How Much Electricity Does a Pellet Grill Use?

Are you worried about your pellet grill adding a shock to your electricity bill?

Whether you’re worried about the impact on your electric bill or simply curious about the energy consumption of your pellet grill, we’ve got the answers.

Do You Have To Use Electricity for a Pellet Grill?

Pellet grills require electricity to function. Not only do the auxiliary components like the temperature gauge require electricity, but the hot rod does too, which is what lights the pellets. Even if you manually light a pellet grill, you still need electricity to move the augur to fuel the flame.

How Much Electricity Does a Pellet Grill Use?

The exact amount of electricity your pellet grill requires to function will depend on the brand and size of the pellet grill you purchase. In general, you should expect your pellet grill to draw anywhere from 350-550 watts as it starts up, then about 50 watts per hour as it smokes your dinner.  

Are you wondering how much this might add to your electricity bill each month? While this might sound like a lot, 350-550 watts for a few seconds isn’t too bad. What you really need to worry about is how much it costs to run your pellet grill each hour since smoke sessions tend to be long. 

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BrandStart-up (Watts)Hourly usage (Watts)Hourly cost ($0.12 per kWh)
Z Grills30050-250$0.006-$0.03/hour
Note: The hourly cost is calculated based on an assumed electricity rate of $0.12 per kWh. The actual cost may vary depending on the electricity rate in your area.

How Much Electricity Does a Traeger Use?

Remember how we said the amount of electricity your pellet grill requires depends on the brand? Well, the Traeger is an excellent pellet grill for the energy conscious. Start-up for the Traeger will draw 300 watts for 4 minutes, and after that, draw a consistent 50 watts per hour. 

How Much Electricity Does a Pit Boss Use?

Like the Traeger, PitBoss is an excellent pellet grill brand for the environmentally friendly! While start-up will range from drawing 300 to 500 watts, once this grill is going, it will only draw 30 watts per hour, keeping your electricity bill nice and low.

Related >> What’s the Best Pit Boss Pellet Grill? 

How Much Electricity Does a ZGrills Pellet Grill Use?

Z Grills is the least energy-efficient brand of our favorite pellet grills. This is because while it only takes 300 watts to start it up, the average draw per hour can be anywhere between 50 to 250 watts. This makes it difficult to estimate how large of a battery you need to support this grill. But when it comes to quality for the size and price, Z Grills are always a winner! 

Related >> What’s the Best Z Grills Pellet Grill?

How Much Does it Cost to Run a Pellet Grill?

The actual cost added to your power bill will depend on your brand and size of pellet grill, as well as your location in the United States. You can use a handy utility calculator to find the total power usage based on your location. Your electricity provider should have one of these on their website. 

If you can’t find one, know that the average cost of power across the United States is 16.8 cents per kilowatt hour as of January 2023. We will do our calculations based on this amount. You also need to know that there are 1,000 watts in a kilowatt hour. 

So, to find out how much your smoke session will cost you, start by finding the startup energy draw for your pellet grill. This should be available in the owner’s manual. If you can’t find it, it’s best to estimate on the high end and assume start-up will require 550 watts. 

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Then, you need to calculate how many hours you will be smoking your meat and multiply this by 50. So for an 8-hour brisket, you’ll be looking at 400 watts. 

Add these two numbers together to get to the total power draw of your smoke session. In our case, it is 950 watts. Since we don’t think our brisket will be done in exactly 8 hours, we will go ahead and round up a bit to allow for opening and closing of the pellet grill, as well as a few extra minutes of smoking. 

If we round up to 1,000 watts, this means our approximate cost of using our pellet grill for an 8-hour smoke will be 16.8 cents, as it will draw one-kilowatt hour of energy. 

In the grand scheme of things, paying a few cents to run our pellet grill all day is no big deal. Plus, our smoked brisket will feed us for a few days and is much cheaper than feeding our cravings at a local barbeque restaurant! 

Related >> Can I Leave My Pellet Grill Plugged In?

Are Pellet Grills Energy Efficient?

While a pellet grill that uses up to 500 watts to get started might not seem efficient, when compared to other types of grills, it isn’t bad! 

For their energy cost, pellet grills provide a nice consistent heat that doesn’t flare up like in gas or charcoal grills. Plus, once it’s started, it uses much less energy than other types of smokers on the market. 

If you are looking for a grill that won’t wreck your power grill, the pellet grill is a good option. Just make sure that if you are really conscious, check out a pellet grill that requires a smaller start-up wattage of around 300 watts, and get the smallest grill possible that can still feed your family, so you aren’t constantly paying to keep a large grill going! 

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How Many Watts Does a Pellet Grill Use?

As we mentioned above, the exact wattage your pellet grill draws will depend on the brand of your pellet grill and the size. As a rule of thumb, you should estimate 300-500 watts for start-up, plus 50 watts for each hour. 

Which Uses More Power: An Electric Smoker or a Pellet Grill?

If you are trying to decide between an electric smoker and a pellet grill, then it’s important to know the power requirements of an electric smoker so you can compare. 

Electrical smokers have a lower wattage start-up but then draw about 800 watts per hour. Comparatively, a pellet grill has a 500-watt start-up, then draws 50 watts per hour. For an 8-hour smoke, an electric smoker will draw 6400 watts, while a pellet grill only draws about 1000 watts. 

This makes pellet grills much more energy efficient and a wiser choice if you are looking to save on power.

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Can You Use a Pellet Grill Without Power?

As you may know, it is possible to manually light a pellet grill. This may leave you wondering if it is possible to use your pellet grill when the power is out or if you don’t have a plug that reaches your pellet grill. 

Unfortunately, you must have electrical power in order to use your pellet grill, even when you plan to light it manually.

This is because the augur, which moves the pellets into the fire pot, needs electricity to move. Without it, you would manually have to fill the firepot every few minutes, which isn’t plausible while cooking a meal. 

Therefore, you cannot use your pellet grill when the power is out. In our home, we also have a small gas camping grill on hand for those times when the weather knocks out power. If this is common in your area, don’t let it discourage you from buying a pellet grill! Just make sure you have a backup plan for when the power is out! 

Can You Use a Pellet Grill While Camping?

Because pellet grills require power to function, you might think that you can’t take your pellet grill camping or to a tailgate. We are here to tell you that you can, you just need to get creative before you do! 

One way you can do it is by getting an external car or boat battery. These batteries hold lots of power, enough to start your pellet grill and keep it going for a few hours. Just be sure you grab a battery that holds 1000 kilowatt hours if possible. 

You may also want to look into an external battery that allows you to use solar power to recharge it. This can come in handy when you are camping for a few days. 

It is also possible to use a generator to power your pellet grill. This can come in handy if the power is out at your home and you have one on hand. But for a camping trip, a generator is a bit overkill, so you’re probably better off buying an external battery as mentioned above. 

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Photo of author

Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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