Traeger VS recteq (Rec Tec) Mid Range Pellet Grill Showdown

traeger vs recteq

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If you’re in the market for a solid, mid-range pellet grill, then Traeger and recteq are two brands you should consider closely.

If you ask in any of the forums or Facebook groups you’ll get hundreds of strong (AKA biased) opinions from fans of both brands.

Our team has cooked extensively on every Trager model, and while we don’t have as much experience with recteq, we’re familiar with their range and the pros and cons.

This is another part of a series of articles we are doing 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.

Recteq vs. Traeger Pellet Grill – Head-to-Head

Traeger and recteq produce a range of wood pellet grills, pellets, accessories, and consumables.

Here are some general differences between the two brands to help you decide which grill to buy.

  • Price starts off reasonably close, with the top-selling Traeger Pro 575 a little cheaper than the comparable RT-590, although this flips when you look at the high-end Ironwood vs the RT-1250.
  • Both companies offer WiFi connectivity across their main line of grills, with both apps receiving similar ratings in the App Stores.
  • Recteq is based in Evans, Georgia, while Traeger headquarters are in Utah. Both companies’ grills are manufactured in China.

Both Traeger and recteq have a wide range of grills starting at around the $500 price point and going all the way up to $380, making a direct comparison tricky. For this article, we decided to compare the recteq RT-1250 with its closest Traeger competitor, the Ironwood which sits in the middle of the Traeger range above the Pro and below the Timberline.

We’ve tried to make these comparisons as accurate as possible, but make sure you double-check, as both brands are often updating their lineup and features.

recteq RT-1250Traeger Ironwood
Dimensions32″D x 56″W x 50″H25″D x 59″W x 40″H
Weight215 lbs199 lbs
Hopper capacity40 lb22 lb
Cooking surface area (sq in)702616 (396 main grate + 220 secondary)
Direct flameNoNo
Meat probes22
Temperature range180°F – 700°F165°F-500°F
ControlDigital PID controllerD2® drivetrain
StorageFolding front shelfFolding front shelf sold separately
Pellet purge systemNoYes
Interior lightingNoYes
Warranty6 years10 years
PriceCheck latest priceCheck latest price

The biggest difference between each grill is the price. At the time of writing, the recteq was $280 cheaper than the Traeger Ironwood. With the recteq you get larger grill, and a much larger hopper, which allows for up to 40 hours of continuous cooking, plus wider temperature range for grilling and smoking.

The Traeger gives you some quality-of-life features like interior lighting and a pellet hopper sensor so you get an alert on the app when your pellets are low.

In the rest of this comparison, we’ll drill down into more details about the differences between these two brands of grill.

Traeger Ironwood VS recteq RT-1250

Traeger Ironwood

traeger ironwood pellet grill

Along with the range-topping Timberline, the Ironwood has been recently redesigned by Traeger with improved build quality, a better touch screen, and a range of quality-of-life features that make cooking on it a great experience.

What we like about the Ironwood:

  • It comes packed with new technology, like the large digital touch screen and Super Smoke Mode for max flavor.
  • The app comes packed with features like an alarm when the pellets are running low
  • New Downdraft exhaust system keeps smoke in the chamber longer and helps maintain even heat
  • Add on a range of accessories with the Pop-And-Lock system

What isn’t so great about the Ironwood

  • The base Ironwood is expensive for a grill with only 616 square inches of cooking space

recteq RT-1250

What we like about the RT-1250 pros

  • 1250 square inches of cooking space or 702 after removing sliding 2nd shelf
  • Durable and high-quality 304 Stainless Steel construction
  • Huge 40 lbs pellet hopper capacity
  • Comes with the front folding shelf included
  • Add on a competition cart for better maneuverability and higher cooking surface

Things the RT-1250 could do better

  • While the recteq app receives high ratings on both Google and Apple app stores, the actual functionality can be a little unreliable and temp updates should be more frequent.
  • Compared to the Traeger, the touch screen is showing its age.

Brand History

Overview of recteq

recteq was a garage startup out of Augusta, Georgia, that hit the pellet grilling scene back in 2009. 

They differentiated themselves with their unique bullhorn handles, using more durable materials and excellent customer service.

Back in 2020, they changed their name from REC TEC Grills to recteq.

Overview of Traeger

Traeger grill reviews

Traeger patented the first pellet grill back in 1986 and put it into production in 1988. While the patent stood, Traeger didn’t really have any competition. 

The first generation of grills was excellent, but the quality of subsequent iterations did diminish, and it’s not hard to find disgruntled Traeger owners pointing out quality issues online.

The good news is that the most recent generation of Traeger grills harks back to the old days in terms of their build quality, but come packed with all the modern technology you’d expect from a cutting-edge pellet grill. 

REC TEC vs Traegar: Features head to head

Now that you know the basics of both brands, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and compare them head to head.


Unlike a rugged kettle grill or charcoal smoker, a pellet grill is a high tech piece of kit. The combination of sensitive digital temperature controls, wifi-enabled app compatibility, and a complicated pellet feeding system means there is a lot to go wrong.

The length of warranty a company gives its products is a good measuring stick for their faith in the quality of their construction. In this case, the 10-year warranty of the Traeger beats the 6-year warranty of the RT-1250.

You should always drill down into the specifics. With the Traeger, you only get 3 and 1 years on certain components.


This makes the warranty a toss-up.

Winner – Tie

Temperature control

Temperature control for the Traeger Ironwood is done via a dial-based system next to the large color touch screen. Temperature changes can be made in 5°F increments.

Using Traeger’s trademark Advanced Grilling Logic algorithm, the Ironwood can keep within +/- 15°F of the selected temperature by monitoring a single temperature probe.

Temperature can also be set on the app.

While using the controller on the Traeger is a nicer experience, you get a wider temperature range to work with on the RT-1250 which allows you to set a temp from 180 to 700°F. A full 200°F hotter than the Ironwood which is great for searing.

Winner – Rec Tec RT-700

Pellet hopper capacity

Another clear winner for the RT-1250 here. The 40lb capacity pellet hopper means you can get nearly 40 hours of cooking time before you need to do any refilling.

The 22lb hopper on the Traeger is half the size, but it is nice to get alerts on your phone when you are running low on pellets.

traeger timberline pellet hopper
Ironwood pellet hopper includes as sensor to alert you when you are running low.

The big downside with the recteq, is that there is no pellet hopper cleanout option. On the Traeger, it’s easy to quickly drain all pellets.

Winner – reqtec 1250 for size, the Traeger if you need the option to replacing pellets

Clean out

The cleaning process for both the RT-1250 is pretty typical of most pellet grills. Grease drains into a side bucket, and every few cooks you need to pull everything out and vacuum up the inside and firepot with a shop vac.

The Ironwood stands out because of the integrated grease catcher which can be quickly removed.

Winner – Traeger Ironwood

Customer service

This one is highly subjective, and both brands have there share of angry customers happy to share their stories, and happy customers who claim the brands bent over backwards for them.

Traeger uses US-based representatives who are knowledgeable about the products and work hard to ensure their customers are happy. It’s part of why the brand is so popular.

Since Traeger are sold in so many retailers, you’re also going to have more options for support, depending on where you purchase your grill.

REC TEC, however, has taken that focus on customer service one step further. Each one of their grills comes with the phone numbers of the company’s founders, who will actually answer the phone to help you with any issues you have with their products.

Winner – recteq


This one is a little subjective, and it depends on your personal taste, but for me, the RT-1250 is the better looking of the two grills.

The finish screams quality, from that solid stainless-steel build to the bull horn handles. Everything about the RT-1250 looks like care and attention has been paid to its design and creation. 

Obviously, if you think polished steel, bull horns, and a cherry red lid is a bit….much, then the more slick design of the Traeger will be right up your alley.

Winner – recteq

WiFi / App experience

Both the recteq and the Traeger lean hard on how interactive their new WiFi-enabled grills are when marketing them. 

The Traeger and the RT-1250 can both be remotely controlled through the use of a smartphone app, allowing the user to monitor and change the temperature, set timers, and receive push alerts when the grill reaches a specific temperature.

Both apps do suffer from similar connectivity and lag issues, however, the Traeger app has both a massive database of searchable recipes with automatic temperature settings and is Alexa compatible, for truly hands-free cooking.

There’s also the pellet sensor and the option to turn on Super Smoke mode.

These extra features mean that the Traeger app has more utility than its REC TEC competition.

Winner – Traeger Ironwood

Alternatives to consider

While we’ve focused on the RT-1250 and the Timberline,, there are other options from both brands, plus a few other worth taking a look at.

If you want a Recteq but have a lower budget

The Deck Boss 590 is a smaller version of the 1250.

With a capacity of 590 square inches of cooking space, this grill competes with the Traeger Pro 575

You still get 304 Stainless Steel construction and a really high 700°F max temperature as well as WiFi control.

If you want to consider another brand

Grilla Grills share a lot in common with recteq. They were a small start up, although they were recently acquired.

The Silverbac Alpha is a good choice for under $1,000. It’s a little small than both the Traeger and recteq with 692 square inches of cooking space, but you also get WiFi controls and double wall insulation.

Wrapping it up

The Traeger Ironwood is an excellent pellet grill with some great WiFi and app-based functionality, reasonable temperature control, and a quality digital touch screen. 

However, the REC TEC RT-1250 does have the edge in a range of important factors, from the quality of its full stainless steel build.

Both grills would make excellent additions to any pitmaster’s backyard. However, for the price, the recteq is simply a better-made grill.

Do you have a preference between Traeger or recteq? Do you think all the WiFi and app functionality actually improves the utility of a pellet grill? We’d love it if you’d let us know in the comments below.

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