pit boss vs traeger

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Pit Boss vs Traeger – Battle of the Pellet Grills

Pellet grills are outstanding additions to your barbecue repertoire. Their convenience is unmatched, and the flavors you can achieve with high-quality hardwood pellets are unparalleled.

Traeger Grills has been the go-to brand for decades in the pellet grill world. But in the last few years, competitors have emerged.

In the battle of Pit Boss vs Traeger, who will win your heart — and the spot in your backyard?

Let’s compare what these brands have to offer all the way from entry-level models to more expensive and portable units.

Summary of our comparison between Pit Boss and Traeger pellet grills:

Traeger Grills Brand Overview

Traeger created the pellet grill in the 1980s. The idea traced its roots to the oil crisis of the 1970s when alternative fuels were being pondered for home heating.

Pressed hardwood pellets became popular, and their viability as a cooking fuel sparked some creative ideas.

traeger

As Traeger saw it, the advantage was making a grill with a single fuel source. Quality hardwoods could be burned for both fire and flavorful smoke. The plus is that the design is effortless to use — just set the temperature like a home oven.

Wondering why Traeger pellet grills are so popular?

Here is a short video that pretty much sums it up:

Why Traeger is the Best Pellet Grill - Stop Grilling. Start Traegering.

While there is more competition in the pellet grill market today, Traeger still makes some of the best units. They aren’t cheap since these premium grills are made from the best components.

Traeger makes four lines of grills — Timberline, Ironwood, Pro, and Travel. Each series features similar tech but varies in their features and finishing touches.

Traeger is a US-based company, but they no longer make their grills stateside. Instead, most of their grills are made from parts sourced from many contractors, including China.

Pit Boss Grills Brand Overview

One of Traeger’s biggest competitors is Pit Boss. The company is a subsidiary of Dansons Inc and makes a wide range of grills from charcoal to combination fueled models.

They also make some of the best vertical pellet smokers, gas and charcoal grills, griddles, pellets for cooking fuel, spices, sauces, and all sorts of other barbecue accessories.

pit boss

Pit Boss pellet grills are sold in several product lines. There are the Sportsman, Navigator, Mahogany, and Pro series. Each is available in various sizes and with different feature sets.

Pit Boss grills are a great alternative to Traeger, especially when Traeger doesn’t offer quite the right size or combination of features. The Pit Boss lineup has a lot more diversity in shapes and sizes — and prices too.

Are you looking for a pellet grill that can give a proper sear to your steaks?

The specialty of Pit Boss pellet grills is that they can reach higher temperatures than most competitors, including Traeger.

The majority of their models also offer an option for super-high heat searing with open flame. Check out this short video and see how it works in practice:

The Best Steak Searing on Pit Boss Grills with Scott Gervin

While their quality isn’t always quite up there with Traeger, most Pit Boss customers are delighted with their grills.

Comparison of Pit Boss and Traeger Pellet Grills and Smokers

Both companies make similar grill ranges, so let’s take a look a some of the grills that shoppers commonly compare. There are entry-level, mid-range, high-end, and portable pellet grill and smoker options available from Pit Boss and Traeger.

Before we go into more detailed comparisons, here are two charts that will give you a quick overview of the models included in this article:

Pit Boss Pellet Grill Comparison Chart

ModelCooking AreaHopper CapacityPrice
Pit Boss 700FB 700 sq.in21 lbs $$
Pit Boss Navigator 850 879 sq.in28 lbs $$$
Pit Boss Mahogany 150PPS 256 sq.in5 lbs $

Traeger Pellet Grill Comparison Chart

ModelCooking AreaHopper CapacityPrice
Traeger Tailgater 20300 sq.in8 lbs$$
Traeger Pro Series 34884 sq.in 18 lbs$$$
Traeger Ironwood 885885 sq.in 20 lbs$$$$
Traeger Ranger184 sq.in 8 lbs$

Entry-Level Pellet Grills: Pit Boss 700FB vs Traeger Tailgater 20

You don’t have to spend a fortune to try out the pellet grill tech. Both Pit Boss and Traeger make pellet grills that come in under the $500 mark, and both are just right to get you started.

Our pick for an entry-level pellet grill is the Pit Boss 700FB because of its solid overall quality, larger cooking area, and wide temperature range.

If you’re after a sturdy and versatile backyard grill and smoker but don’t want to spend the money on a premium pellet grill, it’s a sound choice.

Traeger isn’t known for its entry-level grills but the Tailgater portable grill is still worth a look. It has all the features of a regular Traeger but in a smaller package — and at a lesser price point.

Pit Boss 700FB pellet grill

Pit Boss 700FB

  • Cooking Area: 700 sq.in
  • Weight: 126 lbs
  • Temp Range: 170 – 500°F
  • Hopper Capacity: 21 lbs
  • Warranty: 5 years

Traeger Tailgater 20 Portable Wood Pellet Grill

Traeger Tailgater 20

  • Cooking Area: 300 sq.in
  • Weight: 62 lbs
  • Temp Range: 180 – 450°F
  • Hopper Capacity: 8 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years

Design and Build Quality

Both the Pit Boss and Traeger pellet grills feature a sturdy traditional barrel design. However, the Traeger has a structure with folding legs which means it takes less space when stored or transported.

The Pit Boss 700FB has a 21-pound hopper, giving it plenty of cooking time. Compared to the Traeger’s small 8-pounder, the Pit Boss is obviously the bigger grill. It tips the scales at almost 120 pounds!

Remember, though, that the Tailgater by Traeger is designed as a portable unit. Its overall weight is only 62 pounds, and with a considerably smaller cooking area, the unit is a much smaller option.

Ease of Use and Maintenance

Just because the grills in this range don’t have the flashiest fully-digital controllers doesn’t mean the cooking experience isn’t extraordinary. While they might not be computerized, these controllers still have digital temperature scales and set-it-and-forget-it style cooking.

The porcelain-coated grates on these grills provide nice sear marks and are easy to clean.

Temperature Range and Control

Both grills feature similar basic dial controllers. The Pit Boss’s temperature ranges from 170 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, while the Traeger’s maximum temperature is 450 degrees.

Cooking Space

As the name suggests, the Pit Boss 700FB has 700 square inches of cooking space. On the other hand, the Traeger’s smaller grate only holds 300 square inches, which is not a lot but is likely sufficient for small gatherings and couples.

Extra Features & Accessories

In this price range, there aren’t many extras to be had. Instead, what you get is a solidly-built grill with the ease of use of a pellet design.

The Pit Boss has one nice thing worth mentioning — it can do open flame searing with temperatures reaching up to 1000°F. This makes it a very versatile cooking machine since there is such a wide variety of temperature options to use.

A neat design feature of the Tailgater is its retractable legs, making storage and transport a lot easier. It also comes with a Keep Warm Mode for maintaining food temperature without overcooking it.

Warranty

Traeger grills are backed by a standard 3-year warranty, while the Pit Boss carries an impressive 5-year warranty.

Mid-Range Pellet Grills: Pit Boss Navigator 850 vs Traeger Pro Series 34

The mid-range models from these two companies bring you bigger grills with a few more features. These are the type of units that are suitable for most backyard chefs and the Traeger Pro Series 34 is one of the most popular pellet grills on the market.

You can’t beat the quality and fit-and-finish of a Traeger Pro 34 at this level, and the Pro Series is an outstanding choice. Where it really shines is the robust overall construction with better insulation and heat retention.

However, the competition here is very tough as both units are very similar when it comes to cooking space, features and price. That being said, the Pit Boss Navigator is also an excellent pellet grill so the choice is a matter of personal preference.

If you are looking for a longer warranty and high-heat searing in addition to smoking, then the Pit Boss is a better option.

Pit Boss Navigator 850 pellet grill

Pit Boss Navigator 850

  • Cooking Area: 879 sq.in
  • Weight: 164 lbs
  • Temp Range: 180 – 500°F
  • Hopper Capacity: 28 lbs
  • Warranty: 5 years

Traeger Pro Series 34 pellet grill

Traeger Pro Series 34

  • Cooking Area: 884 sq.in
  • Weight: 136 lbs
  • Temp Range: 180 – 450°F
  • Hopper Capacity: 18 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years

Design and Build Quality

Both grills are large and well-built. The Pit Boss features a 28-pound hopper, compared to the Traeger’s 18 pounds.

However, the Traeger is built with better insulation and heat retention so it uses less pellets to maintain the heat. The solid built also helps with maintaining the set temperature throughout the cooking session.

Ease of Use and Maintenance

The Pit Boss and Traeger grills have similar dial-in temperature controllers that will maintain the cooking temperatures within a few degrees.

This really makes it so much more effortless to handle recipes that require long smoking times — just set the temperature and the grill will take care of the rest as a fully loaded hopper can last for almost two days on low heat.

These grills are also well-designed for effortless maintenance. They feature an external drip pan and easy to clean design.

Temperature Range and Control

Both grills have a similar cooking range. Traeger can be set anywhere from 180 to 450 degrees — but the Pit Boss can be cranked up to 500 when the mood strikes you.

Cooking Space

The Traeger is slightly larger, but the difference is minimal. With 884 square inches of cooking space, it’s hard to find a meal that won’t fit on this grill. However, that’s only 34 square inches more than the Pit Boss.

Extra Features & Accessories

Both grills come with meat probe thermometers, but the Traeger includes two separate probes.

Like the 700FB, the Navigator 850 also has the capability for high-heat open flame searing. It also comes with a grill cover to protect it from the elements.

Warranty

Same as the entry-level units, the Pit Boss comes with a 5-year warranty, whereas the Traeger has a 3-year coverage period.

Best High-End Pellet Grill: Traeger Ironwood 885

Traeger is known for high-end pellet grills, but Pit Boss focuses on the less-expensive middle-of-the-road models.

As a result, there’s no comparison here — if you’re after a top-of-the-line model, go for the Traeger Ironwood.

Traeger Grills Ironwood 885 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

Specifications:

  • Cooking Area: 885 sq.in
  • Weight: 175 lbs
  • Build Materials: Painted steel, stainless steel, and porcelain-coated grill grates
  • Temperature Range: 180 – 500°F
  • Hopper Capacity: 20 lbs
  • Dimensions: 54″ x 27″ x 47″ (W x D x H)
  • Warranty: 3 years

Design and Build Quality

The Traeger Ironwood is one of the nicest pellet grills on the market, and the quality of the product is evident from the beginning.

It features an insulated design that retains heat better and uses fewer pellets so the fully loaded hopper with a 20-pound capacity will last for several smoking sessions.

Ease of Use and Maintenance

With its high-end design and complete feature set, pellet grills don’t get much easier to use than the Ironwood. Like most, it has an external drip catcher bucket for easy clean-up.

Temperature Range and Control

The Ironwood grills feature Traeger’s best technology. The D2 Controller has a digital display with a setting knob, making cooking as easy as using your home oven.

You can set the grill to any temperature in five-degree increments up to the maximum setting of 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cooking Space

The Ironwood is available in two sizes depending on how much cooking space you need.

Choose between the smaller 650 square inch model, with enough space for 8 chickens, 5 rib racks, or 6 pork butts. Or step up to the 885 square inch model, with enough space for 10 chickens, 7 rib racks, or 9 pork butts.

Extra Features & Accessories

The Ironwood comes with a meat probe thermometer like the other Traeger models.

In addition, it has a pellet hopper level sensor so the app can show you how much is left and notify you if the pellets are about to run out.

The Ironwood also has Traeger’s WiFIRE Technology — a smartphone app with Wi-Fi connectivity to the grill. Their app features more than 1,600 recipes and allows you to remotely control your grill and monitor the cooking temperatures.

Warranty

This grill comes with Traeger’s standard warranty — 3 years.

Portable Options: Pit Boss Mahogany 150PPS vs Traeger Ranger

Both brands make suitcase-style tabletop models that are perfect for tailgating and camping. They aren’t large, but their simple operation and efficient cooking will be a welcome treat compared to the old charcoal camp grill.

While these two grills are remarkably similar, the Pit Boss wins on a few accounts. It’s more affordable, has a larger cooking area, and can reach higher temperatures.

Pit Boss Mahogany 150PPS Portable Tabletop Pellet Grill

Pit Boss Mahogany 150PPS

  • Cooking Area: 256 sq.in
  • Weight: 42 lbs
  • Temp Range: 180 – 500°F
  • Hopper Capacity: 5 lbs
  • Warranty: 5 years

Traeger Ranger Portable Tabletop Pellet Grill

Traeger Ranger

  • Cooking Area: 184 sq.in
  • Weight: 60 lbs
  • Temp Range: 180 – 450°F
  • Hopper Capacity: 8 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years

Design and Build Quality

Both grills are similar — they both look like hard-sided suitcases. When the lid is opened, the small pellet hopper is located next to the cooking grates, making a clean, tidy package.

The Pit Boss Mahogany features a smaller 5-pound capacity hopper in favor of a slightly more cooking area. The Traeger swings the other way, with an 8-pound hopper and a little less space for food.

Ease of Use and Maintenance

Ease of use is a significant factor in portable grills.

How will you power the grill, and what other accessories will you need to carry with you when you’re away from home?

One important consideration with portable pellet grills is that both will require a standard electrical power outlet. But since these grills only use electricity to start the fire and run the digital controller, it is possible to operate them using an inexpensive 12-volt inverter from your car.

Another consideration with portability is size and heft. Both grills are heavy. The Pit Boss weighs 42 pounds, while the Traeger tips the scale at 60 pounds.

The external drip catchers and porcelain-coated cooking grates make clean-up easy and fast.

Temperature Range and Control

Both grills come with digital controls that can maintain constant cooking temperatures — a huge plus for a portable grill.

The Pit Boss has a programable range between 180 and 500 degrees, while the Traeger only gets up to 450 degrees.

Cooking Space

The Pit Boss Mahogany features 256 square inches of cooking space, significantly more than the 184 square inches the Traeger offers.

Extra Features & Accessories

The Pit Boss has a few exciting features that set it apart.

For one, it features an open-flame searing option with temperatures up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re into steaks, that’s pretty hard to beat.

Additionally, the unit has a fan-forced convection cooking cycle to keep the air, and smoke, moving around inside this petit grill.

The Traeger includes a cast-iron griddle for breakfast pancakes at camp, a nice touch, and handy addition. It also comes with a probe thermometer to monitor cooking temperatures.

Warranty

Pit Boss backs their beefy little portable with a respectable 5-year warranty while the Traeger is backed by the company’s standard 3-year warranty.

Final Thoughts

It’s a tough battle with two brands that produce excellent pellet smokers.

If you are looking for an affordable pellet grill or want to do both high-heat searing and slow smoking, then Pit Boss is the better option. But when you are eyeing the pricier models with better heat insulation, Traeger is the clear winner.

Now, the choice is up to you.

Whichever model you end up getting, we hope that you enjoy your barbecue!

PS. Read our guide to find out if you can use Traeger pellets in a Pit Boss pellet grill and vice versa.

Pit Boss vs Traeger FAQ

What are the main differences between Traeger and Pit Boss pellet grills?

Traeger makes high-quality top-of-the-line pellet grills with excellent heat retention and advanced features while Pit Boss is more focused on entry-level and mid-range units.

One notable difference is that the Pit Boss grills usually have a bit higher maximum temperature and allow open-flame cooking for even more heat.

If I'm looking for the best budget pellet grill and smoker, should I choose Traeger or Pit Boss?

When you are looking for the most affordable option, then the Pit Boss 700FB is our top pick. It’s a very affordable pellet grill and smoker that offers excellent overall cooking performance and a wide temperature range. It also comes with a high-heat open flame searing feature that makes it even more versatile.

Do Pit Boss and Traeger make portable pellet grills for camping and tailgating?

Yes, both brands have excellent units that are very portable. Pit Boss Mahogany 150PPS and Traeger Ranger are excellent tabletop pellet grills that you can easily put in your trunk and take them out on your next camping trip or tailgate party.

About the Author

Hi, I’m Joonas!

As soon as I learned to walk, I started to assist my dad and uncles with grilling and smoking. I always loved helping them and later took over the role of the grill master in my family.

My goal is to cook tasty barbecue food, enjoy it with family & friends, and help others do the same!

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