Temperature is the most important factor when cooking grills. But I think you know already or you would not be searching for pellet grill controllers. As these controllers help you to keep the heat to an optimal level, grilling will feel a lot easier now than ever.
PID controllers (Proportional Integral Derivative) are also known as pellet grill controllers. These devices are used to control the temperature, airflow, fan speed, and other variable factors in your grill. They utilize advanced algorithms to aid you when grilling. Moreover, they also show the current temperature and allow you to control it whenever you see fit.
If you are confused that which one should you get, don’t worry! I in this post, I’ll be covering not only things should know but also some of the best pellet grill controllers.
Now, have a quick glance at my top-picked products:
Digital Thermostat Kit – Best overall
Digital Thermostat Kit Replacement Dual Meat Probe Controller – Runner up
FlameSky Digital Thermostat Kit – Clear and vivid display
BBQ Guru’s UltraQ Bluetooth/Wi-Fi BBQ Temperature Controller – Ease of use
Replacement Digital Thermostat Controller Kit – Waterproof temperature probe
Regetek Cooking Food Meat Grill Thermometer – Most portable
Digital Pro Control Board – Advanced temperature sensor
How Does A PID Temperature Controller Work?
As the term ‘PID’ means proportional integral derivative, its working mechanic is also quite advanced. Basically, this device handles proportional control through additional integral and derivative adjustment. Although the algorithm could be a bit complex, allow me to explain it in layman’s terms.
The purpose of these temperature controllers is to keep the environment to a set point. That means when grilling, it will try to keep up with the system with the temperature you set. It does so by controlling variables like airflow, temperature, pressure, and other factors.
The proportional part tries to correct the course according to the set target. Although the target value would never match because as the difference approached zero so does the applied correction. The integral part tries to cover the error that culminated from the proportion tuning. The derivative function slows does the correction as they approach the target.
What to Consider Before Buying the Best Pellet Grill PID Controller?
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to temperature controllers. Different brands come with different designs and requirements. That is why these pellet grills controllers too, come with different mounting options, probe, range and etc.
Due to this difference, the compatibility issue rises. For these reasons, it is the most important factor that you thoroughly check if the controller is compatible with your pellet grill smoker model. Because sometimes, they only fit specific models under the same brand.
Number of Probes
The probe is the hardware that senses heat and conveys the information to the processing unit. Then the processing unit turns that heat into a number for you to see. Probes with made with material that can facilitate the flow of heat.
The wood pellet grills will have at least one probe. It is not unusual to have 2 or 3 probes. The more probes there are, the better estimation you will get. So, if you have the option to pick a controller with multi-probes, go with that one.
These pellet grills come with a range of displays. Among them, LED displays are the best. They light up brightly, and you can easily read them even outside under the sun.
Also, make sure the display is big enough so that you can read it from distance. It will be helpful when you won’t be at the helm and busy doing other chores at the distance. Being able to keep an eye on the temperature can be life-saving.
Although most temperature controllers on the market cover the whole spectrum, sadly not all. The wood pellets can burn from 150 degrees Fahrenheit to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. So, make sure the device can work within this range.
A little slip to any side and you will be wondering why the grill does not taste so good. Even though you maintained temperature as per the instruction.
Pellet grill controllers come in various shapes and sizes. You will find it from bulky ones to small ones. It depends on your setup. If you like to camp a lot you should get one portable and lightweight. But you will be sacrificing extra features. On the other hand, bigger pellet grills come with more features, and most of the time they tend to be very durable.
The wireless connection could be a life-saving feature on pellet grills controller. Imagine you are gossiping with a guest or doing something so that you cannot be near the grill. But, with this feature, you can still raise, have lower temperatures or turn it off completely. This is a feature that once you taste it, you cannot live without. If your controller comes with a wireless connection, all of a sudden you will have extra time to distance yourself from the grill.
Controller for Pellet grills also come with many additional indicators. Although they vary from model to model. Some indicators are a smoke setting indicator, ignition indicator, fuel rate indicator, low and over-temperature indicator, more or less smoke detector, and many more. If you see you could make good use of some of these. Then, you should go after such models.
How I Picked The Best PID Controller
Making the list with the best pellet grills controllers was no easy task. You will see hundreds of results once you search google or amazon. So, how did I choose?
I had to look through the top pellet grills and made an initial list considering quality and features. Still, it was not enough. Then I went through the user review. From those hands-on experiences, I got to know the inner intricacies, good and bad sides of these controllers.
As everyone has different tastes, I chose to categorize these controllers of pellet grills to fit everyone’s requirements. For example, if you want something easy to use or portable, I got you covered. There are also different categories, that I’ll be explaining in the review section.
Just in case if you’re in a hurry….
Check these two best models from my review unit. You won’t regret it later.
7 Best Pellet Grill Controllers Review
Let’s now take a look at the best PID controller for a pellet grill smoker one by one. And, see that makes them special.
The term RTD stands for Resistance Temperature Detector. As the resistance changes, with some mathematical formula temperature, is calculated. So, you can confidently rely on its accuracy.
I’m yet to see these many indicators on other temperature controllers brands. You will have an ignition indicator, fuel rate indicator, as much smoke production setting indicator, low and high-temperature indicator, over-temperature protection, and a few more. That means you will always be informed about each and every aspect.
The product comes with a thorough quality check. All the internal parts are also made with high-quality materials.
- Fits almost all Traeger models
- Very easy to install
- Packed with very useful features
- Provides excellent value for money
- There is are instruction included
Without the instructions, you might feel lost if you are setting up this device for the first time. It would be a good time to ask for help from someone expert. On the other hand, once you are done, you will enjoy the next level of control. All these features make it arguably the best Traeger PID controller upgrade.
2. Wondjiont Digital Thermostat Dual Meat Probe Controller – Runner up
This pellet grill PID controller gave a tough fight to our top choice. It only came out as second because, unlike the top choice, it lacks a few indicators.
The bright LED display will always keep you informed of the exact cooking temperature. You can clearly see the bold and bright red even when grilling outside with plenty of sunlight.
It comes with two grill temperature sensor probes that are made with stainless steel. One can be used as food probe, and another the grill probe. Besides the durability, you will have an RTD platinum sensor. You will be conveyed a very accurate heat reading when these two works together.
Alongside strict quality control, the price is very competitive. You can get this at a competitive factory price and you won’t have to pay additional costs.
- Comes at a very reasonable price
- Has great accuracy when reading the set temperature
- Comes with two stainless steel probes
- Excellent replacement option for stock controllers
- No diagram or instruction in the package.
There are not many models that come with two probes. This device comes with the great build quality and the price is very competitive. No matter how you look at it, it is a win-win situation.
There are 10 built-in modes you can directly utilize when cooking the grill. One of them is the more or less smoke mode, so you are in for a treat if you like the smoky flavor. The other 9 modes that different temperatures settings to help you with a different recipe.
It also comes automatic cooling function. It will make sure the ash and mess are minimal. There is also a safety device attached to it that will help you if anything goes out of hand.
Ease of use
All the temperature control options and settings are laid in front of you to maximize the ease of use. You can read the digits clearly under all kinds of lighting.
- Easy to install and very accurate temperature
- The build quality is decent
- Works perfectly as it should
- Keeps heat close to the target temperature
- In some pieces, the temperature is way off. In this case, contact customer care.
There was some complaint about quality control of this PID controller works. But customer care always sorts it out. Except for a few anomalies, these controllers are very used in all situations.
The wireless connection can be established with both Bluetooth or WiFi functionality. So, that you can check the temperature from your phone. It gives you the freedom to roam around freely. It also has a large display that will show the current temperature.
This app support adds a lot to your freedom. It can track up to 3 different food and relay you the temperature. You can also set the target temperature through the app. On top of that, there is an option to set up email and text notifications so you will always know your grill’s status.
The sturdy probes are dishwasher safe. That means you can clean them without any worry. As a result, they will also last longer. They can be easily washed by hand or in a dishwasher.
- It is a big upgrade in terms of technology
- Has android and iOS app supports
- Prevents the temperature swings
- Sensors pick up the heat with great accuracy
- The app is not optimized to its full potential
This wireless PID controller will completely change your grilling experience. Even though the app right now is not optimized, but the problem can be solved with a good update. In short, this PID control without automatic relighting is worth totally worth the expense.
5. YAOAWE Replacement Digital Thermostat Controller Kit – Waterproof Temperature Probe
Longevity is the name of the game when it comes to this controller kit. This is the one you are looking for if you want to last it long.
As the meat probes are waterproof you can wash them with real ease. Just soak them in long enough. Nor do you have to worry about probes going bad neither fight the grease. They’ll also last longer than regular probes.
Makes cold smoking easy
The dedicated smoking mode makes cold smoking easier than ever. Just turn on the smoke mode and relax. It can also display the ambient temperature and internal temperature swings of the meat.
All the pieces of this PID controller are thoroughly tested by the factory. So, you can relax and enjoy the 1-year warranty.
- Plug and play approach
- Excellent OEM replacement
- Very easy to use
- Great satisfactory performance
- You must need RTD sensor
Some users found it so satisfactory that they reviewed it as better than the stock option. And, I think you will think so too once you see it in action.
There are 8 meat modes. These modes have different configurations for different meat like beef, pork, chicken, fish and etc. It is also equipped with 5 different levels of taste mode. You can pick different temperature settings for rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, and well done.
Alarm & countdown
To make your work easier there is a countdown timer and an alarm function. If you use these two functions correctly, you would not have to worry about the grill being overcooked or under-cooked.
The probes are made of stainless steel which makes them more than durable. You can monitor both meat and grill temperature using the two meat probes. The cables connecting them are long enough to make sure you and the PID control device both be safe.
- Alarm and countdown timer
- Red screen flash and beeps when food temperature reach the set temperature
- Excellent accuracy
- High and low-temperature alarm settings
- The user interface would take some getting used to
If you like camping and the meat perfectly cooked, this controller will come to your aid. Getting used to the interface might take some time, but it will be well worth it.
The PID control module can detect grill temperature ranges from 200 degrees Fahrenheit to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Which means it covers the full spectrum, so you can do all kind of cooking experiments.
All the control will be in front of you in a well-designed manner. All you have to do is roll the knob to change settings. This design makes it convenient especially when you are too busy with other pellet grills.
- Comes with a very safe design
- Keep the set temperature with great accuracy
- Great improvement over the stock option
- Made with high-quality material
- Not water resistant
If you need accurate heat reading then this is the one you should get. But make sure to keep water away from the temperature control panel of this device.
Does the Grill Pellet Controller Really Help to Make Taste Better?
Yes, it does if you use it properly. Let me explain how it does so.
If you are experienced in the craft of cooking grill you should already know the temperature is the most important factor. In case you are someone who just starting out, always bear it in mind.
It takes great cooks years to master the temperature. For ordinary folks who grill from time to time, it would take a lot of trial and error to find the sweet spot.
This is where the pellet controllers come in to help. First of all, it shows you the temperature. So, you are always informed how much heat is there.
It also lets you ensure temperature control. This way you won’t have to go through the lengthy process of trial and error. Just pick up the recipe cook, and set it to the recommended temperature. As you will be mastering the heat settings quickly, the taste of the pellet smoker will keep improving at a proportional rate.
Manual Checking Vs Pellet Controllers
The whole idea of manually checking heat would give you an estimate. For example, the common practice is to put your hand five inches above the grill. Then count how many seconds you can comfortably keep your hand on place with current smoke pellet smoker temperature sensor.
If it is 5-6 seconds the heat is around 250 degrees, if it is 3-4 seconds the heat is around 350 degrees, and so on. It is not inaccurate but also dangerous. You could get burned if anything unexpected happens.
On the other hand, pellet grill smoker controllers are not only very safe but also accurate. On top of that, it ensures precise temperature control. No matter how sensitive your hands are, this device can beat manual checking any day.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a PID controller for pellet grills?
PID controllers help you to maintain temperature balance. Once you have installed it you won’t have to constantly open and close the hood.
Are pellet grills controllers interchangeable?
Yes, there many models where wood pellet grills controllers are interchangeable. There also exists somewhere interchanging is not possible.
Which pellet grill has the best temp control?
Traeger new pellet grill has some of the best temp control.
Does pit boss use a PID controller?
Most pellet grills of Pit Boss platinum series smoke grills come with PID controllers.
What does PID stand for?
Here, ‘P’ stands for proportional, ‘I’ stands for integral and ‘D’ stands for derivative.
What is the “P” Setting?
“P” stands for pause. If you increase the P settings, the interval of the pellet cycle also increases. It results in low temperature swings and more smoke. On the other hand, decreasing P settings has the opposite effect.
Are pellet grill controllers interchangeable?
It depends on the models. Some controllers are only compatible with the grill brand, some can work with different brands. So, you should check the specs before you make the purchase.
Does the pit boss Austin XL have a PID controller?
Yes, all the new versions of the Pit Boss Platinum series have a controller with PID controllers technology.
Do Z grills have pellet grill PID controllers for their pellet grills?
Yes and no. Some Z grill come with pellet grill PID controllers, some don’t. It mainly depends on the model you are about to buy. You can use savannah stoker controller on your smoke grills. It can be smoke daddy, blaz’n grill works, green mountain grills, or camp chef pellet grills.
Are PID controllers of pellet grills worth it?
Yes, pellet grill PID controllers are worth it. Because these devices are much smarter than their counterparts. They can maintain heat around 5 degrees of the preset or the maximum temperature set by you.
What is the best pellet grill for the money?
Digital Thermostat Kit in my opinion is the best with good PID algorithm for your new grill due to the value for money it offers. Its smart PID algorithm works even in cold weather. With this standard controller, you can do simple process smoke cook
What is the best pellet grill 2021?
PIT BOSS PB440D2 is the best pellet grill smoker in 2021. This pellet grill smoker has a large cooking surface and the ability to maintain actual temperature or desired temperature. Compared to other pellet grill, their loop feedback mechanism, and smoke flare ups, you can rely on this one.
There are hundreds of options laying around when it comes to high quality grill pellet controllers, but not all are worth it. I would recommend Digital Thermostat Kit or Digital Dual Meat Probe Controller. Or, you could pick any from the list that hits your requirements as all of them have proved their performance.