Traeger vs. Pit Boss: Best Pellet Grills & Smokers (2023)
People take their grilling seriously, and we understand why. It's hard to beat good barbecue, and for those wanting perfectly smoked meats, comparing Traeger vs. Pit Boss is a great place to start.
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People take their grilling seriously, and we understand why. It's hard to beat good barbecue, and for those wanting perfectly smoked meats, comparing Traeger vs. Pit Boss is a great place to start.
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. Still, there are some key differences worth exploring.
Traeger vs. Pit Boss: Which is Better?
Traeger is 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. Traeger's app is also more popular with enthusiasts because it offers advanced control and functionality.
Pit Boss vs. Traeger Comparison
Still not sure which brand to choose? No worries. We are going to take a deep dive. 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.
Most popular grills have tool hooks and similar features, so in comparing Pit Boss vs. Traeger, it is important to consider quality, durability, and versatility. Check out the side-by-side comparison, or continue reading the detailed reviews below.
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 users 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 Traeger above the competition and redefined grilling.
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 is 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. The grills also feature variable fan speeds, a keep-warm mode, and a hopper cleanout (a trapdoor that empties the 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-fired flavoring, then the Traeger Pro Series is an excellent grill for learning. Just pick your preferred wood-flavoring pellets, set the temperature at which you want to cook, 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 of up to 500 degrees, but there are some significant differences between the two series.
The biggest difference is that the Traeger 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 recommend this grill for beginners, even above the Pro models, because the pellet sensor is a must-have feature and will ease the beginner's mind.
The Difference Between Traeger Pro and Ironwood
The Traeger Ironwood Series is more advanced than the Traeger Pro Series. Think of the Traeger Pro Series as the entry-level series. The Traeger Ironwood Series has added insulation and advanced hopper functionality compared to the Pro Series. The best grill and smoker is the Traeger Timberline Series.
Traeger Timberline Series
The granddaddy of them all is the Traeger Timberline Series. This is a serious grill, so large that it could be used commercially or to host large events.
The largest of these Traeger pellet grills has a whopping 1300 square inches of cooking space, which is almost 50% larger than the largest Ironwood grill. Even with the larger size, it is still powerful enough for the cooking chamber's internal temperatures to reach as high as 500 degrees.
This 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 Series has a full double-wall stainless steel construction interior, making the grill exceedingly durable and providing 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. 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 a maximum cooking surface, a massive 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. Plus, TraegerTV is a YouTube channel full of inspirational videos and step-by-step how-to instructions
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 Traeger 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 signature mix. In terms of quality, these are top-shelf pellets, and investing in the right flavor profiles is well worth the cost.
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. You might enjoy the Apricot BBQ sauce if you like a little tangy flavoring. All of the rubs and sauces are top-notch, so you can't go wrong.
While simple, I also 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.
Using A Pizza Stone On A Traeger
To cook a pizza on a Traeger, place a pizza stone on the grill grates before you heat your grill. Preheating the pizza stone and cooking chamber will prevent the pizza stone from cracking. The pizza stone may take longer than the cooking chamber to preheat.
It takes 12 to 14 minutes to cook a pizza on a pellet grill. The added smoke flavor is undeniably worth your effort.
Do Traeger Grills Have A Lifetime Warranty?
No, Traeger Grills do not have a lifetime warranty. Traeger offers a 3-year warranty against material and quality defects. Traeger requires proof of purchase date to process warranties. Ensure you keep your receipt or order confirmation to process your warranty.
The warranty does not include labor or shipping.
Do Traeger Insulation Blankets Work?
The Traeger insulation blankets work well to maximize heat retention in cold-weather environments. The blanket will help keep heat inside your cooking chamber and also help preserve pellets. Traeger designed the insulation blanket so you can continue using your Traeger throughout the winter.
It is frustrating to cook with a grill or a smoker struggling to stay heated. Both Traeger and Pit Boss will consume more pellets when the outside temperature is below 35 degrees. The Traeger blanket helps counteract mother nature.
Who Owns Traeger?
Jeremy Andrus and equity partner Trilantic Capital Partners own Traeger grills. Joe Traeger and his son Brian sold the rights to Traeger grills in 2006. They eventually went on to work with the Danson family, which owns Traeger's rival brand, Pit Boss.
Jeremy Andrus helped take Skullcandy public in electronics, and Traeger is his next act. While Skullcandy and Traeger are very different brands, Traeger is also built on the back of technological innovation.
Do Traeger Grills Go on Sale?
Traeger grills don't go on sale very often, but you can typically find a sale on Traeger around Father's Day and Black Friday. You can typically find Traeger grills for $100 off the original price. The most expensive grills may have a larger discount around certain holidays.
While Traegers are more expensive than some alternative grills, including many Pit Boss and Louisiana grills, Traeger makes high-quality products.
The Best Thing To Cook On A Traeger
Roasting a whole chicken may be the best way to learn how to use your Traeger. Still, brisket is one of the most popular things to cook on a Traeger. So, we recommend graduating up from the chicken to smoked brisket. The possibilities are endless.
You can smoke meats, like brisket and pork butt, which are great for everything from traditional barbecue to tacos. Still, your grill and smoker are much more versatile than this. You can also make vegetables or more creative dishes like twice-baked potatoes and even deviled eggs.
Traeger Grills At Costco
The Traeger grills sold at Costco have different names. Still, the build quality is the same, and any differences between the models are minimal. The Traeger units at Costco are generally more affordable, so if you are on a budget, check out the Traegers at Costco.
What Is So Special About A Traeger Grill?
Traeger is so special because the brand is at the forefront of combining technology with the rustic appeal of cooking your own meats. The Traeger system makes it simple to cook smoke-infused briskets, pork butts, and chicken that rival any local bbq restaurant.
Top Traeger grills come equipped with a pellet hopper and various high-tech sensors. The pellets are an easy fuel source to manage and provide enhanced flavor. Pellet grills and smokers are easier to manage than a charcoal grill and provide more flavor options.
Is Traeger Worth It?
Other pellet grills imitate Traeger smokers and grills. The advanced technology and attention to detail make Traeger grills worth it. Traeger designs its grills to provide superior heat retention compared to other brands, which helps manage the perfect low and slow cooking temperature.
These Traeger pellet grills represent the ultimate in outdoor cooking and provide a nearly-effortless grilling experience.
And becauseTraeger is best used with family and friends during the holidays, their team is available 365 days a year to answer questions about your grill. They will even provide tips on cooking your first brisket. As Traeger likes to say, that is legendary customer service. They also offer a limited three-year warranty.SUMMARY PROS
- WiFire technology
- 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. There is a reason they call it the boss. In comparing Pit Boss vs Traeger, you will Pit Boss is slightly more affordable, while some might argue that Traeger is a little more advanced.
Pit Boss Series
The signature Pit 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 its unique flame-broiler, which enables grilling directly above an open fire. In other words, Pit Boss pellet grills can be configured to work with either direct or indirect heat.
The Pit Boss 700FB has a hopper capacity of 18 lbs, a porcelain-coated wire cooking grate, and reaches cooking temperatures as high as 600 degrees. This is a good place to start if you are in the market for an affordable pellet grill.
Pit Boss makes a quality product, and the cooking experience far exceeds that of a standard grill.
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.
Difference Between Pit Boss and Pit Boss Pro Series
The brand sells its Pit Boss Pro Series grills through Lowe's. While Pit Boss sells many of its grills through its website, some of the grills are retailer-exclusive grills. The quality is the same as any other Pit Boss grill, but there might be minor design differences.
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 and 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 to know the cooking chamber’s temperature.
If you are looking for even more versatility, then you absolutely have to check out the Pit 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 waiting for 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 additions to Danson's Pit Boss line-up. This series is built for the sportsman that is so serious they might even hunt for their own food. The Sportsman Portable Pellet Grill has 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 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.
Pit Boss also makes griddles on par with Camp Chef and Blackstone griddles. In fact, the Pit Boss griddle has a ceramic coating that protects the griddle surface.
We focused on pellet grills and smokers in this review, but Pit Boss also sells griddles, charcoal and gas grills, and vertical smokers. They sell everything the beginner might need and anything the experienced pro might dream about owning.
Pit Boss sells pecan blends, oak blends, maple blends, fruitwood blends, mesquite blends, and their signature trophy blend. Like Traeger, Pit Boss sells any type of pellet you might desire, and you can create your mixes to dial in the perfect taste.
Pit Boss pellets are the perfect way to drive that smoky flavor you are looking to savor. Try to beat the signature trophy blend with a blend of your own.
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.
Do Pit Boss Pellet Grills Go on Sale?
Pit Boss grills usually go on sale a few times yearly, including around traditional grilling holidays like Labor Day. The company offers a discount for first responders and service members through the ID.me discount program. They also provide financing for those that can't afford a lump sum payment.
What Does ErL mean on Pit Boss?
The ErL (Er1) error message simply means that the temperature sensor isn't properly connected to the controller system. The most common reason for receiving this error is that the temperature probe is dirty. Once your grill is cooled down and unplugged, clean the inside of the grill, including the temperature probe.
Also check to make sure there are no loose wires. How do you clean the temperature probe? Vinegar water works well. Wipe away residue and build-up with a clean cloth.
Who Owns Pit Boss?
Dansons, Inc. owns the Pit Boss brand, founded in 1999 by Dan Thiessen and his two sons. The Dansons company also owns Louisiana Grills and Country Smokers. Long-time rival, Joe Traeger, joined the Dansons team in 2018 to work alongside the Thiessen family after selling the Traeger brand.
Is Pit Boss Worth It?
Pit Boss is a worthy investment for anyone that wants to master backyard BBQ. Pit Boss products offer distinct value through their versatility. From a cost perspective, Pit Boss is generally more affordable for a comparable quality.
And by the way, Pit Boss offers an industry-leading five-year warranty on all of their grills aside from the gas grills, which have a two-year warranty. It's always nice to know a product is backed by generous warranties so that you can worry about your pitmaster technique rather than your grill.SUMMARY PROS
The Difference Between Traeger and Pit Boss
Traeger and Pit Boss grills have comparable features, depending on your chosen price range. Pit Boss has more unique options for portable pellet grills, while some people prefer Traeger's technology and design in the high price range. Pit Boss also has more unique options in the combination grill category.
Best Pellet Grill Alternative: Weber
We understand if you are partial to a wood pellet grill (also called wood pellet smokers). Pit Boss and Traeger pellet grills offer precision temperature control and wood-fire flavoring that can't be beaten.
Still, some people prefer the nostalgic experience and flavoring that charcoal grills offer, while others prefer the easy set-up and clean-up you get with a gas grill. In either case, Weber makes the best charcoal and gas grills on the market. We also appreciate that Weber has grills available in all price ranges.
So if you are looking for an alternative to Traeger and Pit Boss wood pellet grills, Weber is the top competitor for direct flame grilling; however, if you are looking for a quality pellet grill, Traeger or Pit Boss are the industry leaders.
Camp Chef is a brand known for campsite cooking systems, but they recently started making cast iron cookware and pellet grills. A Camp Chef pellet grill is worth considering if you are interested in an attached flat top grill. Camp Chef's partially modular design enhances your options.
Once you've decided on a pellet grill, you may also want to consider an outdoor pizza oven. If you have never considered a pizza oven before, check out Ooni pizza oven reviews to see what you might be missing. Ooni makes versatile outdoor pizza ovens with multiple fuel sources.
The pizza ovens are so versatile, they can be used to quickly fire a loaf of bread or fire kisses a steak. And you may never get take-out pizza again because your at-home pizza will be restaurant-quality pizza.
Otherwise, if you want a pellet grill, but are on a tight budget, compare Z Grills vs. Traeger.
What Is The Best Wood Pellet Grill?
Outdoor cooking enthusiasts love Traeger grills. But there are areas where Pit Boss shines. If you are interested in portable pellet grills or vertical pellet smokers, Pit Boss is worth your consideration.
Still, Traeger pellet grills are popular pellet grills for a reason.
The Traeger Ironwood and Timberline lines of grills are built with extra insulation, which maximizes heat retention and makes it easier to consistently manage the grill’s temperature. Plus, they've added features like Super Smoke Mode, which allows you to push through some extra wood-flavored smoke.
Top Traeger pellet grills also feature a pellet sensor system that lets you monitor the pellet levels from your phone. Traeger products are built for the serious grillmaster, and even features such as the Bluetooth-connected app were superiorly designed.
There is much to consider when comparing Pit Boss vs. Traeger. If you are looking for a well-built pellet grill with all of the features you need to make life easier (and grilling even more enjoyable), then get a Traeger, and don't look back. Traeger's line-up is hard to beat.
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