traeger grill

Traeger grill review | Best models & comparison against competition

Maybe you are wondering what Traeger grills are. Let’s shed some light for you…

The idea behind Traeger grills started over 30 years ago, in Mt. Angel, Oregon, and the idea focused more on food, rather than the grill.

From that idea, it’s when a wood-fired revolution was started, and it led to the development of Traeger grills.

Now, since you have an understanding of Traeger grills, here are some of the features that you should consider when buying a Traeger grill.

Here Chris is using my favorite Traeger model, the Select Elite, to grill his prime rib recipe:

You can check out the Traeger Select Elite here on Amazon. It’s not the most affordable one, but it is the best of the models we’ve reviewed which I’ll get into further in this article.

But first, you need to note that there are several features that you should look for when buying a grill, but you should also understand that added features mean an added cost—and you need to stay away from such grills if you are not going to use them.

Here are some of the common features:

  • Smoker attachment – this is something you will see in most of the grills out there in the market
  • Side burners or several level cooking surfaces – these are ideal for cooking different types of foods that require different heats
  • A rotisserie attachment – although this feature appears to be interesting, you will rarely use it
  • Built-in lights – these assist you to monitor your food as you cook.

If you like the rotisserie attachment, read our post completely dedicated to BBQ smokers with a rotisserie.

Price

As highlighted earlier, added features mean added price—and this is the last thing that you need to consider before buying a Traeger grill.

Grills with larger surfaces, higher heat, durability, and better construction, as well as additional features, are more costly. 

Let’s see the most popular models in a table to compare them:

Traeger modelImages
Most shelve space: Traeger Grills Select Elite Wood Pellet GrillTraeger grills select elite review
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Best for smoking: Traeger Grills Lil Tex Elite Wood Pellet Grill and SmokerTraeger lil tex elite wood pellet grill and smoker review
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Most affordable: Traeger Tailgater 20 Series ModelTraeger-tailgater-20-review
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Best stability for uneven surfaces: Traeger Grills Bronson 20 Wood Pellet GrillTraeger bronson 20 grill review
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Most durable: Traeger Grills Renegade Elite Wood Pellet GrillTraeger renegade elite review
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Here is a comparison between Traeger grills and other wood pellet grill brands. After that, I’ll get into each of the models in more detail.

Traeger vs. camp chef

Traeger vs Camp Chef comparison

Models

Currently, Traeger offers 21 models of hardwood burning smokers and grills. Camp chef, on the other hand, offers ten different pellet-burning grills.

Here, Traeger wins the day, as the brand presents grillers with different options when it comes to grilling and smoking.

Temperature control

Since these pellet-burning machines have the functionalities of convection ovens, smokers BBQs, and grills, each of them needs to have a wide operating temperature range.

The temperature range on Traeger grills ranges between 160 degrees F and 500 degrees F, and all the models can maintain a temperature of +/- 20 degrees F.

On the other hand, Camp Chef grills have a temperature range of 160 degrees F to 500 degrees F, and can maintain their temperature between +/- 10 degrees F.

Technology

Since Traeger was the first wood pellet grill to be patented, they are still ahead of the game in terms of technology.

Modern Traeger grills feature the WiFIRE controller, which helps in keeping the temperature within 5 degrees.

Besides, you can connect this feature to your smartphone via Wi-Fi, which gives you the freedom to control the temperatures from any location.

Camp Chef, on the other hand, have a similar feature in their modern grills.

Warranty

Both Camp Chef and Traeger are companies with excellent customer service, and always stand behind their products.

These two brands offer a 3-year warranty for their products. However, they don’t cover normal wear of any damage caused by abuse, misuse, alteration, overheating.

Traeger vs. Pit Boss

A comparison between Traeger grills and pit boss

Construction

Traeger grills come with features like cast-iron grates with nontoxic and cleaning coating, and fireboxes made from a similar material.

Although Pit Boss grills have similar elements, most of them look flimsy, and will not meet your smoking and grilling demands.

Temperature range

Both Traeger and Pit Boss grills have almost the same temperature range. These grills have a temperature range of 100 degrees F to 500 degrees F.

Cooking space

Traeger grills also have a larger cooking surface when compared to Pit Boss grills. In fact, the Traeger grill with the largest cooking surface has 884 sq. in. of cooking surface, without the firebox space.

Pit Boss grills, on the other hand, have a cooking surface of 500 sq. in. on the higher side.

Hopper size

Also known as the wood pellet hopper, this is the container or canister of the grill that holds the wood pellets. Pit Boss grills have models that can hold up to 12 lbs. of wood in one-hopper.

Traeger, on the other hand, can hold up to 18 lbs. of pellets, and most of them have an ash collection system.

Read more on Pit Boss in our separate review here

Traeger vs. Green Mountain

Now compare these two brands Traeger vs green mountain

Size

When it comes to size, Traeger grills out do Green Mountain grills, as most of them have an average cooking surface area of around 600 sq. in. and grates that preventfood from falling through. Green Mountain Grills, on the other hand, have smaller, which means they don’t have a large cooking surface.

Ease of use

Both these grills are easy to use since they have incorporated features that allow you to control the grill remotely.

Temperature range

Both Traeger and Green Mountain Grills come with a temperature range of around 100 degrees F to 500 degrees F.

Best Traeger grill models reviewed

Let’s look at a more in-depth review of each of the top Traeger models:

Most shelve space: Traeger Grills Select Elite Wood Pellet Grill

This is considered to be the best Traeger Grill you will find out there in the market. The grill combines everything that’s found in other Traeger grills, apart from two—less portability and it doesn’t come with a side grease drain.

However, these two drawbacks shouldn’t discourage you from getting this grill.

The Select Elite Wood Pellet Grill does come with a better front shelf around the grill, which gives users a lot of space to keep their utensils and tools as they grill.

You will also get more storage space underneath the grill, thus providing you with more storage space. This space is enough for you to store all your grilling tools, and also for other items like a toolbox.

Its smoker box is a bit larger than the other models. With this grill, you will get 589 sq. in. of grilling space, with a hopper capacity of 18 lbs.

This is a pretty large space for all your grilling needs—and it will always come through for you, no matter the number of guests you are hosting.

But, this grill has its drawbacks—it’s a large grill, which means it’s heavy—weighs 170 lbs. However, the grill comes equipped with multidirectional wheels, which can easily lock in place.

This means you won’t have a lot of challenge to move your grill around. Its weight, however, makes it impossible to use the grill for tailgating.

The grills price tag is a bit high, and you should expect to spend a bit more on it than the other models. However, this is an amazing grill and will give you a good service for many years—that’s if you keep it in good condition.

Notable features:

  • With this grill, you will no longer use charcoal or gas again to grill—and your grilling will become better. This is an original wood pellet grill, and the best tool to give you that wood-fired taste.
  • Versatile BBQ cooking—low & slow or hot & fast. The Traeger Select Elite Wood pellet grill provides 6-in-1 versatility to smoke, grill, bake, roast, BBQ, and braise food to perfection.
  • Precision temperature control: The Digital Elite Controller rocks Advanced Grilling Logic, which maintains a +/- 20 degree F temperature control to guarantee precision grilling
  • Sturdy and Durable: Includes stainless steel side shelves, dual door storage cart, and an increased pellet hopper capacity
  • Large cooking capacity: 589 sq. in. of cooking capacity that can accommodate four chickens, four racks of ribs or 20 burgers

Check latest prices and availability here

Best for smoking: Traeger Grills Lil Tex Elite Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

If you find the extra features that come with the Renegade model, then the Lil Tex Elite 22 Wood Pellet Grill is the perfect option for you.

The Lil Tex Elite 22 Wood Pellet Grill is a large grill and comes with 418 sq. in. of grilling space. This grill will give you enough space for four chickens, 16 hamburgers, as well as five racks of ribs.

In addition to this, the Lil Tex Elite 22 Wood Pellet Grill has a hopper capacity of 18 lbs. –Which provides with hours and hours of grilling before you even consider refilling it.

This makes it the perfect grill for anyone who needs to grill food for a lot of people.

It doesn’t matter which even you are hosting, the Lil Tex Elite 22 Wood Pellet Grill will get the work done easily.

In addition, it comes with this amazing feature—a side drain, even though it doesn’t have the front rack and tool storage.

Notable features

  • With this grill, you will no longer use charcoal or gas again to grill—and your grilling will become better. This is an original wood pellet grill, and the best tool to give you that wood-fired taste.
  • Versatile BBQ cooking—low & slow or hot & fast. The Traeger Select Elite Wood pellet grill provides 6-in-1 versatility to smoke, grill, bake, roast, BBQ, and braise food to perfection.
  • Grilled to perfection every time: integrated digital Elite controller keeps temps within +/- 20 degrees F and makes setting the grill temperature as easy as turning a dial.
  • Easy and predictable: The Lil’ Tex Elite 22 offers consistency you can trust, allowing you to craft amazing wood-fired creations time and time again with the ease of set it and forget it.
  • Perfect size for the at-home cook: enjoy 418 sq. in. Of grilling space that can accommodate up to 16 burgers, four whole chickens, or five racks of ribs; pellet
  • Hopper capacity: 18 lbs.

You can buy it here on Amazon

Most affordable: Traeger Tailgater 20 Series Model

In terms of the specs, this grill is almost similar to the Junior Elite. To come with the same cooking surface area—300 sq. in., same temperature control, hopper capacity of 8 lbs. as well as a smoker box.

The only major challenge with this grill is that it is a bit costly, and it folds up.

If you love tailgating, you will find a lot to like about this grill, as it folds up into a small and light grill, which weighs around 62 lbs., small enough for one person to load it into an RV.

If you love camping, RVing, grilling family BBQs, or you are a person who likes moving around a lot, you will have pretty much to love about this grill.

Notable features:

  • Folding Front Shelf Features Easy On/Off Mounting System & Is Compatible With Trager 20 Series Grill Cover; Mounts On The Outside Of The Grill For Additional Preparation Or Storage Space; Designed To Cover The Entire Width Of The Cooking Chamber; Constructed Of Cold Rolled Powder Coated Steel
  • Folding Front Shelf Features Easy On/Off Mounting System And Is Compatible With Trager 20 Series Grill Cover
  • No Assembly Required
  • Country Of Origin: China

Check it out here on Amazon

Best stability for uneven surfaces: Traeger Grills Bronson 20 Wood Pellet Grill

The Bronson 20 wood pellet grill is considered to be the somehow final evolution of the Traeger Junior Elite—it’s a bit more expensive, but also a bit more effective.

You will need to spend around $500 for the Bronson 20, and this price is higher because of 2 reasons—a bigger hopper capacity, and ultra-stable legs.

The Bronson 20 has a 25% larger hopper capacity, which can hold up to 10 lbs. This will give you 25% more grilling time with just a single refile—giving you more time to have fun and chat as your grill runs in the background.

This grill comes with more stable legs, which makes it less portable than the Junior Elite or the Tailgater.

Apart from the features mentioned above, you will get 300 sq. in. of grilling space, a digital temperature control, and porcelain grates.

This is not a bad thing for a grill with such a price tag. In addition to this, the Bronson 20 is also HOA approved, which means you can use it on your back porch or patio without having to worry about anything.

Notable features:

  • 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 Bronson 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
  • Great for Portability: Built to champion cooking outdoors wherever adventure lies with board sawhorse chassis for stability and all-terrain wheels making it easy to transports over rocks and through dirt
  • Perfect size for the at-home cook: 300 sq. in. of cooking capacity that can accommodate two chickens, three racks of ribs or 12 burgers.

Check the latest prices here

Most durable: Traeger Grills Renegade Elite Wood Pellet Grill

The Renegade Elite is considered to be a rebel—it comes with a more variety of specs and feature.

Compared to the other grills in our list, the Renegade Elite is bigger—with 380 sq. in. of grilling surface. In addition to this, you will also get the basic suite of a smoker, porcelain grates, and other amazing features.

What you need to note about these extra features is that they are quality upgrades, which will make your grilling easier and more fun.

This grill comes with front grates, which make it much easier to load the grill, thus doing away with the need of a separate side table.

In addition to this, you will also get an added tool basket, which will give you an easier time to keep all your grilling tools organized in one place.

Unlike the other grills we have highlighted above, the Renegade Elite comes with an easy to clean and exchange hopper.

You only need to open the back latch, and the wood pellets will come out easily—and you will have the opportunity to replace them with new ones.

This saves you a lot of valuable time and effort when you want to clean or to change the variety of woods for smoking.

Moreover, the Renegade Elite comes with another amazing feature—a side grease drain, which allows you to keep everything clean as you grill. You will need to spend around $700 for the Renegade Elite.

Notable features:

Like the other grills on our list, these are the features of the Traeger Renegade Elite Wood Pellet Grill.

  • You will never use charcoal or gas again with the Renegade Elite Wood Pellet Grill. It is an original wood-pellet grill, which will always provide you with the ultimate wood-fired taste.
  • Versatile BBQ cooking—low & slow, or hot & fast. Traeger renegade Elite pellet grill offers 6-in-1 versatility to grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and BBQ food to juicy perfection.
  • Grilled to perfection every time: integrated digital Elite controller keeps temps within +/- 20 degrees F and makes setting the grill temperature as easy as turning a dial
  • Easy and predictable: the renegade offers consistency you can trust, allowing you to craft amazing wood-fired creations time and time again with the ease of set it and forget it
  • Perfect size for the at-home cook: enjoy 380 sq. in. of grilling area that can accommodate enough food to feed the family.

Check out prices and availability here

Traeger TFB29LZA Grills Junior Elite Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

The Junior Elite grills are the first one on our list, and it is the best entry-level option for people who love grilling frequently. This grill has a respectable size—of 300 sq. in. thus making it the ideal size for a family together or outdoor BBQ.

It comes with a digital temperature controller, which makes monitoring the grilling temperatures quite easy. The temperature is very accurate—and you won’t have to worry about under- or over-cooking your food. In addition to this, the grill also comes with a smoker box and porcelain grill grates—which makes it easier to clean the grill.

It has a hopper capacity of 8 lbs. but that shouldn’t turn you down if you are considering to buy this grill. You will need to spend around $400 to get the grill.

Notable features:

  • 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 Junior Elite pellet grill offers 6-in-1 versatility to grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and BBQ food to juicy perfection
  • Grilled to Perfection Every Time: Integrated Digital Elite Controller keeps temps within +/- 20 degrees F and makes setting the grill temperature as easy as turning a dial
  • Easy and Predictable: The Traeger Junior Elite offers consistency you can trust, allowing you to craft amazing wood-fired creations time and time again with the ease of set it and forget it
  • Great for Home, Camping, and Tailgating: Enjoy 300 sq. in. of portable grilling space that can accommodate up to 12 burgers, two whole chickens, or three racks of ribs

The Traeger Junior Elite is currently unavailable.

Best wood pellets for smoking

If you have not owned a pellet grill, you need to understand that these grills provide a uniquely satisfying alternative to traditional smokers and BBQs.

Because of this, you need to understand that there is a wide variety of pellets that you can choose from.

However, it also important to understand that not all pellets are equal—and this presents a big challenge to many people.

So, what are the best pellets for smoking?

Wood pellets come in different flavors—yes flavors or wood, and this is what makes smoking distinct from gas or charcoal grilling.

Smoking pellets don’t have the same taste—and this is something you need to note right from the beginning. There are lots of different wood pellet flavors that you can choose from—and it’s a bit challenging to say which best wood flavor is.

However, there are certain flavors that are a bit better with certain foods compared to others. Here are some examples of the best smoking wood pellets you will find out there in the market:

  • Alder – salmon, poultry, and game birds
  • Apple – poultry, pork, lamb, and seafood
  • Cherry – all meats
  • Hickory – pork, and ribs
  • Maple – poultry, vegetables, and cheese
  • Mesquite – red meat
  • Oak – all meats, mostly blended with other wood
  • Pecan – poultry
  • Walnut – red meat, and game

Also, it’s always fun to mix flavors. Even though there are a number of flavors you can find out there, there are basically there different types of smoker pellets for you to choose from. These include:

Also read: the best wood pellet smokers for your money

Blended wood pellets

Blended pellets mix flavored wood and filler to reduce the costs. Mostly, the ratio is around 30% flavored and 70% filler.

Standard pellets

They are made of wood, with little or no flavor, and they are mostly reserved for heating.

Flavored wood pellets

They are made of 100% flavored wood, and they don’t have any filler. Mostly, oak is used as filler, which produces a little flavor. Flavored wood pellets are the most costly.

Should you use pellets if you own a Traeger grill?

Traeger grills are some of the leaders when it comes to pellet grills, and the most interesting thing about the brand is that it not only sells pellet smokers and grills, it also has its own brand of wood pellets.

As a result, many people believe that you must use Traeger pellets on your Traeger grill or smoker—but that’s not entirely true.

Although these brands make very good wood pellets, it’s not a must to use them if you have a Traeger grill.

The most important thing you need to note that is you only need to use quality wood pellets and avoid cheaply made pellets, which have the potential of messing up your food and grill too.

Here are the top 5 best wood pellets you can find out there in the market

Cooking pellets 40PM Perfect Mix Smoking Pellets

Introduced to the market over five years ago, Cookinpellets 40PM will always give you that perfect grilling experience you desire.

They have a perfect mix blend, which combines for the popular hardwoods for smoking into a single and exclusive smoking pellet package.

  • Size – 40 lbs.
  • They constitute of: cherry, apple, and hickory base with hard maple

Pros:

  • 100% flavored hardwood
  • No bark
  • All heartwood

Cons

  • Pre-mixed flavors don’t allow you to experiment
  • 40 pounds is a LOT of pellets

Since the Cookinpellets 40PM Perfect Mix Smoking Pellets uses 4 of the most popular hardwoods, they will deliver nothing by the most flavored smoke.

These are the best smoking pellets for anyone who is just starting to use pellet grills—thanks to the perfect blend of quality pellets with a pleasant smoky taste.

You can buy them here from Amazon

BBQr’s Delight Cherry Smoke Flavor BBQ Pellets

The BBQr’s Delight Cherry Smoke Flavor BBQ Pellets are top-quality smoking pellets.

They are 100% natural wood pellets and come in a variety of flavors, and they are the perfect choice for anyone who’s got meat smoking in their grill.

  • Size – 20 lbs.
  • They constitute of one-third cherry and two-thirds oak

Pros

  • Burns hot
  • 100% wood
  • Low ash

Cons

  • Milder flavor than you’d get with 100% flavor wood (this might be a “Pro” for some people)
  • A bit pricey for a blend

Blending wood pellets with oak only ensure that you get a good and steady burn at a consistent temperature. The BBQr’s Delight Cherry Smoke Flavor BBQ Pellets are nicely formed wood pellets, made without oil and filler, and they normally burn clean.

They come in 20 lbs. bag, which is pretty manageable, which allows you to use different wood, without ever feeling limited.

You can see the latest prices here

BBQr’s Delight Apple Flavor Smoking BBQ Pellets

The BBQr’s Delight Apple Flavor Smoking BBQ Pellets is a favorite of elite grillers. These pellets are well made, with low moisture content, and they burn clean and hot.

The BBQr’s Delight Apple Flavor Smoking BBQ Pellets will always make you feel like a pro whenever you are grilling.

  • Size – 20 lbs.
  • They constitute of: one-third apple and two-thirds oak

Pros

  • 100% hardwood
  • Burns clean and hot
  • Manageable size

Cons

  • As with all blends, there’s less flavor than with 100% flavor wood (but you might want that)
  • If you’re into steaks, ribs, and brisket, apple may not be the best flavor choice

They are most affordable here on Amazon

Traeger Pel319 Hickory Pellets

You will never get it wrong whenever you buy wood pellets from one of the most trusted brands in the market.

The Traeger Pel319 Hickory Pellets are some of the best you will find out there in the market, and they will always make your grilling experience memorable.

  • Size – 20 lbs.
  • They constitute of 100% hardwood

Pros

  • Consistent quality
  • All real wood
  • Excellent burn properties – clean, low ash, thin blue smoke

Cons

  • Not made of hickory wood (pellets are alder and/or oak with natural flavoring oils)

As we highlighted earlier, Traeger Pel319 Hickory Pellets are some of the best wood smoking pellets you can ever find there in the market.

This brand, particularly, is a very famous flavor for smoking and grilling, making it a great choice for grillers.

When you opt to go for hardwood, rather than flavored wood, you will end up with all the natural flavors you’d like to have—and an enhanced burn quality of alder or oak.

You can check these out here

Lumber Jack Apple Blend BBQ Grilling Pellets

Lumber Jack is well known for making premium-quality wood pellets, which are ideal for entry-level grillers to pro-pit masters.

This brand has a completely different approach to their product—they first de-bark the oak in the blend and then leave it on the flavor wood for a flavored smoke that is more intense.

Another interesting thing about this company is that they don’t use sawmill cast-offs. They use their own trees when making the pellets for both heating and pellets, and shaving for pet bedding.

  • Size – 20 lbs.
  • They constitute 40% apple and 60% red oak.

It’s very interesting to note that the company doesn’t use any cast-offs.

Pros

  • A higher percentage of flavor wood than in most blends
  • Quality tested by an independent lab
  • More intense flavor than some other brands

Cons

  • With some quantity of bark present, you may see a bit more ash than with other brands

It can be a challenge to have an argument about an additional flavor—that’s what pellet smoking and grilling are all about. Spending some extra cash is worthy if you need some real wood flavor.

Also, since these wood pellets are 100% wood, they usually burn great and offer excellent smoke.

One thing you need to note about Lumber Jack is that they have a wide range of products, which means you can select and choose, mix and match, and also know that you will be getting quality products. These wood pellets are highly recommended.

You can purchase them here