Offset Smoker Vs Pellet Smoker | Which One Is Best?

Do you want to take your barbeque game to the next level? If yes, then you must upgrade your barbeque parties with a high-quality smoker. Here the two participants of this smoker discussion are the Offset smokers and the Pellet smokers. 

If you are new to these smokers, then the first impression you’ll get after seeing both these is that they both look the same. And it is true only in terms of the looks because they really look alike. But apart from the appearance, they are totally different from each other.

While thinking of upgrading your cooking skills with a smoker, the only thing which will confuse you is to choose the best type of smoker. Here we are comparing the two main categories of smokers; the offset smokers and the pellet smokers. The main reason for choosing this topic is you, people as most of you get confused between these traditional-styled offset smokers and the latest trendy pellet grills. 

From the price point to the ease of use and their cooking mode, everything is different in both. And we are here to clear all the ambiguities regarding both these products. 

This article will cover every detail you are looking for about both types of smokers. So please give it a good read we are sure that it will clear your every little confusion.

What Is An Offset Smoker?

If the word offset smoker is new to you, then there is a possibility that you may know it from any other name. Its other names are horizontal smoker, pipe smoker, barrel smoker, firebox smoker, or stick smoker. 

This classic barbeque smoking machine has two essential compartments. One is the firebox, and the other one is the main compartment in which you place the food. Both these chambers are interlinked with each other. 

The firebox is the source of heat and smoke that cooks the food and gives it the luscious smokey aroma. The smoke moves out via a chimney after passing through the food. 

You Can Check Best Offset Smoker Under $300

First thing first, you need to start the smoking process by lighting up the firebox side. There are multiple options that you can use as a fueling agent in it. You can use charcoal, pure wood, a mixture of logs and charcoal, or wood chips and charcoal mix. 

The selection of the fueling agent depends upon your choice. You can choose any of the items mentioned above. However, the mixture of charcoal and wood chips is the best combo, as it cooks the food on slow heat. So the food will have more time to infuse with smokey flavors. 

Here is a pro tip; always start with the charcoal bedding to initiate the heat. Later on, for maintaining the heat and cooking the food, keep on adding wood chunks. 

This conventional smoker is best for cooking meat as well as other food items at slow heat. Cooking at low heat means that your food will be in the smoke for a longer time. So the fusion of flavors will be a treat for the tastebuds. 

This barbeque tool is best for people who want to manage the temperature on their own. In offset smokers, you can add the fueling agents gradually, whatever it is. Also, you can have complete control of the temperature with the dampers. These dampers are present in most of the offset smoking tools, and they allow you to maintain the airflow.

What Is An Pellet Smoker?

Pellet smoker or pellet grill is a modern upgrade to the conventional offset smokers. You can say that it is the recent electronic advancement of the traditional smokers. You can define a pellet smoker as a simple smoker that runs on the fuel of wooden pellets. 

Although this smoking tool’s outlook is quite similar to the classic ones, however, their working mode is different. In this barbecue smoker, you have to drip-fed the wood pellets into the firebox chamber. The best thing about pellet smokers is that they can automatically maintain the given temperature. 

It has an LCD panel that displays the temperature settings. You have to give your required temperature at the start, and the rest of the job is of the smoker itself. It automatically takes up more wood pellets when it needs in the fire spot. 

Interestingly, some of these pellet grills come even with the Wi-Fi facility and app control. So you don’t have to keep an eye on the food the whole time. You can easily chit-chat with your friends while keep checking the temperature through its app. 

Unlike traditional ones, which can cook slowly at low heat, these latest ones are also best for casual meals. The change here lies in the temperature control and its settings. So from grilling the beef steaks to saute cooking the veggies, it is an all in one barbeque smoker.

As it is an electric smoker, so it requires a continuous power source. And you can’t party with it if you have an issue of load shedding. Apart from several advantages, you can consider it as the little drawback k of the pellet smoking grill. 

The amount of smoke it produces is comparatively less than that of the offset grill. However, tender and juicy food is the specialty of the pellet grill. So, this main feature can help you choose between the offset and the pellet smoker, depending upon your taste. Professionalists say that this advanced pellet grill of the 21st century is for people who don’t like to babysit food while cooking. So now, these pellet grills are becoming the hot stars of barbeque get-togethers.

Offset Smoker Pros

Pellet Smoker Pros

  • An offset smoker offers you that traditional smoky taste of barbecue that you always want to enjoy.
  • Offset smokers have the reverse flow thermal circulation configuration. Also, it allows perfect cooking.
  • Unlike pellet smoker, offset smoker doesn’t require electricity, and you can use it anywhere you want.
  • It is an ideal smoker when you are going to cook a lot of food. You have to maintain the fire with either coal or wood in the cooking chamber.
  • Offset smokers can be quite sturdy and long-lasting; all you need is to maintain it properly.
  • You can easily use the firebox to grill your food. You have to place your food above the fire in the firebox.
  • Offset smokers are quite affordable and cheaper than pellet smokers.
  • You can also use the firebox to add more fuel. In this way, you will not waste any heat of the cooking chamber.
  • Grilling food is an option always available in Offset smokers.
  • The cooking chamber has plenty of space, and you can place a lot of food simultaneously.
  • Pellet smokers use the set and forget technology. You have to set it up, and the smoker will take care of the rest of the steps.
  • Pellet smokers have an automatic temperature control system. You will not have to worry about temperature fluctuations. Also, you can enjoy evenly cooked food.
  • Pellet smokers take less time to set up and also take less time in the cooking process.
  • Pellet smokers are quite useful for beginners, as a lot of steps are automatic.
  • Some pellet smokers also have Wi-Fi connectivity. It means you can control the cooking process through your mobile device.
  • Some pellet smokers also have the capability of grilling food.
  • Pellet smokers have a series of convection fans. These fans distribute the heat evenly across the chamber.
  • The automated technology decreases the chance of burning or overcooking your food.
  • This automated technology also makes them quite energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.
  • Pellet smokers also offer you plenty of space to let you cook a lot of food.
  • Pellet smokers are also available in a relatively affordable price range.

Offset Smoker Cons

Pellet Smoker Cons

  • Offset smokers can be quite cumbersome for beginners. Also, you need to have plenty of experience to cook on these kinds of smokers.
  • You will have to learn to create and manage the fire during cooking. 
  • You have to adjust the temperature manually, and it can take some practice.Also, it is challenging to keep a record of temperature fluctuations.
  • The steel body of offset smokers can catch rust if you damage the paint. However, it is relatively easy to fix; all you need is some paint.
  • Weather conditions like rain can impact the cooking process in these smokers. Therefore, you have to be careful while cooking in damp weather.
  • The temperatures between the firebox and the cooking chamber can be quite different. You can observe a difference of up to 38 degrees Celsius.
  • It can be difficult for you to cook due to their uneven temperature distributions.
  • Offset smokers consume a lot of fuel and are relatively energy inefficient.
  • You will have to keep your food away from the firebox. Otherwise, you will face uneven cooking of your food.
  • A pellet smoker requires electricity. Therefore, you always need to have a power connection whenever you want to cook.
  • Pellet smokers are not that portable because they need an electricity connection.
  • The grilling option is not present in all pellet smokers because the grilling needs a temperature unachievable by all pellet smokers.
  • Pellet smokers can not offer you a smoky feeling that you obtain with offset smokers. Therefore, the taste of food is different for one smoker in comparison to the other.
  • Pellet smokers can be expensive relative to offset smokers. Therefore, you need a bigger budget. 
  • Pellet smokers use electricity. Therefore you should not use them during the rain. Also, make sure the insulations are intact and perfect.
  • You can not enjoy the feel of burning fire and charcoal because the fire is hidden. Therefore, if you are looking for a traditional experience, pellet smokers might not be for you.
  • Cleaning is also an essential part of pellet smokers. These smokers can gather a lot of greases, and you will have to clean it regularly.

Offset Smoker Vs Pellet Smoker Comparison Table

SpecsOffset SmokerPellet Smoker
Price Range (in USD)$100 to $2000 (or even more)$300 to $5000 (or even more)
Cooking OptionsGrilling or smokingGrilling, smoking, saute cooking, baking, or roasting
Size OptionsSmall to large size availableSmall size to super large size available
Power RequirementNoYes
Fueling AgentsPure wood, charcoal, wooden chunksOnly wooden pellets
Automated CookingNoYes
Running CostHighLow
Transport FriendlyNot all modelsNot all models

Offset Smokers Vs. Pellet Smokers Comparison of their Best Models

This comparison between some of the best offset and pellet smokers will clear your mind if there is any ambiguity left. Here we’ll be comparing both these products in various price ranges. First, we’ll look for the best budget offset and the pellet grill, then the mid-range one, and finally the high-end product.

You Can Read Also Smoker Under $1000

So if you are following this debate from the start, we recommend checking these comparisons. They’ll definitely help you in picking the best partner for your barbeque nights. So now affordability is not an issue because we are covering you up in all price ranges.

Best Budget Offset and Pellet Smokers

  Offset Smoker Pellet Smoker
  Giantex 3-in-1 Charcoal BBQ Smoker BIG HORN OUTDOORS Pellet Grill & Smoker
Price Range $74.99 $299.99
Main Specs 1. Durable anti-rust iron body.
2. 3 chambers, with the lowest one as a firebox.
3. Features an adjustable air vent at the top lid to control the airflow.
4. It also contains a built-in temperature scale to keep check of the temperature settings.
5. Easy to disassemble into three components for easy storage and transportation.
6. Triangle-shaped bottom feet for stability.
1. Stainless-steel metal body, which is super sturdy and durable.
2. Features an automatic electronic digital temperature control that allows you to set the temperature from 225°F to 450°F and let it work automatically.
3. It also has a real-time LED display for the temperature settings.
4. The exhaust chimney maintains the smoke levels in the grill.
Cooking Area Two cooking racks with 342 square inches of cooking space A 430 square inches cooking space and a 270 square inches cooking rack
Cooking Options Grill, roast, steam, and bake Braise, bake, grill, roast, barbeque, and smoke
Fueling Agent Charcoal Wood pellets
Net Weight 13 lbs 107 lbs

Best Mid Range Offset and Pellet Smokers

  Offset Smoker Pellet Smoker
Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
Price Range $236.47 $393
Main Specs 1. Robust and sturdy steel body.
2. The porcelain-enameled steel and charcoal compartment prevents the food from burning off.
3. It contains a special charcoal and ash managing system which can manage the ash for several hours without any human supervision.
4. Also, the ash pan is detachable.
5. It has an adjustable flue in the smokestack that helps maintain the temperature and adds more flavor to the food.
6. The built-in stainless-steel temperature dial has a special smoke symbol to give your foods a smokey twist.
1. The sturdy steel metal body with a high-temperature powder
2. covering is made to last for years.
3. It contains a spacious pellet holding capacity of 15 lbs, which provides extended cooking periods without the need to refill the pellets again and again.
4. It provides the 8 in 1 versatile cooking options with a temperature range of 180° F to 450° F.
5. Digital controller allows you to adjust the temperature according to the expected results. 
6. Features the advanced PID technology, which maintains the same temperature throughout the 7. cooking process.
It also has an induction fan that strokes the fire for proper heat for cooking.
Cooking Area Six racks with customizable heights and a total cooking space of 1890 square inches Dual rack with a total of 450 square inches of cooking space giving the food fully infused flavors
Cooking Options Grill, smoke, barbecue, and roast Grill, bake, char-grill, braise, sear, smoke, or roast
Fueling Agent Charcoal or wood Wood pellets
Net Weight 83 lbs 84 lbs

Best High-End Offset and Pellet Smokers

  Offset Smoker Pellet Smoker
  KBQ C-60 BBQ Smoker Pit Z Grills ZPG-7002B 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
Price Range $1745 $429.35
Main Specs 1. A complete stainless-steel design.
2. Firebox comes with the Inverted Flame technology with Smoke Selector feature lets you create blue smoke.
3. A precision-oriented Cook box with Auto Draft technology allows you better temperature control.
4. The winner of Hearth & Home’s Vesta Award for Innovation.
5. Invented and designed in Texas, USA.
1. Stainless steel design with high corrosion resistance.
2. 2020 upgrade for more precise temperature control and pellet feed control system.
3. Fan forced convection cooking system creates an even environment you’re looking for in your barbecue and cooking.
4. Electronic start ignition and digital temperature gauge make it easier for a beginner.
5. You can have a cooking temperature between 160º F to 450º F.
Cooking Area 12 cooking racks with 60 lbs capacity and 960 square inches cooking area 19.2 x 26 inches grilling area and 504 square inches of total rack surface area with 20 lbs capacity
Cooking Options Smoking, Barbecue Braise, bake, barbecue, roast, smoke, and grill
Fueling Agent Wood Wood Pellet
Net Weight 92 lbs 84 lbs


Now that you have read the complete article with a detailed comparison of the offset and the pellet smokers, you can choose which suits you best. Both of them have their own pros and cons. It entirely depends on you which type of pros attract you the most and what cons scare you not to buy the product. 

So the first thing is to choose your preference and then define your budget. After that, you can select either the best offset smoker or the best pellet smoker for you and your family.

Leave a Comment