How long do pellets last in a pellet grill?
Grilling on a pellet grill can be both enjoyable and delicious. But have you ever stopped to consider how long do pellets last in a pellet grill, and whether they need periodic replacement? Keeping an eye on your pellets is crucial for maintaining optimal flavor and grilling performance. Knowing the answer to that question opens up a lot of extra questions, which we’ll cover thoroughly in this blog post: How long do pellets remain viable when used for cooking? What factors affect their shelf-life? When should you replace them?
How Long Do Pellets Last?
Pellet smokers are an excellent choice due to their large hopper capacity, allowing you to load enough pellets to last throughout your entire cooking session. However, if you have a smaller pellet grill or only a partial bag of pellets, you might be concerned about having enough to prepare your meal.
To estimate the pellet consumption, pellet grills usually burn between 1 and 3 pounds of pellets per hour. Remember, this burn rate can vary depending on your grill’s make, model, and the temperature you set it at. As a result, a 20lb bag of pellets can last anywhere from 4 to 20 hours.
To be on the safe side, we suggest rounding up the amount of wood pellets you think you’ll need to cook a specific cut of meat. This approach will help ensure you won’t end up with an unfinished meal!
Are you interested in learning more about the longevity and storage of wood pellets? Read on, as we’re about to delve into everything you need to know about this topic.
At different cooking temperatures, how long do pellets burn for?
When it comes to pellet grills, there are a few factors that determine pellet consumption. Most pellet grills will burn between one to three pounds of pellets per hour, depending on the set temperature and the grill’s make and model.
So, let’s talk about how long a bag of pellets will last. A typical 20-pound bag of pellets should keep you going for around six to 20 hours, give or take. Of course, this can vary depending on various factors like weather conditions (temperature, humidity, and wind speed).
Speaking of temperature, it’s worth noting that the heat level you’re cooking at plays a major role. For instance, at 225°F, you can expect to burn around 0.5 to 1 pound of pellets per hour. However, if you crank up the heat, you might use as much as 3 pounds per hour.
Now, grill size and efficiency will also impact pellet consumption. Generally, larger cooking surfaces will require more pellets, while smaller ones will need less. If you’re looking for efficiency, highly insulated grills like the Yoder YS640S are your best bet. These will use fewer pellets per hour compared to cheaper grills from big box stores.
It’s important to consider both the grill size and cooking temperature when estimating pellet needs. Higher temperatures call for more pellets, while smaller grills will naturally use fewer. For example, cooking at 450°F will require roughly 4 pounds of pellets per hour. Just remember to enjoy the higher temperatures that pellet grills offer!
To get a more accurate idea of pellet burn rate, consult your specific grill’s owner’s manual. But don’t forget to round up! It’s better to have extra pellets on hand than run out mid-cook and end up with a half-cooked brisket.
How Long Pellets Last in Different Grill Models
Fortunately, we have compiled a convenient chart detailing the burn rate of frequently used grill models. It is important to note that these figures are estimates, therefore, rounding up is recommended for accuracy.
|Pellet Grill Model
|Low Temp Burn Rate (225°F)
|High Temp Burn Rate (450°F and up)
|Camp Chef Woodwind
|0.75lbs per hour
|2 lbs per hour
|Traeger Pellet Grills
|1lb per hour
|3lbs per hour
|ZGrills 700 Series
|1lb per hour
|2lbs per hour
|Pit Boss Pellet Grills
|1 lb per hour
|3lbs per hour
|Louisiana Grills Black Label
|1.6lbs per hour
|4.5lbs per hour
|Green Mountain Trek
|0.5lbs per hour
|2lbs per hour
|1.25lbs per hour
|4lbs per hour
Please note that grill models vary significantly. If your specific model is not listed, we suggest estimating a safe consumption rate of 2lbs per hour for low cooking temperatures and 4lbs per hour for high cooking temperatures.
Editor’s Note: It is important to keep in mind that not all wood pellets burn at the same rate.
Different types of wood have different burning rates, which is why the numbers provided are just estimates. Additionally, if you are using a mix of woods in your hopper (which we recommend), there may be additional variations in the burn rates of the wood pellets.
How long do wood pellets last when stored in a pellet grill?
Pellet grill manufacturers strongly advise against leaving pellets in the hopper for extended periods due to potential clogging and auger gumming. However, let’s consider different scenarios and factors.
For example, if you reside in a hot area with low humidity, leaving pellets in the hopper for a few weeks might not pose a problem.
When it comes to storing unused pellets, it’s best to choose a cool and dry location, like a shed or garage, while avoiding direct sunlight and excessive humidity.
Now, if you still want to store pellets in the hopper, bear in mind that their quality retention duration depends on the humidity level and pellet brand.
Surprisingly, in certain arid regions with high temperatures, some pellet owners have successfully left pellets in the grill for up to six months!
Typically, if stored correctly, wood pellets can last from six to twelve months in a cool and dry environment. However, in high humidity environments, their lifespan may reduce to three or four months. Keep in mind that poor quality pellets may only remain viable for a month or two.
By adhering to these guidelines, you’ll ensure the longevity and quality of your wood pellets, guaranteeing optimized grilling experiences.
Why My Wood Pellets Don’t Last Very Long
In addition to the type of grill being used, several other factors can impact the longevity of pellets in a pellet grill. If you find that your pellet grill is consuming pellets at a rapid rate, it’s worth exploring the following reasons that may contribute to this issue.
1-Your Grill is Old
Old grills are inherently less fuel efficient, plain and simple. If your grill has been around for over 5 years, chances are it isn’t burning pellets with the same efficiency it once did. Moreover, considering how much technology has advanced in the past 5 years, it might just be the perfect time to consider an upgrade.
2-Your Grill is Dirty
Efficient pellet burning in grills is achieved through regular cleaning. The logic behind this lies in the fact that the accumulation of ash and debris can result in increased pellet consumption to sustain desired temperatures. To optimize fuel usage and achieve optimal outcomes, it is advisable to clean your pellet grill after every use.
3-You Are Buying Cheap Pellets
Quality pellets may come with a higher price tag, but they offer a longer burn compared to cheap pellets. We highly recommend purchasing pellets from the same manufacturer as your grill, as these pellets are typically tested and approved for optimal performance.
That being said, feel free to experiment with different pellet brands. Just keep in mind that price often correlates with burn time. By investing in quality pellets, you’ll ensure a more efficient and enjoyable grilling experience.
4-It’s Stormy Outside
In cold, windy, or rainy weather, using your pellet grill requires extra pellets due to increased fuel consumption for temperature maintenance. However, don’t let this deter you from enjoying year-round pellet grilling. Simply remember to stock up on an additional bag of pellets during the winter months. With this preparation, you can indulge in the pleasure of grilling regardless of the weather conditions.
5-You’re Storing Your Pellets in the Grill
The moisture in the environment can affect the efficiency of the pellets stored in the grill, influencing their burning speed and the amount needed to maintain temperature. For optimal results, it is recommended to store the pellets indoors when the pellet grill is not in use.
6-Your Grill is Large
As mentioned earlier, opting for a smaller pellet grill is a wise choice if your household has shrunk. It allows you to enjoy cost savings on wood pellet expenses during evenings spent as a couple.
Simply store the old grill in the garage and retrieve it when the holiday season arrives, and you find yourself hosting additional guests. This approach ensures convenience and efficiency in managing your grilling needs.
7-You’re Cooking at High Temps
When searing steaks or cooking at high temperatures, be prepared to go through a substantial amount of pellets. Although you can attempt to clean your grill before use to conserve, it’s probably best to have a generous supply of wood pellets on hand. This ensures you’ll be fully prepared for a sizzling and satisfying grilling session!
Factors That Affect Pellet Lifespan
In the realm of pellet grills, various factors contribute to the longevity of pellets. Esteemed experts and diligent research underline the impact of these aspects.
Unquestionably, the burgeoning popularity of pellet grills can be attributed to their effectiveness and the unparalleled level of control they provide.
Delving deeper, let’s explore the pivotal elements that influence the duration of pellet usage when grilling or smoking meat:
1-The Cooking Temperature of Your Pellet Grills
The longevity of wood pellets is heavily influenced by the cooking temperature. Higher temperatures lead to faster burn rates, as the pellets are consumed more rapidly to maintain optimal heat levels.
For instance, if you cook at 450°F, your pellets will last a shorter amount of time compared to cooking at 225°F. Lower temperatures offer a longer and more gentle cooking experience, resulting in enhanced flavors.
Since the heat required for smoking or cooking meat varies significantly, the duration of pellet usage and the quantity needed naturally differ as well.
If you prefer cooking at higher temperatures, be prepared to use more pellets, as they burn at a faster rate under such conditions.
Feel free to turn up the heat, but remember to have an ample supply of pellets on hand!
“The smoker burns 1 to 3 pounds of pellets per hour. Traeger says that means each 20-pound bag provides between 6 to 20 hours of cook time (at high or low heat),” claims – Brian from CNET 
The longevity of wood pellets can be influenced by several important factors, including the type of grill you own. Various grill designs and features can impact pellet combustion efficiency.
For instance, certain grills may incorporate a more powerful fan or a larger firepot, resulting in improved pellet utilization. Additionally, some grills offer advanced temperature management capabilities, allowing for better temperature control and prolonging pellet lifespan.
It is crucial to thoroughly research and compare different grill models to select the one that aligns with your specific needs and preferences. By doing so, you can ensure optimal performance and maximize the durability of your wood pellets.
3-The Brand and Quality of Your Pellets
When it comes to the longevity of wood pellets, their quality plays a crucial role. Opting for high-quality pellets made from premium wood, free from additives or fillers that can compromise burning efficiency, is essential.
Moreover, the type of wood used also impacts the quality of the pellets. Hardwood varieties like oak, hickory, and maple burn longer and lend a more robust flavor, unlike softwood options such as pine or spruce.
To ensure your pellets last as long as possible, it’s advisable to choose high-quality ones. Although it’s tempting to go for cheaper alternatives to pricey pellet grill brands when nobody’s watching, it’s worth reevaluating this choice.
Brands that manufacture grilling pellets often sell grills themselves. Consequently, reputable brands have a reputation to uphold and have invested ample time to perfect their pellets for an optimal grilling experience when used in conjunction with their grills.
Note: prioritizing the quality of wood pellets is crucial for their longevity and overall grilling performance.
Proper storage conditions play a crucial role in preserving the longevity of wood pellets. These highly absorbent pellets are susceptible to degradation and loss of efficiency due to moisture.
To ensure optimal performance, it is important to keep the pellets cool and dry, away from any potential sources of moisture. Airtight containers or bags are commonly used by barbecue enthusiasts to safeguard their pellets from moisture intrusion.
When exposed to moisture, pellets may clump together and generate excessive ash, leading to reduced burning efficiency and lifespan.
5-The Climate Conditions
The longevity of wood pellets can be influenced by weather conditions. In colder temperatures, it may take longer for the pellets to reach optimal temperature, resulting in increased pellet usage.
Moreover, exposure to moisture can hinder efficient burning of pellets, leading to higher consumption. It is crucial to keep pellets dry and take precautions against moisture, particularly in humid or wet weather.
When estimating the duration of grilling pellets, one must also consider the weather during grilling. During winter, more fuel is typically required to achieve the desired temperature. Preheating may take longer, and cooking times may be extended, resulting in decreased pellet longevity.
“In cold weather, your grill is going to use more fuel to reach the right temperature; plan on using about 50% more than you would in the summer,” says– Camp Chef 
Naturally, the exterior weather conditions impact the grill’s temperature and the amount of pellets needed to maintain a steady temperature. Therefore, it is advisable to have additional pellets on hand at all times.
6-The Grill and Insulation
When it comes to pellet grills, understanding their impact on pellet usage and longevity is crucial. Researching the subject reveals the key factors at play.
Firstly, the size of the grill certainly matters, but it is not the sole determinant. The quality of the pellet grill and its insulation also play significant roles in optimizing pellet usage.
When purchasing a pellet grill, it’s common to find bundled packages that include the grill itself, pellets, and even insulation. Utilizing all three components in unison ensures exceptional cooking results and extended pellet life.
Traeger, a renowned pellet grill manufacturer, emphasizes the importance of a grill insulation blanket. According to them, it safeguards against cold temperatures, maintaining consistent heat levels, and reducing pellet consumption .
Furthermore, some pellet grills are equipped with double walls, providing natural insulation. This design feature not only enhances cooking temperature stability but also prolongs the lifespan of your pellets while minimizing pellet consumption.
Tips for Making Your Pellets Last in Your Pellet Grill
To decrease pellet consumption on your next pellet grill session, consider these tips:
- Invest in high-quality pellets – remember, quality pays off!
- Prior to use, ensure that your pellet grill is free of ash and debris.
- Minimize grill openings during the cooking process to retain heat.
- Position your pellet grill in a sheltered area to avoid wind interference.
- Store your pellets indoors or in the garage when not in use.
- If you’ve followed all these recommendations and still experience excessive pellet usage, it might be time for a grill upgrade!
By implementing these suggestions, you can optimize your pellet grill experience while conserving pellets.
How To Store Your Pellets To Last Longer?
Here are some tips to help you use fewer pellets next time you fire up your pellet grill:
-Invest in high-quality pellets: Remember, you get what you pay for! Buying pellets of better quality can make a noticeable difference in efficiency.
-Prioritize cleanliness: Before using your pellet grill, take the time to clean out any ash or debris that may have accumulated. This ensures optimal performance.
-Seal the cooking chamber: Throughout your cooking session, try to minimize the time you keep the pellet grill open. Keeping it closed as much as possible helps retain heat and conserve pellets.
-Choose a sheltered location: When setting up your pellet grill, find a spot that is protected from strong winds. This prevents unnecessary pellet consumption due to wind interference.
-Find the right storage environment: To keep your pellets in optimal condition, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, moisture, and temperature fluctuations. Consider using a garage, basement, or dedicated storage area.
-Opt for airtight containers: Transfer your pellets from their original packaging to airtight containers, such as plastic bins with tightly fitting lids. This helps preserve their freshness by preventing exposure to moisture and humidity.
-Elevate from the ground: Store the containers of pellets off the ground to minimize the risk of moisture damage. Utilize shelves or pallets to keep them elevated and protected.
-Practice the “first in, first out” approach: To prevent spoilage, use older pellets before opening new bags. Following this principle ensures that you rotate through your stock, maintaining the quality of the pellets over time.
Remember, if you’ve followed all these tips and still find that your pellet grill is burning through pellets quickly, it may be time to consider upgrading to a new grill.
FAQs About how long do pellets last in a pellet grill
How long does a 20 lb bag of pellets last in a pellet smoker?
A 20 lb bag of pellets can last anywhere from 3-6 hours depending on the size of your pellet smoker and the cooking temperature you set. The higher the heat, the fewer pellets will be required to reach the desired temperature. Additionally, factors like wind interference, weather conditions, and grill insulation also influence pellet usage.
How many pellets do I need to smoke for 12 hours?
This will depend on various factors, such as the type of wood pellets you use, the size of your grill, and the temperature you are trying to maintain. Generally speaking, you may need up to 10 lbs of pellets for a 12-hour smoking session.
Do pellets go bad?
Yes, pellets can go bad over time. The length of time depends on the quality of the pellets and how they are stored. High-quality pellets stored in airtight containers in cool, dry locations can last up to a year or more.
How Long Will a 10lb Bag of Wood Pellets Burn?
A 10-pound bag of grill pellets will last for about 4 to 5 hours of grilling. This may vary depending on the temperature and type of pellet used.
Cost of Wood Pellets Versus Other Energy Sources?
Wood pellets are a cost-effective fuel source, typically costing around $5 to $7 per bag. This is much cheaper than other alternative fuels such as propane ($20 to $30 for a 20 lb tank) or natural gas ($1 to $2 per cubic foot). Moreover, wood pellets are renewable and sustainable resources, making them more environmentally friendly compared to non-renewable sources.
How Many Bags of Wood Pellets Should You Buy?
It depends on how often you’re using your pellet grill and what type of wood pellets you prefer. Generally, it is recommended to buy at least 2-4 bags per season, but this may vary depending on the size of your pellet grill and how much you plan to use it.
Conclusion: How long do pellets last in a pellet grill
When it comes to storing wood pellets, the climate and quality play a crucial role. In hot and arid areas, leaving pellets in the hopper might suffice. However, in rainy or humid regions, it is best to store them in a sealed container.
Proper storage ensures a lifespan of six to twelve months, but consulting the manufacturer’s guidance is advisable for precise information.
The burn rate of pellets in a pellet grill depends on the quality and cooking temperature. Higher quality pellets burn slower, while lower quality pellets burn faster. As depicted in our data, the temperature at which you cook also affects pellet burn rate.
For instance, a 20-pound bag of Traeger pellets, priced around $20, lasts approximately 20 hours on low heat, but considerably lesser on high heat. Alternatively, a 40-pound bag can last nearly two full days on low heat and one day on high heat.
We hope this article addresses your inquiries regarding the duration of a 20-pound bag of Traeger pellets. Using a pellet grill can save you time, effort, and money, but it’s important to use it wisely.
Keep in mind that the cost of wood pellets can be substantial if not chosen carefully. Cheap and lower quality pellets not only affect their longevity but can also impact the taste they produce, ultimately costing you more in the long run.
Tyne Williamson is an innovative entrepreneur and the founder of Alibis Bar And Grill. Specializing in hospitality, Tyne’s website provides helpful cooking tips, kitchen equipment buying guides, BBQ accessories and a plethora of mouthwatering food-related information. With his passion for culinary excellence, Tyne hopes her website can empower others to create delicious meals and make their kitchen time a little easier. He strives to find innovative ways to bring people together through the love of good food.