Do pellet grills break? If you own a pellet grill, you’re going to have some kind of issue with it eventually. Even the best grills will have parts that wear out: the ignitor rod, the fan, a simple fuse. These aren’t hard to fix, even if you have no warranty. An ignitor rod, for example, is less than $15 on Amazon and can be easily installed in about 20 minutes.
By the way, if you do need to change your ignitor rod, or you are interested in upgrading it, we recommend you get a ceramic model, which will last you the life of your grill.
But what if your temperature controller goes bad? That’s a complicated system of circuitry that you’ll most likely have to replace, not repair, and they start at around $100.
And what about the metal workings within the grill? Most of us have experience with a cheap gas grill, or know someone that had one, that rusted out. The burner turned to powder from oxidation. The belly of the grill may have rusted through, or perhaps some screws or hinges failed due to rust.
Remember the elements in which your pellet grill will operate. Outdoor temperatures from freezing to baking summer sun. Humidity. Rain. Frost. Perhaps snow.
Now add in hours–hundreds or thousands of hours–of acidic smoke, fats and grease, ash, 500-degree heat. Plus caked on burnt grease and fat, eating away at finishes, followed by heavily abrasive scraping. It’s brutal inside that grill.
So you’ll want to start with the most sturdy materials you can afford–as much stainless steel as possible–and a company that will have your back if things go wrong. And that’s where your warranty comes in to play.
What Exactly is a Warranty?
A warranty on an item is essentially a guarantee that a manufacturer makes regarding the condition of its product. It also covers the conditions and means that company will do repairs or exchanges in order to correct the product so that it meets that guaranteed condition.
When you buy a pellet grill, you are being guaranteed that the grill will function as it was described and will give you some assurance regarding any parts that malfunction and prevent it from working properly. Some warranties stop there: if it cooks, it meets the conditions of the guarantee. These limits often include the paint or finish on the grill.
Additionally, no grill manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty. They have a coverage period that starts at purchase and runs a set length of time. A comparison of the major pellet grill manufacturer warranties is below.
Aside from a set length of time, some warranties limit not only what is covered, but how the situation will be fixed. Some common limitations:
won’t cover normal wear and tear
won’t cover modifications or non-standard parts or repairs necessary resulting from them
accessories like covers or additional shelves aren’t covered
won’t cover paint and finish corrosion or oxidation
won’t cover paint or finish defects
won’t cover shipping of a returned product or part
won’t cover labor to replace or install a replacement part
Try Before you Buy: Customer Service Experience
Grills can malfunction and you might need that warranty to replace a part. You’ll never know until the situation hits. But you can “test” a company’s customer service quite easily with a phone call or two. We use information like this as part of our “Ownership Experience” rating.
When you call Customer Support/Service, how long does it take for them to begin helping you? Did a human answer quickly or were you put on hold or driven through an automated solution process?
Are you able to speak to someone knowledgeable, or are they just searching a website for answers? In other words, has the person on the other end ever smoked a pork butt on a pellet grill?
Do they seem engaged in your product or just a hired voice reading out answers?
Can you reach them during nights and weekends, when you might need them most to resolve an issue?
You can call and ask their service hours, or to clarify a warranty question like shipping of replacement parts. Ask anything.
Ask About The Worst Case Scenario
While you have them on the phone, ask about the worst case scenario and see what their response is: “What if I don’t like it and want to return it?”
Their response will be telling. And ask specifics: how will I repackage it? Ship it back? Who pays for the return? If you bought it at a box store, can you return it to them assembled and expect a full refund? How long do you have? What if you’ve already cooked on it?
This is a very unlikely scenario, but their response is important to your peace-of-mind.
Pellet grills are fairly simple machines, pellet grill warranties can vary. The grills are pretty simple, but do have some moving parts that can fail or malfunction. And they are subject to some major wear and tear. Knowing about your warranty before you buy is an important comparison. You have to do your part, namely to clean and maintain your grill properly. But before you buy, kick the tires a bit and find out about the company’s customer service. We cover customer service reputations and first-hand experiences in all our pellet grill reviews. But we urge you to perhaps make a few calls on your own.