Traeger Grill Reviews: The King of Pellet Grills [2020]

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the BEST Traeger pellet grill is, then we recommend the Renegade Pro as the best one.

In 1986, an entrepreneur by the name of Joe Traeger developed a grilling system that would burn using wood pellets for fuel. Over the last 30 years, the Traeger name has become synonymous with pellet grilling. The company’s vast array of products prompted me to compile this in-depth review of the best Traeger pellet grills.

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

Buying a Traeger Wood Pellet Grill: What You Need To Know

As mentioned above, a wood pellet grill burns pellets made of compressed sawdust instead of charcoal or propane. What does that mean to you, as a consumer and grilling enthusiast? Read on to learn why you should consider making the switch to a pellet grill when the time comes to upgrade your unit. If you’re already familiar with the world of pellet grilling, you might pick up a few tips about how the Traeger brand compares to the rest of the field.

How To Choose the Best Wood Pellet Grill

While some of the criteria for choosing a grill are subjective—not everyone will require the same amount of cooking space, for example—there are certain features that every model should have. Here are a few examples.

Durable Construction

It goes without saying that a grill should be sturdy, solidly built, and able to withstand both the heat of the fire and punishment from the elements. Look for high-quality steel in the body of the grill, and either cast iron or restaurant-grade steel for the cooking grates.

Affordability

Always purchase the best pellet grill you can afford. It’s better to go slightly over budget than to end up with an inferior product. The prices vary widely depending on quality, but it’s possible to get a decent model in the three-figure range.

If you are on a budget, you might find our review of these affordable pellet grills helpful.

Ease of Use

Though the materials used in the construction of your pellet grill should be tough and sturdy, the setup itself shouldn’t take longer than a couple of hours, tops. On a similar note, the cooking grates should be easy to clean. Try to find grates that have been finished with porcelain—this material imparts nonstick properties to the metal. Some of the later models are also equipped with grease management systems, making cleanup even easier.

Advantages and Benefits of a Wood Pellet Grill

How do pellet grills compare to their charcoal and gas counterparts? If you’ve never asked yourself this question, now is an excellent time to provide you with an answer.

Unlike traditional charcoal grills, pellet-burning units can be fired up in a matter of minutes. Advocates of gas grills often cite their convenience as a deciding factor, but pellet grills are just as convenient. If you’ve ever sampled the results, you’ll know that they deliver the goods in the flavor department as well.

Pellet grills also give you more control over the cooking temperature. You can pre-set the digital control panel to your chosen temperature, and the system will automatically feed the pellets into the cooking chamber at the proper rate. While some lesser models may have trouble maintaining control over the heat, the best pellet grills will remain accurate within 15 degrees.

Similarly, these units can be used for a range of cooking applications. It can be difficult to use a charcoal grill for anything except simple grilling and smoking, and gas grills are even less versatile. With a pellet grill, you can smoke a whole turkey, grill a batch of steaks, or bake a skillet of corn bread. The choice is yours, which is why so many grilling enthusiasts are making the switch.

Things To Look For in a Wood Pellet Grill

In addition to the basic prerequisites listed above, there are a number of other features and benefits to consider when shopping for pellet grills.

Cooking Space

Consider how frequently you cook outdoors, how many components of your meal will require space on the grill, and how many people you’ll be grilling for on a regular basis.

Temperature Range

Your needs in this category may vary, depending on the types of food you’ll be cooking. As a general rule, a quality temperature grill should have a temperature range of about 200 to 500 degrees.

Technology

Some later models are equipped with special features, such as Wi-Fi technology that allows you to control the grill’s temperature through your tablet or smartphone. While these perks can be useful—especially if you entertain frequently—they’re not strictly necessary, and the unit is likely to be more expensive as a result of the advanced technology. Consider investing in one of these models only if it fits into your budget.

Efficiency

How accurate is the temperature control? How quickly does the unit burn through pellets? The answers to these questions should help to give you some idea of the pellet grill’s overall efficiency. Remember that the grill will consume more fuel at higher temperatures. If you routinely use the unit for high-heat cooking applications like searing and roasting, you can expect to go through roughly twice as many pellets as you would when cooking at moderate temperatures.

Warranty

Many reputable companies will back up their products with a warranty. These guarantees are typically in place for one to three years, and most of them apply to parts only. A generous warranty can come in handy if any of your grill’s components should fail within the allotted time frame.

Warnings and Precautions

While pellet grilling has gained popularity in the past decade or so, it comes with its own set of hazards. There’s no reason why you can’t grill safely, as long as you keep the following precautions in mind.

Fire Hazards

Unlike charcoal-fueled units, pellet grills use electricity to feed the pellets into the cooking chamber. This means that it’s important to keep your pellets dry before adding them to the hopper, to reduce the risk of electrical fires. For similar reasons, you should never use your pellet grill when it’s raining or snowing. It’s also a good idea to inspect your cords for wear and tear regularly, and replace them if there are any signs of fraying or breakage.

Ventilation

Because the fire takes place in an enclosed area, it can be easy to forget that a pellet grill emits dangerous exhaust fumes when lit. Always use the unit in a well-ventilated area, and be sure to keep the chimney open at all times during use.

Basic Safety Issues

Since even the highest-quality temperature gauges can fail from time to time, you should perform regular checks on the fire itself to make sure it hasn’t gotten out of hand. After cooking, wait until the unit has cooled completely before attempting to clean the grill grates or other components. Finally, make sure that all the knobs are set to the “off” position when plugging in or unplugging the pellet grill.

Best Traeger Pellet Grills: Product Review Guide

Traeger offers a wide variety of quality grills. To help you decide which model is best for you, we’ve compiled this list of Traeger grill reviews, complete with lists of pros and cons for each one.

#1 Traeger Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill and Smoker

The Pro Series 34 offers a generous 884 square inches of cooking space, which should be enough to satisfy the most die-hard grilling enthusiast. Both the barrel component and hopper are constructed of durable steel with powder-coated finish for additional protection. The porcelain-coated grill grates make cleanup a breeze, and the grease management system includes a handy drip bucket to further streamline the process.

Traeger boasts “6-in-1” cooking versatility for this model, meaning it can be used for smoking, braising, barbecuing, baking, and roasting in addition to traditional grilling. The company’s Advanced Grilling Logic (AGL) system features dual-temp probes, which help to keep the temperature accurate within 15 degrees Fahrenheit in either direction. A full set of all-terrain wheels adds a degree of maneuverability to this hulking unit, although you’ll likely still need two sets of hands.

The company claims that a grill of this size can fit up to 40 burgers, but I find that estimate to be overly generous, unless your burgers dip below a quarter-pound in weight. Personally, I’d plan on cooking no more than 30 at a time. Note that Traeger offers a three-year warranty on this model, as well as all of the others listed here.

Pros:

  • Dual temperature probes help to maintain an accurate readout
  • Generous capacity
  • Reasonable price point for the size
  • Very user-friendly

Cons:

  • Control panel uses a dial, rather than a digital interface
  • Not particularly effective at searing meats
  • No Wi-Fi capability

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

#2 Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

For grillers requiring a more modest amount of space, the Lil Tex Elite is worth a second glance. The unit offers the same 6-in-1 versatility as the Pro Series 34, but it won’t take up nearly as much room on the patio. With 418 square inches of grilling space, this model should easily suit the needs of a family of four to six people. The temperature control tends to be accurate within 20 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a slightly broad window for a unit of this size. For this reason, I’d advise keeping a close eye on the fire itself during use.

The Lil Tex Elite is sturdily built, with wheels included on two of the legs to help with maneuverability. The hopper capacity is 18 pounds—an impressive size for any unit, especially one with a relatively low grilling capacity. Still, since the temperature control can be finicky—particularly during high-heat cooking applications—it’s a good idea to check the hopper frequently.

Seasoned grillers, take note: While Traeger includes a recipe book with every purchase, I’ve been underwhelmed with the results when following their instructions. If you’ve already had good luck with your own recipes, especially for smoked foods, then I would recommend sticking with those instead.

Pros:

  • Turns out excellent pulled pork and other smoked meats
  • Maneuverable size
  • Durable construction
  • Generous hopper capacity

Cons:

  • Slightly high price point for a grill of this size
  • May require an insulated cover (sold separately) to maintain accurate temperatures
  • Has trouble reaching temperatures over 425 degrees Fahrenheit

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

You might also be interested in reading our comparison between the Pro and Elite series.

#3 Traeger Renegade Elite Wood Pellet Grill

With just 380 square inches of cooking space, this model is geared toward families with moderate grilling tendencies. Unlike some comparably sized pellet grills, it includes a caddy rack for holding barbecue tools and secondary ingredients. This can be a huge asset if your outdoor cooking area is located many steps from the main kitchen. The “E-Z Drain” grease system helps keep cleanup to a minimum, another plus for busy cooks.

The Renegade Elite boasts a digital control system to help keep the temperature accurate to within 20 degrees Fahrenheit. That said, it isn’t particularly good at maintaining higher temperatures—say, over 425 degrees. If you plan on using your Traeger pellet grill for high-heat cooking applications like baking pizza or flatbread, you might be better off with another model.

Pros:

  • Includes convenient racks for tools and storage
  • Temperature probes are exceptionally accurate
  • Turns out great results across most cooking applications

Cons:

  • Not a great deal of grilling space, especially considering the price
  • Usually doesn’t get hot enough to produce a good sear
  • Assembly takes slightly longer than with most comparably sized units
  • Heavy parts make it difficult to maneuver

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

#4 Traeger Renegade Pro Pellet Grill and Smoker

This slightly beefed-up version of the Renegade also offers 380 square inches of cooking space, but its digital “Pro” controller is equipped with the company’s patented Advanced Grilling Logic. This means that the temperature control is slightly more accurate than the Renegade Elite, to within 15 degrees Fahrenheit in either direction. This perk helps to justify the higher price tag, although it’s still expensive for a grill with such a moderate capacity.

This unit features a hefty steel construct with a powder-coated finish, along with porcelain-coated grill grates and two all-terrain wheels. There’s also a highly visible and easy-to-grip handle on the lid, which boosts the safety factor.

The Renegade Pro is particularly good at turning out delectably juicy burgers, making it an appealing option even if your grilling repertoire doesn’t extend far beyond that. As far as other cooking applications go, I’ve found that the surface can easily accommodate a pair of healthy-sized chickens, but it’s difficult to fit anything else in the oven during this time. Be sure to plan ahead if you’ll be cooking for a larger group than usual.

Pros:

  • Quick, easy assembly
  • Lid comes equipped with an easy-to-grasp handle
  • Especially good at turning out juicy grilled burgers

Cons:

  • Control knob breaks off easily, especially in transit
  • Rear hinge sometimes causes the lid to snap back unexpectedly
  • Packaging can be haphazard

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

#5 Traeger Select Elite Pellet Grill and Smoker

The Select Elite is a high-end pellet grill with a price tag to match. Experienced grillers who are looking to impress their neighbors will find plenty to appreciate about this luxury model: The prized “6-in-1” versatility that excels at everything from barbecuing to braising, a Digital Elite Controller with Advanced Grilling Logic, a pellet hopper capacity of 18 pounds, and all-terrain wheels outfitted with locking casters. A set of stainless steel shelves is also included in the construct, and the cart-style design offers enough cabinet space to hold two large bags of pellets.

If you plan on using your Traeger pellet grill for smoked meats, be aware that the Select Elite can hold about four full racks of ribs at one time. The cooking surface might get a bit crowded at this capacity, but since you won’t need to disturb the meat during cooking, it shouldn’t affect the overall quality of your finished product.

Pros:

  • Generous storage capacity
  • Simple to use and maintain
  • Attractive cart-style design

Cons:

  • Very expensive unit
  • No Wi-Fi capability
  • Lengthy assembly process

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

#6 Traeger Century 22 Pellet Grill and Smoker

This midrange unit offers 572 square inches of cooking space, making it the ideal choice for larger families or cooks who like to incorporate many grilled components into their meals. There’s even a built-in warming drawer for keeping breads and sides hot, and a set of durable shelves for storage.

Like the Select Elite, the Century 22 comes equipped with Advanced Grilling Logic built into the dual probes of its Digital Elite Control system, ensuring accuracy to within 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The downside? It’s not nearly as successful when it comes to turning out smoked meats, especially if you prefer a lot of wood-fired flavor. The appearance, texture, and juiciness are all on point, but the smokiness doesn’t come through as well as it does in some similar models. If that charred-meat flavor ranks high on your hit parade, you might be better off keeping your options open.

Pros:

  • Eye-catching design
  • Effective grease management system
  • Warming drawer makes it easier to plan multi-course meals
  • Reasonable price point

Cons:

  • Doesn’t impart a great deal of smoke flavor
  • Included cover is a bit chintzy; additional protection may be required
  • Assembly can be somewhat confusing

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

#7 Traeger BBQ155.01 Pellet Grill

This pellet grill is one of the most rudimentary offerings on our list, with a bronze finish and a cooking surface that measures in at just 292 square inches. The auger component and starting switch are fully automatic, but the digital control system isn’t as sophisticated as some comparably priced models. Speaking of which, the BBQ155.01 is fairly expensive, considering its relative lack of special features.

Shoppers should also be aware that the hopper capacity is on the small side, at just ten pounds—although, to be fair, the grill itself isn’t that large either. If you’re looking for a portable, lightweight unit that you can take on tailgating adventures, then this could be the right fit for you.

Pros:

  • Lightweight at just 70 pounds
  • Arrives partially assembled—can be put together in just 30 minutes
  • Exceptionally user-friendly

Cons:

  • Low pellet capacity
  • Very simple compared to some of the other models on our list
  • Small cooking surface
  • Price point is on the high side, especially considering the lack of special features
  • Temperature fluctuations make it difficult to obtain “bark” on smoked foods

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

#8 Traeger Texas Elite 34 Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker

This is a formidable, eye-catching pellet grill with steel construction and a powder-coated finish, complete with locking casters on the wheels and porcelain coating on the grill grates. With a grilling capacity of 646 square inches, it can easily accommodate up to 25 burgers, six chickens, or four full rib racks. With a hopper capacity of 18 pounds, you won’t have to worry about reloading until after the second or third use.

As far as temperature control goes, the Texas Elite earns average-to-low marks. While the unit advertises Traeger’s Digital Elite Control system with Advanced Grilling Logic, it’s only accurate to within 25 degrees Fahrenheit—and that’s in moderate weather. If the temperature outside is chilly, then the grill might not perform up to its usual standards. Also, be forewarned that it’s only equipped to heat up to 450 degrees, so it might not the best choice for searing or other high-heat cooking applications.

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble and clean
  • Provides accurate temperature readouts
  • Sturdy construction

Cons:

  • Too heavy to move around the lawn or patio
  • Struggles to maintain higher temperatures
  • Using any pellets besides Traeger brand can lead to disappointment

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

The Verdict

Almost every Traeger grill on this list can hold its own against the competition. While it’s difficult to make a definitive decision, I would award the crown to the Renegade Pro. Since it features the most accurate temperature control of any of the models listed here, it’s a good choice for a variety of cooking applications. While it’s slightly pricey for a unit that offers just 380 square inches of cooking space, it’s worth it for the overall versatility and peace of mind that it brings. If you purchase the Traeger Renegade Pro, you’ll be getting your money’s worth—and then some.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these Traeger grill reviews, and that the information we’ve provided will aid in your decision-making process. Best of luck, and bon appetit!

Read our comparisons of Traeger to other brands:

Our Traeger grills reviews:

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