Pellet Grill vs Charcoal Grill

Many people have been joining this debate recently and even though there is not a clear winner among the two, it is important to talk about it. Pellet grills are charcoal grills are widely different from each other. We have compiled a list of all the similarities and contrasts that you can find in these two grills. We hope that having a better knowledge about both the grills can help you reach your own conclusion. Take a look. 

Contrasts and Comparisons

We are just going to jump right into the different aspects of both the grills. Take a look at the first one. 


Pellet grills use wood pellets to cook the food so it is no surprise that the flavor of wood is going to be present in the food that you are cooking with a pellet grill. There are many people who say that the smoky flavor of the food on pellet grill is not more than the smoky flavor of the food cooked on a charcoal grill with wood chucks. Charcoal grills will always have that distinct flavor of the charcoal. It is very easy to give a good sear to the food. Many people gave said that you can get a strong wood flavor if you just add some wood chips or chunks with the charcoal.

Initial Cost

You are going to need a lot of money to invest in a pellet grill. Pellets grills are very expensive and most charcoal grills are going to be proved lower than them. The starting cost of a pellet grill is around 1000 dollars and you can have a good one for around 2000 dollars. There are charcoal grills for that amount but those are the high grade ones. You can easily buy a 200 dollar charcoal grill and it will give you the best food. However, if you to for a cheap pellet grill then you are going to waste your money. 

Operating Cost

You will need to buy pellets to work on the pellet grill. The one's that are better in quality comes with a heavy price tag. They can also be difficult to find since they are not sold in every store. Charcoal briquettes are much cheaper than the pellets and they can be found easily. Lump charcoal can be a bit more expensive than the briquettes but they are not as expensive as the pellets. You also have to consider the additional costs of replacing any parts if required. 

Ease of Use

It is very easy to use a pellet grill. They are particularly very good for beginners who are just venturing into the grilling world. They do not need any work. You just have to put the pellets in. Turn on the grill and set the temperature. The food will be cooked automatically at the set temperature. You need to keep the time set too. However, when it comes to charcoal grills, you need to learn the art of grilling. The charcoal grill needs constant babysitting because you have to control the temperature manually. It can be a bit difficult for beginners and there is a learning curve. It gets better with practice. 


Let us be honest. A pellet grill is meant to be used as a smoker. Many people know this. That's why the name can be confusing to a lot of people. Pellet grills have a hard time achieving the higher temperatures. You can easily smoke and grill on the charcoal grill. It is more versatile than the pellet grills.

Temperature Range and Control

Pellet grills do not have a high temperature range. You can cook on low temperatures but you can not reach a high temperature. Most pellet grills have problems reaching a temperature of about 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Charcoal grills can get very hot easily. Depending on the size of the grill you can go even 800 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also cook on low temperatures in a charcoal grill. 

The temperature control is easy on the pellet grills because you are not doing anything. The charcoal grill is much more difficult to control and the temperature needs to be adjusted manually. 

Run Time

Wood pellet grills can cook for more than 8 hours without the need to add any more pellets to the hopper. This is the minimum for all the pellet grills. You can adjust the grilling time of your charcoal grill as you want. You can cook for 12 hours or more. You might need to frequently check and add more charcoal from time to time. 

Pellet Grills

Let's take a look at some of the features of the pellet grills.

You should get a pellet grill if :

  • You like the added smoky flavor from the wood.
  • You do not want to babysit the grill and manually handle the temperature.
  • You want to smoke meat at low temperatures.

Pros of Pellet Grills 

  • It is easy to light up the grill.
  • They can maintain a constant and steady temperature.
  • You can get different flavors with different woods.

Cons of Pellet Grills  

  • They run on electricity so an outlet is always needed.
  • Regular cleanup is required.
  • You can not change the wood flavor halfway through cooking.

Charcoal Grills

Let's take a look at some of the features of the charcoal grills.

You should get a pellet grill if :

  • You like to manually build the fire and maintain it.
  • You want that charcoal flavor in your food.
  • You want to sear food at high temperatures.

Pros of Charcoal Grills 

  • The charcoal grills are very versatile.
  • They are much cheaper than the pellet grills.
  • They have the added flavor of charcoal.

Cons of Charcoal Grills

  • There is a learning curve when it comes to charcoal grills.
  • Charcoal is a messy fuel.


That's all that we have for now. We do hope that you have found the information and comparison of the charcoal and pellet grills to be useful. Thank you so much for giving this article a read. We have tried our best to give facts about both the grills. Now you can decide which one is better for you. Have a good day. Take care of yourself. No matter whichever grill you choose, happy grilling!