I have been asking the question: what does it really cost to operate a pellet smoker used both as a smoker and a grill. Being retired on a fixed income of military pay, social security and annuity, no one is rolling up to my door with a wheel barrel full of money every month. I currently have a 30 inch MES which operates about 3 times per week averaging about 20 hours. I like smoking. It is a great hobby and fun. The results are excellent. And the family loves it. I am really interested in using the wood pellets but not beyond my means. So I have been browsing the web and manufacturer sites to glean information about cost of operation based upon pellet consumption. I found the best information on pelletheads.com.
Pellet Consumption Performance Chart
This information will certainly help anyone interested in acquiring a pellet grill make a decision. For example, based upon price and performance, I have narrowed my choices to GMG Daniel Boone, Rec-Tec, and Blaz'n Grill Works Grand Slam in that order. If you look at the performance of all the grills at 400 degrees F pellet consumption really takes off and the best performer Cornglo Industries. Since my intention is purely smoking with wood and supplementing the smoke with AMNPS if required, I will be using my gas grill for steaks, burgers, and chops for short grilling operations. If I were using, hypothetically, a GMG Daniel Boone, according to this chart and smoked a Brisket for 11 hours at 225 degrees, then I would be using 5 and a quarter pounds of pellets at a cost of $.85 per pound from Lowes, for a total cost of $4.46. I have been informed that quality pellets can be purchased for less but I have not found where that can be done within my local area at this time.
I am using my pellet smoker for an average of 20 hours per week, and based upon a rough guess, I am going to use 14 pounds of pellets a week or 56 lbs. of pellets a month. At a cost of $.85 per pound this will be $47.60 per month or $571.20 per year. This is equivalent to the insurance premium on my car. I know that with my MES 30 inch, that I do not use that much electricity. But, this is a hobby that provides excellent results. So from an emotional and an immediate gratification perspective, it works for me. If I find pellets, locally, less than the cost of lowes, this will be even better. I will have to purchase at least 60 lbs. of pellets per month on the average. Granted some months will be larger than others and some will be smaller.
There are a lot of great pellet grills on the market today and pellet consumption varies. However, the cost of these grills varies as well. How you intend to use the grill will have a direct effect on your cost of operation. At this time, I will try to find a dealer or speak with factory representatives over the phone in order to learn more product knowledge.
Have a great day!!