Z Grills vs Pit Boss: The Ultimate Pellet Grill Showdown

January 5, 2024
Written by Kristy J. Norton

The key difference between these two brands of wood pellet grills is that Pit Boss prioritizes quality and its products are a bit more expensive than Z Grills’s. For example, Pit Boss grills have better construction like porcelain-coated cast iron, while Z Grills often opts for basic coated steel wire. 

However, Z Grills have more products on the market, are generally affordable (under $500), and have products with smaller cooking areas. 

I have worked on both the Pitboss and Z Grills products over the years and I know the nitty-gritty details. I am familiar with their overall quality, cooking capacities, durability, and overall user-friendliness like the back of my hand. So, I’m excited to share my findings with you. This Z Grills vs Pit Boss comparison article will help you choose the best pellet grills or smokers for your needs. So, let’s dive in.

z grills vs pit boss

What are the Key Differences Between Z Grills and Pit Boss?

Z Grills and Pit Boss may be competing in the lower-end pellet grill smoker market. However, the main difference is that Pit Boss smokers have higher quality and are often a little pricier than Z Grills.

In addition, Pit Boss products tend to be larger, offering more cooking surface and hopper capacity than Z Grills.

Each brand offers a range of features that ensures temperature management, durability, and maintenance, but some models of Pitboss pellet grills provide more advanced features than Z Grills.

Both Z Grills and Pit Boss smokers are known for their quality. However, Pit Boss smokers tend to be made with higher-end materials and better craftsmanship.

It’s important to note that while these differences exist, both brands offer a range of options to suit different needs and budgets. So it’s worth considering your specific requirements when choosing between the two.

Who Makes the Highest Quality Pellet Grill, Z Grills or Pit Boss?

Pit Boss and Z Grills offer high-quality pellet grills with a range of features and options.

But in terms of build quality, Pit Boss is sturdier and longer-lasting product. 

On the other hand, Z Grills are affordable and easy to use, with some models offering similar features to Pit Boss at a lower price point. They also have a compact size, making them easier to store and transport.

Z Grills vs Pit Boss: A Side-by-side Comparison


Z Grills

Pit Boss

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Grilling Area and Capacity

Pit Boss offers a range of smokers with grilling space ranging from 700 to 1600 square inches. A good example is Pit Boss Austin XL 1000, which has a grilling space of 1,060 square inches. 

Then there is the less popular, but high-end Pit Boss Pro Series 1600 with a 1600-square-inch cooking area. 

Both allow for cooking large cuts of meat, multiple items, or large family meals with ease.

Z Grills smokers generally have a smaller grilling space compared to Pit Boss. Most models offer around 450 to 700 square inches of grilling area. For example, in the Z Grills ZPG-450A, which is one of their most popular and best pellet grills, the cooking surface is only 450 square inches. 

While this may be suitable for smaller meals or individual portions, it may not be as practical for large-scale cooking or entertaining.

The brand also has larger models like the Z Grills ZPG-7002E, which has 700 square inches of cooking surface. There are also the newer 1000 series models, like the Z GRILLS ZPG-10002E with 1060 square inches cooking space, but they are not as popular among users in the grilling field. 

In conclusion, Pit Boss has the advantage regarding grilling space and capacity, offering larger models with more space. However, Z Grills are still suitable for smaller or individual-scale cooking.

Cooking Temperature and Control

Both brands offer a range of options that allow for precise temperature regulation. For example, Z Grills have a temperature range of 180 to 450 degrees, with models like the Z Grills ZPG-450A offering digital control of temperature and an automatic feed pellet auger.

Pit Boss, on the other hand, offers a slightly wider temperature range, typically between 170 to 600-degree temperature range.

The Pit Boss 700FB, for example, allows for slow and low cooking and high heat methods like direct flame grilling or open flame searing. It also features a digitally controlled burn system and a digital control board for monitoring internal meat temperature.

In terms of temperature control, both brands offer similar capabilities. However, some Pit Boss models offer more advanced features like multiple cooking modes, wood pellet sensors, and WiFi connectivity, providing even greater temp control and monitoring options.

Raw Meat on a Griller


Z Grills are generally more portable than Pit Boss smokers. Z Grills have a compact design and lighter weight, making them easier to transport and store. Some models are designed to be easily moved around your backyard or taken on camping trips.

Pit Boss smokers, on the other hand, tend to be larger and heavier due to their sturdier build and larger space. While they are not as portable as Z Grills, they are still portable enough to be moved around your backyard or taken to a nearby park for grilling.

If portability is important to you, Z Grills are a great option. 

Pellet Hopper Capacity

Pit Boss smokers tend to have more smoking and grilling space, so they generally have a larger hopper capacity than Z Grills pellet grills.

For example, the Pit Boss Austin XL 1000 has a hopper capacity of 31 pounds, while the Z Grills ZPG-450A has a hopper capacity of 15 pounds. Another example is the Pit Boss Pro Series 1100, which has a hopper capacity of 30 pounds, while the Z Grills ZPG-7002E has a hopper capacity of 20 pounds.

This means that Pit Boss wood pellet grill models hold more pellets for longer smoking sessions without frequent reloading. However, some models of Z Grills smokers also have a large hopper capacity and can handle long smoking sessions.

It’s worth noting that most affordable Pit Boss and Z Grills have a lot of products with medium-sized pellets hopper capacity (around 10 to 20 pounds). 

For instance, the Z Grills ZPG-1000C, ZPG-700D, and ZPG-7002E models all have 20 pounds hopper capacity. Meanwhile, similar pellet grills in the Pit Boss range, from the Pit Boss 820D to Pit Boss 820FB, Pit Boss 700SC, and Pit Boss 700FB, all have 18 pounds pellet hopper capacity. 

So, if you are looking for a medium-sized grill, you’ll find what you want with any of the above models. If you want a larger smoker with a bigger hopper capacity, I suggest that you choose a Pit Boss.  

Pellet Grill Prepared for Meat Grilling


In general, Pit Boss grills offer more features compared to Z Grills. You’ll find advanced features like digital control panels, innovative flame broilers, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, fan-forced convection cooking, and digital PID temperature controllers on many Pit Boss grills. 

I’ll elaborate on these advanced features later in the Pit Boss overview so that you will get to know their benefits. 

I must also mention that Pit Boss is made with higher-end materials, that make them sturdier and longer-lasting.

On the other hand, Z Grills are more affordable and easier to use. However, some models offer similar features to Pit Boss smokers at a lower price point. They also have a compact size, making them easier to store and transport.


Generally, Z Grills smokers tend to be more affordable, with prices usually under $500. Pit Boss smokers, on the other hand, are often more expensive, judging by how advanced their features are. 

While Pit Boss also has a few under $500 grills, most of their budget grills sell for more than $500.

Some larger models like the Pit Boss Pro Series 1100 even cross the $1000 mark. Z Grills of around the same size as the high-end Pit Boss Pro Series 1100 are sold for a far lesser price. 

For example, the Z GRILLS ZPG-10002E I mentioned earlier, which has around 1,060 square inches of total cooking space, is sold for under $600.

It’s worth noting that while Pit Boss smokers may be more expensive, they often come with advanced features and larger cooking spaces. This makes them a good choice for those who plan on using their smoker frequently or for large events. Z Grills smokers, on the other hand, offer a more budget-friendly option for those who are looking for a good quality smoker at a lower price point.

Durability and Maintenance

Some of my friends who use Z grills products have told me that they’re not as durable as other pellet grills on the market. However, with proper maintenance, they can provide reliable performance over time.

On the other hand, Pit Boss grills are known to have a higher-quality construction and durability. They are made with durable materials, such as heavy-gauge steel and porcelain-coated steel grates, which can withstand the elements and regular use.

In terms of maintenance, both Pitboss and Z Grills require regular cleaning and care to ensure optimal performance. This may include cleaning the cooking grates, changing the grease tray, and checking the pellet hopper for any blockages.

Customer Support and Warranty

Both brands offer good options to their customers.

Z Grills provides a comprehensive customer support system, including a website with helpful resources, email support, and a customer service hotline. It offers a 3-year limited warranty on its products, covering parts and labor.

Pit Boss, on the other hand, offers a 5-year limited warranty on their pellet grills, covering defects and workmanship. 

Grilled Meat on Griddle

Z Grills Overview

Z Grills is a company that specializes in the manufacturing of pellet grills and smokers. The company is known for producing good-quality, affordable grilling products that are easy to use. Some of their popular models feature temp control and ample cooking capacity. 

Most of Z Grills’s products are built in China. Some models, however, have parts made in China and assembled in the USA

Z Grills offer several options to meet different needs and budgets, making them a popular choice among outdoor cooking enthusiasts. They are also known for their compact size and ease of transport, making them an excellent choice for those who like to take their grilling on the go.

Brief History 

Z Grills as a brand was established in 2016. It has over 30 years of experience in the industry. 

Since 2016, it has quickly become one of the most popular brands in the wood pellet grill market.

Z Grills is based in Burlingame, California, and headed by founder Jasper Yu. 

Features and Benefits

Z Grills offer a range of features and benefits for outdoor cooking enthusiasts. Some of their specific features and benefits include:

  • Cooking space: Z Grills generally offer small to medium sized cooking space, with some models featuring just over 500 square inches of cooking area.
  • Compact size: Z Grills have a compact design, making them easy to store and transport.
  • Versatility: Z Grills can be used for various cooking methods, including grilling, smoking, roasting, and baking.
  • Advanced features: Some Z Grills models feature advanced features such as WiFi connectivity, which allows you to control the temperature and monitor your cooking remotely.
Person Grilling Sausage and Meat

Best Z Grills Pellet Grills

Here are some of the best Z Grills products based on my experience with and evaluation of the most common Z Grill products:

1. Z Grills ZPG-450A 2023 Upgrade Model

This model features PID technology, allowing you to hold the temperature for consistent grilling results. The pellet grill also offers an ample 450 square inch cooking space and a 180 to 450 degrees temperature range. 

2. Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker

This wood pellet grill model is a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts, offering up to 697 square inches of cooking space. It can also handle up to eight different cooking methods.

3. Z Grills ZPG-7002E Wood Pellet Grill

This pellet grill features a large cooking space, automatic temperature control, and a compact design that makes the wood pellet grill easy to transport and store. 


Before getting a Z Grills product, here are some limitations to have at the back of your mind:

  • Temperature control: I’ve noticed temperature fluctuations during cooking that lead to uneven results. This is also one of the most frequently encountered problems by users. Z Grills has created a troubleshooting guide to help out users. 
  • Warranty coverage: The three-year limited warranty offered by Z Grills may not provide sufficient coverage for some potential issues.
  • Customer support: I’ve heard from others that the customer support offered by Z Grills can be slow or not very helpful in resolving issues.

Pit Boss Overview

Pit Boss is a brand of wood pellet grills and smokers known for its affordability and versatility. These grills are designed to provide various cooking options, from grilling to smoking and even baking, making them a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts.

Pit Boss grills are equipped with precise temperature control, large cooking spaces, and user-friendly designs that make them easy to use. Some models also feature WiFi connectivity, allowing the control of temperature and monitoring of your cooking remotely.

In addition to their practical features, Pit Boss grills are also built with durability in mind, using high-quality materials and construction techniques that are designed to withstand the elements and provide long-lasting performance.

Brief History 

Pit Boss is a manufacturer of wood pellet grills and smokers. It is a subsidiary of Dansons that was first established in 1999. Dansons Group is a family-owned and operated company based in Alberta, Canada, and owns the Louisiana Grills. However, like Z Grills, Pit Boss products are made in China.

Pit Boss was founded to provide high-quality, affordable grills to outdoor cooking enthusiasts. Over the years, the brand has grown and expanded, offering various products that cater to various cooking needs and preferences.

Features and Benefits

Here are some of the key features and benefits of Pit Boss grills:

  • Build Quality: Pit Boss is known for using high-quality materials in their pellet grills, such as porcelain-coated cooking grates, heavy-duty steel construction, and stainless steel components. These materials help to ensure the grill’s durability and longevity.
  • Digital PID Control Board: This advanced feature is found in Pit Boss’ high-end products. It allows for precise temperature control, ensuring that your food is cooked to perfection every time. The digital display makes it easy to monitor and adjust the temperature as needed.
  • Fan Forced Convection Cooking: Pit Boss has a cooking system that uses a fan to circulate hot air throughout the cooking chamber, resulting in even heat distribution and faster cooking times. This feature also helps to eliminate hot spots, ensuring that your food is evenly cooked.
  • Innovative Flame Broiler: Some Pit Boss pellet grills are equipped with an innovative flame broiler lever that allows you to switch from indirect to direct cooking with ease. This allows you to achieve that classic grilled flavor and sear marks, making it perfect for cooking steaks, burgers, and other meats. The flame broiler is adjustable, allowing you to control the heat and flame for precise cooking.
  • Pellet Purge System: Pit Boss pellet grills like the Pitboss Austin XL also have a “Pellet Purge System” that allows for quick and easy clean-out of the pellet hopper.
Person Grilling Sausages

Best Pit Boss Pellet Grills

Here are some of the best Pit Boss products you can consider:

1. Pit Boss Austin XL 1000 Wood Fired Pellet Grill

This Pit Boss pellet grill offers a large 1,060-square inch cooking space and features a digital control board, making it easy to control and monitor the temperature.

2. Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet Grill

The Pit Boss offers a compact design and 700-square inch cooking space, making the pellet grill an excellent option for those with limited outdoor space. It features quality construction with porcelain-coated wire grids and features like the flame broiler. 

3. Pit Boss 71820FB PB820FB

This pellet grill has an 820 sq. in. cooking surface and durable powder-coated steel construction. It also has a digital control board and automatic pellet feed.

4. Pit Boss Sportsman Wood Pellet Grill

This pellet grill is designed for outdoor enthusiasts who love cooking for large groups. It has a large 849 square inches cooking space, 21 pounds hopper capacity, and a 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit cooking temperature range.  


  • Size: Some Pit Boss grills can be quite large and heavy, making them difficult to move or store. If you’re limited on outdoor space or want a more portable option, it’s essential to consider the size of the pellet grill before making a purchase. 


Is Z Grills a Chinese Company?

Z Grills is a US-based company. However, their grills are made in the Jiangsu Province of China. Pit Boss, on the other hand, is a Canadian brand whose products are also made in China. 

Is a Z Grill Any Good?

Yes, Z Grills are a good option. They’re known for their affordability, ease of use, and quality features. Some of my friends also appreciate their portability, cooking performance, and temperature control. However, I believe there are better grills on the market. If you can add some tens or hundreds of dollars to the budget you plan for a Z Grill, I’d suggest you go for a PIT BOSS PB700FB1 or a Traeger Grills Pro Series 22.

What Are the Common Limitations of Pellet Grills? 

Grease buildup, problems with rust and corrosion, worn-out heating elements, and clogged burners are some of the most common problems in pellet grills. They also have problems with temperature control, difficulties with lighting the grill, and burners malfunctioning. Occasional inconveniences relating to the heating element and the ignition system can pop up as well. 

To help minimize some of these issues, it is important to properly clean the grill after every use, including removing any leftover food particles, grease, and residue. It may also be helpful to regularly season the grates to prevent rust and keep them in good condition. 

Z Grills vs Pit Boss Conclusion

Z Grills and Pit Boss are well-known brands in the outdoor cooking industry, offering a range of high-quality pellet grills and smokers. Z Grills are known for their affordability and versatility, while Pit Boss is known for their quality and innovation.

Based on my experience, both pellet grill brands have their strengths and limitations. So, choosing the right one for you will depend on your specific needs and cooking preferences. If you’re looking for an affordable and versatile option, Z Grills is worth considering. However, if you’re willing to invest in a high-quality, feature-packed pellet grill that offers the latest outdoor cooking technology, Pit Boss is a great choice.

Whether you’re a seasoned griller or just starting out, you’ll be able to find the right pellet grill for your needs with these two great brands.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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