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Wood pellet grills have grown in popularity because they combine modern technology with the rustic appeal of smoking meats. Still, high-end pellet grills can be very expensive. In comparing Z Grills vs. Traeger, you might first notice the price difference.
Z Grills sells directly to customers with factory-direct pricing. Of course, the question you are wondering remains. Is Z Grills legit, or are you better off sticking with Traeger pellet grills?
Z Grills vs. Traeger Pellet Grills: Which is Better?
You might consider yourself a loyalist if you already own a Traeger grill. We get that. Traeger is the best-known name in the game, and they have a stellar reputation.
Nonetheless, Traeger grills are expensive. You may find that a Z Grills wood pellet grill meets your needs. Z Grills makes high-quality and durable grills, so what’s the difference? The most significant difference is price, but a few other features are worth considering.
Are Z Grills Legit?
The Z Grills brand continues to grow in popularity because of its factory-direct business model. They have over 30 years of experience making grills and have manufactured some of the products for industry-leading brands.
They make high-quality grills, but since they selldirect-to-consumer, they can skip multiple layers of price markups. As a result, Z Grills can sell its wood pellet grill for very affordable prices. While other pellet grill brands are too expensive to reasonably consider, Z Grills makes owning a wood pellet grill possible for the masses.
1000 Series Pellet Grills
The Z Grills 1000 Series pellet grills are the brand’s most advanced wood pellet grills. They are also the largest grills. The largest wood pellet grill from Z Grills features a whopping three tiers of grates and a large pellet hopper.
With more than 1000 square inches of cooking space, the largest Z Grill is big enough for nine racks of ribs!
The 20 lb. pellet hopper capacity will last more than 30 hours on the smoke setting and even 10 hours when grilling on high heat. With that much firepower, you might worry about how easy it will be to control the temperature on a new Z Grills.
Fortunately, the digital temperature control enables you to manage a temperature range from 180-450 degrees precisely.
Perhaps most notably, the Z Grills 1000 Series Pellet Grills feature a unique Ash Cleanout System. The innovative design lets you simply pull a lever to dump the ash after using your pellet grill. This design feature is a substantial improvement that eliminates the need to take your grill apart and clean it out.
Most Comparable Traeger: Ironwood Series. The Timberline Series is closer in size but is twice the price and packed with the most advanced bells and whistles in the industry.
700 Series Pellet Grills
While there is something appealing about having the largest grill possible, the reality is that most people don’t really need 1000 square inches of cooking area. That cooking capacity requires a larger pellet hopper, and you might burn through more pellets than necessary.
These are likely reasons why the flagship 700 Series pellet grill might be the most popular Z Grills model. The flagship model technically comes in just short of 700 square inches of cooking space (697, to be exact). Still, the two tiers of grill grates are sufficient to feed four to six people at a time.
Anybody that knows anything about low and slow smoking knows that you don’t want to open that lid more than necessary. Two meat probes allow you to maintain precise temperature control without ever lifting that beautiful stainless steel lid. The temperature conveniently displays on an external LCD controller, making it exceptionally easy to monitor.
As you gain experience, you may have a better feel for maintaining the perfect cooking temperature inside the cooking chamber. Until then, tools such as these probes will help you along the way.
Here is another cool feature: The pellet cleanout system enables you to swap out pellets in the middle of your cooking session. This feature isn’t just for mistakes. Instead, it is one way to experiment with developing richer flavors. You may also want to switch out pellets during a long cooking session in which you cook different meats.
Most Comparable Traeger: Ironwood Series. The Ironwood Series is likely the most comparable for the Z Grills 700 Series as well, but you could also consider the Traeger Pro Series.
450 - 600 Series Pellet Grills
While the 700 Series grills with two cooking grates are the most popular, some people may prefer a more affordable grill with less capacity.
The new 450B Z Grill features a PID controller. While it is small, it still packs important tech. The PID controller helps maintain the cooking chamber at a consistent temperature. Plus, the 450B still features digital displays and Z Grills’ new pellet cleanout system.
The smallest Z Grills still work perfectly for individuals, couples, and small families. This is particularly an excellent grill for those that lack space. Purchase the grill cover, which will easily store on your back patio or in the corner of your garage.
Most Comparable Traeger: Pro Series. The Traeger Pro Series is most comparable in size and features, but the Z Grills are much more affordable.
Portable Pellet Grill
Should grilling at a campsite or down by the beach really be such a pain? I don’t think so. The Z Grills team doesn’t think so, either.
The new Cruiser 200 Series might even work on an apartment balcony (lease permitting). Two hundred square inches of cooking space is plenty for an individual, couple, or even a small family. You can quickly cook burgers, steaks, hotdogs, and some veggies for a nice dinner.
Plus, cleaning up after a Z Grills pellet grill is significantly less messy than cleaning up after a traditional kettle grill. A wood pellet grill provides better flavoring and ease of use. Now, it is a no-brainer, even when you are tight on space.
Several brands now have portable grills, but this is among the best-designed portable grills you will find.
8 in 1 Cooking Techniques
You may see Z Grills advertise that its grills facilitate eight different types of cooking. I honestly couldn’t think of eight different cooking methods without seeing the list, so it is helpful to level set regarding what the company means.
Z Grills can bake, barbecue, braise, char-grill, grill, roast, sear, and smoke. There you have it. There are eight different ways to use a Z Grill, and you likely could brainstorm a few more if you try hard enough. Experiment and master your favorite cooking method, and then show off your new skills to your friends.
WiFi On Z Grills Pellet Grill
Most Z Grills do not have WiFi; however, a few models now offer this convenient feature. Look for the Multitasker series. The WiFi enables you to monitor your meat from your phone. You can set grill timers, adjust the cooking chamber’s temperature, and monitor your meat’s internal temperature.
A larger Multitasker is available that would otherwise fit into the 1000 Series. If that is too big, consider the mid-size grill that would otherwise fit into the 700 Series.
Double-Walled Z Grills
Double-walled construction is popular because the double walls help with insulation. A well-insulated grill cooks more efficiently, enables you to control temperature range better, and helps with cold-weather grilling. The nicer Z grills include dual-walled construction, including the flagship 700 series grill.
Maximizing heat retention just makes sense. Wood pellet technology continues to advance, but simple construction features like the dual wall make a huge difference.
More About Z Grills
Are you not sold yet? There are quite a few pellet grill brands out there now, but few brands match the combined quality and value like Z Grills. Using high-temperature powder-coated steel, integration of a grease management system and the unique design of the pellet cleanout system are the type of features that showcase Z Grills’ quality.
Whether you want to grill burgers, hot dogs, and steaks, or breakthrough the brisket stall temp, a Z Grills grill will get the job done.
Z Grills Blind Box Deals
Every now and then, Z Grills offers a Limited Edition Blind Box. This is a particularly fun way to buy your first pellet grill if you aren’t particular about the finer details. The way it works is that Z Grills will you one of five premium grills worth the value of the Blind Box, but you could get one of the nicer, larger grills.
Each grill features a PID Controller, and each Z Grills Blind Box comes with a pellet grill, a free rain cover, and several other accessories.
Are Z Grills As Good As Traeger?
A few features, such as a low pellet sensor and a downdraft exhaust system, set Traeger apart from most grills. Still, Z Grills are made with premium quality construction and offer the best overall value in the industry. Z Grills still include intelligent features, if not the bells and whistles.
In comparing Z Grills vs. Traeger, determine whether premium features or affordable quality matter most to you. In addition to more advanced technology, Traeger also features items like more rugged wheels. This might not matter if you plan to keep your grill in one spot.
Still, there are some differences in quality and design.
Where Are Z Grills Made?
Z grills have a strong presence in Australia and the United States, but they make their grills in China. Remember that the company first manufactured grills for leading brands before developing Z Grills as its direct-to-consumer brand. So, it’s no surprise the company makes its grills in China.
The company is one of the most experienced grill manufacturers on the planet. The Jiangsu Zgrills Technology company has decades of grill manufacturing experience.
Z Grills provides a 3-year warranty that applies to material and workmanship defects. The brand will repair or replace any defective parts or units. The warranty is available for three years from the date of purchase by the original owner.
The brand makes high-quality grills, but it is always reassuring to have a warranty.
Where Is Z Grills Located?
The US-based headquarters for Z Grills is in Ontario, California, but the parent company is actually Jiangsu Zgrills Technology. The Chinese-based parent company originally made grills for now-competitor brands. The headquarters is in Jiangsu Province in China, and it manufactures grills in the same area.
Who Owns Z Grills?
Jiangsu Zgrills Technology owns the Z Grills brand. It is a privately owned company based in China; however, it operates a North American office in Ontario, California.
Branded Tools and Accessories
As you would expect for any growing grill brand, Z Grills now sells branded merchandise, tools, and accessories. Practically, you should consider purchasing a rain cover to protect your grill from the elements. You will also need wood pellets. The brand offers bundle deals when you first purchase one of its grills.
The bundle is a convenient way to save some money during that initial purchase phase. Its limited Blind Box bundles include liners but no wood pellets. If you directly choose the 700 Series flagship grill, for instance, you can add on pellets and save a few dollars.
Are Z Grills Worth It?
The Z Grills brand is worth considering if you are looking for a high-quality pellet grill but have a limited budget. Many Z Grills models are comparable to competitor brands, but Traeger grills feature more advanced technology at the premium price point. Still, Z Grills builds quality-construction wood pellet grills.SUMMARY PROS
- Unmatched Value
- Fewer Premium Features
- Quality Construction
- Less Rugged Wheels
- Simple Product Lineup
Traeger Pellet Grills
Traeger is the best-known name in the Pellet grills industry. In fact, for years, Joe Traeger and the image of his family name adorning his barn were synonymous with pellet grills. And it was quite the industry shake-up when Joe Traeger sold the family business to later join forces with rival pellet grill maker Pit Boss.
So the Traeger family and Traeger grills (now unrelated) are quite the gorilla in the room. The brand’s quality and innovation may be unrivaled. Today, some individuals are as loyal to Traeger pellet grills as they are to their Ford or Chevy truck.
The Traeger Timberline Series is remade into the most advanced pellet grill ever. Most Traeger grills pack technology, but The Timberline Series takes things to the next level. It also carries a price tag to match the uber-premium technology.
Its premium technology meets the highest-quality construction, all intended to drive consistent results each and every time you use the Traeger Timberline. The newest Timberline grills boast a one-of-a-kind touchscreen display and intuitive controls.
Plus, the introduction of the Traeger Induction cooktop enables the grillmaster to saute or fry food on the side as the main meal cooks on the grill. The Induction cooktop and multiple cooking surfaces eliminate the need for a second cook to man the inside stovetop.
Of course, the quality construction matches new technology with existing Traeger innovations. The insulted dual-wall construction helps the grill to retain heat. And the Smart Combustion tech allows for the most consistent cooking temperature among pellet grills.
The Timberline features other existing Traeger technology, such as the EZ-Clean grease & ash keg, WiFIRE connectivity, a Downdraft Exhaust system, and Super Smoke Mode. This is all protected by a 10-year limited warranty.
No other grills compare to the Traeger Timberline series.
While the Timberline Series sits in a league of its own, the Ironwood Series is more comparable to the most advanced Z Grills grills. Even so, the Traeger technology on the Ironwood Series is still second to none.
The WiFIRE technology enables you to monitor your food via Traeger’s app, adjust the temperature as needed, or even look over the thousands of recipes for inspiration. Still, this is just the beginning.
The D2 Controller enables you to adjust through a wide temperature range in precise 5-degree increments. The controller also features a digital display to see exactly what is going on without pulling out your phone. This controller further highlights the Ironwood’s ease of use and versatility.
You will love food cooked with wood-fired flavoring, and the Ironwood Series makes it easy for the most novice grillmaster to conquer. Plus, The Ironwood Series features All-terrain wheels that make it easy to pull the grill wherever it might need to go.
The Traeger Pro Series is the most affordable Traeger grill and one of the most popular pellet grills on the market.
Pro Series grills also connect to WiFIRE technology, and feature precision temperature controls similar to those you might find on your oven. Like the Ironwood Series, the Pro Series features all-terrain wheels for maximum portability.
All Traeger grills boast plenty of hopper capacity, but you don’t want pellets to sit in your grill for extended periods. Fortunately, the Traeger Pro Series has a hopper cleanout system that makes it exceedingly easy to empty the hopper or swap out flavors.
One of the beauties of pellet grill cooking is that you can set it and forget it. And so is the case with all of Traeger’s grills, including the Pro Series.
Portable Pellet Grills
While several brands offer portable pellet grills, the Traeger Ranger carries the most respected name among backyard grillmasters. Of course, the NOMAD grill is an even more premium option, while the Z Grills Cruiser is more affordable.
The NOMAD grill is a little different because it works with charcoal as a fuel source. Most people think of Weber or Char-broil when it comes to charcoal grills, but NOMAD makes the highest quality portable charcoal grill. NOMAD also sells charcoal to go in its grill.
Still, the Traeger Ranger is a tried and true pellet grill, ready to join you on your next adventure. The Traeger Ranger features a cooking surface area of 184 sq inches.
If you need more space but still want a lightweight and portable unit, you can also consider the Traeger Tailgater. It is a little harder to transport so that you will likely need a truck or a trailer. Even so, you can fit three rib racks, or as many as 12 burgers, on the Tailgater. You simply can’t do that on the Ranger.
Both units are great. The Tailgater makes more sense if you have a truck and value size over portability. Conversely, the Ranger is the way to go if you are headed to a campsite, to the beach, or even on a boat.
Best High-End Pellet Smoker
Traeger generally makes the most high-end pellet smokers that money can buy. The Timberline Series might be the most expensive pellet grill on the market, but it also packs more features than any alternatives.
The Timberline Series is big and maybe a little fancy. You’ll likely keep it at home. The Timberline Ironwood Series makes more sense if you like to take your grilling skills on the road. The Ironwood still features advanced tech, a large cooking surface, and sufficient hopper capacity to set it and forget it.
Traeger grills offer peace of mind and WiFIRE technology gives you needed information at your fingertips. Though, Traeger is expensive. Other grills like those from Pit Boss and Z Grills offer sufficient functionality to those on a tighter budget.
Do Traeger Grills Need To Be Seasoned?
You must season your Traeger grill before you use it for the first time to cook food. Burning pellets in your new grill will help to burn off any residual chemicals used in the manufacturing process. This process will also enhance non-stick surfaces; seasoning is only needed once.
Is Traeger A Good Brand?
High-end Traeger grills are packed with leading features, including Smart Combustion tech, insulated dual-wall construction, WiFIRE connectivity, touchscreen displays, and more. A Traeger grill is worth the investment if you take grilling seriously. Even so, Trager grills feature enough tech that even a novice can see stellar results.SUMMARY PROS
- Leading Technology
- Expensive Price Tag
- Premium Construction
- Intuitive Controls
More Backyard Cooking Considerations
Pellet grills are versatile and provide wood-fired flavor to more than just your favorite meats and veggies. For those that have a grill with sufficient cooking area, it is common to cook something to eat while you wait for your low-and-slow-cooked brisket to finish up.
People will often throw burgers on the grill, but some prefer wood-fired pizzas while they wait. You might also consider purchasing a separate wood-fired pizza oven as you continue to build out your backyard grilling station. Ooni makes our favorite brand of pizza ovens, but comparing Roccbox vs. Ooni is an excellent place to start.
If you spend significant time in your backyard using your wood pellet grill, we recommend you check out a fire pit from brands like Breeo and Solo Stove. You will find that Breeo fire pits feature a sear plate ring and cooking accessories, while Solo Stove fire pits are designed for the most smokeless experience possible.
After all, not all smoke is created equal. The smoke flavoring on your brisket is tasty. Bonfire smoke in your face is annoying. Solo Stove makes fire pits with the best smokeless experience. Nowadays, they also make a solid pizza oven call the Solo Stove Pi.
Needless to say, if you like spending time outdoors and grilling, these other backyard staples are worth considering.
Competition-level Pellet Grills
Some people spend the weekends attending barbecue competitions. This serious level of smoking requires different type of equipment. We recommend that you compare Yoder vs. Traeger if you plan to consider professional-level competitions.
Pellet Grill vs. Charcoal & Gas Grills
For years, people opted gas grills over charcoal or wood-fired grills because gas grills are easy to manage. Wood pellets allow for the best of both worlds. Wood pellets provide the wood-fired flavor you hope to achieve with a wood or charcoal grill, but they are much easier to use.
Modern controllers allow you to easily manage temperature settings. Plus, some of the newer grills have a massive pellet hopper size. The most advanced systems even have associated apps so you can truly “set it and forget it.”
For years, brands like Pit Boss and Traeger battled it out for the title of “Most Popular Pellet Grill.” Newer entrants, including Z Grills, make this a more competitive race.
Also, Camp Chef historically made campsite cooking systems. More recently, they added pellet grills to their line-up, which is worth considering. They have some grills that work from pellets or gas.
|Pellet Grills||Z Grills||Traeger|
|Selling Point||Z GrillsAffordability||TraegerStrong Reputation|
|Best Series||Z GrillsWiFi Series||TraegerTimberline|
We love new cooking appliances, like griddles from Camp Chef and Blackstone, but it is hard to beat a good pellet grill.
In Review: Z Grills vs. Traeger Grills
Z Grills products lead the industry in overall value, while Traeger grills lead pellet grills in innovative design features and premium construction. Both Traeger and Z Grills pellet grills are worth considering, depending on your situation and needs. Of course, there is no denying Traeger features the best technology.
You will notice other differences too. Funnily enough, Z Grills has some poorly photoshopped images on its website, compared to Traeger’s highly professional website. Traeger wheels are also much more rugged, and easier to move across grass. Small differences make a big difference, but there is no denying you pay for some of those differences with Traeger.
We would chooseZ Grills if you are on a tight budget and Traeger if you want to master backyard grilling.
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