How Long Do Pellets Last in a Pellet Grill?

How long do pellets last in a pellet grill

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No one wants to run out of pellets mid-cook.

We’ve looked at the data after testing dozens of pellet grills and in this guide, we’ll share how much cooking time you can get out of a bag of pellets.

How long do wood pellets burn for?

Most pellet grills will burn between one to three pounds of pellets per hour, depending on the set temperature and the grill’s make and model.

That means a 20-pound bag of pellets should last you anywhere from six to 20-hours, give or take.

wood pellets in plastic bags
On average, a 20 lbs bag of wood pellets can last from 6 to 20 hours

How many pellets your grill goes through in an hour will depend on the weather conditions (temperature, humidity, and wind speed)

However, the largest factor is the temperature you are cooking at. For example, at 225°F you’ll burn between 0.5 and 1-pound per hour, while at higher temperatures, you can expect to burn as much as 3-pounds per hour.

The size and efficiency of your grill will also play a role in how long your pellets last. Pellet grills with larger cooking surfaces will use more pellets, while those with smaller cooking surfaces will use less.

Highly insulated grills like the Yoder YS640S will be more efficient and use fewer pellets per hour, than a cheap grill from a big box store.

Pellet usage testing data

We pulled the data from four of our pellet grill reviews to get a typical range. These grills have similar-sized cooking surfaces.

We will usually include average hourly pellet consumption in our reviews, for example, the Louisiana Grills Black Label scored:

  • Average consumption rate @ 225°F: ~1.6 lb per hour.
  • Average consumption rate @ 450°F: ~4.5 lb per hour.

The average hourly pellet consumption rates:

Pellet Grill ModelLow Temperatures (225°F)High Temperatures (450°F-600°F
Memphis Grills Beale Street0.3 – 0.5 lbs per hour2 lbs
Camp Chef Woodwind0.75 lbs per hour2 lbs
Louisiana Grills Black Label1.6 lbs per hour4.5 lbs
Weber SmokeFire1.25 lbs per hour4 lbs

We tested each grill at its max temperature so there is a little variance between grills.

Not all wood pellets burn the same

Different woods will produce different results with your pellet grill. You might have to experiment a little bit to find the right mix of pellets and temperature for the food you’re cooking.

four bags of wood pellets on the ground

Some woods, like hickory, are very dense and will last a long time in your grill. Other woods, like apple, are more lightweight and won’t last as long.

Different brands will also have different burning times because of their different composition and density.

How long do wood pellets last when stored in a pellet grill?

Most pellet grill manufacturers do not suggest you leave your pellets in the grill hopper for an extended period of time. The pellets can become clogged and the auger can become gummed up.

wood pellets in the pellet grill hopper

However, manufacturers do tend to plan for the worse case sencario when giving advice. If you live in a hot area with low humidity, you can get away with leaving your pellets in your hopper for at least a few weeks. 

The best way to store unused pellets is in a cool, dry place. A shed or garage works well for this, but make sure it’s not in direct sunlight and isn’t too humid.

wood pellets in a plastic bucket
Plastic or metal buckets and bins that can be properly sealed are the best way to store wood pellets

However, if you are set in leaving your pellets in the hopper, how long those pellets will remain good will depend on how humid it is where you live and the brand of pellets you are using.

Some pellet owners have found that, in arid areas with generally high temperatures, pellets can be left in the grill for up to six months.

Generally, if stored in a cool, dry place, wood pellets can last anywhere from six to twelve months. If you live in a high humidity environment, they may only last for three or four months. And, if the pellets are not of the best quality, they may only last for a month or two.

So, how long do pellets last in a pellet grill?

When it comes to storage, it really depends on the climate and quality of the pellets. If you’re in a hot arid area, you might be able to get away with leaving your pellets in the hopper. However, if you’re somewhere rainy or humid, putting them in a sealed container is the best idea.

When stored properly, they will last anywhere from six to twelve months, but it’s best to check with the manufacturer’s guidance to be sure.

When it comes to the burn rate of pellets in a pellet grill, it really depends on the quality of the pellets and the temperature that you are cooking at.

Generally, the higher quality pellets will have a slower burn rate, while lower quality pellets will have a faster burn rate, and, as you can see from our data, the higher the temperature you cook at, the faster your pellets will burn!

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