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Pellet Smoker Vs Charcoal Smoker

Pellet Smoker Vs Charcoal Smoker: Which Is Better?

Pellet smokers and charcoal smokers are both used for home cooking, but the similarities end there. While they both use indirect heat to cook meat, pellet smokers have become known for their ease of use and consistency in being able to deliver great barbecue. Charcoal smokers are beloved by many because you can grill with them effectively on any surface, indoors or out. But how do they stack up against each other? There are a few key differences between the two that are essential to understand before purchasing one or another.

The Pellet Smoker

The best pellet smoker is the best option for anyone who wants to be able to relax and not worry about their meal while it is cooking. This type of smoker allows you to set the temperature so you can cook your food at a slow and steady pace, without any risk of overdoing it. This means that if you sleep in, the breakfast will still be hot and ready when you wake up or when you get home from work. Pellet smokers are also great because they do not require much attention which lets you relax even more with friends and family!

The Pellet Smoker

Pellets are easy to use and very accessible which makes using this smoker simple for both men and women of all ages! There is no lifting, only light lifting needed to load the hopper. There are even pellet smoker designs for those who do not want to lift anything!

With this type of smoker, there is no need to soak wood chips before hand so you can spray your food with that signature smokey flavor whenever you want.


  • No need to soak wood chips
  • Great for large gatherings and parties because you can set the temperature and relax!
  • Is simple to use for people of all ages
  • Can save time because it allows you to cook more than one thing at a time (i.e. chicken, fish & vegetables)


  • It is sometimes hard to clean the inside. Also, you will need to purchase disposable drip pans.
  • The smokebox needs to be refilled frequently which may require extra work on your part.

The Charcoal Smoker

Anyone looking for a traditional-style barbecue will love using a charcoal smoker. This type of smoker has been used for hundreds of years and requires only simple maintenance throughout the year which ensures it will still be ready when you go to use it. Charcoal does require some extra chopping and measuring but once it is lit there isn’t much else to worry about until it’s time to put your meat on the grill! If something goes wrong, this type of smoker is much easier to fix than the pellet smoker.

The Charcoal Smoker

One downside to using a charcoal smoker is that it can be difficult to set the temperature and keep it steady throughout the entire cooking process. This requires you to stay close by in case something goes wrong or your meat starts to burn. You should also soak wood chips for at least 30 minutes before putting them on the grill if you want that signature smoky flavor.


  • Is able to be used in colder weather so you can smoke during the winter months, too.
  • Simple to maintain compared to pellet smokers.
  • If something goes wrong, it is easier to fix.


  • Requires much more supervision because of its low-temperature settings.
  • Can be difficult if you are cooking for a large group or party because each person may want their meat cooked at different temperatures.

What’s the Difference Between a Pellet and Charcoal Smoker?

The biggest difference between pellet smokers and charcoal smokers is that with a pellet smoker you can put in pellets and it will automatically start smoking. With a charcoal smoker, you need to light the charcoal yourself before it will start smoking (although there are some that use gas or electricity to help with this).

The temperature is much easier to control in pellet smokers than in charcoal smokers because the temperature is set by the controlling mechanism of the grill, whereas with charcoal smokers you have to adjust the temp by adding more or less coals. This can be difficult to do if you go back and check on your food after only a short period of time, especially if you are cooking something fatty like ribs.

Pellet smokers won’t require as much work for cleaning, since they don’t produce ash like traditional charcoal smokers do. You might not even need to clean them as often as you think.

Pellet smokers can sometimes be much more expensive than charcoal smokers.

Pellets for pellet smokers are made from many different things and therefore give food a unique flavor depending on what it is made of, whereas the wood used in charcoal smokers gives food a more traditional flavor.

Charcoal generally burns hotter than pellets do, which means you will need to monitor your temperature closely if cooking something fatty like ribs or turkey. Pellet smokers aren’t as sensitive to high heat and produce less smoke that could potentially ruin your meat because of that (although there are some models that can get pretty hot).

Charcoal smoking creates a smoky environment that can enhance your food’s flavor when done properly, whereas the added flavors from pellets might not be suitable for certain foods.

Which One Should You Choose to Buy?

Pellet smokers are great when it comes to creating an easy cooking environment because of their automatic feeder system which helps keep the grill working without having to add too much effort on your part. The simplest pellet smoker models might even allow you to set everything up in the morning before work, then come home to a low heat session that allows you to enjoy your day off while your meats cook slowly and evenly.

On the other hand, charcoal smokers might be more suited for people who like producing smokey flavors or for those who want to cook in a short amount of time due to how fast they will typically heat up. It is important that you check out what type of grills are available in your area so that you can get one that is best for your needs.


Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the differences between pellet and charcoal smokers and which one might be more suitable for your needs. It is important to take into account the pros and cons of each type of grill, as well as what specific models are available in your area before making a purchase. This will make things much easier for you when it comes to deciding what kind of smoker you want to buy, or whether or not you should buy one at all!

  • Charcoal grilling burns hotter than pellets do, therefore temperature must be closely monitored if cooking fatty meats like ribs or turkey.
  • Pellet smokers have a great range of flavors that can be achieved with different types of wood pellets made available in most stores.

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