Wood Pellet Smoker vs. Charcoal Smoker

Posted By: americanbbqsystems, 15th August 6:00pm Category: Charcoal Smokers Wood Pellet Smokers

Wood pellet smokers are all the rage these days, and for good reason! A wood pellet smoker is easy to use, and they’re great for maintaining a constant low temperature, perfect for smoking. But people often ask, “What is the better option?”

Ease of Use

Wood Pellet Smokers:

Using a wood pellet smoker is as simple as filling the feed system with pellets, and setting the cooking temperature. To turn the the temperature up, you’ll need to add more pellets to the fire at a faster rate. Doing so will create a hotter fire, and visa-versa.

Charcoal Smokers:

With a charcoal smoker, it’s not quite as easy as just lighting the grill. You’ll have the added prep time of lighting the charcoal which can take about 20-30 minutes. Controlling temperature with a charcoal smoker can be a bit of a learning curve. In order to increase or decrease the temperature, you’ll have to learn how to control the air flow.


Wood Pellet Smokers:

Pellet systems are designed to be more like smokers than a grill. They’re great for cooking meat at constant lower temperatures. This is because higher temperatures are usually a bit harder to reach and maintain with pellets. Pellets burn quicker in comparison to charcoal.

Charcoal Smokers:

With charcoal, you can easily cook at high or low temperatures by controlling the air flow. You can grill hot and fast, or smoke low and slow.


While there is still a nice smokey taste that comes from the wood pellets, when it comes to taste, most people still prefer charcoal over pellets. The rich smoke-infused flavor no matter what you’re cooking with charcoal is hard to beat.

Clean Up

Pellet Smokers:

When it comes to cleaning up, pellet smokers are a little less maintenance. In general, they require a regular cleanup after every couple of cooking sessions.

Charcoal Smokers:

While with charcoal, you’ll need to clean up the ashes after each time you use the grill. However, the firebox in our models are designed with damper plates and a slide-in drawer with a charcoal/wood basket and ash pan. This feature also makes loading fuel and dumping ash quick and easy with less mess. 

You Can Have the Best of Both

Now that you know the key differences between wood pellet smokers and charcoal smokers, we are here to tell you that you can have the best of both worlds! A few of our models like the Bar-Be-Cube, the Pit-Boss, and the Judge all have the option of adding a pellet system in addition to the existing charcoal grill itself.

Wood Pellet Feed System Features

wood pellet smoker system
  • Stainless Steel Pellet Hopper holds 20 lbs.
  • Stainless Steel Grease Shield and Trough
  • Pellet Feed System Cover Plate with Door allows you to cook with charcoal and wood

There’s no clear winner here because it all truly boils down to preference. It all depends on how you like to cook, what your flavor preferences are, and what kind of maintenance you’re up for!

Looking for a wood pellet smoker? Find a dealer near you!