Are Pellet Grills the Same as Smokers?

Are you struggling to decide whether to choose pellet grills or smokers? Read ahead; we have shared a comprehensive comparison between the both. The main point that sets them apart is their storage and fuel source.

Are Pellet Grills the Same as Smokers?

The use of different cooking devices is growing every day. Most people enjoy gathering their loved ones on occasions for a feast, while others don’t wait for occasions and good news to feast on delicious smoked food.

Pellet grills will be ideal if you live where the weather is always rainy or cold. However, smokers work best in warmer and dry climates.

What Is a Pellet Grill?

Pellet grills or pellet smokers are modern cooking devices used for cooking outdoors. They serve as electronic replacements for conventional smokers. A Pellet grill combines ovens, smokers, charcoal, and gas grills.

Pellet grills are unique because they only use pure hardwood pellets as fuel.

What Is a Smoker?

A smoker is any cooking device that can maintain a low temperature for an extended period while creating smoke. Smokers are used outside for BBQ. They come in different shapes and sizes; commonly used smokers include horizontal, side firebox, pipe, vertical, and stick smokers.

Smokers are used for cooking large pieces of meat and have total control over the temperature and smoking procedure. There are two types of smokers – offset smokers and electric smokers. The offset smokers are the most traditional type. They usually contain a large barrel for smoking food and a small fire pit. These smokers use wood or charcoal as a source of heat.

At the same time, electric smokers are a more modern type of smoker. They are usually vertical and provide various cooking racks, allowing more food to be smoked at once. Electrical smokers run on electricity.

How Does a Pellet Grill Work?

Pellet grills use wood pellets as a source of fuel. These pellets are added to a vessel called a hopper in the pellet grill. An electric pump then pushes the wood pellets into the cooking chamber. A digital control system helps regulate the wood pellets and control the temperature settings.

These wood pellets are ignited by combustion, heating the cooking chamber. The intake fans on pellets grills draw the air inside, heating and smoking the cooking space.

The pellet grills allow temperatures ranging from 180 to 500 Fahrenheit, allowing searing and slow cooking. Although the wood pellets serve as a fuel source, pellet grills still require electricity to work.

How Does a Smoker Work?

As suggested by the name, smoker uses smoke to heat and cook food. The smokers use a big chamber or barrels next to the heating source. Smokers have multiple fuel sources, like gas, timber, electricity, and coal. However, traditional smokers require wood or charcoal as a fuel source. Additionally, traditional smokers need constant monitoring to manage the temperature settings. Electric or gas smokers are easy to use and don’t require continuous checking.

Smokers provide indirect heating by combining a small wood and water chamber. The wood works as a fuel source while water maintains the internal heat.

Electric smokers are vertical and work in the same manner as a pellet grill. Wood pellets work as fuel sources. Electric smokers have a temperature control system that allows prolonged, slow smoking. Like pellet grills, electric or gas smokers have multiple trays used for cooking main and side dishes together.

Pellet Grill vs. Smokers

· Price

Pellet grill price ranges from $200 to $2500, and the price for better quality pellets go higher. At the same time, the price ranges from $200 to $1500, making it cheaper than pellet grills.

· Fuel Source

The main difference between pellet grills and smoke is the fuel source. Pellet grills run on wood pellets that provide heat on combustion, whereas smokers need wood, charcoals, gas, or wood pellets to run.

· Size

Pellet grills are comparatively smaller in size and take up less space. However, smokers are larger and take up more space.

· Functions

Pellets are an all-in-one cooking system. They can work and serve as an oven, gas grills, charcoal grills, and smokers. However, smokers only work for smoking food or BBQ-ing.

Additionally, pellet grills are portable and have folding legs, whereas smokers are comparatively heavier and are not transferrable.

· Cooking Capacity


Although pellets have a sliding rack, providing larger capacity. But, smokers allow an even larger cooking space.

· Weather

Pellet grills are ideal for any weather and typically work best in colder weather. At the same time, smokers work best in warmer weather since managing temperature can be extremely difficult in colder weather or winter.

· Temperature Settings

Pellets are comparatively easy to operate. They have a built-in temperature monitoring system, working automatically to provide more wood pellets and combust them. In addition, this technique doesn’t require monitoring.

Smokers, however, require constant monitoring and manual fixing of the temperature and airflow. Additionally, smokers need to add wood or charcoal by hand.

The Best Pellets Grills

Best as a whole: Weber SmokeFire EX4

Best on a budget: PIT BOSS Mahogany 440 Deluxe Wood Pellet Grill

Best grill: Louisiana Grills 1000 Black Label Series Grill

The Best Smokers

Best as a whole: Weber Smokefire Epx 6 Stealth Edition

Best on a budget: Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker 18″

Our Final Thoughts

While finding new methods for grilling can be fun, an often-asked question, “are pellet grills the same as smokers?” can confuse people about what to decide on. In our post, we shared the definition of pellet grills and smokes and how they work. Later we discussed the key points that separate the cooking capacity, temperature control, fuel source, functions, and many more.

However, before making a purchase, you should focus on the weather condition of your region, price, and durability.

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