Are you tired of struggling to maintain a consistent temperature while smoking your favorite meats?
If you need a new pellet grill or smoker, one of the best features you should look for is a PID controller. One of the benefits of using pellet grills/smokers with PID controller is that it can make grilling easier and more automated.
Pellet grills/smokers equipped with PID controllers are the most advanced grills available on the market today.
You can find a wide range of grills from basic to high-end ones that have been designed to satisfy every type of consumer.
There is a grill for everyone, and sometimes finding just the right one for you can be tricky.
In this comprehensive grillcuisines.com guide, we will cover:
- What is a PID Controller Smoker/Pellet Grill?
- Which Pellet Grills Have a PID Controller [Top 7 Pellet grills/Smokers with PID controller technology]
- Benefits of having Pellet Grills with PID Controller
What is a PID Controller Smoker/Pellet Grill?
A PID controller is the most advanced type of controller and is usually found in pellet smokers, pellet grills, and other industrial-style cooking appliances.
A PID (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) controller is a temperature control system that regulates a pellet grill’s temperature and keeps it constant while cooking.
PID controllers get their name because they use an algorithm with three parameters: Proportional, Integral, and Derivative.
The algorithm is able to provide input to the system to maintain the desired temperature.
PID controller smoker/pellet grill regulates the temperature of the grill by adjusting airflow, fuel, or both to maintain a specific temperature.
The controller compares the actual temperature inside the grill to the desired temperature set by the user.
Based on the difference between the two temperatures, it calculates an error signal.
The controller uses this error signal to adjust the amount of fuel and air supplied to the auger in order to get the temperature back to the desired level.
A PID controller pellet grill can be adjusted to allow for certain variations in air and fuel flow. This temperature can be programmed by the user on most PID controllers – usually between 140°F and 500°F.
The intention is to control the cooking process more precisely than with simple on/off control.
PID CONTROLLER VS STANDARD TIME BASED CONTROLLERS
Some older pellet grills/smokers are fitted with time-based controllers. Where newer, more expensive models of pellet grills/smokers are fitted with PID controllers.
Pellet grill with Standard time-based controllers, regulate the temperature, by feeding more pellets.
Pellet grills with Non-Pid controllers function like a furnace. When the temps in the grill are lower than your set point, a cycle starts where the RTD rotates to move pellets from your feeder to the firepot.
If the temperature in the grill is greater than the set point, a different cycle begins.
The feeder stops supplying pellets so that the fire doesn’t go out, but enough are fed to maintain the desired cooking temp.
Unlike PID controllers, they do not adjust airflow to compensate for cold or windy conditions.
PID controllers, on the other hand, regulate the temperature of the grill by continually monitoring air flow, pellet feed rate, and grill surface temperature.
As a result, the grill is usually at or about 5 degrees of the actual desired temperature.
But on a timer-based controller, the temperature usually swings anywhere from 25 to 30 degrees.
Therefore, PID controllers are more functional than standard controllers in most situations, for example, adapting to changes in external environments grilling/smoking in the cold winter months.
Good tip: If your grill or smoker has WiFi, then most of them will also have a PID controller.
Which Pellet Grills Have a PID Controllers?
|Pellet Grill Brands/Models
|Traeger has both pellet grills with PID controller and without. Pro Series in its latest generation (Pro 575, 780) has an LCD control panel which includes a PID controller.
|Pit Boss Platinum series has a PID controller
|Today almost all Camp Chef pellet grills are using PID controllers
|Green Mountain Grills
|Weber Smoke Grill
Top 6 Pellet Grills With PID Controller?
If you are looking for a new pellet grill, the most frequently asked question is Which pellet grills are equipped with the PID controller technology? There are plenty of options available in the market and selecting one can get challenging.
To make your decision easier, we have whittled down the Top 6 alternatives for PID-controlled pellet grills and smokers.
- Traeger Ironwood 885
- Camp Chef SmokePro DLX
- Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett
- Pit Boss Austin XL
- REC TEC Grills RT-700
- Weber SmokeFire EX6
- Z Grills 700E
|Cooking Area (sq. in.)
|Temperature Range (°F)
|Traeger Ironwood 885
|WiFIRE technology, PID controller, Super Smoke mode
|Camp Chef SmokePro DLX
|PID controller, Ash cleanout system, Dual LED temperature display
|Green Mountain Davy Crockett
|PID controller, Portable design, WiFi-enabled
|Pit Boss Austin XL
|PID controller, Large cooking area, 31-pound hopper capacity
|REC TEC Grills RT-700
|PID controller, Smart Grill Technology, Stainless steel build
|Weber SmokeFire EX6
|PID controller, Weber Connect technology, porcelain enamel finish
|Z Grills 700E
|PID controller, 8-in-1 cooking versatility, Auto start ignition, No Wifi
- Weight: 170 lbs
- Hopper Capacity: 20 lbs
- Cooking Space: 885 square inches
- Temperature Range: 165°F to 500°F
The Traeger Ironwood 885 is a premium pellet grill with a number of features. The Ironwood 885 has a large cooking area and a sizable hopper capacity.
It has WiFIRE technology, which enables you to manage the grill from your smartphone, and a PID controller for precise temperature control.
Related >> Which Traeger Grills have WiFi/WiFIRE
You may relax knowing that the PID controller will ensure that the temperature you set for your grill stays within 5 degrees of it.
Additionally, it has a Super Smoke mode that generates more smoke for improved flavor, a pellet sensor that warns you when the pellet supply is low, and a stainless steel side shelf for food preparation and storage.
Overall it is the best option for PID controller pellet grills/smokers. The Ironwood 885’s a high price tag, which may be a barrier for some users. A few users have also mentioned difficulties connecting to the grill’s app, though this is a pretty minor problem generally.
- Weight: 200 lbs
- Hopper Capacity: 40 lbs
- Cooking Space: 1054 square inches
- Temperature Range: 200°F to 500°F
The Recteq RT-700 is Rec Tec’s premium grill. The RT-700, formerly known as “The Bull,” is renowned for its superior PID controller and stainless steel construction.
It has a large hopper capacity and a spacious cooking area making it perfect for large gatherings and events.
One of the advantages of the PID controller can be understood if you’ve ever had a grill that couldn’t maintain 225 degrees on a hot August day and spiked to 300.
The PID controller in the RT-700 constantly monitors the temperature inside the grill and makes adjustments to the flow of pellets as needed to maintain a consistent temperature. This allows for even cooking and eliminates the need for constant manual adjustments.
The REC TEC Grills RT-700 also has a dual meat probe system for multiple foods, a stainless steel body and cooking grates for durability, and a sizable, simple-to-read display that shows temperature and cooking information in real time.
Overall it is a good choice if you are looking for high end pellet grill with simple one-button operations that start and stop pre-programmed starting and shutdown procedures.
- Weight: 140 lbs
- Hopper Capacity: 18 lbs
- Cooking Space: 570 square inches
- Temperature Range: 160°F to 500°F
Camp Chef is another trusted name among outdoor cooking enthusiasts, because of their quality and innovative designs.
The pellet grills they sell are some of the best on the market.
The body of the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX is made from durable, stainless steel. That protects the grill from the elements and ensures that it can withstand the rigors of regular outdoor use.
The grill also has a sturdy, reinforced leg design that provides additional stability and support
One of the key features that set the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX apart from its competitors is its “Smart Smoke” technology. Smart smoke technology allows the grill to automatically adjust the smoke production based on the temperature and cooking time.
As a result, your food will be infused with just the right amount of smoky flavor.
It has a patented Ash Cleanout System, which makes it easy to clean out the grill after each use.
The PID controller in the SmokePro DLX constantly monitors the temperature inside the grill and adjusts the flow of pellets as needed to maintain a consistent temperature. The controller also features a “Shutdown Mode,” which safely powers down the grill once the internal temperature has cooled to a certain point.
Some other notable features of the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX are its large hopper capacity, and its built-in meat probe, which allows you to monitor the temperature of your food without having to open the grill.
The only drawback I see in Camp Chef DLX is the lack of wifi connectivity. Otherwise it is a good option as compared to more expensive models that have essentially the same features except wifi technology.
- Weight: 68 pounds
- Hopper Capacity: 9 pounds
- Cooking Space: 219 square inches
- Temperature Range: 150-550 degrees Fahrenheit
One of the key features that set the Davy Crockett apart from other pellet grills is its advanced Wi-Fi technology.
With A smartphone app, you can control the grill remotely and keep track of the temperature and progress of the cooking from any location.
It has a built-in meat probe that makes it simple to check the internal temperature of the meat as it cooks without opening the grill.
Its collapsible size makes it easy to transport and store. If you are looking for a compact sized PID controlled pellet grill/smoker for camping, and tailgating, it is the best option.
Some customers have mentioned problems with the grill’s reliability and temperature regulation, especially in harsh weather conditions.
All things considered, the Green Mountain Trek is a good option for anyone searching for a portable, cutting-edge pellet grill.
- Weight: 164 pounds.
- Hopper Capacity: 31 pounds
- Cooking Space: 1000 square inches
- Temperature Range: 150°F to 500°F
The Pit Boss Wood Pellet Series offers superior cooking at an affordable cost.
The Pit Boss Austin XL boasts a powder-coated steel exterior and a heavy-duty design, making it enduring and long-lasting. It also has a lower storage cabinet, a side shelf, and an built in thermometer.
One of the main specifications that make the Pit Boss Austin XL stand out from its competitors is its unique flame broiler feature.
This allows you to open the flame broiler slide plate and place your food directly over an open flame for searing and charring, giving your food a restaurant-quality finish. This is versatility at its finest – bake or roast, grill or smoke, this 8-in-1 grill will serve you well with its wood fired flavor.
Related > >12 Great Pit Boss Recipes For Beginners
The PID controller Pit Boss Austin XL allows for precise temperature control. It’s an ideal option in the mid-price category with the only drawback that it is relatively heavy which would make it hard to move around.
- Weight: 204 pounds
- Hopper Capacity: 22 pounds
- Cooking Space: 1,008 square inches
- Temperature Range: 200-600°F
Weber is a well known brand that is famous for producing grills and smokers of the highest quality.
The Weber SmokeFire EX6 is one of their newest and most advanced pellet grills, featuring a PID controller and a variety of other features that make it stand out from the competition.
Weber SmokeFire EX6 is made of a porcelain-enameled steel body, making it sturdy and resistant to rust and corrosion.
It has a stainless steel side table and a handle with tool hooks, for keeping kitchenware and other accessories.
One of the most important characteristics of the Weber SmokeFire EX6 is its advanced PID controller, which ensures precise temperature control and consistent cooking results. The grill also has a large cooking area, making it perfect for hosting large gatherings or cooking for a big family.
It has advanced Weber Connect technology that allows you to remotely monitor and control the grill through a smartphone app.
The Weber Connect app provides real-time updates on cooking temperature, estimated cook time, and even alerts when food is done.
If you’ve never grilled or smoked before, don’t panic; this app will provide you step-by-step recipe instructions. You can even share the cooking results and recipes with friends and family.
The grill also has a built-in meat probe thermometer, and ash and grease management system.
The only factor that influences the users buying decision is its high price point compared to other pellet grills. But if you are a serious outdoor cooking enthusiast who is willing to invest in a high-quality, reliable pellet grill the Weber SmokeFire EX6 is a great option.
- Weight: 146 pounds
- Hopper Capacity: 20 pounds
- Cooking Space: 694, square inches
- Temperature Range: 180-450°F
Z Grills is a relatively new company but their products’ user reviews are fantastic! The ZPG-700E is Z Grill’s most popular smoker model with a powder-coated steel body.
One of the standout features of the Z Grills 700E is its digital control system, which is operated via a PID controller. This technology allows for precise temperature control, ensuring that your food is cooked evenly and with precision. The PID controller also helps to maintain consistent temperatures, which is essential when cooking delicate food items.
For best outdoor cooking experience the grill has a wide range of temperature settings. You can smoke, grill, roast, braise, and bake your food.
One potential drawback of the Z Grills 700E is that the temperature range may not be suitable for high-temperature cooking, such as searing steaks. The hopper may also require frequent refills for long cook times, which can be inconvenient.
Overall, the Z Grills 700E is a solid option for those looking for an affordable pellet grill with accurate temperature control and versatile cooking options.
Benefits of Having A Pellet Grill with PID Controller
There are many benefits of having a Pellet grill with a PID controller, some of which are mentioned below:
1- Pellet Grills with PID Controller have Easy to use interface:
The pellet grills with a PID controller are the modern way to cook. Its easy-to-use interface and accurate temperature control make cooking a breeze.
It has a steady and even cooks and it retains the flavors of the food. It has a sleek body that is easy to clean and it is durable for outdoor cooking.
2- Pellet Grills with PID Controller provide Precision cooking:
PID controller is a great tool for people who want to cook their food more accurately. A PID controller will make sure that your temperature is maintained and never goes outside of a 5-degree variation from your set target.
It accurately measures the temperature and adjusts the heating power to maintain the desired temperature level.
This ensures that food cooks evenly from all sides and prevents over-cooking.
3- Pellet Grills with PID Controller provide Good quality smoke flavor:
The most notable one is for people who love smoked recipes but can’t stand dealing with messy charcoal or wood chips. These grills also produce great-tasting food because they use just the right amount of heat for different foods.
4- Pellet Grills with PID Controller are Effective in adverse weather conditions:
Pellet grills/smokers with PID controllers truly excel when there are a lot of variables that affect how hot the grill gets. These variables include:
- Outside temperature
- Rain/Snow/cold weather
What are your needs? it depends! A PID controller is one of the many features that you may be able to use to meet your BBQ needs.
I wouldn’t say that a PID is a ‘must-have feature’ for pellet grills since it would be not that difficult to find an equally good grill based on the time-based controller. The key factors in smoking are temperature and time. Consistencies in both can make for great results. Conventional controllers are reliable to maintain the desired temperature.PID controllers produce MORE consistent temperatures, especially in less-than-perfect conditions.
If a Pellet grill with a PID controller is too expensive, you still have a few options. But a PID-controlled pellet grill/smoker will give you more accurate & precise control over your cooking, which can only be a good thing.
Do PID Controllers Produce Less Smoke?
It is an interesting question, and it has some truth in it. Low temp settings led to some good, clean white smoke that create the flavor profile we expect.
Varying the flavor by pellet (i.e. cherry, apple, or cooking pellets perfect mix) can change the smoke profile and taste of your meat.
Higher temperature cooks produce less smoke flavoring but both toast and produce delicious, melt-in-the-mouth food.
Many new grills on the market now come with innovative Smoke IT technology with PID controller.
You can use your phone to control your grill from a distance. This Bluetooth capability with the fully digital temperature control system makes it easy to access the Pellet Alert System and PID Temperature Control.
Pellet grills/smokers with PID controllers can be used to produce more smoke with some trade-offs. While smoke production is increased, the temperature accuracy will decrease. If you plan to use a PID controller with a higher smoke setting, you should expect larger swings in temperature.
I don’t think PID is the only factor: you must also consider your pellets and adjust them as needed for the desired results.
I am a writer, editor, and publisher of Grillcuisines.com – an online blog dedicated to sharing grilling tips, accessories, and recipes to encourage more people to get outside and grill.
I’m off to find out the different types of grill foods, their seasons, and how to conduct outdoor cooking properly. I’ll also show you some of my grill-worthy cooking tools & accessories!