Grills & Smokers
Pit Boss vs. Traeger – What’s the Difference?
Several brands make and sell smokers and grills out there, but if you are specifically looking for a wood pellet grill, there are two good brands you can trust to have something that will work for you, and these are Pit Boss and Traeger.
These are two antagonists with each having its strengths and weaknesses, but what is for sure is that you will have an amazing wood pellet grill regardless of what you buy.
And better yet, each brand also offers several models in different sizes and price ranges to cater to all market segments.
To help simplify the choice between Pit Boss and Traeger, below we look at these two fantastic brands in more detail and highlight their key differences.
Pit Boss Overview
Pit Boss came into the market in 1999 many years after Traeger was already in operation and controlling a huge chunk of the wood pellet grill market. However, they have still managed to compete at the same level as the older brand by keeping their product prices a little lower.
But despite their grills being more affordable, they are still well-built and feature-rich enough to ensure grillers can make some amazing foods whether grilling or smoking.
Their grill models also try to embrace modern technologies to keep up with the changing times such as the digital control center that makes the grill easier and more convenient to operate.
The Pit Boss grill models come in more of the same sizes as the Traeger grills but at a smaller price range. But although still well-built, the quality still comes second to what Traeger has to offer.
Traeger has been making pellet grills much longer than Pit Boss as the company started its operation in 1987 which means it has had more than enough time to perfect their products.
The company had the initial patent for the pellet grill, and it was the expiration of this patent that saw the market getting flooded with all kinds of inferior quality pellet grills. But, despite the increased competition from cheaper substandard brands, Traeger has managed to maintain high standards for their pellet grills.
Now they pride in having the widest selection of pellet grills and are always coming up with different innovations to enhance user experience. One of the more recent ones is the all-natural pellet grills line that provides some of the finest grill components and accessories.
Like Pit Boss, they try to cater to all kinds of grillers with their products as most of their models allow for both direct and indirect cooking. The most notable shortcoming with Traeger grills is that they tend to be more expensive.
Tough and highly durable
170 to 500 °F
170 to 400 °F
Around 500 sq in
300 to 1,300 sq in
7 to 14 lbs
Up to 18 lbs
$300 to $700
$500 to $1,000 (or more)
Pit Boss vs. Traeger
If you know anything about wood pellet grills, then you should know that you will have a good brand whether you go for Pit Boss or Traeger. But, because in many instances you can only choose one brand at a time, keeping the following difference in mind should give you an easier time.
1. Overall Construction Quality
The construction quality will determine both the performance and durability of the grill and should hence be one of the first factors to consider when choosing between Pit Boss and Traeger.
But, of the two brands, Traeger seems to be ahead when it comes to the overall construction as it will feature a strong and sturdy grill housing that is mostly stainless steel or cast iron. Also, most of their grills will feature non-toxic, efficient and durable coated cast-iron grates.
Read More: 7 Best Stainless Steel Grills
While Pit Boss might not offer the same durability as Traeger, its grills are still well built and durable enough, and even their cheapest models will hardly ever have any flimsy components.
2. Temperature Range
The temperature range determines what you can cook on your grill, and so the wider it is the better the grill as it means it will be more versatile.
Here Pit Boss seems to have a slight edge as you can expect to get a temperature range of between 170 and 500 degrees while the Traeger will have a range of between 170 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
The actual temperature range you get with both brands will depend on the specific model that you buy. But, from the average above, it is clear that both grills will be ideal for both direct and indirect cooking.
Also, how you control the temperature matters a lot, but here it is a draw since both brands will provide digital temperature controllers for most of their grills to ensure maximum precision.
3. Cooking Area
The cooking area that you get with grills from Pit Boss and Traeger will also depend on the size of the model that you are choosing.
However, Trager pellet grills are designed to be relatively larger than similar ones from Pit Boss which means that they will often have a larger cooking area.
With Traeger, you can get cooking areas as small as 300 square inches for their smaller and inexpensive models while their full-size top-end models will offer a total cooking area of up to 1,300 square inches.
Pit Boss is not famous for making grills with large cooking areas, and on average you can expect to get around 500 square inches from most of their popular models. But, there are still some that will have cooking areas larger or smaller than this.
4. Firepot Location
Firepot location is one of the clearest differences with the grills that you get from these two brands, and besides being in different spots they also come in a different design.
For the Traeger grills, the firepot will be typically located on the left side, and it will also include a steel heat deflector that covers it at the top. Pit Boss grills, on the other hand, will have the firepot at the center and unlike Traeger, it will not have the heat deflector.
It will be up to grillers that have used both firepot styles to determine which works best because you cannot tell from just looking at them, but both designs still give good results when grilling.
5. Hopper Size
You can never overlook the hopper design and size when buying wood pellet grills as it is a huge determinant of everything from the ease of use to convenience.
With both Pit Boss and Traeger grills, you can be certain that you will get a large enough hopper capacity or at least larger than what you would get with other low-end brands.
But, Traeger seems to have a slight edge here as their grills will typically have hopper capacities of around 18 pounds while most Pit Boss grill models typically have 7 to 14-pound hoppers. However, it is important to note that you can still get Pit Boss grills with 20-pound hopper capacity.
Still on the hopper capacity, it is worth mentioning that a larger hopper capacity does not always imply that the grill will produce more smoke than one with a smaller one. For good smoke and hence great food quality, you need to feed your grill with good quality wood pellets.
The warranty gives you some assurances that the product you buy will last, and while it is not a guarantee that you are buying a good product, a long warranty will give you some peace of mind as your investment is protected longer.
Pit Boss takes the day when it comes to the warranty as they will offer a 5-year warranty for their grills which is significantly longer than the 3-year warranty that you will get when you but a Traeger grill.
But despite the shorter warranty, Traeger's reputation of making superior quality grills precedes it, and so you can still buy their grill with confidence it will last.
Several factors will determine what you pay for both the Pit Boss and Traeger grills such as the accessories you want with the grill and also where you are buying.
But regardless of the accessories, you might want to come with your grill, Traeger grills tend to be relatively more expensive when compared to Pit Boss.
A typical Pit Boss pellet grill will retail for anything between $300 and $700, but there are a few newer and larger models that will cost relatively more than that. For a Traeger pellet grill, you will pay anywhere between $500 and $1,000, but you will also need to pay relatively more for some of their top-end brands.
Wood pellet grills are some of the best for those that like smoking meat a lot but will also work well for direct cooking. But, to get the best service from one of these grills, you need to buy yours from top models like Pit Boss and Traeger.
And while you will still have a fantastic grill that cooks amazingly well regardless of which brand you choose, they are quite different brands with different products to offer, and will hence work for different kinds of users.
Those shopping for a more budget-friendly pellet grill with a wider temperature range should go for a Pit Boss grill. But, if you are looking for something well-built and designed to last a lifetime and do not mind spending more cash, Traeger is your best bet.