The 5 Best Budget Pellet Grills ($400-$700) in 2024

Collage of the best budget pellet grills with man standing in front holding up five fingers

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When we started researching this article, we originally wanted to do the best pellet grills under $500.

Thanks to the inflation in grill prices we’ve seen in recent years, that would have been a very short list, so we quickly decided on a maximum budget of $700. We’ve also made a video where we go through the results of our testing.

Best Pellet Grills to Buy For Under $700

The best budget-friendly pellet grills for under $700

$700 is enough to get you a well-built grill large enough to cook for a family. If your budget can stretch further, check out our best pellet grills guide instead.

We gave our testing team one simple instruction to prepare this list. Cook a bunch of food on each pit!

After smoking pork butts, ribs, chicken wings, and turkey, and grilling burgers and shrimp these are the five best pellet grills you can buy if you want to get the most for your dollar.

1. Best Overall – Camp Chef XT Pellet Grill

Since we wrote this article, Camp Chef has discontinued our first pick the DLX 24, and replaced it with the DLX WIFi which is $50 outside our budget for this series, but still well worth considering.

Luckily, the XT is virtually identical to the old DLX 24, so everything we had to say stands.

To test out the Camp Chef, I smoked a spatchcocked turkey, and it came out a beautiful golden brown. For the second cook, I smoked some spare ribs, which came out juicy with perfect color and tenderness.

The Camp Chef XT is powered by the same Gen 2 PID controller you get on the Woodwind but with no WiFi connectivity. If you want to control the grill via the app, you’ll need to upgrade to the Woodwind.

The initial startup is easy, and I like that the controller has a feed cycle that automatically feeds it for about seven minutes once you press the button to confirm.

You can choose between 160°F to 500°F, and I love that you can make 5°F adjustments to really dial in a precise temperature.

One killer feature on the XT is the ability to control the smoke level from 1-10. This can also be done on the app, so you can hit your ribs or chicken with high smoke to start, and then dial it back for the later half of the cook.

It has two probe ports and comes with two probes. The cooking chamber is powder-coated steel, and it has a total cooking space of 570 square inches.

The lower main grate has 429 square inches, and the top warming rack has 141 square inches. However, the warming rack is pretty small. It also has a side shelf, two wagon wheels, and peg legs.

One of the things that set the Camp Chef XT apart from other pellet grills is the ash cleanout system that makes it easy to remove ash between cooks.

What I liked:

  • Excellent controls – The 2nd Gen PID controller gives you outstanding temperature control, and the ability to dial smoke level from 1-10 is a game changer.
  • Ash cleanout system – The grill has an ash cleanout system, making cleaning out the fire pot between cooks easier as you don’t need to remove every component.
  • Sidekick compatible – Add a grilling or sear station to the side of your grill for added versatility.
  • Build quality – Weighing 140 pounds and with a powder-coated steel cooking chamber, this grill feels sturdy.

What I didn’t like:

  • Small warming rack – The top warming rack is small, limiting the amount of food that can be kept warm.
  • No locking casters – The grill does not have rotating locking casters, making it difficult to move around.

When you combine the digital controls with adjustable smoke levels, the ash cleanout system, and the sidekick compatibility, the XT offers more bang for your buck than any of the other grills we tested.

At its current price, you’ll have $100 left in your budget to grab a few bags of pellets and maybe even splurge on some rubs and sauces.

2. Best value – Z Grills 7002C Pellet Grill

Read our full Z Grills 7002 review.

This whole article is about value for money, so why wouldn’t we put this grill at the top?

The Z Grills doesn’t quite reach the level of either the Pit Boss or Camp Chef. What it does offer is an amazing price, while ticking almost every other box you could want.

The 24-pound hopper is easily enough for an overnight cook, and the pellet dump allows for easy switching between different types of wood. The digital-analog controller has a temperature range of 180 up to 450 degrees in levels of 25-degree increments, with two probe ports and two meat probes included.

The chamber is made out of powder-coated steel, providing 697 square inches of cooking space, with 504 square inches on the main bottom grate and 193 square inches on the top warming rack. The porcelain-coated steel grates are a great touch, and the hopper lid can be used as a shelf for prep work.

This grill has two wagon-style wheels and two rotating locking casters, making it easy to move around. There is no storage area under the grill. If you want that, spend a little extra on the 700D4E.

The Z Grill 7002C produces a decent amount of smoke and performs well. The first test cook was baby back ribs, which came out with beautiful color and were tender and juicy.

The pork tenderloin cooked barbecue-style was also a hit.

Cleanup is easy and standard for a pellet grill. Take out the cooking components, scrape them down, and then vacuum everything up.

What I liked:

  • Good build quality with powder-coated steel chamber and porcelain-coated steel grates
  • Two probe ports and two meat probes included
  • Large 24-pound hopper capacity with pellet dump for easy switching between types of wood

What I didn’t like:

  • No side shelf for prepping (only a hopper lid)
  • Limited temperature range compared to some other pellet grills on the market

Overall, the Z Grill 7002 is a great option for small families or anyone starting to learn how to smoke up some barbecue. One potential improvement could be adding a side shelf, as the hopper lid is not quite enough for prepping.

3. Best for a larger family – Pit Boss Sportsman 820

Read our full Pit Boss Sportsman 820 review.

The Sportsman 820 offers the largest cooking area out of all the grills we tested. It’s also one of the most modern, and well-designed.

The Sportsman is run off a digital analog controller and has a temperature range of 180 up to 500 degrees in increments of either 25 or 50. It has two probe ports and comes with one meat probe.

Unlike a lot of the other grills we tested, the Sportsman has a sturdy bottom shelf for storing cooking accessories, one folding shelf, and one removable stainless steel side shelf on the hopper side.

The Sportsman has a 21-pound hopper which is big enough to do an overnight cook, but it can start to pile up and not reach all the way down to the auger after about six hours. The hopper also has a pellet dump which is handy if you want to change out the type of wood for a different protein.

Some of the test cooks I did on the Sportsman 820 included smoking a turkey, grilling shrimp, and making burgers. The grill has a flame broiler, which makes it easy to add a little char to your food. The cleanup process for the Sportsman 820 is easy, with just one extra step of disconnecting the handle and propping it up to remove the drip pan.

What I liked:

  • Large size and prep areas – 829 square inches of cooking space and plenty of prep areas make this a great grill for a larger family
  • Flame broiler – makes it easy to add a little char to your food.

What I didn’t like:

  • The hopper can start to pile up and not reach all the way down to the auger after about six hours of cooking.
  • The grill has two standard legs and two wagon wheels that do not rotate, making it challenging to move around.

After cooking on the Sportsman I really like this pit and think it stands a step above some of the other pits I tested. While it only just squeezes into the budget, I think you’ll be happy you stretched with all of the little quality-of-life features included.

4. Best for grilling – Recteq RT-B380 Bullseye Wood Pellet Grill

The Bullseye has the most unique design out of all the grills I tested. It looks more like a kettle grill than a pellet grill.

Even with the hopper on the side, the overall footprint on the Bullseye is pretty small.

Like all Recteqs, the build quality on the bullseye is pretty dang good. The chamber is made out of 304 stainless steel.

With the 15-pound hopper, I would never plan to do an overnight cook with this pit unless I planned to get up every three hours and check and make sure that I have pellets.

The one downfall of the hopper is that it does not have a pellet dump.

The Bullseye has one probe port and they send you one probe. There’s a PID controller but because of the direct design on this pit, it does require a little bit more attention. You really don’t want to walk away from this pit for very long.

The temperature range is 200 to 525 degrees, but after that, they have what they called the riot mode and this pit will actually get up to 750 degrees.

That’s why this is our pick for best grilling option.

The bullseye has 380 square inches of cooking space and it has a 22 inch porcelain coated cooking grate.

You have a small shelf on the bottom of the bullseye where you can store some of your cooking accessories. Two of the legs have wagon-style wheels, but the other two are just pegs.

Everything that I cooked on the Rec Tec 380 Bullseye has been really good. It has a really good smoky flavor.

First off I smoked some no-wrap St Louis ribs. Not only was I very satisfied with the color that this pit developed, but it also had a fantastic smoky and juicy flavor.

The cook that I remember the most on the Bullseye was when I smoked up some chicken wings and they were probably the best chicken wings that I’ve had off a pellet grill in a very long time.

To clean up the bullseye it’s really really simple all you have to do is take out the grate and the heat deflector and vacuum.

The more that you cook on the bullseye the more this cooking chamber is going to develop a very dark patina if you want to keep it looking like new you’re going to have to spend a lot of time polishing it up after every single cook.

What I liked:

  • Good packaging and is easy to assemble
  • High build quality with 304 stainless steel
  • Produces good, smoky flavors at both low and high temperatures
  • Easy to clean

What I didn’t like:

  • No pellet dump in the hopper
  • Only one probe port
  • Small 15-pound hopper not suitable for overnight cooking
  • Legs have only two wagon-style wheels

My overall opinion of the Rec Tec 380 Bullseye pellet grill is very positive.

This pit is perfect for somebody that wants to start smoking and still wants to be able to grill on the same pit. I could also see this suiting somebody that might want a second pit but they don’t want to spend a lot of money.

5. Traeger Pro 22

The Traeger Pro 22 is the predecessor of the incredibly popular Pro 575 that we have in second place on our list of the best pellet grills.

We couldn’t include the Pro 575 on our list because the current price of $799.99 was above our definition of “budget”

The main difference with the older Pro 22 is that you don’t get the WiFIRE technology so there’s no connectivity to the Traeger app.

While the app is nice, it doesn’t actually cook your food for you, so getting this smoker under our $700 budget is a great trade-off in our opinion.

The packaging for Traeger is always well-done, and the build quality of this pit is similar to the Z Grills.

The pellet hopper can hold 18 pounds of pellets, and you get a pellet dump which makes it easy to clean up. That size makes the Pro borderline for an overnight cook. You are going to want to check your pellets at the six-hour mark. This is the point where you might miss the option to add the pellet sensor, something you can easily do to enhance the newer Pro 575.

The digital-analog controller has a temperature range of 180 to 450 degrees and can be adjusted in increments of 25 degrees.

The Pro 22 has two probe ports and two color-coordinated probes. The cooking space is 527 square inches, with 418 square inches on the bottom rack and 154 on the top warming rack, and both grates are made of porcelain-coated steel.

To test out this pit I smoked up a couple of chicken breasts and some quarters. I followed that with some pork ribs. The St. Louis ribs certainly had some great smoky flavor and that perfect bite off the bone.

What I liked:

  • Two probe ports and comes with two probes
  • Pellet dump in the design is better than most other pits

What I didn’t like:

  • Older technology, although it still works well
  • No side shelf

Overall, the Traeger Pro 22 pellet grill is a great pit for those who are new to pellet grills or for those who want an affordable option for a small family.

Its older technology still holds up, and it offers a decent amount of cooking space to get the job done.

Other options we’ve tested

Green Mountain Grills Trek

We decided not to include any portable pellet grills in this guide, since we already have a post dedicated to that.

This excludes two of the most popular options under $700, namely the Green Mountain Grills Trek and the Traeger Tailgater.

While the Trek is a component smoker, unless you plan to take take it on the road regularly, a full-sized smoker like the one in our list will be much easier to use.

Pit Boss 700FB

Read our full Pit Boss 700FB review.

Pit Boss 700FB Pellet Grill Review

While we liked the Pit Boss 700FB when we reviewed it back in 2019, it was already old back then.

It’s got a searing zone you can open up, which is a nice feature at this price point, and it’s also a good size.

You can get it for a great price, but unless you really can’t stretch we think the features on the Sportsman 820 make it a much better buy.

What to look for when buying a budget pellet grill

Unless your budget is unlimited, buying any grill is a game of compromise. You need to understand which features are most important to you, and what you can live without.

Here are a few things I recommend you think about before pulling the trigger on a new grill.

Grill size

You need to think about both the number of people you will be cooking for and also the type of food you’ll be cooking.

If you think you’ll be throwing on multiple briskets or racks of ribs, something round like the Rectec Bullseye would not be a good option.

Grill size is measured in square inches. At this price point, the largest options will be around 700 square inches. Anything between 500-700 should be fine for most small to medium families.

WiFi connectivity

These days most pellet grills come with the option to control them via an app on your phone. Some of the budget grills we selected above like the Traeger Pro and the Z Grills don’t include an app, while our top pick the Camp Chef does.

Being able to use an app can be really convenient, especially if you live somewhere that gets cold.

Storage & prep areas

A big pet peeve of ours is when a grill doesn’t have any good storage or prep areas. There’s nothing worse than carrying a tray full of seasoned meat out to your smoker, only. to balance it precariously on the edge of your deck while you open the smoker lid.

This is one of the reasons we rated the Pit Boss Sportsman 820 so highly. It was the only grill we tested that included a folding front shelf, and removable side shelf.

Most other grills limit you to the hopper lid.

Sear options

The dirty secret of the pellet grill industry is that these grills can seriously struggle to grill. That’s why we often refer to them as smokers first and foremost.

Luckily manufacturers are catching on, and now many will include different designs to give you some level of searing.

The Pit Boss Sportsman allows you to open up a small sear zone in the middle of the grill that’s perfect for getting some char on your food.

With the Camp Chef DLX, you can purchase a sidekick attachment that gives you a dedicated sear zone.

Cleaning

Some pellet grills can be a real bear to clean. You need to carefully remove the grill grates and heat deflector to get access to the interior and fire pot so you can vacuum out pellet dust.

We loved the ash pan on the Camp Chef DLX as you could quickly dump out a lot of the ash that builds up. You’ll still need to do a full clean-out from time to time though.

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