Finding the best vertical pellet smoker isn’t the easiest task to undertake. Although there are a ton of vertical charcoal and electric smokers out there, there are very few ones that are operated solely on pellets. Fortunately, there are a few models that do exist and we’ve found them. And once we found them, we decided to review them so our readers could sort the good models from the models that don’t work as well. The following list includes the fruits of our efforts and a list that we think all of our readers are going to want to check out—especially if they’re searching for a quality vertical pellet smoker. Let’s dive into this list and check it out. Who’s with us?
- Editor’s Choice
Pit Bit Grills 77550 Pellet Smoker (Amazon) – Review
- Also Recommended
Pit Boss PBV3P1 Vertical Copper Smoker (Amazon) – Review
- Also Consider
Pit Boss 5-Series Vertical BBQ Smoker (Amazon) – Review
Editor’s Choice: Pit Bit Grills 77550 Pellet Smoker
The first smoker on our list and the one that we feel is the absolute best vertical pellet smoker currently being made is this one from Pit Bit Grills. This model not only looks good and has a front door that the consumer can look through to keep an eye on their meats, but also has a design that allows the consumer to smoke more meats than ever before. Let’s tear into the meat and bones of this smoker and find out what makes it an exceptional buy for so many people.
This product is approximately 53-inches by 28-inches by 29-inches and weighs around 132-pounds. It’s a smoker that seems to be well built and has legs with locking casters on them that allows it to be stable but also easily moved around a patio or a deck. This smoker is equipped with a digital LED readout and meat probe that makes keeping track of smoked meats a lot easier, and it has a control dial that can be set from “Smoke” through 450-degrees Fahrenheit.
Inside the smoker, the consumer will find 1,548 square-inches of smoking space. This unit has five porcelain-coated cooking grids and has a porcelain-coated water pan. It also has a heat deflector that protects foods on the bottom shelves from getting too much direct heat during the smoking process.
Other features found on this model include a hopper that has a 40-pound capacity, an air damper that controls heat and smoke, an auto-start ignition system, and an automatic shut-off system. These features come together to make this a quality smoker that only has one flaw—it’s a little bit more than other types of vertical smokers. However, if the consumer doesn’t mind the extra cost of this unit, we’re sure that they will love it and get good use out of it for many years to come.
– This is a well-built and well-designed smoker.
– It has 1,568 square-inches of smoking space.
– Has 5 porcelain-coated cooking grids.
– This is more expensive than other vertical pellet smokers.
Also Recommended: Pit Boss PBV3P1 Vertical Copper Smoker
The next vertical pellet smoker that’s on our list is the Pit Boss PBV3P1. This model also has a nice copper look to it and it’s approximately 26-inches by 22-inches by 53-inches in size. This unit also weighs under 100-pounds and has legs with casters that make it easy for the consumer to move from one smoking location to the next.
Of course, it’s size and portability aren’t the only great things about this smoker. It also has a decent amount of smoking space inside of it. Although it doesn’t quite have the amount of smoking space as a comparable model—the Pit Boss 77550—it does have enough space for most people. Inside there are 901 square-inches of smoking space and four porcelain-coated cooking grids.
Inside of this unit, there is also a porcelain-coated water and heat deflector. On top of this unit, the consumer will find an air damper that controls heat and smoke, and one the front of this unit is a digital LED readout that allows the consumer to keep track of temperature, and a temperature dial that can be set from 150-degrees to 450-degrees Fahrenheit.
Another thing that’s worth mentioning is that this product holds up to 40-pounds of wood pellets. That’s a lot considering that it will probably consume about 1/2-pound of pellets per hour on the “smoke” setting, and about 2.5-pounds an hour on higher settings. That still means that the consumer will get anywhere from 16-80-hours per smoking session.
Additional features we’d like to talk about before concluding this review include an auto-ignition system, an auto-shutoff system, an included meat probe, a see-through door, and a hatch where pellets can be quickly dumped out of the smoker.
These features and its ability to efficiently burn wood pellets and turn them into high-quality smoke are the reasons why this vertical pellet smoker made it on our list. We think it’s definitely a model worth checking out when the consumer is considering a new smoker.
– This product is well built from the bottom up.
– It has a see-through door.
– It does a great job of smoking seafood, meat, or veggies.
– It’s a little bit smaller than what we would’ve liked.
Also Consider: Pit Boss 5-Series Vertical BBQ Smoker
The last vertical pellet smoker on our list is surprise, surprise—another Pit Boss smoker. This is the Series 5 and it’s designed to give the consumer the smoking space they need but do it at a cost that consumers can afford. Let’s sort through some of its features and find out where it excels and where it fails.
Let’s start this review by stating the one technical flaw we found with this smoker—its inability to hold a temperature. This model just doesn’t seem to stay true to a temperature setting very well and tends to fluctuate 20-26 degrees. We were able to work around it and it didn’t seem to harm the cooking experience, but we do feel like it needs to be mentioned.
With that said, let’s move on to the features we like. Assembled, this product is approximately 52.75-inches high, 28-inches wide, and 29-inches deep. It’s a product that weighs approximately 130 pounds and is set on four rolling casters.
Inside of this pellet smoker, the consumer is going to find 1,513 square inches of cooking space—or about 4.6 cubic-feet. It has five porcelain-coated cooking racks, and it has a large viewing window that allows the cook to keep a close eye on their smoking meats, veggies, or seafood.
This product also has a 150 to 450-degree Fahrenheit temperature range, a digital temperature display, and it can hold up to 50-pounds of wood pellets. With that amount of wood pellets, the consumer should be able to smoke anywhere from 20-hours on higher settings to 100-hours on the “smoke” setting.
Keeping all of its pros and cons in mind, we have no problem recommending this quality vertical pellet smoker. It’s not the best one that we’ve reviewed, but it does have a place on our list and we think it will also have a place in many of our readers’ homes.
– This is a well-built vertical pellet smoker.
– It has 4.5 cubic-feet of smoking space inside of it.
– This product can hold 50-pounds of wood pellets.
– It doesn’t hold temperature as well as it should.
Now that we’ve gone through our list of vertical pellet smokers, it’s time to turn our attention to teaching our readers some of the things they need to consider when buying one of these smokers. Sure, it would be easy enough to just pick one of the smokers off our list, but we know a lot of people want to more closely choose a model that fits their needs. With that in mind, we present to our readers this guide on how to buy the best vertical pellet smoker.
Step One: Choose The Right Size Smoker
One of the very first steps that the consumer is going to want to do is to consider the size of the smoker. The consumer is going to want to make sure that they buy one that’s large enough to fit their smoking needs, but not so large that it’s just a waste of space. Of course, since there’s no way to determine what size smoker is too small or too large for any group of people, it’s up to the consumer to decide for themselves what’s the right size smoker.
When choosing a smoker, however, it’s important to not only think of the smoker’s exterior dimensions but also its interior dimensions. For these types of smokers, consumers can find models that are as small as 900 square inches up to 1,200 square inches in size.
Step Two: Think About The Smoker’s Temperature Range
Another thing that the consumer is going to want to consider when purchasing a new vertical pellet grill is its temperature range. The best smokers usually have a temperature range of 150 to 450-degrees—which is the perfect range for most people. Sure, it means that most consumers aren’t going to cold smoke with their vertical pellet smoker, but that probably wasn’t going to happen anyway.
Step Three: Think About Temperature Monitoring
Something else that needs to be thoroughly considered is how temperature monitoring is done in the smoker. Does the model have a built-in thermometer in the door of the unit, or is there a meat-probe and a digital display? How the smoker captures and displays temperatures inside of it determines how well the consumer can smoke their favorite meats, veggies, or seafood.
Step Four: Let’s Talk About Hopper Size
The smoker’s hopper size is another important consideration. The consumer wants to make sure that they choose a model that has a large enough hopper so that they don’t have to refill it constantly. How can the consumer decide the right hopper size? Well, it depends on how long they want to be able to use the smoker at one time and what temperature they’re going to smoke.
The higher the temperature, the more wood pellets the smoker is going to consume, and thereby, the larger a hopper the smoker needs to have. Below are some average hopper sizes with some estimated burn times. These estimates will give our readers an idea of what size pellet hopper they’re going to want their smoker to have.
- 30-Pound Hoppers: 12-60 hours
- 40-Pound Hoppers: 16-80 hours
- 50-Pound Hoppers: 20-100 hours
Of course, the above times are only estimates for “smoke” cook settings up to high cook settings. And because they’re estimates, some smokers might fall out of the low or high ranges of these estimates. As always, the consumer should check with the manufacturer’s documentation and decide what’s right for their needs.
Step Five: Controller Types
Smokers are available with a variety of different temperature controllers. There are non-PID models, PID-models, and PID+ models. Each of these different controller settings determines how accurately the smoker maintains temperature. Non-PID controllers are usually found in older smokers models. These controllers aren’t very accurate and can be off by anywhere from 25-35 degrees. PID controllers are more accurate and are generally only about 10-degrees off from the temperature selected by the user. Newer smokers contain PID+ controllers that are very accurate and are usually right on the temperature selected.
Step Six: Some Final Features To Consider
Okay, the above features form the foundation of any good smoker. Now we can spend a few moments talking about some of the lesser important features. Features that won’t make or break a particular vertical pellet smoker, but sure do make them easier or more fun to operate. Don’t worry, this isn’t a long list, but it is an important one to take a look at. This is especially true if you’re attempting to purchase the best vertical pellet smoker available.
- Wheels And/or Locking Casters
- See-Through Doors
- Multiple Air Dampers
- Auto Ignition Systems
- Auto Shut-Off Systems
- Alarm Alerts
- WiFi Operation
- Smoke Timers