This comprehensive guide examines the top Traeger pellet grills, delves into their differences, and riles them up against the competition.
A new Traeger pellet grill is a significant investment, so do your homework before deciding.
In 2019, the Traeger Pro 575 was redesigned to provide the best value for most users.
Understanding the Traeger grill line-up
Purchasing a Traeger grill might be a daunting task. But, with so many years in the industry, you must have seen a lot of versions and models. Traeger now manufactures four significant lines of pellet grills.
What is the Traeger pellet grill line-up?
- Traeger Pro series – The most popular mid-range option for all 2019 models features Wi-Fi access to the Traeger app.
- Traeger Ironwood Series – A notch up from the Pro series, featuring slightly larger sizes and interesting new technology such as TRU convection and DownDraft Exhaust to help improve cook times. You also get Super Smoke mode, which allows you to increase the amount of smoke produced by pressing a button.
- Traeger Timberline series – The largest and most expensive option, with 850 or 1300 sq inches of cooking space to choose from. On the smartphone, you get all of the Ironwood features plus pellet sensing technology to monitor your pellet levels.
- Traeger Tailgater – As the name suggests, this is a portable model with 300 square inches and a lot less tech but some great features for bringing it with you.
Reviews of the best Traeger grills
Here is the list of the best Traeger grills reviewed
1. Traeger pro 575 wood pellet grill
The Traeger Pro is our first best Traeger grills. It is one of the best-selling and most popular grills you can buy. It is available in two sizes. The 575 sq inch model offers enough capacity to cook 5 racks of ribs or 4 chickens simultaneously, which should be enough for most people. You can also select between black and bronze.
The Traeger Pro 885 had 885 square inches of cooking space. It’s ideal for a large party because it’s large enough to smoke 7 racks of ribs, roast 10 full chickens, and grill 9 pig butts!
Adding Wi-Fi connectivity to the Pro line-up is a significant change in 2019. This ‘WiFIRE’ feature lets you connect your grill to the Traeger phone app and operate it from any location with an internet connection.
- Sensational grilling results
- Built like a battleship
- Surprisingly easy to use
- Works as both grill and smoker
- To work its magic, it needs an electricity supply and a bag full of pellets
2. Traeger Ironwood 650 wood pellet grill
The Traeger Ironwood series is a recent addition to the Traeger pellet grill line-up.
Available in 885 or 650 square inches, you get a more versatile, larger grill than the pro series without the significant price increase that the Timberline series has.
Even the smaller 650 sq inch Ironwood costs more than $1,000, indicating that this is not a cheap grill.
- Searing option – You can lower the bottom cooking grate for searing or elevate it for smoking and grilling.
- Improved insulation — The Ironwood employs double-sided 304 stainless steel for improved insulation and temperature regulation.
- Needs two people to assemble
3. Traeger Timberline 1300 wood pellet grill
The Timberline is Traeger’s latest and finest and comes at a premium price.
When the Timberline series first debuted in 2017, it had a few more distinguishing traits. Unfortunately, some of these features have found their way down to the less expensive Traeger models this year, so it’s not nearly as impressive as it once was.
However, there have been some significant advancements. For example, the Timberline is the only Traeger model with a pellet sensor and a massive 1300 square inches of cooking space.
- Loads of recipes.
- Easy to use.
- Excellent build quality
- User-friendly app.
- Needs two people to assemble
- Very heavy
4. Tailgater portable pellet grill
The Tailgater is Traeger’s attempt to provide the comfort and flavor of pellet cooking in a portable configuration.
Many BBQ manufacturers provide a portable or “tailgating” type. The trouble with many of them is that they are so small that it isn’t worth bothering them.
Tailgating and camping are sociable pastimes, so you most likely want to prepare enough food to share. The Traeger Tailgater features a cooking area of 300 square inches, which is enough for two whole chickens, a few racks of ribs, or up to 12 burgers.
But how can it be portable if it’s so large? The legs fold down effortlessly, decreasing the height from 36 inches to roughly 20 inches.
The EZ-Fold legs are a useful feature that enables you to move the grill onto your bed or truck.
You may use it directly from the back of your truck or a table. Just keep in mind that it still weighs 62 pounds and has dimensions of 36 x 37 x 18 inches. The pellet hopper can carry 8 lbs of pellets, which should last 4-6 hours without refilling.
This compact, portable pellet grill stands out for its six-in-one cooking capability, which means it can grill, barbecue, smoke, braise, roast, and bake using a unique wood pellet to ignite the hopper.
What you get in portability is offset by a loss in features. For example, the Tailgater grill does not have Wi-Fi or other features included in the Ironwood, Pro, or Timberline grills.
The Tailgater is also simple to use, with incorporated changeable temperature control, a revolving dial, and a 20-degree temperature interval feature that operates from 180 to 250F. It also has an auto-start ignition.
The option to connect a meat probe thermometer directly to the programmable controller is an added plus. That’s a handy feature that will improve the quality of your cuisine – the meat should be cooked to temperature rather than time.
The controller has an LCD display and a circular array of buttons similar to those found on a TV remote. It’s less intuitive than knob-style controls, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly.
- Automatic start
- LED displays
- Energy efficient
- Small footprint
- Simple to transport or store
- It takes less than a half-hour to put together.
- Enough area for a family’s at-home cooking
- The upgraded controller, in comparison to several portables and certain at-home models
- Small hopper
- Limited cooking area
- The instruction manual is ambiguous.
- Temperature control units are prone to failure.
- Even for a “portable,” it’s still somewhat heavy.
- The little hopper isn’t appropriate for extensive smoking sessions.
- I’d rather have a knob-style controller.
Other Traeger grills to consider
The four grills shown above are the most popular Traegers today. However, many more models are available, and some of them may be worth purchasing if you can get them at a low price.
Traeger Renegade Elite – This grill is larger than the Bronson and considerably smaller than the recent Pro 575. It’s a beautiful small grill, but it’s only slightly less expensive than the more modern Pro 575. The wire front prep rack and tool caddy rack are excellent features worth considering if you can get them on sale.
Traeger Bronson 20-Inch Pellet Grill – The Bronson, like the Tailgater, has 300 sq inches of cooking space. While all-terrain wheels make traveling easier, the legs do not fold easily. As a result, the Bronson is better suited to smaller households.
Traeger Lil Tex Elite is an older model no longer sold directly by Traeger. The stainless steel Lil Tex Elite has 418 sq inches of cooking space. If you can find a good offer, it’s worth considering.
Costco occasionally has some other models available, so it’s worth looking into that.
How did Traeger’s company start?
Traeger has been making and marketing one of the greatest pellet smokers in the world for quite some time. I’m intrigued by the brand story.
Joe Traeger and Jerry Whitfield experimented with wood pellet heaters decades ago.
Joe Traeger created the pellet smoker in 1985 and patented it in 1986. As a result, Traeger was the only pellet grill brand on the market for nearly two decades.
On the other hand, their pellet grills were very primitive back then. So they employed the most basic sort of LMH controller. LMH stands for low, medium, and high heat.
Traeger, on the other hand, was a family-owned enterprise.
The original patent expired in 2006. That is when new pellet smoker brands enter the market. Surprisingly, we had over 24 pellet grill firms by 2014. That same year, Jeremy Andrus joined Traeger as a partner and relocated the company to Salt Lake City.
Traeger is still the number one pellet grill producer today. According to their statistics, they sell more than $300 million in pellet grills each year.
Traeger stated that all their residential grills are constructed in China, while the larger ones are made in the United States. Many customers are dissatisfied with Traeger’s decision to manufacture barbecues in China. The truth is that other pellet smokers were also manufactured there.
Where are Traeger grills manufactured?
Since 2008, all Traeger home grills have been made in China, according to the company. However, larger commercial grills are still made in the United States.
Some people have expressed concern about Traeger’s decision to produce their grills in China, but the fact is that the vast majority of household grills are manufactured there.
If purchasing American-made is paramount, choose a Yoder pellet grill. However, you’ll end up paying at least twice as much.
Other brands to consider
There are many more brands to choose from because of the success of Traeger wood-fired pellet grills. However, while Traeger remains the most popular, these manufacturers are close behind.
We’ve attempted to provide a high-level overview of how each brand compares to Traeger. Still, given each brand provides a wide range of grills, if you require specifics, we recommend checking individual specifications from the manufacturers and then reading a few different reviews.
Traeger vs. Camp Chef
We are a big supporter of Camp Chef and their flagship Woodwind Classic, the most people’s favorite pellet grill on the market.
Unlike Traeger, Camp Chef manufactures various outdoor cooking equipment and grill kinds. However, they are not as specialized.
Buying a sear box with Camp Chef is convenient because even a top-of-the-line Traeger cannot get hot enough for searing. In addition, Camp Chef offers a convenient method for dumping and replacing wood pellets.
Traeger is more pricey and has more features. However, if Wi-Fi connectivity is vital to you, the Traeger is the way to go.
Traeger vs. Green Mountain Grills
Green Mountain Grills (GMG) have grown in popularity since their debut in 2008.
They were ahead of the curve in offering Wi-Fi as a standard feature with their wood pellet grills. No other brand provides Wi-Fi at this low cost.
They are an excellent alternative to Traeger because they are well-built and reasonably priced.
The Davy Crockett Grill, one of the best portable pellet smokers, is responsible for its fame. This grill rivals the Traeger Tailgater, but the GMG includes Wi-Fi, which is useful when camping.
If a portable grill isn’t your thing, they also make the renowned Daniel Boone model, which has 468 sq inches of cooking space.
Green Mountain Grills are a fantastic Traeger alternative for the price. However, you don’t have access to many features and sizes.
Traeger vs. Pit Boss
Pit Boss is a subsidiary of Dansons, which also manufactures the well-known Louisiana grills. The Pit Boss wood pellet grill line attempts to compete with Traeger by selling comparable grills at a lesser price.
Pit Boss sells a wide range of grills, starting with the entry-level Pit Boss 440 Deluxe and progressing to the Austin XL, which has 930 square inches of cooking area.
The way the Pit Boss handles searing is one of its distinguishing features. A tiny plate glides open and closed to allow access to the firepot. In this extensive review of the Pit Boss 700FB, you can see how this feature works.
Traeger VS Z Grills
Traeger’s newest competitor is Z Grills. While they appear to have emerged from nowhere, they have been manufacturing grills in China for other companies (possibly including Traeger) for several years.
The biggest advantage of Z Grills is their low price. The Z Grills 7002 2020 model offers a 3-year warranty, 700 sq inches of cooking space, and manufacturing quality comparable to Traeger, all at a much lower price.
Traeger vs. REC TEC
REC-TEC is a much smaller company than Traeger, gaining a reputation for producing high-quality pellet grills at a mid-range pricing point.
The popular RT-700, sometimes known as “The Bull,” compares favorably to the Traeger IronWood.
Why should you go with a Traeger grill?
Most Traeger grills include a digital thermostat, which alleviates your concern about overcooking your food because you know there is a temperature fluctuation range. The temperature will never go past it. As a result, Traeger grills allow you to prepare your meals without fear of burning them.
Nobody knows this better than Traeger about the importance of durability when selecting a barbecue. So the company manufactures its units with nearly the same incredibly durable metal. This ensures maximum longevity and allows you to use it for many years.
Traeger offers a three-year warranty on all of their products to ensure product durability and ensure users of their equipment’s optimum durability. Most firms in the grill manufacturing market, in our experience, do not give more than one year, so Traeger is outstanding in this regard.
Another way to identify high-quality grills is their ease of use, possibly another reason Traeger is popular among grilling fans. Traeger makes sure that their products are not only simple to use for pros but also simple to use for beginners. For example, their grills frequently include a simple ignition option that eliminates the tension of firing up a barbecue.
Traeger grill features to consider while purchasing one
Because there are so many models to pick from, it might be tough to decide. However, deciding becomes easy once you know precisely what you require. Before you go shopping for a barbecue, keep the following points in mind:
Traeger only manufactures one type of grill: pellet grills. Even though these grills have been on the market for almost three decades, they have recently become increasingly popular. Pellet grills employ pea-sized wood pellets instead of natural or propane gas, which are safe for cooking.
While there aren’t many choices for altering the grill after it’s started, a pellet grill can function as both a grill and a smoker. As a result, it is a hybrid system. The reality is that no BBQ tastes like a wood-fired BBQ, which is why many BBQ enthusiasts prefer pellet grills. Pellet grills impart a distinct flavor to anything cooked on them.
Area for cooking
Another critical element to consider when shopping is the cooking area. This is usually determined by how big you wish to go. Keep in mind that the larger you go, the more expensive the grill will be, so keep the number of mouths you want to cook for in mind.
If you select a model that is too tiny, you will be unable to cook enough food for all of your visitors. On the other hand, a large grill will cost more to maintain and waste some pellets. Therefore, we recommend choosing a grill slightly larger than what you require.
The capacity of the hopper
Everything starts in the hopper. It is where you load your wood pellets, so you know it is critical. This is why it is critical to examine the hopper capacity since it will decide how long you can cook without having to reload the hopper. When it comes to the hopper, bigger is always better. However, if portability is essential to you, a tiny 8-pound hopper on the Traeger Tailgater will not add to the unit’s weight while still performing admirably.
Elite Digital Controller
Before purchasing a Traeger grill, evaluating the built-in digital controller is crucial. Most models include a Digital Elite Controller, a basic controller that enables precise temperature control but lacks meat probe ports. Nonetheless, check to see if it comes with the grill you’re interested in. It is found on models such as the Traeger Renegade Elite.
It is also critical to examine the measurements, especially if you have a restricted space. By taking into account the measurements, you can ensure that the unit you are considering is not too massive for the space available for the grill in your kitchen or backyard.
The weight of a grill is also an important factor to consider. It impacts the unit’s overall portability, which is crucial to consider even if you do not want to take it on camping vacations.
You’ll almost certainly have to move it around your backyard or patio, so consider the model’s weight and if it has wheels for portability.
Different models are typically outfitted with a variety of features. However, having side shelves, wheels, storage compartments, and foldable legs is always useful. It would be fantastic if you could find a model with all these features.
Some of the higher-priced units include some enticing features to entice you to spend a little more money. Some are practical, such as a prep shelf, while others, such as a magnetic bamboo cutting board, are more gimmicky.
If you’re used to grilling without these additions, you might not miss what you don’t have. Having more work and storage space is always a bonus. If you think you might like shelves, see if the model you’re thinking about comes with them or if you can buy them separately.
Consider how much it would cost to add “missing” functionality later. It’s possible that it’s better to invest in a model with everything you want up front rather than buy them separately afterward.
Some features, of course, are not accessible as upgrades from the accessory shop. For example, you get the hopper you’re stuck with, so make sure it’s large enough for your needs right out of the box. The same is true for a meat temperature probe port: buy it now or never.
Other things to consider when looking to buy a pellet grill, other than a Traeger
With so many brands and models to choose from, picking which model to buy might be difficult.
However, getting the best grill is all about assessing your options. Therefore, when purchasing a new grill, I find it helpful to consider a few unique specifications.
The pellet grills in this guide range from 300 to 1300 square feet. Determining how big you want to go is an easy method to narrow your search.
In general, the larger the grill, the more expensive it becomes. A massive grill from a budget brand like Z Grills, on the other hand, will cost less than a quality brand like Traeger.
If you go too small, you won’t be able to feed all of your guests. However, if you go all big, your grill will be more expensive to run and waste some wood pellets.
You should also consider the size of the pellet hopper. The bigger the hopper, the longer you can cook without re-filling it.
Some individuals want to have the most up-to-date technology on their grills, while others choose to spend their entire budget on a grill that focuses on excellent build quality.
Consider which qualities are desirable and which are not negotiable.
Pellet grills commonly have the following features:
- Wi-Fi connectivity – Would you like to be able to control your wood pellet grill from your smartphone?
- Searing ability — While pellet grills make excellent smokers and ovens, they struggle to sear. A searing accessory or a smart approach to get higher temperatures is included by several manufacturers.
- Portability – Do you need a lightweight grill with foldable legs? Consider whether you’ll ever need to transport this grill.
Every factor we’ve talked about adds to the price. For example, pellet grills are more technologically advanced and, as a result, cost more than the other smoker models.
We would recommend a $400 budget as a starting point. Then, you can go up north to $2,000 for the latest Traeger.
Which Traeger pellet grill is the best?
While our best Traeger pellet grill review includes six different Traeger pellet grills, I’m pleased to recommend the Traeger pro series 575 pellet grill as the best. But, again, this is because it provides good value for money.
The pro series has Wi-Fi technology, which allows you to connect this grill to the Traeger app and manage it from the comfort of your room or anyplace with an Internet connection.
It also has a pro D2 direct drive controller with a temperature range of 180-450°F to manage the grill’s temperature.
How to Extend the Life of Your Traeger Grill
Before you start cooking, clean it.
Always clean your grill before cooking to ensure peak performance and avoid off-flavors. Check the collectors or pans before grilling, as they may be complete, which could cause a fire. Make careful to clean the grease chute if your device has one.
Examine your burners
Burners are critical components that must be inspected regularly. First, ascertain that there is no corrosion or blockage. Then, adopt the proper cleaning methods for your burn pot, and you will get excellent results.
Do not use water to clean.
In general, do not clean your Traeger grill with water; therefore, keep your hose pipe at a safe distance. Digital controllers, a fan, an igniter rod for the fire pot, and a motorized auger are standard features of these grills. All of the parts we described are vulnerable to damage if they come into touch with water. So, clean them by gently cleaning the dirt off them, taking care not to disassemble any components.
Wrapping it up
Traeger was the only option for many years if you wanted a pellet grill.
With so many new competitors entering the market, Traeger has had to step up their game significantly.
With the introduction of the Traeger wood pellet grills portfolio for 2019, they can now provide some of the most technologically sophisticated pellet grills on the market.
As a large company, they spend a lot of money on marketing, and you can get excellent prices on some of the other brands, such as Green Mountain Grills or Camp Chef.
If you’re looking for the best Traeger grills, you can buy the Traeger Pro 575, our favorite on our list. However, we recommend you shop around and compare a few different models before deciding.
Can I add more pellets to the hopper while the grill is heating up?
Yes, there is nothing wrong with filling your pellet hopper while grilling. However, while this is safe, we recommend always filling your hopper before each cooking section.
Which cooking area is sufficient for a four-person family?
While it is challenging to be accurate, we believe a cooking surface of 350 to 400 square inches should be sufficient for a family of four. The Traeger Renegade Elite, with a cooking area of 380 square inches, is an example of a unit in this price range.
Traeger grills, are they weatherproof?
There is a lot of protection because every Traeger grill has a powder-coated steel body. However, you must exercise caution when using it because steel will rust eventually if left exposed. Traeger recommends covering your unit if it is exposed to inclement weather.
Where is the hottest spot on a Traeger grill?
Hot patches will generally be concentrated in regions with increased air flow, such as around the grill chimney or the grill’s back vents.
How often should you clean out your Traeger?
Before sweeping up the excess ash, ensure that all grill components are cold. We recommend cleaning your Traeger for every five uses. These pointers will help you keep your Traeger functioning smoothly for years!
Can you use a Traeger under a covered patio?
Pellet grills and smokers are suitable for use under covered porches, patios, or decks. However, air movement is required to blow the smoke out of the enclosed enclosure.
Why are Traeger grills so expensive?
Traeger grills are pricey due to the utilization of complex technology and the costs associated with R&D, Legal, and Marketing. While Traeger grills are fantastic, several businesses offer comparable or better pellet grills that are also less expensive.
Last update on 2022-09-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API