Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL review

The Ninja Woodfire Pro XL was already a firm favourite here at The Ambient and the Connect takes things to the next level, making it easier than ever to cook – and crucially, smoke – meat to perfection thanks to the companion app. But it’s not just all about the meat, as the Woodfire Pro Connect XL also boasts other cooking modes including air frying, roasting, baking and grilling, with a huge 45 x 30cm cooking space on offer. However, it’s undoubtedly the smoking element of the Woodfire that impresses the most, making it super simple for even novice BBQ chefs to create tender, smokey meat with very little effort or hassle.

Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL: Introduction

It was only a few months ago that Ninja took the covers off of the Pro XL version of its Woodfire electric grill, and now the convection cooking specialist has a new top dog for the range by way of the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL.

The Connect part of the moniker, you may have guessed, refers to the new connectivity features of the latest Woodfire Pro model, allowing you to sync up the Ninja and your smartphone, opening up a bunch of useful app-based features.

But it’s not just the app connectivity that’s added to the mix with the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL, there are also a few more additions to the mix too including extra cooking modes.

If you’re new to the Woodfire party then let us get you up to speed. Whatever model you opt for, whether it’s the original, the Pro XL or the new Connect on review here, you’re looking at a multi-skilled electric cooker that will let you dip your toes into the world of American-style BBQ smoking, without any of the hard work.

Unlike a traditional smoker, where a smokey flavour is created by burning wood that also acts as the main fuel for the heat, the Woodfire range lets you cheat by adding pellets to a cooking session, which are infused to give you a range of smokey finishes, alongside electronic heating elements and a convection fan for even cooking.

Read on for my full Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL review to find out why it justifies a perfect 5-star review.

Design and components

  • Size: 30 x 45cm cooking plate
  • In real terms: Big enough for two 3kg chickens or 40 hot dogs
  • Weatherproof: IPX4 rated with RCD plug

Whether your opt for the non-Connect XL Woodfire, or the Pro Connect XL model that I’m reviewing here, you’re getting the biggest Woodfire in the range, coming in at 30% larger than their non-XL brethren.

It looks a heck of a lot like the original XL, in fact I’d go as far to say that the chassis is identical, apart from the obvious new blue hue of the Connect.

As the XL part of the name suggests, the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL an absolute beast of an electric cooking machine, weighing in at a whopping 18KG and measuring 41cm x 57cm x 51cm.

That means it’s in no-way a portable machine, so you’ll probably want to find a permanent spot for it in your garden.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL convection oven

It’s safe to leave outside all year round; it’s fully weatherproof. Built with premium materials, it is designed to withstand outdoor use and year-round cooking and it’s IPX4 rated for water resistance.

Ninja does sell a cover for it if you do want to keep it a bit more secure and there are also leg and table accessories that turn it into a more traditional looking grill.

As mentioned, it’s completely safe to cook outdoors with it in all elements; the plug itself is an RCD one, that has its own weatherproofing and shut-down capabilities built in.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL rcd plug

The rubber-covered physical power button on the non-Connect XL has gone though, replaced by a more traditional push button on the front, akin to the likes of the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer.

That big bulk of the XL range means you’ll have plenty of space for cooking; Ninja tells us that the 45cm x 30cm grill plate can handle 10 burgers, 40 hotdogs, 2 full racks of ribs, 6 steaks, or two 3kg chickens. The crisper basket can air fry up to 1.8kg of food.


  • Pellets provide smokey flavour
  • Grill, smoker, air-fry and roast modes
  • Built-in BBQ thermometer and room for an extra one
  • More modes than the non-Connect model

The secret to the Woodfire range’s smokey flavour can be found on the side of the machine where you’ll find a smoker box that burns natural hardwood pellets. This is what gives the food you cook that BBQ smoke taste.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL smoking box

Ninja provides two bags of pellets in the box – an all purpose blend and a robust blend – and a scoop to pour them in.

They suggest you only use Ninja-branded pellets with the Woodfire, however I’ve experimented with my non-Connect Woodfire with non-Ninja branded pellets and it hasn’t blown up yet.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL pellets

I mentioned above that the Connect and the non-Connect XL Woodfire models are basically identical but, look closer though and you’ll see that the bottom panel has been redesigned.

Gone is the dial on the left which changes the cooking modes and, in its place, a button to cycle through the modes like you’d get on a Ninja Air-fryer.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL buttons and modes

And look even closer and you’ll see that the Connect boasts some extra modes too: dehydrating, reheating and baking.

So, like the non-XL Woodfire, we’re back to 7 cooking modes in total with the Connect: grill, smoker, air fry, bake, roast, dehydrate and reheat.

There’s also a Woodfire Flavour button which means that it’s not just the smoker mode that benefits from the pellet infusion.

By default, the smoker mode will ignite the pellets and create a smoke-based cook, but all of the other modes don’t – unless you press this button. That means you are in complete control of exactly what foods you want to smoke when cooking on other modes.

For longer cooks, the smoker can be refilled twice, you just need to remember to press the Woodfire Flavour button when you top up, to restart the ignition process.

A new addition on the Pro XL was the built-in BBQ thermometer; a digital probe you insert into your food to keep track of ingredient temperatures.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL temp probe

It’s stored on a tray that slides under the front panel, the probe plugs in like a pair of headphones when you need to use it.

That’s also included with the Connect and there’s actually room to plug two in, although you will only get one included in the box.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL temp probe 3.5mm port

You can obviously manually cook with this probe, helping you to achieve exact target temperatures but you can also use Ninja’s Smart Cook system too, which is even better now with the app, but more on that in a bit.

Depending on your cooking mode you can have either the internal cooking temperature or the temperature of the food is displayed on the LED on the front, alongside cooking timers, and you’ll also get messages when the cook is finished.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL LED cooking time

The LED display is also useful during the ignition modes of the smoke box and pre-heating; which is necessary for all modes except the smoker one.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL get food on LED

Pre-heating can be a bit slow actually but you are informed of the progress on the LED display and, more accurately, on the app, which brings us nicely onto…

The app

While the LED display is ok and does the job, the new Ninja app is where the Connect really kicks it up a notch from its non-connected brethren.

Once you have paired up the app over Bluetooth and got your Ninja up and running on your home Wi-Fi network then you’ll be presented with a plethora of digital bells and whistles to make the cooking experience easier and more intuitive.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL app cooking

Anything you can do on the LED display through the dials and buttons – i.e. changing modes, setting temperatures and adding a Woodfire boost – can all now done through the app.

But that’s just scratching the surface. The app can also be used to start cooking sessions based on recipes and charts that it offers, allowing you to search through different proteins, cooking types and so on.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL recipes in apps

Once you’ve found the meat and mode you’re after, the cooking time, temperature and mode are all pinged over to the Ninja and you can start a cook without every touching those physical dials and buttons.

It’s also possible to start a cook using those physical controls though – useful if you want to manually select your own target temperatures – and monitor the progress through the app. And, just because you initiated a cook on the device itself, you can still amend it using the app.

The most useful aspect of the app though is the visual monitoring. Not only does it make it clearer just how long, and at what stage, the ignition and pre-heat phases are it, it also gives you a great breakdown of your cooking stats including temperature readings from the machine and the probe, and cooking times.

That means, on days when you’re entertaining at one end of the garden, you don’t have to keep going over to the Ninja to check on your meat as you can simply whip your phone out to check the progress – providing you’re still in Bluetooth range or have enough Wi-Fi signal in your garden for your Ninja to stay online.

You can even remotely check on your cook’s progress using mobile data if your Ninja is connected to your Wi-Fi.


I’ve been using the non-Connect version of the XL in my garden for a few weeks now, so I’m pretty used to how well it performs.

I’ve only had the Connect up and running a couple of weeks now but I can assure you that, when it comes to cook performance, it’s the exact same high standard I’ve come to expect from the range.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL cooking ribs

Over the weekend I put it to the ultimate BBQ smoker test… baby back ribs; a traditional favourite of the genre, but one that is so easy to mess up and end up with a load of tough meat that won’t come off the bone.

The app didn’t actually have a cook chart recipe for baby back ribs, which surprised me, but the recipe book from the non-Connect XL did… 2.5 hours, smoker mode, 120°C, turning and basting every 45 mins or so.

I also used a probe to monitor the internal temp, aiming for around 92°C.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL cooked ribs

The result – perfection. I have never cooked ribs this well. I’ve put in a lot more effort cooking them a lot worse many, many times in the past.

The beauty of the Woodfire Pro Connect XL is that it is so, so easy to both maintain a steady temperature and hit your target temperature.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL courgette prawn

Next up was a dish that the Ninja professional chefs had actually demoed for me back at the launch event… and one I’d cooked a couple of times previously when testing the other XL.

It’s a simple grilled courgette and prawn starter and I asked the chefs at the time if they’d marinaded or done anything special to the ingredients before cooking and they assured me it was simply the smoke infusion providing the extra flavours.

And they weren’t lying, I simply used the grill mode, with the Woodfire Flavour button pressed, and within about 5 minutes, I’d pretty much replicated the dish.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL chicken thighs

Next up, I used the roast mode, again with the Woodfire option selected to cook some boneless chicken thighs. This time, the app did help me out and I just chucked over the chart pre-sets from there; 20 minutes, grill mode, 140°C.

Again, perfection and the probe confirmed the internal temperature of the meat was spot on.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL smoked meats

I even threw in some mini sausages and some chicken kebabs for the cook too and they were also both superb.

The roast mode, with or without the smoke function, basically turns the Ninja into a mini oven (well, not that mini) and I’ve done a whole chicken in there, along with some roasted vegetables.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL oven vegetables

The air fryer mode, you won’t be surprised to hear, what with this being Ninja, is also excellent; I’ve had success with chips, sweet potatoes and even loaded nachos.

For the air frying mode, it’s best to use the basket as this allows the air to circulate around the food and cook evenly.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL air fryer basket

I’m yet to try the rehydrate or baking modes and, confession here, I probably never will but it’s good that they are back on board.

While in use across all modes, the device emits a slight hum, which may be more noticeable during air-fry mode, albeit not particularly loud.

Initial smoke emissions during cooking might cause concern, especially at the outset, but rest assured, this is entirely normal and your machine is not on fire.

One drawback is that post-cooking, whether using the grill plate or air fryer basket, both require hand washing as they are not dishwasher safe.

Ninja Woodfire Connect XL fat drip tray

Fat drips through a rear hole on the grill into a drip tray. Ninja offers disposable drip trays that fit into the main tray, facilitating easier cleaning. However, personally, I find washing the steel tray after each use to be an easy enough task.

Final thoughts

The Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL is an awesome, all-in-one, outdoor cooking machine that means that you can achieve the prefect BBQ taste for your meat, every time – and it’s now even easier thanks to the app.

How we test

When we publish our reviews, you can rest assured that they are the result of “living with” long term tests.

Because we’re testing new devices all day, everyday, we know what matters and how a particular gadget compares to alternatives that you might also be considering.

Our reviews are comprehensive, objective and fair and, of course, we are never paid directly to review a device.

Read our guide on how we test to learn more.


What is the difference between the Ninja Woodfire Pro XL and the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL?

The Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and works with the Ninja app.

Is the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL an air-fryer?

Yes, you can air-fry with the Pro XL but it can also roast, bake, dehydrate, smoke and grill.

Is the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL waterproof?

Yes, it’s IPX4 rated so you can leave it outdoors and even cook in the rain.

Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL: Specifications

UK RRP £449.99
US RRP $449.75
Size (Dimensions) H:41 x W:57 x D:51cm
Weight 18KG
Release Date 2024
Connectivity Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
Modes Grill
Air Fry
Coating Ceramic coated
Temperature Range Thermostat up to 240°C​
Grill Size 45cm x 30cm
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