Rec Tec vs Traeger: Best Pellet Grills Comparison [2020]

When it comes to choosing a pellet grill, you want value without sacrificing quality.

The sheer variety of options can be overwhelming.

While Traeger was a pioneer in the industry, Rec Tec also offers durable, reliable grills with plenty of extra features.

Which one should you choose? To find out, let’s pit Rec Tec vs Traeger and see who comes out on top.

In a rush? Here is the winner:

Runner Up:

Traeger Grills TFB42LZBO Lil Tex Elite Smoker-Grill, Smok, Bronze
  • 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:

Contents (clickable) show

All You Need to Know About Shopping for a Pellet Grill

Pellet grills combine the instant gratification of gas-fired units with the delectable smoky flavor of a real wood fire. They’re a great buy for the home chef who’s serious about outdoor cooking. Even casual grillers will be impressed at what these units have to offer.

Bear in mind, however, that pellet grills require electricity to power the auger component. They can be converted to run off a battery for camping or tailgating, but that often requires additional equipment. If you would prefer a unit that doesn’t need an outside power source, you’re probably better off sticking with charcoal or gas.

Here are a few of the pertinent details to bear in mind when shopping for a pellet grill:

Value

Pellet grills tend to be more expensive than their counterparts. Even so, it’s possible to find a unit that will operate efficiently without emptying your bank account. Determine in advance how much you’d like to spend.

Here is our review of the best affordable pellet smokers.

Size

Some travel-sized units offer just 200 square inches of cooking space, while larger models might boast a grilling surface of 1000 square inches or more. Most units fall somewhere in the middle. If you usually stick to burgers and dogs, then 400 square inches should be sufficient. If you like to get creative, or if you entertain frequently, consider investing in a larger grill.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

With pellet grills, you have an amazing degree of control over the temperature. That’s one of the best reasons to consider making the switch. Look for a unit with a range of 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit at minimum.

Hopper Capacity

Most standard-sized grills can hold about 18 pounds of pellets at once. The higher the capacity, the less you’ll have to worry about running out of fuel. Remember that excess moisture will ruin the pellets, so try not to overload the hopper if you’re only cooking for a short period of time.

Efficiency

A pellet grill should burn through about one pound of pellets per hour on average. If you’re using the grill primarily as a smoker, you’ll go through about a half-pound of pellets per hour.

Construction

The best grills are composed of heavy-duty steel, sometimes with a powder finish to boost durability. 304-grade stainless steel is particularly effective. Cooking grates should be made of either stainless steel or cast iron. A porcelain coating will make the grates easier to clean.

Company Guarantee

The industry standard is one to three years, but some companies offer warranties for longer periods. Remember that most warranties extend only to defective parts, and won’t cover normal wear and tear.

Rec Tec vs Traeger: What’s in the Box?

Here are the basic specifications for three of Rec Tec’s leading models.

#1 Rec Tec RT-340

REC TEC Grills | RT-340 | Bundle | WiFi Enabled | Portable Wood Pellet Grill | Built in Meat Probes | Stainless Steel | 20lb Hopper | 2 Year Warranty | Hotflash Ceramic Ignition System

  • Cart-style pellet grill constructed of 304 stainless steel
  • 304-grade stainless steel cooking grates
  • Hopper with 20-pound capacity and locking lid
  • Locking foldable legs with rollerblade-style wheels
  • Stainless steel drip pan and grease catcher
  • Dual meat probes
  • Digital control panel
  • Two-year warranty

Pros:

  • Quick, easy assembly
  • Able to maintain high temperatures
  • Impressive list of add-on features available

Cons:

  • Awkward balance makes it difficult to move from one place to the next
  • Can be finicky in humid weather
  • Temperature control is erratic when certain wood blends are used

Check Price on Amazon

#2 Rec Tec RT-590

REC TEC Grills | RT-590 | Bundle | WiFi Enabled | Portable Wood Pellet Grill | Built in Meat Probes | Stainless Steel | 30lb Hopper | 4 Year Warranty | Hotflash Ceramic Ignition System

  • Octagon-shaped cooking chamber constructed of 304 stainless steel
  • 304-grade stainless steel cooking grates
  • Hopper with 30-pound capacity and locking lid
  • Cart-style design with rollerblade-style wheels and lower shelf for storage
  • Stainless steel drip pan and grease catcher
  • Dual meat probes
  • Digital control panel
  • Four-year warranty

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble
  • User-friendly
  • Durable construction
  • Accurate temperature control

Cons:

  • Bulky design
  • App is relatively simple
  • Wheels are a bit too small

Check Price on Amazon

#3 Rec Tec RT-700

REC TEC Grills | RT-700 | Bundle | WiFi Enabled | Portable Wood Pellet Grill | Built in Meat Probes | Stainless Steel | 40lb Hopper | 6 Year Warranty | Hotflash Ceramic Ignition System

  • Huge barrel-style cooking chamber constructed of 304-grade stainless steel
  • 304-grade stainless steel cooking grates
  • Hopper with 40-pound capacity
  • Cart-style design with four wheels
  • Digital control panel with LED readout
  • Dual meat probes
  • Lower shelf for storage
  • Six-year warranty

Pros:

  • Tons of cooking space
  • Oversized pellet hopper
  • Very efficient when it comes to pellet consumption
  • Versatile unit

Cons:

  • Might be too large for some outdoor kitchens
  • Very heavy
  • Some interior parts are prone to rusting after long use

Check Price on Amazon

Next, let’s find out what the Traeger models have in common with Rec Tec’s offerings.

#4 Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22

Traeger Grills TFB42LZBO Lil Tex Elite Smoker-Grill, Smok, Bronze

  • Barrel-style cooking chamber composed of powder-coated steel
  • Porcelain-enameled steel cooking grates
  • Hopper with 18-pound capacity
  • Straight legs with two sturdy wheels
  • Grease management system with catch pan and drip bucket
  • Digital Elite temperature controller with LED display
  • Three-year warranty

Pros:

  • Portable enough to be taken on the road
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable construction

Cons:

  • Minimal cooking surface for a home grill
  • Some issues with moisture seeping into the fire box
  • Erratic temperature control
  • Doesn’t impart much smoke flavor

Check Price on Amazon

Read our full review of this grill.

#5 Traeger Texas Elite 34

Traeger Grills TFB65LZBC Texas Elite 34 Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker, 646 Sq. In. Cooking Capacity, Bronze

  • Oversized barrel-style cooking chamber composed of powder-coated steel
  • Porcelain-enameled steel cooking grates
  • Hopper with 18-pound capacity
  • Straight legs with four locking wheels
  • Grease management system with catch pan and drip bucket
  • Digital Elite temperature controller with LED display
  • Three-year warranty

Pros:

  • Burns pellets efficiently
  • Simple enough for beginners to use
  • Ample grill space

Cons:

  • Narrow temperature range
  • Should only be used with Traeger pellets
  • Grill cover (sold separately) doesn’t provide sufficient coverage

Check Price on Amazon

#6 Traeger Renegade Pro

Traeger Grills TFB38TOD Renegade Pro Pellet Grill and Smoke 380 Sq. in. Cooking Capacity, Black/Orange

  • Barrel-style cooking chamber made of powder-coated steel
  • Porcelain-enameled cooking grates
  • Hopper with 18-pound capacity
  • Sawhorse chassis design with two wheels
  • Grease management system with catch tray and grease bucket
  • Digital Pro Controller with Advanced Grilling Logic (AGL)

Pros:

  • Maintains a steady temperature
  • Versatile across a variety of cooking applications
  • Exceptionally sturdy design
  • Convenient for travel
  • Heatproof handle

Cons:

  • Minimal cooking space for a home grill
  • Temperature probes have a hard time staying in place
  • No storage space

Check Price on Amazon

Read our detailed review of the Renegade Pro here.

Rec Tec vs Traeger: Features & Benefits

How do these products stack up against the criteria we outlined earlier? Read on to find out the answer.

#1 Rec Tec RT-340

Value

The RT-340 is fairly expensive for a grill of this size. It should be considered only if you think you’ll use it often enough to justify the higher cost.

Size

This unit features 340 square inches of cooking space—enough to suit a family of two to four people. If you’re in the market for a grill that can be taken on the road, this could be a good fit.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

While Rec Tec advertises a base temperature range of 200 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit for this product, it offers two additional settings. The “LO” setting will impart maximum smoke flavor, while setting the dial to “FULL” will allow you to finish off grilled meats with a perfect sear.

The temperature control is usually accurate, but it may fluctuate when certain fruit wood pellets are used. Keep a close eye on it if you’ve recently switched pellets, particularly if you make the change while the unit is still running.

Hopper Capacity

The RT-340 boasts an impressive hopper capacity of 20 pounds. Considering that it has a relatively small grilling surface, this is a nice benefit. It should come in especially handy if you plan on cooking for long periods of time.

Efficiency

This model burns through one pound of pellets per hour at moderate temperatures, putting it in line with the industry standard. You’ll save money on pellets if you use the unit primarily as a smoker.

Construction

The cooking chamber and grilling grates of the RT-340 are composed entirely of 304-grade stainless steel. That gives this model a definite edge in the durability category. The grates may be slightly more difficult to clean than porcelain-coated ones, particularly if they’re left for too long after cooking.

Company Guarantee

Rec Tec offers a two-year warranty for parts on the RT-340. Fortunately, the grill’s hardy construction means that you’re unlikely to need the backup.

Check Price on Amazon

#2 Rec Tec RT-590

Value

The RT-590 is not a budget option by any stretch. However, like most of Rec Tec’s products, it offers decent value for each dollar spent. Package deals are available for grillers who want to invest in a good supply of pellets up front.

Size

The base cooking area measures 592 square inches, but an optional second rack brings that total up to 772. That gives the RT-590 enough grilling space to accommodate parties of six to eight people.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

This model offers the same 200 to 500 degree range as the RT-340, measurable in increments of 5 degrees. The “LO” and “FULL” functions give it additional versatility. The thermostat is typically accurate to within 15 degrees Fahrenheit in either direction.

Like all of the Rec Tec grills listed here, this one is equipped with WiFi capability. This means that you can control the temperature remotely from your smartphone or tablet. This is a definite perk, but the app itself is fairly rudimentary.

Hopper Capacity

Rec Tec is known for its oversized hoppers, and this one lives up to the reputation. With its 30-pound capacity, the hopper is designed to deliver hours of stress-free grilling, with no need to refuel.

Efficiency

Since the temperature control on the RT-590 is so accurate, the unit is also quite efficient when it comes to pellet consumption. At the “LO” setting, it will burn through about a half-pound of pellets per hour, sometimes less. It also uses very little electricity once it’s achieved the preset temperature.

Construction

Once again, this offering from Rec Tec is composed of restaurant-grade stainless steel on both the interior and exterior. The cooking chamber is octagon-shaped and capable of fitting up to five full rib racks. A lower shelf on the cart-style design offers additional storage space.

Company Guarantee

For this unit, Rec Tec offers buyers a four-year warranty. Again, this is generous, but you’re not likely to need repairs within that time frame.

Check Price on Amazon

#3 Rec Tec RT-700

Value

The RT-700 is a gigantic grill with a price tag to match. Fortunately, package deals are available that help take the sting out of the upfront cost. If you invest in one of these, try to find one that includes a grill cover.

Size

This model features 702 square inches of cooking space on the main grate. Should you choose to add on the second rack, you’ll get an extra 352 square inches for a grand total of 1054. Most families are unlikely to need this much space, but it could come in handy if you host large gatherings on a regular basis.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

The “LO” setting on this grill comes in especially handy if you’re smoking large cuts of meat. Its counterpart, the “FULL” designation, isn’t quite as effective. That may be because the cooking surface is so large, but it’s disappointing nonetheless. At lower temperatures, the readout is accurate within 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Like the other Rec Tec models, the RT-700 has a basic temperature range of 200 to 500 degrees.

Hopper Capacity

With a gargantuan 40-pound capacity, the hopper on the RT-700 is a force to be reckoned with. Unless you’re using your grill on a weekly basis, keep a close eye on the pellets to make sure they haven’t suffered any damage from the elements. It might also be a good idea to empty the hopper after each use.

Efficiency

Despite its huge size, the RT-700 is remarkably efficient on pellet consumption. Since the hopper can store so many pellets at once, this makes for a relatively stress-free grilling experience. Just remember that the unit will burn through more pellets per hour at high temperatures.

Construction

This model is composed of 100 percent stainless steel, inside and out. Some of the inner hardware is prone to rust, which is why we recommend investing in the grill cover. If you opt to buy this grill, you’ll want to do all you can to ensure a good return on your investment.

Company Guarantee

A six-year warranty is in place for owners of the Rec Tec RT-700. That gives it the longest guarantee of any model on our list. This benefit goes a long way toward offsetting the hefty price tag.

Check Price on Amazon

#4 Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22

Value

While the Traeger Lil Tex Elite doesn’t come cheaply, it’s a versatile unit that can do double duty as a travel grill. It’s also cheaper than many of the offerings on the market that offer the same value.

Size

The grilling surface of the Lil Tex Elite covers 418 square inches. This is generous for a portable grill, but it’s best suited for families of two to four people.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

This unit has a range of 180 to 450 degrees—sufficient for many cooking applications, but not ideal for searing meats. If you’re planning on using your pellet grill for baking, you might want to consider a different model. As far as accuracy is concerned, you can usually trust the thermometer to remain within a 25-degree range of your preset temperature.

Hopper Capacity

The 18-pound hopper on this model is standard for a full-sized grill, but it should go even further on a unit of this size. Most travel grills can hold only eight to ten pounds of pellets at once.

Efficiency

At temperatures ranging from 180 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, you can expect to go through a half-pound of pellets per hour. Anything higher than that, and you’ll use twice as many. Since the grill doesn’t perform as well at high temperatures, it doesn’t usually consume more than that.

Construction

The Lil Tex Elite 22 boasts a heavy-gauge steel construction with a solid barrel design. The cooking grates are porcelain-enameled steel, which makes them easier to clean. Two of the legs are outfitted with large wheels for transportation purposes.

Company Guarantee

Traeger offers consumers a three-year warranty on defective parts.

Check Price on Amazon

#5 Traeger Texas Elite 34

Value

Because it offers more grilling space at a lower price than some of its competitors, the Traeger Texas Elite 34 can be considered the best value on our list. For this reason, it can be difficult for many retailers to keep the item in stock.

Size

This is one of Traeger’s full-sized models, boasting 646 square inches of grilling space. That should be enough to accommodate parties of six to ten people, depending on how many ingredients you’re planning to grill.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

Like the other Traeger grills on this list, the Texas Elite 34 has a range of just 180 to 450 degrees. The cooking chamber is large enough to be used as a convection oven, but it might not be as effective with pizzas and flatbreads as the Rec Tec pellet grills. At most temperatures, the LED readout remains accurate to within 20 degrees.

Hopper Capacity

The hopper on this model can hold 18 pounds of pellets. While that’s the standard for a grill of this size, it works even better in this case because the auger component is so effective.

Efficiency

The Texas Elite 34 earns some of its highest marks in this category. Even when the temperature is set to 450 degrees, the hopper rarely dispenses more than one-and-a-half pounds of pellets per hour. At low temperatures, it’s even more efficient.

Construction

This model features a powder-coated steel cooking chamber with porcelain-enameled grilling grates. Two wheeled legs make it easier to shift the grill from one end of the yard to the other, but take care not to do so when the unit is turned on. While this is a durably constructed unit, it doesn’t offer much in the way of storage space.

Company Guarantee

Traeger’s three-year warranty also applies to the Texas Elite 24.

Check Price on Amazon

#6 Traeger Renegade Pro

Value

The Renegade Pro is expensive for a portable unit. That said, you’ll pay less than you would for the cheapest Rec Tec model on our list. If you can get by with a minimal amount of cooking space, this could be your best bet.

Size

This model offers just 380 square inches of cooking space, the least of any grill listed here. Couples or small families should consider the Renegade Pro, especially if they’re planning to take it along on camping trips or tailgating excursions.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

The temperature on this model can be set as low as 150 degrees, with a top temperature of 450. A digital controller with LED readout keeps it accurate within 15 degrees of the preset temperature. That’s especially impressive for a Traeger grill, since the brand tends to have difficulty in the accuracy department.

Hopper Capacity

With an 18-pound hopper capacity, the Renegade Pro can be fired up for hours before you’ll have to refuel. Bear in mind that if you’re taking the grill on the road, you should transport the pellets separately to make the unit easier to lift.

Efficiency

You can plan to go through about one pound of pellets per hour when the Renegade Pro is in full swing. As usual, higher temperatures may result in faster pellet consumption.

Construction

This unit features porcelain-coated cooking grates, a durable powder-coated steel body, and a sturdy sawhorse design. It’s heavy enough to withstand punishment from the elements, but light enough to be used as a travel grill. Unfortunately, there’s very little storage space. If you choose to invest in this unit, be sure to keep a clear spot nearby where you can store your cooking tools.

Company Guarantee

Traeger’s three-year customer warranty is also in place for the Renegade Pro.

Check Price on Amazon

Firing Up the Rec Tec Models

How well do Rec Tec’s offerings work when they’re put to the test? To find out, we scoured the Web for reviews from satisfied consumers. Many of them were pleased with the WiFi adaptability, claiming that the app was easy enough for beginners to use. The ease of assembly was mentioned as well, along with the overall sturdiness and reliability of the various models. Most of all, customers were glad to have their purchases backed up by a generous warranty.

Firing Up the Traeger Models

Traeger has been in business for a long time, so positive customer reviews weren’t hard to find. Their porcelain-coated grilling grates clean up in a heartbeat, and their models are easy to set up and built to last. The dual-meat temperature probes were cited as a major bonus.

The Bottom Line

Which of these grills stands out above the rest? If we were forced to choose, we would recommend the Rec Tec RT-590. While it’s large enough to suit the needs of an average-sized family, it won’t overwhelm your deck or patio area. The octagonal shape can hold large cuts of meat, even whole turkeys. Best of all, the WiFi capability gives you the option of controlling the unit from the comfort of your living room. This is true of all the Rec Tec offerings listed here, but the RT-590 delivers in all of the other major categories as well. For that reason, it earns the top spot in our roundup.

The Lil Tex Elite 22 is another alternative to consider. While it doesn’t offer quite as much overall cooking space, it’s a great multi-purpose unit that can be used for a variety of dishes. Best of all, it’s durable enough for home use, but portable enough to be taken on the road.

May your purchase bring you delicious results and years of happy memories! Bon appetit!

You might also want to read:

Share on pinterest
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on print
You might also like:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *