There are a lot of reasons people are running out and buying the best vertical pellet smokers that they can afford. One, these smokers provide the consumer with a ton of space for smoking meat, fish, veggies, or just about anything else a person can think to smoke. Two, they’re extremely easy to use and require very little setup or cleanup. And finally, they give the food smoky goodness that is superior to charcoal. It’s for all of these reasons that we’ve decided to review some of the top vertical pellet smokers currently available. Follow along with us as we break down the models we feel give consumers the most bang for their buck.
Best Vertical Pellet Smokers
3Pit Boss Grills 77550 Vertical Smoker
Okay, as we start this review, let’s start with the most obvious thing worth mentioning. Like just about all vertical pellet smokers available, this one isn’t inexpensive. It’s a model that has a significant price tag that consumers are going to want to think about whether they can fit it into their budget before they start. However, in our opinion, we feel that anyone who can fit this into their budget should because it is one of the best vertical pellet smokers available.
This is a well-designed and well-built model that burns pellets at a very consistent rate. It’s a model that won’t burn them too quickly or too slowly, and it’s one that’s extremely easy to set up and use. This smoker has a 40-pound hopper capacity that’s equipped with a pellet purge system. The large capacity hopper allows the consumer to smoke meats, seafood, and veggies for a full 24-hours before they have to reload it. This makes it perfect for smoking meats that require a lot of smoke time to deliver perfect smoking results. And when it’s finished, the consumer will immediately notice that the amount of ash it produces is minuscule. We’re talking about less than 1% ash per burn. That’s a very small amount of ash production per burn.
Now that we’ve talked about how well this product produces smoke, let’s turn our attention to its capacity. This product is approximately 28x29x53-inches in size, and it has a 5.5 cubic-foot interior capacity with five cooking racks. That’s an impressive 1,548 square-inches of cooking area. That’s big enough to hold tons of pork, beef, and seafood.
Other things that we loved about this smoker was that it had a 300-watt ignition system that made it extremely easy to start, and it had an auto shut-off system, too. It also had a temperature range that was programmable from 150-degrees to 450-degrees Fahrenheit. It also comes with a water pan that’s been porcelain-coated for durability and a heat deflector to keep the bottom racks of the smoker from cooking faster than the higher racks. All of these features come together in a product that looks nice and is extremely durable.
2Pit Boss PBV3D1 Digital Pellet Smoker
Another vertical pellet smoker that we liked also came from Pit Boss. This model isn’t as advanced as the model that rides atop this list, but it is a lot cheaper, so consumers on a budget might want to listen to this review about this 3-series Pit Boss smoker. And I think that we’re going to start this review with the dimensions of this product before we turn our attention to performance. If that sounds good, then let’s get this review started with the interior and exterior dimensions of this smoker.
This product is approximately 20.5-inches by 22-inches by 47-inches. It’s a model that has a clear window in its door that allows the consumer to look in on the 1,008 square-inches of cooking area. As they peer through this window, they’ll see that this smoker has five porcelain-coated racks that are large enough to handle big cuts of meat and seem very sturdy. This isn’t the biggest smoker we’ve seen by far, but we do believe that it’s large enough for most households to get their BBQ smoking done in a good amount of time.
It should also be mentioned that this product had a double-wall construction that features blanket insulation that keeps the heat in, and a high-temperature door seal that seals in smoke. This product is also equipped with a digital control panel with push-buttons and LED read-out that allows the consumer to keep an eye on not only the meat probe but also the cabinet temperature. It’s these controls and this model’s design that allows the consumer to smoke from temperatures as low as 100-degrees Fahrenheit up to 400-degrees Fahrenheit. That makes this a good vertical pellet smoker for people who like to cold smoke as well as for people who like to do a hot smoke.
Even though this product is designed to be used with Pit Boss’s line of 100% natural hardwoods, we’ve discovered that just about any hardwood pellets will work fine in this exceptional smoker. Before we conclude this review, we’d also like to add that this smoker has locking-caster wheels that allow it to be moved from one location to another quite easily or locked into place as needed by the user.
1Pit Boss PBV3P1 Copper Vertical Smoker
The last smoker we’d like to talk about is unsurprisingly another one from Pit Boss. This model is the PBV3P1 and it’s a model that’s quite similar to the smoker in our number two position, although we do have to say that it’s a bit more expensive. Let’s dig into the features of this smoker and find out what makes it such an exceptional model. We’re going to start with this product’s dimensions and food capacity, and then we’ll work our way down to its features.
This product is approximately 26-inches by 22-inches by 53-inches in size, and it has a total smoking capacity of 901 square-inches. Anyone who has been paying attention to our last two reviews will realize that this makes this product a bit smaller. Despite this decreased capacity, we still feel it’s a good model because it’s still more than big enough for most families and it does come with quite a lot of features that make it easy to use.
Let’s move on to this model’s pellet delivery system next. This product has a 40-pound pellet hopper that’s equipped with a pellet purge system. Forty pounds of pellets is more than enough for a 24-hour burn, which allows the consumer to smoke briskets, baby-back ribs, and just about any large cuts of beef or pork to perfection.
This product also has an auto-start ignition system with an automatic shut-off feature that makes it easy to use. And it’s equipped with a fully-programmable temperature range that goes from 100-degrees to 450-degrees Fahrenheit. That allows this smoker to be used for both cold smoking and hot smoking.
Additional features that can be found on this model include four porcelain-coated cooking grids, a handy water pan, and a heat deflector that prevents the lower racks from cooking faster than the higher racks. And this model is equipped with caster wheels that allow it to be moved around the deck but can be locked into place for stability. All of these things make this a great, albeit a bit expensive, smoker.
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A Guide To Vertical Pellet Smokers
Pellet smokers have been amazing people since they were first introduced to the general public during the 1980s by Joe Traeger—the founder of Traeger Grills. Since then, an ever-increasing number of people have discovered these smokers as Traeger and other smoker manufacturers began to make different versions of them including freestanding pellet grills, built-in pellet grills, and the subject of this guide, vertical pellet smokers.
Vertical pellet smokers haven’t been around quite as long as other types of pellet smokers, but consumers have quickly discovered how great they work. The main purpose of vertical pellet smokers is that they allow the consumer to cook low and slow. Sure, they don’t have that high of a top temperature—coming in at just 450-degrees Fahrenheit for most models—but many can go as low as 100-degrees Fahrenheit. That makes them perfect for cold smoking meats or for smoking foods that require a little bit of extra care such as salmon.
Another thing that makes these smokers so great is that their design allows them to save space. They usually have built-in water pans and everything is configured from bottom to top very nicely. Many of them also have door-windows that allow the consumer to see what they’re smoking. The downside to these smokers is that they do tend to be more expensive than other types of pellet smokers, but we do feel that they’re worth it.
We’re not here to sing the praises of vertical pellet smokers, however. No, we’re here to talk about some of the features that our readers are going to want to consider before they purchase their next model. Below are some things that the consumer needs to think about before they purchase their next model to ensure that they purchase the best vertical pellet smoker available.
What To Consider Before Buying A New Vertical Pellet Smoker
Okay, now that’s we’ve finished this somewhat long introduction to the subject of vertical pellet smokers, it’s now time to look at some of the features that consumers might want to think about. Okay, let’s get started.
The Size Of The Smoker
The first thing that consumers are going to want to consider is the size of the smoker. They’ll want to make sure that it’s large enough to hold everything they will want to cook. When we search for vertical smokers, we generally look somewhere in the 900 to 1,200 square-inch range, but as we’ve said, each person is going to have to decide for themselves what size smoker fits their needs.
The Temperature-Range Of The Smoker
The next thing that the consumer should think about is the temperature range of the smoker. Although many non-vertical smokers have temperature ranges that go above 450-degrees, most of the vertical models don’t. Fortunately, vertical smokers do have a lower bottom range, which makes them good for cold smoking. When choosing a vertical smoker, choose one with a range from 100-degrees to 450-degrees Fahrenheit. That will ensure the best temperature range for cold and hot smoking.
The Smoker’s Controls
The consumer is also going to want to think about the controls on the smoker. When it comes to smokers, consumers generally have three choices. There are Non-PID Controllers, PID Controller, and PID-Plus Controllers. Let’s examine each one more closely.
These are often referred to as old-school controllers. Some models merely have low, medium, or high, while other models offer up to 10 preset temperature settings. These controllers aren’t very accurate and they’re usually off by about 30-degrees.
These controllers give the consumer more control over their smoker and they’re usually the most accurate—being within 5-10 degrees of actual smoking temperature. More and more smokers are replacing their Non-PID controllers with these controllers and there’s a good reason for that fact. They just work better.
PID+ Controllers take everything good about PID Controllers and enhances them with extra features such as Bluetooth Capabilities or WiFi. These controllers allow the consumer to control their smokers from inside of their home and that makes them extremely convenient.
The Pellet Hoppers
The last thing that the consumer is going to want to think about is the wood pellet hopper of their vertical pellet smoker. And different models have different types of hoppers. Some of the high-end models have hoppers that can hold up to 40-pounds of wood pellets. This allows the smoker to smoke for up to 24-hours at a time. On the other hand, other lower-end models usually have hoppers that only hold about 10-pounds at a time, which gives a much-reduced smoking time of 8-hours. The type the consumer chooses depends on what they smoke, how long they smoke it, and how much they have in their budget. As can be expected, smokers with large hoppers usually cost more.