Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Review: Great for the Money [2020]

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out if we still recommend the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX in 2020, then the short answer is YES. For more details, jump directly to our verdict section by clicking here.

I’ve always preferred charcoal grills to their propane-fueled counterparts, mostly because I find the resulting flavors to be more intense. What I don’t love about the process? Waiting 30 minutes or more for the coals to reach the optimum temperature. Since pellet grills are able to combine the instant gratification of propane grilling with the prized smoky flavor of a charcoal fire, I decided to put together this Camp Chef SmokePro DLX review.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Camp Chef Pellet Grill

So, what exactly is a pellet grill, and why should you consider investing in one?

First of all, know that the terms “pellet grill” and “pellet smoker” are interchangeable. These units may be marketed as one or the other, or sometimes both, but as long as they use pellets for fuel, they’re essentially the same.

Pellet grills are fueled by small nuggets of compressed hardwood sawdust, which are stored in a hopper alongside a larger cooking chamber. During use, an auger component feeds these pellets into the chamber to achieve the proper cooking temperature. A control panel allows users to determine how hot the fire is allowed to get. As a rule, these grills tend to consume more pellets at higher temperatures.

If you’re an interactive griller who gets nervous when you can’t keep a constant eye on the fire, you’d probably be better off sticking with a charcoal-fueled unit. Similarly, if you’d rather be able to turn the flames on and off with the touch of a button, then a pellet grill might not be the best choice. For anyone else, however, these units are capable of delivering flavorful results through a largely hands-free operation.

Camp Chef has been in business since 1990, and features a solid lineup of quality pellet grills. The SmokePro DLX is just one example. While personal preference should play a minor role in your decision, it’s also important to have some basic knowledge of pellet grills in general.

Here are a few of the specifications you should bear in mind while shopping for a pellet grill:

Price

Consider your budget in advance. It’s possible to get a decent pellet grill at a bargain price, but the more expensive units will usually last longer. Here is a list of a few decent budget options.

Size

Industry standards recommend allowing for 72 square inches per person. This means that the average family should be able to make do with about 450 square inches of grilling space. Die-hard grillers and larger groups should look for a larger unit.

Temperature Range

180 to 500 degrees is the preferred range for a pellet grill.

Type of Controller

The more sophisticated the control panel is, the more accurate the temperature will be. Some high-end units are outfitted with PID controllers that can remain accurate within increments of 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Durability

The grill should feature a hardy steel construction, with grilling grates made of restaurant-grade stainless steel or cast iron.

Hopper Capacity

The size of the hopper will usually depend on the maximum grilling capacity of the unit, but 18 pounds is standard for an average-sized pellet grill.

Additional Features

Keep an eye out for extras like dual meat temperature probes, Wi-Fi capability, or extended customer warranties.

Camp Chef SmokePro DLX: What’s in the Box

The SmokePro DLX is a barrel-shaped, somewhat bulky unit, outfitted with two wheels and a side table for prepping and storage. The pellet hopper is topped with a flat surface, so it could be used to hold side dishes or additional barbecue tools. Unlike Camp Chef’s SE and STX models, the DLX also features a warming rack.

Here’s what you’ll get when you unpack your new Camp Chef SmokePro DLX:

  • Main cooking chamber and side table
  • Smoker with 18-pound capacity
  • Porcelain-coated steel cooking grates and warming rack
  • Drip pan
  • Silver bucket that acts as a grease catcher
  • Ash trap
  • Heat diffuser
  • Meat temperature probe

Pros:

  • Attractive design
  • Easy to use
  • Effective grease management and ash cleanout systems
  • Impressive temperature range
  • 12-month warranty included with purchase

Cons:

  • Not effective when it comes to searing meats
  • Temperature readings can be inaccurate, especially in cold weather
  • Confusing readout display

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Review: Features & Benefits

Let’s see how well the SmokePro DLX holds up to the criteria we introduced earlier. Remember that some of these features—such as affordability and grill size—are subjective. Only you can decide whether this unit might be the right choice for your grilling lifestyle.

Price

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the price tag on the SmokePro DLX, especially considering all that this unit has to offer. In the past, I’ve shelled out far more cash for grills that ended up disappointing me in one way or another. Shoppers on a budget should consider taking a look at this grill, especially first-time buyers who might not yet have reason to appreciate the more sophisticated models.

Size

The SmokePro DLX offers 429 square inches of direct-heat grilling space, as well as a 141-square inch warming rack. This gives grillers a total of 570 square inches, which should be more than sufficient for an average family.

This grill weighs in at 140 pounds, so maneuverability can be somewhat difficult. However, the frame is outfitted with two durable wheels, so you won’t have to do all the heavy lifting yourself.

Temperature Range

Camp Chef advertises a range of 160 to 500 degrees for this unit. This is great news if you’re planning on using the pellet grill primarily for smoked meats and other low-heat cooking applications. However, if you’re hoping to get a good charbroiled crust on grilled meats or caramelized vegetables, then this might not be the right fit for you. It does a decent job on burgers, but you should consider investing in the sear box (available at an additional price) if steaks and chops are your main priority.

Type of Controller

The SmokePro DLX is controlled with a dial that measures the temperature in increments of 25 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s not the most sophisticated method, but it’s generally accurate within 20 degrees or so. An LED readout screen allows you to keep an eye on the internal temperature, even when it’s dark outside.

Be aware that the digital display can only display one temperature readout at a time. For example, if you’re using the display to check the internal temperature of the unit, you’ll have to manually toggle back to the meat probe temperature in order to find out if your meat has finished cooking. Since some of the high-end units offer dual readout displays that allow you to check both temperatures simultaneously, I thought this was a point worth mentioning.

Finally, note that it’s more difficult for the DLX to maintain the proper temperature in cold and windy weather. If you live in a cooler climate and plan on using your grill year-round, it might be a good idea to invest in a thermal blanket to help keep the temperature from fluctuating too much during the winter months.

Durability

Constructed of quality powder-coated steel, the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX is built to withstand years of use. The wheels are tough and sturdy, the shelving is reliable, and the grilling grates are easy to clean. The grease management system gives this unit extra points in this category as well. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from years of outdoor cooking, it’s that a tidy and well-maintained grill will last far longer than a dirty one.

Hopper Capacity

The SmokePro DLX comes equipped with an 18-pound pellet hopper, which is perfectly adequate for a unit of this size. While you probably won’t need to add more pellets until the third or fourth use, it’s a good idea to check the hopper in between times to ensure that the remaining pellets haven’t gotten too damp. Wet pellets can lead to clogging, which will affect the quality of your cooking. They may even pose a fire hazard, so make sure your pellets are in good condition before firing up the grill.

Additional Features

In addition to the basics listed above, the SmokePro DLX offers grillers the following conveniences:

Temperature Probe

This thermometer can be used to gauge the temperature of the meat during cooking. You don’t even have to lift the lid of the grill. Just feed the probe through the correct hole, hook it up to the control panel, and switch from “internal” to “probe” temperature to get the correct readout on the display.

Smokestack with Attached Cap

While all pellet smokers come equipped with some sort of exhaust vent, the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX takes the conceit a step further by adding a protective cap. This will help keep rain and snow from falling into the unit’s interior, thereby reducing the possibility of water damage.

Ash Cleanout System

This feature makes it easy to remove the ash from underneath the cooking chamber. Simply tug on the provided handle, and the bottom of the chamber will give way, dumping the ashes into the attached cup. Just don’t forget to clean out the cup when it’s full.

Pellet Purge Feature

The ash cleanout function is impressive, but it’s also fairly standard with grills of this type. The SmokePro DLX, however, allows you to perform the same maneuver with the pellet hopper. This feature is particularly useful if you’d like to change wood chips midway through the cooking process.

Side Shelf

If there’s one thing I appreciate when grilling, it’s the availability of extra space. That’s what’s so appealing about the SmokePro DLX. Not only is it equipped with a handy side shelf, there’s a flat lid on the hopper where you can set down your tray of uncooked burgers or dogs before grilling.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Firing Up the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX

In order to determine whether the SmokePro DLX lives up to the company’s reputation, I searched the Web to get a feel for the consumer response to the product. To my satisfaction, I was able to procure quite a few positive reviews.

The affordability and versatility of this model were cited by many a happy consumer, most of whom were new to the world of pellet smoking. Even experienced grillers were impressed by how user-friendly the grill was. One user reported excellent results with smoked meats, claiming that the grill exceeded their expectations in this regard.

Alternatives to the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX

If you’ve read through all the criteria and decided that the SmokePro DLX isn’t quite the right model for you, don’t worry. There are plenty of other comparable units on the market, and one of them is bound to check off all the boxes on your list. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

#1 Z Grills ZPG-450A

This offering from Z Grills is roughly the same size as the SmokePro DLX. There’s no warming rack, though, so it offers just 450 total square inches of cooking space. The lightweight cart-style design makes it easier to move from one end of the patio to the other.

How They Compare 

  • Size—SmokePro DLX
  • Temperature Range—SmokePro DLX
  • Type of Controller—ZPG-450A
  • Durability—ZPG-450A
  • Hopper Capacity—SmokePro DLX
  • Additional Features—SmokePro DLX

If you’re looking for a lightweight, maneuverable grill that’s simple to use, consider giving the ZPG-450A a try.

#2 Pit Boss 700FB

Pit Boss is relatively new to the pellet grilling game, but their products are worth a look nonetheless. This grill offers 700 square inches of cooking space, a hopper with a capacity of 20 pounds, a digital temperature control system, and a lower shelf for additional storage.

How They Compare

  • Size—700FB
  • Temperature Range—SmokePro DLX
  • Type of Controller—Tie
  • Durability—SmokePro DLX
  • Hopper Capacity—700FB
  • Additional Features—SmokePro DLX

Consider investing in the Pit Boss 700FB if you like the sound of the SmokePro DLX, but feel the need for additional grilling space.

#3 Camp Chef SmokePro LUX

As the name suggests, this grill represents a luxurious upgrade from the SmokePro DLX. With a generous 875 square inches of cooking space and a dual-temperature readout, it’s a good fit for serious grilling enthusiasts who love to entertain.

How They Compare 

  • Size—SmokePro LUX
  • Temperature Range—Tie
  • Type of Controller—SmokePro LUX
  • Durability—Tie
  • Hopper Capacity—Tie
  • Additional Features—SmokePro LUX

While this unit doesn’t come cheaply, you might want to check it out if you have a large family and plan on using your grill on a regular basis. If you’re strictly a two-season griller, then the LUX is probably not worth the extra money.

In Conclusion

Since I’m hooked on the flavor and texture that a “real” fire contributes, I was skeptical about making the switch to a pellet grill. The SmokePro DLX, however, could make me a believer. It’s capable of reaching the pre-set temperature within mere minutes, it’s simple to use, and it’s constructed of durable materials that should see it through many seasons. Best of all, the sophisticated grease management system and ash removal feature help keep maintenance to a minimum.

With so many options out there, it can be difficult to determine which pellet grill could be the right fit for you. I hope this roundup has provided you with all the information you need to make your decision. Click here if you’d like to make the SmokePro DLX the latest addition to your grilling family.

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