In today’s article, we’re going to take a detailed peek at the best portable pellet grills to see how they can benefit you when you want to cook on-the-go.
We’re going to take you through a detailed buyer’s guide to help you find the right unit before revealing our overall top pick for the best portable pellet smoker on the market.
Wood pellet grills are extremely easy to use, produce excellent results, and are relatively versatile in the way that you can grill and smoke your food. One of pellet grills’ main benefits is that you get to cook over real wood without handling or maintaining an open fire.
Being able to grill over real wood is an experience and a way to add flavor to your food — although you can add wood chunks or chips to gas and charcoal grills, it’s still not the same as cooking over the real deal.
However, regular full-sized pellet grills are known to be heavy, cumbersome, and difficult to move around. If you’re a frequent camper or like to tailgate with your friends, you need a grill made for the job.
Without further introduction, let’s get started!
Bottom Line up Front: The Best Portable Pellet Grills Reviewed in this Guide
- REC TEC Grills RT-340 WiFi Enabled Portable Wood Pellet Grill
- Traeger Pellet Grills Tailgater 20 Grill
- Green Mountain Grill Davy Crockett Pellet Grill Package
- Camp Chef Pursuit Portable Pellet Grill PPG20
- PIT BOSS PB440TG 440 sq in Portable Wood Folding Legs Pellet Grill
- Traeger Junior Elite Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
The above links take you to current prices, customer reviews, and further information on Amazon.
Table of Contents
- 1 What to Look for When Buying
- 2 Our Top 5 Choices for Best Portable Pellet Grill
- 3 Conclusion
What to Look for When Buying
Pellet grills are slightly more complex than your regular gas or charcoal units, and it shows in the price.
This type of grill is generally pricier than other types; therefore, it is essential to find one that suits you and your needs.
In the guide below, we’ve listed the essential factors you should consider before making a purchase.
Size and Portability
We’re talking about portable grills here; therefore, size plays a significant role — you need a grill that can easily follow you wherever you go.
Now, some manufacturers will simply slap a portable label onto a grill despite it not being very mobile at all. Sure, the handles and wheels are selling points, but the massive size makes it impossible to transport unless you have a trailer or huge pick-up truck.
Before deciding on a grill, consider where you want to go.
Are you going camping in the RV for the summer? Or are you driving cross-country with a camper in tow? Consider your means of transport and how the grill is going to fit.
Cooking Surface Area
Who are you going to cook for? How many bellies are you trying to fill up?
The cooking surface has to be large enough to fit enough food for you and your guests. Having to cook in rounds or only being able to fit two burgers at a time will get frustrating very quickly, especially as you’re struggling to keep all the food warm to serve at the same time.
Sure, the grill has to be portable, so an extra-large cooking surface isn’t realistic, but it should still fit your needs. Some grills will have two cooking levels, giving you double the cooking surface within the same footprint; this could be a great option for large families or groups.
Because we’re on the hunt for the best portable pellet grill, it’s essential to consider the overall design and features and how they help to increase portability.
For instance, we like our portable grills to have a sturdy handle or handles, hooks, added workspace, and even feeders and auto-ignition for convenience. Other features that increase portability include folding legs, sturdy wheels, and a locking lid.
Going camping or tailgating isn’t always a walk in the park. A grill needs to be able to withstand the elements, bumpy roads, and more.
Therefore, material and build-quality play a significant role. Go for steel whenever possible with hard plastic features — cast-iron grates are also a major plus as these can withstand rigorous use.
Consider how easily the grill can be folded to determine whether it can fit in the back of your car, truck, or camper. Avoid a grill with parts that stick out when stored or transported; these parts can easily break off.
Any Added Extras?
Who doesn’t like to receive a little extra something when purchasing a new grill? In some cases, extras may not be worth much, but sometimes you’ll get lucky and receive a sweet bonus that could save you money!
Brand and Warranty
Pellet grills aren’t cheap; therefore, finding a unit with a good warranty is essential. We never buy anything, thinking it will break or malfunction before its given time, but damage and accidents occur, and when they do, you want to make sure you’re covered.
A one-year warranty is pretty standard, but some will even take it as far as a limited lifetime warranty. In saying that, you want to look into what the warranty covers and the brand’s customer service quality.
How you want to set your budget is entirely up to you.
However, it’s essential to keep in mind that pellet grills aren’t as affordable as gas or charcoal grills. In saying that, there’s still a good range of choices available in different price ranges.
Set your budget as you like, but we recommend looking into what extra features or accessories you can get for a few additional dollars.
These extras could be well-worth it if offered at a discount along with the grill.
Our Top 5 Choices for Best Portable Pellet Grill
Now that we know what makes the best portable pellet grill, it’s time to look at five units we highly recommend.
We chose the following products with the points above in mind. Quality is essential when looking for a grill to use when camping or tailgating, and we’re confident the units we chose will hold up great.
Rec Tec Grills Trailblazer Rt-340
If you’re hunting for a high-tech wood pellet grill for your next cookout, the RT-340 might just be the one for you.
It comes with all the jazz you could ever ask for in a portable grill, and it sports those classic bullhorn handles on the lid (we don’t expect any less from Rec Tec).
This grill comes with automatic start-up and shutdown, making it a breeze to use as well as safe. It also comes with various excellent features, such as automated lighting, so you can keep the grill-fest going even after the sun is down.
Additionally, it comes with WiFi connectivity, enabling you to control and monitor the grill and your food from your smartphone.
One of the significant features that caught our attention is the dual probes included with the grill.
They conveniently plug into the auger control where you can monitor your meat’s internal temp throughout the cook. Tracking the temperature of your meat is far more accurate than going by a set time.
Now for portability features, this grill is equipped with legs that fold up and a locking lid. There are also two wheels for easy maneuvering, and you get a convenient cover to keep the unit protected when stored or in transport.
- WiFi connectivity enables you to relax while cooking.
- The two probes allow you to monitor two items in one go.
- The large hopper is ideal for smoking sessions.
- It’s able to reach temperatures over 500 degrees Fahrenheit, ideal for searing.
- You get 80 pounds of pellets, a thermometer and a cover.
- There’s a second rack for more cooking space, but it isn’t included.
- There are no side tables.
With this grill, you get 340 square inches of cooking space, making it an excellent choice for families and groups cooking together.
It’s a reliable grill that’s sure to give you years of good use.
Now, it’s quite heavy for a portable, but if you’re going tailgating or car camping, it will make an excellent fit.
Traeger Tailgater Pellet Grill
- NEVER USE GAS OR CHARCOAL AGAIN: Traeger created the original wood-pellet grill as the ultimate way to achieve wood-fired taste. The Tailgater is our most capable of our portable wood pellet grills
- PRECISION TEMPERATURE CONTROL: The Digital Arc Controller maintains a plus/minus 15 degree F temperature control to guarantee precision grilling, and a temperature range of 180-450 Fahrenheit
- Take your grill and your wood-fired BBQ wherever you go. Whether it’s your truck tailgate, the parking lot, out at the campsite or anywhere your travels take you, you’ll never have to leave your smoke behind
- EZ fold legs, a grill capacity of 300 sq inches, and capacity for 12 burgers, 3 racks of ribs or 2 whole chickens
- 6-in-1 versatility to grill, smoke, braise, roast, bake, or BBQ
Buying a Traeger enables you to use fancy terms such as “I’m Traegering this weekend” and “let’s fire up the Traeger!”
And this Traeger, in particular, was made specifically for tailgating with its foldable legs, wheels and handle.
You get an ample 300 square inches of cooking surface, enough to cook up 12 burgers or three rib racks simultaneously.
Inside the cooking chamber is an induction fan that keeps heat and smoke flowing through the cooking area for a more even result.
Like other Traeger pellet smokers, this one also features an automatic auger system that helps maintain a consistent temperature throughout the cook with no effort from your side.
This is one of the main things we like about Traeger — no matter which model you’re cooking on, you can easily achieve the same, consistent results.
The exterior might be slightly too flashy for some with the bronzed lid; however, we actually appreciate the thoughts that went into the aesthetics.
Another smart feature of this tailgating Traeger is the shutdown cycle. Once the cook is over, the fan will continue to run for five minutes to lift residual ash left in the firepot — this makes cleaning up a breeze and prevents a clog.
- Sleek bronze exterior.
- Foldable EZ legs.
- Includes a large 20-pound bag of pellets.
- Drip bucket included.
- It has a slightly lower max. temperature compared to other models.
- There are no hooks or side shelves for your utensils or equipment.
- No probe connection.
- Small hopper.
The entirety of this unit simply screams, ‘take me tailgating!’ It looks super sleek with the bronzed lid, and it’s incredibly easy to fold up and take with you wherever your cooking adventures take you.
Despite weighing a little over 60 pounds, this unit is actually one of the lighter portable pellet grills we’ve reviewed.
Pellet grills are heavier compared to other grills in general, so it’s to be expected that a portable model will have some additional weight to it.
This is undoubtedly a grill that will turn heads as you flip burgers.
Green Mountain Grill Davy Crockett WiFi Enabled Pellet Grill
A common issue with pellet grills is how you’re going to power it when not at home. Pellet grills generally plug into an outlet to power the ignition and induction fan, so what happens when you’re tailgating or camping?
This is where the Davy Crocket grill comes into play. It’s fitted with a standard wall plug as well as a plug that you can attach to a 12V socket in your car, battery pack or generator. If that isn’t possible, you can also use the included alligator clips and clamp and attach it directly to your vehicle’s battery.
You don’t get as large of a cooking surface as the two models above, but you still get an ample 219 square inches, making it a good choice for small families or groups. You get an excellent temperature range between 150 and 550 degrees Fahrenheit, enabling you to do long low n slow smoking sessions or high heat searing.
The entire grill weighs in at 68 pounds, which is quite hefty, but with the legs folded over the cooking chamber, they transform into convenient handles.
Another bonus feature we really appreciate is the temperature probe. It connects straight to the digital display, enabling you to keep track of your meat as it cooks — and you don’t need to purchase a digital thermometer on the side. Furthermore, you also get a weatherproof cover to keep your grill protected when not in use.
There are hooks and a side shelf for utensils featured on the grill; these are often missed on portable grills to save space. However, they can be really useful when you’re camping, tailgating or otherwise away from home and don’t have a clean surface to put down your tools.
When at home, you can connect the grill to your home WiFi to control and monitor the grill and your food from your smartphone.
- Large foldable legs double as handles.
- Side shelf and hooks.
- Connects to various power sources.
- Probe included.
- No wheels.
- Small cooking surface.
Despite the smaller cooking surface, the Davy Crocket is still a pretty cool portable grill.
It has some great features that you don’t find in many other portable grills, such as a side shelf and hooks. Additionally, the various ways to power the grill make it an ideal choice for camping, tailgating, etc.
Camp Chef Pursuit 20 Portable Smoker
- PID controller for consistent temperatures, Adjustable smoke settings from 1-10, 160º F - 500ºF temperature range
- Includes 2 meat probes
- Easy to use menu dial, High-visibility, low-glare digital display, Slide and Grill Technology's direct flame grilling reaches 650°F
- Ash Cleanout System
- Compact design, stores, and transports easily
This is still a relatively new model, being released in 2019, but it sports a very well-thought-out design made with campers and tailgaters in mind.
The first most impressive thing about the Pursuit 20 is the amount of cooking surface you get. Although the grates are split into two, you get a total of 501 square inches.
Now, because the grates are divided in two (one above the other), space is sort of compromised — fitting whole roasts, briskets or pork shoulders is somewhat tricky.
In saying that, you can easily cook up some great burgers, steaks, chicken, small roasts and so much more — after all, who likes to do a 10-hour smoking session when camping?
As we mentioned, the Pursuit 20 was made with portability in mind, and it certainly shows in its design.
The legs fold conveniently into a large handle that enables you to tow the grill like a suitcase all due to the large wheels’ positioning. Additionally, you can lock the lid whenever you’re transporting the grill or store it.
You get excellent temperature range, enabling you to grill, smoke, bake, roast… well, you get the point.
In addition to that, you get two temperature probes that each connect directly to the built-in LCD. This is a money-saving bonus that we aren’t complaining about — cooking your meat to the correct internal temperature is crucial.
With the included probes, you won’t have to worry about purchasing a thermometer on the side.
The Pursuit 20 comes equipped with other standard Camp Chef features, such as auto-auger, auto-igniter, ash clean-out system, and temperature control. Psst! It also includes a built-in bottle opener — what more do you and your buddies need?
- The two grates give you double the cooking surface.
- Folds very compactly.
- Locking lid.
- Large wheels enable you to tow it.
- Dual probe connections.
- Each grate is rather small.
- No chimney.
- No workspace.
- Limited room for large cuts of meat or poultry.
If you aren’t planning on smoking large cuts of meat, the Pursuit 20 is an excellent choice for you.
You get ample cooking area to cook for a medium to large crowd, and it’s incredibly portable and easy to use thanks to all the Camp Chef features.
Pit Boss Pb440tg
Thanks to a combination of great design and key features found on full-size pellet grills, the Pit Boss PB440TG provides a terrific grilling experience that’s good to go.
First and foremost, this is a portable grill. It’s a simple matter to loosen off a few bolts and fold each joined pair of legs. That means you can easily switch from standard grilling position to tabletop or tailgate setting, depending on your need.
The resin wheels and a stumpy pair of legs keep the grill stable yet maneuverable when folded.
Under the cast iron lid (the entire unit is cast iron), you’ll find 440 square inches of cooking space. That’s plenty of room for a mess of burgers and hot dogs, or enough steaks to feed the gang in a single shot.
Unlike with some pellet grills, this PB440TG allows for direct flame cooking, and we love it.
If you’d rather smoke or roast than grill (all are options with a pellet grill), the 5-pound hopper provides several hours of cooking time. You can cook a full chicken or racks of ribs with ease.
Clean up is easy – the grease management system directs drippings that don’t burn off out the side and into a handy bucket.
Remember that you will need access to electricity to use this grill. The digital thermostat and simple temperature dial make cooking on the PB440TG a “set it and forget it” affair. Choose your temperature (the range is 180F – 500F) and let the digital brain take over, delivering wood pellets as needed.
The only drawback we can find with this grill is the lack of a side shelf. We think a folding shelf could have been incorporated. But, this is a minor complaint. You can always put things on the hopper lid. And if you’re tailgating, you’ve got plenty of space, anyway.
- Folding legs for tailgating, transporting, and storage
- 5-pound hopper is adequate for most out of home grilling and smoking
- Simple temperature adjustment with dial
- LCD display
- Large 440 square inch cooking surface
- Heavy-duty resin wheels for smooth rolling on rough surfaces
- No port for meat probe thermometers
- No shelves or work area provided
Hit the road and grill, smoke, roast, and bake up a storm with the Pit Boss PB440TG.
To get a closer look at one of the best portable pellet grills, just follow the link:
Traeger Junior Elite 20 Pellet Grill
Despite the small size, the Traeger Junior has many of the same features as the larger Texas and Lil’ Tex units.
You get a good 300 square inches of cooking surface, an auto-auger that maintains a steady temperature, and a grease spout that deposits drippings directly into a stainless steel bucket.
Additionally, the grates are made of porcelain and are a breeze to clean.
The hopper is on the smaller side and can only hold 8 pounds of pellets, so if you’re embarking on a longer smoking session, set a timer to restock when needed.
The rounded lid gives you ample space in the cooking chamber for whole chickens and other large meat cuts. Like the Traeger at the top of our list, this one also sports that sleek bronzed lid.
On the downside, you don’t get any side shelves or hooks — but this also helps to keep the dimensions low without compromising the cooking surface.
- Excellent quality, similar to larger Traegers.
- Ample space within the cooking chamber.
- The legs can’t be folded, making it trickier to pack.
- You get a single rack.
- There’s no chimney, meaning smoke escapes from any hole it can find.
If you’re short on space but want a reasonable cooking surface area, the Traeger Junior might just be the grill for you. What it lacks in side shelves and hooks, it makes up for in the cooking area as you get an ample 300 square inches.
The Junior Elite 20 is very similar to the Tailgater; all it’s missing are foldable legs and wheels. We recommend the Tailgater for frequent travelers and the Junior Elite for occasional travelers.
Nothing beats food straight off the grill when camping — and with the best portable pellet grill, it couldn’t be easier to cook your favorite meals when away from home.
Pellet grills are a breeze to use, making them great options for tailgating or camping. They can be quite heavy, though, so be sure to choose a model that suits your means of transport.
Consider how many people you’ll be cooking for and choose a suitable size accordingly — you don’t want to waste money on a whopper that’s too large to transport. On the other hand, cooking for a large group on a small grill also isn’t ideal as you’d have to cook in rounds.
Did you find a grill you like on our list? What’s your favorite campsite dish? Share your thoughts and preferred recipes in the comments below.