It’s kind of fitting that the wood pellet grill boom just keeps going and going — as long as the grills themselves have fuel and a power supply, they too will press on without hesitation. And when you think about it, that’s the beauty of pellet grills: they’re the truest set-it-and-forget-it outdoor cookers on the market, the ideal mix of technology and wood-fired flavor. You know you want to get on the pellet grill train as it barrels ahead toward carefree cookouts, but which line should you board?
Traeger, as you may already know, is unquestionably the leading brand for this fuel type. Their founder pioneered the very concept of pellet grilling, and the company hasn’t taken a step back since its original patent expired in 2006. However, that event led to new takes on the pellet grill, and now Traeger is often pitted against competing brands. Pit Boss is one of the top competitors, and we often field questions about how it stacks up against the mighty Traeger. We suspect that’s why you’re here — wonder what gave that away? — so let’s get on to our Traeger and Pit Boss comparison!
Brand Overview & History
Joe Traeger created the first wood-fired pellet grill in 1985 after experimenting with wood-burning stoves, earning the coveted patent a year later and selling the first model in 1988. His family-run company went unchallenged for nearly 20 years before selling in 2006, the same year Traeger’s patent expired and others brand entered the game. Traeger (the brand) eventually relocated from Oregon to Salt Lake City, Utah, where it continued to cement itself as the leading pellet grill manufacturer. Traeger (the man) later collaborated with Dansons, which interestingly sells Pit Boss pellet smokers.
- The original and best-selling pellet grill brand
- Tremendous versatility for all outdoor cooking needs
- Easy-to-use controls and effortless operation
- Creates amazing wood-fired flavor in every meal
- One of the most value-packed cookers on the market
In 1999, Dan Thiessen and sons Jeff and Jordan founded Dansons to convert sawmill waste into a reliable energy source. Dansons soon became one of Traeger’s biggest competitors in the pellet grill industry, with subsidiaries Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills offering alternatives at various price points. As referenced in Traeger’s adjacent overview, Dansons ultimately worked with Joe Traeger in an unlikely joining of forces. Pitt Boss remains Dansons’ lower-end pellet grill line that has carved out a niche among BBQ chefs seeking greater affordability without sacrificing the low-and-slow experience.
- One of Traeger’s biggest challengers at a competitive price
- Vertical configuration and stylish finishes offer a different take on the pellet grill
- Digital control board makes these pellet smokers easy to use
- Porcelain-coated cooking grids provide durability for years
- Delivers great flavor and convenience
Pit Boss vs. Traeger: A Few Smoking Similarities
Every pellet grill or smoker has a digital controller for temperature and fuel management, with little variation among models. These controllers include a knob or other device for inputting preset temperatures, a digital display for real-time heat readouts, and usually a temperature probe or two for monitoring the internal temperature of meat. All you have to do is input what you want, and the pellet grill churns out delicious food every time. No wonder you’re trying to narrow down your pellet grill search!
Ease of Use
Joe Traeger was really onto something with that patent. Both the modern iterations of his creation and competitors like Pit Boss make outdoor cooking astoundingly easy: fill the grill’s hopper with pellets, plug it into a power source, set the temperature as desired, then let the machinery do its thing. No fighting with charcoal or worrying about gas leaks — pellet grills come close to literally running themselves. It’s this user-friendliness that makes Traeger and Pit Boss pellet smokers ideal for both novices and grill masters.
Which Is Better: Traeger vs. Pit Boss Key Differences
This section is a little more difficult to parse because differences are usually model-dependent within individual brands. For example, the Traeger Ironwood Series differs from the Traeger Pro Series, so it’s harder to call out overarching discrepancies at the manufacturer level. So instead of getting bogged down in specifics, we’ve looked at some of the broader aspects and compared them from a thousand-foot view. Remember that we’re painting with a broad brush here; for greater detail, you’ll need to check out the specific models listed below.
|Compatibility with smart devices
Google Home, Amazon Alexa
572–1,300 sq. inches
721 or 1,851 sq. inches
|Pellet Hopper Capacity
35 or 60 lbs
|Pellet Hopper Cleanout
5 years (limited)
Temperature Control | Traeger Takes the Win
Steady heat is arguably the most critical factor when gauging a wood pellet smoker’s performance. Aside from the effectiveness of the temperature controller, a grill’s insulation goes a long way toward determining how well it maintains consistent heat levels over low-and-slow cooks. Pit Boss Copperhead pellet smokers have double-walled, cold-rolled steel smoking chambers that efficiently trap heat and smoke, while Traeger Timberline and Ironwood grills also boast double-walled insulation (most of the lower-end Pro Series doesn’t). Traeger, however, earns a slight edge in temperature control with smaller increment settings and more precise heat management for the duration of cooks. There’s also the matter of Wi-Fi compatibility with phone apps and other smart devices for mobile grill control, which Traeger features and Pit Boss doesn’t.
Cooking Area | Pit Boss Notches a Win
That right amount of cooking space for you depends on the number of people you usually cook for, but we can still objectively compare what each brand offers. Pit Boss’ Copperhead 7 Series is the largest by far at 1,815 square inches when all 6 racks are in use, while more compact Copperhead 3 models offer 721 square inches of space. Freestanding Traeger pellet grills, meanwhile, range from 1,300 to 572 square inches with a wider variety of options available within the 3 main series (Traeger’s smallest portable grill has just 184 square inches of cooking area). If you’re looking for the biggest cooking area, Pit Boss is the way to go; if you need something in the middle range, one of Traeger’s pellet grills is more likely to meet your exact needs. But because we can’t account for your desired amount of cooking space, Pit Boss gets the nod on maximum area.
Temperature Range | Traeger by a Hair
Smoking typically occurs in the 225°F–275°F range, and both brands have you taken care of on the low end. On the high end, Pit Boss Copperhead smokers top out at 450°F, the same as the Traeger Pro Series and 50°F lower than Timberline and Ironwood models. It’s a fairly negligible difference considering every series mentioned here reaches traditional “grilling” temperatures and none allows direct-flame access for true grilling, but we can’t deny that Traeger has a greater temperature range.
Construction | Traeger Stands Tall
Great pellet grills, just like the grill masters operating them, love to work hard and play hard. In addition to general durability, quality construction helps ensure even heating and evenly cooked food. All Traeger pellet smokers are solidly built, with materials ranging from powder-coated steel to the 304-grade stainless steel found along the interior of Timberline models. Pit Boss’ painted steel is a minor step down, though its high-heat coating and porcelain-coated cooking grates are useful additions to shore up construction.
Pellet Hopper | Pit Boss on Capacity, Traeger on Features
Though pellet grills are modern marvels of cooking convenience, you’re still responsible for making sure they have enough fuel. A larger-capacity hopper is one that needs refueling less often, freeing you up to enjoy your company or some quiet time on the patio. So, how do Traeger and Pit Boss stack up in this regard? Traeger pellet smokers have hopper capacities ranging from 18 to 24 lbs.; the Pit Boss Copperhead 7 checks in at 60 lbs., and the Copperhead 3 pellet grill can hold 35 lbs. of pellets. Hard to argue with those numbers, though most Traegers feature a hopper cleanout system for easy emptying and a built-in pellet sensor so you’re always on top of fuel levels. Pit Boss, meanwhile, offers only a side window for at-a-glance pellet monitoring.
Warranty | Pit Boss Comes out on Top
Whether you want your wood pellets flavored in potent hickory or sweet cherry, nobody likes investing in cooking equipment that just can’t go the distance. Choosing a BBQ grill with solid, dependable warranty coverage offers you confidence that you won’t have to incur any additional costs if the product doesn’t work as expected — especially if that grill suddenly needs costly repairs (or an outright replacement). Here’s where they stand: Traeger gives a 3-year warranty on materials and workmanship, and Pit Boss pellet grills carry a 5-year limited warranty against defects in workmanship on all parts and electrical components. If warranty is a major factor for you, then the 2 additional years of guaranteed coverage from Pit Boss might be enough to sway you in that direction.
Top Traeger Pellet Grills & Smokers
Traeger makes its (sometimes literal) bacon with 3 main series: Timberline, Ironwood, and Pro pellet grills. We’ll run down each product line, calling out the key features and benefits while showcasing the largest models from their respective series. That way, you can have a snapshot of the entire Traeger collection as you continue to make comparisons with Pit Boss.
Traeger Timberline Series
As Traeger’s top-of-the-line pellet grill series, the Timberline delivers in every way imaginable. There’s the D2 direct drive keeping temperatures locked on your target, the double-walled interior made of commercial-grade stainless steel, WiFire controls for smart devices, a rock-solid chassis design, and much more. Both the 1300 and 850 models also feature 3 tiers of adjustable cooking grates along with a pellet hopper that holds up 24 lbs. of fuel for all-day smokes.
- 304-grade stainless steel interior is double-walled for superior heat retention
- D2 direct drive dynamically delivers more power and flavor than ever before
- WiFIRE technology lets you control the grill from smartphones and other devices
- Super Smoke Mode bathes your food in even more mouthwatering smoke
- Adjustable, 3-tiered stainless steel cooking grates let you customize your smoker
- Extra-large pellet hopper includes a low-pellet sensor so you never miss a beat
Traeger Ironwood Series
Traeger’s Ironwood Series represents a massive upgrade from the brand’s Pro line, with 2 sizes (885 and 650 square inches of cooking space) and 20 lbs. of hopper capacity for your enjoyment. That means all-day cooks for the whole family, with a D2 direct drive drivetrain seamlessly powering the pellet smoker. Throw in rugged durability and Traeger’s WiFIRE controller that pairs with smartphones, and you’ve got an all-around Premium pellet smoker ready for any challenge.
- Double side-walled interior adds durability and enhances heat retention
- Super Smoke Mode turns up delicious smoky flavor at the push of a button
- Innovative D2 direct drive plays a role in the grill’s durability and high efficiency
- WiFIRE technology syncs the grill with your smartphone for wireless control
- Built-in pellet sensor keeps you locked in on fuel levels during cooks
- All-terrain wheels let you use the smoker on any surface
Traeger Pro Series
The base Traeger pellet grill series has plenty to love, from easy-to-use controls and impressive cooking versatility to powder-coated steel construction. This Traeger line is the most varied — some models include WiFIRE compatibility and the D2 direct drive, while others have fewer frills yet still live up to the Traeger name. With a variety of sizes and price points to choose from, you’re bound to find something that suits your needs among the Traeger Pro pellet smokers.
- User-friendly features and simple controls for an effortless cooking experience
- Some models have Wi-Fi compatibility for greater operating convenience
- Pellet hopper holds 18 lbs. of fuel, enough to see you through long smoke sessions
- Hopper cleanout system lets you change flavors on the fly
- Locking caster wheels give you confidence when moving around the backyard
- Porcelain-enameled steel grates offer plenty of cooking space
Traeger vs. Pit Boss: Which Pellet Grill Is Better?
If you haven’t caught on by now, we believe both Traeger and Pit Boss are great pellet grill brands. Each brings a desirable mix of quality, performance, and features fit for low-and-slow BBQ chefs who prioritize convenience and wood-fired flavor. It’s not an easy choice, but we give a slight nod to Traeger for its reputation as the original pellet grill manufacturer and wider array of models at various price points. Traeger’s higher-end models specifically continue resetting the bar this product category. That being said, Pit Boss is an excellent budget pellet grill that may be a more practical choice depending on what you’re looking to spend.
Need more help figuring out whether Traeger or Pit Boss is the better pellet grill for you? Our grilling experts can help! Give them a call at 1-844-452-9775 and they’ll walk you through everything to consider when deciding which pellet grill works best for your outdoor cooking needs.
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