Which Should You Buy: A Pellet Grill or a Propane Smoker?

Rate this post

smoker?Are you torn between a basic and inexpensive propane smoker and a high-tech pellet grill?

Do you want to know which one will provide the finest results?

In this essay, we will compare the advantages and disadvantages of pellet smokers with propane smokers.

With the distinctions explained, you’ll be able to choose the precise kind of smoker you need to get that ideal smoky taste that all pitmasters want!

This is the first in a series of articles comparing various sorts of smokers:

  • Pellet Grill vs Gas Grill
  • Propane vs Electric Smoker
  • Pellet Smoker vs Electric Smoker

What’s the big difference between propane & pellet smokers?

Pellet Grill vs Propane Smoker – Which Should You Buy?

Pellet and propane both allow you to set it and forget it when it comes to smoking, but that’s about where the similarities stop.

The primary difference between a propane smoker and a pellet smoker is the kind of fuel used.

Pellet smokers burn wood pellets. These pellets are typically formed from hardwood that has been crushed into sawdust and then compressed into pellets using heat and pressure.

The biggest advantage of utilizing a pellet smoker is that you use wood as fuel, which has its own smoky taste.

They are also extremely high-tech, with brands such as Traeger and Green Mountain Grills selling versions with WiFi so you can operate them from the comfort of your sofa via an app.

The primary disadvantage of a pellet smoker is the cost, which may range from $500 to over $1800. Pellet grills are also rather large and must be connected into an electricity socket.

Fuel is also an issue since the smoker only operates on pellets, which may cost up to $2 per pound.

Propane smokers, unsurprisingly, are powered by a propane tank. Unlike pellet smokers, propane smokers are simple to use and maintain.

Propane and propane accessories are widely accessible from a variety of retailers. For example, a decent propane tank gauge will help you ensure that you have adequate fuel in the tank for your next barbeque.

The major advantage of a propane smoker is its simplicity of use and the ability to provide comparable results as a regular charcoal smoker.

The primary disadvantage of propane smokers is that the gas fumes have been observed to impart a minor taste to the meat. However, how much this impacts the flavor seems to be fairly subjective, with others reporting they can’t taste it at all.

Propane smoker overview

Pellet Grill vs Propane Smoker – Which Should You Buy?

Propane smokers are often designed in a cabinet configuration, with the gas burner at the bottom. The grill racks are positioned atop a woodchip tray and a water pan.

Because the propane originates from an external cylinder linked by a gas line, replacing out the bottle is simple.

Propane smokers heat up rapidly, and the temperature is simpler to manage with gas than with organic combustibles like wood, pellets, or charcoal.

One of the nicest things about a propane smoker is that it is relatively small, lightweight, and does not need a socket to function. This means you can relocate them as needed, take them camping, and to outdoor activities such as cookouts and tailgates.

Propane smoker pros:

  • Propane is widely accessible and reasonably priced from a range of providers.
  • Propane smokers are often inexpensive, with budget versions costing approximately $200.
  • Propane smokers are portable and lightweight when not equipped with a gas tank. This means they can be easily sited and transported.
  • Propane smokers are simple to operate and maintain. Replacement components for gas smokers are simple to locate and install.

Propane Smoker Cons:

  • You should always keep two gas canisters on available since it might be difficult to know how much gas you have left and you don’t want it to run out during a low and slow smoking session.
  • Some individuals remark that the combination of gas fumes and wetness on the meat generates an unpleasant flavor. Others, however, doubt this.
  • Depending on the model, you may need to keep an eye on it to ensure that the temperature does not get too high, since low-cost versions may become hot.
  • The wood chip pan may need to be replenished numerous times during a protracted smoking session.
  • Some models have inadequate insulation. On very cold or windy days, the temperature may vary as a result.

Check out our guide to the best propane smokers.

Pellet smoker overview

The term “pellet smoker” is rather deceptive, since most pellet-fired equipment are a hybrid of a smoker, oven, and grill.

They work best as smokers and fail to attain the high heat necessary for searing.

Pellet smokers are often bigger, heavier, and more costly to acquire and fuel than propane smokers.

Pellets made for a pellet smoker should not be confused with wood pellets used for interior heating stoves. These are solely intended for heating purposes and include chemicals that might flavor the meat.

Pellets in a pellet smoker are formed of compressed sawdust bound together with natural lignin from wood. They are constructed entirely of wood and available in a variety of tastes derived from various woods.

Wood pellets are loaded into a hopper on the smoker’s side. An electrically driven auger linked to the temperature controls then delivers enough pellets into the cooking chamber to maintain a constant temperature.

Pitboss recommends 2 pounds of pellets for every hour of low and slow smoking or 4 pounds for every hour of hot and quick grilling.

A convection fan provides airflow while cooking using oven-style indirect heat. Because the fan and temperature controls are both powered by electricity, you must place your pellet smoker near an electrical outlet.

Pellet smokers offer the benefit of employing a wood-based fuel, which naturally enhances the taste of the meat.

They also provide more versatility than a propane smoker, depending on the type you choose. This is because, in addition to smoking meat, pellet smokers also function as a grill and an oven.

Pellet smoker pros:

  • Because the fuel pellets are produced entirely of wood, they have a distinct woodsmoke flavor. You may also experiment with other kinds of wood.
  • The temperature settings are precise, and the smoker automatically feeds the needed number of pellets to maintain the temperature consistent.
  • A pellet smoker is essentially a smoker, grill, and oven all in one, making them very flexible.
  • Smoke pellets create extremely little ash, with a 40lb bag yielding just half a cup of ash. This allows you to spend more time enjoying the results of your effort and less time cleaning up.
  • Some versions have sophisticated technology features like as WiFi, which allows you to manage your grill from your phone.

Pellet smoker Cons:

  • Wooden fuel pellets are not as commonly accessible as gas or charcoal, making them harder to get on short notice. They may also be rather pricey when compared to other types of fuel.
  • Because the augur, temperature controls, and convection fan are all powered by electricity, your pellet smoker will need to be plugged in, limiting its mobility.
  • A pellet smoker may be rather expensive when compared to a propane smoker. Frequently twice or more the price of a gas smoker. This is countered, though, by its higher adaptability.
  • Your wood pellets will dissolve into worthless mush if exposed to dampness or if wet gets into the pellet hopper. As a result, you’ll need to keep them someplace dry.

Check out our guide to the best pellet grills.

Pellet Smoker and Propane Smokers – Head to head

The good news is that they are completely different creatures when it comes to deciding between a propane smoker and a pellet smoker.

Propane smokers are easy to operate, have readily available fuel, and are often fairly portable. So, if you want to use your smoker for camping vacations and cookouts, propane is definitely the best option for you.

A pellet smoker is an excellent alternative if you want complete control over the temperature and tastes given by your fuel. Even though they are more difficult to get than gas, the hardwood pellets you will be burning play an active role in seasoning your meat.

Pellet smokers are also more sophisticated and flexible machines. The augur and convection fan-driven combustion system allows for precise temperature control, albeit it will not reach as hot as a propane smoker.

Pellet grills are extremely hefty and need an electricity outlet. So, if mobility is something you’re willing to give up for more control over temperature and smoke taste, a pellet smoker is the one for you.

However, this is not always the case. Both the Traeger Tailgater and the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett are fantastic portable pellet grills.

If you still don’t have enough information to make a decision, here are a few more variables to think about.


There is a significant price difference between propane and pellet smokers. A cheap propane smoker will cost you approximately $100, while a pellet smoker will cost you between $500 and $2000+.

Ease Of Use:

Depending on the type, propane smokers may become rather hot and are not the most well-insulated equipment. This may imply that you should keep a watch out for temperature variations.

Pellet smokers, on the other hand, provide you precise control over your temperature and, thanks to their integrated fuel-feed and temperature sensors, are the ultimate in fire and forget smokers.

Fuel Access:

Most gas stations will sell you a propane tank, but only a few will offer you high-quality 100% wood pellets designed exclusively for your pellet smoker. If you don’t live near a source, you’ll have to stockpile pellets, which might be expensive.


Propane smokers are typically basic equipment with easily accessible and replaceable generic gas burner components. Pellet smokers, on the other hand, employ more delicate and customized elements that might be difficult to repair in a hurry.

Top Electric and Propane Brands

Now that you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision, the following step is to choose a reputable brand.

Masterbuilt and Char-Broil are well-known manufacturers that produce high-quality propane smokers.

Look for Smoke Hollow or Camp Chef at the lower end of the market, but bear in mind that these smokers will need some babysitting to keep the temperature stable.

Z Grills, Pit Boss, and Traeger Grills are three of the most well-known brands for pellet smokers, and all provide outstanding pellet grills.

Z Grills and Pit Boss are both inexpensive, albeit neither is as inexpensive as a budget propane smoker.

Wrapping it up

Ultimately, the decision between pellets and propane comes down to what you want from your smoker.

Get yourself a propane grill if you want something dependable and portable that you can transport to wherever the party is and be 99% certain you’ll be able to pick up more fuel on the way.

If you are willing to pay a bit more and want greater control at the expense of mobility, the pellet smoker is for you. Just make sure you can get your hands on the proper sort of pellets before you spend your money.

Do you have a preference between pellets and propane? Do you have a special blend of pellets that consistently produces the greatest smoke? If you do, please leave us a comment below to let us know!


Is a pellet smoker better than a propane smoker?

Pellet smokers offer the benefit of employing a wood-based fuel, which naturally enhances the taste of the meat. They also provide more versatility than a propane smoker, depending on the type you choose.

What’s better pellet grill or smoker?

Pellet grills offer a wider temperature range, making them much more adaptable than electric smokers. Many versions can reach 450°F, with higher-end ones going much hotter. While it may not be the same as grilling over direct heat on most models, pellet grills may still be used efficiently.

Are pellet grills healthier than propane grills?

Carcinogenic chemicals may occur when meat is cooked at high temperatures. However, since pellet smokers are meant to operate better at lower temperatures, they may be a healthier alternative than gas grills.

What are the disadvantages of pellet grills?

The disadvantage is that they cannot be used everywhere.

Pellet grills, on the other hand, need an outlet to operate and hence are not portable. Moving them often may cause electrical components to fail, and they are typically hefty. It’s also worth mentioning that since they consume electricity, they’re not suitable for usage in rainy conditions.

Does a pellet smoker taste as good as a wood smoker?

The advantage of using pellets as fuel is that they emit less smoke than other solid fuels such as briquettes or dry hardwood logs (also known as lump). This suggests that if flavor is most important, charcoal is definitely a better choice than either!

Are propane smokers worth it?

Propane tanks are more simpler to transport whether camping or tailgating. superior smoke flavor – While it cannot compete with cooking with charcoal or wood, most people agree that gas produces superior flavor than electric. More dependable – There are fewer potential problems than with an electronic smoker.

Can a pellet grill replace a smoker?

If you like the flavor of slow-cooked smoked meats but dislike having to watch a charcoal smoker for hours on end, a pellet grill may be ideal for you. Pellet grills and smokers are the newest additions to the BBQ industry, and they run on a specific fuel known as wood pellets.

Is it worth buying a pellet grill?

Let’s get this out of the way right away: ‘Yes.’ Backyard grillers have a minor notion that pellet grills are intended for serious pitmasters. If you’re wondering what sort of grill to choose, pellet grills provide an easy, clean, and reliable method to cook a broad variety of dishes with amazing wood flavor.

What are the pros and cons of a pellet grill?

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Wood Pellet Grills
Temperature regulation. When it comes to temperature regulation, cooking on a gas or charcoal grill may be difficult.
Superior Flavor.
The disadvantages of a pellet grill.
Conditions are dry.

Are pellet grills good for burgers?

If you want your burgers to be the center of attention, cook them on a pellet grill. The flavor advantages are definitely worth it, as you’ll receive a stronger, smokier flavor that complements the natural, meaty richness of your well-selected ground chuck.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *