Traeger grill review | Best models & comparison against competition

by Josh | Last Updated: October 12, 2019

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.

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:

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 model Images
Most shelve space: Traeger Grills Select Elite Wood Pellet Grill Traeger grills select elite review(view more images)
Best for smoking: Traeger Grills Lil Tex Elite Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker Traeger lil tex elite wood pellet grill and smoker review(view more images)
Most affordable: Traeger Tailgater 20 Series Model Traeger-tailgater-20-review(view more images)
Best stability for uneven surfaces: Traeger Grills Bronson 20 Wood Pellet Grill Traeger bronson 20 grill review(view more images)
Most durable: Traeger Grills Renegade Elite Wood Pellet Grill Traeger renegade elite review(view more images)

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:

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

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:

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:

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.

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:

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:

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.

Pros:

Cons

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.

Pros

Cons

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.

Pros

Cons

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.

Pros

Cons

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.

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

Pros

Cons

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


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