Pellet Grill vs Smoker: A Comprehensive Comparison

I hear you, when it comes to choosing between a pellet grill and a smoker, it’s hard to decide which one’s for you.

Smokers and pellet grills are becoming more popular for cooking! More and more people are cooking on smoker grills or with wood pellets to achieve deep, earthy flavors in their dishes. With the popularity of these types of BBQ equipment, it is important to know what they are and how they work for you.

Are you wondering Is a pellet grill smoker?

No, a pellet grill is not the same as a smoker’s. The main difference between a pellet grill vs smoker is the type of fuel they use.

A pellet grill is a type of smoker that is fueled by compressed sawdust pellets, while the smoker uses the smoke generated from burning hardwood to cook meats with iconic smoke flavor.

In this article, we compare different types of pellet grills with offset and electric smokers.

Pellet Grill vs Smoker

A pellet grill and a pellet smoker are similar in that they both use wood pellets as fuel to cook and smoke food. However, there are some differences between the two. Overall, both pellet grills and pellet smokers are great options for outdoor cooking, but a pellet grill is more versatile and can be used for a wider range of cooking techniques.

A pellet grill is typically a larger, freestanding outdoor appliance that can be used for grilling, smoking, roasting, baking, and more. It often has a hopper to hold the wood pellets and a temperature control system to regulate the heat. Pellet grills are versatile and can be used to cook a variety of different foods.

A pellet smoker, on the other hand, is a smaller, more compact appliance that is designed specifically for smoking food. It typically has a smaller hopper for wood pellets and may not have as many cooking features as a pellet grill. Pellet smokers are best for smoking and slow-cooking meats and other foods.

Offset smoker vs Pellet smoker

What is offset or traditional Smoker Grill?

pellet grill vs smoker
Pellet grill vs smoker: Offset Smoker

A smoker, is also known as an offset barrel smoker, a horizontal smoker, a pipe smoker, a stick smoker, or a side firebox smoker. This allows total control throughout the smoking process.

Offset smokers are a type of outdoor smoker with a long horizontal cooking chamber offset from a vertical stack of heaters.

It is a grill that smokes food by generating smoke from the burning of natural gas, wood, or charcoal. The smoke generated by the firebox travels through the cooking chamber to cook food in the main chamber.

Achieving an even temperature throughout this type of smoker can be difficult because the offset design means that smoke is generated at one end and flows down to the other.

This means that even though there is no shortage of smoke, it may not be uniformly distributed throughout the cooker.

Wood smokers are often used to cook large or whole pieces of meat such as brisket or pork shoulder. Cooking on an offset smoker in colder climates can be very difficult because it is hard to maintain the desired temperature.

Offset smokers require more attention than standard smoker grills, which is why they are not used by amateurs. For amateurs, it is recommended that they use a drum smoker or even simpler types of grills – like gas or electric grills.

What is a Pellet Smoker?

Is a pellet grill the same as a smoker? A pellet grill also known as a pellet smoker is a popular type of smoker that uses wood pellets as the fuel source.

The wood pellets are made from compressed sawdust and different types of dried tree leaves.

This is a more cost-effective way to smoke food because the wood pellets release heat slowly, which means that they require less attention and less fuel.

Pellet grills are an alternative to gas or charcoal grills for people who want a more natural-tasting meat

The most significant advantage is the flavor of the food cooked. A pellet smoker cooks at a lower temperature than other types of smokers and this reduces the risk of burning the food.

The taste and aroma are also more intense because a pellet smoker generates a steady stream of smoke rather than just a few intermittent puffs.

This means that you can grill up some great-tasting steaks while still being conscious about your health due to the lower cooking temperature, which also translates to less chance of getting cancer.

Wood pellet grills are very popular in North America because they are an efficient, clean, and environmentally friendly way to produce smoke with plenty of flavors.

A wood pellet grill can be used to produce smoke with a light taste, but also heavy smoky flavors. But those who are really into smoking will say that the results from a pellet smoker are less smoky and a bit moister.

A pellet grill is one of the best options for anyone who wants to get the most out of their meat or vegetables while still enjoying an amazing grilled experience.

For decades, many steakhouse chefs have been cooking with this type of grill because it’s quick, precise, and gives food a great smoky flavor.

Pellet Grill vs Offset Smoker

Pellet GrillSmoker  
Require power(Electricity)No power needed
Price ranges from $200 – $2500+Price ranges from $200-$1500+ and is generally cheaper than pellet grill/smoker
Use wood pelletUse wood and charcoal
Some are portable with folding legsGenerally heavy and not portable
Have the large cooking capacityHave the very large cooking capacity
No mess, easy to use and some have WiFi to control your barbecue using your phone.  It’s not easy to master how to cook good barbecue with an offset smoker.  
Pellet grill is best in winter and cold weatherCooking on a smoker in colder climates can be very difficult because it is hard to maintain the desired temperature.  
Often tastes less smoky, but this is actually good if you prefer your food un-smoked.  Gives Barbecue flavor that’s always authentic
Pellet grill vs smoker

Pellet grill vs Electric smoker

Both pellet grills and electric smokers need electricity to operate and they both let you set your smoking temperature.

An electric smoker is vertical in design and looks like a fridge. The vertical design offers increased cooking space, allowing you to cook multiple racks of meat or vegetables simultaneously.

They have a heating element at the bottom of the vertical box. The smoke and heat they produce are for low and indirect cooking. There’s absolutely no danger of fire, so you can completely forget about flare-ups.

There’s a water tray for the meat to stay moist and a wood-chip tray to release some smoke when you’re cooking in order to impart that unique smoked flavor.

Pellet grills use electricity to power a metal rod that heats up pellets of wood that produce heat & smoke. This smoke and the heat then cook your food.

Pellet grills have a higher temperature range and are more expensive than electric smokers.

Unless your budget is super tight, I would almost always recommend going for a pellet smoker because they’re easier to use and much more versatile.

Conclusion: Pellet Grill vs Smoker

If you love technology & are looking for a mobile, no-mess smoker that is easy to use, the pellet grill might be the right product for you and is a winner in pellet grill vs smoker comparison.

The two brands that I believe produce the best pellet grills and smokers are Traeger, Pit Boss, and Z Grills.

You can also check this article on how do pellet grills work? and Pellet grills/smokers with PID controller.


Is a pellet grill better than a smoker?

With the growing popularity of cooking shows, the market has seen a shift in consumer preferences. The smoker grill is no longer popular in the market.
This shift in preference could be attributed to the rise in popularity of cooking shows which have made people more aware of what they are eating and how it should taste. As a result, people are becoming less tolerant of smokey smells and flavors coming from smokers.
Pellet grills can be used as a smoker or as an oven, but they’re best suited for those who like to cook their food slowly.
These grills can also do other things, such as traditional grilling, but they’re mainly designed to evenly cook your meat and keep it moist with plenty of starchy drips inside.
A pellet grill is advantageous because it doesn’t require any fuel like charcoal or propane tanks like smokers do, which makes it easy to control temperature.
But if you are considering an electric smoker, I would almost always recommend going for a pellet smoker because they’re easier to use and much more versatile


Pellet grills can be a great investment if you want to cook high-quality food. They are one of the most popular grills on the market and many people use them as their main cooking appliance.
We should consider some advantages and disadvantages of owning a pellet grill before we buy it.
Some advantages include more precise temperature control, wood pellets burning more cleanly than some other fuels, more options for size and shape, less toxic fumes. pellet grills use electricity which is expensive if you live off-grid or in an area with high power rates.

Is a pellet grill healthier than charcoal?

A pellet grill is healthier than a charcoal grill because it doesn’t release smoke while cooking the food. Instead, pellet grills use electricity or gas to heat up the food which improves the flavor and provides more cooking options for the consumers.

How do I get more smoke taste in my pellet grill?

The answer to the question is twofold. First, make sure you are using the right wood pellets with a sufficiently low density. Second, make sure you are using the right amount of pellets and try different flavored pellets.
Use fresh, good-quality, and cold meat because it will still absorb the delicious smoky flavor.

Are pellet smokers bad for your health?

When meat juices and fat drip onto the flames of a fire, they can create harmful chemicals such as PAHs. PAHs are formed when organic material, such as coal or gas, is burned at high temperatures. They are carcinogenic substances that can have an effect on the lungs, skin, and immune system.
There is no definitive evidence to suggest that pellet grilling is healthier than other methods of grilling.

How long do pellets last in smoker?

Temperature and humidity can have a big impact on pellets. In dry conditions, they can last up to 5-6 months. However, in humid environments, they won’t last as long (at best – at worst, half the time). Make sure you store your pellets in a way that’s suitable for your climate and dehumidifies the air too.

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