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The Most Popular Pellet Grills Under $500 for 2021

We take a look at some of the best pellet grills under $500 and also discuss some important factors to consider when you are looking to buy a pellet grill.

best pellet grill under $500
There are some great options for pellet grills priced under $500. If you know where to look…

Pellet grills are hands down one of the easiest, and therefore fastest growing ways to go in the outdoor grilling market.

You get that nice woody, smokey taste on your burgers and steaks, along with great even heating, plenty of juice and moisture, all without the babysitting and manual temperature adjustments you get with propane, charcoal or natural gas alternatives.

They heat up real quick, and you don’t have to stand around constantly checking on your cooking.

Outdoor grills are often a big ticket item, and aimed at families who like to organize big cookouts in their backyard.

However, you can get some more affordable ones that are perfect for just a few of you.

There are some GREAT pellet grills under $500 available on the market today.

We’ve been checking out the best of them, and we’re excited to show you our favorite Top 5 Picks.

We’ve also got a handy buying guide for you which walks you through everything you might want to think about before you buy a pellet grill.

 

Here’s a great video from Man Scouts comparing some great pellet grills under $500, some of which we have included links to below.

 

Top 5 Best Pellet Grills Under $500

OUR TOP PICK

Z Grills ZPG-450A

Zgrills 450A pellet grill
Click to see current price at Zgrills.com

What we love about this wood pellet grill is just how much you can do with it – this one machine boasts 8 different types of cooking methods including grilling, barbeque, baking, roasting, braising, searing, char-grilling and smoking.

This versatility comes from the wide range of temperature you can set, and it means that you can experiment with your cooking to your heart’s content.

And all for a really good price too, even if you don’t manage to catch a deal it still current comes in at under $400.

There’s plenty of cooking space to use, including 324 square inches in the main cooking area, plus 128 square inches on the  arming rack, which is great for toasting buns to go with your burgers.

And the hopper capacity is pretty big too, coming in at 15 pounds. You can cook course after course without having to refill the hopper.

We also love just how easy it is to use. There’s an electronic auto-start ignition, and a digital temperature control which automatically adds pellets as needed to regulate the temperature.

And the convection effect from closing the lid, means you can fix your food and forget it, no need to hover over the grill adding more pellets.

It’s an efficient beast of a grill, and just 1 pound of pellets is enough to get an hour’s worth of cooking time out of it.

We’re quite taken with it’s sleek stainless steel finish too, it’s heavy duty, and resistant to corrosion and rust.  All this makes Zgrills ZPG-450A one of the best pellet grills under $500.

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Zgrills frequently runs great seasonal promotions.
  • Set it and forget it automation
  • Efficient and precise heating

Cons

  • Some reviews claim the temperature control is not perfect and the actual temperature can be anywhere within 10 degrees Fahrenheit of what you set.  However, we recommend you should always use a good internal temperature probe on ANY grill or smoker rather relying on the included temperature gauge.


 

Pit Boss 700FB 700 sq inch Pellet Grill

pit boss pellet grill
Click to see current price on Amazon

You’ll likely have heard of this brand too – Pit Boss are known for great grills like this one.

What we love the most about this baby is just how much cooking surface there is – a whopping 700 square inches, including an upper rack which is great for keeping items warm while you concentrate on searing meats on the cooking grid below.

So, there’s room enough for a really big cookout.  In fact you could cook your entire thanksgiving dinner in there – turkey and all.

It also has a large hopper capacity, able to hold up to 18 pounds of your favorite wood pellets, so there’s no need to keep coming back to refill the hopper.

Thanks to the grill’s Digital Control Center you can simply set the grills to the temperature you want, and let the machine do what it does best.

There’s fan forced convection heating, so your foods get heated evenly and consistently, and the heavy lid traps all that moisture in to keep your meat succulent and juicy.

The cast iron grids are super durable and they’re porcelain coated which makes them a breeze to keep clean.

We also love the addition of the flame broiler – this feature allows for direct flame grilling rather than through the cooking grate and any excess grease is channeled away.

One recurring complaint about pellet grills is their inability to get up to the high searing temperatures needed to perfectly cook steaks and hamburgers.

Pit Boss throws that complaint right out the window with this flame broiler addition.

With this pellet grill, you truly CAN have it all, all for less than $500.

Pros

  • Well established brand
  • Very large cooking surface
  • Inclusion of a flame broiler
  • Fan forced convection heating
  • A breeze to keep clean

Cons

  • You need to manually calibrate the grill to ensure your getting the right temperature settings.

 

Z Grills ZPG-700B

Zgrills 700B pellet grill
Click to see current price on Zgrills.com

This wood pellet grill has a lot in common with another one we’ve shown you, the Z Grills ZPG-450A, but with some notable differences which we’ll come onto shortly.

Like the Z Grills ZPG-450A, it’s a super versatile machine, capable of a range of cooking methods, including grilling, barbequing, baking, roasting, braising, searing, char-grilling and smoking.

And like the ZPG-450A, once you’ve filled the hopper, placed your food how you want it, and set off the auto-ignition, all you have to do is set the temperature you want and you can walk away knowing your food is in safe hands.

But now for how it differs.

First off there’s a very nice 330 square inches of cooking space in the main cooking area, plus a much larger warming rack, coming in at a whopping 270 square inches.

Perfect for a big cookout when the family comes around, since it means you can eat together rather than in turns.

The hopper capacity is larger too, coming in at 20 pounds, which is another 5 pounds more than the ZPG-450A.

But that’s not all, the ZPG-7002B also offers fan forced convection cooking, to help ensure even heating, and moreover gets your food ready quicker too.

The machine has also been upgraded for 2020, which fixes issues found in previous models, providing a “More Precise Temperature Control and Pellet Feed Control System”.

Of course, with its larger size and additional features, as you’d expect the ZPG-7002E costs a bit more than the ZPG-450A, but it may be worth it for you, especially if you decide you need a larger grill.

Customer feedback on this beauty has been really positive, with an average customer rating of 4 and a half stars on the Amazon page, even after well over 1,000 individual ratings!

Pros

  • Huge amount of cooking space
  • More Precise Temperature Control
  • Fan forced convection cooking
  • Versatile & super easy to use
  • Gone down real well with customers

Cons

  • Only company brand pellets are recommended for use with this grill

 

Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill

camp chef pellet grill
Click to see current price on Amazon.

We love this pellet grill.

It may be the most expensive of our Top 5 Picks, but boy, is it a good value for money.

First off, there’s LOADS of cooking space, 429 square inches in the main cooking area alone, plus an additional 144 square inches in the second rack. There’s enough room for 3 small chickens or 4 baby back ribs.

There’s also a really large hopper capacity, coming in at a big 18 pounds, so there’ll be no need to keep coming back to refuel the beast.

And it is a beast, it throws out up to 25,000 BTU in heat per hour, and can cook your foods up to a temperature of a whopping 500 degrees Fahrenheit, or as low as 160 degrees Fahrenheit if you want to slow smoke cheese or jerky on a cold day.

And it does a great job of keeping tabs on the temperature, thanks to included meat AND cooking temperature probes that will give you a lot more accuracy than your standard lid-mounted dial thermometer.

There’s a grease management system in place which takes care of excess juices and fats from your various meats, and there’s also a patented ash can clean out system to boot.

Customer feedback on this beauty has been really positive, with an average customer rating of 4 and a half stars on the Amazon page, even after well over 1,000 individual ratings!

There are loads of compatible accessories you can use with it, all readily available on Amazon and other online retailers, like the Camp Chef SmokePro BBQ Sear Box, which can add an additional 180 square inches of cooking space, should you ever need it.

camp chef pellet grill sear box
Optional add-on Sear Box. Click to see current price on Amazon

Pros

  • LOADS of cooking space
  • Large 18 lb hopper capacity
  • Internal Meat Temperature Probe
  • Patented Ash Clean Out System
  • Loads of compatible accessories

Cons

  • This will max out your $500 budget

 

Z Grills ZPG-6002E

Zgrills 6002E pellet grill
Click to see current price on Zgrills.com

This wood pellet grill has a lot in common with another two Z Grills wood pellet grills that we’ve already shown you, namely the Z Grills ZPG-450A and the Z Grills ZPG-700B, but with some notable differences which we’ll come onto shortly.

Like the Z Grills ZPG-450A and ZPG-700B, it’s a super versatile machine, capable of a range of cooking methods, including grill, barbeque, bake, roast, braise, sear, char-grill and smoke.

And like these other two grills, once you’ve filled the hopper, placed your food how you want it, and set off the auto-ignition, all you have to do is set the temperature you want and you can walk away knowing your food is in safe hands.

Like the 700B, but unlike the 450A, the 6002E has a large hopper capacity, coming in at 20 pounds, so there’s no need to keep coming back to the grill to top up the fuel.

Like the 700B, but unlike the 450A, the 6002E also offers fan forced convection cooking, to help ensure even heating, and better yet, it gets your food ready quicker too. Great for dealing with hungry tummies.

Like the 700B, the 6002E has also been upgraded for 2020, which fixes some minor issues that cropped up in previous models, and with this model you get a “More Precise Temperature Control and Pellet Feed Control System”.

The key difference lies in the amount of cooking surface available. The 6002E has 600 square inches of cooking area altogether, composed of 330 Square inches in the main grilling area and 270 square inches in the Smoking/Warming Rack.

The feedback from customers has been very positive, earning an average Amazon customer rating of 4 and a half stars out of a possible 5.

Pros

  • Huge amount of cooking space
  • More Precise Temperature Control
  • Fan forced convection cooking
  • Versatile & super easy to use
  • Gone down real well with customers

Cons

  • Only company brand pellets are recommended for use with this grill

 

Best Pellet Grill Under $500: A Buyer’s Guide

Ok, we’ve given you some great option currently priced under $500. So here’s everything you might want to think about before you buy.

 

Grilling Space

Usually, the more grilling space you have available the better, as long as your patio/deck/balcony can accommodate the size of the grill.

As you might imagine however, as the size of a grill goes up, so does the price.  But you’ll be pleased to hear that even the more standard sized options offer plenty of grill space.

grilling space on a pellet grill
Make sure to separate out main grilling space and warming rack space to compare apples to apples.

In fact our #1 Pick, the Z Grills ZPG-450A may look a little on the small side, but it can easily fit an entire turkey plus vegetable side dishes.

And there’s not just the main grilling area to consider, warming racks in these grills are great for toasting buns and holding other food to keep warm while wait on larger cuts to finish cooking.

 

Versatility

These days wood pellet grills can do a lot more than just grill your meats, and you can use them for a variety of cooking methods.

Our Top 5 Picks reflect just how versatile wood pellet grills can be.  For example most of the grills in our Top 5 Picks can not only grill, but they can also barbeque, bake, roast, braise, sear, char-grill and smoke.

It’s great for bringing out the inner chef in somebody and seeing where your cooking imagination can take you.

 

Temperature Control

One of the clear advantages of going for a wood pellet grill rather than alternatives such as charcoal or propane, is that you don’t have to stand watch by your foods checking if the fuel needs refilling.

If you buy your wood pellet grill from one of our Top 5 Picks, all you have to do temperature wise, is to select the temperature you want for your food using the digital control, and once that’s done you’re free to mingle with your guests until your food is ready to serve.

 

Pellet Hopper Capacity

The larger a grill’s hopper capacity, the longer you can be away from the grill as it gets to work, because it won’t need any constant refilling.

wood pellets in a pellet grill hopper
1 lb of pellets will average about 1 hour of cooking time om a typical pellet grill.

Most wood pellet grills have a hopper capacity of about 10 to 15 pounds, but all of the hoppers in our Top 5 Picks have a hopper capacity of 15 pounds or more.

 

Sturdy Large wheels

The wheels of your grill should not be overlooked.  Unless you buy a cover for your grill, you will need to store your grill away in say your garage or shed, rather than subject it to the outdoor weather.

And it’s going to be too heavy and bulky to carry, so a good set of wheels is essential.

 

Special Features

We’re going to level with you here, wood pellet grills don’t tend to come with too many “special” features.

Many of these types of grills come with a drip catcher, which is great for collecting unwanted grease and fat from your meats, but this feature is pretty much standard now across the board.

There is one special feature that really caught our interest in making this article though, and that’s the addition of a flame broiler included on our #2 Pick, the Pit Boss 700FB.

This feature allows for direct flame grilling rather than through the cooking grate, and this in turn (obviously) affects the end result of cooking, and can really enhance the overall taste.

 

Brand

If you buy your wood pellet grill from a good, well established brand like Z Grills, Pit Boss, or Camp Chef, you can rest assured that you’re going to get a good quality top notch product.

A product that’s durable with a long lifespan, and that will perform as effectively and efficiently as modern technology allows.

And in the event that something did go wrong, you can bank on a good and speedy standard of customer service.  You may even get a good warranty to boot.

 

Budget

Outdoor grills are generally medium to big ticket items.  You’re not going to find many good ones for under $300, and for larger varieties you can expect to pay upwards of $800.

And as we mentioned earlier, the bigger the grill, the more you can expect to pay.

You’ll be pleased to hear however that even the smaller lower priced grills can often come with all the special features of the higher priced ones.

Our #1 Pick is the perfect example, check it out, it’s the Z Grills ZPG-450A.

 

Zgrills 450A pellet grill
Click to see current price on Zgrills.com

 

Customer Reviews

By all means check out customer reviews before you buy.  What the customers have to say is the real test of a product.

We look at customer reviews on sites like Amazon, to help us decide what products are worth a closer look.

 

Pellet Grill Recipes

Looking for some inspiration?

Check out some of our favorite recipes below that can easily be done on a pellet grill.

Trash Can Turkey – OK, technically not made on a grill but one of the most fun ways there is to cook a Turkey…at over 700 degrees in only 2 hours!  You’ve got to check it out!

 

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