How Long Do Pellets Last In A Pit Boss? (Never Run Out of Fuel Again!)

Sharing is caring!

Want to know how long your pellets will last in your Pit Boss? This will help you plan around cooking timings and when a refill is needed or even required.

Knowing how much fuel you have left is vital for any successful cook. Read further as we cover how to estimate fuel timings and increase fuel efficiency.

So you can be confident you will finish your cook without running out of fuel!

The Average Burn Rate For Wood Pellets On A Pit Boss

Pit Boss Wood Pellet Grill burns around 2-3 lbs of pellets per hour. You have a bag of pellets weighing 20 lbs… This will last a period between 4-10 hours.

But knowing exactly how a hopper with pellets will last is impossible. This is due to all the various factors at play and covered later on.

How Are Wood Pellets Made & Why Do They Burn So Slow?

Let’s quickly go over the fuel to further understand burn rates and how to improve them.

A Pit Boss Pellet grill uses food-grade pellets as fuel, these are made from compressed hardwood sawdust. Hardwood pellets vary on the type of wood used and the resulting flavor.

Buy Pit Boss’s Brand Of Wood Pellets

Buying parts made by the same brand is something we should all try to do, further guaranteeing the fluidity and function of parts. A bag of pellets is no different. Pit Boss brands of pellets ensure you get (at least) great burn time and performance.

What Factors Can Impact The Pellet Burn Rate?

Fuel efficiency for your Pit Boss Pellet Grill can be compared with a vehicle. To get the best results you want things like the right fuel type and a maintenance schedule. Below I have broken down (pun intended) what can negatively impact the burn rate. As well as what you can do to achieve a fuel-efficient cook!

1. The Type Of Pit Boss Pellet Smoker

There isn’t just 1 Pit Boss Pellet Grill Model… Oh no! How would they make their money? There are 5 series and each comes in different sizes and functions.

This is important to know as the inches of cooking space affect the burn rate. Those with a larger chamber cooking chamber will take longer to heat and use more fuel.

So bear this in mind when doing your calculations.

2. The Cooking Temperature 

It is common sense to know that a higher cooking temperature needs more fuel. Consider this when cooking a recipe with direct heat or at temperatures higher than 270°F.

3. The Type Of Pellets 

There are many brands of bags of pellets! As we mentioned before you will get the best pellet consumption if you buy from Pit Boss.

If you can’t, make sure you research the best type of high-quality pellets available to you, don’t go for the cheaper pellets. They will burn quickly and can even cause your Pit Boss Pellet Grill to malfunction.

4. Improper Maintenance Or Auger Jam

Back to the car example, you’ll break down if you don’t keep it oiled! The same applies to a pellet grill.

Look at the manufacturer’s instructions and maintenance guidelines, there will be guides on how to properly take care of the parts.

Pellets are fed through an auger from the hopper and into the ignition chamber. Failure to clean can cause an auger blockage or part malfunction.

You don’t have to worry about how long a full hopper lasts if your food isn’t cooking!

Note: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and only make adjustments you are confident with.

6. The Required Heat Energy For Your Ingredient(s)

Heat energy can simply be compared to your cooking times. Every good chef will work out an estimate of how long something takes to cook. This will help you plan the meal and have more control and timing with other ingredients.

The cooking of a steak will be vastly faster than smoking a whole beef brisket. You might not even have to fill the hopper!

Why Has My Pit Boss Run Out Of Pellets?

What are the telltale signs you have run out of pellets? From negligence to a faulty sensor. How will you know your Pit Boss has run out of pellets?

The Pellet Hopper Is Empty 

Sometimes it’s the simple things that go wrong, the most common reason is your fuel level and heat decrease.

Fuel management is part of the cooking process. Don’t get caught slacking and forget to add more pellets before finishing a beer!

There Is A Maintenance Issue

Pit Boss recommends you run a full clean cycle after every cook.

You should also do a thorough clean with part removal every 3 months. Failure to remove leftover grease, food debris, and sawdust causes pellet blockage.

You Left Unused Pellets In The Hopper

When you finish a cook you must remove any leftover pellets from the hopper. These leftover pellets should be stored airtight and away from moisture.

Otherwise, you’ll get damp pellets that swell up and block the auger. It can also cause an imbalance in temperature range due to ignition problems.

What is the point in spending money on pounds of pellets if they don’t ignite!?

There Is A Sensor Problem  

Think of your Pit Boss like a computer! It has temperature and motion sensors that connect to a digital control board.

These and the other components are what make these smokers so effective. But it also means they can break…

There is a sensor that monitors the pellet flow into the ignition chamber. This can be faulty and not accurately feed the pellets as per the set temperature range. Meaning the wood pellets might be burned through too quickly.

Have You Primed Your Smoker?

You need to prime your Pit Boss every time you run out of pellets as well as the first time you use it. There are plenty of tips for priming a Pit Boss but here are the exact steps; I have a full guide on Priming but to wrap it quickly, you need to turn it on, set it to SMOKE, and listen for the auger motor. Check for air movement in the fire pot, then turn off. Fill the hopper, press the ‘Prime’ button until pellets drop, wait for ignition, then cool off.

Safety Advice When Cooking With Pellets On A Pit Boss

I wanted to add some quick safety points to finish off.

  1. Remember to always be conscious when using your pellet grill, especially around children.
  2. A pellet grill/smoker is for outdoor cooking and should not be used inside. 
  3. Turn off the power to the device before cleaning and removing parts like the upper rack or auger.
  4. Have a maintenance schedule based on the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Buy food-graded pellets. Do not source or attempt to make them yourself as wood needs to be treated. 
  6. Do not attempt to make adjustments or modifications to extend the hopper size. 

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

Hungry For More?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *