If you’re in the market for a pellet grill, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the names “Camp Chef” and “Traeger” before.
These are big names in the industry, with a number of quality products to their credit.
The question is, which one would win in a Camp Chef vs Traeger matchup?
Read on to learn the answer.
In a rush? Here is the winner:
- Durable Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Lid: The 18"and 12-quart capacity...
- Versatile Dutch Oven Pot with Lid Cast Iron: Use it for everything...
- Convenient Cast Iron Griddle: The lid also doubles as a flat-top...
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- About Us: Camp Chef is a passionate team committed to bringing...
If the the Camp Chef Woodwind SG is not currently availabe on Amazon, you can check the Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22.
- 418 sq. In. Grilling area
- Digital Elite controller with LED display Maintains precise...
- Fueled by 100% pure hardwood pellets. Real wood, real flavor
- Electronic AUTO-Start Ignition
- Easy to clean porcelain grill grates
In this article, we’re going to compare the following pellet grills:
Camp Chef vs Traeger: Product Reviews
Here’s a brief overview of the products in our roundup.
For these purposes, we’ve selected two Camp Chef and two Traeger offerings. The products in the first matchup are priced on the lower end of the spectrum, while the second pair represents the best the respective companies have to offer.
This attractive, durably built pellet smoker offers 573 square inches of grilling space, with a side shelf for keeping your tools and spare plates handy. Considering its size, this is a surprisingly lightweight unit, topping out at just 140 pounds. Dual probes allow you to keep an eye on both the temperature of the grill and the overall doneness of the meat. SmokePro units are also equipped with a patented ash cleanout system and pellet-purging feature, making them especially easy to clean.
- User-friendly design
- Easy to maintain
- Efficient pellet-burning system
- Can be tough to assemble
- Camp Chef offers only a one-year warranty on defective parts
- Has difficulty holding its temperature in cold weather
With just 418 square inches of cooking space, the Lil Tex Elite is considerably smaller than its Camp Chef competition. It’s also set at a significantly higher price point, although the steel construction is sturdy and reliable. It has an 18-pound hopper capacity, but weighs in at just 98 pounds when the hopper is empty, giving it an edge when it comes to maneuverability.
- Versatile across a number of cooking applications
- Can be moved around the yard or patio without difficulty
- Turns out excellent brisket and pulled pork
- User-friendly design
- Difficult to assemble
- High price point
- Often needs to be covered with thermal blanket (not included) for optimum temperature control
Camp Chef’s luxury offering comes equipped with 811 square inches of grilling space, a hopper with a generous 22-pound capacity, a removable upper warming rack, and a side burner. The top of the hopper can be used as a shelf for condiments or other necessities. There’s even a built-in bottle opener (because grilling can be thirsty work).
With a temperature range of 160 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, the Woodwind SG can be used for everything from braising to baking to old-fashioned grilling. A built-in sear box heats to 900 degrees, and “Smart Smoke” technology allows you to control the amount of smoke flavor that goes into your food.
- Generous hopper capacity
- A plethora of bonus features
- Built to stand the test of time
- High price point
- Large, bulky design
- Temperatures not always accurate when unit is set to 300 degrees or lower
Like its smaller counterpart, the Texas Elite features “6-in-1” versatility. According to Traeger, this means that it can be used for smoking, braising, barbecuing, grilling, baking, and roasting—just adjust the temperature accordingly. The hopper can hold up to 18 pounds of pellets, and the design is sleek and modern, offering 646 square inches of grilling space.
- Weighs in at just 125 pounds
- Generous amount of grilling space
- Locking casters on wheels add stability
- High price point
- Difficult at maintaining temperatures over 325 degrees
- Ash removal system is somewhat primitive
Features & Benefits: Camp Chef
How well do the Camp Chef products hold up to the criteria we introduced earlier? Read on to find out.
#1 Camp Chef SmokePro DLX
Affordability and Value
The SmokePro DLX earns high marks in this category, as it’s the lowest-priced model on our list. Since it also comes equipped with a built-in warming rack and two sturdy wheels, it also wins the day when it comes to value. While its construction isn’t quite as sophisticated as some of the higher-priced units, you’re likely to get your money’s worth if you choose to invest in the DLX unit.
Unless you’re planning on roasting an entire turkey for the holidays, 573 square inches is a perfectly adequate amount of grilling space. As a general rule, this grill should be able to accommodate a family of four to six people, depending on what’s cooking. If you’re grilling large amounts of food at once, try not to rush the cooking process between batches. This can cause the temperature to drop to unsafe levels, thereby increasing the amount of time you spend at the grill.
The steel construction of the SmokePro DLX means that it’s built to last. Further, its patented ash cleanup and grease management systems help keep it clean between uses. Since waste buildup tends to increase wear and tear, this could add years to the life-span of the unit.
At 18 pounds, the fuel capacity for this unit falls within the normal range. The auger component allows the pellets to burn efficiently, consuming about one pound of fuel per hour. Note that if you routinely cook at higher temperatures, you can expect to burn through more pellets in the same period of time.
Though Camp Chef advertises the temperature range at 160 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, it has some difficulty holding its heat when the temps climb higher than 400 or so. This is especially true in chilly weather, so if you live in a cold climate, you might want to invest in a thermal blanket for the SmokePro DLX. The good news? This unit is affordable enough to allow for the extra purchase.
Camp Chef offers a one-year warranty on defective parts, which is slightly below the industry standard. First-timers might want to consider investing in a grill with a more generous warranty package.
#2 Camp Chef Woodwind SG
Affordability and Value
This is far and away the most expensive pellet grill on our list, with a price tag that goes well into four-figure territory. To be fair, however, it offers enough special features to justify the higher cost, especially for serious grilling enthusiasts.
With 811 square inches of cooking space, the Woodwind should be large enough to accommodate groups of any size. At the proper temperatures, you can even use this unit to prepare roasted turkey or cuts of prime rib. A side burner offers additional versatility, and the upper warming rack can be removed to make room for larger ingredients if needed.
The Camp Chef Woodwind is designed to withstand years of regular use. With its hefty steel construct and sophisticated pellet-purging system, it might just be the last pellet grill you ever buy. That said, it requires regular maintenance if you expect to get your money’s worth. Be sure to keep a close eye on the fire itself during the cooking process, and clean the grill grates as soon as possible afterward.
The 22-pound capacity of the Woodwind gives it a definite edge in this category. Depending on the cooking applications that you’re using, you could easily go through four or five uses without needing to refuel. Bear in mind, however, that you should use the hopper to store only the amount of pellets that you’re planning to use in the near future. Store unused pellets in a warm, dry place to reduce the risk of fire.
For best results, you should use Camp Chef pellets with this smoker. Even then, however, it’s possible to get misleading readouts, especially at lower temperatures. While I’ve personally had good luck with high-heat applications when using the Woodwind, the pellet chamber is prone to flare-ups. Keep a close eye on the fire when the unit is in use.
Camp Chef’s one-year warranty applies to all of its products. In this case, the good news is that you’re unlikely to need it, since the overall quality of the unit is so impressive in the first place.
Features & Benefits: Traeger
In this section, we’ll determine whether or not Traeger’s offerings compare favorably with the competition from Camp Chef.
#1 Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22
Affordability and Value
This grill is priced significantly higher than the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX. However, it’s reliable enough to still be considered a good deal, especially when you consider the fact that Traeger was the first name in the industry.
The Lil Tex Elite 22 features 418 square inches of cooking space. This isn’t an overly generous amount, but it should be sufficient for a family of four or grillers who prefer to entertain smaller groups.
This unit is constructed of heavy-gauge steel, with porcelain-coated grill grates and a digital elite controller. Though I found the assembly to be somewhat time-consuming, the results were well worth it.
Like the SmokePro DLX, this model comes outfitted with a hopper capacity of 18 pounds. Since it has difficulty maintaining temperatures over 425 degrees, it burns through pellets at the average rate. If you invest in a thermal blanket, the pellet-burning efficiency increases exponentially.
The Lil Tex Elite 22 is generally accurate to within 20 degrees Fahrenheit in either direction, although as I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t do well at high temperatures. On the plus side, it’s reliable enough to allow you to keep an infrequent watch on the control panel, meaning you’ll have more time for entertaining.
Traeger offers consumers a three-year warranty on damaged parts, beginning with the date of your original purchase. Keep all receipts and paperwork on hand, just in case.
#2 Traeger Texas Elite 34
Affordability and Value
The Texas Elite 34 is priced on the luxury end of the spectrum, making it a direct competitor to the Camp Chef Woodwind SG. Is it worth the price? Possibly, but if given the choice between the two, I would say that the Woodwind offers more bang for your buck.
This model offers 646 square inches of grilling space—large enough to grill about 25 decent-sized burgers at once. If you’re planning on using the pellet grill mainly for traditional purposes—rather than, say, preparing the Christmas roast—then this should provide more than enough space to suit your needs.
As far as basic construction goes, the Texas Elite 34 is on par with its competition over at Camp Chef. The overall construct is heavy-gauge steel, with porcelain-coated grill grates that can withstand the highest temperatures. The cleanup system, however, is not as sophisticated as the Woodwind’s, which could lead to difficulties with buildup in the long run.
The 18-pound hopper capacity on the Texas Elite 34 is technically adequate. However, if you’re routinely using all of the available grilling space, you might find yourself refilling the hopper more frequently.
Here’s where this model loses some major steam: It has a hard time reaching temperatures above 325 degrees. This won’t be a deal-breaker if you’re intending to use the grill as a smoker, but for anyone else, it might be problematic.
As with the Lil Tex Elite 22, Traeger’s warranty extends for three years beyond the date of purchase. Considering the durability of their products, however, you’re unlikely to need the guarantee.
Camp Chef and Traeger: A Head-to-Head Matchup
To find out whether these units deliver as promised, I searched the Web for positive consumer reviews. To my satisfaction, I didn’t come up empty-handed. Here’s what I was able to discover about each of these products, according to seasoned consumers.
Camp Chef SmokePro DLX
Even die-hard charcoal grillers found plenty to love about this reliable unit. The overall efficiency and durability of the unit were widely praised, as was the uniquely designed ash removal system. Evidently, my issues with the temperature control were a fluke—most of the reviews I encountered claimed that their readings were consistently accurate.
Camp Chef Woodwind SG
Despite this unit’s high price tag, it has no shortage of admirers. Consumers report that it’s easy to use, is capable of achieving temperatures high enough to sear, and is well worth the cost.
Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22
Reviews on this model were more mixed, with many claiming that it doesn’t allow for the hands-off approach advertised by Traeger. However, the ones who reported good results were impressed with its smoking capabilities, particularly when it comes to freshwater fish.
Traeger Texas Elite 34
Traeger earned higher marks in the customer satisfaction department with this model. I read several reviews from users praising the versatility of the pellet grill and the superb consistency of their results. The only complaints that I found were related to faulty parts that could easily be replaced under the company’s warranty package.
General Guide: Things to Consider When Shopping for a Pellet Grill
Pellet grills offer all the convenience of propane-fueled units without sacrificing that all-important smoky flavor that charcoal provides. Though the Traeger brand owned the patent until 2007, its expiration led to a broad expansion of the field.
When you invest in a pellet grill, you’ll have an unprecedented degree of control over the interior temperature. Since the fire is so well-contained, flare-ups are infrequent to nonexistent. These units are also available in a wide range of sizes, with prices to suit every budget.
While the offerings from Camp Chef and Traeger live up to the hype, most of their products fall into the premium category. That means that you’re unlikely to find a budget model on this list. If you’re looking for the lowest-priced model you can find, you might be better off expanding your options.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you begin your search:
- Affordability and Value—How much are you willing and able to spend?
- Cooking Space—Does the grill offer enough space to suit your needs?
- Durability—Is the unit made of high-quality materials? Stainless steel is a popular choice, but the grilling grates might feature a cast-iron construct.
- Hopper Capacity—How many pellets can the hopper hold at one time? For average-sized units, the standard capacity is 18 pounds.
- Temperature Control—What’s the overall temperature range of the unit? Quality pellet grills should heat to your pre-selected temperature within 10 minutes. They should also remain accurate within 20 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
- Company Guarantee—Does the company offer a warranty on parts or labor? One to three years is the industry standard, but some might offer a more generous package.
Do any of these units fulfill all the criteria we outlined earlier? And which one would win in a pellet grill cook-off?
For sheer performance and overall appeal, the Camp Chef Woodwind SG stands out from the rest. While it isn’t cheap, it contains all the elements that most people look for in a pellet grill, with enough extras to lessen the sting of the higher price tag. Not only does it allow for complete control over the amount of smoke flavor you get, it offers a searing function to give you that all-around texture that all grilling aficionados crave.
I hope you’ve found this roundup both informative and entertaining, and that it helps you choose the grill that will best suit your needs.