Traeger Pro vs Elite: Which One Should You Buy? [2020]

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the winner is, then we recommend the Pro Series:

Since Traeger patented the first pellet grill in 1986, the name has been synonymous with the brand. Over the years, their pellet smokers have helped the company build a reputation for quality and efficiency. But what’s the difference between Traeger Pro vs Elite? Are the grills from one series preferable to the other? You should know the answer by the time you’ve finished reading this head-to-head review series.

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

Things To Consider Before Buying a Pellet Grill

If you’re new to the world of pellet grilling, here’s a brief rundown on how they work. Wood pellets made of compressed sawdust are stored in a hopper that’s situated alongside the body of the grill. An auger feeds these pellets into the main component of the grill, sometimes called a “fire pot,” where they’re ignited by a hot rod. A pre-selected temperature determines how many pellets are fed into the fire pot. If you set the control to a high temperature, the auger will dispense more pellets than it would at lower temperatures.

Pellet-fueled units combine the convenience of a gas grill with the smoky hardwood flavor that comes from cooking over a real fire. If you’re looking for a grilling or smoking experience that’s largely hands-free, a pellet grill could be the answer. That said, there are some people who find the cleanup and maintenance to be too much of a hassle, with all those messy ashes to deal with. These shoppers would probably be better off confining their search to propane-fueled models instead.

Here are some of the most pertinent qualities you should look for in a pellet grill:

  • Value
  • Durability
  • Pellet Efficiency
  • Adequate Grilling Space
  • Ash Management System
  • Grease Management System
  • Digital Control Panel
  • Temperature Probes

For more detail on these specifications, see the Features & Benefits section below.

Traeger Pro Series 22 vs. Lil Texas Elite 22: What’s In The Box?

#1 Traeger Pro Series 22

Here’s what you’ll get when you unpack your new Traeger Pro Series 22:

  • Barrel-shaped grill component outfitted with sawhorse chassis and two all-terrain wheels
  • Pellet hopper with 18-pound capacity
  • Porcelain-coated steel cooking grates
  • Extra grill rack
  • Side lift bar
  • Digital Pro Controller with Advanced Grilling Logic
  • Dual temperature probes
  • Grease-catching bucket

This is a medium-sized grill that’s lightweight enough to maneuver around the patio. The Pro Series 22 is best suited for casual grillers, or groups of four to six people. Larger groups should consider investing in a model that offers a bit more cooking space.

Pros:

  • Durable construction
  • Very easy to clean and maintain
  • User-friendly
  • Yields excellent results when smoking large cuts of meat
  • Reasonable price point

Cons:

  • Not efficient when it comes to maintaining higher temperatures
  • Packaging is somewhat flimsy, leading to potential shipping damage
  • Most effective when used with a thermal blanket, which is sold separately

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Read more about Traeger grills here.

#2 Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22

Consumers who purchase the Lil Tex Elite will receive the following:

  • Barrel-shaped grill outfitted with straight legs and two sturdy wheels with locking casters
  • Pellet hopper with 18-pound capacity
  • Induction fan for even smoke coverage
  • Porcelain-coated grilling racks
  • Digital Elite Controller
  • Grease-catching bucket

Since the Lil Tex Elite 22 offers just 418 square inches of grilling space, it’s best suited for couples or small families who don’t cook outdoors that often.

Pros:

  • User-friendly
  • Can be used across a variety of cooking applications, including baking
  • Convenient size

Cons:

  • Minimal cooking surface
  • High price point
  • Hopper is situated at a slightly awkward angle
  • Somewhat difficult to assemble

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Traeger Pro Series 34 vs. Texas Elite 34: What’s in the Box?

#1 Traeger Pro Series 34

The Traeger Pro Series 34 is outfitted with:

  • Broad barrel-shaped main grill component with sawhorse chassis and four all-terrain wheels with locking casters
  • Pellet hopper with 18-pound capacity
  • Porcelain-coated steel cooking grates
  • Digital Pro Controller with Advanced Grilling Logic
  • Dual temperature probes
  • Extra grill rack
  • Side Lift Bar
  • Grease-catching bucket

The massive amount of grilling space on the Pro 34 makes this an appealing option for serious grillers who love to entertain year-round.

Pros:

  • Generous grilling surface
  • Durable materials
  • Stable construction
  • Accurate temperature control

Cons:

  • May be too large for some outdoor kitchen spaces
  • Very expensive
  • Difficult to assemble

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

#2 Traeger Texas Elite 34

The specifications of the Texas Elite 34 are listed as follows:

  • Broad barrel-shaped grill component with straight legs and four all-terrain wheels with locking casters
  • Pellet hopper with 18-pound capacity
  • Porcelain-coated steel cooking grates
  • Digital Elite Controller
  • Grease-catching bucket

The Elite version of this model has significantly less cooking space than the Pro 34, but it should still be sufficient for large groups. However, its straight-legged design also makes it somewhat more difficult to maneuver.

Pros:

  • Accurate temperature controls
  • Reasonable price point
  • Easy to assemble
  • User-friendly

Cons:

  • Bulky, awkward design
  • Yields poor results when used with pellets that aren’t Traeger brand
  • Cover (sold separately) doesn’t fit over the barrel correctly

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Traeger Pro vs Elite: Features & Benefits

Now that we’ve covered the specifications of the Traeger Pro Series versus the Elite series, let’s see how well these grills hold up to the criteria we introduced earlier.

#1 Traeger Pro Series 22

Value

Considering its size, the Pro 22 is one of the most fairly priced models on our list. If you have your heart set on a Traeger grill but balk at the higher price tags, then you might want to give this unit a second look.

Durability

The powdered-steel construction and porcelain-coated grilling racks on the Pro 22 all translate into a product that’s built to last. However, it should be noted that while the sawhorse chassis makes the unit more maneuverable, there are no locking casters on the wheels. This could lead to potential damage, especially if the unit is set on unstable terrain.

Pellet Efficiency

As a general rule, a pellet grill should burn through roughly one pound of fuel per hour. At lower temperatures, it will probably consume a bit less; during high-heat cooking applications like grilling, you can expect it to burn through more. The Pro 22 hews fairly close to the industry standard. If you’re using the unit mainly for smoking, you should be able to get a solid 24 hours of cooking time out of it before you need to refuel.

Adequate Grilling Space

This model offers 572 square inches of grilling space, a satisfactory amount for most families. A special word to beer-can chicken fans: Traeger claims that you can fit four whole chickens inside, but considering the dimensions, I wouldn’t plan on cooking more than three at once.

Ash Management System

While most of the ash can be emptied from the fire pot of a Pro 22 at the push of a lever, the unit still needs to be cleaned out after about four cooking cycles.

Grease Management System

Like most Traeger grills, the Pro 22 comes equipped with a grease bucket for catching drips. When the meat’s natural juices drip into the bottom of the cooking chamber, the grill funnels the moisture into the bucket, which is affixed to the side of the chamber opposite the hopper. Depending on your ingredients and how often you cook, this bucket will probably have to be emptied out after a few cooking cycles.

Digital Control Panel

This unit is outfitted with a Digital Pro controller, boasting Traeger’s Advanced Grilling Logic. What does this mean, exactly? Essentially, it means that the temperature of your fire should remain accurate to within 15 degrees Fahrenheit. By most accounts, however, this accuracy diminishes when the temperature climbs above 400 degrees, especially in cold and windy weather.

Temperature Probes

The Traeger Pro Series 22 comes with dual temperature probes that allow you to keep an eye on the internal temperature of your meat, as well as heat of the fire itself. Since I’ve spent a fair amount of time second-guessing my steak temperatures when cooking over a charcoal fire, I find this feature to be an invaluable one.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

#2 Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22

Value

The Lil Tex Elite offers less grilling space at a significantly higher price than the Pro Series 22. For this reason, I would give the edge to the Pro in this category. However, since there are many other reasons to consider investing in a grill from the Elite series, I would encourage shoppers to keep an open mind.

Durability

This grill offers a similar powdered-steel construction, with porcelain-coated grilling grates that are easy to clean and maintain. There’s no noticeable difference in the quality of the steel, but it should be noted that the sawhorse-style legs on the Pro model lend stability to the frame. This reduces the likelihood of collision damage.

Pellet Efficiency

The Lil Tex Elite 22 is especially effective when it comes to smoked meats, such as brisket and pulled pork. For this reason, I would recommend using it primarily for low-heat cooking applications. At these temperatures, its pellet efficiency is on par with the Pro Series 22 model. However, once the temperature inches up to 350 degrees, the unit burns through about one- to one-and-a-half pounds of pellets per hour.

Adequate Grilling Space

With just 418 square inches of grilling space, the Lil Tex Elite 22 is one of Traeger’s smallest stationary grills. This means that it’s best suited for couples or small families. That said, if you don’t grill that often and only need enough space for a few burgers and hot dogs, this might have enough space to suit your needs.

Ash Management System

Like the Pro series, the Elite models are equipped with levers beneath the fire pot that allow you to periodically dump the ash from the chamber. Since the Lil Tex Elite 22 burns through slightly more fuel than its Pro series counterpart, you can expect to spend a bit more time on ash removal as well.

Grease Management System

This system is identical to the one on the Pro Series 22. A small bucket is affixed to the side of the cooking chamber, positioned beneath a chute that’s designed to channel the grease out of the fire pot. To make cleanup easier, line this bucket with aluminum foil before use, and remove the foil liner after each cooking cycle.

Digital Control Panel

The control system on the Lil Tex Elite 22 is not quite as sophisticated as its Pro counterpart. In fact, the control panels represent the key difference between the Pro series and the Elite models. While the Advanced Grilling Logic of the Pro series controls allow the temperature to remain accurate within 15 degrees Fahrenheit, the Elite controllers are set in 25-degree increments. The controls are also far more rudimentary on the Elite series grills. That gives the Pro Series 22 the edge in this department, despite its quirks.

Temperature Probes

While the control panel allows you to read the internal temperature on a bright LED display, there’s no meat temperature probe included with this unit. This might not be an issue if you’re only planning on using the grill for low-heat cooking applications, but for steak lovers, it could be a deal-breaker.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

#3 Traeger Pro Series 34

Value

The Pro Series 34 is priced well within the four-figure range. Though it’s a massive grill with impressive technology, you should consider purchasing this unit only if you’re a four-season griller who loves to entertain.

Durability

The good news? That high price tag is somewhat justified by the solid construction of this luxury model. The sawhorse chassis adds stability, and the side lift bar makes it easier to maintain a grip on the lid. You might not notice the difference with smaller models, but with a grill of this size, a secure grip is essential. The porcelain-coated grilling grates help make cleanup easier, but their sheer size makes them somewhat awkward to wash.

Pellet Efficiency

Larger grills aren’t known for their efficiency. You’re bound to go through more pellets with the Pro Series 34 than you would with its smaller counterpart. Of course, you’ll probably be using it more often, so a slight increase in pellet consumption is to be expected.

Adequate Grilling Space

With 884 total square inches of cooking space, this model is large enough to suit the needs of the most avid griller. The grates can accommodate about 30 to 40 burger patties, depending on their size. You can even use the Pro 34 to smoke seven full racks of ribs at once.

Ash Management System

While this system isn’t significantly different from the one on the Pro 22, the larger size means that you’ll probably spend more time on ash cleanup than you would with the Elite model.

Grease Management System

Similarly, you can expect more grease buildup from the Pro 34 than from its Elite counterpart. That said, the system itself does an admirable job of keeping grease from building up in the fire pot.

Digital Control Panel

Being a Pro series model, this grill is equipped with Traeger’s Advanced Grilling Logic. This keeps it accurate within 15 degrees Fahrenheit, and is an excellent perk, especially when cooking for large crowds.

Temperature Probes

As I mentioned earlier, Traeger’s Pro models come with dual meat temperature probes to let you know when the meat is finished cooking. For me, this perk far surpasses anything that the Elite units have to offer.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

#4 Traeger Texas Elite 34

Value

This unit is less expensive than its Pro counterpart, but it shares many of the same benefits. If you need a larger unit but don’t have a lot of cash, the Elite 34 could be the right fit for you.

Durability

All Traeger units are built to last, and this one is no exception. It offers the same powdered-steel construct and porcelain-coated steel grilling grates as its competition, helping it to remain solid throughout years of use.

Pellet Efficiency

This unit works best with Traeger pellets. Any other brand could cause the auger to clog up, leading to insufficient heat and potential damage to the components. When Traeger pellets are used, however, the system works as well as you could hope.

Adequate Grilling Space

With 646 square inches of grilling space, the Elite 34 is built to accommodate groups of any size. While it doesn’t offer quite as much room as the Pro model, most cooks won’t notice the difference.

Ash Management System

The awkward design of the barrel-shaped grill component makes ash removal something of a chore with the Elite 34. If it’s easy maintenance you’re after, you should consider the Pro series unit instead.

Grease Management System

While this system is basically efficient, the grease bucket is on the smaller side for a unit with 600-plus inches of grilling space. Frequent grillers should keep an eye on the receptacle to be sure it doesn’t overflow.

Digital Control Panel

As mentioned above, the controllers on the Elite models aren’t as advanced as the ones on the Pro series. This unit, however, does feature Advanced Grilling Logic, which puts it on the same level as its closest competitor.

Temperature Probes

Like its smaller counterpart, the Elite 34 lacks a meat-temperature probe. If you want to keep a close watch on your meat’s internal temperature, consider investing in the Pro Series 24 instead.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Fired Up: On the Road with the Traeger Pro

To find out whether the Pro grills can hold up to customer scrutiny, I took to the Web and came up with some positive reviews. Many consumers were impressed by the way these units handled large cuts of meat, particularly for smoking and braising. Its versatility was soundly praised, and one user rhapsodized about the durable quality of the materials.

Fired Up: On the Road with the Traeger Elite

How did the Traeger Elite models compare? First of all, some users mentioned a lack of smoke flavor when using these products. That can be seen as a positive or a negative, depending on personal preference. The ease of assembly was mentioned, as was the overall efficiency of the pellet hopper. Though the control panel features a somewhat rudimentary design, consumers found it to be exceptionally user-friendly.

Traeger Pro vs Elite: The Verdict

While both the Pro and Elite series have plenty to offer grilling enthusiasts, I would give the edge to the Pro models. Though their temperature readouts can be finicky in cold weather, the dual temperature probes make it easier to tell when you need to make adjustments. They also offer a more convenient and stable design than the grills in the Elite series, with a construction that’s solid and durable enough to offset the higher cost.

Check the prices of the Pro models using the links below:

Whichever grill you choose, I hope you’ve gained some useful insight from this Traeger Pro vs Elite roundup. Best of luck, and happy grilling!

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