Wood pellet grills are a firm favorite among home cooks. That’s because they’re the perfect combination between a normal grill and a smoker, so they eliminate the need to purchase these two separately. Wood pellet grills usually feature a generous cooking surface that enables you to cook a variety of different meats at the same time. This means you can smoke brisket while grilling sausages and burgers simultaneously. As such, wood pellet grills are an ideal investment for anyone that likes to entertain from home as they’ll enable you to cater to a large number of people. We, therefore, write this battle pit boss vs traeger to clarify.
Traeger vs Pit boss Comparison Chart
As with any purchase, it’s important to consider more than the grill’s appearance when shopping around for a new model. You have to keep in mind other more important aspects like the quality of construction and its expected lifespan. You’ll also want to buy from a respected brand like Pit Boss or Traeger.
Both these brands are well known for producing some of the top-quality wood pellet grills on the market. In this article, we’re going to compare the two and see how they fare against each other. We’ll also give you a detailed review of the best pellet grill model from each company. Read on for more.
Pit boss 820 vs Traeger elite 22
Overview of Pit Boss
Pit Boss wood pellet grills are perfect for beginners because they’re easy to use and mostly work with natural wood pellets. Pit Boss grills are well-made and feature heavy-duty construction with a large cooking surface. It’s one of the best digital grill manufacturers on the market as it offers guaranteed perfection every time.
However, to get the most out of Pit Boss wood pellet smoker grills, you need to use high-quality wood pellets that complement the food that you’re making.
Overview of Traeger
Over the years, Traeger has built a reputation as one of the most reliable brands and manufacturers of BBQ grills and smokers. It’s well-respected among seasoned pit masters and other users that recognize it for producing some of the finest BBQ grills on the market.
But, you may not want to take our word for it and we understand. Before you can decide on which brand best serves your needs, you need in-depth information on both so that you can make a fair comparison.
[Updated Jul 04 2019]
How Much Does a Traeger Grill Cost?
The cost of Traeger grills will vary greatly depending on the design, features, and other factors, although the price range is somewhere between a few hundred dollars and several thousand. Of course, if you’re going to buy a larger grill with more features, you can expect to pay more.
Some of the popular models cost around $400 to $1,400. If you really want to get the best results, you should be willing to spend at least $400 for your Traeger grill. While there are models that cost around $200 and less, you cannot really expect a lot from these grills. Plus, they usually are not that durable so you might just end up spending more to purchase a new replacement.
Cooking devices and grills should last for five years at least. This is also applicable to pots and pans, as well as other kitchen accessories. For outdoor grills, however, it’s important that they are durable since they are used in the outdoors. So always go for premium quality grills in order to get the best value for your money.
The wood pellets for Traeger grills are usually more expensive than charcoal and propane. For these pellets, you can expect to spend around $1 to $3 for every grilling session. Propane is more costly to use for a grill and charcoal is somewhere around the mid-range level. You might be tempted to purchase cheap pellets but be careful with these. They might just introduce harmful chemicals to your food.
Where Are Traegers Made?
All Traeger grills released in the market since late 2008 have been manufactured in China. Some of the bigger models are made in the United States. When the company received an overwhelming number of orders for the Traeger grills, they decided to outsource the manufacturing in order to keep up with the huge demand.
Can I Use Pit Boss Pellets in a Traeger Grill?
It’s certainly possible to use Pit Boss pellets with any grill brand, including the Traeger grill. Traeger has their own pellets, which is why they urge you to purchase their own products. But it is definitely possible to use any food grade pellets with your Traeger grill, and not necessarily the Traeger pellets.
Wood pellets are available in different types, depending on the flavor that they can provide to the meat. Nowadays, you’ll find plenty of different flavors in the market. Some of the most recommended ones are Apple, Cherry, Hickory, Mesquite, Alder, and Oak.
It is the Applewood and hickory that are considered the most popular ones because these pellets offer light to moderate smoke and won’t overpower the taste of the meat itself. However, there are also those that choose to go for Mesquite since it’s by far the most popular among grillers. But take note that mesquite has a strong smoke flavor profile and has the tendency to overpower the taste of your food. You might want to use other lighter flavor woods instead.
Who Are the Potential Users of Pit Boss?
Compared to Traeger, Pit Boss is more affordable and accessible to the average consumer. However, it delivers similar results as the more lustrous and prestigious brand. Pit Boss also offers a unique natural smoking ability that you’d be hard-pressed to find in other grills and smokers. That’s why they’re the preferred choice of anyone that likes to have an authentic smoked flavor in their food.
Thanks to their large cooking surface, Pit Boss grills are perfect for avid entertainers as well as hospitality establishments because they can handle large scale catering.
Who Are the Potential Users of Traeger?
Traeger grills are known for their solid construction, for providing great flavor and a sprawling cooking surface. They are ideal for anyone that needs to cater to large crowds and it’ll last you for more than just a few seasons.
Pit Boss vs Traeger Wood Pellet Grills
While wood pellet grills have a similar appearance to normal BBQ grills, there are a few notable differences between the two. For example, some wood pellet grills come with a firebox that allows you to smoke other foods like vegetables while you grill your meat. If you were to base your decision solely on customer reviews, you’d have a hard time picking favorites as both Pit Boss and Traeger have positive reviews.
To make your job easier, we’re going to compare the two based on a few important features.
Price is probably the first feature you look at when shopping for anything but more especially when looking to make a big-ticket purchase such as this one. The cheapest grills on the market retail for $100 and are usually powered by propane gas or charcoal. However, these grills are one-dimensional and don’t offer the smoker feature. On the other hand, wood pellet grills start from $1,000 and they offer the best of both worlds.
Pit Boss is the most cost-effective option of the two because their grills are actually available for less than $1,000. In fact, the brand offers some decent models for just $500 to $700, so it’s a great option for anyone that’s shopping on a budget.
But, that’s not to say that you should forget about Traeger because they also have a few reasonably priced models on offer. For instance, their affordable grills cost $500 or less and yet they can compete with the brand’s Select Elite Grill units which cost $1,000 a pop. In a nutshell, both companies cater to all types of budgets.
You’ll do well to pay attention to the grill’s construction as well because this will determine its lifespan. After all, you want a grill that’s going to last you for years or even a lifetime instead of a unit that will last for only a couple of seasons.
Traeger beats them all when it comes to quality grill construction and their wood pallet smokers are the same. Some of the notable heavy-duty materials they use include cast-iron grates that are often coated with a substance that gives them a non-sticky surface. They use the same material to make their Fireboxes.
Unfortunately, Pit Boss grills don’t really measure up in this regard, as their grills tend to look flimsy. While you may need to replace some of the components every now and then, Pit Boss grills are still worth considering as a great value-for-money buy.
Pit Boss and Traeger grills have pretty much the same temperature range with a few variances here and there. You can expect the temperature range for both companies to go from a minimum of 100 degrees Fahrenheit to a maximum of 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
When it comes to cooking space, there’s no competing with Traeger. If you look at some of its top models you’ll find that they all feature a cooking surface that measures 600 square inches on average, and the same goes for the interior space. Traeger’s Pro Series 34 Grill Burnz has a huge cooking surface that measures 884 square inches in total, and this is in addition to the impressive firebox.
Pit Boss grills, on the other hand, can only offer you as much as 500 square inches of cooking space at best.
The hopper is where the wood pellets are kept within the grill. The hotter the grill becomes the more smoke is produced through the burning wood pellets. Obviously, you want your grill to have a large hopper so that it can hold more pellets. That way, you won’t be required to continuously refill them.
Pit Boss hoppers usually have a capacity that can hold 10 to 12 pounds of wood pellets. Meanwhile, Traeger models can take a lot more than that. In fact, some Traeger models have the capacity to hold up to 18 pounds of wood pellets in one go, and they even come with a dedicated and built-in ash cleaner to make maintenance easier for you.
As promised, we’re going to review one wood pellet grill from each company to provide you with a better perspective so you can make a truly informed purchasing decision.
A little-known fact about the Pit Boss brand is that it’s owned by the same company that owns the famous Louisiana Grills. That means they know what they’re doing and they know what’s needed in a good quality grill. Ever since its entry into the market, Pit Boss has been giving Traeger a good run for their money.
A good example of this is Pit Boss 820 model which can stand toe-to-toe with almost any of Traeger’s premium models. It’s constructed from cast iron that has been coated with porcelain for ease of maintenance and added strength. Both the lower shelves and the detachable secondary racks are made from coated steel rod and wire, while the frame is made from 16-gauge powder-coated steel.
It has a generously sized cooking surface that measures 820 square inches with a comparable hopper that features a convenient screen. That’s why the hopper works really great when it comes to making sure that pellets don’t get flattened out and that no items can get into the auger.
With 40,000 BTUs and a digital control board with an LED display added in for good measure, you know you’re getting a good quality product. That’s not all, however, as this grill has other features like a dial-in thermostat control, and a flame broiler for direct-heat cooking that’s easy to operate.
Some of the main features worth mentioning include:
- Natural Wood Fuel
This is one of a few grills that offer a natural and authentic smoky flavor and that’s because it’s fueled by 100% natural hardwood pellets. It’s also considered to be one of the safest and most eco-friendly options available. That’s because the natural wood pellets it uses are food-grade and don’t contain any harmful substances like additives that could affect the final product.
Natural wood pellets are incredibly efficient as they produce less than 8,200 BTUs per cooking session. They’re also carbon neutral with less ash production when compared to other types of grill fuels.
- Thermostat Control
The thermostat control feature is great because it allows you to switch the temperature as you like. This particular grill can go from temperatures as low as 180F to 500F maximum. While that’s a decent temperature range, it pales in comparison to outdoor grills of the same size which offer higher temperatures.
So where does the thermostat come in? Well, it will help to ensure that that the food is cooked at the preferred temperature at all times without the need for you to stand over it all the time.
- Auto Start
The auto start function means that you only press one button on this grill and the grill does the rest. No need to manually transfer the pellets to the firepot or even ignite them for that matter. Even the convection heating process happens on its own and in the right order once you put on the main switch.
- Auto Cool Down
Once your meal is done cooking and is ready to serve, you’ll turn on the automatic cool down. From there, the grill with start the shut-off process by burning out excess pellets, leaving you to enjoy your food with your guests.
This feature is also responsible for ensuring the grill is set at the right temperature before complete shutdown so that you don’t have to deal with temperature errors or grease fires when you need to use it again.
- Porcelain-Coated Grid
Not only does the porcelain coating on the grid add to its durability, but it makes it remarkably easy to clean as well. Porcelain is non-stick and it repels smear marks, contributing to that smoky flavor you like by ensuring effective heat retention.
- Convection Cooking
Convection cooking, in conjunction with the dial-in thermostat, is responsible for ensuring even heating so that the food is properly cooked. This eliminates the need to constantly check the meat because you’ll find that all sides are cooked through without any interference from you.
- Flame Broiler
The 71820FB pellet grill gives you the option to cook over direct and indirect heat. To cook over an open flame, it uses the specially designed broilers and plates. All you have to do is bring the longer broiler closer to the heat by hooking it onto a holder that’s located next to the hopper. To cook over indirect heat, you need to slip the smaller broiler above the opening of the larger broiler.
This feature is highly beneficial because it allows for versatility. You can use direct heat cooking to make things like seared steaks and grilled burgers in less than 20 minutes.
- Flame broiler for open flame searing.
- 820 sq. In cooking surface with porcelain coated, cast-iron main grid
- Dial-in temperature control with LED read out
Part of the Elite series from Traeger, the TFB42LZBC model features sturdy construction from powder-coated 20-gauge steel. It has the capacity to withstand many years of frequent use, and it can go through harsh weather conditions and high heat without sustaining damage.
While small in appearance, this grill has a rather generous cooking surface of 418 square inches which is enough to fit three rib packs and 12 burgers at once, enough to feed a party.
It’s a powerful piece of machinery with 19,500 BTUs on offer and convection cooking for even heat distribution. One thing’s for sure, you won’t get any surprise rare steaks with this one. The porcelain coated grates feature a non-stick and smear-safe surface that’s easy to clean.
The great thing about this grill is that it allows for versatile cooking as well, because you can use it for grilling, smoking, roasting, baking and even braising. It has a temperature range of between 180F to 450F, with a multi-position digital thermostat for maximum control.
Some of the most notable features on this grill include:
- Wood Fire
This grill offers an authentic wood-fired flavor that you simply can’t beat. It’s not only healthy but has a nostalgic flavor to it and it doesn’t come with any harmful chemicals like the other types of fuel do.
- Multi-Position Digital Thermostat Control
The Elite series features cutting-edge thermostat control features that keep the temperature at the preferred range without much intervention from you. All you need to do is set the temperature before you start to cook and watch the grill do its magic.
The grill’s thermostat works through the microprocessor circuitry to activate the auger and adjust it as necessary throughout the cooking process to maintain the correct temperature range.
- Electric Start Ignition
The Elite grid has a manual and automatic start option, but most people just go straight for the automatic option. All you need to do is plug in the grill and turn it on. From there, it will automatically ignite itself and the auger will transfer wood pellets to the Firepot simultaneously.
Within four minutes the grill should be ready for you to start cooking, which is rather impressive.
- Auto Shut Down Cycle
The auto shut down feature cools down the grill and shuts it off automatically. But, it does need some help from you because you need to set the temperature right so that the draft induction fan can burn off the leftover pellets before switching off.
Otherwise, the grill doesn’t require that you press any other button in order to switch it off. It will switch off automatically once the fan comes to a stop and it will be nice and cool and ready for you to clean afterward.
- Non-Stick Porcelain-Coated Grates
The non-stick grates are perfect for making sear marked meat and the porcelain makes for remarkable heat distribution and retention. It also ensures even cooking and heating, while the end product usually offers out of this world flavor.
- Convection Cooking
The benefit of convection cooking is that it reduces the amount of time that you need to spend monitoring your food on the grill. You don’t have to worry about constantly lifting the lid to check on the meat’s progress which can significantly increase cooking time through the heat that it lets out. Instead your food comes out evenly cooked with no raw spots and with little involvement from you.
- Safety Alarms
The grill features two safety alarm systems. The first one comes on when the temperature gets below 125F for 10 minutes or longer. You’ll notice the change by a LEr sign that will come up on the LED display which will stay on until you switch off the main power. Once this happens, the grill will automatically disconnect its internal parts from the power source.
The second alarm system only comes on when the grill’s internal temperature reads 550F and up. When this happens the LED screen will show a HEr sign which will stay on until the main power is switched off. It will also work to disconnect the internal parts from the power source automatically.
- E-Z Drain Grease System
As the name implies, the grease drain system works to collect all the grease drippings into a dedicated drain pain and later a grease drain. From the grease drain, the grease travels through a tube to the grease bucket where it’s much easier for you to chuck it out and clean the grill.
- Never use gas or charcoal again: cooking with wood just tastes better. Traeger created the original wood-pellet grill as the ultimate way to achieve wood-fired taste
- Versatile barbecue cooking: hot and fast, or low and slow, the Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22 pellet grill offers 6-in-1 versatility to grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and BBQ food to juicy perfection
- Precision temperature control: The Digital Elite Controller rocks Advanced Grilling Logic, which maintains a +/- 20 degree F temperature control to guarantee precision grilling
Now that you know what to look for in a wood pellet grill, you should be in a better position to make the right choice for your needs. You’re armed with a thorough comparison of the industry’s top two brands. By now you know that these two companies have a lot more in common than they have differences, but each has its own strengths and weaknesses which we explored above.
For all intents and purposes, this battle traeger vs pit boss we’ve identified the Traeger lil tex elite 22 as the superior contender in this review because it has a convenient size, it makes it easier to manage the temperature and it offers a generous warranty. The Pit Boss is cheaper in comparison but it doesn’t offer value for money. So we’re going with Traeger on this one.
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Last update on 2019-08-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API