan.

Best Portable Pellet Grills Buying Guide

You may have noticed that there are a lot of features and components that take a portable pellet grill from good to great. Let’s take a look at some important features to consider when you buy your portable pellet grill.

Best Portable Pellet Grills

Portability 

The point of a portable grill is that you can take it pretty much anywhere, and this means it should be easy to pack up as well as transport to different places. 

Even if a grill has wheels and handles, if it’s massive and doesn’t have any features that make it easy to fold down then it’s going to be hard to move, no matter how portable it claims to be.

Think about where you’re most likely to be using your grill and decide if the grill you want would be easy to use in these places.

Cooking surface area 

As well as thinking about where you want to use your grill, also think about what you want to cook and who you’ll mainly be cooking for. 

You need enough cooking surface to be able to cook the amount of food you’ll need, otherwise you’ll be cooking in rounds - which can be tedious and frustrating! However, if the cooking surface is too big it’ll no longer be portable

Design and features

While it’s understandable to want a grill that looks good, functionality is far more important. Again, consider your style of cooking and look for features that compliment that and that you believe will give you the best grilling experience. 

These features include workspaces, hooks, handles, and auto-ignition and feeders. Also look for features that make it more portable such as folding legs, high-quality wheels, and lid locks. 

Durability

Portable grills need to be durable enough to withstand any bumps and scrapes from travelling in a car, van, or truck. Look for portable grills that are made of durable materials like steel or hard plastic, and be mindful of pieces that stick out and might break off. 

A good portable pellet grill should be able to fold down conveniently. Make sure to always read the product descriptions carefully!

Accessories

Everyone loves special features, but some portable pellet grills offer bonus features that can even save you money. For example, they may have smoking pellets to get you started, a cover to protect it from bad weather, a grease bucket for catching drips, or an instant-read thermometer that will quickly tell you how warm your food is. 

Warranty and customer service

No matter what we’re buying, we all want the product in question to perform well forever, but this is very rarely the case. At best, a product can break due to heavy usage, and at worst a product can break due to a fault that soon becomes apparent. 

But if something goes wrong with your grill, you’d want to be able to turn to the manufacturer for some solution or compensation. To save a lot of frustration and disappointment in case the worst happens, check the length of a product’s warranty and what it covers. Reading the small print may be boring, but it’s worth it!

You can look to product reviews to see how good a manufacturer’s customer service is, and it’s always a good idea to buy a product that is backed up by a decent warranty. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you maintain a pellet grill?

Always keep the pellet grill dry, as this will protect the internal electronic components and stop the pellets from disintegrating and potentially blocking the augur. After cooking, vacuum out the ash and clean the grill grates to remove food residue and grease stains that could affect the flavor of your next meal. 

To trap grease you can place a tin foil on the drip tray. It’s also a good idea to wait 24 hours in between cooks. Also, use a grill cover to protect the grill from bad weather.

How long do pellet grills last on average?

A pound of pellets will last about an hour, but the cooking temperature, the temperature outside, PID controllers, cooking frequency, the type of hardwood in pellets, and external insulation of the grill will affect the rate of pellet consumption.

Are pellet grills a good investment?

They can be a good investment, as pellets are often cheaper to buy than gas and charcoal. Plus, since pellets burn consistently, it makes the temperature easier to control and maintain. 

With pellet grills you have a wider range of flavors to choose from, as hardwood pellets come in apple, cherry, hickory, maple and pecan which can affect the overall flavor of your meals. 

Pellet grills are also more low-maintenance in terms of monitoring time. Gas and charcoal grills require constant monitoring, while with pellet grills you can leave them unintended for quite a long time, as the pellet feeder will automatically fuel the furnace to maintain the set temperature. You also have the option of direct and indirect heating with pellet grills, to match the temperature needed to cook different types of food. 

Final Thoughts

Cooking over a real wood fire makes for an incredibly fun cooking experience, especially when on vacation or enjoying the great outdoors.

All of the portable pellet grills we’ve mentioned are perfect for outdoor cooking wherever you are, and we hope that you can use our recommendations and buyer’s guide to make the best purchase for you - however or wherever you like to cook!