Pit Boss vs. Camp Chef vs. Traeger pellet grill

From bestreviews.com
Tammy Tilley

Pit Boss, Camp Chef or Traeger pellet grill: Which one should I buy?

Pellet grills recently have become one of most popular outdoor appliances, but a quick online search on which pellet grill to buy can yield more confusion than enthusiasm, given the vast amount of pellet grills available at varying price points.

Three of the biggest manufacturers of pellet grills are Pit Boss, Camp Chef and Traeger. While these three brands share the science of pellet grilling, they do have their differences.

By learning what to look for in a quality pellet grill, you’ll be able to quickly narrow your choices as to which pellet grill works best for your grilling style and budget.

What is a pellet grill?

A pellet grill is an all-in-one outdoor appliance, either box or barrel-shaped. It combines grilling, smoking, cooking and baking into a single appliance. It uses specially made wooden pellets as its fuel source but is powered by electricity.

Most every pellet grill can be easy to use, given its built-in technology and temperature controls, and some even have pre-programmed cycles.

While a pellet grill can also be used as a smoker, some pellet smokers cannot be used to grill.

A pellet grill can cost as little as $350 and up to $3,000 depending on size, construction materials and added features. 

How does a pellet grill work?

Wood pellets are poured into a hopper. An electric auger pushes the pellets into a cooking chamber that, when ignited, heats and burns the pellets. An intake fan pushes the heat and smoke into the cooking area. The fan is an important feature because it encircles the food with heat and smoke, giving the food its unique flavor.

The chimney enables the smoke to exit while also allowing for airflow.

A pellet grill has an adjustable temperature-control device. Most pellet grills also have built-in probes to monitor the internal temperature of foods being cooked. 

What should I look for in a pellet grill?

The construction quality of a pellet grill determines its longevity. It should be made from strong stainless steel to prevent rust and to better hold heat. Stainless steel should also be the primary material on the interior components, such as the cooking grate.

Consider the size/cooking area. 300 square inches is enough space for four people.

Take note of the size of the pellet hopper. Find one that can hold at least 18 pounds of wood pellets; otherwise, you’re subject to adding pellets more frequently.

Pit Boss pellet grill pros

Pit Boss offers some of the most affordable pellet grill options while sacrificing minimal quality in construction. The company also offers an industry-leading 5-year warranty on all of their pellet grills. Pit Boss features three categories of pellet grills: the Pit Boss Series, the Navigator Series and the Sportsman Series. 

Pit Boss pellet grill cons

Temperatures fluctuate, making cooking more difficult to manage.

Best Pit Boss pellet grills


Pit Boss Sportsman 10532 Wood Pellet Grill: available at Amazon
This model offers 542 square inches of cooking space. It has a dial-in digital control board with LED readout. It has an adjustable flame broiler lever for direct and indirect heat cooking.


Pit Boss 700FB Wood Pellet Grill: available at Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond
This pellet grill contains 700 square inches of cooking space with the capacity to hold 32 burgers. It also has a digital control board and a hopper capacity to hold 21 pounds of pellets.


Pit Boss 1150G Navigator Series Pellet Grill: available at Amazon
This spacious pellet grill provides 1,158 square inches of cooking space. It has a simple slide-plate flame broiler for direct or indirect cooking and comes with a massive 32-pound hopper for holding wood pellets.

Camp Chef pellet grill pros

Camp Chef gets high marks for its temperature range in cooking, boasting heat from 180-750 degrees. Camp Chef is also known for its Slide and Grill technology: turn a knob to bring out a deflector plate over the flame for smoking, and return the deflector plate for direct grilling. Other Camp Chef models offer a sear box for quickly searing steaks or vegetables. 

Camp Chef pellet grill cons

The cooking racks are made from steel wire rather than thick steel or iron. Heat retention is underwhelming.

Best Camp Chef pellet grills


Camp Chef Smoke Pro XT Pellet Grill: available at Home Depot and Kohl’s
This is an entry-level pellet grill, making it easy to use, but it offers added features such as a PID technology that allows for better smoke control. It has an ash cleanout system for easy cleanup.


Camp Chef PG24MZG Smoke Pro Slide & Grill Pellet Grill: available at Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods
While other retailers offer similar models, Amazon offers this grill with a fold-down front shelf. The Slide and Grill technology allows you to shift quickly from indirect smoking to cooking over a direct flame.


Camp Chef Woodwind Wi-Fi 24 Pellet Grill: available at Home Depot
This has all the features of previous Camp Chef offerings, along with a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled controller where you set the timer, change temperatures and receive notifications. Four meat probes help with controlling and maintaining consistent temperature. 

Traeger pellet grill pros

The Traeger brand is the oldest and original brand since Joe Traeger patented the first pellet grill in the mid-1980s.

Traeger offers pellet grills at three different levels. The more advanced lines include Ironwood and Timberline that offer more features than the Pro Series. The best feature is the D2 controller, made to maintain the most precise temperature as you cook. The D2 controller also features Wi-Fi capabilities to remotely monitor time, temperature and shut-off. 

Traeger pellet grill cons

Traeger pellet grill prices tend to be higher than Pit Boss and Camp Chef.

Best Traeger pellet grills


Traeger Pro Series 34 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker: available at Home Depot and Amazon
The Traeger app allows you to connect via Wi-Fi to your grill and monitor its cooking. The D2 drivetrain starts and heats the pellet grill quickly. The digital meat probe ensures perfect doneness. Total cooking space is 575 inches, or five rib racks.


Traeger Ironwood 885 Wi-Fi Pellet Grill and Smoker: available at Home Depot and Amazon
The newer second generation of this grill has all the technological bells and whistles, including voice-activated Alexa. It also has a pellet sensor, downdraft exhaust and a double sidewall interior.


Traeger Timberline 850 Wi-Fi Pellet Grill and Smoker: available at Home Depot
This pellet grill elevates the Ironwood level with even more features, including a concealed grease management system. It has three tiers of stainless steel grates and is fully insulated. Super Smoke mode allows for a more intense smoky flavor.

Which pellet grill should I buy?

Traeger offers a bigger pellet grill selection that includes double-insulated construction. If more Wi-Fi features are a high priority, buy Traeger. Camp Chef offers the most versatile features along with easier portability. If budget is your biggest concern, Pit Boss offers a solid product at an affordable price.

Tammy Tilley is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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