I am thinking about getting a Fast Eddy's 500 or 1000. From the specifications I can't see much difference in size. I live in an area that tends to be on the humid to wet side of things. I also like to be able to change the woods I am using depending on what I am smoking, grilling. I already have a Cookshack SMO 66 and 45, and a gas grill that is sort of a no brainer grill. So for right now, my questions are How much bigger is the 1000 then the 500, and how easy is it to dump the pellets out of the hopper to change pellets? How do these grill work in the rain, snow, and cold?
As far as I know there are just 2 major differences between the PG500 & 1000. The 1000 is insulated and the 500 is not, and then how the "top" opens - either by the two front doors for PG500 or the whole flip-up hood for the PG1000. There are the "looks/design" differences between the two. I bought the PG500 (3-1/2 years ago and still love it) rather than the PG1000 because I liked the looks of the 500 better and it cost less. I live in Western Washington and when it rains I use my grille under a covered area so I can't speak as to how it works when exposed to direct rains. Since there are electronics and pellets involved in this unit, I would contact Cookshack to ask about effects of direct & prolonged exposure to rains or snow. Mine has gotten rained on a few times when cooking without any ill effects. Cookshack does offer weather covers for these units when not in use. I think the uninsulated 500 would burn a few more pellets per hour than the 1000 during real cold temps, but think the 500 does not dump quite as much heat with just a front door open (when checking food) as the 1000 would with the hood raised. I bought the front shelf with my PG500 and would highly recommend it as it nice to have that space in front of the doors. The doors/front of the PG500 are slightly angled so when its doors are opened they do so at a slight upward angle and thus do not knock small not-so-high items off the shelf (such as a tray, spatula, tongs, etc). I would buy whichever unit you think looks the best and fits your price range. FEPG grilles are great units that produce amazing food - you will love it. Changing pellets in hopper of PG500 is easy - just find a pliable bucket or a box that fits the space and then open the pellet dump door. I would find a big colander to sift out sawdust from pellets near bottom of bags before adding pellets to hopper. A small shop vac is also handy for cleaning out fire pot before your next cooks - not necessary after every cook (in my opinion) but do it regularly to avoid ash build-up in pot. Just make SURE fire is completely out before doing so !! Hope this helps.