Camp Chef vs. Traeger – What’s the Difference?
There is a wealth of choices when it comes to wood pellet grills, but in many instances, your hunt for one will always leave you having to choose between two top brands such as Camp Chef and Traeger.
While it is true the two are some of the leading brands in the industry and each will claim to have the best products, this will not help you much in your hunt for a top-quality pellet grill and instead leaves you even more confused.
To pick between the two brands, you need to know how they differ and the strengths and weaknesses of each as this will help you identify which one will work best for you. And this is what this piece is all about.
Camp Chef Overview
Like Traeger, Camp Chef has been in the business of making grills for a long time given that it started its operation in 1990. But, given that Traeger had the patent for pellet grills until 2006, they initially focused on making other grill types.
Camp Chef strives to make top quality grills at a more affordable price tag, and most of their grills come in a relatively smaller price tag when compared to similar-sized models from Traeger.
Also, most of their grills will have a more efficient grease management system to minimize mess and hence making them easier to clean up after use. And you will also get an extra warming rack on some of their popular models.
The only area where it seems to underperform is the product variety as they have less than half the number of grills models you will get from Traeger.
If you prefer a brand that has been tried and tested or has stood the test of time when it comes to wood pellet, it does not get better than Traeger.
Traeger was the first company to produce pellet grills and sell them commercially and even had a patent for this grill type for close to two decades.
The company is known for making some of the finest pellet grills in the market which will feature heavy-gauge metal parts, and they are the kind that you can expect to use for a lifetime.
Also, over the years, they have been embracing modern technologies as they try to make their products more efficient, and their latest models will now include WiFi technology and many other advanced features.
Trager also has more models to choose from in the budget, mid-level, and high tier market segments, and so you can always be confident of getting something that will work well for you. Unfortunately, the company is yet to launch any other grill types besides pellet grills.
Note: For the sake of comparison, the data and information below will only take into account Camp Chef’s pellet grills since unlike Traeger the company also makes other grill types.
Average Cooking Areas
429 sq. in. to 874 sq. in.
173 sq. in. to 1,300 sq. in
160 to 500 °F
165 to 500 °F
Basic Digital Temperature Controller
WiFi or Digital Elite Controller
18 to 22 lbs
5 to 25 lbs
Camp Chef vs. Traeger
Camp Chef and Traeger are two of the oldest brands in the pellet grill manufacturing business, and they are also some of the most popular. While choosing between them can be a little hectic, here is a more in-depth breakdown of the factors that set them apart.
1. Models Available
Because no one grill will work well for all grillers, it is always great to have a wide variety of models to choose from and both Camp Chef and Traeger understand this as each has a wide enough product variety.
However, when it comes to model variety, Traeger takes the day as they have 21 different pellet grills currently in the market which is more than double the number of models you get with Camp Chef.
Better yet, Traeger's grills are available in both commercial and residential models and in different price ranges to cater to all kinds of grillers.
With Camp Chef, on the other hand, you get 10 models to choose from which are distributed across different price ranges. However, it is also worth keeping in mind that unlike Traeger, Camp Chef also makes gas and electric grills which gives grillers even more options.
2. Average Cooking Areas
The cooking area you get with both these brands will depend on the particular model you are buying as both will offer pellet grills in different sizes.
For the Camp Chef grills, you will get up to 874 square inches of cooking space on their priciest grill the SmokePro Lux. But, their more affordable models will have a smaller cooking area that can be as small as the 429 square inches you get on their SmokePro SE grill.
Traeger, on the other hand, is known for making grills with larger cooking areas because their high-end Timberline 1300 will provide a cooking area of 1,300 square inches. But, they also have smaller models with small cooking areas with the smallest being the 173 square inches you get in on the Traeger TFT17LLA PTG+.
3. Temperature Range
When it comes to the temperature range, it is almost a draw for the two brands because both provide wide enough temperature ranges that are almost identical.
However, Camp Chef seems to have a slight edge here as you will get a temperature range of between 160 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit with most of their models which makes them a little more versatile.
With Trager grills, you will typically get a temperature range of between 165 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit. But, for many grillers, there will be no much difference between these two grills given the 5-degree difference might not be very significant for many cooking methods.
4. Temperature Control
Besides getting a grill with a wide enough temperature range, you also need to make sure that it will make the temperature adjustments easier.
Both Traeger and Camp Chef will give you an easy enough time when adjusting the temperature but the former seems to have an edge here thanks to the more advanced technologies it uses.
Traeger pellet grills will mostly use the Digital Elite Controller which allows the user to control the temperature in 20-degrees increments. Some models will use the Digital Pro Controller that improves the temperature fluctuations to 15 degrees while the latest models have WiFire control that provides more precise 5-degrees temperature adjustments.
Camp Chef, on the other hand, does not seem to pay a lot of attention to technology when it comes to temperatures control. Most of the grills will use a basic digital temperature control which is still quite accurate and keeps the temperature fluctuations within 10 degrees.
5. Hopper Capacity
A pellet grill with a larger hopper capacity will always give you a much easier time and will not require constant monitoring when smoking food. Hence, as you choose between these amazing brands, you also need to look at the hopper capacities they offer.
Overall, Camp Chef grills will come with relatively larger hopper capacities which will be typically between 18 and 22 pounds to ensure you can grill more without refilling.
But while some Traeger grills like their Traeger TFT17LLA PTG+ will have a smaller 4-pound hopper capacity, their larger and more expensive models like the Timberline 850 and 1300 will have massive 24-pound hoppers.
Hence, for the hopper capacity, Traeger wins as it will offer the best of both worlds which means they have something for every situation and griller.
6. Grilling Technology
There is no doubt that when it comes to the use of technology Traeger will hardly ever come second to any other pellet grill brand. Over the years, the company seems to have paid a lot of attention to using more technology to enhance their grills' performance.
One of the latest and perhaps most impressive technologies you can expect to get on the newer Traeger grills is the WiFire controller. Besides making temperature control more precise, this advanced grill technology will also allow grillers to control and monitor their grills from anywhere provided they have a smartphone.
While Camp Chef seems to lag when it comes to the use of technology since they are yet to jump into the WiFi bandwagon despite many other brands embracing this technology, they still have some few things that make their grills amazing.
One of these Camp Chef features or technologies is the Smart Smoke that helps to vary both the temperature and number of pellets fed to the firebox.
7. Starting Prices
You are more likely to spend more cash on a Traeger grill than a Camp Chef one given that most of their products tend to be relatively more expensive.
With that said, Traeger still has some highly affordable grills out there as their business design tries to cater to all market segments from the budget shoppers to the top-tier grillers. The same is also true for Camp Chef, but most of their grills are more affordable.
At the time of writing this piece, the cheapest Traeger grill is the Traeger TFT17LLA PTG+ which is at least $200 more affordable than Camp Chef’ cheapest model the SmokePro SE. And this is using prices from booth manufacturer’s websites.
Also, note that the huge price differences mostly stems from the fact that Trager’s grills is a compact and more portable grill with a smaller cooking area.
Read More: 5 Best Wood Pellet for Grilling
Choosing between two top brands like Camp Chef and Traeger is never easy because both have some fantastic quality pellet grills in the market and also several models to choose from.
And while ultimately the choice between these two amazing brands will depend on your preferences, it is important to ensure that it will be a wiser one by knowing how they differ. The good news is that our in-depth comparison above makes this clear enough.
From the comparison, Traeger will be a more appropriate pellet grill brand for any griller shopping for a well-built grill that offers a larger cooking area and with more advanced features.
Camp Chef, on the other hand, is perfect for those that want something basic and easy to use without too many complicated features but still well-built and comes at a good price tag.