Pellet Grill VS Charcoal Grill

pellet grill vs charcoal grill

This post compares the pellet grill vs charcoal grill to help you reach a buying decision. We will look at the performance of each grill based on food flavor, cost of operating, eco-friendliness, and ease of use, among other essential factors.

Whether it’s veggies, steak, burgers, sausages, or meat skewers, everything tastes better grilled. This is a well-established fact and the reason you could be shopping for a grill.

Anyway, loving someone who makes excellent barbecue is not tricky at all! That aside, pellet grill vs. charcoal grill, which is the best.

“Let’s get started!”

Ease of Use

Pellet grills provide a very easy-to-use experience. Fill the hopper with pellets and adjust the knobs to the desired temperature. The auger inside your grill feeds the pellets automatically down to the firebox, where combustion occurs. 

On the other side, cooking on a charcoal grill is a more labor-intensive experience. First, lighting the charcoal chimney could take up to 30 minutes. Learning how to set the charcoal grill to the desired temperature can feel overwhelming for first-time users.

“The charcoal grills require manual temperature maintenance, meaning you need to invest some time to maintain the temperatures.”


We can break the costs approach into two. First, we have the initial costs, and then we have operating expenses. The pellet grill costs more than the charcoal grill. Thus, if you are looking for a budget grill and do not mind how easy it is to operate, you may go for the charcoal grill.

When it comes to operating costs, charcoal briquettes are cheaper than wood pellets grills. Besides, pellet grills feature a mechanical operating technique, which means there could be some maintenance costs in case of breakdown.

Overall, charcoal grills seem more affordable in terms of initial and operating costs. Before you jump the gun, let’s look at other factors.


Would you prefer a grill that provides some versatility?

If so, a pellet grill makes the right choice. Consider that by design, a pellet grill can serve as a smoker. In addition, the modern versions of pellet grills allow you to adjust the temperature.

These features make them more versatile since you can cook at different temperatures.

 With the charcoal grill, you can use it to grill steaks or burgers hot and fast or easily smoke low and slow.

Impact on Food Flavor

Pellet grills produce quality flavor compared to charcoal briquettes. The excellent taste is the reason barbecue chefs prefer wood pellets over briquettes.

Unlike using a charcoal grill, you can vary the flavor based on the choice of wood pellets.

For instance, meat grilled using hardwood pellets might have a different flavor from meat cooked using softwood pellets.

On the other side, charcoal could result in excessive smoke, making it difficult to achieve a rich smoky taste.

Run Time

A wood pellet grill is in general able to cook for at least 8 hours without the need to add more pellets. If you run low on pellets, you need to open the lid to the hopper and dump more pellets.

With charcoal, a single load could run out within a few hours, especially if grilling hot and fast.

If you like to see how it compares to a gas grill you can read here the comparison of a pellet grill vs a gas grill.


Whether charcoal or wood pellet grill, the two have advantages and disadvantages. Compare the features based on the overview above to determine which suits your requirements. In my situation, I see more benefits in using a pellet grill.

“In general, it is my experience that a pellet smoker offers a more subtle taste of meat, and a charcoal grill with a stronger wood taste.”

Robert Chill

Robert Chill loves to cook on pellet grills and uses all types of recipes and techniques to cook some awesome food. With his experience, he is able to share many reviews, tips, and ideas on how to buy a pellet grill. You can read more about him here

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