Anyone considering buying a pellet grill will be familiar with Traeger and Pit Boss. As two of the market’s leading pellet grill manufacturers, it’s almost impossible to avoid them altogether.
While both have loyal followers in the pellet grill industry, it can be challenging to find an accurate comparison between the two quality pellet grill brands. It can also be easy to forget that the best pellet grill won’t be the same for everyone as every griller has their preferences and ideas of what makes a pellet grill great.
Here’s a Pit Boss vs Traeger guide with a list of their differences so that you can decide which one is best for you.
Overview of Traeger Pellet Grills
As the innovator behind the original wood pellet grill, Traeger is not to be overlooked as a grill manufacturer. This brand was started in 1985 and was the brand that brought us the set and forget feature that is now so common on grills. After patenting the first Traeger grill design in 1986, it wasn’t until 2006 that other brands could start to incorporate the set and forget feature, setting Traeger up as the only brand to offer it for 20 years.
Traeger is now based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and even though other grills now boast the set and forget feature, the 20-year monopoly that Traeger had still keeps the brand strong. Traeger sells over $300 million in grills every year and has remained one of the top brands since its start.
Overview of Pit Boss Grills
Started in 1999, Pit Boss Grills was one of Traeger’s only real competitors for years. Presenting its grills as a high quality yet affordable option, Pit Boss is a brand that’s been well-loved by budget grillers and outdoor cooking enthusiasts since its start.
Although the Pit Boss brand was originally started in Alberta, Canada, it is now based in Phoenix and offers several different types of grills: pellet grills, gas grills, combo pellet and gas grills, charcoal grills, and smokers.
Interestingly enough, Joe Traeger (who started the Traeger grill company) started working with Pit Boss in 2018.
How Do They Compare: Traeger Versus Pitboss
There are some significant differences between the two brands that are worth noting. Even though the two brands target slightly different budgets, we’ll compare them without taking this into account every time. After all, the most expensive grill doesn’t always mean it’s the best for the quality and features offered.
Both brands emphasize on creating grills that will last for years on a balcony or in the backyard, but they do construct their grills in different ways.
Pit Boss grills tend to use either 14-gauge steel when building their grills. This makes them strong, heavyweight pellet grills that are built to last. Not every Pit Boss pellet grill is stainless steel, though the brand does offer some that come with the possibility of stainless steel.
Traeger uses a stainless steel and powder-coated steel mix to build their grills. Their mid-range grills have double insulated sidewalls, while their top-range grills have double insulations around the whole pellet grill. This helps with heat retention and makes them more robust.
When it comes to fit and finish, Traeger has a more consistent approach with more features and a more robust appearance. Pit Boss grills do have some powerful and impressive features, but the brand isn’t as consistent. For some models, you’ll have to pay extra for certain features.
Temperature Range and Control
Both brands have similar temperature ranges, with a maximum of 500 degrees Fahrenheit for all their grills.
One common complaint with pellet grills is that you can’t sear. Pit Boss has found a workaround for this problem by including a sliding panel on most pellet grills in their range. When you open the panel, you’ll have direct flame access that will sear your meat through slits just like on other pellet grill types.
In terms of control, Pit Boss grills are lacking. While their models have an easy-to-adjust temperature control knob, it only goes up in 25-degree increments, but not always. The current lineup is this: 200, 225, 250, 300, 350, 400, 450, 475. The inconsistency between controls can be frustrating if you want to grill at a temperature that isn’t available.
Traeger’s temperature control knob moves at 5 degree increments and does not skip certain temperatures. This allows for much more precision and control over your grilling temperature.
A big concern pellet grill buyers have is the available square inches of cooking space. Cooking space will naturally vary from model to model, no matter which brand you choose.
Traeger and Pit Boss offer grills with several racks for lots of grilling or small portable pellet grills with minimal cooking surface area. While Pit Boss does tend to have more vertical cooking space available, both brands have models with plenty of grilling room.
The hopper capacity is crucial as you don’t want to spend most of your time worrying about having to refill it. Since a hopper bag is typically about 20 pounds, this is the ideal size. With a 20-pound hopper, you can dump a bag in and not worry about resealing or storing the excess.
This being said, Traeger models have varying hopper sizes: 18 pounds, 20 pounds, or 24 pounds. Only the 20-pound hopper is convenient as an 18-pound one will leave you with very little left in your bag, and the 24-pound hopper means opening a new bag just to top off your pellet grill. You don’t have to fill the 24-pound hopper all the way up, though, and you can just empty a 20-pound bag and leave the space empty.
Pit Boss hoppers come in different sizes as well: 5, 20, 31, and 55. Since the 5-pound hopper is for their portable pellet grill, this isn’t necessarily a disadvantage. The 20-pound hopper is the perfect size for a single bag, while the 31-pound is easy enough as it’s a bag and a half.
The 55-pound hopper is bordering on too big for most people. You’ll need two full hopper bags plus 15 pounds from a third just to fill it up, leaving you with a slightly inconvenient bag.
Since Pit Boss has the most convenient hopper sizes overall, they do get the points here. Unfortunately, two of the three sizes offered by Traeger grills leave you with awkwardly full (or empty) bags, whereas only one of the Pit Boss hopper sizes is inconvenient.
The final point of argument between these two is the price. Pit Boss is focused on affordability and tends to offer lower-priced grills, while Traeger pellet grills will usually cost upwards of $600.
It is worth noting that Traeger grills offer more features and control over your grilling while Pit Boss is a bit more limited. If you’re picky about your pellet grill settings or want more flexibility over how you cook, the price of a Traeger pellet grill may be worth it.
If you’re looking for a high quality grill and don’t need top-notch features, a Pit Boss grill may seem more worth the price.
Both Traeger and Pit Boss are top-quality brands and make popular pellet grills. They have a variety of sizes to meet just about any of your grilling needs, but since they both target different budget ranges, the features offered by each brand are very different.
When it comes to Pit Boss vs Traeger, you have to decide what’s most crucial when buying a pellet grill. If you want an affordable pellet grill, Pit Boss is best. If you want the latest features and precise control, Traeger will give you the top pellet grills. It’s all about what you want from your pellet grill and what you’re willing to pay for it.