Is there a Difference Between the YS480s and YS640s?

Is there a Difference Between the YS480s and YS640s?


We quickly learned both grills excel in many ways, and they are more similar than they are different. In this article we’ll show you what we found when we compared the YS480s with the YS640s.

Let’s start with the features that both grills share.

Features the Grills Share

  • Advanced Control System (ACS) with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Heat Diffuser with Access Door for easy cleaning and grilling set up
  • Two integrated food probes 150º to 600º temperature range in 5° and 25° increments
  • 20-pound pellet hopper capacity
  • 10-gauge steel cooking chamber, 14-gauge steel on hopper and cart

How are the grills different?


The YS480S is the smallest pellet grill in the Yoder Smokers lineup, yet it offers ample room to cook for a small family. As the group size grows, we recommend the YS640S for the extra eight inches of cooking space.

Because the grills share the same height and depth, the only size difference is in the width. See the table below to compare measurements.

Grate Dimensions 


Main Grate 

Upper Shelf 

Total Space 




790 sq inches 




1074 sq inches 


Variable Displacement Damper

One of the most notable differences between the YS480s and the YS640s is that the YS640s comes with a moveable damper to help control airflow underneath the diffuser.

We’ve found the variable displacement damper allows very good control over where heat is directed in the YS640s. For our tests, we pushed the damper 6 inches in from the outermost position since it provides the most even heat pattern as well as providing the best pellet economy. Please see our article on the variable displacement damper for more information.

Do The Grills Perform Differently?

To determine grill performance, we created two testing sessions. We performed one test recording temperatures and then we placed a half chicken on each grate of both smokers to determine how they cook. This is where we found that the temperature doesn’t always tell the whole story.

Test Session 1 Criteria – Link To Fireboard Session

  • Warm-up time from ambient temp to 300°
  • Door Opening 1 – Heat loss after 15-second door opening 30 minutes into session.
  • Recovery 1 – Time to recover temperature after door opening.
  • Door Opening 2 – Heat loss after a 15-second door opening later in the session.
  • Recover 2 – Recovery time from second door opening.
  • Fuel Consumption – How long will the grill run on 3 pounds of pellets.



Warm up to 300° 

14 minutes 

15 minutes

Door Opening 1 



Recovery 1 

3 minutes 

2 minutes 

Door Opening 2 



Recovery 2 

< 1 minute 

6 minutes 

Fuel Consumption 

2 hours 16 minutes, 1.32 pounds per hour

2 hours 8 minutes, 1.44 pounds per hour


As you can see, these two grills are more similar than not. Both heat up quickly and recovery time is better than other grills we run. The difference in overall efficiency and pellet consumption are negligible between the two models.

There’s one other thing you don’t see in the table above that surprised us in our testing. If you look at the session data from our Fireboard, you’ll see that the upper grate tended to run hotter than the lower grate on the YS640s while the lower grate tended to run hotter than the upper grate on the YS480s. We surmised this is largely due to the smaller cooking chamber of the YS480s since the 25 percent smaller body just moves air a little differently. In the end, this made no noticeable difference in our cooking times or finished product.

Test Session 2 Criteria – Link To Fireboard Session

  • Warm-up time to 325°
  • Time to cook two half chickens to 160°, one on the upper grates and one on the main grates of each grill.



Warm Up Time to 325 

15 minutes 

15 minutes

Cooking Time Upper Grate 

1 hour 21 minutes 

1 hour 22 minutes 

Cooking Time Main Grate 

1 hour 21 minutes 

1 hour 15 minutes 


If we relied only on the data from our first session, we would have assumed that a YS480s would cook slower overall and proteins on the main grate would be done sooner than on the upper shelf. We also would have assumed that the main grate of the YS640s would be our slowest cook. Imagine our surprise when the main grate of the YS640s was the first to cook our chicken to 160°. The YS480s seemed the most consistent with both chickens reaching 160° at the exact same time.


What does all of this mean?

What we found is that the grills are very similar for several reasons. The construction of the grills are identical, using the same heavy gauge construction and build quality that is common to Yoder Smokers grills. Each model has its own temperature program to create cooks that are predictable and more similar than we anticipated. There’s no doubt that both grills get the job done and they do it well.

For us, the differences come down to the little things. For instance: The YS480s has less temperature loss and a slightly quicker recovery time, which makes it great for grilling or higher-temperature cooking. It is also great for smaller spaces. The YS640s has more cooking space and the variable displacement damper makes it more versatile for multi-zone cooking.

So, it really comes down to space and budget. If you don't need extra cooking space, the YS480s delivers like a pro from low-and-slow to hot-and-fast. If you like to cook for larger groups or regularly use different cooking zones to prepare your meals, the YS640 is your grill.

The grilling capabilities of the YS640s can’t be underestimated as it is a real over-the-flame grill just like the YS480s. The extra space of the YS640s makes multi-zone cooking for that full meal off the grill an easy task.

Making the choice is up to you and is largely dependent on the cooking area that best suits your needs and of course just the physical space you have for the grill. There isn’t a wrong choice, you won’t be disappointed either way.

Do the differences make one grill better than the other? We don’t think so! Don’t tell our spouses, but our team members regularly discuss having both a YS480s and a YS640s at home. Can you imagine how nice it would be to have a YS480s with the Wood-Fired Oven installed at all times? We sure can!