Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill Review – Are they a Traeger Killer?

z-grills wood pellet grill review

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Z Grills got their start manufacturing grills for Traeger before launching to the public back in 2017.

The chance of buying a Traeger quality grill at a reduced price has been too tempting for many. Z Grills has quickly become one of the best selling pellet grill brands.

We’ve put a range of the most popular Z Grill models to the test, and in this guide, we’ll share our experience cooking on these grills and how they compare to the competition.

The Z Grills Lineup

Shopping for a new Z Grill can be very confusing. Sometimes, it feels like the person in charge of coming up with product names used a random number generator.

Z Grills currently sells four different categories of grills in a few different configurations.

  • 450-600 Series – Smaller, more basic pellet grills .
  • 700 Series – The sweet spot for most people includes the highly popular 700D4E and the even cheaper 7002B, which has no storage cabinet.
  • 1000 Series – The largest grills, like the 1000D3E.
  • Portable – Consists of just the Cruiser 200A, a suitcase-style grill.

Each series has plenty of choices with different sizes, colors and storage options.

If you need help choosing, Z Grills has a handy comparison tool that lets you plug in up to 3 different models and compare the specs.

Z Grills Reviews

Our team has smoked and grilled on eight different Z Grills models over the last several years. I think it’s safe to say we’re uniquely qualified to give you our honest opinion on if they’re any good.

These Z grills reviews are pulled from longer reviews we’ve done on each model, so be sure to check those out once you’ve narrowed down which model you are interested in.

1. Best Overall – Z Grills 700D4E WiFi Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker

Read our full Z Grills 700D4E review.

The 700D4E is one of the most popular models Z Grills sell, and it’s one of our most recommended.

The main grill boasts 697 square inches of cooking space. This is split between the main rack (504) and the upper rack (193). The body of the 700D4E is made entirely of either rolled or stainless steel and comes fitted with double-wall insulation.

The study body and increased insulation make it far easier to maintain a steady, consistent temperature, but it’s a bit of a shame there’s no gasket on the lid.

The temperature is managed by a new PID temperature controller and adjusted from a large LED screen.

They’ve also added WiFi in 2024, although from earlier tests it looks like the App still needs some work.

The closed storage cabinet under the grill, larger hopper, and grill space give the 700D4E a real boost over other models in its price range, such as the Traeger Pro 575.

We have a detailed video review of this pit which you can watch below.

What we liked:

  • Great temperature control – The addition of the new PID controller, the thickness of the body, and the doubled walled insulation means the 700D4E rarely strays from its set temperature by more than 5°F.
  • Easy to move – The rolled steel body isn’t exactly light, but the addition of four chunky rotating casters makes it easy to move around, even on grass.
  • Easy pellet clean out – Unlike older models, this grill has a small door on the back which makes it far easier to clean out the hopper or change out the pellets you’re using. 

What we didn’t like:

  • App Issues – The App is still a work in progress with some usability issues and temperatures not matching.

2. Best Value – Z GRILLS Backyard Warrior 7002C2E

The 7002C2E has a lot in common with our top pick the 700D4E but removes the closed cabinet and WiFi, for a sharper price.

We picked this model as our favorite budget pellet grill in our main pellet grill buying guide. You get a cover included in the base, making this an especially good deal.

Otherwise, everything is very similar to the more expensive model. You get the same improved PID temperature controller for nice stable temperatures and two probes included.

What we like:

  • Great value – Perfect size grill for most people at a really affordable price.
  • Stable temperatures – In our tests temperatures barely moved by more than 5°F.
  • Pellet clean out – If you want to change pellet flavors or remove unused pellets after cooking, there is a handy door at the back of the hopper that makes cleaning out a breeze.

What we don’t like:

  • Awkward handle position – The placement of the handle means you can burn your hand if you’re not careful when opening and closing.

3. Best Small – Z Grills Pioneer 450B

Read our full Z Grills 450B review.

If you don’t think you’ll take advantage of the size the 700D4E offers, the 450B is an excellent alternative to consider.

The 450B is an upgrade to its predecessor the 450A. You’ll pay a little more, but in return, you get a grill with a PID controller for improved temperature control, and a better pellet clean-out system.

Like the larger model, the 459 square inches of grilling area is split between the main grilling area and a warming rack.

The hopper capacity is slightly lower 15 pounds, and the cooking temperature is 160-450°F.

You also get two temperature probes included.

What we liked:

  • Stable Temperature Control – The new PID controller gives the 450B keeps your temperature nice and stable. In our testing, the grill stayed within 5°F of the set temperature.
  • Small Footprint – You get a solid amount of cooking space in a smaller footprint, making this a good choice if you are limited on space outdoors.
  • Easy pellet hopper clean-out system – Emptying the hopper to remove unused pellets is a breeze. Simply twist open the latch to release the pellets into a bucket. Much easier than having to vacuum out unused pellets, which is the only option on some grills.

What we didn’t like:

  • Only one shelf area – Sure you can use the hopper lid as a shelf, but that’s the only place you have to set things down. Iike to have an additional side table or front table to set things down on while I’m cooking.

4. Best Large – Z Grills 10002B2E Pellet Grill

Read our full Z Grills 10002B2E review.

If you really want to pack a ton of meat into your grill, you’ll want to step up to one of the 1000 series.

The 1002B2E that we tested comes with three tiers of grates and a combined 1056 square inches of cooking areal.

The grill lid has been redesigned to allow for more height to fit the extra rack.

Our likes and dislikes are similar to other models we have reviewed, although at this size only having two wheels becomes a bigger issue.

What we liked:

  • Value for money – If you don’t mind missing out on WiFi, this is a great price for a grill this size.
  • Balanced smoke – All the food we cooked had an excellent, subtle smoke taste.
  • Smart design – The hopper clean-out, storage areas, and tool hooks all make using the smoker an easy experience.

What we didn’t like:

  • Wheel configuration – With only two large wheels you need to lift the grill and then roll it into place. Four wheels would have been better.

5. Best Portable – Z Grills Cruiser 200A Portable Pellet Grill

Read our full Cruiser 200A review.

If you like the idea of taking a smoker with you on tailgates or camping trips but don’t want to lug a big heavy smoker, then the 200A is a perfect choice. With its suitcase design, you get a compact grill with 202 square inches of cooking area.

We gave the Crusier the nod for the best truly portable option in our guide to the best portable pellet smokers.

You won’t be feeding a crowd, but it’s large enough to fit a rack of ribs. Maxing out at 450°F, you won’t have any problem grilling burgers or hot dogs.

Where this grill shines is portability. One person can easily handle it, and rather than a cart with collapsible legs, you just place it down on a table.

Our tests showed good thermal efficiency with minimal temperature swings.

The 8lb hopper is small, but for this grill, it’s enough to power it for 10 hours of cook time.

What we liked:

  • Super portable – Light enough for one person to load up at a moment’s notice, and compact enough to fit in almost any vehicle.
  • Consistent heat – We never saw any large temperature swings during our test cooks.

What we don’t like:

  • Smaller cooking surface – With such a large hopper, you do lose some cooking real estate.

Other Z Grills models we’ve reviewed

6. Z Grill L6002B Wood Pellet Grill

Read our full Z Grills L6002B review.

As part of the basic series we have the L6002B.

Made of lightweight stainless steel, the L6002B is surprisingly sturdy despite its thin walls. The grill has 573 square inches, which is a lot for its compact design. 

The temperature range of the L6002B runs between 180°F – 450°F and, despite its lack of insulation, the PID controller keeps that temperature relatively stable. There’s plenty of storage space to had on the L6002B, with two side shelves and one front shelf.

The major downside to the L6002B is the small 8lb pellet hopper, which means you’re going to have to refill it a few times if you’re cooking something low and slow. 

What we liked

  • Mobile  – The lightweight stainless steel body and chunky plastic wheels make it easy to love the L6002B around.
  • The cooking surface – Despite its rather compact frame, the L6002B boasts an impressive 573 square inches of cooking space.
  • Good temperature control – Despite having a thinner body, the L6002B doesn’t suffer from any extreme temperature swings, mostly thanks to its PID controller. 

What we didn’t like

  • The hopper – Only have 8lbs of pellets in the hopper means you’ll need to be on hand with a few refills for longer cooks.

Lightweight and compact with a surprisingly large amount of cooking space, the L6002B maintains a consistent temperature despite its lack of insulation.

7. Z Grills 700DPellet Grill

Read our full Z Grills 700D review.

Older and slightly cheaper than the 700D4E, the 700E is still a decent grill, especially if you can get it on special.

The body of the grill is made from stainless steel, although it lacks the doubled-walled insulation of the 700D4E. While the lack of a lid gasket does mean the 700E leaks a lot of smoke during startup, it doesn’t seem to have any issue holding a steady temperature. 

You still get the same impressive 694 square inches of cooking area, closed cabinet storage, and chunky coaster wheels, but not the new PID controller or pellet cleaning hatch on the back.

The upper racks of the grill are configurable. You can have one, two, or none, giving you plenty of control of your cooking real estate. 

What we liked

  • Great price point – While it might be lacking the features of the 700D4E, there’s no denying that the 700E is a large, well-made, grill for a very competitive price.
  • Adaptable – The adjustable upper rack system gives you great control over how you set up the interior of your grill.

What we didn’t like

  • The screen – The 700E has a very small LED screen used to control the temperature, which can be really hard to read in direct sunlight.

An excellent grill for the price, the 700E has a couple of design flaws, like the control screen, that was rectified on the 700D4E. For our money, we would spend a little extra and get the latest version though.

How Z Grills Work

If you know how pellet grills work, feel free to skip ahead.

The Z Grill’s design is similar to competitors like Pit Boss and Traeger. The grill works by burning wood pellets (Z grills sell their brand, but any brand of pellets will do) to create heat and smoke to flavor your food.

The pellets are stored in a hopper on the grill’s side.

Z Grills Cruiser 200A grill with a pellet hopper filled with pellets
Different models have different sized hoppers for various cook durations.

A mechanical auger feeds the pellets into a firebox where a rod ignites them.

The auger feeds pellets into the firebox where they ignite to release heat and smoke.

A sensor keeps track of the temperature and works with the digital controls to maintain the temperature you set by controlling the flow of pellets and airflow.

This design allows you to load up your hopper, set the temperature and effectively ‘set it and forget it’.

Digital controls allow you to set the temperature and plug meat probes in.

While they are often called “pellet grills”, I really think of them as smokers or ovens since they specialize in maintaining steady temperatures over long hours.

Pellet Grills are great for people who don’t want the hassle or mess of cooking with charcoal but want more s

Z Grills VS Traeger

People always want to know how a brand compares with Traeger, the original pellet grill brand.

This is especially true for Z Grills since there’s a lot of evidence that they used to manufacture grills for Traeger.

So the question is, can you buy a Traeger replica for half the price?

The annoying answer, as usual, is it depends.

For this comparison, we’ll compare the Z Grills 700D4E with the Traeger Pro 575.

  • Price – At the time of writing, the Z Grill is significantly cheaper than the Traeger and even includes a grill cover, whereas the Traeger requires an additional purchase. You can check the latest price on the Z Grills here, and the Traeger Pro 575 here.
  • Design – Both grills share a similar design. They are made with high-gauge steel and are powder-coated.
  • Grill & Hopper size – The Z Grills is just over 20% larger, making it a better choice if you need to cook for larger groups. The slightly larger hopper size is probably a toss-up because the larger size will require a little more pellets to heat.
  • Temperature probe – The Traeger comes with a single meat probe compared to two on the Z Grills
  • WiFI – The Traeger includes “WIFIRE fully connected grill technology,” which lets you shut down, change temperature, and monitor your food while it cooks from your smart device. Z Grills has only recently started adding WiFi to some models and the app experience isn’t as refined as Traeger.

Traeger Pro 575 VS Z Grills 700D4E – Side-by-Side comparison

Traeger Pro 575Z Grills 700D4E
Dimensions 53x41x27 in 48×51×22
Cooking surface area (sq in)575 (425 + 150)697 (504 + 193)
Hopper capacity18 lb20 lb
Temperature range165 – 500°F180 – 455°F
Cover includedno ($59.99 optional add-on)yes
Warranty3 years3 years
Price Check latest priceCheck latest price

Traeger gets the edge when it comes to customer support. This isn’t surprising since they are a US-based company that has been around since the 1970s, although they aren’t without their issues as you’ll see if you browse their company’s social media pages.

If you want to find out more, we have a detailed Traeger Reviews post.

The bottom line

If you are happy with a large grill that doesn’t include some of the more modern features, the Z Grills 700D4E is better value than the Traeger Pro 575, especially if you are cooking for larger groups or lots of different cuts at once.

If you want more features like a better App and slightly nicer build quality, you should consider the Traeger Pro.

Z Grills FAQs

Are Z Grills a Chinese company?

If you look on the Z Grills website, you’ll see they say that “Z Grills are created by American local designers and manufactured by a professional factory in China”.

Z Grills has setup US operations based out of Burlingame, California. They also have a US-based customer support team.

The grills are manufactured in China by the parent company Jiangsu Zgrills Technology Co, Ltd which has been making grills for brands like Traeger, Home Depot, and Amazon since 2003.

Is Z Grills the same as Traeger?

Z Grills and Traeger are two different companies. The confusion comes from the fact that the company that now manufactures Z Grills in China, used to manufacture grills for Traeger during the 2010s.

This relationship has since ended and the grills have quite different designs.

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