There’s a little bit of Steve Albini in all of us. We all share the same wild rock and roll spirit and know that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well, and if you want something grilled properly, then the only way to grill it is if you do it yourself.
After all, America was founded on the belief that you can do anything that you set your mind to, and be anything that you want to be, and that includes grilling like a professional and cooking mind-blowing food in the comfort of your own backyard.
Dreaming about becoming the griller that in your heart of hearts you’ve always known that you were meant to be and actually making it happen, are two entirely different things.
To become that griller, and that person, you’ll need a grill that can help you to fulfill your potential. And the only choice of the grill, that makes any real culinary sense in this day and age is a wood pellet one.
But choosing the right grill and finding one, when they’re all seem to be so reassuringly expensive, that fits in your budget and taking that next step on your grilling journey, is easier said than done.
Making your dream come true doesn’t have to be as hard or as expensive as you’ve assumed it will be, and we’re here to help your fantasy become your new reality. We’ve dedicated our lives to the pursuit of grilling excellence, and in order to help you be who you were meant to be, we’ve found five of the best wood pellet grills that’ll fit in with your budget and help you to grill like a champion.
It’s time to light the fires, and get ready to throw a steak on the grill…
Best Pellet Grill Under 500
Traeger practically invented the art of pellet grilling and has been waving the flag for their chosen field of expertise since they designed, manufactured, and then released their first pellet grill onto an unsuspecting grilling world. They’re pioneers and innovators, and every machine that they make has been crafted to wow their devoted fanbase and turn non-believers into devoted pellet fanatics.
And if any grill is going to turn your head and make you a fan of the Trager way of doing things, it’s the Tailgater 20. Weighing in at just sixty pounds with three hundred square inches of total cooking space and an eight-pound hopper, the Tailgater is portable enough to hit the road with you and functional enough to become a permanent feature on your deck or in your yard.
Whatever you want to grill, this pellet-fueled miracle will help you to step up to the plate and cook up a storm for your friends, your family, and anyone else who decides to stop by and spend some time with you and your grill.
Able to reach temperatures of up to four hundred and fifty degrees and armed with an internal meat probe that’ll keep you abreast of how your cook is moving on, a dual arc controller that ensures that temperature fluctuations are a thing of the past, and a Keep Warm Mode that’ll make sure everything that you grill will stay piping hot until you’re ready to serve it, the Tailgater is the secret weapon in Traegers formidable pellet grilling arsenal.
- The Hopper – Its eight-pound capacity is designed to hold just enough pellets to cater to an afternoon or evening filled with grilling. It isn’t too big, and it isn’t too small, it sits right in the middle of the sweet grilling spot that makes sure that no matter how much you want to cook, you’ll never run out of fuel.
- Keep Warm Mode – Once you’ve finished grilling you can just flip it over to Keep Warm Mode and the Tailgater will ensure that whatever it is you’ve cooked will be ready to eat whenever you are.
- Hit The Road, Jack – At sixty pounds and with fully foldable legs, the Tailgater is portable, so where you go, your grill can go. Providing, of course, that you choose to grill with the Tailgater.
- Five In One – And if all that wasn’t already enough to wet your grilling appetite, you can also bake, smoke, roast, and barbecue with the Tailgater as well as grill. Versatility is Traeger’s middle name.
- Size Matters – It isn’t exactly the biggest grill in the world. If it was a little bit bigger than it is, it would be absolutely perfect. But, as with everything else in life, size matters, and the Tailgater’s size, is its Achilles heel.
In the space of five short years, Z-Grills has upended the hierarchy of the wood pellet world and staked their claim to being one of the best grill makers that there ever was, is, and will be. They’ve built their water-tight, red-hot reputation on their desire to make sure that every grill that they build is reliable and affordable, and so far they’ve proved that their word is as good as their bond.
With seven hundred square inches of grilling space, and a twenty-pound hopper, this Z-Grills machine was made to cater to parties large and small, and its precision temperature control guarantees that there’ll never be more than ten-degree fluctuation inside the main cooking chamber. When you set the heat, that’s the temperature that this grill will cook at until you switch it off and let it cool down.
Using an electronic, automated feed system, the Z-Grill’s wood pellet grill will only use as much fuel as it needs to, when it needs to and if you keep the twenty-pound hopper filled up, whenever you want to fire the grill up, it’ll always have more than enough gas in its tank to grill whatever you want it to.
- Large Cooking Space – With seven hundred square inches of total cooking space, there isn’t a family gathering or hang out that this monstrous grill won’t be able to cook for and take care of.
- The Hopper – The Z-Grills huge twenty-pound hopper will hold more than enough pellets to keep you grilling until long after the sun has gone down.
- Simplicity Itself – Fill the hopper, set the temperature control, hit the electronic ignition, put your food in the chamber and this grill will do the rest. It really is that simple and straightforward to use.
- Cleanliness Is Next To… – Well, it’s difficult to know what it’s next to with the Z-Grills machine as it doesn’t have an ash disposal system, so you have to get down and dirty with it to make sure it’s clean and ready to grill again.
Masterbuilt was founded on the ideas that tradition, faith, and family are everything and that if you put the work in, good things will happen. And as they put the work into every grill that they make, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of all the good things that you cook and make with this pellet grill.
Made to deliver the smoke-filled, pellet powered flavor that you’re looking to find with a wood-fueled grill, this hardy little grill that could has three hundred and ninety square inches of cooking space, an eleven and half-pound hopper, and an automated auger system that ensures that it will only use as much wood as it needs to in order to grill and smoke what you want it to.
It’s easy to use electronic temperature control, digital display and auto ignition, combined with Masterbuilt’s patented ash disposal system makes this grill a joy to cook and smoke with. It’s simple, elegant and an ode to a much simpler time when life was all about having fun, spending time with the people you care about, and eating good food. It embodies everything that grilling should be.
- Easy To Use – Just load the pellets, set the controls, and push start, and you’ll be ready to start grilling and smoking whatever you want, whenever you want to.
- Easy To Clean – As easy to clean as it is to use thanks to Masterbuilt’s ash disposal system, this wood pellet grill should satisfy the demands of the most difficult and taxing backyard chefs.
- Cooking Space – Three hundred and ninety square inches might not sound like a lot, but when you start grilling and smoking, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much food you’ll be able to prepare with the Masterbuilt.
- One Tough Cookie – Its porcelain and all-steel construction make this grill one tough little hombre that’s been built to withstand all sorts of awful weather and conditions. It’ll stand up to whatever you and the elements can throw at it and keep right on grilling.
- Basic Is As Basic Does – It’s An incredibly basic, straightforward, and simple pellet grill. It does what it says it will and nothing else. If you were expecting a technological miracle, you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re looking for an affordable, reliable wood pellet grill, then look no further. The Masterbuilt is the grill that you’ve been searching for.
Some wise sage once said that if you can make a living doing what you love, then you’ll always be happy. This means that the folks at Green Mountain Grills must be the happiest people on Earth because they’ve managed to build their business around doing the thing that they love to do most in the world. Grilling with wood pellets.
The Davy Crockett was made to grill on the go and whether you’re camping with your family, cooking in your backyard, or whipping up a grilling extravaganza at a tailgating party, Green Mountain Grills lightweight, portable wood pellet grill will cover all of your cooking bases. With two hundred and fifty square inches of cooking space and a three and half-pound hopper, it packs all the grilling punch that you could ever want, or need.
We went and saved the best for last, as the Davy Crockett has a, frankly astonishing, trick up its sleeve. It’s fully WiFi-enabled, so you can control the grilling process, from beginning to end from your phone. Fill the hopper, load the grill, switch your phone on and you can grill to your heart’s content using your smartphone and the Green Mountain Grill app that was created to control the Crockett.
- Have Grill, Will Travel – The Crockett was made to go to all the places that other grills just can’t go. Its legs double up as carrying handles, and as it weighs just fifty-six pounds, it won’t matter who’s in charge of the grill as any can carry it. It’s ideal for backyard shindigs, RV road trips, and tailgating parties, and with the Crockett on your side, you’ll always be the life and soul of the party and center of attention wherever you are.
- Grill Smarter – As it’s WiFi-enabled, you’ll be able to control every second of the grilling process from your phone, so you can grill, hang out and party at the same time and leave all of the important cooking stuff that would otherwise hamper your style and swagger to the Davy Crockett
- Probe And Sensor – All of the heat that the Crockett makes is controlled and regulated by a meat probe and thermal sensor, so you don’t have to worry or panic, as this hyper-efficient, super-smart grill will always create and deliver exactly the right amount of heat that you need.
- It’s Kind Of Small – You know what they say about good things coming in small packages? It’s true, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Crockett is small, and if you want to grill for your friends and family at the same time, the Crockett might not be big enough.
Pit Boss prides itself on offering the best value per square cooking inch of any grill manufacturer and they’ve built their brand based on durability, reliability, and simplicity. They wholeheartedly believe in delivering the best pellet grills possible at the best price possible, and that’s exactly what they’ve done for more than two decades, and will continue to do forevermore.
The easy to operate digital control center at the heart of this grill gives you complete control over its seven hundred square inches of cooking space, and lets you set the heat that you want to grill with at anywhere between one hundred and seventy and six hundred degrees.
And its eighteen-pound hopper will keep feeding pellets to the grill for as long as you want to cook, grill and smoke. Pit Boss has made grilling easier than it’s ever been, so that you can get on with doing all of the important things in life, like making memories with your family and friends, while the Pit Boss pellet grill does all the hard work for you.
- All That Space – It has seven hundred square inches of cooking space. That’s right, you didn’t read those numbers incorrectly and we didn’t make a mistake. It has seven hundred square inches that you can use to cook, grill, and smoke whatever you want to on.
- Dual Control Center – Pit Boss thinks that life is better when it’s simpler, which is why they’ve made it easy to control everything that this grill can do, and is capable of doing from the dual control center that lies at its heart. Grilling has never been more straightforward.
- The Dreaded Clean Up – You don’t need to dread it anymore, as cleaning the Pit Boss grill is easy. Just use the ash dump system that’s part and parcel of its design and before you know it, you’ll be ready to start grilling again.
- It’s A Weight Thing – There’s just no way to avoid the fact that the Pit Boss weighs one hundred and twenty-six pounds. It’s heavier than your favorite child, and in all likelihood when you position it in your yard, that’s where it’s going to live until either it retires or you do.
Which Pellet Grill Under Five Hundred Dollars Is The Right One For Me?
Honestly, all of the grills on our list are at exactly the right price point and absolutely perfect for what you’ll want and need them to do.
Having said that, if you’re having any difficulty choosing one, when in doubt, always go for Traeger. After all, they practically invented pellet grilling.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Wood Pellet Grill?
A wood pellet grill is designed to grill and cook food outside and imbue it with the rich, dense smoked flavor that wood pellets create. Made to be durable, strong, and last long, they’re built to make the amateur grillers’ life easy and fun, so they can cook all of the culinary delights that their families and friends adore.
Wood pellet grills don’t just cook all of your favorite foods, they also use the smoke from the pellets to flavor whatever it is that you’re grilling. The wood pellets are loaded into a hopper or firebox, set alight, and then the smoke and heat they create are carefully controlled by the grill, and the griller using the grill to create whatever their imagination drives them to cook.