Yoder VS Traeger: Which Pellet Grill Should You Buy in 2022?

yoder vs traeger

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Buying a pellet grill is no small investment. If you’re planning on parting with your hard-earned cash you want to know that what you’re buying is worth every cent.

With that in mind,  we’re comparing Traeger, the grandaddy of pellet grill manufacturers with a huge range of mass-market models, with Yoder who has a reputation for building competition-grade, high-end smokers.

We’ll look at how the two brands compare and do an in-depth comparison between the Traeger Timberline and the Yoder YS640S to help you make your decision.

Let the Yoder VS Traeger battle begin.

Yoder VS Traeger, which pellet grill is best?

While the Traeger lineup starts at around $900 for their most popular mass-market model, the Pro 575, if you’re considering a Yoder I’ll assume your budget is much higher than that.

The most popular Yoder is the YS640s which competes with the top-of-the-line Traeger Timberline

The Timberline comes in two sizes (869 and 1300 square inches), while the YS640S sits in the middle with 1,070 square inches of real estate.

Both of these grills are cutting-edge devices, full of bells and whistles you’d expect from their high-end price tags, so let’s get to know them a little better.

Yoder YS640s 

The YS640s screams quality, from its full steel construction to the proprietary micro-controller chip and code combination that Yoder uses in place of the more common PID controllers.

The grill is WiFi-enabled and is powered by the FireBoard app. See our full YS640S review for a more detailed look at how well the app performs.

With a total of 1,070 square inches of cooking space over its two shelves and 11.5″ of headroom, the YS640s can smoke up enough food to fill a fair-sized party but is still compact enough that you won’t mind firing it up for one or two friends.

The thick steel pipe and plate have a 10-year guarantee against burnout and has excellent heat retention, making it great for smoking in colder climates.

Yoder Smokers YS640 Pellet Smoker - Overview by All Things Barbecue

One of the unique features of the YS640s is Yoder’s Variable Displacement Damper, a metal plate that concentrates the heat produced by the firebox straight up, instead of into the cooking chamber. This enables you to do some proper searing with an optional aluminum grill grate.

Yoder YS640s Specs:

Cooking space 1,070 square inches of cooking space from two 16″ x 20″ cooking grates in the main chamber and a 15.5″ x 28″ slide-out shelf on the second level.
Hopper size 20lb capacity side-mounted pellet hopper
Grill rack material Cooking shelves made from 7/16″ hardened chrome-plated round bar steel
Construction Constructed of 10 gauge steel for the hopper and 14 gauge steel for the cart
Control Uses Yoder’s new Adaptive Control System for temperature control
WiFi WiFi and YS Drive App-enabled
Temperature range 150°F to 600°F in 5º increments
Dimensions L61″ x H54” x D36.24″
Weight 335lbs
Warranty 10-year warranty vs. burn-through
Manufactured in USA

YS640s Pros:

  • Sturdy, full steel construction
  • Made in the USA
  • 10-year warranty, which includes a 3-year warranty for the electronic control system and a 1-year warranty for the igniter
  • The Variable Displacement Damper means you can sear, something pellet smokers traditionally struggle with

YS640s Cons:

  • Retailing at $1,799, the YS640s is not for the budget-conscious smoker

Traeger Timberline 850

traeger timberline 850

The first and most obvious feature of the Timberline 850 is a squat, muscular appearance.

Rather than being barrel-shaped, this pellet grill has an oval cooking chamber with a super high-profile hood that allows it to fit three cooking racks despite its compact form.

Along with extra cooking space, the unique design of the Timberline 850 contributes to an even distribution of heat and smoke.

A large opening behind the drip tray directs heat and smoke up the back of the cooking chamber, where it hits the curved hood and is directed back over the food on the top rack.

To assist with this downdraft effect, the Timberline 850 doesn’t have a conventional chimney. Instead, it has an exhaust vent that runs the length of its back.

The Timberline 850 is constructed of sturdy stainless steel, and the cooking chamber is double-walled for increased heat retention. 

The PID controller is WiFi enabled and works with the Traeger app and Amazon Alexa.

The Timberline 850 also has a Super Smoke option, which allows the smoke to linger for longer, and a Keep Warm Option that keep the cooking chamber at 165°F.

Timberline 850 Specs:

Cooking space850 square inches of cooking surface (hence the name)
Hopper size 24lb capacity side-mounted pellet hopper
Grill rack material Cooking shelves made from heavy stainless steel rods
Construction Double-wall stainless steel interior
Control Timberline D2 temperature controller
WiFi WiFIRE Technology, Amazon Alexa, and Traeger app-enabled
Temperature range Cooking range from 165°F to 500°F in 5º increments
Dimensions L51″ x H46” x D28″
Weight213lbs
Warranty 3-year warranty (US only)
Manufactured in China

Timberline 850 Pros:

  • Full stainless steel construction
  • Double-walled cooking chamber
  • The oval shape encourages better heat and smoke distribution
  • Has Keep Warm and Super Smoke settings

Timberline 850 Cons:

Company History: Traeger VS Yoder

To make this comparison as fair as possible, we’ll be looking at Traeger and Yoder as brands and comparing two of their flagship products, the YS640s and the Timberline 850.

We’ll give you an overview of the quality of the brand and then drive into the specs of two of their tops grills, comparing their features to each other and to each company’s wider range.

Traeger 

Traeger grill reviews

When people think of pellet grills, Traeger is usually the first name to crop up. The company patented the first pellet grill back in 1986, and it went into production in 1988.

Traeger mass markets their grills. They are widely available from a vast range of providers and are manufactured in China.

The first generation of Traeger grills were well-designed and well-built machines, but there have been some quality issues with later generations. 

Thankfully, the most recent models, including the Timberline 850 we’ll be looking at, seem to have reversed this issue.

The current batch of high-end Traegers has all the build-quality of their first-generation predecessors coupled with up-to-date tech, like built-in temperature probes and WiFi.

We’ve already compared Traeger to Pitt Boss and REC TEC, and there seems to be a general consensus that, while high-end Traeger grills are still well regarded, they tend to be seen as a starter brand. 

The old Traeger domination of the pellet grill market has been well and truly challenged by other brands.

Yoder

yoder smokers logo

Founded in 2007, Yoder has a distinct focus on manufacturing competition-quality smokers. They mention competition (or some variation on it) five times on their “About” page alone!

Yoder manufactures its products in the US, and the quality of its workmanship is one of its main selling points. 

In Yoder’s words, “people who really know BBQ recognize the quality workmanship we put into our line of smoker pits,” and it is true that their smokers have seen a lot of success on the competition circuit.

“People who really know BBQ recognize the quality workmanship we put into our line of smoker pits

https://www.yodersmokers.com/

In recent years, Yoder has looked to bridge the gap between competition and backyard smoking, and the YS640s is an excellent example of this.

It is big enough to do some serious smoking, has the customary excellent Yoder build quality, but is inexpensive enough to remain competitive in the lower price ranges.

Traeger VS Yoder: Head to Head

Now that you’ve got a better idea of the Traeger and Yoder as manufactures, and the specs of their flagship grills, lets pit them against each other.

Temperature control

Both Traeger and Yoder use advanced temperature controllers to ensure that their grills can hold as exact a temperature as possible. 

Traeger uses the D2 PID (proportional–integral–derivative) controller which can hold a consistent temperature of +/- 5°F on most of its grills. 

Additionally, the Timberline range has a few other additions to help with temperature control.The TRU Convection system cooks food up to 20% faster while the TurboTemp system helps to bring the grill up to cooking temperature quickly and compensates for the loss of heat due to the door being opened. 

The D2 Direct Drive system for the auger drill on the Timberline uses DC current, so it can change speed and even go into reverse to keep the temperature stable.

Yoder famously uses its own Adaptive Control System with proprietary code, which they claim provides superior flexibility, efficiency, and accuracy. 

The ‘S’ series microprocessor is one of the most intelligent controllers on the market and can monitor multiple input variables and adapt to them to keep a stable temperature. This includes the door being opened, cold meat being put on the grill, or even the type of wood pellets being used.

It should be noted that, as we mentioned above, the Timberline 850 has some documented issues with its temperature control, specifically with inaccurate thermometers which cannot be calibrated.

While the Yoder models lack the TRU Convection and TurboTemp system, this is more than made up for by their advanced temperature controller, pit calibration, and component testing capabilities.

Pellet Hopper Capacity

Both the Timberline 850 and YS640s have large 20+lb pellet hoppers, with the smaller Timberline 850 having the larger 24lb hopper.

Yoder comes with a 20lbs hopper capacity

Both hoppers are side-mounted, but the high-end Traeger models now have a pellet cleaning hatch at the bottom of the hopper that allows old or wet pellets to be cleared out and different types of wood to be used.

The Traeger app also includes a low pellet alarm, which notifies the user when the pellets need to be refilled.

These quality-of-life additions make pellet use, cleaning, and refilling just that little bit easier on the top-shelf Traegers.

Clean out

Both Yoder and Traeger fit their pellet grills with a built-in grease trap. The concealed grease management system on the Timberline 850 has an angled trap that directs the grease into a run-off collector on the side of the grill for an easy clean. 

The Traeger app will also remind you to clean out your grill after a few uses. The pellet ash is accessed on both grills by removing the cooking trays.

Cleanup is always the worst part of any smoking session, but the concealed grease management system on the Timberline 850 does make it that little bit easier.

WiFi / App experience

WiFi connectivity used to be what competitors used to set themselves apart from Traeger. The company has now caught up, and the Timberline series is one of the few pellet grills available that is compatible with Amazon Alexa.

All of Yoder’s YS series pellet grills are WiFi-enabled and work with the YS Drive app. Both apps allow you to monitor the internal temperature of both the pit and also your food through the use of a probe. The YS640s has two probes to the Timberline 850’s one.

The Traeger app does have a massive database of searchable recipes with automatic temperature settings, which is very handy, although it has been criticized for lag issues in the past.

Appearance

How much you enjoy the look of your pellet grill is largely subjective.

Both the YS640s and Timberline 850 do have similar squat, muscular outlines.

While that does make them visually different from other pellet grills on the market, they are sufficiently similar to each other than one brand isn’t able to win out over the other on style alone.

Traeger has a much broader range of grills than Yoder, so if appearance is important to you, you are more likely to find a Traeger grill that suits your taste.

Customization options & accessories

When it comes to customization and accessories, Yoder has a lot more options for you to choose from. The YS640s alone comes with 12 optional extras, from dual-door thermometers to a competition cart with stainless steel shelves.

This makes a lot of sense since Yoder is focused on creating competition-grade smokers, while Traeger accessories are mostly just basics like a cover, drip tray liners, although the front folding shelf is nice.

Customer service

Both Yoder and Traeger have a reputation for excellent, US-based, customer services. They don’t go as far as handing out business cards with their owner’s cell numbers on them, as REC TEC does, but they do answer the phone and are happy to help in whatever way they can.

Warranty

Yoder beats Treager hands down on this one. The Traeger warranty is 3 years long, whereas all Yoder models come with a 10-year warranty, which includes a 3-year warranty for the electronic control system and a 1-year warranty for the igniter.

Stand out features: Yoder

The standout feature for Yoder, as a manufacturer, is the sheer construction quality of their grills. Made in the USA of 10 gauge steel for the hopper and 14 gauge steel for the cart and backed up by a 10-year warranty, Yoder grills are very much built to last.

Stand out features: Treager

There was a time when Treager lagged behind in adding modern tech to their grills. The Timberline range is WiFi and app-enabled, and you can even use your Amazon Alexa to make it voice-activated.  

The Traeger app also hosts a lot of recipes and other content alongside the usual temperature monitoring and timer functions.

Alternatives 

If you’re still not sure if Treager or Yoder makes the grill for you, don’t worry; there are other alternatives out there.

MAK

MAK Grills have the distinction of being Meathead Goldwyn’s pellet smoker of choice. Manufactured in Oregon, MAK Grills are famed for their versatile programmable controllers and Highly accurate temperature control. The only downside is that they are quite expensive, with the 2 Star General Pellet Grill retailing at around $2,700.

Memphis Grills

Owned by Dalsin Industries, a sheet metal fabrication company from Bloomington, Minnesota, Memphis Grills produce some excellent high-end pellet grills. 

The company has won several accolades for its grills. Forbes named the Memphis Elite as “the best one, and not only can do it all, but can do it all really well, a true all in one gourmet outdoor solution,” in their BBQ Grills buyers guide.

Steven Raichlen, of cooking show “Project Smoke” fame, described the Memphis Wood Fire Grill as “the Tesla of pellet grills, with sophisticated electronics to control cooking temperature and smoke output and even check the doneness of your reverse seared tri-tip or turkey.” 

Wrapping it up

Both Yoder and Traeger produce some excellent pellet grills. The high-end models, like the Timberline 850 and YS640s, have slight differences in design ethos that make them better suited to individual users.

For instance, you might choose a Yoder if you value:

  • Excellent, competition, temperature control
  • Reliable, made in the USA, build quality
  • A comprehensive 10-year warranty

Whereas, you might buy a Traeger if you want:

  • Enhanced app functions and Alexa connectivity
  • More cooking functions, such as the Super Smoke, Keep Warm and Turbo Temp systems
  • Small, quality of life, additions, such as a low pellet alarm and an easy to clean pellet hopper

Do you think there is a clear winner between Traeger and Yoder? Or does one of the alternatives we mentioned beat them both hands down? We’d love it if you’d let us know in the comments below!

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24 Comments

  1. Gary M Tetrick says:

    I have a Yoder and the Quality and made in USA sold me on this product. I will be able to pass this down to my family long after the Treager is caput!!!

  2. Bug Anges says:

    I will say that if you own a Yoder and call their tech support, you could easily be talking to their CEO, Joe. Dude was super helpful and when he transferred me so I could order some swag the next guy told me who he was. I loved my Traeger, but I am amazed by my 640.

    You should have talked about grilling on the 640. It’s just not something I think they talk about enough. My 640 replaced my Weber kettle. 10X easier to get going, like a gas grill but with wood.

  3. Clatus Bierman says:

    Never owned a Treager….after my Yoder 640/comp cart purchase……don’t thing I ever will. Quality and toughness (you can feel it) will win out every time.

  4. Love my Yoder and being made in the USA And close to where I grew up I knew it was quality before I bought it. Over 800 pounds of pellets in 9 month I love it.

  5. charles schutte says:

    Not sure it was mentioned that the yoder has direct heat for searing. Bought a 640 a little over a month ago and have done steaks twice. There is no way the treager can compete with regard to searing. My 640 will get over 700 degrees BEFORE using the aluminum grill grates. Not sure how hot they get but I’ve got flames like a fire breathing dragon. You can hear that steak sizzling before it even hits the grill! And you better use something with a long handle! Steaks seared right and over wood.

    I’ve done a couple briskets and the smoke ring is over 3/8″ thick. Amazing how well it smokes and this from a guy who used a stick burner for years. I think you can get “more smoke” with a stick burner but, I’m convinced the yoder produces a more consistent even smoke. And I don’t miss staying up all night tending fire. Set it, close the lid and walk away!

    I’m not going to say anything negative about treager because I’ve got friends who love them and they do a fantastic job of smoking. That said the yoder is every bit as good smoking and has direct heat. Plenty of it too. If you are like me and don’t want a bunch of different grills in the back yard then you have to consider the yoder.

    Yoder, one grill to rule them all…………… :>)

  6. Having purchased both brands I have mixed feelings. There is no denying the quality of the mechanical portions of the Yoder are superior to my old Traeger, but I’m skeptical on the longevity of the pit. I have owned my Yoder for 7 months and already experienced some fairly significant rusting. Mind you, my grill is always covered when not in use and cleaned/maintained regularly. When I reached out to the company with photos, I was offered a can of paint and sanding instructions — not the response I expected from the Yoder name. I should also add, my 7 year old Traeger never showed any rusting.

    All in all, the newer Traeger models offer a pretty solid product for a fraction of the Yoder, and anytime I reached out to Traeger customer service, they were eager to solve the problem, and not just with a can of paint.

    It would be unfair not to note how positive the other comments have been on Yoder… so perhaps my grill is the exception, which makes it all the more disappointing.

    Happy smoking, no matter what you end up with!

  7. Vincent Goodwin says:

    The Yoder is Alexa capable also you can add another Fireboard to the same screen in the app. The Yoder drops pellets from above Vs feeding them into the pot reducing the risk of an auger fire. On the down side the Yoder is painted so it needs a little more Maintenance. I own a 7 year old Traeger BBQ07c I bought new It is Garage kept and has some rust but has never failed me. I bought the Yoder to upgrade/add more capacity. I use the Yoder 3 or more times a week now and the Traeger when I need more room. I say buy what will please you and enjoy great food with Family and Friends.

  8. I’m ridiculously SHOCKED that the competitive product that they paired the Yoder up against was a TRAEGER!?! A Yoder vs a sheet-metal Chinese grill? C’mon @smokedbbqsource at least bump up the competition from a Traeger to a Franklin BBQ pit or something. Geeeezus smh

    1. Was there something specific in the comparison that you feel wasn’t fair? The Traeger is a popular grill at a similar price point, so we decided to do a comparison. Not sure why the shock, our article doesn’t say the Traeger is better.

  9. charles schutte says:

    I think anyone who buys a yoder is going to expect a little rust. Any steel object that is painted will eventually have rust. With that said I plan on spending a few hours once a year on maintenance and knew that going in. So far mine is about 5 months old and has been rained on several times when smoking. It’s wiped dry and stored under it’s cover. No rust as of yet.

    I’ve a friend who has a treager and it has some rust……………. not much and his is a few years old. Not a fair comparison I’ll admit…………..just that they all will rust in time.

    So I expect mine to start showing some rust eventually. In the meantime I’m really enjoying the food that comes off this smoker! Just did a primb rib last night and it was perfect. Smoked it for a few hours and then exposed it to open flame for a real sear. Had some neighbors over for that and they are so impressed they are getting one too.

  10. John Jones says:

    I have had my YS1500 for two years and have not had problems. It is garage kept – use it a lot. I use it, scrub it out after each use. Then light it again to 350 and shut it down and put it up in garage. I have cover but you have to remember that while the cover protects from rain, a cover also traps moisture = rust. If you get rust on a Yoder, you can sand it and repaint without compromising the thickness of the smoker – can’t do that with Traeger. First smoke – 2 briskets (15/19 lbs.), 2 oven stuffer chickens, 3 racks of ribs and a pork butt. Try doing that on a Traeger. Recipes came from ATBBQ thesauce (note- thesauce is one word). Expensive – but definitely worth every penny. When others are one their third or fourth smoker, I will still be using my Yoder. This was a gift from family after 20 yrs USN (tired)/25 more as a special ed teacher (re-tired). I plan to pass it down to grand son. 100% sold on Yoder.

  11. STUART GILBERT says:

    Can anyone comment on the use of the Yoder in cold climates? The Traeger is doubled walled and insulated where the Yoder is not insulated although you can buy a blanket that makes it even more money than the Traeger. I live in Canada so could be using it in 0 f weather.

    1. Dale Pudenz says:

      Not all Traegers are double walled and insulated. Do you have issue with the Traeger in cooler weather, when you start it up and it squeals for about 5 minutes. Very annoying!!

  12. barry jackson says:

    I have owned 4 traegers, all have the same issue. After a while they will not get much over 400 degrees. I have had other issues with everyone of the traegers. I dont think its fair to compare the traegers to the yoders. The yoders is hands down built better, operates better. I cant tell you about tech help with the yoder because so far no issues. Traegers tech sucks!

    1. Ive had my traeger since 2007/08 used 4+ times a week. Ive made just about everything that can be cooked in it for years. Its rusted, been repainted and rerusted through and still cooked great. Replaced the original controller, countless ignighters, and burnt out fire box. Loved that thing! Then my buddy got an egg and i realized my smoke flavor is …. just not there. Can any of these pellet grills achieve flavor comparable to an egg? As far as yoder vs traeger timber goes id say get the yoder for a few extra… however i doubt the timber could out flavor the pro series

  13. Traeger has just sent me my second replacement timberline 1300 since the 20th of November!! The first one would get so hot when adjusting the temp up that it would cause the drip tray to glow and the paint to burn off the bottom, second was the same. 200 degrees for smoke and then up to 500 to get a little reverse sear action and it would glow red hot and smell like burning chemicals. Going to pick up my Yoder 640s tomorrow!!!

  14. I have had the 850 all winter now and used it on average 3 times a week. It’s been better than expected, in below freezing temperatures to just above freezing temperatures it has maintained temperature on everything I’ve thrown at it. I’ve done quick 2 hour cooks to a marathon 17 hour cook I’m impressed by this cooker….funny thing is the only reason I didn’t buy the 640 was I couldn’t get my hands on one! Warmer temps are coming so it’ll be back to the Yoder offset shortly!!

  15. Bill McMahon says:

    I started with a stick burner, then owned 3 different Traeger models, getting progressively more advanced as time went on. Then a purchased a Yoder 640 in the middle of the pandemic, when availability was very limited. Sat on a waiting list for a couple of months then had to travel from LA to San Diego to a dealership that had a grill available. All in all, the Yoder is superior. The versatility is amazing. It’s like have an outdoor convection oven. I’ve smoked turkeys, salmon,brisket, and pork shoulder. And my wife has actually used it to bake. I even figured out how to cold smoke cheese. And yes, you can sear on this grill. I’m sold on the Yoder. I’ve made enough brisket to feed 25 people in a single smoke.

  16. Scott bowse says:

    Yeah I bought the 640 Yoder had it for three weeks it’s already broke so much for buying in the USA should have bought Traeger the China thing

    1. I think it’s jusy unfortunate that when you’re dealing with electrical components there is going to be a certain failure rate. It sucks when you are the unlucky one to get a faulty board but that’s life. I’m sure Yoder customer support would be happy to help get it sorted though.

  17. Mark Kraus says:

    I have had my YS640 for 10 years and will most likely get another 10 years out of it. Overall it has been an awesome grill/smoker. It has performed like a workhorse and output has been fantastic. The reason I will be loyal to Yoder is because of their quality and service.
    Quality:
    The Yoder product is very well built and Yoder Company provides an upgrade path which gives me the ability to modernize it to today’s technology. I am currently in the process of upgrading it to the new electronic wireless system that will give me features so I can wirelessly monitor.
    Service:
    From time to time I have had minor issues with needing to replace parts on my 640. However, each time something went wrong I received immediate attention with a Yoder Technician who patiently walked me through the solution to the problem and directed videos or links to help me fix these issues. There service is outstanding.
    Love my Yoder!

  18. Sam LoBrutto says:

    I’m Sam LoBrutto from Charles quality meats. A butcher for over forty years. You folks have made me decide what to buy
    Thanks it’s going to be Yoder. Made in USA. That is my deciding factor. Quality and workmanship. If it’s that close. Feed your fellow brothers and sisters.

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