Pellet Grill Vs Gravity Charcoal: Which One Should You Choose?

Pellet Grill Vs Gravity Charcoal

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Which one would be ideal for someone who enjoys grilling and smoking? There are several choices, but the two most common ones are gravity charcoal smokers and pellet grills. Depending on your choices and requirements, each has benefits and drawbacks and may lead to various outcomes.

 In this essay, we will contrast the functionality, advantages, and disadvantages of pellet grills with gravity charcoal smokers to determine which is superior in certain scenarios. You’ll know more about which grill works best for you after reading this article.


A pellet grill, which is a barbecue, is powered by wood pellets. Small, compressed bits of hardwood called wood pellets burn rapidly and cleanly. They are fed into a hopper, where they are transported to a fire pot and ignited by an electric heating element. The grill’s heat and smoke are dispersed throughout it by a fan, providing a convection effect that evenly cooks the food. 

A computerized controller is also included with a pellet grill, allowing you to program the temperature and cooking duration. Additionally, some pellet grills are equipped with sear zones, meat probes, and Wi-Fi connection.


A form of smoker that employs charcoal as fuel is a gravity charcoal smoker. When wood is burnt in a low-oxygen atmosphere, it creates charcoal, a carbon-rich material that when lighted emits a lot of heat and smoke. In a vertical chamber, charcoal is loaded and piled on top of one another. 

The lowest layer of charcoal is ignited by a fire starter, and as heat rises through the chamber, it progressively ignites the remaining charcoal. The food is circulated by the heat and smoke that are brought into a horizontal cooking chamber from the burning charcoal. Additionally, a gravity charcoal smoker contains vents that let you regulate the temperature and airflow for your smoking.


A pellet grill offers a lot of benefits such as:

  • It is simple to use and keep up. The hopper must be filled with pellets, the temperature and time must be regulated, and the grill must rest. During cooking, you don’t need to watch over the fire or add extra fuel. Additionally, because most pellet grills feature ashtrays and grease buckets that catch them, you won’t have to worry about ash or grease accumulation.
  • It provides accurate and reliable temperature regulation. Depending on the type, you may set the temperature anywhere between 180°F and 500°F, and the grill will keep it within a few degrees. This enables you to cook various food kinds with the best outcomes, whether you’re low-and-slow smoking or high-heat searing.
  • Excellent taste and fragrance are produced. There are many different tastes of wood pellets, including hickory, mesquite, apple, cherry, and others. You may choose the one that goes best with your meal or combine them for more complexity. Additionally, the wood pellets produce natural smoke, which gives your meal a delightful flavor and aroma.

A pellet grill does, however, have some disadvantages, such as:  

  • A pellet grill may range in price from $300 to more than $2000, depending on its size, quality, and amenities. Regularly purchasing wood pellets would be beneficial since they might pile up over time. A 20-pound bag of pellets may be purchased for $15 to $25 and can cook food for 10 to 20 hours.
  • It calls for electricity. Electricity is required by a pellet grill to operate its heating element, blower, controller, and other parts. This implies that while utilizing it outside, you must have access to an outlet or a generator. Additionally, it implies that you can have power outages due to malfunctions or blackouts.
  • It is incapable of handling high temperatures. A pellet grill’s maximum temperature is 500°F, which is sufficient for the majority of culinary chores but insufficient for intense searing or char-grilling. To do this, a separate tool like a cast iron skillet or a gas torch may be required. 


A gravity charcoal smoker provides a number of advantages, including:

  • It emits a lot of smoke and heat. Depending on how much charcoal you load and how you set the vents, a gravity charcoal smoker may achieve temperatures of up to 700°F or more. This enables you to rapidly sear your food and produce a lovely crust or bark. Intense smoke produced by the charcoal also provides your meal a rich taste and permeates your food deeply.
  • It is adaptive and flexible. For various results, you may use different kinds of charcoal, such as lump wood or briquettes. For more moisture or smoke flavor, you may add wood pieces or chips. By putting a grate over the firebox and shutting the lid, you may also use the gravity charcoal smoker as a grill or an oven.
  • It is dependable and enduring. Heavy-duty steel that can resist extreme temperatures and weather is used to construct gravity charcoal smokers. It doesn’t have any susceptible mechanical or electrical components. If you load it up, it can run for a while without needing to reload the charcoal.

However, a gravity charcoal smoker also has some drawbacks, such as:

  • It is challenging to use and maintain. Manually lighting the charcoal may be time- and labor-consuming. Additionally, you must constantly pay attention to the temperature and adjust the vents properly, which may be challenging. Regularly cleaning the ash and grease would also be beneficial, albeit it may be dirty and time-consuming.
  • More accurate and reliable temperature management is required. The quantity and caliber of charcoal, the airflow, the environment, and other elements may all affect the temperature of a gravity charcoal smoker. It may be challenging to maintain stability and accuracy, particularly for low and low smoking. To assist you do it, utilize a controller or a thermometer.
  • It costs money and is wasteful. A gravity charcoal smoker may go through a lot of charcoal, particularly if you operate it at high temperatures or for prolonged periods of time. A 20-pound bag of charcoal may be purchased for $10 to $20 and can be used for cooking for 6 to 12 hours. It would be beneficial to properly dispose of the ash, which might be harmful to the environment.

Comparison Of Pellet Grills And Gravity Smokers

To summarize, here is a table that compares pellet grills and gravity smokers in terms of their main features:

FeaturePellet GrillGravity Smoker
FuelWood pelletsCharcoal
Temperature range180°F to 500°FUp to 700°F or more
Temperature controlDigital controllerVents
ElectricityRequiredNot required
Ease of useEasyDifficult
Ease of maintenanceEasyDifficult
Flavor and aromaGoodExcellent


Your situation and personal choice will determine the response to this inquiry. Both grills can make excellent smoked food, but they each have unique advantages and disadvantages.

If you value ease of use, accuracy, and consistency, a pellet grill may be your preference. A pellet grill provides precise and reliable temperature control and is simple to operate and maintain. You may put it in “set and forget” mode and just enjoy your meal.

If you place a premium on taste, adaptability, and performance, think about a gravity smoker. High heat and smoke are produced by a gravity smoker, which gives your meal a deep, rich taste. Additionally, you may use it for other types of cuisine, including grilling or baking.


When using wood pellets in a barbecue or smoker, they often last longer than charcoal. Compared to charcoal, wood pellets burn more evenly and effectively, generating more heat per unit of fuel. In addition to having less moisture than charcoal, wood pellets also produce a hotter and quicker burning flame.

However, the exact duration of wood pellets or charcoal depends on several factors, such as:

  • the kind and grade of gasoline. Fuel of higher grade will last longer than fuel of lesser quality. For instance, lump wood charcoal will last longer than briquettes, and hardwood pellets will last longer than softwood pellets.
  • the gasoline content. More gasoline will keep you going longer than less. A complete chamber of charcoal will burn for longer than a half-full chamber, for instance, and a full hopper of pellets will burn longer than a half-full hopper.
  • the chosen temperature. Fuel will be used more often at higher temperatures than at lower temperatures. For instance, a gravity smoker set at 600°F will consume more charcoal than a gravity smoker set at 300°F, and a pellet grill set at 450°F would use more pellets than a pellet grill set at 250°F.
  • climatic circumstances. The pace at which fuel burns will be impacted by cold or windy weather. A pellet grill or gravity smoker, for instance, will require more fuel in the winter than in the summer, as well as on windy days as opposed to calm ones.

According to the aforementioned variables, a 20-pound bag of wood pellets may cook food for between 10 and 20 hours on a pellet barbecue. A 20-pound bag of charcoal may last 6 to 12 hours of cooking in a gravity smoker, depending on the same variables.


In a gravity-fed smoker, the amount of charcoal you load and how you set the vents may affect how long it burns. In a smoker that is gravity-fed, charcoal should last for approximately an hour per pound. For instance, you can smoke for around 10 hours with 10 pounds of charcoal loaded. 

The quality and kind of the charcoal, the temperature setting, the climate, the size, and the design of the smoker, among other things, may all affect this, however.


You may be wondering which is preferable now that you are aware of the distinctions between pellet grills and gravity smokers. The response is based on your own preferences, financial situation, and cooking method. Here are some queries to aid in your decision-making:

  • What are your financial limits? Gravity smokers cost less to operate than pellet grills in terms of both startup and recurring fuel expenditures. If money is scarce, you choose a gravity smoker. If you have the money, a pellet grill might provide additional features and convenience.
  • How much time and energy are you prepared to put in? Compared to pellet grills, gravity smokers need more physical labor and maintenance. Lighting the charcoal, keeping an eye on the temperature, adjusting the vents, and cleaning the ash and grease will all be helpful. You could appreciate using a gravity smoker if you love the activity and the challenge. However, if you value simplicity and comfort, you could like a pellet grill.
  • How much flavor and adaptability are you looking for? Compared to pellet grills, gravity smokers provide more flavorful smoke and taste. You may also utilize other cooking techniques or sear your meal at high heat. If you are a taste enthusiast and a talented chef, you could like a gravity smoker. However, if you are happy with the taste, fragrance, and reliable cooking procedure of a pellet grill, you could adore one.


For those who like grilling and smoking, both gravity smokers and pellet grills are excellent choices. They may meet various demands and preferences and have advantages and disadvantages. In the end, the decision is yours. When deciding which of them to choose, take into account your money, time, effort, taste, and variety.

We hope that this post has clarified the key distinctions between pellet grills and gravity smokers and helped you make the right decision. Enjoy your grill! 

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