Best Vertical Pellet Smokers in 2022

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Updated August 6, 2022

The best vertical pellet smoker will save space on a small porch or patio but still allow plenty of cooking space and versatility. Vertical pellet smokers are some of the best grills you can find because they’re known for being easy to use, making them great solutions for beginners who haven’t quite mastered the art of smoking. They help retain moisture and make delicious meats with minimal effort.

They feature long-lasting heating elements, and many also have advanced features like Wi-Fi connectivity and auto-off capability. Unfortunately, vertical pellet smokers aren’t widely available yet and can be pretty expensive, so they’re not an ideal choice for everyone, especially if you’re not a connoisseur who cares a lot about your meat.

Keep reading our buying guide to learn about how versatile the best vertical pellet smokers really are.

Top Vertical Pellet Smokers

 #1  PIT BOSS PBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: This fully programmable model will make smoking meats easier for the user. It also has a digital LED readout that makes receiving information far quicker. You’ll enjoy the inclusion of an integrated meat probe.

Pros
  • Digital LED readout
  • Integrated meat probe
  • Fully programmable
Cons
  • Instructions may be confusing

Monitoring internal temperatures while you smoke food has never been as easy as it is with this model. You’ll be able to see a digital LED readout that takes away the stress of having to use a manual option. There’s no guesswork involved. Beyond this, it has an integrated meat probe you can use to keep track of temperatures. Unfortunately, it has been reported by consumers that the instructions this model comes with are hard to follow. This could make set-up a nightmare if you aren’t confident in assembly.

The cooking grids on this vertical pellet smoker are coated in porcelain. This helps them maintain an even temperature by conducting heat efficiently. They’re also incredibly easy to clean. You’ll be able to use 901 square inches of interior cooking room. It also includes a porcelain coated water and heat deflector further to cement the optimal conditions for your smoking needs. Beyond this, you’ll enjoy an auto-start and auto shut-off feature.

 #2  Pellet Pro® 2300 Vertical Pellet Smoker

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: If you need to feed a family, this pellet smoker is an excellent option because of its high-capacity design. You’ll be able to fit plenty of food inside of it. It’s also excellent at maintaining temperature and is thoroughly insulated.

Pros
  • High capacity smoking design
  • Excellent at maintaining temperature
  • Thoroughly insulated option
Cons
  • Grates are extremely sharp

If you need a ton of room to smoke multiple different foods, this will be a great option to fit your needs. It offers an extra-large ten cubic feet of cooking room. This means you’ll have plenty of space to add whatever you need. However, you will want to know about the most significant design flaw committed by this brand. The grates are reportedly highly sharp, so you must exercise caution when handling them.

The grates are made of stainless steel, a highly hygienic material that is super easy to clean. They are 21-inches by 20-inches in size, offering plenty of space for your smoking food. This pellet smoker is guaranteed to maintain temperature with an accuracy between 5- and 10-degrees. You’ll love how easy it is to keep an optimal environment for whatever you have smoking. This is due to the exclusive PID controller the brand uses.

 #3  CUE WAY K-1 Vertical Pellet Smoker

Award: BEST FOR MULTIFUNCTIONALITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: Those who want multifunctionality will love everything this model offers. It can also be what you use for grilling food instead of smoking. The rack is dishwasher-safe, so it’s much easier to clean up than standard models.

Pros
  • Stable internal temperature
  • Dishwasher-safe rack
  • Mutlifunctional model
Cons
  • Might be a little wobbly

This model has a triple-layered design that allows more even smoking for your food. You’ll have the charcoals in the bottom-most layer. The top two layers are reserved for smoking meat, vegetables, or other ingredients. This provides optimal room to work within the interior of the model. Unfortunately, there have been reports from consumers that claim this pellet smoker can be wobbly due to design errors. For example, the brand didn’t properly thread one of the nuts on a model.

Even though it has a tremendous inner capacity, this is still a highly portable model. It’s small enough to be taken with you almost anywhere. It only stands 37-inches tall. This also means it’ll be easy to store away when not in usage, which is excellent news for anybody short on space. The diameter of this model is 14.5-inches. It’s made to have easy temperature control, making it more convenient to use. This is partially tank to the design of the built-in thermometer, which sits on the lid for easy access. It also has six air vents.

 #4  Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Smoker

Award: BEST FOR TEMPERATURE CHECKING

WHY WE LIKE IT: You’ll enjoy the inclusion of dual meat probes integrated into this smoking system. This allows you to check temperatures more quickly as you smoke your food. It holds up to eight large racks.

Pros
  • Integrated dual meat probes
  • Holds eight large racks
  • Includes a hanging rack
Cons
  • Might have temperature swings

If you’d like to ensure optimal temperature, then this model will be able to deliver that to you quickly. It has dual meat probes to keep track of how things at both the top and bottom of the smoker are going. This allows you to ensure a perfect smoking job every time you use this model. Unfortunately, this won’t be the best option if maintaining an optimal temperature is a must-have feature. When you open the door, massive temperature swings start occurring.

There are four standard smoking racks included with this model. Beyond this, it also has three jerky smoking racks and a hanging rack. The hanging rack comes with twelve sausage hooks to heighten the internal capacity. It’ll hold up to eight 12.5” x 14” racks, so you know you will be able to smoke everything you want in one go. You’ll be able to maintain temperatures between 150- and 350-degrees Fahrenheit. This ensures the ability to either slow smoke or bake your food.

 #5  Louisiana Grills Vertical Pellet Smoker

Award: BEST FOR HIGH CAPACITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for a model that will provide a considerable amount of space, this will be the model for you. It even offers a 60-pound hopper for added convenience and has double-walled insulation.

Pros
  • Double-walled insulation
  • High interior capacity
  • 60-pound hopper
Cons
  • Might be too bulky

You’ll be able to ensure that your food is smoked to perfection when you choose this model. It is designed with double-wall insulation, making it a fantastic fit for those who want to ensure a steady internal temperature. This insulation will keep the heat evenly, so you don’t have to do a ton of guesswork. While this is an excellent model in many regards, it still has a design drawback you should consider. Since it’s so high capacity, it might be too large to fit in your space comfortably.

It features 2,059-square inches of cooking capacity and a 60-pound capacity hopper. While this might be a bulky model, it does have heavy-duty caster wheels. This means that you’ll still be able to move it around if you need to. This model is highly durable and will be able to stand the test of time, no matter how much smoking you need to do. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty, high-capacity model, you’ve found your match.

 #6  Camp Chef Smoke Vault Vertical Pellet Smoker

We’re sorry, this product is temporarily out of stock

Award: BEST FOR TEMPERATURE CONTROL

WHY WE LIKE IT: This model includes an assortment of features to make your smoking experience easier. You’ll have a rack for jerky and two cooking grids. It also has three adjustable damper valves built into its design.

Pros
  • Includes a multiple racks
  • 3 adjustable damper valves
  • Reads from 50 – 500 degrees
Cons
  • Temperature can be tricky

Those who need multiple options for their smoker will find a lot to love about this model. It has two cooking grids included and a rack for making jerky. This opens up multiple options to you and provides enough room to smoke a well-balanced variety of food. Even if this is an excellent option for most people, it does have a drawback. According to some consumers, getting the temperature set just right can be a bit of a process for this smoker.

There are also three adjustable damper valves to easily maintain an optimal temperature in your smoker. One is located on each side, with one more on top of your smoker. This provides an even effect when in use. The easy-to-read door thermometer allows you to reference the temperature quickly. It’s able to read temperatures from 50- to 550-degrees. The matchless snap-ignition makes this model highly convenient to use.

Beginner’s Guide to the Best Vertical Pellet Smokers

What is a Vertical Pellet Smoker?

Vertical pellet smokers, like the Traeger Pro 575, are a growing trend in the barbecue world. Like other pellet smokers, they use electricity, heating cooking temperatures up to 650 degrees Fahrenheit with a thermostat, gauge, and digital display for easy temperature control.

Many modern smokers operate without the need for charcoal and lighter fluid, and due to their upright configuration, some vertical pellet smokers even come with two grilling spaces: one on top and one on the bottom.

Vertical pellet smokers are ideal for small spaces, as they take up less floor space than traditional smokers. You can also use your vertical pellet smoker anywhere with an electrical outlet, including patios and porches, to provide a more hands-off cooking experience.

These smokers are much easier to use than traditional charcoal or wood smokers, with some even coming with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity to better control internal temperatures, jerky racks and sausage hooks for versatility, a meat probe thermometer, double-walled insulation for heat retention, a viewing window to monitor your cuts of meat, increased hopper capacity, and more.

These versatile smokers allow you plenty of cooking capacity to lend a smoky flavor to your sausage, pork butts, racks of ribs, and so much more.

Vertical Pellet Smokers vs Traditional Vertical Smokers

Traditional vertical smokers are similar to the classic barrel shape. However, they usually use charcoal or wood chips instead of pellets and have minimal temperature control features. It takes a lot more practice and skill to operate one of these, and you may ruin several meals before you get it right.

Vertical pellet smokers are made for ease of use on a budget. They’re more affordable than traditional vertical smokers but still provide an easy smoking experience without having to learn how to make custom adjustments for your meat.

However, vertical pellet smokers are much more expensive than other pellet smoker designs, like the best Traeger grill. The technology is relatively new, so they’re harder to find than most other varieties, whether you’re looking for a pellet smoker or a traditional smoker.

Some vertical smokers are actually just upright drum smokers that have been modified to use pellets instead of wood or charcoal. If you’re looking for something with more versatility, consider buying a smoker designed specifically for pellets.

How a Vertical Pellet Smoker Works

Unlike the Camp Chef Smokepro 36 SGX, a vertical pellet grill heats up faster than a traditional smoker, and it can maintain a constant temperature while your food cooks. You get precise temperature control, grease management, and up to 1200 inches of cooking area. It’s also versatile enough to allow you to smoke meat as well as bake, grill, roast, braise, barbecue, or char-grill.

The upright design prevents juices from dripping onto the heating unit below. All you have to do is plug the smoker in, set the temperature, and enjoy your deliciously smoked food.

Vertical pellet smokers use electricity to heat wire or metal cooking grates. The heated grates are responsible for heating your food in much the same way as other home appliances like ovens, stovetops, grills, and fryers.

The main difference is that vertical pellet smokers heat their grates with electricity rather than a flame, eliminating the need for an igniter. This means it’s low-maintenance and easy to use if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific smoker model.

Once you place your food on the meat racks, it’s responsible for cooking and smoking your dishes to perfection. It retains moisture better than traditional smokers due to the vertical design and juices dripping down into a pan instead of your heating unit below.

The absence of flames associated with gas grills, like the best Weber grill, and other heat sources makes this type of smoker safer around children, pets, and flammable objects.

Vertical smoker manufacturers are also experimenting with increasing the temperature range by introducing digital controls, convection fans, a digital control panel, and other features. This smart smoke technology will increase usability and could decrease cooking time.

These new models are still in their infancy stage but are available for purchase on some websites. Unfortunately, they’re not widely available at this time.

Why Should You Buy a Vertical Pellet Smoker?

If you don’t already have a vertical pellet smoker and you want something efficient, you should consider buying one. Even if you already have a pellet smoker, you may want to look into a vertical design. You also may want to investigate a vertical pellet smoker if you already have a vertical charcoal smoker design.

Is a Vertical Pellet Smoker Worth Buying?

  • They take up less floor space: A vertical pellet smoker stands upright, taking up less floor space than a traditional horizontal smoker. This means you can use your vertical smoker in a smaller backyard or on an apartment patio without sacrificing too much space.
  • They’re easier to transport: Some of the most popular pellet smokers with carriages are bulky and heavy, which makes transporting them cumbersome. If you want to move your vertical smoker from one location to another, such as your house to your backyard, it’s less of a hassle because you don’t have to lift the grill.
  • They’re easy to use: A vertical smoker is easier to use than traditional pellet smokers. They’re also more versatile, allowing you to smoke, bake, grill, roast, braise, barbecue, or char-grill. The wide temperature range and effective heat distribution give you a hands-off experience.
  • They have a long-lasting heating element: The heating unit in this type of smoker lasts longer than the heating elements found in other kinds of pellet smokers. This heating element also provides a more consistent temperature than other types of smokers, lending effectiveness to your smoke time.
  • They retain moisture: Much like a traditional smoker, you must still introduce water into the cooking environment. However, vertical smoker designs prevent juices from dripping onto the heating unit below, so your food retains its moisture better than it would if you cooked it on a traditional horizontal grill.
  • They’re cheaper than other vertical smokers: If you’re looking for a vertical smoker that saves space, pellet smokers are much cheaper than vertical wood-fire or charcoal smokers.

Why a Vertical Pellet Smoker Might Not be for You

  • They’re not widely available yet: The only vertical smokers available for purchase online are pre-manufactured models. At the moment, there aren’t any at your local hardware stores or specialty outdoor grilling retailers.
  • They’re expensive: While vertical pellet smokers cost less than vertical charcoal or wood-fire smokers, they cost more than traditional pellet smokers. If this is out of your price range, you might want to wait until more manufacturers release affordable models or choose a different design.
  • The size can be a drawback: The smaller size of vertical pellet smokers may mean you’ll have to cook fewer food items at a time. You can get around this by purchasing an additional smoker box or two, but the cost adds up fast.
  • They don’t work well in cold weather: Vertical smokers aren’t ideal for cold-weather climates because they only generate enough heat to cook below freezing temperatures when you use a wood pellet blend. The smoker will shut down when that doesn’t contain any wood pellets using a combination.

How Long Will a Vertical Pellet Smoker Last?

If you buy an expensive vertical smoker that’s made from high-quality materials, it should last for several years. The heating elements usually have a longer lifespan than the rest of the cooking unit, so they may need to be replaced after five or six years.

The most vulnerable part of a vertical wood pellet smoker is the casing because it’s subject to weather. If you keep your smoker outside year-round, the case may crack. However, the heating unit should still work properly even if it does.

High-end models come with a warranty of at least one year. If you don’t use your vertical pellet smoker every day, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting five or six years’ worth of use out of it.

How to Choose a Vertical Pellet Smoker

If you’re looking for a vertical pellet smoker, you want to make sure you buy a quality product that won’t fall apart after a few uses. First, you should consider the material, followed by the number of grilling surfaces, the price, and the warranty.

Best Vertical Pellet Smoker’s Key Factors

1. What materials should I look for?

Vertical pellet smokers are made from stainless steel, aluminum, or high-temperature plastic materials. Look for pellet smokers that are made of stainless steel or cast aluminum. Avoid models with a plastic casing because they won’t hold up as well over time.

While stainless steel or cast aluminum will be more expensive, they will last longer. The drawback with stainless steel is that it’s susceptible to rusting if you live in a humid climate.

2. How many grilling surfaces should I choose?

Vertical smokers retain a lot more moisture than traditional smokers because the meat’s juices drip into a pan rather than onto the heating element. However, this can somewhat reduce the cooking area.

If you want to prepare food for a lot of people, you’ll want to purchase a vertical smoker that has several grilling surfaces in a large cooking chamber or that comes with an additional grill box. Even if you don’t plan to cook for a big group of people, you’ll still need more grilling space than you would with a traditional smoker.

You can find vertical pellet smokers with up to 1200 square inches of cooking space, and sometimes even more. You’ll pay more for the larger equipment, but this is enough space to smoke or grill enough meat for a large family or a small party.

3. Should I consider the price?

Vertical smokers typically cost between $300 and $500, but you can find cheaper and more expensive models. As with anything, price is usually a factor for most people. The more expensive models are typically made of higher-quality materials. However, be careful not to overpay simply because the brand is proud of its name.

4. Should I pay attention to the warranty?

It would be best if you looked for a vertical smoker that comes with a one- or two-year warranty. If the manufacturer doesn’t offer a warranty, you might want to reconsider purchasing that particular model.

Best Vertical Pellet Smoker FAQs

Who makes the best vertical pellet smoker?

Weber, Green Mountain Grills, Traeger, and Smoke Hollow are some of the most respected brands on the market. However, you may want to consider your local dealer before making a decision. We can't really say that one manufacturer makes better smokers than another because it comes down to preference. It's best if you do a little research online before choosing a vertical pellet smoker.

What is the difference between a pellet grill and a pellet smoker?

There isn't much difference between the two, but a pellet grill can also be used as a traditional smoker. They typically have more cooking surfaces than regular smokers and owners use them interchangeably.

What is the difference between a charcoal and a pellet smoker?

Traditional smokers use charcoal or wood to generate heat. While they may have an electric heating element, the majority of the cooking process takes place over an open flame. On the other hand, pellet smokers use compressed wood pellets to generate heat. The pellets are fed automatically into an auger, where they are transported to the heating element.

What is the difference between gas and electric smokers?

Gas smokers, like pellet smokers, heat up using an automatic auger. However, gas is burned to the auger through the use of propane or natural gas. Electric smokers are cheaper than pellet and traditional smokers because they don't burn any fuel; instead, they're heated by an electric heating element.

How do I clean my vertical pellet smoker?

Most vertical smokers are relatively easy to clean. However, keep in mind that the cooking grates will need some extra scrubbing. If you own a Traeger, Green Mountain Grills, or Smoke Hollow smoker, then you won't have to clean out the ash catcher very often because it is on the bottom of the unit. The Weber Smokey Mountain line of smokers have a removable ash catcher that's located at the bottom of the unit. You can also place a solid aluminum disposable pan underneath your cooking grates to catch food particles and grease.
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