The short answer is yes, you can leave a pellet grill outside if you follow a few simple tips.
The longer answer is that you will see less lifespan of certain components compared to storing a pellet smoker under a covered space or in a garage. But there is no danger for your grill not working. Though the grills should be covered when not in use, they won’t be ruined if rained on accidentally now and then.
Key Factors in Pellet Grill Storage
Keeping pellet grills properly maintained is easy, with just a little bit of planning and the occasional bit of work. And there is no need to be concerned about storing them outside. We hope these tips and answers give you some peace of mind about your grill investment.
Yes, absolutely. Storing your smoker outside unprotected isn’t the best option for longevity, but rain and snow will not ruin your grill or stop if from working. Though it has electronics in it, they should be well sealed, usually under the pellet hopper, and protected from rain. The more your grill suffers from the elements like sun and water, the more its finish will degrade. And some components could rust, depending on their construction materials.
The answer is yes, with a caveat. Your grill should be plugged in to a GFCI outlet. Some grills won’t even function properly without it. One staff member of ours has had his pellet grill outside and plugged in for 5 years continuously. He’s never had an issue, other than some minor rusting of some screws, and some paint fading and peeling because “sometimes, we forget to cover it!”
You need to know the answer to this question. Stainless steel is much more weather-resistant. If you have a less expensive grill, with not a lot of stainless steel components, you can expect a little rust over time. Check out our complete rundown on construction materials in pellet grills.
Hardware like screws are especially prone to rusting, as they probably aren’t powder coated. Be aware of hardware composition, then. Does your smoker have stainless steel screws and bolts? Minor surface rust won’t affect grill performance, but it’s something to keep in mind, and it doesn’t look very good.
Your pellet grill should be fine under a roof. Because it doesn’t use an open flame, there’s no danger of, say, melting your soffit or starting a house fire. BUT, this assumes you don’t operate it right up against a wall. Proper clearance to prevent melted or scorched siding or worse should be about 2 feet, but check the surface during a high-temp cook to be sure before leaving it unattended.
Oh, and don’t grill indoors or un unventilated spaces!
The answer is a definite yes. There are a few considerations here, too. A cover is only good if you use it. And you can’t cover your smoker immediately after shutting it down. The last thing you may feel like doing is going out to cover (and hopefully clean the grates on) your grill after gorging yourself on ribs, but you need to. Pop-up showers are most likely during peak grilling seasons like spring and summer.
Also important: if you keep your grill covered, you reduce your usefulness of your wireless grill app and the ability to start it up remotely. You can’t start your grill before you leave the office if it has a cover on it, unless you want a melted mess when you get home.
If you didn’t get a cover from your grill manufacturer, a custom cover is actually quite affordable. There are companies that will make very high quality covers based on your pellet grill’s dimensions. Check out the Coverstore for models from standard to super-high quality. And remember: your pellet grill wasn’t cheap. Protect it accordingly! They also have patio furniture covers, outdoor TV covers, etc. so you could have everything matching.
This is the easiest route to go, as most likely they have a custom cover to fit your pellet grill perfectly. They aren’t always top-of-the-line covers, but they are way better than no cover at all, and they’re often free as part of a package or promotion.
Not if you use a cover! But without a cover, or when it’s raining, no water should get in either the smoking chamber or the pellet hopper. One thing to note: if your grill has rear vents instead of a smokestack, like the Recteq RT-340 and RT-590, water can get in if left uncovered. (See pic)
Apartments and condos usually ban outdoor grills on their balconies because of the risk of fire. Some allow electric (no flame) grills. They SHOULD allow pellet grills, as there is really no open exposed flame, but most likely landlord rules haven’t yet dealt with pellet smokers. You could always ask, but be armed with info on how a pellet grill works to explain the low risk.