Green Mountain Grills VS Traeger: Which Pellet Grill Should You Buy?

green-mountain-grills-vs-traeger

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Since they started selling in 2008, Green Mountain Grills (GMG) have gained a loyal following thanks to their high-tech, well-constructed pellet grills.

In this guide, we will run through the main differences between pellet grills from Green Mountain Grills and Traeger.

We’ll also look at some of the top grills from each company to help you decide which pellet grill is right for you.

Green Mountain Grills Ledge Prime Plus Pellet Grill
Pros:
  • Includes front and side shelves
  • Peaked lid gives you extra headroom
Cons:
  • No warming rack means less total space
Check Latest Price at BBQ Guys

This is another part of a series of articles to see how Traeger grills compare with the competition. You may also want to check out our guides to Pit Boss vs Traeger and Camp Chef vs Traeger.

Green Mountain Grills vs Traeger Pellet Grills – Head to head

Comparing grills from different companies is hard.

Price point and features rarely line up, so it’s very hard to make fair comparisons.

To find out which company makes the best grill for your needs, it’s better to start by understanding which features are most important to you.

With that disclaimer in mind, here are some of the general differences between the two brands to help you decide which grill to buy:

  • Green Mountain Grills are significantly cheaper than their equivalent Traeger model with the top of the range Peak Prime going for $1,099.00 compared to $2099.99 for the Traeger Timberline.
  • GMG grills generally offer less surface area due to their single grill rack design while Traeger utilizes an additional “warming rack” which boosts the number but this doesn’t always translate to more real estate (more on this below).
  • The portable Trek (formerly Davy Crockett) from Green Mountain Grills comes with WiFi while the Traeger Tailgater does not.
  • While it’s not a big difference, GMGs beats Traeger on maximum temperature with their grills maxing out at 550°F compared to 450 – 500°F (depending on model) for the Traeger.
  • Both companies offer a 3-year warranty

Out of the full lineup of Traeger grills, the best value for most people would be the Pro 575.

To help you compare we’ve selected two of the most popular grills that Traeger and Green Mountain Grills sell, and compared them across a range of categories.

At the time of writing the Ledge and Pro 575 were priced identically, but be sure to check our links for the latest price.

GMG Ledge Prime PlusTraeger Pro 575
Dimensions52x52x34 in53x41x27 in
Hopper capacity18 lb18 lb
Cooking surface area (sq in)458 sq in575 (425 main grate + 150 secondary)
Direct flame NoNo
Meat probes21
Temperature range150°F – 550°F165°F-500°F
WiFiYesYes
ControlDigitalD2® drivetrain
StorageFolding front shelf and side shelf are includedFolding front shelf sold separately
Pellet purge systemYesYes
Warranty3 years3 years
PriceCheck latest priceCheck latest price

While the price and specs are close, there are some key differences. The GMG includes the front shelf, while Traeger offers that as an optional accessory that will set you back $69.99.

The GMG also has less total grill area but has more than the Traeger with the secondary warming rack removed, which is how mine is usually configured.

In the rest of this review, we’ll go through the similarities and differences in a little more detail, and also give you more of the brand history to help you make an informed purchase.

GMG VS Traeger top features compared

Size

Traeger offers more choice with all of their grills available in two sizes. With GMG you’ll need to upgrade to a higher spec model for more size.

In a direct comparison, Traeger wins out in size. This is because they have a warming rack. This is fine when you are cooking something like ribs, but if you need to smoke a ham, or full brisket you’ll need to remove the rack and at that point, the GMG actually has more space.

The warming rack on the Traeger gives you more space but isn’t always practical.

Temperature range

GMG grills win this one, although the difference is fairly small.

The digital controls on the Traeger allow you to set temp between 165-5000°F.

With GMG you can select between 150°F to 550°F while the Traeger maxes out at 500°F. If you want to cook really low the GMG is also capable of hitting 150 compared to 165 on the Traeger.

App experience

Both brands offer WiFi with app control on all their grills (with the exception of the portable Tailgater).

Traeger app is well polished and comes with some nice features

App experience is subjective so I like to compare the average rating on the Apple and Googe Play stores.

Green Mountain Grills average app rating:

  • Apple Store – 3.1/5 from 371 ratings
  • Google Play – 4.7 from 878 ratings

Traeger average app rating:

  • Apple Store – 4.8/5 from 144,000 ratings
  • Google Play – 3 from 3998 ratings

This makes me scratch my head as Apple users seem to rate Traeger a lot higher, while Google users love the GMG app.

I’m not sure if this is a reflection of the app performing differently, or says more about Apple and Google users…

Storage

GMG wins hands down when it comes to storage. The fold-down front shelf is included for free on the Ledge model. You also get a shelf on the side with hooks to hang tools and a cart with a shelf which is handy to keep a few bags of pellets off the ground.

The Traeger has more of an open design, with no shelf under the main grill body.

There is no storage space beside the lid of the grill hopper on the base Pro model. The Ironwood gets a side shelf as standard, and the Timberline gives you the front shelf as well.

Design

I like the peaked lid design you get with GMG, although there’s something to be said for the classic barrel look of the Traeger.

The GMG also includes a window on the pellet hopper. On the Traeger, you can add a pellet sensor add-on and monitor your pellet levels via the app which is a great feature, although this will cost you more.

Wheels are very similar in terms of size and quality.

Brand History

Overview of Green Mountain Grills

Green Mountain Grills (GMG for short) have been in business since 2008, but it wasn’t until they lowered their prices in 2014 that they became a true contender.

GMG is at least partially responsible for the widespread adaption of WiFi capability in pellet grills.

While Traeger now includes WiFi on all their grills (excluding the portable ones), GMG has always given you the option on their main grills.

GMG has decided to focus on its dealer network, so they are not very easy to find for sale online although you can now get the full range at BBQGuys.com.

Overview of Traeger

Traeger was the original inventor of the pellet grill concept.

The company was formed in the 1980s when Joe Traeger developed the concept from his experience with pellet-burning stoves.

The new company quickly patented their invention, which gave them a monopoly market for the next twenty years.

Throughout that time Traeger remained a small family company. When their patent ended in 2006 a rush of new competitors entered the market and started putting pressure on the company.

The brand really exploded in popularity when a private equity group bought the company.

Today Traeger is the largest manufacturer of pellet grills by far, selling over $300 million worth of grills every year.

Traeger is currently suing Green Mountain Grills

Traeger and Green Mountain Grills are going through a legal battle over the use of technology in their pellet grills.

Traeger filed two patents in 2016 related two the use of cloud or mobile applications for controlling an outdoor grill.

In 2018 they sent cease and desist letters to Rec Rec, Memphis Grills, and Green Mountain Grills telling them to stop selling wirelessly connected pellet grills.

GMG fired back with a suit against Traeger in the US Patent and Trademark Office, with Traeger quickly filing a lawsuit against GMG for patent infringement.

Derrick Riches has an excellent write-up of the whole saga on his website if you would like to learn more.

In my opinion, this is an unfortunate example of a large company trying to bully a small one. The truth is WiFi-enabled pellet grills have been around since 2012, long before Traeger filed any patents.

If Traeger wins, the whole industry will be hurt by the lack of innovation. Let’s remember that over the decades where Traeger has no competition they failed to improve or innovate on their grill designs.

If you are a grill buyer what does this mean for you? Nothing in the short term. In the long term if Traeger wins this suit could potentially put GMG out of business, which might affect any warranties or customer service.

Our hope is that common sense prevails and the suit is dismissed.

Top Green Mountain Grill Models

Green Mountain Grills have recently updated their lineup of grills with two ranges and new product names.

If you are looking at reviews you might see the old names and some of the older models are still being sold by third parties, so this is definitely something to look out for.

The main range is called “Prime”. All grills come with WiFi smart controls and then Prime Plus gives you a few upgrades including a collapsible front shelf and interior grill light.

The Choice lineup of pellet grills refers to the original lineup and seems to be getting phased out. The GMG website currently only lists the Daniel Boone.

1. Trek Prime WiFi Pellet Grill

If you want a portable pellet grill there simply aren’t a lot of great options on the market.

The Trek is definitely one of the best though. GMG market this as a grill for tailgaters, campers, and people with RVs who want to cook anywhere.

GMG has replaced the foldable legs which was the one part of the Davy Crockett design we didn’t like.

green mountain grills davy crockett pellet grill on table
The folding legs on the original Davy Crockett were awkward to use

Now you get four sturdy legs that are screwed on and make the grill more stable, although slightly less portable.

The build quality is excellent and the materials are heavy and made to last.

The grill ships with a few accessories to help you power the grill from a variety of sources.

You get excellent temperature control thanks to a digital thermostatic controller which lets you dial in the temperature in 5°F increments.

The combination of features and build quality at a highly competitive price led us to pick the Trek for our favorite budget portable pellet grill in our round-up of the best portable pellet grills.

The portable features are great, but the Trek can perform as a decent small sized grill even if you never plan to travel with it. There’s a Trek cart you can buy separately that turns this into more of a full-sized grill.

2. Ledge Prime Plus WiFi Pellet Grill

The Ledge replaces the Daniel Boone as the middle range option in the GMG lineup.

At first glance, it looks very similar but you now get a collapsible front shelf, interior grill light, stronger grates, and a peaked lid with a window.

The peaked lid is a nice touch as it gives you 13.5 inches of headroom which is plenty of space to stand up a chicken or cook a turkey.

You get 458 square inches of cooking space all on one large grill rack. The manufacturer claims this is enough to fit 7 racks of ribs.

The pellet hopper capacity is 18 pounds and there’s a window on the front and a pellet door on the back for removing unused pellets between cooks.

The digital controller has been improved and allows you to set the temperature anywhere between 150° – 550°F.

The Ledge comes in all black, or you can pay $30 extra and get it in stainless steel.

3. Peak Prime Plus WiFI Grill

The Peak (formerly Jim Bowie) is the big daddy of the Green Mountain Grill family.

It looks exactly like the Ledge, only stretched out so now you get 658 square inches of cooking space.

This doesn’t make it a huge grill by any standards. To give you some perspective the most expensive Traeger Timberline comes with 1300 square inches of cooking space (with a much higher price tag).

You have to be careful making the comparison though because it all comes down to how much “usable space” you get. A lot of the extra space on the Traeger comes from the additional warming rack. If you want to cook any large items you’ll want to remove this, bringing your actual real estate down.

Top Traeger Grills

Like Green Mountain Grills, Traeger has three grills in their main range. Each grill is available in two sizes, and the sizes increase with each model.

  • Traeger Pro – The “base” model of Traeger’s main grill lineup comes in two sizes and now includes WiFi connectivity. Depending on size, the Pro sits between the Daniel Boone and Jim Bowie in price.
  • Traeger Ironwood– The Ironwood offers larger sizes along with new features such as DownDraft Exhaust and TRU convection. You also get Super Smoke mode, the option to push a button and ramp up the smoke produced. Even the smallest Ironwood will set you back more than the Jim Bowie.
  • Traeger Timberline – The largest and most expensive option comes with all the features of the Ironwood plus futuristic pellet sensing technology that lets you monitor your pellet levels on the app.

You’ve also got the Traeger Tailgater which competes directly with the Trek, with 300 sq inches and a lot less tech.

If you want to learn more about the various models of Traeger, I suggest checking out our post on Traeger Grill Reviews.

Other brands to consider

If you still haven’t decided between a Traeger or Green Mountain Grills, you might find one of the many other manufacturers more suitable.

Let’s quickly go through

If you want better searing options look at Camp Chef

I would say Camp Chef and Green Mountain Grills are at a similar level in terms of price and build quality, but the Camp Chef has the best solution for searing that we’ve seen on a pellet grill.

I’m a big fan of the popular Woodwind pellet grill.

Instead of adjustable plates, like you see on a lot of Pit Boss grills, they just give you the option to add on an optional sear box.

They also sell the larger Woodwind which we loved when we reviewed it.

If you want to save money look at Z Grills

Z Grills 700D4E

If you want the best value for money Z Grills is a tempting option.

The company has been around for a long time producing grills for other companies. They used to manufacture grills for Traeger!

The most popular model they sell is the Z Grills 700D4E which we have a detailed review for.

Wrapping it up

I hope this article has helped you decide between a Traeger and a Green Mountain Grill.

If you don’t want to stretch your budget, GMG offers some excellent technology and features for a lower price point.

They also are a pretty clear winner in the portable grill category.

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