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Chimney or Vents...same same or is one BETTER than the other?

hncreature

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Joined Jun 26, 2020
Hello again! Part 2 to me turning to the experts for guidance...I didn't want an epic post with too many questions in one post

My other post was about adding another mid-size pellet grill and I'm also looking into one of three Pit Bosses

The choices being the Pro / Sportsman 820...chimney...or the Navigator 850...adjustable vents...beyond the venting all are pretty comparable otherwise

So the question is...

Chimney vs vents...same same or is one BETTER than the other

Thanks again!
 

mike243

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My Austin LX has a adjustable cap on it but really dont see where it helps smoke better, tried up and down and its the same, But im glad I have it because it keeps the rain out if I didnt have it in my carport, vents is going to let rain and snow ect in cap keeps it out
 

Brian Trommater

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I was a bit concerned when bought my Rec Tec that had 3 vents rather than a chimney but works great. May actual control temp across the smoker better.
 

ostrichsak

Meat Mopper
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Joined Oct 4, 2013
I was a bit concerned when bought my Rec Tec that had 3 vents rather than a chimney but works great. May actual control temp across the smoker better.
This is exactly where I noticed a difference too as the RT700 has a chimney/stack and the RT590 just has the three vents on the upper rear. I immediately wondered why this is the case. I can see it varying from manufacturer to manufacturer based on their experience & research but to have this across different models within the same manufacturer was a bit of a head scratcher. There has to be a reason one has it and the other doesn't. I feel like a stack/chimney increases production costs so it must be better than vents or vents would just be "the way" and we wouldn't be having this conversation. I saw a video that says that the 590 has more even temps from one side to the other because of this whereas the 700 can get more heat on the vent side of the grill. This begs the question: why even do that then? Why not simply vent that model too if it's better? There's got to be a reason for it so I'm hoping someone can shed some light as I try to decide between a 590, 700 or just another brand entirely.
 

mike243

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that is a unknown comment about vents don't make a difference, the only way you would know is if you change to a stack, no cover over either as long as it is under shelter it wont make much difference, out in the open and raining you the vents I will take a cap lol
 

sweetride95

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Joined Jan 31, 2018
I always assumed the single stack came from mimicking the look of an offset smoker.
All us pellet guys envy the stick burners and their thick smoke flavor..:emoji_wink:

My 590 is pretty solid across the cooking zone. 10-20 degrees when I checked it.
I prefer the clean, no stack look. Smoke profiles have been average for pellet grills. I think the stack is mostly cosmetic. This picture is just after startup, the vents always seem to be in balance as far as exhaust is concerned.
 

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ostrichsak

Meat Mopper
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Joined Oct 4, 2013
that is a unknown comment about vents don't make a difference, the only way you would know is if you change to a stack, no cover over either as long as it is under shelter it wont make much difference, out in the open and raining you the vents I will take a cap lol
I don't think rain matters with the way they vents are exhausted as they're not just holes cut in the lid. (see photo in post #7 above for visualization)
 

bill1

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Joined Apr 25, 2015
The design (& esp. the length) of a chimney is important for wood/charcoal burners using only natural draft (ie hot air rising). I just read of an electric smoker member who added a 6" soup can (open both ends) to add a chimney to his smoker vents. They'll get more flow, but less peak temperature (or a slightly higher electric bill, if they're never starved for temp).

But there's nothing "natural" about the air flow in a pellet cooker. The 'combustion fan" overwhelms any natural draft that might develop with its forced flow. So I guess I consider chimneys in a pellet grill kinda' silly--just a gimmick. As long as your vents are towards the top of the unit, and form some symmetry with the location of the pellet crucible below, you'll be fine.
 

ostrichsak

Meat Mopper
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Joined Oct 4, 2013
The design (& esp. the length) of a chimney is important for wood/charcoal burners using only natural draft (ie hot air rising). I just read of an electric smoker member who added a 6" soup can (open both ends) to add a chimney to his smoker vents. They'll get more flow, but less peak temperature (or a slightly higher electric bill, if they're never starved for temp).

But there's nothing "natural" about the air flow in a pellet cooker. The 'combustion fan" overwhelms any natural draft that might develop with its forced flow. So I guess I consider chimneys in a pellet grill kinda' silly--just a gimmick. As long as your vents are towards the top of the unit, and form some symmetry with the location of the pellet crucible below, you'll be fine.
This kind of matches my thought as well. The pot will create pressure to make the smoke go where they want it to go w/o a chimney. If anything, it feels to me like these vents may be a better design for pellet smokers and yet... there they are on most of them. This goes against my comparative limited knowledge of pellet smoker engineering and design so maybe I'm not aware of the details that make them not a vestigial hold-over.
 

bill1

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...vents may be a better design for pellet smokers and yet... there they are on most of them...
Someone earlier made a valid point that if you frequently cook in inclement weather, it's easier to put a cone cap over a round chimney than make umbrellas for vents. I agree it's interesting RecTec has both approaches on 2 different units.
 

hncreature

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Joined Jun 26, 2020
As does Pit Boss with their two new series...Navigator has vents and the Sportsman has a chimney...???
 

bigfurmn

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Joined Feb 25, 2016
I have no way of knowing the difference. I would be curious to see a side by side comparison of chimney to vents. Then again I wish I had the bank roll to run that comparison!
 

bill1

Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Apr 25, 2015
... curious to see a side by side comparison of chimney to vents...
But what would you compare? Uniformity of temperature throughout the cooking volume? Velocity of smoke flow across the meat surface? Response time to a change in setpoint? Flavor?!?!?

I think most of this is just gimmickry. E.g. for the RecTec 590 (I think that's the one with 3 vents?) it's hard to see why the middle vent isn't a bit smaller than the outside ones. After all, if the air & smoke are coming from a low, centered firepot, the path out the side vents is a longer (more resistive) path than the center so really need a bit less restriction. FWIW.

I'll never have the funds for a RecTec, but if I did, I'd pick on the cosmetic basis of looks. Those 3 vents look mighty cool, like the hood scoops on an old V8 muscle car. So there you go. :-)
 

bigfurmn

Meat Mopper
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Joined Feb 25, 2016
But what would you compare? Uniformity of temperature throughout the cooking volume? Velocity of smoke flow across the meat surface? Response time to a change in setpoint? Flavor?!?!?

I think most of this is just gimmickry. E.g. for the RecTec 590 (I think that's the one with 3 vents?) it's hard to see why the middle vent isn't a bit smaller than the outside ones. After all, if the air & smoke are coming from a low, centered firepot, the path out the side vents is a longer (more resistive) path than the center so really need a bit less restriction. FWIW.

I'll never have the funds for a RecTec, but if I did, I'd pick on the cosmetic basis of looks. Those 3 vents look mighty cool, like the hood scoops on an old V8 muscle car. So there you go. :-)
Actually I was just thinking tempature across the grates. Plus, who wouldn't want to have two grills???
 

sweetride95

Meat Mopper
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Joined Jan 31, 2018
I have no way of knowing the difference. I would be curious to see a side by side comparison of chimney to vents. Then again I wish I had the bank roll to run that comparison!
I had a traeger with the chimney.
No difference in smoke flavor.
Rec Tec is more accurate overall in temps thanks to the PID.
Rec Tec is warmer to right side, just like the traeger, but to a lesser degree.
Someone else's mileage may vary.
Back vents are on the smaller Rec Tecs and traegers. Also the timberline traegers and Weber pellet grills. I think its a wash. I prefer the vented look, so its wins for me.
 

bigfurmn

Meat Mopper
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Joined Feb 25, 2016
I have a pit boss 1000SC and according to my thermometer inside there is a temp difference from back to front and slightly right side to left.
 

mike guy

Smoke Blower
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Joined Sep 12, 2019
Pellet smokers work on positive pressure from a fan. In a positive pressure environment a chimney is going to be the same as a vent. It's not going to draw like it would if there was a heat due to pressure / density differences. the air is just going to find the nearest exit and go there.

TLDR: nope they will behave the same
 

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