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Let’s be honest; smoked foods and BBQ parties, in general, are good for the soul. Depending on what you are preparing and how you prepare it, smoked cuisines can be both healthy and ideal for putting your taste buds to the test. We can all agree that the outcome of smoked meals highly depends on the quality of the pellet grill you use.
I’m a smoked food specialist of some sort with in-depth mastery in the science and art of creating perfectly smoked, grilled or barbequed foods that boast of authentic and consistent flavor. Together with my team, we took the time to research the best pellet grills under $500, compare their features, ease of use, size, and other key factors
Top Pellet Grills Under $500
Are you looking for the best pellet grills ideal for indoor and outdoor cooking? Check out these top 5 models!
1. Z Grills ZPG-6002B 2020, 6 in 1 BBQ Grill
Z Grills is one of the leading pellet grill brands in the market. Models from the company are pretty much comparable to those of other industry leaders such as Traeger and Pit Boss. The Z Grills ZPG-6002B is a well-engineered BBQ grill that truly excels in creating the perfect heat and smoke to give your foods that authentic jungle taste.
This is a 6 in 1 model with a 10 lbs. pellet hopper capacity that allows you to cook for about 10 hours. It offers 180 to 450 degrees temperature range for enhanced versatility, allowing you to braise, roast, bake, grill, or just smoke your foods. With a stainless steel construction for enhanced corrosion resistance, you can bet that your investment will serve you for a good while.
Something else about this equipment is that it is super easy to use and perfect for beginners. It comes with an electric auto-start, digital automatic temperature control, and an LED display that allows you to monitor the temperature in real-time. The digital temperature control feature helps to regulate the heat for enhanced precision and consistent food outcomes.
- 6 in 1 combo
- Designed for ease of use
- Top-quality construction for enhanced longevity
- Generous hopper capacity (10 lbs. pellets)
- Huge grilling area (333 square inches)
- All-terrain wheels for enhanced portability
- The user’s manual could be better
2.Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020, 6 in 1 BBQ Grill
Z Grills ZPG-450A is quite similar to the Z Grills ZPG-6002B, the main difference being the grilling area square inch configuration and hopper capacity. This model is slightly bigger, and it offers a more spacious grilling area of 450 Square inches. You also get a bigger hopper capacity of 15 lbs.
One thing synonymous with Z Grills models is that they are built to make outdoor lifestyles easy and fun. Whether you want to grill steak for the first time or prepare some home-made burgers, this equipment is designed to make the whole process a breeze. Most users appreciate the digital auto temperature control that ensures proper heat distribution or evenly cooked foods.
If you are searching for a well-made versatile pellet grill, it’s hard to go wrong with this option. Thanks to the vast temperature range, this is just the equipment you need to grill, braise, sear, bake, smoke, or char-grill your foods to perfection. It comes fitted with heavy-duty all-terrain wheels to make moving around hassle-free.
- Sturdy and versatile
- Fitted with wheels for ease of movement
- Packed with features for enhanced user-friendliness
- Bigger grilling area (450 square inches)
- Bigger hopper capacity (15 lbs)
- Some users complain about experiencing minor smoker setting lags
3.Z Grills ZPG-7002E 2020, 8 in 1 BBQ Grill
Z Grills has been around for over 3 decades and is well known for its top-quality yet affordable pellet grills. After reviewing different grills from different brands, we felt compelled to list yet another model from the company. The Z Grills ZPG-7002E is a top-selling product that ranks high for its durable construction, ease of use, and versatility.
This is an 8 in 1 barbeque grill engineered to offer users optimal bang for their bucks. It features not just a stainless steel body, but also porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates for enhanced longevity. These construction materials make the equipment chip and rust-resistant, not to mention that they also aid in proper heat retention.
With this pellet grill, you can roast, grill, BBQ, braise, char grill, sear, smoke, roast, or bake using the same appliance. Apart from the 504 square inch grilling area, you also get a warming rack, and this offers you a 700 square inch cooking space in total. Additionally, the grill comes with a huge 20-pound capacity hopper that ensures the desired temperatures are maintained throughout the cooking process.
- 8-in-1 pellet grill for enhanced versatility
- Packed with numerous easy to use features
- 180 to 450°F temperature range
- Durable construction
- Generous cooking space
- Huge hopper capacity
- An ash disposal system would be great
4. BIG HORN OUTDOORS Pellet Grill & Smoker
Take it from me: pellet grills that come with an almost perfect pack of features don’t come by easy. This is more so the case if you are searching for affordable equipment. One of the key reasons the Big Horn Outdoors Pellet Grill& Smoker had to be on our list is that it offers the perfect blend of good aesthetics, quality construction, and excellent features and functions.
First, you get a 1369 square inches total cooking area. This allows you to cook generous portions of meat for your friends and loved ones at the same go. Design-wise, this grill gathers some serious bragging points for its cylindrical shape that gives it exceptionally good aesthetics.
Better still, it comes packed with features that make it user-friendly. I have a particular liking for the temperature control that ensures uniform heat distribution. On the other hand, the digital controls make it easy-peasy to regulate the temperature for perfectly cooked meals.
- Well-constructed and visually appealing
- Strong wheels for easy movements
- Huge cooking area and hopper capacity
- Uniform heat all through the grilling process
- Highly affordable
- No top warming rack
5.Traeger Grills TFB88PZBO Pro Series
We deliberately saved the best for last— the Traeger Grills TFB88PZBO. For a model manufactured by a brand that has been around since 1985, some of its best features and functions did not come as a surprise. This is a beast built to offer unrivaled durability, versatility, and functionality.
A feature we truly liked is the digital pro controller. It allows you to simply set the temperature and relax. Even without outstanding culinary skills, you are bound to love the outcome of all the foods you cook. The best part is that you get 6 in 1 versatility and can use the same grill to braise, roast, bake, smoke, and more.
This grill comes with an 18 lbs hopper capacity and a massive cooking area. It is just what you need to hold around 40 burgers, 7 racks of ribs, or about 8 chickens. The temperatures remain amazingly consistent for perfectly cooked foods all the time.
- Easy to use, clean, and maintain
- Large cooking area and hopper capacity
- Strong wheels for ease of transport
- Easy to control the temperature
- Great value for the money
- Mainly ideal for large-scale cooking
What to Look For When Buying the Best Pellet Grill Under $500
Pellet grills are engineered using advanced technology that makes them excel in both indoor and outdoor cooking. They boast of the elements of charcoal smokers, gas grills, and heating ovens and are hence ideal for preparing barbecues and perfectly smoked meats. If you are on the search for the best pellet grills under $500, here are the most vital aspects to consider before purchase.
The temperature range offered by a grill is, without debate, the most vital aspect to consider. This will give you an idea about the cooking techniques you can use and the final results you are likely to achieve.
Some of the best pellet grill models offer a temperature range of 180°F – 425°F. This is just the heat range you need for grilling, roasting, baking, and smoking foods. Models that can offer temperatures as high as 500°F – 550°F are perfect for searing meat.
Size and Portability
Your needs should dictate the size of the pellet grill to purchase. Again, pellet grills differ in their size, and while some are portable and ideal for tailgating, others are large enough for commercial use.
A large pellet grill will make sense if you host large tailgating parties where you have a long guest list of friends and loved ones. On the other hand, those that love barbequing on the go may want a grill that is easy to lift and take to different camping sites.
The controller board of a pellet grill plays a vital role in making the equipment easy to use. These grills can feature three types of position controllers which include:
- 3-position controller
- Non-PID one-touch controller
- PID multi-position controller
Make sure you choose the controller type depending on your skill levels and personal preferences.
The hopper size dictates how loon your cooks can be. After all, this is the container that stores pellets. If the hopper size is small, you may face limitations when choosing the range of foods you can prepare.
Not all pellet grills come with hopper extenders. Those that have these extenders allow you to increase the hopper capacity to accommodate more pellets. This, in return, allows you to cook a broader range of foods with minimal supervision.
Buying a functional pellet grill is good. It is equally important to ensure that its components are easy to replace or repair when need be. Some of the replaceable parts include the auger motor, grill gates, and heating fan. From where I stand, it is best to keep off equipment whose parts are hard to find or almost impossible to upgrade.
If you are ready to take your barbequing game to the next level, we hope the info on this post will be of great help. Check out our buyer’s guide before choosing the best pellet grill under $500 from our list. These are all devices designed to make your life easier and your smoked and grilled foods taster.
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