Hi Padrefan98, I am just about the opposite of you. Since I got my PG500 I hardly use my FEC100 any more, except for long smokes or larger quantity smokes. Using the PG500 for steaks, burgers, chicken, meatloaf, peppers, small rib quantities, and etc, etc, just makes more sense as easier to clean plus the grilling side feature helps for finishing. Yes pellet type used probably makes a difference as far as ash is concerned - I know it makes a difference as far as BTU output goes. I now mostly use Cookshacks pellets, and order a bunch to save on shipping.