Wood Pellet Grills vs. Electric Smokers

What could be better than a backyard barbecue or a campfire cookout with family and friends? Perhaps, only the savory, smokey meat it produces. To make these long-lasting memories and equally memorable flavors, you’ll need a good quality, reliable cooking appliance. With so many types of cooking appliances on the market, it’s easy to get lost in the barbeque sauce. There are smokers, cookers, griddles and grills, and additional subcategories in between! To narrow it down, we’ll focus in on a few: electric smokers vs. wood pellet grills. To begin, let’s delve a little deeper to determine which will smoke the other in the contest of outdoor cooking.  

What’s the Difference Between Electric Smokers and Wood Pellet Grills? 

If you break down the names, they’re fairly self-explanatory. Let’s look at the first part of each name:

Electric smokers use electricity as the source of energy, whereas pellet grills mainly use real fire to burn pellets and produce smoke.

And for the latter parts:

Electric smokers are meant primarily for smoking, whereas pellet grills can be used to grill, cook, sear, and smoke. 

So you see, while the two products are certainly in the same arena and can perform similar tasks, there are key factors that make a pellet grill a pellet grill, and an electric smoker an electric smoker. 

Now that you’re familiar with the key characteristics of pellet grills and electric smokers, you’re probably wondering: What are the pros and cons of pellet grills? Are electric smokers any good? 

Let’s compare and contrast several features to determine which appliance comes out on top!

Safety

Being that pellet grills use real, live fire and can easily produce excess smoke if left unattended, it seems a given that electric smokers take the cake in this category. Because electric smokers only use electricity as a source of fuel rather than a flame, they’re safer for overnight cooks, cooking while busy or multitasking, and just in general. The best electric smokers will yield the highest amount of safety during your backyard cookout! 

Pellet grills are still safer than most charcoal and offset smokers, but in the battle between pellet grills vs. electric smokers, pellet grills lose out for being a bit too fiery. 

Fuel Consumption 

Speaking of fire and electricity, let’s examine the fuel sources of our competitors. Electric smokers require more electric consumption, but they don’t have to rely on fire, which is a big plus when it comes to saving fuel. 

Pellet grills require less electrical consumption but do rely on a source of wood (pellets) to produce heat and create smoke. You’ll likely burn through pellets way quicker than you’ll run out of electricity. So, unless you have a preference for pellet burning, the electric smoker has the pellet grill beat in this category too. (Sorry, pellet smoker.) 

Check out some of the best electric smokers on the market

Flavor & Smokiness

So far, things aren’t looking great for the pellet smoker. But not all is lost for this fiery competitor!

In the race of flavor, pellet grills appear to be making a comeback. Pellet grills use a greater amount of smoke and produce a much more intense smokey flavor as a result. You can use different kinds of wood pellets for a variety of smoked flavors, including alder, apple, cherry, maple, hickory, mesquite, oak, and pecan- Now that’s a win!

Because of the lack of fire, electric smokers produce a less smokey flavor, so the final result won’t taste as delicious. While you can add a smoking tube to yield more smoke, the smokiness will pail in comparison to that of the pellet grill. 

Smokiness can be measured aesthetically, too. You know that signature ring that forms around the savory, mouthwatering cut of meat when it’s been smoked to perfection? That’s something pit masters pride themselves on, and meat lovers covet highly. You can get this nice, classic smoke ring with a pellet grill, but an electric smoker will never produce one. Get the best wood pellet grill for you, and you’ll be creating some of the nicest smoke rings at the cookout! 

Cost

When it comes to economics, the winner is pretty clear-cut. For the most part, electric smokers are less expensive than pellet grills. You can typically purchase a decent electric smoker for around $400 or less. 

Pellet smokers, on the other hand, are a bit more pricey. A quality pellet smoker can go for anywhere between $600 and $2000. On the flip side, you can purchase pellet grills in smaller sizes for lower prices.

There are certainly pros and cons of pellet grills and electric smokers. If you’re on a budget and cost is a determining factor for you, an electric smoker is likely the way to go. But if your main concern is quality and flavor, the extra money might be a small price to pay for supreme smokiness! 

Ease & Convenience

There’s nothing better than an easy, laid-back barbecue or cookout in the backyard. Having a reliable and easily maintainable grill will get you there! 

Electric smokers are typically more convenient and easier to operate and maintain. Pellet grills are slightly more difficult to clean and maintain due to the combustion processes as a result of using a real flame.

Overall, electric smokers tend to be slightly better in terms of ease and convenience. However, there are models of both pellet grills and electric smokers that offer fantastic maintainability and ease. Take a look at some of the best wood pellet grills on the market! 

Space 

Do you dream of a beautiful yard or patio with lots of open space? Or maybe an outdoor cooking area with lots of room to freely move around and grill with passion. 

When it comes to freeing up space, electric smokers are more compact and space efficient, but they do have a smaller grilling area and lower cooking capacity as a consequence.

Pellet grills require storage space for pellets and have less internal storage space as a result. However, pellet grills have a larger grilling area and a higher cooking capacity. In turn, they take up a little more space. If you really desire a pellet smoker but don’t have the space for it in your yard or patio, smaller pellet grills do exist as an alternative to the traditional size. 

With so many different kinds of grills and smokers out there, you’ll surely be able to find the right size to fit into your space efficiently!

Temperature Range

Do you like to cook with high heat? Or perhaps you prefer a nice cold smoke for cheeses and vegetables. 

Electric smokers are better for winter smoking and cold smoking, but they’re unable to cook above 300°F. So, when it comes to final products, are electric smokers any good? This low-temperature range limits an electric smoker’s ability to produce certain results, such as savory, crispy skin on chicken and turkey. However, some electric smoker enthusiasts would note that this can be remedied by finishing the meat with a quick oven bake. 

Pellet grills, on the other hand, are not efficient for cold smoking. If it’s cold outside, you’ll burn through way more fuel. However, they can cook up to 500°F- which renders that nice, crispy skin on the outside that all meat lovers crave. 

According to the Food & Drug Administration, all meats require a cooking temperature of at least 145°F or greater. Thankfully, both electric smokers and pellet grills are able to cook your meat at a temperature safe for consumption. 

If you want to cook in a very cool climate, like a winter camping trip in the mountains, then you should take a gander at the best electric smokers. In a cold climate, you would burn through about twice as much fuel trying to warm a pellet grill up. 

If you’re looking primarily for summertime backyard barbecues or your grill in a moderate climate, a pellet grill would be a fine choice for you. When choosing your smoker or grill, be sure to consider the climate of your cooking area.

Versatility

In the match of versatility, pellet grills have electric smokers beat. Electric smokers are mostly just for smoking due to their low-temperature range. Pellet grills, on the other hand, can be used to sear, cook, grill, and smoke all in one!

An electric smoker might be a great option for someone who already owns a grill or cooker and wants to add smoking to the mix. A pellet grill is a great choice for someone who doesn’t yet own a grill and wants to cook in a variety of ways. This is certainly something to consider when weighing the pros and cons of pellet grills vs. electric smokers. 

So, Which Kind of Smoker Reigns Supreme?

Ultimately, the answer to this question is up to the buyer and their individual needs.

If you prioritize safety, compactness, ease, and cost, an electric smoker may be for you. This is also an ideal choice for someone who wants to cook in cooler climates or partake in cold smoking.

If you prioritize cooking capacity, versatility, temperature range, flavor, and smokiness, then the pellet grill is for you.

If you already have a separate grill, an electric smoker may make more sense. If you don’t have a grill yet and you aren’t on a budget, it might make sense to purchase a pellet grill. 

So then, which model to choose…

The Best Electric Smokers and The Best Wood Pellet Grills for Sale:

If you’re looking for the best electric smokers for sale, click here.

If you’re looking for the best wood pellet grills for sale, click here.

Can’t decide? Check out this hybrid Dyna-Glo Smoker and Grill that gives you the best of both worlds. 

For more information, visit omnyoutdoorliving.com

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