What Is The Best Vertical Pellet Smoker? Options to Consider

Outdoor party goers are dying for a high-quality barbecue that could grill the most delectable meat without wasting excessive gasoline. Thankfully, pellet smokers arrive on the market to offer terrific solutions, running on compressed hardwoods to help save more energy!

Nevertheless, choosing the best vertical pellet smoker is by no means easy. Keep scrolling through our article for the best recommendations and tips.

Horizontal versus Vertical: What Is The Difference?

How do they differ? - Source: Wikipedia. 
How do they differ? – Source: Wikipedia. 

Their names are self-explanatory. Vertical pellets are designed vertically, suited to small-sized areas. These items also require no electricity. Meanwhile, horizontal grills eat up quite a lot of space and cannot operate without power sources. 

As the names suggest quite clearly, vertical smokers enjoy upright designs and stand straight up vertically. Hence, all heat and smoke will travel in just one direction from the base to the top. On the other hand, their horizontal counterparts have greater widths than heights, distributing the smokes all over the place.

Hence, it’s no surprise that the vertical grills are far more space-efficient, requiring no large cooking areas. Even better, electricity is also optional, which means you don’t have to place the device near any socket or plug point.

In contrast, horizontal pellets take up significantly more room due to their bulky layouts. Furthermore, power sources are always a must, since these items are practically useless without electricity.

All in all, vertical pellets are an obvious choice for people with limited space or lack of a permanent residence at the moment.

How to Choose The Best Vertical Pellet Smoker? Things to Pay Attention To

How to choose? - Source: Wikipedia. 
How to choose? – Source: Wikipedia. 

Pan and hopper capacity, temp control, heating element, cooking grates, and accessories are all fundamental facets any customer should focus on. For newcomers who just barely started to get familiarized with these devices, it would be best to choose a product with elementary control boards, simple to use and experiment with. 

1. Pan Capacity

A common drawback of most vertical pellets lies in their rapid drying-out speed. The best solution is to find packages with large water tanks to keep the cuisine tender and moist!

Do not forget that frequent water replacements equate to worse dips and spikes in the dish’s internal temperature. Hence, purchasing ones with a capacity of at least three liters would be terrific.

2. Hopper Capacity

“Hopper” alludes to the site where pellets are placed. Like the water containers, it should also boast the largest space possible, reducing the need to add pellets continuously. Otherwise, more oxygen will invade the chamber every time the door is opened, causing severe temperature spikes!

The great news is that most vertical smokers on the market come with huge pre-set hoppers – a major step up over traditional grills. So thankfully, customers don’t have to spend too much time assessing their dimensions. Still, just in case, cast a quick look at them before pulling out your wallet!

3. Temp Control

Temperature maintenance is a significant challenge to face during meat cooking. Offset options are the most highly recommended so far, building separate doors to add water and fuel without hampering the food’s internal heat.

Electric products are also strongly advisable. They often come with digital thermometers – accompanied by heating units for better regulation.

Of all the available alternatives out there, we deem gas-powered smokers the least desirable, which force you to work around manual dials for temperature sustainment. Still decide to pick them? Then remember to buy a supporting meat thermo from local retailers.

4. Heating Element

It ultimately boils down to two different options: electric or gas heating elements. The latter excels in simple usage and affordable price. But electric heating is still the best choice of all, providing a much more consistent temp range.

5. Grate

The cooking grate - Source: Pixabay. 
The cooking grate – Source: Pixabay. 

Some chefs do not take cooking grates seriously, considering them “optional” or even “redundant”. 

However, the grilling surface materials actually contribute a great portion to your overall meat flavor. Porcelain, cast iron, and stainless steel are by far the most common substances. Here are some key differences among them:

  • Porcelain: It’s easier to scrub than pure iron and sustains heat much better than stainless steel.  
  • Stainless Steel: Its durability is no joke – a great choice for people who hate replacing components often.
  • Cast Iron: Both its heat retainment and lifespan fall somewhere in the middle. Seasoned cooks also use it to produce crispier sear marks for steaks.

6. Easy Usage

Newcomers would like to find a great starting point for their culinary journey. Electric ones will be your best bet then, which regulates temperature in a breeze and streamlines lots of complicated stages for you.

Of course, that does not mean every pellet unit is easy to manage, so one great approach is to try them out at physical stores before deciding whether they suit you. Assess their setup controls, instructional guides, and other relevant capabilities to ensure you know how things work from the inside out.

7. Settings and Accessories

There are no fixed rules as to what types of accessories come with these products. They can range from temp monitors to cooking racks for ribs, fish, and vegetables. A list of items you might want to consider includes:

  • Rib racks
  • Vegetable racks
  • Jerky racks
  • Sausage hangers
  • Bluetooth monitors
  • Tube smokers

Vertical Pellet Smoker Reviews – What Is The Top Rated Vertical Pellet Smoker?

1. Best Cooking Racks – Pit Boss PBV3P1 

Source: Amazon. 

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 26 x 22 x 53 inches
  • Weight: 97 Pounds
  • Color: Copper
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Cooking Area: 901 sq. in
  • Fuel: Wood
  • Temperature Range: 150 – 450 F

PBV381 renders itself a strong contender due to the six racks included in the package – more than the average four in the market! Storing foods and accessories will no longer be a hassle for you, which cuts down lots of excessive time running back and forth the kitchen to get the right equipment. 

Even better, each of these racks can support multiple positions – terrific for larger cuts! They can squeeze into smaller racks with barely any trouble. It’s no exaggeration to claim that PBV381 is the best counterattack against storage issues that most other pellets encounter these days. 

Furthermore, its double-walled insulation is a huge step-up over some of Pit Boss’s previous models, whose exceptional heat retention allows for an admirably wide temperature range from 150 to 450F.

Imagine the number of recipes and culinary options you can get your hands on! From classic burgers and foil packs to chicken kebabs, you can have it all, easily leveraging everyone’s enjoyment at large parties!

Still, the common consensus is that Pit Boss should have paid more attention to its packaging. Customers report a dent on the pellet’s top – not too noticeable for the product to be sent back, but enough to spark some annoyance. 

Pros

  • Six racks with multiple position supports for convenient storage
  • Wide temp range (150 – 450 F)
  • Digital LED screen for cooking monitors
  • Auto shut-off function to save energy

Cons

  • A bit flimsy packaging
  • Slightly difficult to set up

2. Best WiFi Connect – CampChef SmokePro PGVXXLC

Source: Amazon. 

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 6 x 43 x 18.5 inches
  • Weight: 138.7 pounds
  • Color: Black
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Fuel: Wood
  • Cooking Area: 2408 sq. in
  • Temperature Range: 150 to 350 F

Camp Chef SmokePro XXL deserves its crown as the best vertical pellet smoker with WiFi. With a strong Internet connection and smartphone, you can seize full control of the dishes, adjusting smoke levels and temperature with a flick of your finger on the keyboard! 

As long as the smartphone is always with you, there’s no need to stay next to the grills from beginning to end to monitor the cooking process. Spend that precious time of yours completing other important tasks!

What impresses us even more lies in the built-in smoke technology, which allows users to specify the exact amount of smoke they want during their grilling procedures. 

Long gone are those days when smoke scooped up so much it made your eyes water; with these amazing smoke penetration capabilities, the device only gives room for clean and smoke-free air from now on! 

One downside (is this even a downside?) concerns the product’s availability. Good luck spotting it on the market, since it’s sold out at skyrocketing speed! 

Pros

  • Compatible with smartphones via WiFi
  • Great smoke penetration
  • Easy-to-use control boards
  • Two meat probes to check the meat’s temp right away

Con

  • Sold out fast

3. Best Heat and Moisture Distribution – Masterbuilt MB20060321

Source: Amazon.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 24 x 28.3 x 49 inches
  • Weight: 110.2 Pounds
  • Color: Gray
  • Power Sources: Corded Electric
  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • Fuel Type: Charcoal, Wood, Electric
  • Cooking Area: 1.320 sq.in

Little did you know: pellets can be used in a chargrill for a more enhanced smoke flavor, and pro chefs also recommend mixing the two fuels for the best outcome. That explains the presence of a charcoal smoker in this list – Masterbuilt MB20060321.

The built-in heat diffuser remains Masterbuilt’s most outstanding feature. With their uniform nozzle heads and potent double walls, the device ensures every cooking chamber receives equal and consistent heat levels, warming up the cuisine at a rate double its rivals. 

Hence, an average dish often finishes at record-breaking 8-15 minutes while still delivering sizzling textures, which appeases even the most difficult and picky customer!

Despite its pretty impressive bulk, this MB20060321 is simple to move across the yard – a feat achieved thanks to its well-built side handle, accompanied by four lockable caster wheels! 

It’s easy for even a 12-year-old child to slide the whole system over the space without a second helping hand. You may save lots of effort and energy this way, pooling your focus on the cooking at hand instead!

Still, the overall quality could have significantly improved should the brand have included a strong seal for the main door. It tends to swing open against strong winds, which may throw the internal temp off balance. 

Pros

  • Uniform nozzle heads for even heat distribution
  • Portable and movable
  • Digital panel to control cooking time and temp

Con

  • No seals for the main doors

4. Best Multifunctional – Sunlifer Heavy Duty

Source: Amazon. 

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 20.67 x 24.8 x 41.34 inches
  • Weight: 33.2 pounds
  • Color: Black
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Fuel: Charcoal, Wood
  • Cooking Area: 646 sq.in

When it comes to multitasking, it’s safe to say that Sunlifer is second to none! Its curving, close-shaped layout keeps inside heat extremely well while still exuding warm steam beyond the double steel walls. 

As a result, those looking for a versatile product for their nightly camping can rejoin: Sunlifer easily serves as both a fire pit and a smoker, avoiding lots of packing hassles! You only need to bring along this one to the camping site, and all your basic necessities will be fulfilled!

We are also delighted that the bundle arrives with two access doors – instead of just one at the bottom like most of its siblings. With the latter, users have to squat down to open the cumbersome bottom door for frequent food checkings – how inconvenient!

Meanwhile, in Sunlifer’s case, you can inspect the cuisine condition via its upper door (located at a much more accessible position) and replace fuel with the lower one. Not only does such a layout save more time and effort, but it also keeps the dish’s interior temp from severe inconsistency!

If only the lids had been made of heat-resistant materials, then everything would be absolutely perfect. Too bad, they get heated up quite fast against high temperatures, which burns our fingers and makes them a bit challenging to remove.

Pros

  • Serving as both smokers and fire pits for camping
  • Two access doors to check foods’ conditions and replace fuels
  • Two grilling-size options: 17 inch and 20 inch

Cons

  • The lids heat up fast, hard to remove
  • Confusing instructions

5. Best Adjustable Grates – Dyna-Glo DGO1176

Source: Amazon 

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 20.2 x 34.52 x 47.03 Inches
  • Weight: 57 Pounds
  • Color: Black
  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • Fuel: Charcoal, Wood
  • Cooking Space: 1176 Sq.in
  • Grate Capacity: 25 Pounds/Grate

Not one, not two, but six adjustable heights for cooking grates in this Dyna-Glo smoker! This design alone makes it a promising contender for the best vertical smoker pellet. 

Thanks to such a diverse and inclusive array of options, foods of any size and weight can easily squeeze into this grill. Whether it’s a small hamburger or a whopping piece of giant beef, Dyna-Glo can accommodate them all! Not to mention, they also facilitate better space-saving, giving you more flexibility when it comes to storage methods.

Even better, the product features high-quality ash-managing systems barely seen in any similar item. To be more specific, it includes an adjustable ashtray at the base, which catches straying ash with ease. You no longer need to spend hours scrubbing your yard of those annoying particles!

Also, remember that ashes deteriorate steel at a terrifying speed; hence, this system actually helps extend the lifespan of your precious grill, too!

Still, some customers report loose fire box screws that come off after some time. Pay them more attention!

Pros

  • Adjustable tray to catch straying ashes
  • Six height options for the grates to accommodate different food sizes
  • Changeable flue to add more flavors
  • Pretty large cooking space (1176 square inches)

Con

  • Loose fire box screws

6. Best for Food Monitoring – Char-Broil 19202101

Source: Amazon 

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 32.5 x 18.1 x 16.5 inches
  • Weight: 58.7 Pounds
  • Materials: Stainless Steel, Glass
  • Fuel Type: Wood
  • Power Sources: Corded Electric
  • Cooking Space: 725 Square Inches

As previously mentioned, Sunlifer offers two access doors, which is pretty amazing already. But its rival, Char-Broil, tackles the problem from a more straightforward perspective by incorporating a huge glass-door window! 

Hence, it’s a snap to check how the food is proceeding without the need to spring your access door open. Simply gaze through the glass for a quick inspection, and that’s it! Sounds like such a trivial advantage, but trust us, it will save an insane amount of time.

And as if that’s still not enough, Char-Broil introduces a digital LED screen with all relevant measurements and numbers displayed! For nightly parties, you can also adjust the backlighting of the screen, which illuminates the numbers brighter and renders the whole process easier to follow. Feel free to adjust them to your heart’s content to avoid both over- and under-doneness!

We could have given these smokers a 10 out of 10 – if not for their rigid, non-adjustable vents. As a result, controlling the escaped smoke is literally impossible.

Pros

  • Huge glass door for better food supervision
  • Digital, easy-to-read LED screen with adjustable backlighting
  • Steel latch to seal the smoke
  • Insulated wall construction to retain heat

Cons

  • Non-adjustable smoke vents
  • Malfunctioning grease tray

7. Best for Cleaning – Bradley BS611

Source: Amazon 

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 34 x 20 x 18 inches
  • Weight: 55 Pounds
  • Materials: Alloy Steel, Stainless Steel
  • Color: Black
  • Fuel: Wood
  • Power Sources: Corded Electric
  • Cooking Area: 572 sq.in

Outdoor grills like these are often subjected to crazy layers of smoke, ash, and dust, calling for hours or even days of scrubbing. Say goodbye to them, as Bradly BS611 has come to the rescue with its stainless steel veneer.

And no, we do not talk about your typical, average-quality steel. It’s a high-performance brushed alloy with strong resistance to dirt and grime, meaning no stain can linger on its finish layers for more than 5 minutes! 

After your big party, a quick wash with cold water is more than sufficient to send those braze dusts to the ground where they belong. In fact, you may even leave it unwashed for a day, and some mushier stains will drip off the device on their own without any interference from you! How terrific.

Its smoke diffuser is another impressive competitive edge. The device pushes and pulls to expel old smoke out of the vein, preventing “black rain” accumulation that might drizzle onto your unfortunate dish. Thus, your cuisine will stay intact without harm, retaining its delicious and mouth-watering smokey texture!

Bradly’s heating elements, however, seem a bit lagging. It takes much longer than anticipated to deal with a large batch of meat.

Pros

  • Brushed alloy steel that’s simple to clean
  • Smoke diffuser to keep “black drain” from dripping onto your food
  • Multi-rack design to grill different foods at conce
  • Sturdy construction

Con

  • Heating takes longer than expected

8. Best for Easy Setup – Hakka Heavy Duty

Source: Amazon 

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 16.54 x 14.57 x 25.59 inches
  • Weight: 23.8 Pounds
  • Color: Black
  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • Fuel: Charcoal, Wood

Hakka consists of only two design layers, which speeds up your assembly process to an incredible extent! Even newcomers only need 5 minutes to synchronize them together. Taking them apart also barely calls for any effort, which facilitates quicker transportation: instead of relocating the whole device, you can move each layer one by one! 

It’s not easy to find another smoker on the market with such an elementary yet efficient design.

Customers also take great delight in its unique barrel shape, standing out from most rectangular/square alternatives discussed above. 

This chimney-shaped form creates the famous “chimney effect” (also known as the stacks effect) that sends heat straight from the bottom to the upper top at an incredibly rapid rate. Don’t be astounded if your chicken kebabs only take 5 minutes to reach proper doneness!

For such an innovative design, we are a bit taken aback that the door does not fit well with its hinge. 

Pros

  • Easy setup and transportation
  • Rapid heating thanks to its barrel shape
  • Locking system to provide more stability

Cons

  • Unfit main door
  • No heat control

Conclusion

This article has introduced eight promising options for the best vertical pellet smoker. True to its name, Pit Boss is the best boss on the list, which delivers huge temperature ranges, flexible racks, and extremely fast heating!

Still, the other seven alternatives do have their own perks, so assess your needs and preferences to decide on the most suitable one. Feel free to ask us for more advice if you find yourself struggling in any area. We are always ready to listen!

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