A pellet grill can be a big investment.
Fortunately, many of the top manufacturers also offer smaller models, which are often called “travel grills” or “tailgating grills.”
These units are portable, versatile, and often less expensive than their full-sized counterparts.
This Green Mountain vs Traeger comparison will give you a detailed overview of the companies’ competing products.
- 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 smokers:
Purchasing a Portable Pellet Grill: What You Need to Know
If this is your first time shopping for a pellet grill, there are certain specifications that you should be aware of. Even seasoned grilling professionals could probably learn a thing or two about how to choose the best pellet grill for their money.
While pellet grills typically cost more than their charcoal-fueled counterparts, it can be cheaper to burn pellets in the long run. Bear in mind, though, that pellet grills require electricity. If you won’t have access to an outlet when you’re camping or tailgating, then you might be better off with a gas or charcoal grill.
Should you decide that a pellet grill is the right choice for you, here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re narrowing down your options.
Only you can determine how much you’re willing and able to spend on a portable pellet grill. As we mentioned, these units are usually set at a lower price point than the full-sized models. However, there’s still a broad price range to choose from. Set your budget in advance, and try to stick to it. Here is our list of the best pellet grills for the money.
Travel-sized pellet grills will typically offer 200 to 500 square inches of grilling space. If you intend to cook for large groups, consider investing in the largest model you can find.
The standard range for pellet grills is 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Some units can burn lower or hotter, and some have special features like sear boxes that allow you to seal in the juices when you’re preparing grilled meats.
In addition to having a broad range, the unit should provide you with an accurate temperature readout. Most reputable pellet grills remain accurate within 20 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re lucky, you might find one that’s capable of remaining accurate within 5 degrees.
At moderate temperatures, the pellet grill should consume roughly one pound of pellets per hour. You can expect it to go through fewer pellets at lower temps, and more when the fire burns at its hottest.
Read more: How long do pellets last in a pellet grill?
Look for quality construction, with a heavy-gauge steel body. A powdered finish can increase durability. The grilling grates should be made of either cast iron or high-quality stainless steel. If the grates feature a porcelain coating, they’ll be easier to clean.
Green Mountain vs Traeger: Product Specifications
The 2018 version of this popular travel grill boasts a new design, with a single grease tray and folding legs that can also be used as handles. Features include a digital WiFi controller, a meat probe, and a wire side shelf with hooks for utensils. This unit also offers “Sense-Mate,” Green Mountain’s thermal temperature sensor. It’s best suited for tech-savvy grillers who will appreciate the WiFi capability
- Maintains an accurate temperature
- Connects to WiFi through a remote app
- Affordable price point
- Lightweight and portable
- Construction is on the flimsy side
- Minimal smoke flavor
- Ignition system can be erratic
It’s worth noting that there an earlier version of the 2018 model, but it offers many of the same features, including the “Sense-Mate” probe.
- Affordable price point
- Easy to control temperature
- Convenient for travel
- May develop “hot spots,” leading to uneven results
- WiFi function often drops out during use
- Some hardware is noticeably low-end
This unit offers 418 square inches of grilling space, a sturdy barrel design, and an impressive grease management system. Since it’s on the larger end of the spectrum, you should consider buying the Lil Tex Elite 22 only if you have plenty of space in your truck or RV.
- Generous amount of cooking space
- Sturdy construction
- Awkward to transport
- Smoke stack allows moisture to enter the grilling box
- Finicky temperature control
- Minimal smoke flavor
You can read our review of the best Traeger pellet grills here.
This model is slightly smaller than the Lil Tex Elite 22, with a sawhorse chassis design and two sturdy wheels. The digital temperature control features Traeger’s Advanced Grilling Logic (AGL), which helps the temps remain steady during cooking.
- Accurate temperature control
- Durable construction
- Attractive design
- Temperature probe shifts position easily
- Slightly heavy for a travel grill
- Requires Traeger pellets in order to perform effectively
Read our full review of the Renegade Pro.
The Traeger Tailgater boasts 300 square inches of cooking space, a hopper with 8-pound capacity, and foldable legs.
- Sturdy construction
- Easy to assemble
- High price point
- Electric cord is a bit too short
- Inadequate hook for grease bucket
Green Mountain vs Traeger: Features & Benefits
How do these products stack up against the criteria we outlined earlier? Read on to find out the answer.
Green Mountain Davy Crockett Grill and Smoker
The Davy Crockett grill is an excellent option if you’re shopping on a budget. It’s one of the most affordable units you’ll find anywhere, even within the travel grill category.
This model offers just 219 square inches of cooking space. This could be viewed as a benefit if you have limited storage space, but if you’re planning on cooking for large crowds, you might want to explore other options.
The Davy Crockett boasts an impressive temperature range of 150 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. That means that it can turn out impressive pulled pork, as well as grilled flatbreads and pizzas.
The thermometer on this model can be set in increments of five degrees, and the temperatures generally remain steady throughout the cooking process. Since the grill is equipped with Wi-Fi capability, you can control the temperature remotely.
The Davy Crockett’s auger component keeps the pellets moving along at the designated rate, thereby increasing the unit’s efficiency. The hopper is equipped to hold nine pounds of pellets at once, which translates into about 8-12 hours of cooking time.
Now for the bad news: There’s a reason why this grill is so inexpensive. While both the body and cooking grates are made of heavy-gauge steel, it’s not as durable as some of the competition. You can expect it to last one to three seasons before you’ll have to invest in a new one. For newcomers, this might not be a deal-breaker, but if you’re looking for longevity, the Davy Crockett is probably not the way to go.
Green Mountain Davy Crockett (Old Version)
The older version of the Green Mountain Davy Crockett grill is a good choice for first-timers who want to experiment with pellet grilling without breaking the bank. Like its newer counterpart, it’s priced to appeal to budget shoppers.
This model offers up 225 square inches of grilling space. That should be adequate for parties of two to four people. If you routinely cook for larger groups, you’ll probably need more space.
Like its 2018 counterpart, this unit has a temperature range of 150 to 550. Again, this is an impressive range that gives the Davy Crockett model a competitive edge in this category.
Since you can set the temperature using five-degree increments, you can expect the readout to remain accurate within that range. However, if you choose to install the app, be aware that the WiFi tends to drop out abruptly.
At low temperatures, this grill burns through pellets at the average rate. If you crank it up above 350, it’s prone to “hot spots” that cause the auger component to fire more quickly. Fortunately, it looks as if the 2018 version managed to solve this problem.
This version of the Davy Crockett is built from the same mid-range materials as its updated counterpart. Further, some of the included hardware is cheap and flimsy, making it difficult to assemble.
Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22
This unit is set at a price that you would typically expect to pay for full-sized models. To be fair, however, it’s also one of the larger models on our list.
With 418 square inches of cooking space, the Lil Tex Elite 22 can accommodate tailgating groups of any size. Be forewarned that the construction of the unit might make it somewhat difficult to transport.
This model features a range of just 180 to 450 degrees, which represents a significant step down from the Davy Crockett grills. If you’ll be using the unit primarily for smoking and barbecuing, this shouldn’t be an issue. Folks who prefer a hard sear on their grilled meats might be somewhat disappointed.
The temperature control on the Lil Tex Elite 22 isn’t as refined as you might hope, especially at these prices. It’s generally accurate within 25 degrees Fahrenheit, but it requires close observation.
One of this unit’s greatest strengths is its ability to burn through pellets slowly and efficiently. Since the grill is built to last, this could actually help you save money in the long run. You can expect to go through just a half-pound of pellets per hour at temperatures below 300 degrees. At moderate temps, it should consume roughly one pound of pellets per hour.
This unit is constructed of heavy-duty steel with porcelain coated metal grates. ITs barrel design is sturdy, offering up plenty of volume for cooking off whole chickens or full rib racks. The wheeled legs on the base allow you to maneuver the unit easily across the parking lot or campsite.
Traeger Renegade Pro
The Renegade Pro is fairly pricey for a travel-sized unit. You should consider it only if you’re in the market for a grill that will last for a number of years.
There are 380 square inches of cooking space available on this model. That’s more than adequate for a travel-sized grill, and the barrel design increases the overall versatility of the unit.
You can set the temperature on the Renegade Pro to any number between 150 and 450. While this isn’t the broadest range on the market, it should be sufficient for most cooking applications. However, if you enjoy a good sear on your grilled meats, you should probably look elsewhere.
This unit is equipped with a digital controller that allows it to remain accurate to within 15 degrees of your pre-selected temperature. Since some of the other Traeger models have difficulty in this department, this is a major plus for the Renegade Pro.
The Renegade Pro is on par with the Lil Tex Elite 22 when it comes to pellet consumption. Expect the fire box to burn through about one pound of pellets per hour at moderate temps.
This model features a heavy-gauge steel body with a powder-coated finish, as well as porcelain-enameled steel grilling grates. With its sawhorse chassis design and two wheeled legs, it’s even easier to maneuver than the Lil Tex Elite 22. However, it also takes up plenty of space in the truck bed, so plan accordingly.
The Tailgater is relatively expensive for a unit of this size. However, if you’re looking for quality over affordability, then it’s definitely worth a closer look.
The cooking surface spreads across 300 square inches, making it the smallest Traeger grill listed here. For this reason, it’s best suited for groups of two to four people, although you might be able to stretch that if you get creative enough.
With a range of 150 to 450 degrees, the Tailgater is best suited for smoking and simple grilling applications. If you’d like to be able to use your pellet grill for baking, you might be better off with another model.
The Tailgater is prone to unfortunate temperature swings that make it difficult to gauge the cooking time. That’s another reason why we wouldn’t recommend using it to bake breads or pies. In this category, the Renegade Pro and Green Mountain models earn higher marks.
Like the other Traeger models listed here, this unit is particularly cost-effective when it comes to pellet consumption. Since it doesn’t do well at high temperatures anyway, you can expect to burn through about one pound of pellets per hour when the grill is in full swing.
This unit offers a durable steel construction with a powder finish, as well as porcelain-coated grilling grates. It’s lighter than the Lil Tex Elite 22 and the Renegade Pro, making it easier to lift in and out of the vehicle. The folding legs are a plus, but be forewarned that they don’t lock securely in place. This makes transportation more of a challenge.
Social Proof: Firing Up Green Mountain Grills
We were curious about consumer response to the Davy Crockett models, so we performed a quick Internet search. The results were mainly positive: Customers were happy with these grills’ performance, claiming that they were easy to use and delivered excellent results. More than one user also reported issues with the WiFi, but on the whole, the Davy Crockett models delivered as promised.
Social Proof: Firing Up Traeger Grills
Traeger has gained a solid reputation for quality and endurance over the years. Based on our findings, this current batch of travel grills are no exception. Testers praised the Renegade Pro in particular, citing its versatility and convenient design. The Tailgater earned high praise as well, with some customers claiming that they used the grill on a weekly basis.
The Bottom Line
If we had to choose one of these grills over the rest, we would invest in the Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22. Although it’s expensive and somewhat cumbersome for a travel grill, it’s durable enough to withstand years of use. You can even set it up in the backyard and use it as your primary outdoor cooking surface. It’s an especially good choice for people who enjoy the taste of grilled food, but don’t want to be overwhelmed by the smoke flavor. If you can afford it, the Lil Tex Elite 22 would make an excellent addition to your grilling lineup.
Best of luck, and happy grilling!