Pit Boss 820 Pellet Grill Reviews: Should You Buy It? [2020]

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out if we still recommend the Pit Boss 820 in 2020, then the short answer is YES. For more details, jump directly to our verdict section by clicking here.

Welcome to the enticing world of pellet grilling! Are you a first-time buyer looking to invest in a unit that will help introduce you to the basics, or a seasoned grilling pro hoping to upgrade to a flashier model? Either way, the choices can be overwhelming. With any luck, these Pit Boss 820 pellet grill reviews will steer you in the right direction.

Shopping for a Pit Boss Pellet Grill: What You Need To Know

As with any purchase, shopping for a pellet grill requires a certain set of criteria that must be followed if you’re to make the right decision. While everyone’s grilling needs are different, you should take the following criteria into account before you conclude your search.

Size

Think about how much grilling space you’re likely to need on a regular basis. The amount of available cooking space on a pellet grill ranges from as little as 200 inches to as much as 1100, so work out a basic idea of what you’ll need before hitting the stores.

Value

Likewise, the cost of a pellet grill can vary widely. Determine a budget in advance, and do your best to stick to it. Read my review of the best pellet grills for the money.

Temperature Control

The best pellet grills should have the ability to cook at temperatures as low as 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and max out at around 500. Moreover, they should be accurate to within around ten degrees. Look for a unit that features a digital readout display, so you can keep an eye on any temperature fluctuations during cooking.

Construction

Heavy-gauge stainless steel is preferable. Try to find a pellet grill that utilizes restaurant-grade steel for the main components. 304-grade stainless steel is widely regarded as the best choice for grills. The cooking grates themselves can be made of the same material, but cast iron is another popular and durable choice.

Ease of Setup

Depending on the complexity of the model, a pellet grill can take one to two hours to set up. It might take less time if you’ve had a lot of experience, but if it takes longer, it usually means that the instructions could use some clarification.

Efficiency

You’ll want a pellet grill that burns through an average of one pound of pellets per hour. This number may vary, depending on the type of cooking that you’re doing. For example, more pellets are typically consumed at higher temperatures, while low and slow cooking applications will require less fuel. As a rule of thumb, you’ll have better luck with the pellets that are sold specifically for the brand that you buy.

Special Features

Some of these additional features are basic ones, such as tool hooks for storage or built-in interior lights for grilling after dark. Others, like meat probes or Wi-Fi capability, are more sophisticated, and are typically found in pricier units.

Warranty

Many pellet grill companies offer warranties on their products. A one- to two-year guarantee is typical, and should give you some peace of mind regarding your investment. Note that while parts are usually covered in these warranties, the labor is not, so technologically challenged shoppers should be careful to choose a unit that comes highly recommended.

Pit Boss 820 Pellet Grill Reviews: What’s in the Box?

This unit includes a deluxe pellet grill with attached pellet hopper, high-quality lids with a copper finish, a flame broiler for searing, and a built-in stainless steel side tray. The Deluxe version of the Pit Boss 820 also includes a bottle opener on the side shelf.

Pros:

  • Great for smoking meats
  • Built to last
  • Can be assembled in a remarkably short time

Cons:

  • It can be tricky to get the temperature correct at first
  • Pit Bull pellets should be used for best results
  • Bottle opener is the only additional feature on the pricier Deluxe model

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Features & Benefits of the Pit Boss 820

How well does the Pit Boss 820 hold up to the criteria we’ve listed above? This section is here to answer that question, giving you a point-by-point analysis of all the pertinent criteria. Be aware that some of these categories are subjective—only you can decide whether this particular grill is the right fit for you.

Size

The Pit Boss 820 features a generous 818 square inches of cooking space. This puts it on the medium-to-high end of the spectrum as far as pellet grills are concerned. If you have a family of four or more, or if you entertain often, then this model should have sufficient space to suit your needs. Smaller families might also consider investing in the Pit Boss 820 if they like to grill large quantities of food at once.

Value

If you’re looking for a quality grill at an affordable price, this could be the model for you. The Pit Boss 820 qualifies as a mid-range option—it’s not dirt cheap, but it is priced significantly lower than some of the competition. First-timers who have a moderate budget would do well to take a closer look at this unit.

Temperature Control

This model advertises a temperature range of 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and is typically accurate within five degrees of the pre-set temperature. Assuming that the unit is working properly, it can be set to smoke meats at just under 200 degrees, or be turned up high enough to bake flatbreads or pizzas. An arched drip plate aids in the creation of hotter “sear zones” for grilled meats, and a fan-forced convection feature makes sure that the juices are sealed in properly.

In my test run, I did notice that the Pit Boss 820 ran slightly hotter on the left side of the grill than on the right. While this could actually be considered a perk for some cooking applications, it bears mentioning nonetheless.

Construction

The Pit Boss 820 uses 16-gauge black-powder coated steel in its composition, with porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates.

Other features include secondary removable racks and lower shelves constructed of coated steel, a built-in handle on the left side of hopper, a set of steel wheels for maneuverability, and a bracket for cord storage when the unit is not in use. As long as you observe the proper maintenance, there’s no reason why this grill shouldn’t last for five years or more.

Ease of Setup

Once you begin to set up your Pit Boss 820, you should be ready to fire it up within the hour. Note that you should probably prime the auger component by setting the unit to “smoke” for about five minutes before first use, even if you’ll be using a different cooking method. This will ensure that the igniter has a chance to light properly before additional fuel is fed into the grill from the hopper.

Efficiency

This model features a hopper with a 20-pound capacity, which is considered acceptable for a pellet grill of this size. The unit should burn through roughly one pound of pellets per hour, again meeting the basic industry standard.

Special Features

In addition to the shelving units mentioned above, the Pit Boss 820 offers a range of features to give it a competitive edge. The automatic start function and digital control with LED readout panel are standard, but the included meat probe allows you greater control over your ingredients. Be aware that while the Pit Boss 820 Deluxe features a built-in bottle opener, the basic version of the model does not.

Warranty

Pit Boss has made some relatively recent changes to its warranty policy. If you’ve purchased one of their grills after September 5, 2018, your purchase is covered by a five-year warranty. If your purchase was made before that, then the warranty was in place for only one year. Going forward, you can expect the five-year policy to remain in place.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Social Proof: Firing Up the Pit Boss 820

In the interest of full disclosure, I decided to search the Web to find out what other consumers were saying about the Pit Boss 820. Throughout the course of this research, I came across a few reviews that corroborated my own findings.

More than one satisfied customer reported having superb luck when using the Pit Boss 820 for smoked meats, claiming that the temperature control was excellent once the unit had a chance to calibrate. Others praised the durability of its construction, especially given the relatively low price tag. A vocal faction of users reported excellent results with seared meats as well, saying that the unit was able to hold its heat for long periods of time.

Possible Alternatives

If you’ve decided that the Pit Boss 820 might not be the right fit for you after all, there are plenty of other units on the market. Here are a few of the most direct competitors for this model.

#1 Z Grills ZPG-450A

Z Grills offers a similar unit at a lower price, but be aware that there’s also less cooking space—just 700 inches. However, this model does advertise “8-in-1” capability, meaning that it’s capable of performing as many as eight cooking applications, from smoking to char-grilling.

Pit Boss vs. Z Grills

  • Size—Pit Boss
  • Value—Z Grills
  • Technology—Z Grills
  • Temperature Control—Tie
  • Construction—Pit Boss
  • Ease of Setup—Pit Boss
  • Pellet Consumption—Tie
  • Warranty—Pit Boss

Take a closer look at this offering from Z Grills if you want all the versatility of the Pit Boss 820, but don’t need quite as much cooking space.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

#2 Green Mountain Davy Crockett Grill

One of the lowest-priced pellet grills you’re likely to find on the current market, this grill is not quite as durable as the Pit Boss 820, but could be a great choice for beginners. It does feature Wi-Fi capability, however, and its diminutive size make it an appealing option for camping or tailgating.

Pit Boss vs. Green Mountain

  • Size—Pit Boss
  • Value—Green Mountain
  • Technology—Green Mountain
  • Temperature Control—Pit Boss
  • Construction—Pit Boss
  • Ease of Setup—Green Mountain
  • Pellet Consumption—Pit Boss
  • Warranty—Pit Boss

Budget shoppers, or customers looking for a grill that can be easily folded up and taken along on day trips or overnight adventures, would do well to give the Green Mountain Davy Crockett pellet grill a try.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

#3 Traeger Lil Tex

This is Traeger’s most direct competitor to the Pit Boss 820 in terms of price, but the comparisons don’t go much further than that. The Lil Tex offers just 418 square inches of cooking space, slightly more than half that of the 820. However, the product is exceptionally durable in construct, with an efficient heating system and a solid reputation. When it comes to smoked meats, though, the Pit Boss is the clear winner.

Pit Boss vs. Traeger

  • Size—Pit Boss
  • Value—Tie
  • Technology—Pit Boss
  • Temperature Control—Pit Boss
  • Construction—Traeger
  • Ease of Setup—Pit Boss
  • Pellet Consumption—Tie
  • Warranty—Pit Boss

If you’ll be using your unit primarily for grilling rather than smoking, and if you don’t require a great deal of cooking space, consider taking a closer look at the Traeger Lil Tex.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Putting It Together

To conclude, the Pit Boss 820 contains all the elements I would look for in a pellet grill. It features a broad temperature range with impeccable control, a decent hopper capacity, and the ability to turn out succulent smoked meats in a matter of hours. The grilling surface is adequate for large parties, and the construct is durable enough to last for several years, giving you a good return on your investment. Click here to make the Pit Boss 820 the newest addition to your grilling arsenal.

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