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Pellet Grill Vs Charcoal Grill – A Comprehensive Comparison

In this article, we will make a comparison between pellet grill and charcoal grill. We will also show you, which one will be suitable for you. At first, we will write the definition of both grills (pellet grill and charcoal grill) because it is important to know about the item before making the comparison.

Pellet Grill

pellet grills

Pellet grills are one kind of outdoor cookers that comes with a combination of charcoal smokers, gas grill, and kitchen ovens. These grills are fueled by wood pellets which can smoke and bake by using an electric panel. They are also called pellet smokers.

Charcoal Grill

charcoal grills

Charcoal grills are that cookers in which a block of compressed charcoal or oil dust is used as the fuel source. In the burning process, these charcoals will transform into embers radiating the heat which is weighty to cook. In these devices, foods are cooked by applying heat from below.

Contrast & Comparison Between Pellet Grill and Charcoal Grill

In the past, there were only two grilling devices; one was the charcoal grill and the other was the gas grill. But nowadays, there are several varieties of grills. Pellet grill and charcoal grill are most important among them. Both have some differences and we will show you them clearly.

Impact On Flavor

In a pellet grill, foods are cooking with the use of wood which smokes the foods with the natural aromas of hardwood pallets. These aromas are produced when we lit the wood that creates smoke and adds delicious flavor. In pellet grills, a variety of food-grade hardwood pellets are used that produce different kinds of flavors. We can enjoy some kind of flavors like:

  • Apple
  • Hickory
  • Mesquite
  • Fruit Blend (Cherry, Apple, Maple)
  • Classic Blend (Mesquite, Hickory, Pecan)
  • Competition Blend (Hickory, Apple, Maple)

In charcoal grills, you will have the flavor of cooking over charcoal. In charcoal grills, you can use two types of charcoal which are Lump Charcoal and Charcoal Briquettes. You also can make smoky wood flavor by adding wood chunks or chips to a charcoal grill. But it is a little intricate to light the charcoal without using lighter fluid which may affect the flavor and taste a little bit. On the other hand, there is no need to use lighter fluid in a pellet grill. These pellet grills kindle from the heat-driven in the burn pot.

Cooking Options

Pellet grill came with 8 different cooking options which are given below:

  • Grill
  • Bake
  • Char
  • Sear
  • Smoke
  • Roast
  • Stew
  • BBQ

You can have the food with natural flavor which is cooked by a pellet grill machine.

On the other hand, all these cooking options are not easy to do on a charcoal grill. You can make grill, sear, charring, and some BBQ by using a charcoal grill.

Costs

Costs of grill device can be divided into two parts- one is the initial cost and the other is operating cost.

Initial Costs

The pellet grills are more expensive than most charcoal grills. For many pellet grill models, the buying cost is nearly $1000 and some models are even higher than $1000. The price difference on a pellet grill means that there are more features and options in the higher-priced grills. In comparison, all charcoal grills have the same features and there is no difference in features if they are cheaper or costlier. The only difference is the materials used to build the grill. Even, you can buy a charcoal grill machine for under $100 which resembles the cheaper price.

Operating Costs

Usually, two types of charcoals are used in charcoal grills which are charcoal briquettes and lump charcoal. Though charcoal briquettes are very cheap, it is better not to use them because of their crappy reek.

In pellet grills, you can get the flavor by burning hardwood pellets as fuel. You need to spend $76 per cooking session to get such a smoky flavor.

Temperature Range

Pellet grills are designed to be used as a smoker. So it is easy to get a lower temperature but hard to achieve a temperature higher than 500°F. However, it is not impossible to get temperature over 800°F with charcoal grills. They can also be used for cooking at a much lower temperature for smoking.

Temperature Control

The pellet grill comes with different features and a built-in RTD (resistance temperature detector) sensor is one of them. There is a digital control board in combination with the arguer in a pellet grill which feeds the pellets into the burn plate. And a fan is used to control airflow which helps in controlling temperature. All you need to do is fill the hopper with pellets and set the target cooking temperature. But temperature control is difficult in charcoal grills because of its manual process.

Who Are They For?

Pellet grills are suitable for those people who:

  • Love aromas and wood smoky flavor at a lower temperature
  • Prefer smoky BBQ than high-temperature grilling
  • Want easy temperature controlling
  • Want to use cleaner fuel sources
  • Ready to spend more money

Advantages of Pellet Grills

  • Quick and easy to lit up
  • Easy to control the temperature
  • Able to enjoy different flavors

Disadvantages of Pellet Grills

  • Need electricity to run
  • Need regular cleanup
  • Need parts replacement after long term use
  • The auger can jam if lower quality pellets are being used

Charcoal Grills Are Suitable For People Who:

  • Love the charcoal flavor
  • Love to play with fire
  • Prefer high-temperature grilling over low and slow smoking
  • Want to carry their grill in long/short journey
  • Have a lower budget

Advantages of Charcoal Grills

  • Low initial and operating cost
  • Easy to achieve high temperature

Disadvantages of Charcoal Grills

  • Difficult to learn
  • Difficult to clean after use
  • Difficult to light
  • Charcoal briquettes have a nasty odor

Sum Up

If you prioritize a variety of flavors, cooking, and better temperature control and also like to spend more money, then a pellet grill will be the winner. But if you love the charcoal flavor or have a lower budget, then a charcoal grill will be the best option for you. Now you can decide, which one will be preferable for you.


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Ryan Brough

Ryan Brough

Hello foodies, This is Ryan Brough, a passionate grill man who is crazy about barbecue parties at home. As I'm living in Florida, and the condition is lovely for a grilled dinner with a beer. At present, I'm using Weber Spirit S210 to cook delicious grills. Thus, this is turning out to be my outdoor kitchen activity.

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