When I first bought my Traeger grill at Costco years ago, it was hard to find wood pellets. I could only get them at Costco, and Costco only stocked them seasonally. Now, the wood pellet grill and smoker market is larger, and they are easier to find. I decided to research and share with you the best places to buy wood pellets.
Where to buy wood pellets for a pellet grill or smoker? The best places to buy wood pellets are local, because you don’t have to pay high shipping or buy in bulk. Check these places locally:
- Specialty BBQ grill stores and dealers
- Specialty hardware stores, like True Value Hardware and Ace Hardware
- “Big Box” stores, such as Lowes, Home Depot, Menards, Walmart, Target, DICKs Sporting Goods
- Farm stores, like Quality Farm & Fleet, Blain’s Farm & Fleet
- Discount wholesale clubs, like Costco and Sam’s Club
If you can’t find anything locally, check online on Amazon.com and other sites that offer discounted shipping.
Before you rush out and buy pellets, you should know a couple things.
The One Thing You Absolutely Need to Know When Buying Wood Pellets
Always, always, always…buy food-grade wood pellets–that is, pellets made for grilling or smoking–and not wood pellets for heating (used in wood pellet burning stoves and furnaces). Food-grade pellets are usually in 20lb or 40lb bags, composed of different hardwards or hardwood blends, and the bags are labeled for grilling or smoking.
Heating pellets should not be used in grills or smokers. They often contain toxic binder compounds and oils that will adversely affect the taste of the food at best, and harm your health at worse. They may not burn consistently. They are most likely composed of inferior soft woods, like pine or spruce, instead of flavorful hardwoods. There is a reason heating pellets are cheaper. Don’t use them for cooking your food!
Do You Have to Buy the Same Brand of Wood Pellets as Your Grill?
Your pellet grill or smoker can use any food-grade brand of pellets. Certain brands of pellets may perform better than others, but they should not harm your grill. If there were any problem, you’d just stop the grill and remove the nonperforming pellets.
A few grill brands (Traeger is one) say the warranty on your grill will be voided if you don’t use their brand of pellets. I don’t know how they would ever know unless you told them. For a long time, I thought this was a underhanded way to force brand loyalty, but as I learned more about how pellet grills work, a grill could possibly be optimized for their brand’s wood blend and pellet compression through the default setting of the auger’s duty cycle.
The Benefits of Buying Your Wood Pellets Locally
Purchasing the wood pellets online for your grill or smoker may be convenient–a few clicks and they appear at your doorstep a few days later, but there are some definite benefits from buying locally too:
- You don’t have to pay high shipping costs. If you are just buying one or two bags, shipping costs can be quite high per bag.
- You can pickup the same day. If you just realized you forgot to buy pellets for the family get-together this afternoon, buying local is your only real option. If you still want the convenience of buying online, you can sometimes order online from the website of a Big Box store like Lowes or Home Depot, and pick up at the store the same day. This has the added benefit of having the store pull your bags of pellets off the pallet and have them ready to load into your car at the front of the store.
- Keeps your money in the local economy. Local stores–even national chains–have local employees. Your business helps pay their wages.
Unless you are in a very rural area or need to buy in bulk, I wouldn’t advise buying online. Any savings you get will usually be eaten up by the shipping costs. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you might be able to leverage free shipping from Amazon if the pellets are available for Prime. Check Amazon’s options here.
What is a good price for wood pellets used for grilling or smoking? In continental US, wood pellet prices often range $0.80 to $1.20 per pound. The variation is due usually to the type of wood in the pellet. So, a 20 lb bag is on average about $20.