Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL review: a superb do-it-all outdoor appliance for enthusiasts and newbies alike

Simple setup, user-friendly controls, and great results

Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL being tested
(Image: © Future)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

The Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL grill is impressive due to its size, user-friendly controls, and versatile performance. It can smoke and grill with ease, and the convenient app connectivity makes it a great addition to any outdoor cooking setup. Its solid build and impressive capacity make it a top choice for barbecue enthusiasts.


  • +

    Generous capacity

  • +

    Easy-to-use controls

  • +

    App connectivity for monitoring and control

  • +

    Solid build quality and water resistance


  • -

    Challenging to move and store

  • -

    Cumbersome initial setup and unboxing process

  • -

    Needs a power source and Wi-Fi connectivity for full functionality

  • -

    Higher price point

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Despite being a complete novice when it comes to outdoor cooking, my love of exactly the types of foods produced by the best grills, in particular barbecue grills, means I get excited whenever a new appliance promises me the same delicious, smoky flavors without the headache. The Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL is just that, and I was thrilled to get my hands on it for testing.

I struggled to unpack the heavy grill, but setting it up was easy, with only minimal assembly required. The control panel with physical controls was very user-friendly, and the option to use the accompanying app made it even more convenient, especially for monitoring the cooking progress remotely. In terms of performance, the grill excelled in both smoking and grilling, producing flavorful results with minimal effort.

Keep reading for more in-depth thoughts on my time with the grill, and to find out how it rivalled the best air fryers (yep—air fryers). 

Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL: Key specs

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1
TypeElectric, tabletop
Cooking space180 square inches
Grate materialCeramic
Cord length4.59 ft
DimensionsH15.8 x W20 x D22.3 inches
Weight38.9 lbs

Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL: Price & availability

While the original Woodfire sells for around $399, this newer XL version is priced slightly higher at $449. The price difference makes it a compelling choice, considering its larger capacity and additional features. You can, however, get the Woodfire Pro XL on Amazon for $399.99.

It's worth noting that the purchase includes two bags of smoker pellets, which should theoretically last about six sessions. You also get the Ninja smart thermostat, which costs around $20 if bought separately. The waterproof cover costs $28.99 from Amazon

Score: 4 out of 5

Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL: First impressions & Setup

The first thing that will hit you in the face about the Ninja Woodfire XL is the sheer size of the box it comes in. I recommend having two pairs of hands when receiving and unboxing the grill, as it's heavy at nearly 40 lbs and tightly packed for security during shipping. Once I managed to unpack it, however, I was pleased that everything was together with minimal - if any - assembly required.

The box included the grill itself, a grill plate, a crisp basket, the woodfire smoke box, a grease tray, a pellet scoop, and a probe for measuring the temperature of the meat. I also received two bags of pellets for the grill and a cover for when it's not used.

The biggest difference (aside from capacity) between the original Ninja Woodfire and this Pro Connect model is the control panel and its connectivity. Starting with the physical controls, they couldn't be clearer or more user-friendly. You're unlikely to need to refer to the instruction manual, as everything around the LCD screen is helpfully labeled. Lights indicate the mode you're in; there's a button for using the Woodfire technology, and you can set the temperature and time with the knob and hit start to get going.

This means the app isn't required to use the grill, but I'd recommend trying it out anyway. On days when I got caught up in conversation or I was just tidying up inside while it cooked my dinner, the app's ability to show me the progress was invaluable. You can also adjust the time, temperature, and other variables from your phone. Just scan the QR code on the control panel to download.

Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL: Design

The Woodfire Pro XL has a solid, attractive build that you'd expect if you've ever used another Ninja product. The blue, black, and silver color scheme looks great - though it gives off the vibe that you've taken a kitchen appliance outside rather than the classic look of a charcoal barbecue. It may feel strange to leave the grill outside for this exact reason, but my unit has survived more than one downpour (under the cover) without issue.

As mentioned above, user-friendliness was a primary consideration when designing this appliance. It only took me about five minutes to figure out where each element fit, where and how to load the woodfire pellets, and how to turn it on. Connecting it to my notoriously spotty Wi-Fi via my phone was also incredibly easy—even though my yard is on the opposite side of the house from my broadband router.

The grate fits neatly inside, with grooves for the crisper tray to slot on top when using modes like air fry. It's also completely non-stick and easy to clean since you can take it inside and wash it up without moving the main grill itself.

Speaking again about using the grill outside year-round, the unit is rated IPX4 for water resistance and comes with an RCD plug for safety. Since I don't have an outdoor power outlet, I used a normal extra-long extension cord from my lounge. The relatively short cord can be wrapped around the back of the grill after use to get it out of the way. 

The grill's capacity is great, and we had plenty of space left when cooking four burgers. It claims to fit 10 burgers, 40 hot dogs, 2 full racks of ribs, or two whole chickens. If air-frying or roasting, you get approximately 3.9 lbs of food.

Score: 5 out of 5

Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL: Performance


We wanted to kick off our experience with the Ninja grill with its most enticing feature—its ability to create smoky, delicious meats (and other foods) without needing gas or charcoal. This comes courtesy of the unassuming pellet compartment on the unit's side, which you fill with approximately one scoop of real wood pellets.

Because the grill is electric, the smoker pellets are not used as fuel but as flavor enhancers—you only need to use a little to get results. I decided to try the function out with two skinless, boneless chicken thigh fillets with nothing on them aside from a little BBQ seasoning. I then hit the smoker button, added 'Woodfire technology,' and left the grill to do its thing.

I was pretty amazed at the results. Having never smoked anything before, but as a life-long fan of anything with that gorgeous flavor, it was incredibly easy to get results without any mess or aggravation. A fair amount of smoke was coming from the pellet drawer, and a little vent on the back of the appliance, but nothing would upset the neighbors, and the chicken came out perfectly.


Next, it was time to cook some traditional burgers, which took all eight minutes to come out cooked-through but juicy. I'll reiterate that I am not a very experienced griller and usually order in or use a conventional oven if I want a nice cheeseburger, so the results impressed me and the friends I was with. 

The grill's reminders about when to turn your food over are possibly just as good, meaning we didn't end up overcooking one side and getting an uneven finish. The unit emits an audible beep and instructions on the screen, but you'll also see alerts on your phone if you have the app. 

Note that you can add 'Woodfire technology' to modes other than smoking, and it enhances the flavors.


Baking a cake out in the yard might not be your first thought when welcoming a mega-appliance like the Ninja Woodfire into your life, but I wanted to try the function nonetheless. Disclaimer: I am possibly even less of a baker than a griller, so please excuse the appearance of my banana bread.

Despite being rough and ready to look at, the banana bread cooked with the grill's Bake function was delicious. While the recipe I was using told me to leave it for 40-50 minutes, the cake was done in around 30 minutes - efficient!

Air frying

Air frying is still all the rage, so you might be excited to have an appliance that lets you make perfect fries and nuggets out back rather than in your boring old kitchen. However, My results were less successful, possibly due to the foods I used.

First, I treated myself to chicken and chips for dinner, using triple-cooked frozen fries and chicken breast fillets. I added the fries first (at a reduced time and temperature than they would cook in the oven) and then, later, the chicken. Interestingly, the chicken's instructions told me to air fry for 6 minutes. In the end, the fries were overcooked and the chicken undercooked, though both were totally edible.

Realizing the potential for human error to have sabotaged my first attempt, I went back with some trusty chicken dippers, which also had air fry instructions alongside a conventional oven. These came out better, though still a little underdone compared to how they usually turn out. 

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL being tested in writer's home

(Image credit: Future)

Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL: Care & maintenance

The Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL is designed to be used - and stored - outside throughout the year. As mentioned, I was sent a cover to help protect the appliance, which has, to date, withstood dramatic rainstorms, wind, and blaring sunshine. It still looks as good as ever and hasn't stopped working. 

This is good news, as moving the grill is pretty difficult if you haven't been hitting the gym lately. While I began by lifting it into an outdoor storage box to keep it safe in my shared, open outdoor space, this became impractical without help, and I just decided to trust my neighbors to think it wasn't worth the effort, either. This isn't a portable grill, despite being a tabletop one.

Cleaning the appliance is super-easy, but unfortunately, it can't be done with a dishwasher. Still, until the non-stick wears off, it doesn't need much scrubbing to remove grease and juices.

Should you buy the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL?

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Score Card
PriceExpensive, but widely available and comes with extras★★★★
DesignSolid and good-looking build with user-friendly controls and app connectivity★★★★★
PerformanceDelicious results on most settings, amazing number of settings★★★★½

Buy it if...

You want an appliance that does it all

The grill offers various cooking methods, including smoking, grilling, air frying, roasting, and more, providing flexibility for various meals that you can cook outdoors.

You want something user-friendly

The clear and easy-to-use physical controls and the smartphone app allow for convenient monitoring and adjustment of cooking settings.

You want a generous amount of space

With ample cooking space, this grill can accommodate larger gatherings or meals. It can accommodate up to 10 burgers, 40 hot dogs, 2 full racks of ribs, or 2 whole chickens.

Don't buy it if...

You're on a budget

While the features and capacity are impressive, the relatively higher price than other grills in its category may deter budget-conscious buyers.

You want something easily stored away

The grill's substantial weight and size may pose challenges in terms of portability and storage, especially for those with limited outdoor space.

How does the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL compare?

The Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL is a larger electric grill with a higher price tag of $449. It has a bigger capacity than its predecessors, two built-in thermometers, and smartphone connectivity for easy monitoring and control.

The Ninja Woodfire Pro is a smaller version of the Pro Connect XL, though also offering 7-in-1 functionality. It includes a cooking probe but does not have the integrated thermometer featured in the Pro Connect XL. Both Woodfire models offer versatile cooking options and app connectivity for a more convenient and controlled cooking experience.

Outside of Ninja's offerings, the Masterbuilt AutoIgnite Series 545 is a digital charcoal grill and smoker that combines the flavor of charcoal with the convenience of gas. It features a QuickStart Auto-Ignition button that lights your firestarter and allows you to set your desired temperature, with a fan and ignitor doing the rest. This model also connects to the Masterbuilt app for a digital grilling experience.

Both the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL and the Masterbuilt AutoIgnite Series 545 offer authentic woodfire flavors and versatile cooking options. The Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL uses real wood-burning pellets for various cooking methods, including grilling, smoking, air frying, roasting, baking, broiling, and dehydrating.

How I tested the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL

I tested the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL in my outdoor space over a period of two months, testing various functions on separate occasions and leaving it exposed to the elements in between. To connect to power, I used an extra-long extension cord from inside. To test, I cooked chicken with the smoker function, burgers with the grill, fries and breaded chicken in the air fryer, and homemade banana bread with the bake function. 

Find out more about how we test.

  • First reviewed: June 2024
Caroline Preece
Deputy Editor

Caroline is the Deputy Editor of Top Ten Reviews. Joining Future at the start of 2021, she has since served her time across all of the company’s home titles, including Real Homes, Ideal Home, Livingetc, and Homes & Gardens. Caroline has spent years testing out products for the home, which she trials in her cozy one-bedroom basement apartment in Suffolk, UK. She’s passionate about helping people choose the very best appliances, tech, and anything else that might make their lives easier, more cost-efficient, or just more fun.