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Grills & Smokers: Your Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

We have done a bit of research and come up with our top 16 Combination Grill-Smokers under 500$ so you can roast, grill, smoke and burn things to your hearts content.

1) Traeger TFB29PLB Bronson 20 Grill | 2) Traeger Tailgater TFB30LZB Pellet Grill | 3) Traeger Pellet Grills Blue Tailgater | 4) Portable Dual Fuel Combination Charcoal/Gas Grill | 5) PK Grills The Original PK Grill & Smoker | 6) Pit Boss 71820FB Pellet Grill | 7) Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet Grill | 8) Old Smokey Charcoal Grill | 9) Nextstep Portable Folding Pellet Grill | 10) Meco 5031 Charcoal Combo Water Smoker | 11) Masterbuilt Compact Outdoor BBQ Smoker Grill | 12) Jim Beam BTDS76JB Bradley Smoker | 13) Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Charcoal Smoker & Grill | 14) Dyna-Glo DGSS962CBO-D Charcoal Grill & Side Firebox | 15) Cadac 8910-50 Carri Chef 2 Outdoor Grill | 16) River Grille Oil Less Fryer and Roaster |

The backyard BBQ is one of the standard settings for great summer moments. The combination of good weather, great friends, and tasty food is hard to beat. If you want to successfully pull off that last part, finding the right grill can make all the difference.

While a summer BBQ is nothing if not an opportunity to appreciate the simple things in life, determining the right grill to go with the occasion can actually be pretty complicated. You have a lot of options and none of them is inherently the best. You have to figure out which of your many choices is the best for what you want to get out of a grill.

Brand Comparison

There are too many brands out there selling grills and smokers to cover them all here, but we’ve researched what people are saying online about some of the best and most popular to get a feel for what customers can expect of each.

Bayou Classic

Bayou Classic’s most popular grill is the Cypress Ceramic Grill, a charcoal grill in the kamado style. Customers praise the grill’s aesthetics, results (for meat and baking) and cost in comparison to comparable products. Bayou Classic also sells a number of outdoor stoves for camping and a couple of high-end smokers.

Cal Flame

Cal Flame is known for selling attractive built-in gas grills in a number of sizes for outdoor kitchens. Most of their models have large cooking surfaces and multiple burners. Cal Flame reviews are somewhat mixed. They get consistently high marks for their look and price, but you should be careful with maintenance to avoid rust.


Charbroil has a reputation for being one of the best budget brands for grills. While the popularity of the brand means that they have their share of both good and bad reviews, overall people seem satisfied with the value for the price. Some people do find that it can be a pain to clean their grill and the quality of the steel makes this another brand you have to be careful with to avoid rust.


Fiesta grills are popular in part because of their availability at a number of the nation’s big retailers. They’re seen as basically reliable budget grills that get the job done and sometime feature nifty add-ons like helpful lighting for night grilling and condiment trays.

Fire Sense

Fire Sense offers a few varieties of charcoal grills that are built to last. While the list of grills they sell is short, they tend to have unique and attractive special features, like a grill that can double as a fire pit and one made of Japanese table clay meant to be especially suited to grilling.


Kenmore’s a popular, trusted brand name, but with grills that generally get middle-of-the-road reviews. Many customers really enjoy the value for the price for the first year or so, but find the stainless steel grills susceptible to rust after that. The upfront costs for many models are appealing, but be prepared to purchase replacement parts and/or a new grill within a few years if you go this route.


Kenyon’s known for selling high-end electrical grills. Although electrical grills in general get a bit of a bad rap, reviews of Kenyon’s products reveal customers that are satisfied with the flavor of the food they make on their Kenyon grills, even if they started out skeptical.


Laguna makes affordable, portable charcoal grills. They vary in size from those perfect for camping to those that provide enough cooking space for parties of up to 12 people.


Napoleon sells a line of high-end grills with a wide range of options. They offer both charcoal and gas, as well as small, affordable portable grills and large luxury backyard models. Napoleon grills get consistently solid reviews, so whatever model of theirs feels right for you is probably a safe bet.

Outdoor Greatroom

Outdoor Greatroom is a brand all about comfortable outdoor living. Most of their grills are designed to be a useful complement to a larger outdoor kitchen. You can buy outdoor kitchens with the grills already installed, or purchase just the grill itself to be installed as part of the kitchen you already have.


Saffire sells a line of high-end kamado grills. The grills come in different styles and colors and have an aesthetic that can add a little character to any patio. Many of the reviews of their grills comment on the cost, as the grills are a little pricier than many of the kamado grills on the market, but on the whole customers seem happy with their grill’s performance.

Sunstone Grills

Sunstone Grills specializes in high-quality stainless steel gas grills with a large cooking area and the ability to cook at different temperatures in different areas. If your BBQ guests want both burgers and chicken, you can multi-task and get all the food done more quickly and just right.


Weber’s a popular brand available at many of the national retailers. They’re a bit more expensive than some of the other common brands, but do have a reputation for durability to help account for the pricing difference. The grills are easy to use and reliable – great for grilling newbies – but most don’t provide the kind of grilling flavor the connoisseurs really appreciate.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for the easiest option to feed lots of people at your next backyard BBQ or the smoker that will produce the perfect texture and flavor you crave, the world of grills and smokers has a wide array of options for you to choose from.

If you’re still not too sure which option would work best for your needs, our experts may be able to help. Just get in touch with any specific questions you have.

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