Pit Boss Vs Traeger: Best Pellet Grills Comparison [2020]

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the winner is, then we recommend Pit Boss Classic 700 or Lil Tex Elite 22.

Even though Traeger was the first company to patent the pellet grill, competitors have come out swinging in recent years. Pit Boss is just one heavyweight that’s vying for the pellet grilling crown. But does one company really have an edge over the other? Or are the products more or less interchangeable? That question prompted me to put together this Pit Boss vs Traeger matchup.

In this article, we’re going to review the following pellet grills:

Contents (clickable) show

Shopping for a Pellet Grill: What You Need to Know

Pellets are small cylinders made of compressed hardwood sawdust. A pellet grill uses these components as fuel, in place of traditional charcoal briquettes. This gives them all the convenience of a gas grill, without sacrificing any of that authentic flavor that grillers crave.

How does a pellet grill work, exactly?

First, the pellets are poured into an attached hopper, where they’re fed into the main chamber by an auger component. From there, a hot rod ignites the fuel to start the fire. Unlike charcoal grills, which take a while to heat up, the best pellet grills can be ready for cooking in a matter of minutes. That’s why many grilling enthusiasts claim that pellet-burning units represent the best of both worlds.

Joe Traeger patented the first pellet grill in 1986, but since the turn of the millennium, more consumers have been making the switch. While the units run off electricity, they require surprisingly little energy. If you don’t want a grill that requires electricity for its operation, then a charcoal grill might be a better choice for you.

What to Look for When Buying a Pellet Grill

When you’re making a significant purchase like this one, it always helps if you know what you’re looking for. Here are a few of the features to be aware of while you’re selecting the perfect model.

Value

Some pellet grills are undoubtedly more expensive than others. That said, the pricier models might last longer than their cheaper counterparts. They also might have special features that you’ll appreciate in the long run. Set your budget in advance to help narrow down your search.

If you are on a budget, here is our review of the best budget pellet smokers & grills.

Grill Size

Most families can get by with about 450 square inches of cooking space. Consider investing in a larger unit if you entertain often.

Hopper Capacity

18 pounds is the industry standard, especially for moderately-sized grills. Any larger, and the pellets could deteriorate. before you have a chance to burn through them.

Temperature Range

A broad temperature range is a big plus. Try to find a grill with a range of 180 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.

Efficiency

The grill should heat quickly, consuming one pound of pellets per hour on average once it achieves the proper temperature.

Durability

The best grills are composed of restaurant-grade stainless steel. Cooking grates are typically made of steel or cast iron, sometimes with a porcelain coating.

Warranty

Reputable pellet grill manufacturers will back up their products with a customer satisfaction guarantee. The warranty should be in place for at least one year, and usually covers defective parts. 

Pit Boss vs Traeger: Product Specifications

In this section, we’ll describe exactly what you’ll get when you open a new Pit Boss or Traeger grill. For your convenience, we’ve reviewed three of the leading products from each company.

Pit Boss 700FB

  • Heavy-gauge steel cooking chamber with porcelain-coated cast iron grates and heatproof handle
  • Hopper with 21-pound capacity
  • Cart-style design
  • Flame broiler
  • Two wheels
  • Grease management system

Pros:

  • Hopper can double as a side shelf
  • Storage available beneath cooking chamber
  • Affordable price point
  • Durable construction

Cons:

  • Not great for smoked foods
  • Grates are prone to chipping
  • No side shelf
  • Flimsy wheels

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Check out our Pit Boss 700FB review.

Pit Boss Austin XL

  • Enormous, heavy-gauge steel cooking chamber with porcelain-coated stainless steel grates
  • Hopper with 31-pound capacity
  • Cart-style design with sturdy lower shelf
  • Flame broiler
  • Removable stainless steel side tray
  • Four casters for maneuverability
  • Grease management system

The Austin XL offers up 1000 square inches of cooking space, making it suitable for the largest functions.

Pros:

  • Big enough to satisfy the most dedicated griller
  • Affordable price point
  • Convenient design
  • Adequate storage
  • Offers excellent value for the price

Cons:

  • May be too cumbersome for some outdoor kitchen spaces
  • Temperature control fluctuates a great deal
  • Difficult to assemble

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Pit Boss Classic 700

  • Heavy-gauge steel cooking chamber with porcelain-coated wire grates
  • Hopper with 21-pound capacity
  • Cart-style design with wire shelf
  • Flame broiler
  • Two wheels
  • Grease management system

The digital controller on the Pit Boss Classic 700 features an LED readout display. Like the other Pit Boss models listed here, it also comes equipped with a flame broiler.

Pros:

  • Sturdy wheels
  • Excellent at searing
  • User-friendly
  • Makes superb pizza and flatbread

Cons:

  • Lower shelf is on the chintzy side
  • Hopper is situated too awkwardly to use for prep
  • No meat temperature probe included

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22

  • Steel cooking chamber with porcelain-coated steel grates
  • Hopper with 18-pound capacity
  • Two all-terrain wheels
  • Digital Elite controller
  • Grease management system

This is a straightforward, moderately sized grill with a small footprint. Its size and convenience make it a good fit for families of four to six people.

Pros:

  • Great for smoked foods
  • Convenient size for families
  • Versatile unit with good temperature range
  • Durable construction

Cons:

  • Auger tends to jam up at lower temperatures
  • No meat thermometer included in purchase
  • Some accessories are ill-fitting (sold separately)

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Read our detailed review of the Lil Text Elite.

Traeger Texas Elite 34

  • Steel cooking chamber with porcelain-coated steel grates
  • Hopper with 18-pound capacity
  • Four all-terrain wheels with locking casters
  • Digital Elite controller with Advanced Grilling Logic
  • Grease management system

Traeger’s Advanced Grilling Logic allows this unit to remain accurate to within 25 degrees of your chosen temperature. The locking casters on the wheels give it added stability on unstable or uneven terrain.

Pros:

  • Easy to clean
  • Generous size
  • Durable construction
  • Four wheels for maneuverability
  • Energy efficient

Cons:

  • Won’t work properly without Traeger-brand pellets
  • No pellet hopper draining option
  • More effective when used with expensive add-ons

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Traeger Renegade Pro

  • Steel cooking chamber with porcelain-coated steel grates and heatproof handle
  • Hopper with 18-pound capacity
  • Sawhorse chassis design
  • Two all-terrain wheels
  • Digital Elite controller with Advanced Grilling Logic
  • Grease management system

The only Traeger grill in this roundup to feature a sawhorse chassis for stability, the Renegade Pro is portable enough to be taken on tailgating or camping expeditions. The side lift bar makes the grill accessible from several different angles.

Pros:

  • Side lift bar
  • Heatproof handle
  • Small footprint
  • Portable size

Cons:

  • Chimney is configured too close to the grease management system
  • Cheap control knob
  • Temperature readouts can be inaccurate

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Pit Boss vs. Traeger: Features & Benefits

Next, let’s take a look at how well the products hold up to the criteria we mentioned earlier. While you’re the only one who can decide which of these products is right for you, the following information should help you come to the right conclusion.

#1 Pit Boss 700FB

Value

The Pit Boss 700FB is set at an affordable price point, especially for a larger grill. If you’re shopping on a tight budget and need a lot of grilling space, then this could be the model for you.

Grill Size

The cooking grates on this unit cover 700 square inches of space. That’s enough to serve a party of eight to ten people, and should be sufficient to satisfy the needs of most outdoor chefs.

Hopper Capacity

Pit Boss equips its pellet grills with oversized hoppers. This one can hold up to 21 pounds of pellets at once. While this helps to cut down on overall maintenance, it can make the grill exceptionally heavy. The pellets might also be at risk of getting wet if the grill is left unused for long periods of time.

Temperature Range

With a range of 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, this is a versatile unit that can handle a myriad of cooking tasks. There’s even a built-in flame broiler that’s ideal for searing meat. Be forewarned, however, that the Pit Boss models tend to perform better with high-heat applications.

Efficiency

As we just mentioned, Pit Boss pellet grills work better for grilling and searing than for low-heat cooking methods like smoking. That means that they tend to burn through pellets more quickly, too. Fortunately, their oversized hoppers help to offset this issue.

Durability

The Pit Boss 700FB is made of heavy-gauge steel, with porcelain-coated cast-iron grilling grates. The overall unit is solid, but the grates should be kept as clean as possible to keep the enamel from chipping off.

Warranty

As of September 2018, Pit Boss offers a five-year warranty for its line of pellet grills. Note that the warranty does not cover rust or oxidization, unless the pieces arrived that way to begin with.

#2 Pit Boss Austin XL

Value

While this unit costs slightly more than the 700 series, it’s also a great deal larger. That makes it a good deal for anyone who’s looking for a huge grill at a reasonable price.

Grill Size

The Austin XL is a giant, living up to the “XL” in its name. With 1000 square inches of grilling space, it’s the largest unit on our list. Not every griller will require this much room, so this model should be considered only if you have the space to accommodate it. You might also be a good candidate if you entertain frequently.

Hopper Capacity

The hopper is oversized as well, with a 31-pound capacity. With a hopper this size, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the pellets if you haven’t used the grill in a while. We would recommend filling it to capacity only if you’re planning on firing up the Austin XL on a regular basis.

Temperature Range

The Austin XL can maintain temperatures as low as 150, which is impressive for a huge grill like this one. However, it does tend to be more finicky at lower temps. Its maximum temperature is 500 degrees, but the built-in flame broiler can help you achieve a good sear when the meat is finished cooking.

Efficiency

Like the 700FB, this model tends to burn through pellets more quickly than some of its competitors. Again, we feel that the high-capacity hoppers are Pit Boss’s way of offsetting this issue.

Durability

This cart-style model is constructed of heavy-duty steel with a removable stainless steel side shelf. The grates are also made of stainless steel, with a porcelain coating. The overall design has a great flow, on both a practical and a visual level.

Warranty

The Pit Boss five-year warranty is in place for the Austin XL as well.

#3 Pit Boss Classic 700

Value

You can expect to pay a bit more for the Classic 700 than you would for the 700FB, which offers the same amount of cooking space. Where does that extra cash go? The main difference is the LED readout on the digital control center. Otherwise, the units are directly comparable. Still, the LED technology does make the display easier to read, especially in the dark.

Grill Size

As the name suggests, this model offers up 700 square inches of grilling space. A wire shelf offers additional storage space, but it’s not the sturdiest aspect of this grill.

Hopper Capacity

Like the 700FB, the Classic boasts a hopper capacity of 21 pounds. Again, this is generous and allows for more hands-free cooking time. Just be sure to fill the hopper to capacity only if you’re using the grill regularly. One final note: the hopper is situated in an awkward place, making it difficult to use it as a shelf.

Temperature Range

You can enjoy a temperature range of 180 to 500 when you invest in the Classic 700. This falls well within the industry standard. The built-in flame broiler gives the model additional versatility.

Efficiency

Of all the units in the Pit Boss lineup, the Classic 700 is the most efficient. It burns through roughly one pound of pellets per hour at most temperatures.

Durability

The main body of this unit is composed of heavy-duty steel. The grilling grates are constructed of porcelain-coated wire—not as sturdy as some of its competition. As we mentioned, the lower shelf isn’t particularly sturdy, either. These flaws take the Classic 700 down a notch. It should still hold up to frequent use, but the grates might require a bit of extra care.

Warranty

Pit Boss’s five-year warranty applies to the Classic 700, as well as any models sold after September 3, 2018.

#4 Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22

Value

Traeger’s grills tend to be expensive for their size. The Lil Tex Elite 22 proves to be the rule, rather than the exception. Given the company’s reputation for longevity, however, this grill could still be considered a bargain.

Grill Size

With 418 square inches of cooking space, this unit is suitable for families of four to six people. It could also be suitable for couples who grill frequently, particularly if they enjoy entertaining.

Hopper Capacity

The 18-pound hopper capacity for the Lil Tex Elite 22 matches the industry standard. It’s fairly generous for a grill of this size, but we would recommend transporting the pellets separately if you plan to take the grill on the road.

Temperature Range

Traeger advertises “6-in-1” versatility for this unit. That means that it can be used for smoking, braising, barbecuing, baking, roasting, or grilling. While they don’t advertise a specific range, you can assume that this model isn’t well-suited for searing meats at high temperatures.

Efficiency

The Lil Tex Elite 22 burns through about one pound of pellets per hour at moderate temperatures. Again, this is standard, although you can expect to burn through fewer pellets if you use the grill primarily as a smoker.

Durability

Traeger’s reputation for high-quality products is well-earned. In the case of the Lil Tex Elite, you can expect the main components to be solid enough. The main barrel is made of heavy-duty steel, with porcelain-coated grilling grates. The additional grill cover (sold separately) is the only exception–it doesn’t fit snugly on the model, allowing moisture to seep through in damp weather.

Warranty

Traeger offers customers the option of returning their products for a full refund within 45 days. Their grills also come with a three-year warranty. Note that the warranty only applies to defective parts, and may not be used to replace components that have suffered damage due to normal wear and tear.

#5 Traeger Texas Elite 34

Value

This unit is also priced at the higher end of the spectrum. If you’re looking specifically for a bargain price, then Traeger might not be the brand to try.

Grill Size

The cooking surface of the Texas Elite 34 measures a generous 646 square inches. This makes it a good fit for families of six to eight people, or smaller groups who like to invite friends over. Be aware that this unit is fairly heavy for its size, weighing in at 125 pounds.

Hopper Capacity

Like the Lil Tex Elite 22, this model features a hopper capacity of 18 pounds. That’s usually adequate, but be aware that grills with more cooking space might go through pellets more quickly. Keep an eye on the pellet level if you plan on cooking for longer than six hours at a time. Also, the unit doesn’t perform as well if you don’t use Traeger pellets.

Temperature Range

This unit also advertises “6-in-1” versatility. Since the temperature is only accurate within a 25-degree window, this claim is somewhat difficult to back up. I would recommend using the Texas Elite 34 for low-heat applications and simple grilling recipes, but nothing complicated.

Efficiency

As far as pellet consumption goes, this grill performs as well as can be expected for a larger model. It also has a cool energy-saving feature that helps you save on electricity when the unit reaches its pre-selected temperature.

Durability

With a heavy-gauge steel barrel and porcelain-coated cast iron grill grates, the Texas Elite 34 is both reliable and easy to clean. Four caster wheels make it easy to move from one end of the patio to the next, and the overall balance is on point.

Warranty

The 45-day return policy and three-year warranty are in place for the Texas Elite 34, as well as the Lil Tex Elite 22.

#6 Traeger Renegade Pro

Value

This is an affordable unit by Traeger’s standards. Bear in mind, however, that it’s also a travel-sized unit, so it might not offer up enough space to offset the cost.

Grill Size

With just 380 square inches of grilling space, this model is well-suited for camping and tailgating. However, at 137 pounds, it’s on the heavy side for a travel unit. Singles, couples, and small families should also appreciate its qualities, especially if they’re working with limited space.

Hopper Capacity

The hopper on the Renegade Pro can fit 18 pounds of pellets at once. This is generous for a travel unit, but we wouldn’t recommend filling the hopper to capacity until you reach your destination.

Temperature Range

You can cook at any temperature from 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit with the Renegade Pro. The Digital Pro Controller with Advanced Grilling Logic helps to keep temperatures accurate to within 15 degrees. However, we’ve found that the readouts can be inaccurate at times.

Efficiency

This model performs well within the industry standard when it comes to pellet consumption. Remember that if you’re using it primarily as a grill, rather than a smoker, you can expect to burn through more pellets.

Durability

The Renegade Pro boasts a heavy-duty steel body with powder finish The frame is built with a sawhorse design, and the cooking grates are made of porcelain-coated stainless steel.

Warranty

Traeger’s standard 45-day return policy and three-year warranty also apply to the Renegade Pro.

Social Proof: Customer Response to Pit Boss

While searching the Internet, we found a number of positive responses to the Pit Boss models. Consumers praised their generously sized hoppers, as well as their convenient design. One reported that the 700FB turned out a beautiful Thanksgiving turkey. Overall, they’re considered a great value for their price.

Social Proof: Customer Response to Traeger

Traeger has built up a long list of satisfied customers over the years. Most have reported excellent results with smoked meats, even over long years of use. Their durability has been cited as another plus, and the porcelain-coated grates are notably easy to clean.

The Verdict

Which of these grills would win in a Pit Boss vs Traeger matchup?

The answer was difficult to find, but we would recommend the Pit Boss Classic 700 over the rest. Of all the models listed, it’s the most effective at maintaining the proper temperature. The LED readout screen is another perk, and the flame broiler does a great job finishing off steaks. While the grates might need to be replaced after a few years, the upfront price is reasonable enough to offset the additional cost.

Alternatively, if you can afford a luxury model, you might consider the Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22. Not only is it more durable than the Pit Boss Classic 700, it’s more effective at turning out pulled pork and beef brisket. Just remember that it only offers 418 square inches of grilling space, so it’s better suited for smaller groups.

We hope this roundup has provided you with the information you need. Even if you don’t agree with our verdict, with any luck, you’ll find what you’re looking for in one of the other models listed here.

Best of luck on the next stage in your grilling adventures!

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