Best Portable Pellet Grill

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In our review we tested three different types of portable pellet grills such as: tabletop pellet grills, collapsible wheel-away and collapsible carry-away pellet grills. Our 2023 top picks in each category were the Z Grills Cruiser 200A tabletop, the Camp Chef Pursuit 20 wheel-away and the Green Mountain Davy Crockett carry-away. The selection of portable…

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Best Portable Pellet Grills

In our review we tested three different types of portable pellet grills such as: tabletop pellet grills, collapsible wheel-away and collapsible carry-away pellet grills. Our 2023 top picks in each category were the Z Grills Cruiser 200A tabletop, the Camp Chef Pursuit 20 wheel-away and the Green Mountain Davy Crockett carry-away.

The selection of portable pellet grills available on the market today is abundant and keeps growing every couple months. We focused on several key aspects to ensure you are picking the right option based on your budget. After carefully reviewing product specifications, available feature sets, available warranties and actual customer reviews, we were able to confirm which portable pellet grills are worth your consideration.

This review is different then most because we focused on three different categories of portable pellet smokers. A total of 7 grills were reviewed in all categories combined.

For the best tabletop pellet grill we felt the new Z Grills Cruiser 200A earned our top pick. The 200A weighs only 40lbs, offers over 200 sq/inches of grilling space and offers a 3 year warranty which is better than most of the competition. These grills are supposed to be portable, so a low weight makes a difference in this category.

The Camp Chef Pursuit Portable was our favorite wheel-away pellet grill because it offered a massive grilling area of 500 sq/inces, unique foldup system that enabled a very easy wheel-away portability, and large temperature ranges of 160F-500F.

Our final top pick was the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett for best carry-away pellet grill. The Davy Crockett is one of the few portable grills that includes WIFI connectivity (which makes for simple cook monitoring wherever you go), and various power source options which makes this grill extremely portable. Keep in mind all these grills new electricity to operate. The Davy Crockett allows you to run the grill off 12Vdc (Automotive Battery) or 110/120Vac (household power outlet) which means you can run this grill anywhere your vehicle is.

So that is a quick summary of our findings. Read on and we will explain how we came to these results after looking at other grills from Traeger, Louisiana Grills and Recteq.

At A Glance:

Best Tabletop Pellet Grills

byb2-table__imageTop PickTop PickZ Grills Cruiser 200A
  • 200 sq. inches of total cooking space
  • Lightest in Class
  • 8 pound pellet hopper
byb2-table__imageTraeger Ranger
  • 184 sq. inches of total cooking space
  • Heavy, but packed with features
  • 8 pound pellet hopper
byb2-table__imageLouisiana Grills 300BL
  • 333 sq. inches of total cooking space
  • WIFI and Bluetooth
  • 10 pound pellet hopper

Best Collapsible Wheel-Away Pellet Grills

byb2-table__imageAngry BBQ's Top PickAngry BBQ's Top PickCamp Chef Pursuit 20
  • 501 sq. inches of total cooking space
  • 10 distinct levels of smoke
  • 10 pound pellet hopper
byb2-table__imageRunner UpRunner UpRecteq RT-340
  • 511 sq. inches of total cooking space
  • WIFI
  • 20 pound pellet hopper

Best Collapsible Carry-Away Pellet Grills

byb2-table__imageAngry BBQ's Top PickAngry BBQ's Top PickGreen Mountain Davy Crockett
  • 219 sq. inches of total cooking space
  • 68 pounds (total weight)
  • 9 pound pellet hopper
byb2-table__imageTraeger Tailgater
  • 300 sq. inches of total cooking space
  • 62 pounds (total weight)
  • 8 pound pellet hopper

Portable Pellet Grills—A Brief Overview 

Grilling or smoking over wood is an experience worth having as it imparts a unique, delectable smoky flavor, quite unlike smoking over charcoal or gas. If that is what you are after, then a pellet smoker is just the thing for you. If the added convenience of mobility is also high on your list, then look no further than a portable pellet smoker. However, before you go ahead and invest in one of them, it is important that you first learn about what they entail, and what are some of the key features to look for.

A portable pellet grill is just what its name suggests—a compact, easily portable version of a standard wood pellet grill. With minimal assembly required post-purchase, these grills come in a few different configurations, namely collapsible, tabletop, carry, and wheel-away. Just like their traditional counterparts, portable pellet smokers are also dependent on electricity to operate. The ignition system, digital controller, and auger of the grills are all powered by electricity. A portable pellet grill, however, due to its small size, can easily be operated using electricity from a battery pack, boat or car battery, or a gas-powered generator. Recently Pit Boss teased that they will have a battery powered portable pellet grill.

As evident, portable pellet smokers are the perfect option for tailgating, camping, festivals, or a lake/beach house getaway.

Best Portable Wood Pellet Grill Shootout

Best Tabletop Pellet Grills

1. Z Grills Cruiser 200A – Top Pick

What we Like…

  • 8 Lbs. Pellet Hopper
  • Price
  • Weight
  • 3 Year Warranty

What Makes Us Angry…

  • Small Grilling Area

Z Grills has been around for several years now and they keep coming out with more gear to fill in their product gaps. The Cruiser 200A Tabletop Portable Pellet Grill was just launched and we recently completed our full review which can be viewed here.

Overall we like the Cruiser 200A. It is a tad smaller in size compared to the other portable pellet grills in this class, but it is also lighter. Keeping the weight down to 40lbs. makes it the lightest in class. This means something when you are talking about a portable grill.

The grilling area is just over 200 sq/inches (still larger then the Traeger Ranger) which is on the small side but it can still fit 1 rack of ribs, or 6 burgers or 11 hot dogs. That would easily feed a family of 4-5 people. Good enough for camping.

Z Grills Cruiser Rear
Rear of Grill
Z Grills Cruiser Grill Top

Z Grills also kept the hopper size at 8 lbs. which will let this grill cook for a very long time. Keep in mind it only has 200 sq/inches in grilling space, so pellet consumption will take a long time.

Z Grills includes a digital controller but we cannot confirm if the controller is PID or not. PID controller are more accurate and keep temperatures more consistent. I assume this controller is not a PID system. Temperature settings ranges from 180F – 450F which is sufficient for a portable grill.

Overall, this is a worthy option and priced aggressively.

Z Grills Cruiser Discount Code

Use coupon30 for $30 off your Cruiser 200A purchase at Z Grills.

2. Traeger Ranger PortableRunner Up

What We Like…

  • Compact and portable
  • Excellent heat retention
  • Accurate temperature controls
  • Useful features like Keep Warm mode and timer
  • Durable build quality

What Makes Us Angry…

  • Heavy vs Competitors
  • Price
  • Not PID Controlled

In our quest for who makes the best portable pellet grill smoker, we came across this product from none other than the master of pellet grills, Traeger. The Traeger Ranger Portable is another option in the tabletop pellet grill category that brings to the table all the best features of a portable pellet grill. This 13-by-21-by-20 inches suitcase-shaped grill is a breeze to use and lets you enjoy some quality BBQ time anywhere you go.

The Ranger weighs 60 lbs, which is, a whopping 20 lbs heavier than the Zgrill Cruiser. It is, however, packed to the brim with amazing features. The standout feature of this grill has to be its Keep Warm mode that lets you maintain the warmth within the cooking chamber by fixing the temperature at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, thereby allowing the food to remain warm without getting overcooked. The front of the grill sports a digital control panel including a compact LCD screen, buttons for setting the temperature and the timer, and up and down buttons to control these functions.

Traeger Ranger Drawing Interior
Traeger Ranger exterior

The round center button is what switches the Ranger on and off and can also be used to switch between the different modes. There is also an Ignite button along with a meat probe jack on this front panel. This portable pellet grill comes in a matte black color and the lid comes with a pair of hinges that can be latched onto the cooking chamber as well as a sturdy stainless steel handle. The main cooking area on offer is 184 sq. inches that would be able to accommodate six burgers, a rack of ribs, or ten hot dogs. The hopper capacity is fixed at 8 lbs which is 2 pounds less than the Louisiana Grills 300BL below.

The grill comes with a griddle made of cast iron and coated with porcelain and a meat probe that tells you when your food has been cooked to perfection. The Ranger promises good results but you have to pay for it.

3. Louisiana Grills Black Label 300 Portable: Worth A Look

What we Like…

  • 333 square inches of cooking space is the largest of the portable pellet grills we’ve seen
  • 10-pound hopper provides plenty of fuel for the large cooking space
  • WiFi and Bluetooth capable, unheard of from the portable pellet grill category
  • Direct flame cooking ability with flame broiler slide

What Makes Us Angry…

  • No surprise that this feature-packed grill is also more expensive than the competitors
  • Weighs in at 56 pounds, more than 10 pounds heavier than the Z Grills 200A

When looking at the Louisiana Grills Black Label 300, it’s honestly tough to try to come up with only a few selling points. This just might be the most feature-heavy portable pellet grill on the market. Not only does it offer two cooking racks and a hopper bigger than the other tabletop models, it has WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities to monitor both the grill’s temperature and what you’re smoking with its included meat probe whether you’re at home or taking it on the go. 

If you want to use this as a grill rather than a smoker, Louisiana Grills made sure to give you that ability as well. The grill has a temperature range from 180°F to 500°F, plenty hot to grill. However, its grilling functionality doesn’t end there. The grill’s heat diffuser is also called the flame broiler plate because it has open slits above the firepot covered by a sliding plate. That means even on a portable pellet grill, you can do direct flame searing.

For further improvement when smoking, the Black Series 300 portable pellet grill has a rear exhaust system to promote even flow of heat and smoke throughout the cooking chamber. Everything on the grill is controlled by the digital PID controller, giving this portable pellet grill the ultimate control of your cooking experience. 

The grill itself is made from steel from the body to the handles to the porcelain-coated steel grates. It’s built to last and is backed by a five-year warranty. It even comes with a grill cover to help protect it even more.

Best Collapsible Wheel-Away Pellet Grills

1. Camp Chef Pursuit 20 – Angry BBQ’s Top Pick

What We Like…

  • Premium build quality
  • Smart design for maximum portability
  • Extensive temperature range
  • Slide and Grill technology
  • Ash Cleanout System
  • Large cooking area

What Makes Us Angry…

  • Heavy

You can also bring your search for the best small pellet grill to an end with the Pursuit 20 portable wood pellet grill from Camp Chef. The design is optimized to ensure maximum portability and compactness with legs that can be folded away with the push of a button. At 32-by-18.5-by-38 inches, this grill may, at first glance, appear to be somewhat top-heavy but that is just a testament to its large cooking space and hopper capacity. We are fans of the Camp Chef line of grills as they are proven in the full size pellet grill line.

Offering an extensive 160 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit heat range, this unit can be used for both direct and indirect cooking, facilitating a variety of cooking styles from braising and roasting to baking and searing. It comes with 10 distinct levels of smoke called Smoke Numbers to suit your temperature needs. The smart design also features a pair of robust heavy-duty wheels and sturdy latches to secure the lid to the cooking area.

Camp Chef Portable Collapsed
Camp Chef Portable Open

The Pursuit 20 weighs 82 lbs and offers a total of 501 sq. inches of cooking space divided between an upper and a lower rack. It comes with a PID controller that helps maintain consistent temperatures and the front panel is equipped with a low-glare, high-visibility digital display for easy readings. The standout features of this portable grill include the Slide and Grill Technology, an Ash Cleanout System, a Cord Management System, and a Grease Management System. The grill comes with two meat probes.

2. Recteq RT-340 Pellet Grill : Runner Up

What We Like…

  • 20 pound pellet hopper capacity, more than some entry-level full-size pellet grill models
  • PID controller can connect to WiFi when using at home
  • Plenty of cooking space with a 340 sq in main area and a total of 511 sq in with the second rack

What Make Us Angry…

  • Incredibly heavy at 95 pounds
  • Expensive

The Recteq RT-340 combines a good-sized cooking chamber with folding legs to give you portability without sacrificing cooking space. The steel construction both inside and out means that this grill is made to last. 

That cooking chamber is fueled by a 20-pound pellet hopper and controlled by a PID controller that hooks up to WiFi for further monitoring and control through the recteq app. Recteq boasts that the hopper will give you 20 hours of uninterrupted smoking time when full. The controller can give you temperatures between 180°F and 500°F. It comes with two probes for monitoring the internal temperatures of whatever you’re smoking whether it’s brisket or pork butts.

recteq rt-340 cooking
recteq rt-340 pulled away
Collapsible and pull away

The legs on the RT-340 fold up so you can stow it in the back of your vehicle for transport. However, this grill is not designed for one person to easily move it around as it weighs in at 95 pounds, around 13 pounds heavier than the Camp Chef Pursuit 20. It also is a more expensive investment than its lighter competitor.

Best Collapsible Carry-Away Pellet Grills

1. Green Mountain Davy Crockett : Angry BBQ’s Top Pick

What We Like…

  • Portable and lightweight
  • Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity
  • Can be easily controlled through the GMG app
  • Comes equipped with a power source, battery terminal cables, and power socket so that you can fire it up right off the bat
  • Price

What Makes Us Angry…

  • Little awkward to carry vs a roll-away
  • Short 2 year warranty period

Our top pick in the best collapsible carry-away pellet grill category is the Davy Crockett portable pellet grill from Green Mountain Grills. Dubbed as the ultimate tailgate grill by many pitmasters, this quirky smoker and grill has on offer a host of smart features that make grilling on the road not just exciting but significantly more convenient than its competitors.

With a total cooking area of 219 sq. inches, the Davy Crockett can easily hold four steaks or two racks of ribs in one go. It features WiFi connectivity and can be operated through the GMG mobile app. With convenience in mind, the unit comes with an automotive power socket of 12v, a power source of 120v, and 12v auto battery terminal cables/clamp so that it can be used right out of the box wherever you go. A meat probe, a waterproof cover, and a side mount rack that come as extras are also very useful.

Green Mountain Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett Portable Pellet Grill

The unit as a whole as well as the pellet feed system boasts superb build quality. The side rack and cooking grates are made of high-quality stainless steel. The lid is polished silver steel and the rest of the unit sports the classic matte-black look. The spring-mount legs of the grill can be easily converted to handles when carrying it. 

The Davy Crockett weighs 68 lbs and can, in fact, be carried by one person. The hopper has a capacity of 9 lbs and is fed by a built-in sensor. The angled drip pan that channels excess grease into a bucket whilst cooking is an excellent touch. 

Overall, this portable wood pellet grill features great heat retention and many high-tech features that make it a total value for money.

2. Traeger Tailgater – Runner Up

What We Like…

  • Portable and compact 
  • Small footprint
  • Consistent temperatures
  • Premium build quality
  • Large cooking area

What Makes Us Angry…

  • Price

Another portable option from Traeger, the Tailgater is a game-changer when it comes to portable wood pellet grills. Designed with convenience in mind, this grill comes with EZ folding legs that make it a breeze to load onto the back of your truck. 

Featuring the excellent build quality and robustness that is standard with Traeger products, this smoker grill can be carried anywhere you please to provide you with quality grilled food and a tailgating experience of a lifetime.

With an impressive temperature range of 180 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, this grill supports 6-in-1 versatility and a smokiness that remains unmatched by its competitors. The Digital Arc controller ensures that consistent temperatures are maintained throughout the session. 

Traeger Tailgater Dimensions
Traeger Tailgater Collapsed

Traeger’s Keep Warm feature keeps the food warm without overcooking it by setting the temperature within the cooking chamber to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature is displayed on a small but easy-to-read LCD screen at the front of the grill.

The Traeger Tailgater provides a total cooking area of 300 sq. inches that can be used to cook three racks of ribs, two medium-sized chickens, or twelve burgers at one time. The hopper capacity is 8 lbs and the unit, as a whole, weighs 62 lbs. The grill takes up to 15 minutes to come up to temperature with the lid closed and stays at the desired temperature. The cold-rolled powder-coated steel construction and porcelain-coated cooking surface guarantee durability.

The Benefits of Buying a Portable Pellet Smoker

Portable pellet smokers can be a game-changer if you love camping or traveling and wish to indulge in some quality BBQ-ing on your trips. Here are some of their many benefits:

  • Portability – This, of course, is the number one benefit of a portable pellet grill. When traveling, one already has enough to pack and a full-size grill would only add to the luggage. A bulky smoker is next to impossible to carry around on a trip, even if it comes with wheels. The lightweight nature and compact size of portable pellet smokers make them easy to carry along on your getaways. Many of them can even fit in the trunk of your car.
  • Affordability – Due to the reduced scale, portable wood pellet smokers cost significantly less than a standard-sized pellet smoker. These smokers can range anywhere between $400 to $1000, sometimes more depending on the brand and feature set that you are looking for. For a price as low as $300 to $500, you can find yourself a decent quality smoker that will last you quite some time.
  • Versatility – In addition to the gift of portability, a portable wood pellet smoker also brings to the table the myriad benefits of pellet smokers themselves, the most noteworthy of these perks being their versatility. From braised ribs to chicken wings, from grilling and smoking to BBQ-ing, baking, or even searing, your handy portable pellet grill can make it happen. You can count on it to deliver perfect, mouth-watering results every time.
  • Rich smoky flavor – Cooking with wood pellets in your portable pellet smoker can give you the signature flavor that wood smoke imparts. While it may take some time to find the exact wood type or combination that works for you, experimenting with different types of flavor profiles is a big part of the fun.
Asmoke AS350 Portable Pellet Grill

Portable Pellet Smokers Buying Guide

Since portable wood pellet grills start from as low as $250, sometimes even less, you can very easily end up with a sub-par product that would not give you much value in the long run. For this reason, it is crucial to have a clear idea of exactly what to look for when purchasing a portable pellet grill. Following are the things that you need to consider.

  1. Size: Since the selling point of portable pellet smokers is their compact size, this is one of the first things you need to consider when buying one. Carefully consider your use case scenario, where you want to take it, how frequently you intend to use it, and other factors that would be instrumental in choosing an appropriate size.
  2. Cooking area: Similar to choosing a size, it is also important that you look for a cooking area that is most suitable for your needs. Keep in mind the number of people you wish to cook for and choose a portable pellet grill that can accommodate sufficient food for that many people.
  3. Build quality: A sturdy and durable build quality will ensure that your portable pellet grill lasts you a long time and can be carried along on your trips completely unharmed. Low-quality build and too many flimsy protruding parts are big red flags in this type of smoker as the grill may be easily damaged during your travel.
  4. Weight: The weight of your portable pellet smoker is another very important thing to consider. If your smoker is too heavy, then the weight will take away from the portability aspect of the product.
  5. Design and feature set: When shopping for a quality portable pellet grill, you must look for a smart and compact design that includes things such as sturdy wheels, good-quality lid locks, and durable folding legs. If you are looking to cook smart, a high-tech feature set with support for Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity would be ideal for you. Convenience features like hooks, temperature probes, and auto-ignition are useful bonuses.
  6. Warranty: If you decide to purchase a portable pellet smoker that is on the higher end of the price spectrum, you must look for a brand that offers a sufficiently long warranty period.
  7. Customer service: Look for a brand that offers quality customer service and values its customers. Looking into the reviews of the product you choose to buy should also give you a fair idea of how the manufacturer deals with its customers.

What Kind of Portable Pellet Grill Should You Get?

As mentioned before, there are a few different types of portable pellet grills. Each of these designs has its own set of pros and cons and is better suited for certain use cases over others.

Tabletop Pellet Grill vs Collapsible Pellet Grill

A tabletop pellet grill, as the name suggests, is a small pellet grill that is generally used by placing it on a flat, table-like surface. This is one of the smallest varieties among portable pellet smokers and is, therefore, a breeze to carry around and set up wherever you go, as long as there is a power outlet available. This type is, needless to say, highly compact and lightweight.

Collapsible pellet grills, on the other hand, come in sizes that are larger than a standard tabletop style grill. This kind of pellet grill includes components that can be either dismantled or folded away for storage or travel. This makes them portable and easy to carry around. The downside, however, is that you have to go through an elaborate assembly procedure every time you want to use them.

Why You Should Choose A Portable Pellet Grill Over A Portable Gas or Charcoal Grill

The foremost reason why we would strongly recommend choosing a portable pellet grill instead of the gas or charcoal varieties is because of its ease of use. While the latter two, especially charcoal grills, have a steep learning curve, portable pellet grills are extremely easy to operate, even for a beginner. Firing up a pellet grill is much easier in comparison to the other two types. Temperature control is also a breeze when using a portable pellet grill.

Portable pellet grills are also the most versatile of the three options and the smoky goodness of cooking over a wood fire is unparalleled.

Who Makes the Best Portable Pellet Grill?

All reviewed grills are good options but our favorite is the Z Grills Cruiser 200A pellet grill. The Cruiser is by far the most portable and takes up very little space. We like the price point and the 5-year warranty brings piece of mind for future ownership. You can’t go wrong with this little unit.

Not into pellet grills? Check out our favorite portable charcoal grills.

AngryBBQ Team

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