Traeger smoker grill

Gregg Maxwell Parker

It's been estimated that each year, Americans consume 13 billion hamburgers. If laid end to end, that's enough to circle the world 32 times.

Traeger brand smokers for backyard grill masters

The best-tasting BBQ meat is slow-cooked over wood that produces flavorful smoke. However, maintaining the right temperature and keeping the fire going requires a lot of know-how and constant attention. A lot of people opt for charcoal or propane grills, which don’t offer the same taste but are easier to use. 

If you prefer wood to charcoal but want the consistency of digital temperature control, Traeger offers a solution. Their grills work with pellets, making it easy to experiment with flavors and manage how much wood is being used at a time. Regardless of whether you want to feed a family reunion or take a portable option to a tailgate, Traeger probably has one that’s the perfect size for you. 

What you’ll need to get started with a Traeger smoker grill

Because Traeger grills use the brand’s proprietary pellets, you’ll need a reliable source of them. You can try any of the standard types of wood, like cherry, mesquite or hickory and can even blend them until you find a flavor you like. One drawback of these types of grills is that you can’t use chips meant for traditional smokers, but luckily there are a lot of pellets out there, and they’re much easier to store than logs.

One crucial accessory is a grill cover. You can find one that matches the model you’re buying so you can keep it safe from the elements. The company also offers pellet bins, chicken thrones and other items to make grilling easier. What you’ll need depends on what you’re making and whether you plan to carve and serve outdoors or indoors. The best Traeger models have quality thermometers, so pick your grill before deciding if you need a wireless meat thermometer.

The best high-end Traeger smoker grills

Ironwood 885: available at Amazon, Wayfair and Home Depot

The insulated walls of the Ironwood 885 ensure consistency of temperature regardless of the weather outside, and since you can connect it to the Traeger app, you’ll be able to monitor the pellet level remotely. You can grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise or barbecue, and even use voice control with Alexa.

Timberline 1300: available at Home Depot

The brand’s biggest offering is a colossal 1,300 square inches, with enough cooking space for up to 12 chickens or 15 racks of ribs. It has three tiers of stainless-steel grates, but the hopper is still the same 20 pound-size as the Ironwood 885. It’s worth the extra cost if you plan to host some large shindigs where you’ll need a whole lot of meat, but most users can get away with a smaller model.

Ironwood 650: available at Amazon and Wayfair 

The Ironwood 650 offers the same smart home capability as the 885 and the same size hopper in a more compact and lightweight frame. You won’t be able to smoke quite as many ribs, but if you plan to keep this in the garage and wheel it out when you’re using it, the fact that it’s 26 pounds lighter will come in handy.

Pro Series 780: available at Amazon, Wayfair and Home Depot

A slight step down from the Ironwood Series is the Pro Series, which offers smaller hoppers and lacks the double side-wall insulation and exhaust systems of fancier models. However, the 780 still offers Wi-Fi control, 780 square inches of grilling area and is available in two colors for much less than the smaller Ironwood 650, making this a great money-saver for those who can live without a few high-end features.

Timberline 850: available at Home Depot

The Timberline 850 is similar in size to the Ironwood 885 but has a few additions like stainless steel grates and a cutting board. Are these things worth spending several hundred dollars more for roughly the same amount of cooking volume? Probably not, but if you find it on sale, this is a solid grill worth having.

The best mid-range Traeger smoker grills

Pro Series 575: available at Amazon, Wayfair and Home Depot

A smaller version of the 780, this reasonably priced grill still offers the ability to control it with Alexa or your smartphone via the Traeger app. At 128 pounds, it isn’t too bulky to be moved, so it’s possible to put it in the bed of a truck and take it with you to a family function or on an outdoor vacation.

Pro Series 34: available at Amazon and Home Depot

Not everyone needs Wi-Fi connectivity in their smokers, and consumers can save a bit of money with the Pro Series 34, which offers great features like dual meat temperature probes that let you know how your cook is coming without opening the lid. With 884 square inches of cooking area, it’s quite inexpensive for what you’re getting, so long as you can do without the advanced capabilities of Traeger’s high-end models.

Pro Series 22: available at Amazon and Home Depot

This one provides 572 square inches of grilling area for less money than the Pro Series 575, and it’s lightweight at only 103 pounds. However, it’s not so much less expensive as to completely make up for what you’re missing out on. If you think you might use features like smartphone control or the extra insulation of the Ironwood or Timberline series, it’s probably worth it to spend a little more to get them, since this is a major purchase and something you’ll hopefully be using a lot.

The best budget-friendly Traeger smoker grills

Ranger: available at Amazon 

A portable electric version of Traeger’s popular smokers, the Ranger features an 8-pound pellet hopper, a cast iron griddle and a keep warm mode so you can make sure nothing gets cold as you’re waiting to serve. The capacity and temperature control aren’t amazing, but the ability to take it to a party or picnic gives this one solid value.

Tailgater: available at Amazon 

At just 62 pounds and standing 3 feet tall, this is a great choice for the activity that gives it its name. With 300 square inches of cooking space, you can prepare all sorts of favorites in the stadium parking lot and then fold the legs up when it’s time to pack the car to go home. While a little pricey for its size, anyone planning to haul a grill back and forth to football games every week probably doesn’t want anything bigger. 

Scout: available at Amazon 

The smallest and least expensive option in Traeger’s arsenal won’t exactly shock anyone with its capacity and capabilities, but if you live in an apartment, lack a patio or simply want something to learn on, this will allow you to experiment with smoky wood flavors without cooking for an army or spending an arm and a leg. At just 45 pounds, it’s no trouble to put away and take out when you need it.

Gregg Maxwell Parker 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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