Difference Between Pellet Grill and Smoker

Pellet smokers and grills are famous for their versatility and convenience. All the smokers may be grills, but all the grills may not be smokers. The effective smoke and heat control in different smokers and grills enables you to cook your food at precise conditions and temperatures. 

Pellet grills cook faster than pellet smokers because they use heat rather than smoke. Pellet smokers usually prefer slow and low cooking. A pellet smoker is better for smokier food, while a grill is perfect for bbq or searing. You can read further about pellet grills vs pellet smokers in this guide.

What Is A Pellet Grill?

Pellet grills are basically cookers that modernize traditional cooking with electrical enhancements and are often known as smokers. The different components of the pellet grill include charcoal grills, gas burners, barbeques, and ovens. 

They have compatibility with classic smokers in functionality and design. The pellet smokers are distinguished from others because of the fact that they use only hardwood pellets as fuel. As a fuel, they provide indirect heat. They have compatibility with classic smokers in functionality and design.

Pellet Grill Vs Pellet Smoker

Unlike traditional barbeque, the food grilled on the pellet grill does not come into contact with heat. Pellet grill has become famous among people who love barbeque and grilled food, and the main reason it is so popular is the comfort it gives the users and its flexibility.

  • Pellet grills offer a variety of cooking methods. They provide cooking methods like baking, roasting, barbecuing, burning, and smoking. 
  • The pellets used as fuel will impart a great smoky flavor to the food. The reasons that compel you to purchase a pellet grill are the following:
  • Unlike the traditional smoker or grill, you do not need to keep an eye on your grill because it will simmer the food for several hours. 

How Does A Pellet Grill Work?

The working of the pellet grill is the same as the stove. You have to connect your pellet grill to the fan so that it will run. After it, perform the following steps:

  • First, put your pellets into the hopper on the side or central part of the grill. It looks like a funnel. 
  • Hooper looks like a screw. The pellets will go into the fire pot as they move through the hooper. 
  • As the pellets come into contact with the hot rod in the firepot, they will burn up. The fire creates smoke and heat to cook food.
  • The convection fans cook food indirectly and control air flow. That is why it can also work like an oven and smoker.

Pros And Cons Of Pellet Grill


  • Flavor: Unlike gas grills, which use gas as a fuel, gas cannot add flavor to your food because gas is odorless. Pellets give you many flavors and customization options. 
  • Convenience: With the pellet grill, there is no need to flip or move your food back and forth to check whether it is cooked. Just set the grill at a low temperature and leave it. 
  • Versatility: The pellet grill is more than that of a smoker, so that you will have more cooking options. You can also get searing marks at low temperatures and get good flavor. 
  • Temperature Control: If you have a pellet grill, it is straightforward for you to maintain the temperature compared to the other grills. Grills reach desired temperatures in less than 15 minutes, which is the best feature. 
  • Efficiency: Aside from the pellets, convection fans increase the grill’s efficiency. Getting the grill hot will take time, and you will only need to use a small amount of fuel.
  • Cleanliness: The pellet grill will produce a little mess. There is no need to clean the surfaces of the grill. The pellets will burn smoothly without creating any lot. 


  • Price: Pellet grills are much more expensive than many other grills. The price increase is marginal rather than exceptional. Many standard-quality grills are affordable, but people like to save time instead of money.  
  • Power: To start pellet grills, plug in them. They do not have a propane tank, so transferring them from one place to another is easy, but you always need a power source.  
  • Fuel Supply: Wood pellets are not readily available in the market. Any other type of fuel is readily available in the market. You need to have a stock of fuel to avoid uncertain conditions. 
  • Temperature: Pellet grills are famous for low and slow cooking, so they do not give crispy food. Besides, many other grills can sear.  
  • Speed: Pellet grills work slowly because of the low temperature. That is the main difference between a pellet grill and a smoker. 

What Is A Pellet Smoker?

A smoker is a cooker that allows you to cook your food in a smoky atmosphere at a low temperature. It is a perfect machine for cooking smoked foods. Wide or large chunks of meat such as hog brisket or breast are usually cooked in smokers. 

Different types of smokers are categorized according to their sizes, such as a side firebox, a horizontal smoker, a stick, a smoker, a vertical smoker, etc. Those people can easily do smoking which has a grip on grilling. 


People have always been drawn to smoked food, and Smokers have many unique features absent in other barbeque or grill machines. Some of the matchless features of pellet smokers are 

  • It gives an authentic flavor for barbecue.
  • With its large capacity, the smoker can cook and smoke a whole chunk of meat or a large piece at once.
  • It is an affordable smoker and does not need any electric supply. It may be very challenging to control the offset smoker’s temperature and heat in the winter season.

How Does A Pellet Smoker Work?

  • As the name implies, smokers cook food with smoke. There are many types of smokers, such as electric, timber, gas, and coal, but electricity and gas are easy to operate and use. 
  • For indirect heating, smoker compartments have a small wood basin and a water basin at the base.
  • The word chips provide smoke and smokey flavor while the water keeps the internal temperature steady.

Pros And Cons Of Pellet Smoker


  • Convenient Cooking: You need to wait until the food is ready, then place your meat on the smoker. It is a convenient way of cooking. 
  • Flavor: Pellet smokers use hardwood pellet woods that give a good smokey flavor, which is better than all other types of smokers. 
  • Searing And Grilling Options: Some high-quality pellet smokers allow you to do grilling by increasing temperature. 
  • Easy To Maintain: unlike any other smoker, pellet smokers will create almost no mess that can be cleaned easily. So, you need to pay no effort to clean it. 
  • Environment-Friendly: To reduce pollution, convection fans keep the smoke in the smoker, so no smoke is released into the atmosphere. Hence, it is environment-friendly.
  • Cooking In Cold: Pellet smokers are ideal for cooking in winter because they are thoroughly insulated. 


  • Needs A Power Source: Pellet smokers need to be plugged into a power source, which makes them not portable.
  • Expensive: Pellet smokers are much more costly than others, so you need to spend more on them.
  • Requires Planning: Pellet woods are unavailable at every store, so you must buy them online. If you have a stock of them, they are exceptional for smoking. Otherwise, they will create a massive problem for you. 
  • Lower Capacity: The capacity of pellet smokers to handle food is very low. It means you must cook the food in double shifts if you have a large amount of meat, which takes more fuel. 

Pellet Grill Vs Pellet Smoker – A Complete Comparison

So what exactly sets vertical pellet smokers apart from pellet grills and other types? Some of these differences are given below:


A pellet grill is very similar to a standard grill in size. You would place the meta flat on the rack because the cooking area of the pellet grill is flat. While on the other hand, a pellet smoker looks like a tall cabinet. All types and sizes of food can be easily placed in it because the racks are removable and adjustable. 

Temperature Range

Usually, the grill temperature is more than the smoker’s temperature. A hot smoker can quickly come between 225 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit, and a hot grill can go more than 400 degrees Fahrenheit. A typical grill can achieve the temperature of both smoking and grilling, but a smoker cannot reach the roasting or grilling temperature. The best option is to make two-in-one. You can do that by purchasing a grille and a smoker. 


You can easily find any pellet because pellets are made from all kinds of hardwood. The pellets are made from hardwood, producing a beautiful smoky flavor when burned. The smokey flavor comes from the smoke of hardwood.

While some people like wood chunks or chips, making your pellets using seasoned hardwood is possible. A pellet smoker is best to introduce a smoky flavor to your food. You would need a conventional smoker to burn regular wood instead of pellets.

Ease Of Use

Electric smokers are the best name for ease of use, but you must soak and organize chips. It is straightforward to use pellet grills, and smokers, even a beginner, can run them. Just fill the hopper, adjust the temperature, and go on. 

While cooking, keeping an eye on chips is essential to ensure that the wood burns perfectly. A charcoal smoker’s fire rate and temperature are much harder to control since the coals must be organized and moved as the wood is smoked.

Price Range

Besides all these benefits, pellet smokers and grills are expensive. So, the cheapest ways to smoke are vertical charcoal smokers or electric cabinet smokers. However, if you search, pellet smokers are still available below $500. 

What You Can Cook

One of the most important factors that decide the winner of vertical pellet smoker vs pellet grill is what you have to cook. Vertical pellet smokers are rich in space, so you should feel no problem cooking briskets, ribs, turkey, chicken, etc. 

But a pellet grill should be the choice if you like crispy food and want high heat. However, remember that the cooking area of the grill is limited. So it does not matter what you are cooking but ensures that the food will fit in the cooking area and the lid will close quickly. 

Also, leave enough space for air and smoke circulation. While on the other hand, some pellet grills are made so that you can quickly sear burgers. If you want to do this, you can get a unit that gets hot enough for searing or a pellet grill that allows open flame searing.

Wood Pellet Grill Vs Smoker – Comparison Table

Parameters Of ComparisonPellet SmokerPellet Grill
ElectricityThe traditional pellet smoker does not need electricityPellet grill needs an electric source to operate
FuelElectricity, wood pellets, charcoal, firewoodHardwood pellets
Functions asBarbequing or smoking foodAs a smoker, grill, etc.
Ease of useNeds a little experienceEasy to use
Healthy FoodLess healthy than the pellet grillHealthier food

Frequently Asked Questions

Is The Pellet Grill The Same As A Smoker?

Barbecuing and smoking meats have become famous in the last few years. There are a few differences between a pellet grill and a smoker. The primary difference between them is that the pellet smoker only offers the smoking option, while the grill provides many cooking options, such as baking, roasting, smoking, and grilling. 

Does Food Taste Better On A Pellet Grill?

You should expect to taste the wood when you cook with a pellet grill since you’re cooking with wood. It is most commonly preferred to cook food on a pellet grill because it provides a smokier flavor with a less “burnt” taste when compared to cooking it on a charcoal grill.

Which Is Better, Pellet Grill Or Smoker?

Most pellet grills are not as effective at grilling over direct heat as direct fire grills, but you can still grill effectively on them. As the other types of smokers do not have a wide range of temperatures, pellet grills have a much more comprehensive range of temperatures. Several models can reach 450°F, with some models reaching higher than that. 

Do Pellet Grills Taste Like Smoke?

A pellet smoker produces a much more subtle smoky flavor than a traditional grill or smoker. Some people might even feel cheated if they like that smokey, robust flavor. Consider these tips for enhancing the taste of your pellet grill before trashing your new grill.

Is Smoked Food Carcinogenic?

In the same way that processed meats and deli meats increase the risk of cancer, does eating smoked fish, such as salmon or whitefish, increase the risk? Yes, it might. Smoked and cured food is considered to be the same risk as processed meat by the American Institute for Cancer Research.


In the end, you must decide which grill is best for your cooking needs. Just remember, it is not just the cooking time or convenience that matters. A smoker has all the features of a grill, but it takes much longer and requires more effort. If you are unsure what you want, you should go for a pellet grill or a hybrid grill instead of buying something purpose-built like a smoker.

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