How Long Do Wood Pellets Last In A Smoker

How Long Do Wood Pellets Last In A Smoker?

Let’s be honest, we all love BBQ food! It tastes good, is easy to manage, and is perfect for hangouts or parties. 

The most commonly used fuel for smokers is coal. Even though they work fine, smoking pellets are usually preferred more and perform much better. But that brings the question, how long do wood pellets last? 

The time wooden pellets last depend on the smoker’s temperature and a few other factors, but they can easily last multiple hours! The type and brand of the wood pellet have an effect too. 

In this article, we’ll be going over wood pellet types and how long they last. So without further ado, let’s get on with it.

How Long Do Wood Pellets Last?

Specifically, the time your pellets can last depends on many factors, including temperature, brand, and more. Let’s take an in-depth look at all the factors affecting how long pellets can last-

Wood Pellet Type

Different types of pellets burn differently, and some pellets last longer than others. Some pellets are flavored but may not last as long. Because of this, wood pellets are of two types: small wood pellets and large wood pellets.

  • Small Wood Pellets

You can make small pellets by getting high-quality wood and tightly compressing it to a small area. These pellets will last much longer, from 3 to 5 hours. This range is much more than regular pellets, but they cost more.

  • Larger Wood Pellets

On the other hand, bigger pellets are lightly packed, slightly oversized, and made from different wood types or sawdust. These are usually cheaper but last for 3 hours maximum. This makes smaller pellets are much better and last longer.


The most common temperature smokers run at is a medium or high temperature between 200° and 250℉, or 90° to 130℃. 

If your smoker is burning between these temperatures, all brands of wood pellets can easily last 1-3 hours. However, getting small wood pellets from better brands can make them last over 5-7 hours. We’ll be going over the best pellet brands later in this article.

Smoker Insulation

Well-insulated and well-made smokers conclude on the consistency of the temperature your smoker runs in. It’s important to know this, as pellets last longer on smokers with good insulation. 

If the temperature isn’t consistent, your pellets can last under an hour or multiple hours if you get it right. Well-insulated smokers require fewer pellets to smoke food, while lower-quality smokers with inadequate insulation require more pellets and have worse food quality and lower burning times.

Weather & Winds

The environmental factors such as the wind, humidity, and weather of your area contribute to how long pellets can last as well. With lots of wind, pellets can burn faster and last longer. But with sunny days without wind, they get burnt up quicker and last shorter. 

Humidity doesn’t affect how long pellets can burn in a smoker, but instead, it affects how you can store pellets without them getting spoiled. The ideal humidity for storing pellets is 10% or less, and they can last up to 6 months this way. 

How Long Can Pellets Stay Inside Hoppers?

Hopper stores pellets and other fuel types of your smoker, but people usually take out the pellets after cooking. Even though this is considered a good practice, you shouldn’t take your pellets out if you’re cooking with the smoker again soon. 

If you do so, you’re wasting fewer pellets the next time you cook with your smoker. Usually, pellets can stay inside hoppers for 2-15 weeks, depending on the level of humidity. 

The best way to store pellets inside a hopper is to put a heat-resistant cover on top of your smoker and keep it in a shed or garage. By doing so, less air will get into the smoker, and your pellets will last longer.

Best Pellets For Smokers

By now, you probably understand all about wooden pellets and how long they last. But the brand of pellets can contribute to how well your food tastes and how long the pellets last.

After tons of research, we found out Traeger Grills Signature Blend Hardwood Pellets have the best flavor and last the longest amongst most other pellets. 

These pellets are perfect for cooking beef, pork, lamb, seafood, vegetables, and baked foods. The wooden pellets are 20 pounds in weight and are flavored. It has three flavors for the wood pellets: hickory, cherry, and maple.

Compared to other wood pellets, they burn cleanly with little to no ash. Not only that but these pellets are rated five stars on Amazon and come at a small cost of $18. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Are wood pellets better than charcoal for smokers?

Although opinions may vary, wood pellets are better than charcoal. Since charcoal produces more ash and the flavor isn’t excellent, most people don’t prefer charcoal.

Meanwhile, wood pellets give off a much better taste and are easier to maintain. In most cases, wood pellets from good brands such as Traeger can last up to a few hours longer than charcoal in a smoker.

  1. Which pellets have the most significant effect on smoke flavor?

Hickory wood pellets have the most significant difference in smoke flavor compared to other flavored wood pellets such as cherry or maple. This is why hickory wood is perfect for BBQ beef, briskets, and chicken.

  1. Is burning wood pellets cheaper than burning wood?

No, burning wood planks is cheaper than burning wood pellets. However, since factories make wood pellets, they have many advantages compared to wooden planks. These advantages include unique smoke flavors, less ash, and longer burning times. 


Hopefully, you now know the answer to how long wood pellets last. Wood pellets can last 1-3 hours on a smoker, while better brands of pellets can last even longer of upwards of 7 hours. 

We’d recommend you buy smaller flavored pellets made out of oak or cherry trees from brands such as Traeger for your smoker. These pellets will make your food taste and smell better while lasting considerably longer than most other pellets.

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