We decided to compare two of the top pellet grill brands available to find the best brand out there. Of the two brands we compared, these are the top Traeger and Pit Boss pellet grills to buy in 2021:
- Best Premium Pellet Grill: Traeger Timberline 850
- Best Budget Pellet Grill: Tailgater Portable Pellet Grill
- Pellet Grill With The Most Features: Pit Boss Lockhart Platinum Series.
- Pellet Grill With The Largest Cooking Area: Pit Boss Austin XL
- Best Vertical Pellet Grill & Smoker: Pit Boss 5 Series Vertical Wood Pellet Smoker
Pit Boss vs Traeger Pellet Grills Head To Head Comparisons
Budget Options – Pit Boss Classic vs Traeger Pro 575
In the budget group, we like the Traeger Pro 575 only because of the extra features that you’ll get if you can come up with a few extra dollars.
If you don’t care about the extra features like WiFi and D2 Controllers then the Pit Boss wins in all other categories.
Mid-Range Options – Pit Bos Austin XL vs Traeger Ironwood 885
In this mid-range grouping, we are going with the Austin XL. More cooking area, greater hopper capacity, and a longer warranty are clear advantages over Traeger.
Even though the Ironwood might have some pretty sweet features, the Austin XL has comparable features that make it the better value when comparing price.
Top of the Line Options – Pit Boss Lockhart Platinum vs Traeger Timberline 850
In the top-of-line category, we had a hard time declaring a winner. Both the Lockhart and Timberline grills come with similar temperature ranges, construction, and features.
However, the Pit Boss pulled ahead with its absolutely insane amount of cooking area and almost double hopper capacity when compared to the Traeger.
This one goes to the Pit Boss Lockhart Platinum.
Top Pit Boss Grills
Alright with the head-to-head comparisons out of the way, let’s look at the top pellet grills from each brand. We’ll start with the top five Pit Boss grills.
1. Pit Boss Classic 700
The Pit Boss Classic 700 is one of the best high-tech pellet grills and smokers available on the market.
It is the perfect size for big families and small and fits well in most backyard settings while maximizing space thanks to its fantastic design.
You also get to spend quality time with your friends and family as the high-temperature powder-coated steel is ideal for temperature maintenance. It keeps the food cooking while giving you time to enjoy the gathering.
- Construction: High-temperature powder-coated steel
- Temperature Range: 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cooking space: 700 square inches
- Pellet hopper capacity: 21 lbs
- Warranty: 5 year
- Extra Features: Unique direct flame broiler and meat probe with LED readout
- It features an innovative broiler that allows you to cook over a direct flame.
- The grill and smoker also feature a digital control board and monitor, allowing you to set different temperatures for different zones.
- The 21-pound hopper capacity allows you to cook for hours without having to refill pellets.
- Does not have a searing plate.
- Does not have Bluetooth for remote temperature controlling and monitoring.
2 Pit Boss Austin XL
The Pit Boos Austin XL is easy to clean, assemble and use. It features an excellent rating across most platforms with positive customer reviews and rightfully so too.
It is a fantastic grill for people who love to host barbecue parties. Its large cooking area, heavy-duty steel frame, large cooking area, heavy-duty steel frame, simplistic yet eye-catching design, and excellent features add to its value.
It is bigger and better than the Pit Boss Classic 700 and has much more to offer users.
- Construction: Heavy-duty steel
- Temperature Range: 200 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cooking space: 1000 square inches
- Pellet hopper capacity: 31 lbs
- Warranty: 5 year
- Extra Features: fan-forced convection cooking, removable stainless steel side shelf, standard flame broiler, sear plate included.
- The grill design includes plenty of storage options for tools and other cooking equipment.
- You can slide a plate for searing and indirect grilling or remove it for direct flame grilling.
- It is made of heavy-duty steel and will last long.
- Features a pellet window for ease of use.
- Comes with two meat probes.
- It is quite heavy and quite large, so it is not a portable option.
The Pit Boss Navigator is a heavy-duty griller and smoker built to last an exceedingly long time. It features two meat probes that connect to the digital monitor notifying you of the meat temperature eliminating the need for you to open the lid to check on the meat.
The griller provides optimal functionality with its automatic start-up and cool down system, heat vents for temperature control, large window to keep an eye on the fuel, and a bottom hatch for ease of cleaning and maintenance.
- Construction: Premium grade steel
- Temperature Range: 180 to 999 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cooking space: 1158 square inches
- Pellet hopper capacity: 32 lbs
- Warranty: 5 Years
- Extra Features: digital control board, steel meat probes, pellet clean-out door, built-in hooks for tools, custom-fit grill cover.
- The meat probes directly link to the digital monitor allowing you to keep an eye on the temperature even from a distance.
- Larger size for larger families and parties.
- The grill’s innovative flame broiler provides an extensive temperature range that allows for optimal cooking temperatures for searing, grilling, smoking, etc.
- The intuitive flame broiler will enable you to monitor and control the cooking temperature without opening the lid and releasing the smoke.
- It is quite heavy and large.
- Not ideal as a portable griller and smoker.
4. Pit Boss 5 Series Vertical Wood Pellet Smoker
The Pit Boss 5 Series Vertical Wood Pellet Smoker looks old school but has all the functionality of a top-of-the-line smoker.
If you have a small deck or outdoor kitchen and are looking for a smoker with a smaller footprint, the 5 Series Vertical Wood Pellet Smoker might be the perfect option for you.
They are easy to use, easy to clean, and provide the ideal smoky flavor that barbecue enthusiasts are looking for.
- Construction: Porcelain-coated cast iron cooking racks with a high-temperature powder-coated steel body.
- Temperature Range: 150 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cooking space: 1,659 square inches
- Pellet hopper capacity: up to 55 lbs
- Warranty: 5 years
- Extra Features: Digital PID controller, one meat probe, automatic start-up and cook down, and fan-forced convection cooking.
- The vertical smoker features adjustable racks allowing you to adjust them as per your requirements and preferences.
- It also features a prime button that will enable you to temporarily increase heat, making it easier to restore the temperature after you check on your food for optimal cooking.
- It is large with plenty of cooking space, allowing you to cook for a large family or large party all at once.
- The large pellet hopper will enable you to use the smoker for around 24 hours, making it ideal for all slow roasts.
- The internal temperature does swing quite a bit, and you will have to keep an eye on it to make sure your food doesn’t burn or turns out undercooked.
- The water pan is smaller than it should be, making it difficult to leave the smoker unattended for more than four hours.
5. Pit Boss Lockhart Platinum Series
The Pit Boos Lockhart Platinum Series falls under the high-end category of grillers and smokers. It offers eight functions, including grilling, smoking, baking, braising, barbecuing, searing, roasting, and chargrilling.
The Lockhart Platinum also connects to the Pit Boss Smoke IT app through WiFi and Bluetooth, allowing you to monitor the food remotely.
It also features built-in storage, so you can keep your cooking utensils handy all the time. It is the largest grill we have featured in this article so far. It is perfect for all barbecue lovers offering the full range of functionality one could need for the perfect barbecue party.
- Construction: Heavy-duty steel construction
- Temperature Range: 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cooking space: 2,236 square inches
- Pellet hopper capacity: 40 lbs
- Warranty: 5 years
- Extra Features: WiFi and Bluetooth compatibility, removable griddle, Digital PID control board, built-in lights for night-time grilling, and built-in storage.
- It offers a huge cooking surface area allowing you to unleash your inner chef at every dinner party.
- The grill can reach up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a great pellet grill for searing meat.
- It is made of heavy-duty steel that is sturdier and better.
- It comes with WiFi and Bluetooth capability.
- The grill also includes extra features such as a built-in light and storage.
- It also features six sausage hooks allowing you to cook different meats simultaneously.
- Requires a substantial amount of space and is not ideal for smaller kitchens.
Top Traeger Grills:
Next, we’ll move onto the Top four Traeger grills. In my opinion, the thing that makes Traeger such a great brand are the extra features almost all of their grills come with.
Yes, they cost a bit more, but their features almost make the grilling foolproof.
Here’s our top four:
1. Traeger Pro 575 Wood Pellet Grill
Traeger Pro 575 is ideal for people who want to optimize space. Its compact pill-shaped design makes it suitable for smaller spaces, but inside it features a double-tiered cooking space that allows you to cook a substantial amount of food in one go.
The grill also includes other features such as the D2 controller, WiFi, and the Turbo Temp that make it a dream to use. These allow for faster heating, optimal temperature maintenance, and remote control for ease of use.
- Construction: Powder-coated steel exterior with porcelain-coated steel cooking grates
- Temperature Range: 180 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cooking space: 575 square inches
- Pellet hopper capacity: 18 lbs
- Warranty: 3 years
- Extra Features: WiFi, D2 controller, smart pellet burn control, all-terrain wheels, TurboTemp technology.
- The grill features WiFire technology that allows for remote monitoring and temperature control.
- It features the D2 controller, which is extremely precise and will enable you to maintain the desired temperature.
- It combines the smart ignite technology with the convection fan heating mechanism that helps the grill heat up faster and maintain the desired temperature.
- The small pill-like design and all-terrain wheels make it easier for portability. If you have restricted space in your backyard, the Traeger Pro 575 might be the perfect option for you.
- It is relatively small in size and is not ideal for large families.
2. Traeger Ironwood 885 Wood Pellet Grill
The Traeger Ironwood series is available in two sizes, the 650 square inches, and the 885 square inches. The 885 square inches is slightly larger but has more or less the same features as the 650 square inches.
It features the Wifire technology that allows you to connect it to the Traeger app and browse from over 1600 recipes and control the temperature according to your chosen recipe.
The grill also features a pellet sensor notifying the user of low pellet levels beforehand for uninterrupted grilling, cooking, smoking, etc. It comes with meat probes that monitor the temperature of the meat without having to open the grill.
If you are looking for something portable but a little larger than the Traeger Pro 575, then the Traeger Ironwood 885 is ideal for you.
- Construction: Powder-coated steel exterior and porcelain-coated steel cooking grates.
- Temperature Range: up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cooking space: 885 Square Inches
- Pellet hopper capacity: 20 lbs
- Warranty: 3 years
- Extra Features: TurboTemp, all-terrain wheels, D2 controller, super smoke mode, double-wall insulation, grill tools and hooks, and porcelain-coated grilling grates.
- It features the WiFire technology that takes remote temperature controlling and monitoring to the next level.
- With the Traeger Ironwood 885, you can grill anytime and in any season, as it features double-wall insulation that helps control and regulate the temperature.
- It features a pellet sensor that informs the user of low pellet levels and when it is time to refill the pellet hopper for optimal ease of use.
- The D12 controller makes it easy to control the temperature and maintain it at the desired temperature.
- If you like an extra smoky flavor, you can use the Super Smoke Mode to get that extra level of smokiness in your meat.
- It also features a magnetic hopper clean-out that makes it easy to use, clean, and maintain.
- The grill features an optimal combination of Turbo Temp and convection fans to ensure the grill heats faster and reaches the desired temperature quicker.
- The grill does not get hot enough to grill and sear meat optimally.
3. Traeger Timberline 850
The Traeger Timberline 850 is perfect for those looking for something compact with a large cooking surface area. It features three-tiered stainless-steel cooking racks that allow you to cook up a feast for a large number of people all in one go.
The D2 Direct Drive allows you to heat the grill quickly, and TurboTemp allows you to reach the desired temperature as quickly and efficiently as possible.
It is the ideal hassle-free and easy-to-use grill for all barbecue lovers out there.
- Construction: Powder-coated steel exterior and stainless-steel cooking grates
- Temperature Range: up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cooking space: 850 square inches
- Pellet hopper capacity: 24 lbs.
- Warranty: 3 year
- Extra Features: D2 controller, fully insulated body, magnetic bamboo cutting board included, TurboTemp, super smoke mode, grill tool hooks, all-terrain wheels, etc.
- The Traeger 850 features the WiFire technology that allows you to access over 1600 recipes and set automatic temperature control accordingly.
- The D2 Direct Control, TurboTemp, and convection fan combination allow for easy temperature control and maintenance.
- It comes with meat probes that notify you of the meat temperature without checking on the meat manually.
- It features the automatic pellet sensor notifying the user of low pellet levels and prompting a refill for unhindered cooking.
- You can grill all year round with its fully insulated body and not have to worry about temperatures dropping or rising more than they should.
- The grill features three tiers of stainless-steel racks providing the user plenty of room for cooking up a feast for a substantial amount of people.
- You can also use the super smoke mode for the ultimate smoky flavor.
- The keep-warm mode allows you to keep the food warm without overcooking it as you tend to other preparations.
- You will have to adjust the heat vents and monitor the temperature, especially when slow-cooking meat. The temperature can rise to higher than desired temperatures if left unattended for long.
4. Tailgater Portable Pellet Grill
If you are looking for portable pellet grills, the Tailgater Portable Pellet Grill is ideal for you. It features the main grilling area of around 300 square inches, which is pretty decent as far as portable grills go.
It comes with a digital thermometer, easily foldable legs, all-terrain wheels, a keep warm mode, and plenty of other features that make it the perfect travel companion.
- Construction: powder-coated steel exterior and porcelain-coated steel cooking grate material.
- Temperature Range: up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cooking space: 300 square inches
- Pellet hopper capacity: 8 lbs.
- Warranty: 3 years
- Extra Features: keep warm mode, foldable legs, sturdy construction, and optimal temperature control.
- The smart digital controller allows you to increase or decrease the temperature in smaller 5-degree increments, so you don’t end up overcooking your food.
- It features a smart grease drain mechanism that makes cleaning the product extremely easy.
- The foldable legs and all-terrain wheels make portability a breeze.
- You can even take the grill to professional barbecue events and grill up quite a few burgers in one go.
- The grill features an auto-start system that immediately gets the grill heating up to the desired temperature at the push of a button.
- It features a keep food warm function that keeps the food hot without overcooking it, making it ideal for picnics and outdoor excursions.
- You will have to keep an eye on the meat and the temperature, especially when cooking at higher temperatures.
Complete Brand Comparison – Pit Boss vs. Traeger
Pit Boss Brand Overview & History
Pit Boss is one of Traeger’s biggest competitors in the market as providers of more affordable grills. Dan Thiessen, the founder of Pit Boss, started the company in 1999 as a Dansons Inc subsidiary.
The company is based in Alberta and produces a wide range of high-quality, heavy-duty grills. It offers a wide range of options for all kinds of barbecue lovers, including families, party hosts, and even professional chefs.
Traeger Brand Overview & History
Traeger is quite literally the pioneer of pellet grills. The founder of the company, Joe Traeger, first started experimenting with wood-burning stoves and his experimentation led to the creation of the first pellet grill in 1985. Traeger patented the design the following year and continued to dominate the market for over twenty years, including ten years after its biggest competitor, Pit Boss, joined the race in 1996.
It was not until the patent expired in 2006 that many other competitors entered the competition. However, Traeger continues to rule the market producing grills worth over $300 million annually. The company started in Oregon but moved to Salt Lake City in 2014 after Jeremy Andrus, the company’s current CEO, joined the business.
In a historic turn of events, both companies, Pit Boss and Traeger, have joined hands to work together on pellet grill brands. Whatever these two bring forth, you can guarantee that it will be the best of the best in terms of quality, performance, and pricing.
Pit Boss vs. Traeger Pellet Grills – What You Should Know Before You Buy
Pit Boss and Traeger are two of the most popular pellet grill brands in the market, so choosing between the two won’t be easy. However, if you want to choose between the two, you need first to identify what you are looking for. There are many types of grills available in the market, but not all of them will be ideal for you and your requirements.
Freestanding Vs. Built-In Pellet Grills
Most pellet grills are freestanding and portable, allowing the user to move them around the backyard for ease of use. Some portable ones also come with a battery pack that will enable you to take them on camping trips and picnics and enjoy an excellent barbecue with a beautiful view. They also feature side shelves for additional storage and are complete units with all the fixtures and features you could need for a functional kitchen.
You can also opt for a built-in pellet cooker if you want to create a beautiful outdoor kitchen. Built-in pellet grills are slightly more expensive as most of them fall under the luxury category. They are a functional installation in your outdoor kitchen, and some of them even have drop-down islands and slide-out shelves for ease of use.
Pellet Grills or Vertical Pellet Smokers?
Pellet grills and pellet smokers are two terms that are often used interchangeably. However, they are two entirely different pieces of equipment.
Where pellet grills can cook in just about any way possible, vertical pellet smokers are specially designed for low and slow cooking.
If you want that slow-roasted barbecued rib or prime cut steak, the vertical smoker is ideal for you. But if you want a smoky chargrilled burger, a pellet grill might be a better option for you.
Non-PID Vs. PID Vs. PID-Plus Controllers
The controller isn’t something that only helps you increase or decrease the temperature; it also controls the number of pellets consumed when the griller is in use. PID stands for Proportional Integral Derivative, and these controllers ensure better pellet consumption efficiency than regular Non-PID controllers.
PID-plus controllers are the most efficient as they are the most technologically advanced controllers so far. However, they are also quite expensive and are only really available on some high-end grillers.
You should know what your pellet grill runs on so that you may arrange for an energy source. Most pellet grills require an electricity source as they use electricity to combust pellets that cook the meat.
You will have to place yours close to a power source unless you have a portable griller that runs on battery backup, in which case you will have to ensure you have spare batteries with you at all times.
You want your grill to be functional all year round. Thus, you should look into the kind of insulation on the body.
You want to make sure you get a grill with double insulation so that you don’t have to worry about temperatures dropping in winters or rising excessively in summers.
Pellet Grill Class
There are four basic pellet grills on the market; luxury, premium, practical, and economy. As the name suggests, luxury and premium are high-end grills with many features that the economy may not offer. However, the latter two are easier on the pocket.
Choosing the right pellet grill class largely depends on your budget first and your requirements second. If you are looking for something that will give you the full functionality of a chef’s kitchen, allowing you to host parties, then the luxury and premium class may be ideal for you.
You can also find decent grills in the practical and economy grills category. They won’t provide the same level of benefits that the premium and luxury models do, but they will grill and smoke your food alright. You may experience some issues with temperature control or the build-quality, but you can consider economy and practical class grills for everyday use.
Though we’ve put the budget in last, it is the first and foremost consideration for many people. It all boils down to buying the best that you can afford.
We suggest that you look at pellet grills as a long-term investment and stretch your budget if need be. You don’t want to end up with a low-quality grill that will give in to external wear and tear, have trouble maintaining temperature, consume pellets inefficiently, increasing long-term costs, and not smoke the food properly.
When it comes to price, Pit Boss takes the cake. Over the years, it has built a reputation for providing high-quality grills at a lower price than its competitor Traeger.
You can expect to find a Pit Boss for around $500 to $700, with $700 being the most expensive one. If you are looking for a portable option, you can expect an even lower price.
On the other hand, Traeger grills start from around $600, and here we are talking about one of their basic models. If you want a high-end grill from Traeger, you can expect to pay anywhere between $1,500 to $2,000.
Both companies produce high-quality grills, but if we are to compare the two, Pit Boss loses the race by just a couple of points. Both companies have some fully insulated and some semi-insulated models to suit different budgets.
They are made of heavy-duty steel and though they are solid, are not as weather resistant.
Traeger uses powder-coated steel that ensures long-lasting durability and makes it the perfect outdoor grill.
Here choosing between the two companies may prove difficult as they both place the necessary emphasis on temperature control on most of their models.
Pit Boss allows you to control the temperature and increase it in 25-degree Fahrenheit increments, which may be an issue for those looking for better temperature control. However, the brand has an edge where insulation is concerned as it provides insulated blankets for almost all their models, meaning you don’t have to purchase them as an expensive add-on.
Traeger, on the other hand, does not provide insulation blankets with every model. Some of the basic models only have a single steel layer body. It also has models with double-wall insulation, and it sells the insulation blanket that fits most models and keeps the temperature stable.
Traeger has the edge over Pit Boss, where the temperature controller is concerned. It allows you to increase the temperature in increments of 15 degrees Fahrenheit, giving the user better control over the cooking temperature.
Most pellet grills max out at 400-degree Fahrenheit, meaning they never get hot enough to grill food. However, most Pit Boss and Traeger grills can get hot up to 500-degree Fahrenheit.
Pit Boss has the edge over Traeger, as with their removable sear plate, you can get the beautifully seared crust over meat. It also ensures optimal moisture retention and helps give you perfectly barbecued and smoked meat.
Traeger grills go up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, but they don’t have the open flame grilling capacity and lose to Pit Boss in terms of the temperature range.
Both companies have various models offering different cooking sizes. You can find one that suits your requirements from either brand.
Pit Boss may be a better option as its vertical cooking design, allowing you to cook for a larger number of people, even on a smaller grill.
Traeger is also an excellent option, but it has a larger footprint because of its horizontal model, which may not be ideal for those with limited space.
Pellet Hopper Capacity
Hopper capacity is another important consideration as it determines how many times you will have to refill pellets. Pit Boss generally has a larger hopper capacity than Traeger.
Most models have 55 pounds hopper capacity.
Most models have 18 pounds hopper capacity.
Warranty is an essential consideration for many buyers. Here, Pit Boss wins over Traeger as it offers a more extended warranty period.
Pit Boss offers a standard 5-year warranty for all their pellet grills.
Traeger offers a standard 3-year warranty for all its products.
When it comes to extra features, Traeger has stepped up its game and offers much more than the standard installations, such as locks and pellet purge doors and clean-out hatches.
Mostly standard features
WiFire Technology, Super Smoke Mode, Turbo Temp, exhaust system, low pellet alarm system, and more.
Pit Boss vs. Traeger – Who’s The Winner?
In the Pit Boss vs. Traeger comparison, there is no clear winner here as there are various factors that will affect your choice.
If value for money is what you are looking for, Pit Boss is the one for you.
But if budget is not a restriction, and you want the top-of-the-line features and long-lasting sturdy built, then look into Traeger.
If you are looking for more comparison’s check out our head-to-head comparison of Pit Boss vs Z Grills!
Related: Looking for great smoky flavor check out our review of Camp Chef Pellets. They offer a wide range of tasty flavors and are some of the best wood pellets you can use in your pellet grill.
Is Pit Boss better than Traeger?
Pit Boss is a better option than Traeger for those with budget restrictions. However, if you are looking for a bunch of extra features and can afford a higher price point you might want to consider Traeger.
Is Pit Boss made by Traeger?
Pit Boss is not made by Traeger. They are two different companies. However, the two have recently joined hands to create Louisiana grills and some other products together.