I have been using pellet smokers for a few years now. My progression was a Traeger Texas to a Yoder YS640 back to a Traeger Texas. First off, they all cook great food all the time. People will call you a smoking cheater, but whatever, producing good food is the goal, and ease of use is a bonus.
* Cost - of the pellet smokers, they are reasonably priced
* Ease of parts replacements - lets be honest, they have moving parts and an important RTD, so eventually things will break. Their parts are easy to get from them and other companies, they aren't anything special. They were the first as far as I know and their parts get copied by other manufacturers, so that should tell you something.
* Modifications - the Traegers are very popular and there are a lot of web information on modifications that can help make them even better. Extra shelving, firebricks, some people even install a better temperature controller (on a side note, if you get the Traeger, ensure you do NOT get just the smoke/med/high controller, get the one where you can set temperatures)
*Ease of cleaning - something about the powder coating they use is super easy to wipe off and clean for me
To answer some complaints people commonly say about the Traeger...
*Construction - yes, it is not built like a tank, yes the older ones built in america are better constructed. The ones made today are more than well enough constructed. I wheel mine out of the garage to smoke, I do not travel with it, if I did, that might be a concern, but it is built better than most backyard grills. This is a null point unless you are constantly taking it places.
*Temperature control problems - I have owned two different Traeger Texas grills and never had any temperature problems, people get over concerned with the swinging temperature, but that is how the pellet grills operate, the temperature will swing 10 or 15 degrees, but any experienced cooker will realize this is a minute point, your kitchen oven swings more than that I would bet. Firebrick mod is easy and helps this.
*Doesn't grill well - sure, 400 degrees is about the maximum you can expect to get out of the grill, some go higher, but they all seem to get to 400 easy enough. I grill burgers and dogs on it all the time. I love it, the burger fat drips onto the 400 degree grease tray and smolders and adds a great flavor to the burgers. Sure they take a bit longer to cook due to the lower temperature, but guess what, no need to flip them, the fan induced air circulation cooks both sides. How many burgers have you destroyed trying to flip them? The flavor from actual wood fire is distinct and I like it too. Searing steaks is not happening, that is a valid point. Steaks get cooked on my $100 Weber Kettle grill, hard to beat that.
*construction - built like a tank for sure, overbuilt might be a better description. It is heavy and not the easiest to roll. I actually used what seemed like significantly more pellets than the Traeger due to the more airspace and metal to heat up and keep hot.
*cost - definitely costs more
*parts - Their parts are different than everyone elses and you will have to get them from Yoder, which Yoder has excellent customer service, so this may not be a problem. I have zero complaints from Yoder's customer service, do not take this comment the wrong way. They were super friendly when I ordered mine.
*Not easy to clean - the high temperature paint they used seemed to attract the grease and fat and was hard to clean off.
Like I said from the beginning, I ended up going back to a Traeger. It may not be as impressive as some of the other pellet smokers, but I like it better. I would highly recommend the Texas size and the controller that lets you choose the temperature. Traeger offers a lot of sales on the website and EZ payment offers too. So be patient and you can get a better deal maybe.
Another option is the Louisiana grills, you might take a look at them.
I don't really feel like rereading this so I hope it makes sense and helps, and doesn't end up being a bunch of words that makes no sense. Private messages are always welcome.
XL Big Green Egg, Weber Performer Platinum, WSM 22.5"