Yoder Vs. MAK: Battle Of The Premium Pellet Smokers

Backyard barbecue enthusiasts searching for the ultimate smoking experience often find themselves debating between two premium, made-in-America pellet grill brands: Yoder Smokers and MAK Grills.

Both brands have earned reputations for quality craftsmanship, top-notch materials, precise temperature control, and killer smoke flavor.

But which pellet smoker is right for you? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare the key features, construction, performance, price, and other factors to consider when choosing between Yoder and MAK.

By the end, you’ll have all the info you need to make the call on investing in one of these coveted backyard beasts.

A Brief Comparison Table

Temperature range150°F – 600°F+160°F – 500°F
Temperature control10° increments1° increments
Hopper capacity20 – 40+ lbs35 – 85 lbs
Grill sizes480 – 640 – 1,500 sq in684 – 885 – 1,084 sq in
Construction1/4” steel cooking chamber, 10 gauge steel cabinet1/4” carbon steel cooking chamber, 16 gauge stainless steel cabinet
ControllerAtlas PIDRoast Perfect PID
Smoke flavor systemSlit and crosswise sear plateReverse flow, double wall design
Warranty10 years on cooker, 3 years on parts10 years on cooker, 5 years on electrical
WiFi connectivityYes, standardNo
Prices$1,999 – $3,999$3,099 – $4,499

Yoder Smokers Overview

Yoder Pellet Smoker
Yoder Pellet Smoker

Based in Hutchinson, Kansas, Yoder Smokers was founded by 15-year welding veteran Bill Yoder in 2007.

After cutting his teeth fabricating competition-style offset smokers, Yoder introduced the YS640, one of the first pellet grills engineered specifically for low and slow smoking rather than high-heat grilling.

Today, Yoder offers three pellet grill models:

  • YS640s: The original Yoder pellet smoker, available in standard and competition versions with expanded main cooking grates.
  • YS1500: A larger, bulkier Yoder model with more cooking space.
  • YS480s: Yoder’s smallest, most portable pellet smoker option.

Yoder grills feature heavy-gauge steel construction and industry-leading temperature precision and range. The Competition models add features like a blanket insulation wrap and thicker metal for enhanced heat retention.

Yoder pellet grills carry a 10-year limited warranty on the main cooking chamber and a 3-year warranty on other grill parts and electronics. They are hand-welded and assembled in Hutchinson, Kansas.

MAK Grills Overview

Based in Oregon and Washington, MAK Grills launched its first pellet smoker in 2013 after founders Mac and Kelly Bonar struggled to find a competition-quality pellet grill on the market.

MAK offers three current pellet smoker models:

  • MAK 1 Star General: MAK’s entry-level, stripped down smoking machine designed for beginners.
  • MAK 2 Star General: The most popular MAK grill, with more cooking space and tank capacity than the 1 Star.
  • MAK 2.5 Star General: The largest capacity MAK grill, built for smoking huge batches of meat or competing.

Like Yoder, MAK pellet grills feature serious steel construction and commercial quality components. They come WiFi enabled with MAK’s Roast Perfect temperature control system.

MAK grills carry a 10-year warranty on the cooker body and a 5-year warranty on electrical components. They are handcrafted in Oregon and Washington using domestic steel.

Key Differences Between Yoder And MAK Premium Pellet Smokers

Now that you’re familiar with each brand’s origins and lineup, let’s compare some key features and capabilities.

Construction Quality

Both Yoder and MAK pellet grills are built like tanks. They each use heavy-gauge American steel to hold and distribute heat effectively. Here’s a breakdown of the build quality for each:

Yoder Construction

  • 1/4 inch thick steel cooking chamber
  • 10 gauge steel for cabinet construction
  • Stainless steel grill grates
  • 3/16 inch cold rolled steel single piece diffuser plate
  • Competition models add:
    • Extra insulation
    • Heavier 16 gauge steel construction
    • More interior cooker capacity

MAK Construction

MAK Pellet Smoker
MAK Pellet Smoker
  • 1/4 inch thick carbon steel cooking chamber
  • Competition cart model features 1/4 inch thick stainless steel interior
  • 16 gauge stainless steel cabinet
  • 3/16 stainless steel flame diffuser
  • 304 stainless steel grill grates

Yoder and MAK smokers both use commercial quality insulation and gaskets to maximize heat retention.

Both have excellent overall build quality using heavy-duty domestic materials.

The Yoder Competition Series and MAK Competition Cart edge out with slightly thicker cooking chamber steel.

Temperature Range & Precision

A proper smoker needs the precision to hold low and slow temperatures for perfect briskets and ribs, along with the high-heat searing capability to finish a reverse sear steak. Both Yoder and MAK deliver on temperature performance.

Yoder Temperature Range

  • 150°F to 600°F+ temperature range
  • 10°F increments for precision adjustment
  • Competition models hold temps even more accurately

MAK Temperature Range

  • 160°F to 500°F operating range
  • 1° increments for detailed temp control
  • MAK Roast Perfect PID automatically regulates temps

While the MAK Roast Perfect controller offers slightly more fine-grain temp adjustment, the Yoder’s wider temperature range gives you more flexibility to also grill at high heat above 500°F. Both provide excellent temperature precision and control for any smoking or grilling task.

Grill Space

How much grilling and smoking capacity do you need? Both brands offer models in different sizes to accommodate small gatherings or a full cookout crew.

Yoder Grill Space

  • YS480s: 480 sq inches primary cooking space
  • YS640s: 640 sq inches primary cooking space
  • YS1500: 1502 sq inches primary cooking space

MAK Grill Space

  • MAK 1 Star: 684 sq inches primary cooking space
  • MAK 2 Star: 885 sq inches primary cooking space
  • MAK 2.5 Star: 1084 sq inches primary cooking space

Yoder’s smallest and largest models have slightly less and more cooking space than the equivalent MAKs, but their YS640s middle child matches up evenly with MAK’s popular 2 Star General. Both brands give you high-quality versatile cooking area to take on any backyard barbecue task.

Fuel Source

Yoder and MAK are both strictly pellet grills, not versatile combo grill/smokers, so wood pellets are your sole fuel source. These American-sourced pellets load into each grill’s generous hopper capacity:

Yoder Hopper Capacity

  • YS480s: 20 lbs
  • YS640s/YS1500: 40+ lbs

MAK Hopper Capacity

  • MAK 1 Star: 35 lbs
  • MAK 2 Star: 55 lbs
  • MAK 2.5 Star: 85 lbs

As you move up the models, MAK offers greater wood pellet capacity for longer unattended cooking times. But both brands provide enough space to smoke low and slow for hours without refueling.


Yoder and MAK grills share extremely high quality construction, although the specifics differ slightly:

Yoder Construction

  • 1/4 inch thick steel cooking chamber
  • 10 gauge steel for cabinet construction
  • 3/16 inch cold rolled steel diffuser plate
  • Stainless steel grill grates
  • Dual layer slit & cross sear plate
  • Grease management tray
  • New Atlas PID controller

MAK Construction

  • 1/4 inch thick carbon steel cooking chamber
  • 16 gauge stainless steel cabinet
  • 3/16 stainless steel flame diffuser
  • 304 stainless steel grill grates
  • Full length heat deflector
  • Stainless steel drip tray
  • MAK Roast Perfect PID controller

Notable construction differences are Yoder’s patented cross and slit sear plate for even heating and MAK’s full length stainless deflector. Both use commercial grade stainless steel andthick steel construction for incredible heat retention.

Ease of Use

MAK and Yoder pellet grills both get high marks for user-friendly design. They incorporate smart technology without being overly complex:

Yoder Ease of Use

  • New Atlas controller and touch display
  • One-button ignition
  • Easy removable ash system
  • Stainless steel side shelves
  • Dual caster wheels and molded bottom grip for mobility

MAK Ease of Use

  • MAK Roast Perfect controller and LED display
  • One-touch instant lighting
  • Ash cleanout rod
  • Similar caster wheels and bottom handle
  • Optional stainless side shelves

Yoder’s Atlas controller adds WiFi and Bluetooth mobile app control not available from MAK. But MAK’s Roast Perfect system makes temperature adjustment extremely simple. Both offer similar mobility features and ash cleanup systems.

Direct Grilling Function

Want to infuse those burgers and dogs with wood-fired flavor? MAK and Yoder enable you to directly grill over an open flame:

Yoder Direct Grilling

  • Remove heat deflector for open flame grilling
  • Crank heat to 500°F+ for searing

MAK Direct Grilling

  • Swing heat deflector out of the way
  • Hit max 500°F+ temperature

While you lose the convection effect, both let you expose foods directly to the firepot for that coveted live-fire char.

Smoke Flavor

Here’s what matters most: how well do Yoder and MAK deliver on rich, smoky barbecue flavor?

Yoder Smoke Flavor

  • Advanced pellet smoke system
  • Slit and crosswise sear plate for even smoke
  • Up to 40+ hour smoke time capacity

MAK Smoke Flavor

  • MAK’s Double Wall reverse flow system
  • Protects pellets from firepot for pure smoke
  • Full length stainless deflector plate
  • Up to 85+ hour smoke time capacity

Both smokers excel here.MAK’s reverse flow method adds a unique design advantage for maximizing real wood flavor. But you can’t go wrong with Yoder’s smoking chops either.

Options & Upgrades

Yoder and MAK offer optional upgrades and accessories for added functionality:

Yoder Options & Upgrades

  • WiFi control & mobile app
  • Stainless side shelves
  • Blanket insulation wrap
  • Tool hooks & bottle opener
  • Front shelf accessory

MAK Options & Upgrades

  • Pellet sensor alarm
  • Stainless side shelves
  • Upper cooking racks
  • Rib racks
  • Chicken sitter accessory

From WiFi connectivity to more cooking space, you can customize your grill setup. Both brands give you quality accessories for convenience and versatility.


A grill this serious comes with an industry-leading warranty:

Yoder YS1500s Smoker
Yoder YS1500s Smoker

Yoder Warranty

  • 10 years on cooker body
  • 3 years on other parts

MAK Warranty

  • 10 years on cooker body
  • 5 years on electrical

You can’t go wrong with a decade of coverage on the critical cooking chamber.

Both back up their quality construction with equally robust warranty protection.


Don’t just take our word for it – here’s what backyard barbecue enthusiasts are saying:

Yoder Reviews

  • “Best smoking experience money can buy”
  • “Built like an absolute tank”
  • “Cooks incredibly evenly for perfect results”

MAK Reviews

  • “You can really taste the wood-fired flavor difference”
  • “Maintains temps like a champ even in cold”
  • “So easy to use for a pro-level smoker”

Reviewers consistently praise the robust builds, precision performance, and delicious smoke flavor of both Yoder and MAK. You can trust either to take your barbecue to the next level.


With pro-level construction and technology, Yoder and MAK smokers are a serious investment:

Yoder YS480s$1,999
Yoder YS640s$2,299
Yoder YS1500$3,999
MAK 1 Star$3,099
MAK 2 Star$3,999
MAK 2.5 Star$4,499

The equivalent models are similarly priced between brands. Yoder’s smaller 480 model offers the lowest entry cost, while MAK’s largest 2.5 Star demands the highest investment. Expect to spend $2,000 to $4,500+ for one of these coveted backyard beasts.

Which Is Better?

At the end of the day, Yoder and MAK deliver an extremely comparable premium pellet smoking experience. Which you choose comes down to small preferences:

Reasons to Choose Yoder

  • More expansive temperature range
  • WiFi app control standard
  • Yoder’s tried and true reputation

Reasons to Choose MAK

  • Unique reverse flow smoking design
  • Slightly larger standard capacity
  • Super simple Roast Perfect controller

But you really can’t go wrong with either brand. Both provide impeccable craftsmanship, incredible temperature precision, and amazing wood flavor. Choosing the right grill size for your needs may be the biggest deciding factor.

Investing in a Yoder or MAK pellet smoker means enjoying perfectly smoked barbecue for years to come. We hope this detailed comparison helps you decide which model is right for your backyard. Now stop debating and start smoking!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about Yoder and MAK smokers:

Who is the owner of Yoder Smokers?

Yoder Smokers was founded and is owned by Bill Yoder. He started the company in 2007 in Hutchinson, Kansas after 15 years of experience fabricating competition-style smokers.

Where is Yoder BBQ made?

All Yoder pellet grills are designed, welded, and assembled at Yoder’s manufacturing facility in Hutchinson, Kansas using domestic steel.

What is a Yoder smoker made of?

Yoder smokers are constructed from heavy-gauge American steel, including 1/4 inch for the cooking chamber and 10 gauge for the cabinet. They also use stainless steel for components like the grill grates.

How does a Yoder smoker work?

Yoder pellet grills use an electric auger to feed wood pellets from the hopper into the firepot, where they are ignited using an electric starter rod. This generates smoke and heat, which is circulated by a fan to perfectly cook foods inside the cooking chamber. Yoder’s advanced controllers allow you to precisely set and maintain target cooking temperatures.

Who is the owner of MAK Grills?

MAK Grills was founded by Mac and Kelly Bonar, hence the “MAK” name. They started the company in 2013 in Oregon and Washington.

Where is MAK BBQ made?

All MAK pellet grills are designed, welded, and assembled in Oregon and Washington using domestic materials.

What is a MAK smoker made of?

MAK pellet smokers feature 1/4 inch thick carbon steel cooking chambers and 16 gauge stainless steel cabinets. They use stainless steel flame diffusers and grill grates along with commercial grade insulation and gaskets.

How does a MAK smoker work?

Similar to Yoder, MAK smokers use an electric auger to feed wood pellets into the firepot where they are ignited by the starter rod. This produces smoke and convection heat that is circulated throughout the cooking chamber. MAK’s Roast Perfect PID controller allows precise temperature setting and maintenance.

Final Thoughts

Both Yoder and MAK produce exceptional, made-in-America pellet grills known for impeccable craftsmanship and top-tier performance. They offer comparable features like precise PID controllers, heavy-gauge steel construction, wide temperature ranges, and ample hopper capacities.

The choice between Yoder and MAK comes down to small preferences around size, smoking system design, warranty terms, and price. Yoder provides WiFi by default and a wider max temp range. MAK offers larger capacities and a reverse flow smoking method.

Ultimately, backyard barbecue enthusiasts will be thrilled with either premium brand. Investing in Yoder or MAK means years of succulent, smoky barbecue. Carefully match your budget, space, and needs to the right model to determine if Yoder or MAK is the superior pellet smoker for you.

Ralph Wade

Hey...Ralph is here! So, did you find this article useful? If so, please leave a comment and let me know. If not, please tell me how I can improve this article. Your feedback is always appreciated. Take love :)

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