How long do pellets last in a pellet grill?

How long do pellets last in a pellet grill?

Are you considering buying a pellet grill but have questions, such as ‘How long do pellets last in a pellet grill?’ If so, then this blog post is just the place for you.

With their growing popularity amongst barbeque enthusiasts, it’s no surprise that more and more people are turning to pellet grills and the convenience of using wood pellets to cook with.

But understanding how they work and how long those little bags of pellets will last can be tricky if you have not used one before.

So we’re here to help answer any questions you might have about burgers or briskets cooked on a pellet grill—like our investigation into how long pellets last in a pellet grill! Keep reading for all the answers about cooking temperatures, usage timeframes, fuel costs, and more.

Table of Contents

What Are Wood Pellets And Why Use Them?

Wood pellets are a popular fuel source for outdoor cooking, made of compressed wood shavings and sawdust. They’re cylindrical, with a small diameter of about an eighth to a quarter of an inch and a typical length of ½ to 1 inch. These little cylinders are ultra-dense and clean-burning, producing a rich, smokey flavor that’s hard to beat.

How long do pellets last in a pellet grill?

There are a few types of wood pellets to choose from when it comes to flavor. Popular options include hickory, cherry, oak, apple, and mesquite. Many grillers question pellet usage, such as “How many wood pellets are for smoking?” or “How many lbs of pellets are to smoke a brisket?” If you’re smoking meat with a pellet grill, expect to use around ½ lb of pellets per hour to maintain proper cooking temperatures.

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While wood pellets can be sold in large bags of 20 lbs or more, they are still highly portable and easy to store. This makes them a perfect fuel source for tailgating, camping, or other outdoor adventure.

The pellets are created by compressing sawdust and wood shavings, creating an even and consistent shape. The production process also heats the material to a high temperature, removing impurities like moisture. This ensures the pellets burn evenly and produce constant heat.

Pellet grills rely on these little cylinders for efficient and consistent heat. With just a power source, you can keep your grill running for hours, producing delicious, smoky meals that will have your taste buds dancing.

Benefits of Wood Pellets

Wood pellets have advantages over charcoal, propane, and traditional wood sources for grilling or smoking. Here are a few of the benefits:

Pellets ignite and reach optimal temperature much faster than charcoal grills, offering a richer, more intense savor than propane.

-Consistent heat – Pellets provide a consistent source of heat, which helps you maintain even cooking temperatures. They burn with more regularity and uniformity over time, providing greater temperature control for your smoker or grill.

-Easy to store & transport – Pellet bags are small and lightweight, making them easy to store and transport.

-Clean burning – Pellets burn cleanly, with minimal smoke or residue left behind. This makes them ideal for cooking indoors or in an enclosed backyard setting.

-Economical – Pellet grills use less fuel than other outdoor cooking, saving you money on fuel costs.

-Flavor – Pellets produce a rich, smoky flavor that can’t be beaten!

These factors make wood pellets an excellent choice for outdoor cooking enthusiasts seeking to maximize their culinary endeavors.

Drawbacks of Pellets

No fuel source is perfect, and wood pellets have their own set of drawbacks to consider. Here are a few of the cons:

-Although pellets can produce a milder smoky flavor than charcoal, some smokers find their convenience outweighs this difference.

-Higher upfront costs – Pellet grills are more expensive than outdoor cooking.

-Difficult temperature control – Wood pellets can produce inconsistent temperatures, making it difficult to control the temperature of your grill.

-Short shelf life – Pellets are short and should be used within 6 months of purchase for optimal performance.

-Messy – Pellet grills can be messy and require regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them functioning correctly.

-Using pellets requires an initial investment in fuel and storage space, but avoiding spoilage is as simple as buying only what’s needed and storing any leftovers in a dry place.

So, while pellets may be the wrong choice for everyone, their reliability, and versatility make them a strong contender.

How Long Do Pellets Last In A Pellet Grill?

The amount of time pellets last in your pellet grill depends on several factors, such as the size of your grill and how often you use it. Generally speaking, a 20-pound bag of pellets should last about an hour and a half to two hours when used on a medium-sized grill.

How long do pellets last in a pellet grill?

Most pellet grills will burn between one to three pounds of pellets per hour, depending on the set temperature and the grill’s make and model. That means a 20-pound bag of pellets should last you anywhere from six to 20 hours, give or take. However, the largest factor is the temperature you are cooking at.

Remember that this is just an estimate, and your mileage may vary depending on the size of the cuts you are cooking, how hot you’re running your pellet grill, and other factors. In any case, you should always monitor your pellets to ensure they’re burning properly.

Though various factors can influence the burn rate of your wood pellets, some are more prominent. Thus, let’s explore the primary culprits.


Pellet grill temperature is the topmost factor dictating the longevity of pellets, emphasizing its importance. If you grill at 180 °F, it would be easier on the pellets and last much longer.

Whereas with a high temperature like 500 °F, you can quickly burn through a 20 lb bag of pellets within a few hours, although you rarely need to grill at such high temperatures for extended periods.

How long do pellets last in a pellet grill?

When smoking meat slow and low, you won’t have to add pellets to the grill as often, and a 20 lb bag saves chewy meat disasters. For 16-24+ hours of run-time, you can expect your grill to work wonders at such temperatures.

Our Brisk It pellets grill has a state-of-the-art temperature control algorithm, ensuring maximum smoke and temperature stability.

This standout feature also greatly reduces the rate at which pellets are consumed, meaning you can smoke and grill on an economical budget.

And if you’re thinking of trying an overnight recipe, you’ll be happy to know that the pellet hopper, when half full, should provide ample fuel to finish the job. With Brisk It, you can kiss the days of flamed-out grills goodbye!

-Pellet Material

If you’re wondering how many pellets a pellet grill uses, the answer is it depends! Believe it or not, what your pellets are made of matters more than the number of pellets.

You see, some types of wood burn hotter while others burn faster, which means they can have varying burn times.

Moreover, the quality of the pellet is important too. Cheaper pellets tend to burn faster due to their less dense nature and are often filled with flavored oils.

On the other hand, higher-quality pellets are denser and have more wood material, allowing them to burn slowly and provide natural flavor.

Another factor affecting how quickly pellets burn is the temperature. Warmer pellets burn quickly, but cold pellets take longer to heat up.

Also, the type of pellets used in the pellet grill can have an impact. Softwoods like pine, fir, and cedar tend to generate more ash, making them perfect for smoking but not as great for long cooking sessions.

Meanwhile, hardwood pellets burn hotter and cleaner, providing superior heat retention, which is ideal for grilling.

Look for pellets that blend soft and hardwoods to get that perfect balance of heat and flavor.

For instance, our Brisk It pellets grill combines applewood and hickory pellets, giving your grilled or smoked dishes a mouth-watering taste.

-Type of Grill

The type of grill you use can significantly impact the lifetime of your pellets. Maintaining proper temperature is essential for well-smoked meat, but different grills have different insulation and heat retention levels.

So, how fast does a pellet grill heat up? Usually, it takes between 10 and 15 minutes, depending on the grill’s design and manufacturer.

Pellet grills with automatic feeders vary in their feeding mechanisms, which will affect the number of pellets used. The size and type of grill you use also affect the pellets consumed. Larger grills require more pellets, while smaller models use fewer.

For example, a large pellet smoker demands up to 40 pounds of pellets per cook, while a compact pellet stove only needs 15-20 pounds to complete a cook.

Grills with better temperature control settings use fewer pellets to keep the cooking temperature steady and even. By optimizing these factors, you’ll achieve tastier, more consistent results.


Knowing how the weather and humidity will affect your grill can save you time and money when it comes to pellet grilling. In colder temperatures, you’ll need more pellets to get the grill up to temperature and keep it there. Warm environments, on the other hand, require less energy and fewer pellets throughout the cooking process.

But humidity matters, too. High humidity levels can degrade pellets over time and reduce their burning efficiency. To ensure your pellets are always ready to use and don’t spoil in storage, store them in airtight containers in a dry location.

Regarding storage, weather conditions can also affect the number of pellets you use in a grilling session. Damp and humid weather can cause moisture to form inside the pellet hopper, leading to clumps and jams that reduce burning efficiency.

If you’re grilling in the winter, be prepared to use more fuel to maintain the correct temperature. Although preheating will take longer, you’ll also need to cook your meat longer, so your pellets will last less.

Knowing how the weather and humidity affect your pellets, you can optimize your grilling experience and ensure your pellets always burn smoothly.

-The Brand and Quality of Your Pellets

Pellet grilling is an art that requires the right type, quality, and amount of pellets to achieve the best results. But when it comes to choosing pellets, the cost can sometimes be a deciding factor, and people might go for cheaper alternatives, hoping to save a few bucks. However, after researching and seeking expert advice, we strongly advise you to reconsider going for lower-quality pellets as your preferred brand has much to lose, and so do you.

See, brands that produce grilling pellets often make the grills themselves, and their reputation is on the line if they sell you anything less than what’s advertised. Established brands have been around for years, allowing them to perfect their pellets and ensure the best grilling experience when you use their grill and pellets combo.

And this is not all. The quality of the pellets you use matters just as much. Higher quality products burn better, more evenly, and last longer, giving you the best-tasting dishes and more value for your money.

Plus, reputable brands save you from the hassle of a faulty pellet feeder system—reliability is key when grilling a steak or smoking some ribs. Choose high-quality pellets from a trusted manufacturer for the best result, and achieving a perfect grill master dish will be at your fingertips.

-The Grill and Insulation

Pellet grilling is a science that requires precision and careful calculation to create perfectly cooked meals every time. One crucial factor that impacts the grill’s performance is the quality of the pellet grill and the insulation used to make it.

Regarding pellet grills, the larger the size, the higher your pellet consumption. But there are other important factors to consider beyond just size. Investing in a well-insulated pellet grill, for example, can help maintain a consistent temperature, reducing pellet consumption and minimizing waste.

Some pellet grills come bundled with insulation blankets, which keep them warm during colder months. Conversely, others are double-walled, which helps naturally insulate them. While an insulation blanket is rustling for colder temperatures, the quality of a grill’s insulation, specifically the materials used, can significantly impact pellet usage and heat retention.

Materials like ceramic insulation and stainless steel are more heat-resistant and burn fewer pellets during cooking longer than other materials. Adjustable damper valves can also regulate airflow and reduce pellet consumption.

So, keep the quality of your pellet grill high. Investing in a high-performance, well-insulated pellet grill and utilizing these tips will improve your grilling.

How Long Do Pellets Burn For?

When cooking with wood pellets, there are a few things to remember.

The number of pellets you’ll need depends on the size of your grill and the temperature you’re cooking at. Remember that higher temperatures will require more wood pellets!

How long do pellets last in a pellet grill?

A pellet grill at the standard temperature of 225°F will only burn about half to one pound of wood pellets per hour. But let’s face it; if you got yourself a pellet grill, you’re probably planning on cooking at higher temperatures! To cook at 450°F, you’ll need to use around four pounds of pellets per hour.

The size of your grill matters too. Grills with larger surface areas require more pellets than those with smaller cooking areas. Look at the owner’s manual for your specific grill to get an idea of the pellet burn rate, and always round up! It’s always a better call to have more than less, especially when cooking a brisket [1].

How Long Pellets Last in Different Grill Models

We have compiled a chart of the burn rates of frequently used grill models, as estimating it can be tricky. It’s advisable to round up to ensure safety, as these are mere estimates.

Pellet Grill ModelLow Temp Burn Rate (225°F)High Temp Burn Rate (450°F and up)
Camp Chef Woodwind0.75lbs per hour2 lbs per hour
Traeger Pellet Grills1lb per hour3lbs per hour
ZGrills 700 Series1lb per hour2lbs per hour
Pit Boss Pellet Grills1 lb per hour3lbs per hour
Louisiana Grills Black Label1.6lbs per hour4.5lbs per hour
Green Mountain Trek0.5lbs per hour2lbs per hour
Weber SmokeFire1.25lbs per hour4lbs per hour

Please find that there exists a notable difference among various grill models. In case you are still waiting to see your model listed here, we advise that you estimate around 2 lbs per hour for low cooking temps and 4 lbs per hour for high temperatures to ensure safety. This provides reassurance that your cooking experience is both enjoyable and safe.

Editor’s Note: Many people are unaware that not all wood pellets burn at the same rate. Using different woods can result in variations in burn time, which is why estimates are approximate. It’s worth noting that if you’re mixing woods in your hopper, which we highly recommend, you may experience added differences in the burn rates of the wood pellets.

How Long Can You Store Pellets in Your Pellet Grill?

Wood pellets’ lifespan depends on storage conditions. When stored dry and sealed in a cool place, they can last up to two years. In contrast, exposing them to extreme temperatures, moisture, or direct sunlight significantly shortens their shelf life.

For optimum results, storing your pellets in a smooth environment is advisable. Since your pellet grill is airtight and metal-made, it is the ideal storage solution. Following each use, seal the hopper of your pellet grill tightly to guarantee maximum freshness and quality for your next cooking session.

Most importantly, never store pellets in your hopper for any extended period. Store them in your garage or shed, dry and out of direct sunlight. In regions with high humidity, opt to store them indoors.

Suppose you monitor your pellet storage diligently, removing them from the grill and keeping them indoors after each use. In that case, they can last from six months to a year.

Why My Wood Pellets Don’t Last Very Long

When it comes to how long your pellets last in your pellet grill, the type of grill is just one of the factors affecting performance. But if you’re noticing a rapid depletion of pellets, other culprits could be at play. Consider the following reasons:

-Your Grill is Old

Older grills are less fuel efficient; that much is clear. But did you know that if your grill is over 5 years old, it may not burn pellets as efficiently as it once did?

Technology has come a long way in the last 5 years, making an upgrade worth your consideration.

How long do pellets last in a pellet grill?

So, to get the most out of your grill, consider investing in a more modern alternative.

-Your Grill is Dirty

Keeping your grill clean affects its performance in more ways than one. Regarding pellet grills, grease and ash buildup can create hot spots that reduce fuel efficiency.

Ensure you’re cleaning out the firepot and hopper regularly to ensure a smooth functioning unit and get the most out of every pound of pellets.

-You’re Cooking at High Temperatures

Cooking your food at the highest temperatures possible isn’t always necessary. It’s nice to get that perfect char outside of a steak or burger, but when you cook hotter and longer, you’ll use more wood pellets than necessary.

Instead of firing the grill at its highest setting, use a slightly lower temperature and cook longer. This will help you reduce your pellet consumption without compromising on flavor.

-You Are Buying Cheap Pellets

Your pellets can also affect your burn rate. If you’re using lower-quality wood pellets, they will be less efficient at creating heat and use more fuel than higher-quality ones.

Investing in premium wood pellets is the best way to ensure consistent temperature control and reduce pellet usage when grilling or smoking.

The key to a great grilling experience lies in the details. Paying attention to how you store, choose, and use your wood pellets can have a significant impact.

-It’s Stormy Outside

Some pellet grills are designed to resist rain and snow, while others are not. If your grill isn’t waterproof, avoiding using it during bad weather is best. Water seeping into the pellets or the hopper can cause them to burn faster and hotter than usual – resulting in more fuel consumed quicker.

-You’re Storing Your Pellets in the Grill

If you’re leaving your pellets in the hopper for long periods, they will likely absorb moisture and burn faster than usual when you use them.

Ideally, store your pellets in a dry place away from direct sunlight and only add them to the hopper right before grilling. This way, you can get the most out of every batch.

-Your Grill is Large

Larger grills require more fuel to maintain their ideal temperature. If you have a large pellet grill, expect to use more pellets when compared to smaller models.

If you’re noticing that your pellets are burning quickly and unevenly, it could be because of the size of your grill. Consider investing in a smaller one to reduce your fuel consumption.

Tips for Making Your Pellets Last in Your Pellet Grill

1. Invest in high-quality wood pellets – This will ensure optimum heat output and maximum flavor when smoking or grilling.

2. Monitor your pellet storage closely – Storing them in a dry place away from direct sunlight and keeping them out of the hopper when not in use can significantly extend their shelf life.

3. Clean your grill regularly – Grease and ash buildup can affect how efficiently your grill burns pellets, so make sure you clean it every time.

4. Don’t cook at high temperatures – Keep your temperatures low and consistent to avoid burning through more wood pellets than necessary.

5. Check the size of your grill – If you have a large pellet grill, you’ll likely need more pellets to maintain their ideal temperature.

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FAQs About How long do pellets last in a pellet grill?

How Long Will a 10lb Bag of Wood Pellets Burn?

A 10lb bag of wood pellets will typically last 4-8 hours of cooking time, depending on how high a temperature you are using and how well your grill is maintained.

Can Pellets Go Bad in the Hopper?

Yes, they can go wrong if left in the hopper for extended periods. Keeping them dry and out of direct sunlight can help them last longer.

Do Pellets Go Bad if They Get Wet?

Yes, pellets can go wrong if they get wet. Moisture will cause them to burn faster and hotter than usual, resulting in more fuel consumed quicker.

What’s the Best Way to Store Wood Pellets?

The best way to store wood pellets is dry and out of direct sunlight. Ideally, it would help if you kept them in your garage or shed, but opt for indoor storage in regions with high humidity.

Cost of Wood Pellets Versus Other Energy Sources?

The cost of wood pellets varies depending on the type and quality, but typically they are more cost-effective than other forms of energy.

How Many Bags of Wood Pellets Should You Buy?

The amount of wood pellets you should buy depends on how often you use your pellet grill. If you’re a frequent griller, it’s best to have at least two 10-pound bags on hand; if not, one bag should be enough.

How long does a bag of Traeger pellets last at 225?

A bag of Traeger pellets will typically last for 8-10 hours when cooking at 225 degrees. Of course, this varies depending on your temperature and how well your grill is maintained.

How long will one hopper of pellets last in a Traeger?

One hopper of pellets will typically last for 4-8 hours, depending on the temperature you are using and how well your grill is maintained.

When should I replace my Traeger pellets?

It’s best to replace your Traeger pellets when they no longer produce the desired results. Signs of old pellets include too much smoke, poor temperature control, and a decrease in flavor.

How do I know if my Traeger pellets are bad?

Old pellets can produce too much smoke, poor temperature control, and decreased flavor. If you are experiencing any of these issues, replacing your Traeger pellets is best.

What Are Hardwood Pellets?

Hardwood pellets are made from 100% hardwood and are typically used for grilling or smoking. These pellets are the most efficient fuel, producing more heat with less smoke. They also provide a superior flavor when compared to softwood pellets.

Is it possible to use the pellet grill in the rain?

It depends on the model of pellet grill you have. Some pellet grills are designed to resist rain and snow, while others are not. Checking with the manufacturer before using your grill in wet conditions is best.

How Long Does an Lb Bag Of Wood Pellets Last?

An lb bag of wood pellets will typically last 4-8 hours, depending on the temperature you are using and how well your grill is maintained.

How Long Do Wood Pellets Last in a Smoker?

Wood pellets can typically last 8-10 hours in a smoker, depending on the temperature you are using and how well your grill is maintained.

Can You Use Heating Pellets in a Pellet Grill?

No, heating pellets are not suitable for use in a pellet grill as they will burn too hot and can even cause damage to the grill. Only wood pellets should be used in a pellet grill.

How Many Pellets Does The Pit Boss Hopper Hold?

Depending on the model, the Pit Boss hopper can typically hold up to 20 lbs of wood pellets.

What is the ideal storage condition for pellets in a pit boss grill?

The ideal storage condition for pellets in a pit boss grill is dry and out of direct sunlight. This will help keep them fresh and reduce the risk of clumping or fungus growth.

Can Pellets Go Bad If Left In The Hopper For Too Long?

Yes, pellets can go wrong if left in the hopper for too long, as moisture can decrease quality. It’s best to store them dry and out of direct sunlight when not in use.

Final Thoughts: How long do pellets last in a pellet grill?

Pellet grills usually consume around one to three pounds of pellets per hour, depending on the set temperature, the model, and the make. Therefore, a 20-pound bag of pellets should last between six to 20 hours, give or take. Notwithstanding, the temperature at which you grill is the most consequential factor.

Wood pellets can be an excellent fuel source for your pellet grill if you know how to use them properly. By investing in high-quality pellets, monitoring their storage conditions, and using your grill responsibly, you can make sure that they last as long as possible.

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