People take their grilling seriously, and we understand why. It’s hard to beat good barbecue, and we don’t blame our friends that plan their travels in search of perfectly smoked meats. Traeger grills and Pit Boss grills have become increasingly popular because of their premium performance and because they innovated in a space long dominated by traditional cooking methods and long-held family secrets.
Traeger vs. Pit Boss Comparison
But which brand should you choose? While these two brands are among the most popular in the United States (and for a good reason), there are subtle differences between the two worth considering. Check out the side-by-side comparison, or read the detailed reviews below.
Why Buy A Pellet Grill?
Pellet grills have become popular in recent years for several reasons. The food cooked in the grills is not usually exposed to flames since heat (and smoke) are circulated through the main chamber providing indirect heat. For this reason, pellet grills are perfect for “low and slow” cooking, which many prefer because they believe it enhances the flavor profile.
These grills are also very versatile. Pellet grills are used for grilling everything from steaks and burgers to salmon, from vegetables to cornbread, and even pizza. The newer models are also jammed pack with technology, which makes grilling more manageable and makes the experience more interesting. Modern pellet grills monitor temperature and pellet hopper fill levels and communicate that information via built-in wifi to an app on your phone.
One more thing: While there are a few dedicated vertical pellet smokers, most of the time, ‘pellet grill’ and ‘pellet smoker’ are used interchangeably to refer to the same piece of equipment. Pellet grills share as many qualities with convection cooking as they do with old school smokers, so here we mostly refer to them using the term grill.
Traeger Pellet Grill Review
Some might say Traeger pellet grills have a cult-like following, but we aren’t here to judge. The devoted following is well earned for the cornerstone company in the pellet grill industry. These grills feature WiFi technology, enabling the user to have complete control of their grill via the company’s app available for smartphones and other smart devices.
And the innovation doesn’t stop there. Many of the grills also feature TurboTemp technology, which helps the grill reach cooking temperature faster and recover optimal temperature more quickly after the lid has been opened. This is just a taste of the technology that elevates TraegerTraeger above the competition and that has redefined grilling.
Product Options and Performance
There is quite a variety of Traeger grill features and sizes, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the perfect grill to meet your needs. Most of Traeger’s grills fit into a few categories, so we will help you pick the right series and let you focus on selecting the right size for your intended uses.
Traeger Pro Series
The Traeger Pro Series is the company’s entry level pellet grill, but don’t let that fool you. It has plenty of functionality, and if you are new to pellet grilling, this an excellent grill to get started. Since this series is the entry-point, the grills are smaller than some of the other model lines but should still be sufficient for most families. The largest Pro model has 780 square inches of total cooking space.
Like the rest of the brand’s line-up, the Traeger Pro Series grills feature WiFire and TurboTemp technologies previously described to help manage temperature control, plus variable fan speeds, a keep-warm mode, and hopper cleanout (a trapdoor that empties pellet hopper).
These wood pellet grills have a temperature range reaching as high as 500 degrees. The largest model, the Traeger Pro 780, has two grill grates made from porcelain-coated steel and exterior storage hooks for an extra grill rack. The Pro 780 has a hopper capacity of 18 lbs.
If you want to upgrade your backyard and enjoy wood-fire flavoring, then the Traeger Pro SeriesTraeger Pro Series is an excellent grill to get started learning. Just pick your preferred wood-flavoring pellets, set the temperature you want to cook at, and move on with your day as you await a perfectly cooked barbecue.
Traeger Ironwood Series
The next step up in the hierarchy is the Traeger Ironwood Series, the largest of which has 885 square inches of cooking space. Like the Pro Series, the Ironwood Series also has WiFire technology, TurboTemp technology, two porcelain-coated steel grill grates, and a temperature range up to 500 degrees, but there are some significant differences between the two series.
The biggest difference is that the Traeger Ironwood SeriesTraeger Ironwood Series has extra insulation to maximize heat retention and efficiency. Specifically, the Ironwood Series has a double side-wall interior to prevent heat from escaping. The double-wall adds a tad bit of weight. The Ironwood 885 weighs 170 lbs, compared to the Pro 780, which weighs 145 lbs. Of course, the Ironwood 885 also has a slightly larger hopper, with a capacity for 20 lbs or pellets.
Here are a few other key differences you need to know about before making a purchase. The series features Super Smoke Mode (which maximizes wood-flavoring at the push of a button), and the pellet sensor system (which allows you to monitor remaining pellet levels from your phone), as well as a few other features.
This series is designed to maximize flavoring while also enabling the easiest cooking experience possible. We actually recommend this grill for beginners, even above the Pro models, because the pellet sensor is a must-have feature and will set the beginner’s mind at ease.
Traeger Timberline Series
The granddaddy of them all is the Traeger Timberline Series. This is a serious grill, so large it could be used commercially or for hosting large events. The largest of these Traeger grills has a whopping 1300 square inches of cooking space, which is almost 50% larger than the largest Ironwood grill, yet is still powerful enough for the cooking chamber’s internal temperatures to reach as high as 500 degrees.
The series has the best features of the Pro Series and Ironwood Series, including, WiFire technology, Super Smoke Mode, and the pellet sensor technology, but still has an impressive line-up of extra features to set it apart, starting with the insulation.
The Traeger Timberline SeriesTraeger Timberline Series has a full double-wall stainless steel construction interior, which not only makes the grill exceedingly durable but also provides best-in-class heat retention. It also has one of the largest hoppers of any grill you will find, with a capacity for 24 lbs of your favorite wood-flavored pellets. When this up with 1300 inches of cooking space, the result is a mammoth, 255 lbs grill.
This professional-level grill also has three grill grates made from stainless steel, a concealed grease pan, and a magnetic bamboo cutting board. There is serious, and then there is serious. With, maximum cooking surface, maximum hopper size, and a digital controller, this might be the pellet grill or pellet smoker money can buy.This is wood pellet grilling at its finest.
Other Traeger Products
If you are new to pellet grilling, or even grilling in general, Traeger has everything you need to become a backyard professional. TraegerTV is a YouTube channel full of inspirational videos and step-by-step how-to instructions, and the company’s website also has more recipes than you can count. Beyond the how-tos, branded supplies are also available through the company website.
Traeger Wood Pellets - The brand has quite a variety of bbq wood pellets, including pecan, mesquite, maple, hickory, and apple. Hickory smoke flavoring is one of the favorites in serious barbecue circles, as is the signature blend.
That TraegerTraeger signature blend fuses the flavors of cherry, hickory, and maple and is perfect for anything you throw on the grill. Once you get the hang of things, you might enjoy making your own signature mix. In terms of quality, these are top-shelf pellets.
Traeger Accessories - Naturally, Traeger has plenty of other accessories in addition to wood pellets. If you want to maximize the flavoring, be sure to check out their many rubs and sauces. The namesake rub includes garlic and chili powder and works well with any meat, sans fish. If you like a little tangy flavoring, you might enjoy the Apricot BBQ sauce. All of the rubs and sauces are top-notch, so you can’t go wrong.
Of course, you might be more curious about dedicated grill accessories, and Traeger has everything you might need. While simple, I especially recommend the branded liners, including drip trays and grease buckets, which make cleaning up much quicker, and less messy. They also sell the grill covers, additional shelves, and bbq tools you would see from a major grill brand.
Is Traeger Worth The Money?
Traeger Grills are envied by consumers and copied by other corporations. These Traeger grillsTraeger grills represent the ultimate in outdoor cooking and provide a nearly-effortless grilling experience. They are designed to provide superior heat retention compared to other brands, which helps manage the perfect low and slow cooking temperature.SUMMARY PROS
- WiFire techonology
- Less traditional than some would prefer
- Super Smoke Mode
- Pellet sensor technology
- Premium insulation available for heat retention
- Digitally controlled temperature
- Available at multiple price points
- Most popular and functional phone app
Pit Boss Pellet Grill Review
While Pit Boss is serious about their grills, they are still quite the family company. Dan Thiessen formed the company that sells Pit Boss along with his two sons, Jeff and Jordan. They named the company Dansons. Clever, right?
Today the company focuses on providing exceptional products at an unbeatable value.
Product Options and Performance
The company has quite the line-up of pellet grills and pellet smokers, but three primary series. And let me just say now that their largest pellet grill is MASSIVE, and still sold at a reasonable price. That is the hallmark differentiation. Pit Boss products are generally a little cheaper than Traeger products. But are they the best choice? Let’s see how the competition stacks up.
Pit Boss Series
The signature Pit Boss SeriesPit Boss Series is an entry point into the Pit Boss pellet grill family. It offers a digitally controlled burn system that connects to your smart device via WiFi or Bluetooth. One major focus that sets Pit Boss apart from Traeger is their unique flame-broiler, which enables grilling directly above an open fire. In other words, Pit Boss grills can be configured to work with either direct or indirect heat.
The Pit Boss 700FB has a hopper capacity of 18 lbs and porcelain-coated wire cooking grates, and reach cooking temperatures as high as 600 degrees.
The signature series offers straightforward grills to get started. They aren’t overly advanced but are great for family grilling. Infusing the flavor of real-wood cooking, you may begin using your new Pit Boss weekly for everything from ribs and jerky to biscuits and pizza.
Pit Boss Navigator Series
The Pit Boss Navigator Series is where things start to get serious. The largest Navigator Series grill has 1158 square inches of cooking space and is equipped with Pit Boss’s innovative flame broiler for versatility. This big boy is built to set it and leave it, so it includes an enormous 32-pound hopper capacity, as well as a pellet clean out door.
Because temperature matters when cooking the perfect meats, the Navigator 1150 includes two meat probes to help you ensure the ideal finished product. This Navigator also includes a dial-in digital control board with LED read-outs, so you know the cooking chamber’s temperature.
If you are looking for even more versatility, then you absolutely have to check out the Pit BossPit Boss Wood Pellet and Gas Combo Grill that is part of the Navigator Series. The pellet grill runs off a 16-pound hopper, while the gas grill works with a standard propane tank.Why would you need this? Serious pitmasters are sticklers for keeping their lids closed, but what do you do if you want some burgers or sausage while you are waiting on your brisket to cook low and slow? With the combo grill, you can throw the burgers and sausage on the gas grill. Since the open flame searing reaches 1000 degrees, this is legitimately one of the most versatile grills sold anywhere.
Pit Boss Sportsman Series
The Pit Boss Sportsman Series is one of the newest addition to Danson’s Pit Boss line-up. This series is built for the sportsman that is so serious they might even hunt their own food. The Sportsman Portable Pellet Grill is equipped with folding legs and rolling wheels, so you might consider securing it to your ATV and taking it into the woods with you.
Beyond the portable Sportsman unit, the largest Pit Boss SeriesPit Boss Series Sportsman has about 850 total square inches of cooking space and notably has 8-in-1 versatility so that you can grill using almost any and every method. Whether you prefer traditional grilling, smoking, baking, braising, barbecuing, char-grilling, searing, or some combination of the eight, the Sportsman is built for you.
And if you were impressed with the Navigator combo unit, you will be even more impressed with the Pit Boss Sportsman Wood Pellet and Gas Combo Grill, which has all of the same functionality of the Navigator Series, but with the 8-in-1 versatility that sets the Sportsman Series apart. Grill, smoke, roast, bake, braise, barbecue, char-grill, and sear your way to happiness.
Other Pit Boss Products
Pit Boss sells anything you could need for the ultimate outdoor cooking experience. Our mouths are drooling just thinking about it.
Other Grills - We focused on pellet grills and smokers in this review, but Pit BossPit Boss also sells griddles, charcoal and gas grills, and vertical smokers. They sell everything the beginner might need, as well as anything the experienced pro might dream about.
Hardwood Pellets - Pit Boss sells pecan blends, oak blends, maple blends, fruitwood blends, mesquite blends, and their signature trophy blend. Same as Traeger, Pit Boss sells any type of pellet you might desire, and you can create your own mixes to dial in the perfect taste. Try to beat the signature trophy blend with a blend of your own.
Grill Accessories - Naturally, Pit Boss sells grill covers and cooking utensils as you would expect; however, they also sell cast iron skillets and roasters, which you might not expect.
Is Pit Boss Wroth The Money?
If you like to spend time outdoors conquering the perfect dinner, then Pit BossPit Boss is a worthy investment. Pit Boss products offer distinct value through their versatility.SUMMARY PROS
- WiFire techonology
- Quality build, but maybe not premium build Traeger is known for
- Versatility including 8-in-1 Sportsman Series
- Less popular and functional phone app
- Built in meat probe ports
- Available at multiple price points
Traeger vs. Pit Boss: Which Is Better?
Traeger might be better for those that are serious about low and slow grilling and smoking, while Pit Boss might be better for those interested in overall versatility. If you want to control your grill via an app, Traeger’s app is significantly more popular and offers better functionality.
When it comes down to it, when considering Traeger vs. Pit Boss, you need to be aware of your exact needs. Here are our recommendations:
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