Pellet Grill vs Charcoal Grill: Which is better?

If you’re looking to buy your first grill then you might be wondering whether to buy a pellet grill or a charcoal grill.

These two grills are very similar, but there are subtle differences between them. In this article, we are going to give you a detailed analysis of both stoves, the benefits and drawbacks of using each one and ultimately help you decide which one is best for you! Keep on ready, we are sure you will get to know it in the end.

What is a Pellet Grill?

A pellet grill is a grilling tool that uses wood pellets as its fuel source. The pellet grill can be used for grilling, baking, barbecuing and roasting. Pellets are available in many different flavors. You can add these flavorings to the pellets to suit your personal taste.

Its defining feature is the fact that it burns pellets made from compressed sawdust instead of charcoal. Other styles include centralized burners and a hybrid system.

What is a Charcoal Grill?

A charcoal grill is a device that cooks food by placing it above or below burning charcoal. Usually, the heat source works with air to allow the charcoal to smolder in order to cook the food.

A charcoal grill is a type of grill that uses charcoal as fuel to cook food. Charcoal grills are most commonly used for grilling foods directly over hot coals or burning charcoal.

Charcoal grills starts with a heat source at the bottom, usually made with coals — this is what you primarily use to cook the meat. They generally use wood chunks to create smoke, although some charcoal grills do not require additional fuel.

Pellet Grill vs Charcoal Grill:


Pellet grills are more expensive than charcoal grills. The average price of a pellet grill is $800, while the average charcoal grill costs $400. However, these prices can vary greatly depending on the features of each grill and whether it’s electric or gas operated.

Cost-wise, pellets are cheaper than charcoal. You’ll spend about $1 per pound of wood pellets compared to $1.50 per pound of charcoal briquettes. Plus, you can reuse your pellets for multiple uses before they need replacing.

Temperature control

Temperature control is one of the biggest factors in great barbecue. When you’re cooking at a high heat, you need to be able to control the temperature in order to cook properly. Charcoal grills are notorious for being difficult to control the temperature on, which leads to uneven cooking times and over- or undercooked food.

With a pellet grill, you can easily adjust the temperature based on what you’re cooking. For example, if you want your steak medium-rare, then set your grill at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) or lower and let it cook until it reaches that temperature. If you want your steak well done and crispy on the outside but still juicy inside, then set your grill at about 500 degrees Fahrenheit (250 degrees Celsius). You can even set it at different temperatures for different parts of your meal so everything comes out perfect!

Temperature Consistency

One of the biggest benefits of pellet grills is their ability to maintain a consistent temperature over time. Charcoal grills can’t compete with this feature because they’re prone to flare-ups that cause wild fluctuations in temperature. Pellet grills, on the other hand, have built-in thermometers that make it easy to monitor your grill’s internal temperature at all times. You’ll always know when it’s time to add more pellets or adjust the vents on your grill to achieve optimal cooking temperatures.


Another big difference between charcoal and pellet grills is flavor. Heat is what creates smoke and smoke is what gives foods that smoky flavor we all crave! With a charcoal grill, you have very little control over how much heat you apply to your food and how much smoke it gets (if any). In fact, many people choose to use water pans with their charcoal smokers in order to create some moisture in the air around their meat so that it doesn’t dry out too quickly or burn up before it reaches optimal doneness. With a pellet smoker, on the other hand, you can control how much heat and smoke goes into your meat by adjusting your cooking temperature accordingly!

Ease of use

Pellet grills are electric and use small wood pellets that are burned to heat your food. They work best in enclosed spaces where the smoke can be controlled, and they tend to be smaller than charcoal grills.

Charcoal grills burn charcoal as their fuel source, which creates an open fire that produces smoke. Charcoal grills tend to be larger than pellet grills because they need more space for the coals.


The main difference between pellet grills and charcoal grills is that the latter requires manual control of the cooking process. If you want to cook a steak, for example, you have to ignite charcoal and wait for it to heat up. The same goes for lighting pellets, which are made from pressed sawdust.

Pellet grills are different because they’re automated. They provide a digital temperature gauge and require no more than pushing a button to start cooking. In fact, most models have built-in WiFi so you can control them remotely using an app on your phone or tablet.

Heat source

Pellet grills are powered by electricity, while charcoal grills use a controlled fire to cook food. Both can be used with high-quality wood pellets or charcoal briquettes.

Pellet Grills: Using a pellet grill is like using a gas grill, except you need to add wood pellets before each use. The heat source produces smokeless heat and convection cooking in the grill chamber. This means that air circulates around the food as it cooks and flavors are infused into the meat through this process.

Charcoal Grills: A charcoal grill creates smoke when you burn wood chips to create heat for cooking your food over direct heat. Smoke is produced by combustion and contains water vapor, carbon dioxide and other gases that make up air pollution. Charcoal grills are typically fueled by charcoal or lump charcoal (a hardwood product).

Space required

A charcoal grill requires a larger area than a pellet grill does because you need to have enough room for the coals to burn overnight without setting anything else on fire. A pellet grill has no such requirement — all you need is a place to store the pellets and an electrical outlet nearby. As long as they don’t spill out of their hopper, they can burn wherever they land after being dumped into the firebox.

Cleaning and maintenance

In terms of cleanliness and maintenance, they’re both relatively easy to clean. But there are some differences that may make one more desirable than the other.

Charcoal grills are messy, especially when you’re cooking on them. Smoke and ash can get all over your clothes, patio furniture and even your home if you don’t take measures to contain it.

A pellet grill is much cleaner because there is no open flame. There are no ashes either. All of the smoke comes out through the exhaust system which makes cleanup very simple. Charcoal grills also require more cleaning than pellet grills because they have so many parts that need to be cleaned after every use.

When it comes to maintenance, pellet grills are much easier to maintain than charcoal grills. You can start a fire in a charcoal grill with just newspaper and lighter fluid but it’s not as easy with a pellet grill because you need electricity or gas to ignite the pellets inside the hopper where they burn much hotter than newspaper or lighter fluid ever could.

Overall Healthiness

In terms of healthiness, charcoal grills are considered to be healthier than pellet grills. This is because charcoal grills do not produce any smoke as compared to pellets, which can lead to an unpleasant smell and pollution. Charcoal itself produces carbon monoxide.


Hopefully by now, you have a better idea of what to look for in each system and are better prepared to make an informed decision when it comes time to purchase your next grill. Good luck!

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