Grilling has a magical effect on foods, elevating basic meat, vegetables, or even fruit into deliciously seared morsels. Investing in a grill is almost always a good idea, but shopping for one can feel overwhelming — even to professional grillers. Besides choosing the right size grill for your needs, you must decide what type of fuel you prefer. Charcoal, gas, electric, and wood pellet grills are popular.
Pit Boss and Traeger are two popular grill brands that use wood pellets to create the intense heat necessary for grilling and smoking. Wood pellet grills provide a level of “set it and forget it” cooking that other grills do not. This degree of user-friendliness is one reason pellet grills and smokers enjoy a dedicated fan club.
Both brands are great at imparting a delicious, wood-fired flavor to your meals, but both brands carry a significant price tag. Join us as we explore the pros and cons of Pit Boss vs. Traeger and reveal which is a better investment. Note that each brand has several different model series, so comparing features on a grill-by-grill basis is best.
Pit Boss is a subsidiary of Dansons, a company founded in 1999 when owner Dan Thiessen and two of his sons decided to turn sawmill waste into a useful energy source. Pit Boss is now one of the top grill manufacturers in the United States. They sell pellet fuel, griddles, cooking accessories, spices, and sauces to support your grill habit.
Pit Boss brands itself as “Bigger. Hotter. Heavier.” The company produces over 20 types of pellet grills, including combination gas/pellet grills that are said to provide a better grilling experience. Pit Boss grills are made of quality stainless or 14-gauge steel and have double walls for reliable heat retention.
Pit Boss Pros
- Grills come in a wide range of sizes, from a small portable grill to a huge one with over 1,800 square inches of cooking surface.
- Grill temperatures on most models range from 165 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Has a sliding panel over the heat deflector that allows flames to sear meat if desired directly.
- Pro Series pellet grills have wireless connectivity, so you can adjust grill settings remotely.
- Has porcelain-coated cooking grates.
- Some models hold up to 60 pounds of pellets.
- Offers a 5-year limited warranty.
Pit Boss Cons
- Temperature can only be adjusted in 25-degree increments.
- The painted steel exterior is less durable than powder-coated steel.
- Only has a window for monitoring pellet fuel levels.
The Traeger company was born in the early 1980s when Joe Traeger and Jerry Whitfield began experimenting with stoves that burned wood pellets. They patented the first pellet grill in 1986. For 20 years, Traeger was the only wood pellet-burning grill manufacturer. Even after other companies began manufacturing pellet grills, Traeger became one of the most popular brands.
Traeger wood pellet grills are made of stainless steel and powder-coated steel. Like Pit Boss, they have double walls for excellent heat retention, even on chilly or windy days.
- The powder-coated steel finish is strong, durable, and better-looking than Pit Boss grills.
- Grill temperatures range from 165 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The temperature is adjustable in five-degree increments.
- Has an integrated “Wi-Fire” feature that allows you to control the grill via smartphone.
- Has a sensor to warn you when pellet levels are getting low.
- Only offers six different sizes of cooking space options. However, most people can find a suitable grill within these parameters.
- Doesn’t sear steaks as well as Pit Boss grills.
- Only holds up to 24 pounds of pellets, so they must be refilled more often.
- Only comes with a 3-year warranty.
And the winner of this grill competition is?
When it comes to finding that perfect grill, you definitely have options. Let's take a closer look at the differences between the two:
- The Traeger is the pricier of the two but has become a favorite. On the other hand, the Pit Boss is more affordable and still has great qualities.
- If having more options is important, the Pit Boss is the pick. However, if that's not a concern, you can choose the Traeger.
- While both grills will seemingly last you a while, the exterior of the Traeger is considerably more durable than that of the Pit Boss.
It’s difficult to name a definite winner in this Pit Boss vs. Traeger battle. Both brands deliver well on producing beautifully grilled or smoked cuisine, but each has its benefits and downfalls.
If quality is the main thing you’re looking for, go with Traeger. Despite facing years of competition from other grill manufacturers, Traeger still takes the lead on overall quality. These grills are favorites of professional grill chefs for a reason.
However, Pit Boss is the winner if you want a slightly more affordable pellet grill for home use. Their expansive range of sizes and features make them a practical choice, especially for smaller households or those new to wood pellet grills.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Mironov Vladimir/Shutterstock.com.