Best Wood Pellets

6 Best Wood Pellets: What To Look For

Last Updated on March 1, 2022

When it comes to choosing the best wood pellets for your smoker grill, there are just so many factors to consider. Not only are there many different wood types to choose from, but they each have their own properties and unique flavor profiles as well.

Then, there is the purity of the wood pellet to consider, and the heating specifications of the pellets need to be suitable for your type of grill too.

So, you’ve found yourself a wood pellet grill that suits your family’s needs but before you get excited about cooking delicious wood-fired recipes you’ll need to know what are the best wood pellets to use for your smoker grill,

Most wood pellets come in sizable 40-pound bags which means you really want to ensure you’re buying the right kind to avoid a whole lot of wasted wood.

Finding the right wood pellets takes time but in this post, we try to simplify things for you with our list of the best wood pellets available today, we also explain the different flavors, pros, and cons of each type, and a comprehensive buyer’s guide, So without further ado, let’s take a look!

Lumber Jack Competition Blend Maple-Hickory-Cherry BBQ Grilling Pellets

Best for blend:

Lumber Jack Competition Blend Maple-Hickory-Cherry BBQ Grilling Pellets
Weight20 pounds
Dimensions16 x12 x 3 inches
Type of WoodHickory, Maple and Cherry blend

It is no wonder that Lumper Jack gets our pick for best blend. That combination of Maple, Hickory, and Cherry sounds delicious, doesn’t it? And the mix of sweet fruit, sap, and wood works really well for smoking.

There are five classic flavors and five combination blends to choose from, however, this specific blend of Maple, Hickory, and Cherry tends to offer the most versatility.

Good to know

Lumber Jack is known for being dedicated to their wood, and as such, no oak filler goes into the wood pellets – no discarded bits from sawmills either. Only pure wood goes into their pellets, and any shavings go into Lumber Jack’s pet bedding.

With Lumber Jack, you also know you’re getting a higher proportion of flavored wood in the blend too. With more flavored wood comes a cleaner, more flavorful smoke. That smoke also imbues a more intense flavor into whatever you’re cooking.


  • Pure Pellets – What you see is what you get, no oak filler is used
  • Great Combination – A well-constructed blend of Maple, Hickory, and Cherry creates a deliciously tangy and fruity flavor
  • Smaller Diameter – Thinner pellets than a lot of brands, meaning that they can create more smoke due to the increased surface area


  • Big Ash Production – With 100% flavored wood there’s more ash produced and a bigger clean up

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Lumber Jack Competition Blend Maple-Hickory-Cherry BBQ Grilling Pellets

BBQr’s Delight Wood Smoking Pellets – Super Smoker Variety Value Pack

Best for variety:

BBQrs Delight Wood Smoking Pellets Super Smoker Variety Value Pack
WeightTotal: 6.85 poundsIndividual: 1 pound
Dimension of Package11.45 x 4.45 x 8 inches
Wood Type / flavorApple, Cherry, Pecan, Mesquite, Hickory, Jack Daniels

The BBQr’s Delight Wood Smoker Variety Value Pack is great for stocking up. If you want value and variety at the start of barbecue season then look no further. Each pack contains six bags, each weighing a pound and each with a different flavor.

With such variety, take your pick of fruity flavors such as Apple and Cherry. Bolder flavors to try include Mesquite and even Jack Daniel’s. Then there are more traditional wood flavors such as Hickory and Pecan. 

This is also great to find out which flavors you like and which ones work best for your favorite cuts. If you’re feeling truly experimental then mix the pellets from a few bags for your own personal blend. Maple works well with Hickory and Cherry, you may want to work on the proportions to suit your taste. 


  • Variety – Choose from six different flavors and experiment with different foods
  • No Soaking – Simply put the pellets in your smoker and they’re good to go, no need to soak them
  • Personal Blend – With so many distinct flavors you can mix and match for your own personal blend


  • Big Outlay – Think of the variety pack as an investment to help you find the combination of flavors that works best for you
  • Small Bags – Weighing a single pound means you may find yourself burning through each flavor quickly

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BBQr’s Delight Wood Smoking Pellets – Super Smoker Variety Value Pack

RecTec Grills Ultimate Blend Pellets

Best for hardwood:

RecTec Grills Ultimate Blend Pellets
Weight41 pounds
Dimensions22 x 14 x 5.25
Wood Type / FlavorHickory and Oak blend

Hardwood should be robust and reliable, and if you want a really reliable hardwood smoking pellet then consider RecTec Grills Ultimate Blend Pellets. These hardwood pellets are comprised entirely of hardwood.

They use just two kinds of wood, Oak and Hickory, in order to create consistent grilling. The pellets are also constructed to the most reliable design and are even denser than a hardwood log. They are heavily compressed so that they store more energy, giving you a longer grilling time. 

You can also expect a reliable grilling experience. The pellets have not only been compressed, but they are also all of a uniform size. That means you are left with fewer unburnt pieces of pellet at the end of your grilling.

They also burn slower while maintaining a flavorful smoke, which is great for long barbecues. With a more compact design, the bag is also easier to store. 


  • Entirely Hardwood – You know what you’re getting when it’s entirely made of Oak and Hickory
  • Dense Pellets – Compressed to be denser to store huge amounts of energy
  • Uniform Sized Pellets – Reliable grilling thanks to consistently uniform sized pellets


  • Unpleasant Smell – These will smoke well, yet the smell when in the bag can be unpleasant

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RecTec Grills Ultimate Blend Pellets

Traeger Grills PEL319 Hickory 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets

Best for hickory:

Traeger Grills PEL319 Hickory 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets
Weight20 pounds
Dimensions3 x 16 x 24 inches
Wood Type / FlavorHickory

If you’re looking for a reliable wood pellet, then stick with hardwood. If you’re looking for a versatile hardwood, then Traeger Grills Hickory Hardwood Pellets should do the job. Hickory is so versatile that you can use it to naturally enhance the flavor of beef, pork, and chicken.

You can also try it on veggies to capture a full-bodied flavor. It really is great all-around wood.

Traeger has developed their pellets over years. There are no binders in the mix and they create limited ash production for a clean burn. You can be confident in their pellets as the company oversees the entire process from their own USA-operated mills.

The burn is highly dependable and consistent too. With the right amount of moisture, the ratio between burn and smoke will be well suited to your grilling. 


  • Versatile Hickory Wood Fired Flavor – Great for many foods from rich beef and pork to hearty vegetables 
  • Developed Pellets – Using strict guidelines to achieve a compact cell structure and dependable grilling
  • Wholly Produced – Traeger oversees the process from their own operated USA mills
  • Smoke Science – Formulated pellets with just enough moisture for a perfect blue smoke


  • Lackluster Flavor – The Hickory flavor is more subtle than most expect

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Traeger Grills PEL319 Hickory 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets

BEAR MOUNTAIN Premium BBQ WOODS 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets – Gourmet Blend

Best for sustainability:

BEAR MOUNTAIN Premium BBQ WOODS 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets - Gourmet Blend
Weight20 pounds
Dimensions14 x 4 x 20 inches
Wood Type / FlavorGourmet Blend: Hickory, Maple, Oak, and Cherry

An important consideration whenever you are buying wood pellets is how sustainable they are, and Bear Mountain Premium Hardwood Pellets are some of the most eco-friendly out there. This is because Bear Mountain only uses pressed sawdust in its wood pellets from locally sourced wood.

If you’re wondering which to choose then opt for the Gourmet Blend with its winning combination of Hickory, Maple, Cherry, and some Oak thrown in too. 

A significantly low moisture content means these pellets produce minimal ash too. You should be able to grill at a reliable high heat and still produce that flavorful food.

Predictability is a good thing to have when grilling and there are no fillers, binders, or additives in these pellets to throw off their burn. The wood pellets are also versatile enough to be used in several types of grills and have been found to work well across major brands. 


  • Sustainability Commitment – Know that you’re doing your bit for sustainability by using pellets from locally sourced wood
  • 100% Hardwood – These pellets contain no binders, fillers or additives
  • Low Moisture Content – A consistently good burn should be expected with minimal ash
  • Versatile – Can be used with smokers or electric, charcoal, and gas grills


  • 20-pound bag – Though there’s a 40-pound bag, the 20-pound bag may not last for all the barbecue season

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BEAR MOUNTAIN Premium BBQ WOODS 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets – Gourmet Blend

CookinPellets 40PM Perfect Mix

Best for beginners:

CookinPellets 40PM Perfect Mix
Weight40 pounds
Dimensions20 x14 x 6 inches
Wood Type / FlavorHickory, Cherry, Maple, Apple blend

New to smoking using wood pellets? The CookinPellets Perfect Mix is perfect for beginners as it produces flavorful smoke no matter what you’re smoking.

The winsome combination of a Hickory base complemented by Cherry, Maple, and Apple hardwoods is a quality blend. Plus it’s crowd-pleasing; not too strong, not light. And it lends an appealing reddish tinge to your meat.

With no bark or oak filler, it should burn clean and hot, which is ideal if you’re finding your way and not sure what to try. A 40-pound bag should give you long-lasting performance.

This is ideal for long smokes, or short, impromptu cooks. With that capacity and a bag that’s easy to store, you’re welcome to practice.


  • Purely Heartwood – No bark or oak filler is used in these wood pellets for a dependable burn
  • Best Smoking Woods – The Perfect Mix is comprised of Cherry, Maple, Apple with a Hickory base
  • Long-Lasting – The 40-pound bag should last with consistently good performance too


  • Mild Flavor – For some, the flavor may not be strong enough. 

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CookinPellets 40PM Perfect Mix

Buyers’ Guide

Softwood vs hardwood

There is more than just taste that differentiates softwood from hardwoods. There is also the burning performance to consider. Softwood pellets burn hotter with less ash output than you’d expect.

This means they’re ideal for winter because of the way that they’ll heat a confined space. Hardwoods are great for their smoky flavors, so use those wood pellets in summer.


A huge part of your choice of wood pellets will depend on flavor, and this may take some experimenting on your part. Not only do different woods offer different taste profiles, but they also offer different intensities of smokiness too.

Certain woods will complement certain cuts of meat and fish, so let’s go through some of the key players.

  • Mesquite
    Possibly the most divisive flavor of the wood pellet is Mesquite. You can tell how much people like smoked food by whether they enjoy it with a hearty Mesquite-smoked flavor.
    Mesquite has to be sparingly used as it can soon overpower the flavor of the food you’re grilling, for this reason, try not to use it on pork, poultry, and fish. It’s great for red meat 
  • Hickory
    Without judging sales, Hickory is probably the most popular wood pellet for barbecuing. This is due to its strong flavor which makes it a winning choice with pork and ribs. It can also be blended with apple to dampen the strong flavor.
  • Pecan
    Pecan pellets are great for their nutty flavor making them ideal for poultry and pork. 
  • Walnut
    Another strongly flavored wood pellet is Walnut, so try to limit it just to game and red meat.
  • Fruitwoods
    Fruitwoods tend to have a mild flavor which gives them more versatility. 
  • Maple
    Mild and deliciously sweet, Maple is great for subtle foods such as vegetables and cheese. Maple also works really well with poultry such as turkey. 
  • Apple
    As you’d expect, the fruit flavor of Apple enhances mild-flavored meats such as poultry, lamb, pork, and even seafood.
  • Alder
    The mild flavor and aroma of Alder also work well with poultry, as well as game birds and salmon. 
  • Cherry
    Cherry is perhaps the most versatile of all the fruitwoods and can be used with pretty much all meats. Flavorful for a hearty smoke, it’s great for marinated beef ribs.  

Flavored wood

If you’re finding it difficult to choose from the flavor profiles with specific woods, try flavored wood. This is a bit of a cheat and it’s usually a bit more pricey. The wood pellets contain no filler so produce a purer flavor, hence the cost. 

Blended wood pellets

These wood pellets are a mix of flavored wood but also include a filler. The ratio is usually 1:2, with twice as much filler as flavored wood. This helps to make them cheaper. 

Standard pellets

These wood pellets are usually for heating purposes since they’re made completely of wood with no flavor. Straightforward and specifically used in the depths of winter.


As with all products, the quality of wood pellets varies. A lot of that difference has to do with the performance of the pellets. If wood pellets aren’t compressed tightly enough, they’ll fall apart once pulled by the auger.

Worse still, they may break up while you’re removing them from the bag. That’s a warning sign and an indication that they’re not up to scratch. This will show when it comes to burning; poor quality wood pellets result in poor smoke and even lower temperatures. 

There may be several factors that result in poor-quality wood pellets. They’re too damp, too crumbly, or have a high bark content. If you’re thinking there may be a problem with your grill, consider whether it may just be the choice of wood pellets.

Authors Tip

There is an easy way of knowing good quality wood pellets – simply check how much dust there is at the bottom of the bag. 

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between heating and smoking wood pellets?

Heating pellets are designed to heat and fuel fire, not to flavor food. Heating pellets can be made up of several different kinds of wood including leaves, bark, or other elements that can be harmful to your food and can also harm the taste of your food.

The combination of woods in heating pellets, including pine, contains a resin that will give food a bitter taste. No one wants that, so try not to mix up your wood pellet bags. 

Without any additives, binders, or fillers, smoking pellets are made purely from 100% hardwood. They’re known as food-grade pellets and are a more agreeable mix of woods. They may also contain vegetable oil which can be used in the extrusion process (used to create a fixed profile in pellets). 

Due to their content and value in imbuing flavor, smoking wood pellets are more expensive. Heating wood pellets are also easier to produce and thus less expensive but do not be tempted to put heating pellets into a smoker grill.  

How do you store wood pellets?

Some wood pellets can simply be stored in the bag that they come in. They’ll remain upright and keep their set moisture content. Other wood pellets should be put straight into a bin with a lid. If you know which brand or blend of wood pellet you like, then you can store it in bulk. 


And there you have it! Choosing the right wood pellets for your smoker grill will allow you to cook slower for longer, will save you time on clean up, and will imbue the maximum flavor into your meat.

As it is all about personal taste we recommend trying a few different brands and flavors to find what works for you. Get creative, after all, that is half the fun!

If we missed something you think should be included contact us. We welcome your questions, comments, or concerns, as they will help make our content better for you and others.

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