The flagship grill – 700D4E pellet grill is the best Z Grill but the 1000E, 450B, and the 600D3E are all excellent options as well.
As a chef and someone who has been a part of the BBQ circuit for a long time, I have had the benefit of testing out a lot of grills. Ever since Z Grills came to my attention, I have been putting various models through their paces. Here are my results!
It may seem like Z Grills is somewhat the new kid on the block with brands like Traeger and Weber overshadowing the company. However, this isn’t the case at all. The company has been working behind the scenes for many years – producing wood pellet grill parts and components for the top grill brands in the world.
In 2017, however, Z Grills decided to carve their own path. They set up a crowdfunding campaign and got to work producing high quality, efficient, and affordable wood pellet grills.
image credit: zgrills.com.au
Currently, the Z Grills company sells to over 10 countries along the globe, allowing people to purchase grills directly via their Z Grills website or through major chain companies. At the moment, they boast the largest wood pellet grill lineup of any brand.
Unlike most other grill companies, the Z Grills operation solely focuses on pellet grills – there are no charcoal or gas grill models available.
Now, let’s take a quick look at the various Z Grills pellet grill series.
First up, there is the 450A and 450B. They share many features including a cooking surface area of 459 square inches, a pellet hopper capacity of 15lbs, and a temperature range of 180 °F and 450 °F.
The main differences here is that the 450B is an upgraded version – it includes an LCD control panel, a pellet view window, a FEED button for faster heat recovery, and a pellet hopper lid door.
Next up, there is the 550A and 550B, but there are a few more differences between these models. For instance, 550A has a cooking surface of 585 square inches and a hopper capacity of 16lbs, while the 550B has a surface area of 553 sq. inches and a capacity of 10lbs.
550A also has a digital temperature control system, while the 550B has a PID temperature controller, making it the more reliable option.
The distinction between the 600 models isn’t as easy to make. In this grills lineup, all the models have 572 square inches of cooking space and a 8lb hopper.
The main differences appear to be with the lid materials. Some have a powder coat steel lid which is resistant to high temperatures. The upgraded versions have a stainless steel lid offering up heat retention, corrosion resistance, rust resistance, and greater longevity.
There is also a bit more variation in color in this series, allowing you to choose between blue and bronze.
In the 700 series, the pellet grills have a cooking surface area of 697 sq. inches and a hopper capacity of 20lbs. The main difference between each model is the lids – the cheaper options are made from steel while the newer versions are made of stainless steel.
Some of the upgraded models control have built-in meat probes that allow you to monitor the internal temperature of the meats you are cooking.
As the name suggests, most pellet grills in the 1000 series have at least 1000 square inches of cooking space. They also have a 20lb hopper capacity.
As for the differences between each models, it is the steel vs. stainless steel construction once more.
This is the only Z Grill model that has Wi-Fi features. It also boasts 1068 sq. inches of cooking space and a 28lb pound hopper. In addition to the fact that it can be synced up to an app, this model also contains features that allows the grill to heat up more efficiently.
The Portable series is also fairly new. There is just a single model – 200A. It has a grilling space of 202 sq. inches, a 8lb hopper capacity, and weighs 51lbs.
Now that you have a brief idea of the Z Grills models and what they have to offer, let’s take a look at the top options independently. Here is a Z Grills review of the top pellet grills:
This is probably not the first Z Grills model that will spring to mind when you think of the affordable Z Grills. Starting at $700, this is certainly one of the steeper priced options. However, I find that the features and the price balance out perfectly in this grill.
For one thing, when it comes to the main rack – i.e. the primary cooking area where the direct cooking takes place, this grill has more to offer than the 1000 series range! To add to this, there is a 20lbs hopper capacity – this allows for burning wood pellets for a longer period of time.
Thus, you are getting more bang for your buck here.
Thanks to the PID controller system, the cooking temperature is maintained throughout the cook. You get to simply set it and walk away, having peace of mind of minimal fluctuations. To add to this, I really like the Feed function, here. Every time that you open and close the lid, you can balance out the temperature, ensuring that your food will continue to cook at the same rate as before.
I also like that at this price point, there are lots of features to enjoy. To start with, the included meat probes are a a nice touch as this price point and certainly make the grilling experience a lot easier.
Also, look at the storage space in the form of an enclosed cabinet! You have an entire cabinet under the grill to store your tools, pellets, and other items.
The only real complaint that I would have regarding this model is the pellet clean out system. It is OK, but doesn’t really make your job of cleaning up any easier.
This is the biggest in the Z Grills lineup – although as I mentioned in terms of primary grilling area, the 700 has it beat. Still, if you like cooking for a crowd and often, you can’t go wrong with this Z Grills model. This is especially since with the 20lb hopper capacity, the party doesn’t have to stop anytime soon.
And, with plenty of stainless steel components, this grill is undoubtedly one of the most long lasting grills out there. Thus, it is a solid investment, particularly for people who enjoy grilling all year long and in all types of weather. The lid, in particular, has improved heat retention, making it even easier to stabilize the temperatures.
At this price point, it isn’t surprising to find that the Z Grills grill is equipped with a cabinet where you can store plenty of items. Still, it is a nice touch and one that I appreciate. The side table is another useful element.
In terms of performance, the PID controller does most of the heavy lifting here. As such, you can simply set the temperature and guarantee minimal fluctuations. The Venturi-style fire pot provides maximum heat distribution while also ensuring that most of the wood pellets are burned during the combustion process. This cuts down on waste.
As far as cleanup goes, the grease management system allows you to direct all the grease into one area. Line this pan with foil and it makes it even easier for you to dump out the grease. To add to this, it is quite easy to get rid of the ash on this model. Simply pull the lever and get rid of the ash.
My main complaint with this Z Grills pellet grill would be the lack of Wi-Fi features. At this price point, there is no excuse for it considering many other pellet grills from other brands have this function. Such a function is also something that many grill owners are asking for these days. Thus, it is easy to overlook the Z Grills 1000E due to this.
It is grills like the 450B that put Z Grills on the map. Now, at first glance, you would imagine that there isn’t anything too impressive about this pellet smoker, but you would be mistaken.
For one thing, it has an ample amount of cooking space, not including the warming rack and upper racks. Remember, these can be removed if you wish to smoke a larger bird or hopper.
I also like the hopper size. No, it doesn’t have the largest hopper capacity around, but at 15lbs, it helps to keep this Z Grills grill going for quite a while without requiring any top ups.
What I am really impressed about, though, is the temperature control. This machine has been designed to decrease fluctuations and to ensure that the food is cooked at consistent temperatures throughout.
To add to this, this hopper cleanout system makes cleaning a breeze. With just a twist and a turn, you will be able to get rid of any unused pellets.
I will say that this grill is best for those you are just entering the world of grilling. Its lack of bells and whistles may frustrate a more experienced pitmaster. However, if you are looking for something affordable, reliable, and that produces good results, then this Z Grills grill is the one for you.
*This product is no longer available.
As someone who has had the opportunity to test out a lot of pellet grills here is what I have learned – many expensive grills aren’t great at grilling or searing. This is because most of them stall at 500°F or so, which isn’t nearly hot enough to sear food.
This Z Grills option, however, is different – a small portion of the grill can reach temperatures of up to 750°F! This temperature range makes it an absolute breeze to grill any food to perfection.
In general, though, there is a lot to like about this popular model. For one thing, the construction is excellent – heavy duty materials all the way. Not only does this boost the overall longevity of the grill, but it goes a long way towards heat retention as well.
I also enjoy the fact that I can maintain my desired temperature range without any issue at all. And, all that storage is certainly a handy feature.
In general, there isn’t much to complain about this Z Grills model at all. If you are looking for a mid-range smoker grill that has all the features that a novice or even a moderately experienced cook could want, then this is the one for you.
If the Z Grills 700D4E is a bit too rich for your taste, I would suggest checking out Z Grills ZPG 7002E.
There is a stainless steel lid that helps with heat retention while staving off rust and corrosion. I also like the automatic auger system. The variable fan system adjusts the oxygen levels and pellet feed rate to ensure steady temperatures throughout.
With the 20lb pellet hopper, you get 10 hours grilling on high and 33 hours when smoking. This ensures that you will rarely have to fill up the hopper mid-cook.
Now, it should be noted that this pellet grill does have a digital temperature controller. As such, the temperature maintenance isn’t as accurate as with grills that boast PID technology. Still, with a little bit of monitoring, you should be able to keep the temps in check.
Now, I did get curious about the Z Grills 500B – after all, it boasted a larger cooking surface area, PID technology, and a lower price tag than 450B so why wasn’t it such a popular model?
After bit of an investigation, I have discovered two reasons for this. The first is that despite the larger cooking space, the pellet hopper is smaller. Thus, if you want to cook more food for longer, you are going to need to keep refilling the wood pellets.
The other issue is that this Z Grills grill is simply made of steel rather stainless steel. Due to this, it doesn’t offer up as much heat retention. If you live somewhere where it is cold and windy, then you are going to find it difficult to maintain your desired temperature for as long as you need.
Of course, it isn’t enough just to know how good Z Grills are. You also need to be aware of how well they measure up, particularly in comparison to top competition. So, how do these Z Grills pellet grills fare?
I will be the first one to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by what Z Grills had to offer. For most of my life, I have been handling expensive, top-of-the line grills. Thus, I didn’t expect all that much from this budget brand.
However, considering that Z Grills has been producing parts and components for some of the biggest pellet grills brand in the world means that they know a thing or two about smoking and grilling. They have also discovered a way to provide these top-notch features at a fraction of the cost.
As far as selection goes, Z Grills also provides more options than any other company that I can think of. In particular, I like that Z Grills has mastered the art of keeping the features that consumers enjoy and simply upgrading where necessary. This makes it easy to stick with the company.
Furthermore, even at a lower price point, I like that Z Grills offers plenty of extras. These include storage, meat probes, etc.
Does this mean that Z Grills offers real competition for Traeger pellet grills and others like this brand?
Well, this isn’t as easy to determine. For one thing, I would find it very unlikely that those loyal to certain brands are going to turn away from them any time soon, even with the promise of a lower price tag.
It also has to be said that as much as I like Z Grills, they do lack a few things. For instance, when it comes to durability, more expensive grills may offer a longer life span. Z Grills aren’t going to be winning many style points any time soon either.
I would also say that if you are a hardcore griller, smoker, or cook on a regular basis that a more expensive or sophisticated brand would be better suited to your needs.
For the most part, Z Grills is pretty good with their upgrades. You can find an upgraded option for nearly every model that you can think of. This includes improvements in temperature control, heat retention, power output, and more.
At the same time, I do feel that they need to do more when it comes to Wi-Fi features. This is the requirement of this day and age. With other brands, even the cheaper options can be synced up to apps. It is simply becoming another common feature.
So, you like what you have seen and want to know which grill that you should get for yourself. Well, here is a guide that you can follow:
I would argue that this is the first thing that you should consider when you buy any pellet grill, not just a Z Grills one.
For one thing, making a note of your budget will help to narrow your search. For another, it incentivizes you to find the best set of features within your preferred price range.
If you are looking for something under $500, then I would suggest 450B. For less than $550, then the 600D3E is good for you. For a budget less than $700, the 700D4E is the clear winner.
For less than $850, you can consider the 1000 series.
You should keep in mind that additional features like a thermal blanket or grill cover typically costs extra. Thus, if you wish to purchase these, then you need to consider whether or not they will fit into your budget.
Yes, this factor can matter quite a bit when looking for a Z Grills pellet grill. If you live somewhere warm, then you don’t have to worry about heat retention as much. On the other hand, if you region gets cold or windy or you simply like smoking in the wintertime, then the weather can come into play here.
See, the colder and windier it is, the harder that it can be to maintain the temperature inside the cooking chamber. Thus, you need a thicker lid, preferably lined or made from a material that helps to keep the heat trapped inside.
For this purpose, I would choose any of the Z Grills that are made from double walled stainless steel. The 450B or the 7004DE may be particularly useful to you. They are equipped with a Feed function.
Every time that you open the lid and then close it, the temperature inside the chamber will drop. When you press the Feed button, the grill will work to overcome this discrepancy and bring the temperature back up to the desired level.
You should also think about where you like to grill and smoke more often. For instance, if it is in your own backyard, then it is unlikely that you are going to be moving the machine around too much. In this case, with their heavy duty wheels, you will find most Z Grills grills up to the task.
On the other hand, if you do move your grill around quite a bit, then you should look at the dimensions and weight of the grill. If you are into tailgating, then choose the grill from the portable range. Be warned that you will need some kind of stand for this grill unless you are planning on smoking on the ground. As you can imagine, it also has a fairly limited cooking area too.
In case you are looking for a decent balance between size and weight, then the 450B may be your best option. It comes in at 75lbs and because it boasts smaller dimensions, you may be able to take it in the back of a truck without too much hassle. Of course, you will need the assistance of at least one another person to do this.
Now, all the Z Grills models can smoke as well as grill. However, not each of them offer the same performance across the board.
As mentioned, when grilling, you do require higher temperatures. This is especially true if you are searing food. If you are smoking, though, then it is imperative that the pellet smoker is capable of maintaining lower temperatures.
If your main goal is grilling, then I would suggest the 600D3E as it can reach temperatures as high as 750°F. Apart from this Z Grills grill, any other option would be excellent for smoking as they are pretty good at maintaining those lower temperatures required.
This is something that people will automatically compare and contrast whenever they shop around for a pellet grill. After all, this gives you an idea of just how much food that you can prepare in one go. This number is important for people with larger families or those that like to grill for bigger crowds frequently.
The issue, though, is that a lot of people get hung up on the total rack space of these grills. Unfortunately that doesn’t give you an accurate description of how much usable space you will end up with.
What you need to pay attention to is the lower rack dimensions. This is the part of the grill that is closest to direct heat. This is what will matter if you want to grill foods at higher temperatures or if you want to cook food faster.
As I have mentioned earlier, for instance, the 700D4E has a larger lower rack area than the models in the 1000 series. Thus, make sure that you know what numbers you need to pay attention to.
Unless you are planning only on smoking, then the second and third trays or the warming racks aren’t going to matter too much. And, if you do want to smoke large briskets or birds, check how much space there is inside the cooking chamber as well.
I know that a lot of people will keep certain things like wood pellets alongside the grill for the entire year. You may also want to store other equipment and gear inside the grill too.
The good news is that the most models for the 600, 700, and the 1000 series have some form of storage. That being said, I have to say that the 600D3E has a side shelf which I consider to be an added bonus.
It saves you the hassle of having to set up another table close by or worse having to carry food back and forth while smoking or grilling.
Few people want to think about having to clean up after a cookout but it is a necessary part of smoking and cooking. On the one hand, all Z Grills options have a good grease management system .All the grease is directed into a bucket and can be removed. Line this with aluminum foil and it will be even easier for you to tackle this.
For the best of both worlds when it comes to both ash and pellet clean out system, I would suggest the 450B. The good news is all of the grills have porcelain coated grills making them a breeze to clean up after grilling.
While the 1000E is meant to be the best, the 700D4E offers best bang for the buck.
It is made and manufactured in China but assembled in the the US.
Now you know which Z Grills model you should be buying regardless of your budget or your requirements. Armed with this information, you should be able to find the perfect grill for yourself without any issue at all!