Vertical Smoker vs Pellet Grill: What’s the Difference?


Grilling is a great way to cook food. It is quick and easy, and the results are delicious. If you are looking for a way to cook food that is even tastier and more flavorful, then you should consider getting a vertical smoker or pellet grill. These devices will help you cook food that is juicier, more tender, and full of flavor.

When buying your smoker or grill, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here is an overview of the main differences between vertical smokers and pellet grills so that you can make the best decision for your needs.

What is a Vertical Pellet Smoker?

A vertical pellet smoker is a type of smoker that uses wood pellets as its primary source of fuel. These smokers are designed to be used with wood pellets, which are small pieces of wood that have been compressed into a uniform shape and size. Pellets are a clean-burning and efficient fuel source, making them a popular choice for smokers.

Vertical pellet smokers typically have two or three compartments that stack on top of each other. The bottom compartment is where the wood pellets are stored, and the middle compartment is where the food is cooked. Some models also have a top compartment that can be used for smoking or warming food.

How Does a Vertical Smoker Work?

A vertical smoker is a type of smoker that has the heat source and smoke chamber arranged in a vertical stack. The design of a vertical smoker allows for better circulation of heat and smoke, which results in more evenly cooked food. Here is how the Vertical Smoker works;

  • The heat source is placed at the bottom of the smoker, and the wood chips or charcoal are placed on top of the heat source.
  • The heat from the bottom of the smoker rises, and the smoke from the wood chips or charcoal also rises.
  • The food is placed on racks in the smoker, and as the heat and smoke rise, they cook the food evenly.

The biggest advantage of a vertical smoker is that it is more efficient in terms of heat and smoke circulation. This means that the food will be cooked more evenly, and there will be less risk of being overcooked or burnt.

What is a Pellet Grill?

Pellet grills used fuel made from wood pellets to generate heat. Pellets are small pieces of wood that have been compressed into a uniform shape and size. They are a clean-burning and efficient fuel source, making them a popular choice for smokers. Pellet grills are similar to charcoal grills in that they use indirect heat to cook food.

However, pellet grills use a fan to circulate the hot air, which makes them more efficient than charcoal grills.

Pellet grills are becoming increasingly popular because they offer many of the same benefits as gas grills, but without the hassle of propane. Pellet grills are easy to use and can be started with the push of a button. They also produce very little smoke, so you can use them indoors without worrying about setting off the smoke alarm.

How Does a Pellet Grill Work?

Pellet grills work by slowly cooking food over low heat. A Pellet grill is made up of two parts: the firebox and the hopper. The firebox is where the wood pellets are burned, and the hopper is where they are stored. To cook food on a pellet grill, you first load the wood pellets into the hopper.

Then, you turn on the grill and set it to the desired temperature. The pellets will slowly feed into the firebox, and the grill will cook the food evenly.

Pellet grills are great for cooking food evenly and slowly. However, they can be more expensive than other kinds of grills. Also, they can be more difficult to clean thus, they require more maintenance.

Difference Between Vertical Smoker and Pellet Grill

Before you decide which type of grill is best for you, it is important to understand the difference between a vertical smoker and a pellet grill. Both have their own unique set of benefits that make them ideal for different cooking styles.

The following are the differences:

1. Space Requirements

When it comes to space requirements, vertical smokers take up less space than pellet grills. This is because vertical smokers are designed to be used in smaller spaces such as on a balcony or patio. Pellet grills, on the other hand, require more space since they need to be able to hold a larger hopper of pellets.

2. Heating System

The heating system is very important for both the vertical smoker and pellet grill. For the vertical smoker, it uses a heating element to generate heat. The heat is then transferred to the food through the process of convection.

On the other hand, pellet grills use a system of direct and indirect heating. The heat is generated by a combustion chamber and then transferred to the food through the process of conduction.

3. Temperature Control

Both the vertical smoker and pellet grill allow you to control the temperature of the cooking chamber. However, the pellet grill gives you more precise temperature control. This is because the pellets in the hopper are burned at a constant rate, which results in a steady temperature.

The vertical smoker, on the other hand, uses a heating element to generate heat. The heat produced by the element can fluctuate, which can result in temperature fluctuations.

4. Cost

The cost of the vertical smoker and pellet grill can vary depending on the brand and features. In general, however, the pellet grill is more expensive. This is because the pellet grill offers more features and versatility than the vertical smoker.

If you are looking for a grill that can do it all, then the pellet grill is the better option. However, if you are looking for a more affordable smoker, the vertical smoker may be the better choice.

5. Energy Efficiency

When it comes to energy efficiency, pellet grills have an edge over a vertical smoker. Vertical smokers require more fuel to maintain a consistent temperature, resulting in higher energy costs. Pellet grills, on the other hand, are designed to be more efficient, using less fuel to produce the same amount of heat.

6. Cooking Capacity

The cooking capacity of a Vertical smoker is larger than the pellet grill. The average size of a vertical smoker is about 20 inches by 40 inches, with some models being even larger. This extra space means that you can cook more food at once, making vertical smokers ideal for feeding large groups of people.

7. Multipurpose functions

Vertical smoker grills are used for different purposes. Some of them come with a side burner which is used to cook other food items. There are also smokers which come with a sear box. This helps in searing the meat and also gives the food a nice flavor.

Pellet grills on the other hand are mainly used for grilling and smoking. Some of them come with a side sear box which is used to sear the meat. But they do not have any other multipurpose functions.

8. Durability

Vertical smokers are more durable than pellet grills. They are made of thicker metal, and they have a better build quality. Pellet grills are made of thinner metal, and they are not as durable as vertical smokers.

Which is Better?

Grilling should be a fun and relaxing experience. But with all the different options on the market, it can be hard to decide which grill is right for you. If you’re looking for a grill that can do it all, you may want to consider a pellet grill. Pellet grills are great for smoking, grilling, and even baking.

And they’re easy to use, making them perfect for beginner smokers and grill masters alike. They are also more versatile than other grills, so you can cook whatever you want, whenever you want.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Do You Put Meat in A Vertical Smoker?

You can put meat anywhere in a vertical smoker, but certain sweet spots exist. For example, the bottom rack is going to be closer to the heat source, so it will cook faster. The top rack will be further away from the heat, so it will take longer to cook.

Can You Sear with Vertical Smoker?

Yes, you can sear with a vertical smoker. Many people believe that searing meat with a vertical smoker is the best way to lock in flavor and juices. Searing meat before cooking it in a vertical smoker helps to create a crust on the outside of the meat that helps to keep the juices in, giving you a juicier and more flavorful piece of meat.

To sear meat in a vertical smoker, simply preheat the smoker to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and place the meat on the grates. Sear for two to three minutes per side, or until you have a nice crust on the outside of the meat. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before cooking as usual.

How To Grill a Brisket on a Pellet Grill?

When it comes to grilling, there are a lot of different methods that you can use to cook your food. You can use gas grills, charcoal grills, electric grills, and even smokers. Each method has its own set of pros and cons, so it depends on your personal preferences as to which one you choose.

If you’re looking for a smoky flavor, you’ll want to go with a smoker. Smokers use wood chips or pellets to create smoke, which infuses your food with a delicious flavor. However, smokers can be tricky to use, and they’re not always the most efficient way to cook a brisket.

If you want something easier to use and gives you more control over the temperature, you might want to go with a pellet grill.

Pellet grills use pellets made from compressed sawdust to create heat and smoke, and they’re much easier to control than smokers.

Plus, pellet grills are usually more efficient when it comes to cooking brisket, so you’ll end up with a juicier and tastier piece of meat.

What are the benefits of smoking with a pellet grill?

There are many benefits to smoking with a pellet grill, including the fact that pellet grills are very efficient and easy to use. Pellet grills also produce consistent results, meaning that your food will always come out tasting great. Additionally, pellet grills are very versatile and can be used to cook a variety of different foods.

How Long Does It Take to Cook a Ham on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill?

It is said that the best way to cook a ham is low and slow. This gives the ham time to absorb all the flavors from the glaze and the smoke. Ham is usually cooked for about 30 minutes per pound on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill.

This cook time will vary depending on the size of the ham and the type of grill you are using. Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the ham before serving. Ham is cooked through when it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Is the Best Way to Cook a Ham on a Pellet Smoker?

Pellet smokers are becoming increasingly popular for their ability to infuse food with amazing flavor. Ham is a great option for smoking on a pellet grill, as the smoky flavor really compliments the salty and slightly sweet taste of the meat. Ham can be a bit tricky to cook on a smoker, as it is leaner meat that can dry out easily.

However, following a few simple tips, you can cook up a delicious and juicy ham that will be the perfect addition to any meal.

When choosing a ham for smoking, you want to make sure that you select a cut that is not too lean. The fat content in ham helps to keep it moist and juicy, so a leaner cut will likely result in a dryer, tougher final product. If you are unsure of what kind of ham to purchase, ask your butcher for help in selecting a good option.

How Do I Make My Pellet Grill Hotter?

Pellet grills are a great way to get that smoky flavor without all the hassle of traditional grilling. However, one complaint that some people have is that they can’t seem to get their pellet grill hot enough. If you’re one of those people, here are a few tips to help you out.

First, make sure you’re using quality pellets. Cheaper pellets will often have a lower BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating, meaning they’ll burn cooler and won’t get your grill as hot. Second, try using a higher setting on your pellet grill. The higher the setting, the hotter your grill will get.

Third, if you have a pellet grill with a convection fan, make sure you’re using it. The fan will help circulate the heat and keep your grill hot. Fourth, if all else fails, try adding some heat bricks to your grill. Heat bricks are made of ceramic or metal and help to radiate heat, getting your grill even hotter.

Can I Cook Pizza on A Pellet Smoker?

Pizza and pellet smokers go together like, well, pizza and smoked meat! The smoky flavor of the pellets infuses into the cheese and crust, giving you a delicious and unique pizza. Pellet smokers are also great for cooking pizza because they get nice and hot, making the dough crispy.

How Long Does It Take to Smoke a Pizza on A Pellet Smoker?

It usually takes about 20-30 minutes to smoke a pizza on a pellet smoker. The cook time will vary depending on the temperature of your grill and the thickness of the crust. If you are using a pre-made frozen pizza, cook time will be on the shorter end. For a fresh pizza with a thicker crust, cook time will be on the longer end.


When it comes to smoking meat, you have a few different options. You can use a traditional smoker, a pellet grill, or even your oven.

However, pellet grills are becoming increasingly popular for their ease of use and ability to infuse food with amazing flavor. If you’re looking for a delicious and juicy piece of meat, smoking ham on a pellet grill is a great option.

Just remember to use quality pellets, cook on a high setting, and use a convection fan if you have one. With these tips, you’ll be sure to create a mouth-watering dish that your family and friends will love.

Bobby Johnson

When he's not writing about barbecue, you can find Bobby smoking meat for friends and family. He's been a backyard pitmaster for roughly half his life, and has worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands-on guide to teach them BBQ, but that's what Bobby hopes to do with Electric Smoker HQ. He wants to help people create amazing food that they can be proud of.