When it comes to pellet grills, Traeger are king.
Joe Traeger invented this new type of grill back in 1986, and they remain the top selling brand of pellet grill to this day.
In this detailed guide, we review the best Traeger pellet grills, explore the differences between each option and see how they stack up against the competition.
A new Traeger pellet grill is a major investment, so it’s important for you to do your research before you decide to pull the trigger.
Especially when there are lots of brands making excellent quality wood pellet grills.
In a rush? The Traeger Pro 575 was redesigned in 2019 and represents the best value for most people.
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Understanding the Traeger grill lineup
Shopping for a Traeger grill can be very confusing. With so many years in business, you’ve got a lot of different models and versions to compare.
These days Traeger produces 4 main lines of pellet grill.
How to understand the Traeger pellet grill lineup
- Traeger Pro series – The most popular mid-range option now includes Wi-Fi connectivity to the Traeger app for all 2019 models.
- Traeger Ironwood Series – A step up from the Pro series, offering slightly larger sizes plus some funky new tech known as DownDraft Exhaust and TRU convection to help optimize cook times. You also get Super Smoke mode, the option to push a button and ramp up the smoke production.
- Traeger Timberline series – The largest and most expensive option, choose between 850 or 1300 square inches of cooking space. You get all the features of the Ironwood plus pellet sensing tech that lets you monitor your pellet levels on the app.
- Traeger Tailgater – As the name implies this is a portable model, with 300 sq inches and a lot less tech but some nice features for taking it on the go.
For all 2019 models, the number in Traeger’s product name refers to the cooking surface, so the Pro 780 has 780 square inches of cooking surface.
You can still pick up the older ‘gen 1’ models where the number refers to the size of the main grilling rack. E.g. the Pro Series 34 has a 34″ x 19″ grilling rack.
To help you decide which Traeger grills is best for you, we have reviewed our picks for the best models. This comparison tool is also very useful for comparing different Traeger models.
Best Traeger Grill Reviews
The Traeger Pro is the most popular and best selling Treager grill. It comes in two sizes. The 575 square inch model has enough space to cook 5 racks of ribs at once, or 4 chickens which should be plenty for most people.
You can also choose between black or bronze color.
The big change in 2019 is the addition of Wifi technology to the Pro lineup. This ‘WiFIRE’ feature lets you connect your grill to the Traeger companion app, and control it from anywhere you have an internet connection.
Traeger Pro 575 Specifications:
|Cooking capacity||575 Sq In|
|Pellet hopper capacity||18 Pounds|
|Main grilling area||418 Sq In|
|Secondary grilling area||154 Sq In|
|Exterior material||Painted steel|
Temperature is controlled by the Pro D2 direct drive controller which lets you cook anywhere between 180 – 450°F.
The RTD probe measures the temperature every second to maintain even temperatures within 15 degrees.
Another benefit of the D2 direct drive technology is the turbo temp fast startup which lets you start cooking quickly.
Take a look at this video to see the Pro 575 getting fired up.
You get an 18lb hopper, and thanks to the cleanout feature you can quickly change pellet flavor during a cook.
In terms of efficiency, the grill will go through about 2 lbs of wood pellets per hour on high heat and only 1/2 lb per hour on smoke mode.
If you are having trouble deciding between the Pro 575 and the Pro 780, Traeger has a handy comparison guide.
One last thing to consider is that the Pro Series has a max temperature of 450°F so this wouldn’t be the best option if you want to do a lot of searing.
The Ironwood series is a new addition to the Traeger lineup of pellet grills.
Available in either 650 or 885 square inches you get a larger, more versatile grill than the pro series, without the large price jump you see on the the Timberline series.
Having said that even the smaller 650 square inch Ironwood is over the $1,000 mark so this is definitely not a budget grill.
Traeger Ironwood 650 Specifications:
|Cooking capacity||650 Sq In|
|Pellet hopper capacity||20 Pounds|
|Main grilling area||418 Sq In|
|Secondary grilling area||231 Sq In|
|Exterior material||Painted steel|
Design wise the Ironwood is similar to the more expensive Timberland. You get the ‘DownDraft Exhaust’ and ‘TRU Convection’ features that used to be unique to the Timberland.
While it does sound a bit like marketing jargon, these features promise to help circulate fresh smoke, keeping smoke in the chamber and maintaining even temp.
All things that we like to hear.
You’ve also got some handy features that make this grill easy to use. Like the keep warm mode and options to create custom cook settings via the digital control panel or app.
What we like:
- Option for searing – The bottom cooking grate can be lowered for searing, or raised for grilling and smoking.
- Better insulation – The Ironwood uses double side 304 stainless steel for better insulation and temperature control.
The Ironwood series is all about offering a middle range between the pricier Timberline and smaller more basic Pro series.
The Timberline represents the latest and greatest from Traeger, and it’s got a price point to match.
When the Timberline series was launched back in 2017 it used to have a few more unique features. This year some of these have made their way down to the cheaper Traeger models so it’s not quite as impressive as it used to be.
But there are still some notable improvements. As well as offering an absolutely whopping 1300 square inches of cooking space, the Timberline is the only Traeger model to include a pellet sensor.
Traeger Timberline 1300 Specifications:
|Cooking capacity||1300 Sq In|
|Pellet hopper capacity||24Pounds|
|Main grilling area||544 Sq In|
|Secondary grilling area||748 Sq In|
|Exterior material||Painted steel|
This handy feature monitors your pellet consumption and lets you check on your phone so you don’t have to worry about pellets running out.
While this shouldn’t happen too often, especially if you remember to fill the 24lb hopper.
It’s still really handy that you don’t have to worry about running out mid-cook and restarting everything.
You get three removable grill grates that can be positioned for searing or smoking.
The Tailgater is Traegers attempt to offer the convenience and flavor of cooking with pellets, in a portable format.
With 300 square inches of cooking space, the Tailgater should still be able to handle 3 racks of ribs or up to 2 whole chickens.
The grill weighs 62 lbs and measure 36 x 37 x 18 inches. The pellet hopper can hold 8 lbs which should allow 4-6 hours of cooking without refilling.
The EZ-Fold legs are handy feature which allows you to wheel the grill onto the bed or your truck.
What you gain in portability you give up in features. The Tailgater doesn’t include WiFi or any of the other improvements in the Pro, Ironwood or Timberline grills.
Having said that, this grill still performs well and can handle anywhere from 180 – 450 °F.The digital elite controller keeps temperatures fairly stable within 20 degrees of your set temperature.
Traeger Tailgater Specifications:
|Cooking capacity||300 Sq In|
|Pellet hopper capacity||8 Pounds|
|Main grilling area||300 Sq In|
|Exterior material||Painted steel|
While there’s something nice about grilling with charcoal when you are camping, you can’t beat the versatility of pellet grill. Being able to bake, grill and smoke are super convenient when you can only take one grill with you.
Other Traeger Grills worth considering
The four grills above represent the most popular Traeger’s available today. But there are lots of other models, and some of these can definitely be worth picking up if you can get them at a discount.
Traeger Renegade Elite – This grill is slightly larger than the Bronson, and slightly smaller than the newer Pro 575. It’s a nice little grill, but the problem is it’s currently only slightly cheaper than the much more modern Pro 575. The tool caddy rack and wire front prep rack are both nice features. If you can get it on special definitely worth considering.
Traeger Bronson 20″ Pellet Grill – With 300 square inches of cooking space, the Bronson is a similar size to the Tailgater. While the all terrain wheels make transportation easier, you don’t get the easy folding legs. The Bronson is more suited to smaller families.
Traeger Lil Tex Elite – One of the older models that are no longer sold directly by Traeger, the Lil Tex Elite offers 418 square inches of cooking space and is made with stainless steel. It’s worth considering if you can find a good deal.
You can sometimes pick up some different models from Costco, so that might be worth checking out as well.
Where are Traeger grills made?
According to Traeger, all residential grills have been manufactured in China since 2008.
Their larger commercial grills are still manufactured in the United States.
Some people have complained about Traeger moving to manufacture their grills in China but the simple fact is the vast majority of consumer grills are manufactured there.
If buying American made is important to you, then you might want to consider a Yoder pellet grill, although you’ll end up paying at least double the price.
Other brands to consider
Thanks to the popularity of Traeger wood-fired pellet grills, there are now many more brands to choose from. While Traeger is still the most popular, these brands are definitely hot on their tails.
I’ve tried to provide a general overview of how each brand compares with Traeger, but because each brand produces many different grills if you need specifics I would suggest comparing individual specs from the manufacturers and then looking at a few different reviews.
Camp Chef VS Traeger
The popular SG 24 Deluxe pellet grill is also worth checking out.
Unlike Traeger, Camp Chef produces a variety of outdoor cooking products and other types of grill, so they definitely aren’t as specialized.
The option to purchase a sear box with Camp Chef is really nice, since even a top-of-the-line Traeger can’t get quite hot enough for searing.
Camp Chef has a really nice system to dump and switch out the wood pellets.
Traeger is definitely more expensive and comes with more technology. If WiFi connectivity is important for you then you should go with the Traeger.
To learn more, check our detailed Camp Chef vs Traeger head to head comparison.
Green Mountain Grills VS Treager
Green Mountain Grills (GMG for short) have been gaining a lot of popularity since they launched in 2008.
They were ahead of the game when it comes to including WiFi as standard option with their wood pellet grills. No other brand offers WiFi at this low price point.
Well built and competitively priced, they are a strong alternative to Traeger.
A lot of their fame comes from the excellent Davy Crockett grill, which we named our best portable pellet smoker. This grill competes with the Traeger Tailgater, but with the GMG you get WiFi which is really handy when you are camping.
If you aren’t interested in a portable grill, they also sell the popular Daniel Boone model which has 468 square inches of cooking space.
For the price, Green Mountain Grills make an excellent Traeger alternative. You just don’t have the full range of features and sizes available.
Pit Boss VS Traeger
Pit Boss is part of a larger company called Dansons that also makes the popular Louisiana grills. The Pit Boss line of wood pellet grills is their attempt to take on Traeger by offering very similar grills at a lower price point.
Pit Boss sells a large range of grills, starting from the entry-level Pit Boss 440 Deluxe and going all the way up to the Austin XL with 930 square inches of grill area.
One unique feature on the Pit Boss is the way they handle searing. A small plate slides to open and shut access to the firepot. You can see how this feature works in our detailed review of the Pit Boss 700FB.
On the upside you can hit temps as high as 500°F which is a full 50°F higher than on the Traeger Pro.
Since 2018 Pit Boss has offered a 5-year warranty (2 years more than Traeger). Note that this isn’t retroactive so if you bought the grill before then you still only have a 1-year warranty.
Build quality is pretty similar to Traeger.
For more info, we have a guide comparing Pit Boss VS Traeger.
Z Grills VS Traeger
Z Grills are the newest competitor to Traeger. While it looks like they appeared out of nowhere, they’ve actually been manufacturing grills out of China for other companies (potentially including Traeger) for a number of years.
Check out our detailed Z Grills Review.
The main advantage of Z Grills is value for money. The Z Grills 7002 2019 model offers 700 square inches of cooking space, a 3 year warranty and similar construction quality to Traeger, all for a significantly lower price.
They also have a smaller 450 square inch model that has similar construction.
After some people reported issues with the temperature control unit, this has been upgraded in the latest 2019 models.
Z Grills are a good choice if you don’t mind buying from a relatively unknown brand without a lot of customer service history.
Traeger VS REC TEC
REC TEC are a much smaller company than Traeger and is developing a reputation for high-quality pellet grills at a mid-range price point.
The popular RT-700 AKA “The Bull” compares positively with the Traeger IronWood.
Check out our detailed REC TEC VS Traeger comparison for more information.
Other factors to consider when buying a pellet grill
With so many models and brands available, deciding which model to buy can be intimidating.
But finding the best grill is all about weighing up your needs. I find it helpful to think about a few different factors when buying a new grill.
The Pellet grills we’ve looked at in this guide range from 300 – 1300 square ft. An easy way to narrow your search down is to work out how big you want to go.
Generally the larger you go, the more expensive the grill will get. Although a large grill from a budget brand like Z Grills will still cost less than a more premium brand like Traeger.
If you go too small you won’t be able to cook enough food to feed all your guests. But if you go too big your grill will cost more to run and you’ll waste some wood pellets.
You also need to think about size of the pellet hopper. The larger the hopper the more cooking time you get without re-filing it.
My recommendation is to choose a grill slightly larger than you think you’ll need.
Some people like to have all the latest tech on their grills, while others prefer to invest all their budget in a grill that focuses on superior build quality.
Have a think about which features are nice to have, and which are non-negotiable.
Some common features on pellet grills include:
- WiFi connectivity – Do you want the ability to control your wood pellet grill from your mobile phone?
- Searing ability – Pellet grills make great smokers and ovens, but can struggle to sear. Lots of manufacturers include a searing attachment, or come up with a clever way to achieve higher temperatures.
- Portability – Do you need a light weight grill with legs that will fold up ? Think about if you will ever need to take this grill on the road.
Every factor we’ve talked about contributes to the price. Pellet grills have more tech in them, and generally cost more than other types of smoker.
I would recommend a starting budget of $400. From there you can go all the way up to $2,000 for the largest state of the art Traeger.
Traeger Brand History
I always like to know a little bit about the brand of grill I’m buying. And Traeger has quite an interesting brand story.
Traeger grills was the result of Joe Traeger and Jerry Whitfield experimenting with wood pellet burning stoves.
Joe Traeger was the first person to develop the pellet grill in 1985 and he patented it in 1986.
Thanks to this patent, Traeger had the pellet grill market all to themselves for the next twenty years.
Early Traeger grills used a simple LMH controller which lets you choose between low, medium and high heat.
These early models were fairly basic, as the auger timing didn’t allow for weather conditions or the amount of food being cooked.
During this time Traeger remained a small family company based out of Oregon.
When the original patent expired in 2006, there was a rush of new brands entering the pellet smoker market. By 2014 there were 27 different companies manufacturing pellet grills.
Jeremy Andrus joined Traeger in 2014 when he acquired the business in with private equity firm Trilantic Capital Partners and moved the business to Salt Lake City.
Today Traeger is still the largest manufacturer of pellet grills, selling more than $300 million worth of product per year.
Like any big company, you hear mixed stories when it comes to customer service. From digging through the complaints it seems like most people object to long wait times to order replacement parts for faulty grills.
Wrapping it up
For many years if you wanted a pellet grill Traeger was the only option you had.
With the rush of companies entering the market, Traeger has had to seriously up their game.
With the release of the 2019 lineup of Traeger wood pellet grills, they are now offering some of the most advanced pellet grills available in terms of technology.
Having said that, as a big company they do spend a lot on marketing and you can definitely get good value deals on some of the other brands like Camp Chef or Green Mountain Grills.
We suggest you shop around and look at a few different models before you pull the trigger.