No food quote connects you back to your roots as meat with that hint of smokey wooden taste. We’ve reviewed several pellet smokers under two of the top brand names, Pit Boss vs Traeger.
As a species, we’ve evolved from cooking our meat over campfires, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still get the real hardwood flavor that cooking over burning logs has given us before. The invention of the pellet grill (also called a pellet smoker) was instrumental in satisfying our desires for quick and convenient cooking with wood.
The machines take wooden pellets and utilize them during grilling to enhance the flavor of your meat. A lot more construction goes into a pellet smoker than a campfire, however, so you need to make sure you’re investing in the right one.
Not only have we cut down the pellet grills to offer you the best pellet smoker grills from each brand, but we’ve selected the products for a Traeger versus Pit Boss comparison that helps you realize which brand may be best worth your money.
Pit Boss Austin XL Pellet Grill vs Traeger Pro Series 34:
Pit Boss Austin XL Pellet GrillView at Amazon
The Pit Boss Austin XL is an alternative to Traeger grill cooking for a good reason. With incredible spaciousness, direct or indirect grilling, fan-forced convection cooking, and heavy-duty construction, this machine offers the capabilities for just about anything.
Whether grilling and smoking, baking, or roasting, this is a pellet smoker that guarantees that wood-fired flavor no matter how you prepare your meat.
The Pit Boss Austin XL is a pellet smoker made for anyone who cooks for a party and is looking for a space and storage area to accommodate.
While the heating power can make the temperature a bit volatile, this pellet grill can do a great deal once you get the `hang of it. Plus, if you end up having issues you can’t seem to conquer, this pellet smoker comes with a five-year warranty.
- Maximum Space: In comparison to the Traeger 34, which only offers 884 square inches of space, the Pit Boss Austin XL conquers the competition. Two racks provide a total of over 1000 square inches of cooking space, ideal for cooking when you’ve got a lot of people to feed. Not only is the cooking space phenomenal, but the hopper offers a 31-pound capacity, which is significantly more space compared to the Traeger 34’s 18-pound hopper.
- Side Tray: The Pit Boss Austin XL comes with a handy removable stainless steel side tray. Whether you use this to prepare meat or keep serving plates on hand, you can’t deny that the addition of the side tray is a very user-friendly feature. The Traeger 34, unfortunately, offers no such feature.
- Open Cart Design: While both pellet smokers in our comparison stand up on a frame that rests on wheels, the Pit Boss Austin XL is the only one that features a bottom platform that creates a cart design. The design of the Pit Boss makes it easy to set utensils and other essentials down at the bottom so that you have everything you need when it’s serving time.
- Lower Price: When you compare Pit Boss and Traeger grills, the price points are very similar, but Trager usually runs at least 50 dollars more expensive. The price difference may not seem huge, but when you consider how much more space you’re getting with this Pit Boss model, you may find that it is generous that Pit Boss didn’t price this pellet smoker higher. You’ll be happy to find out you’re getting a good run for your money when you purchase this pellet grill.
- Temperature Swings: The takeaway from powerful fan-forced convection is that you might experience temperature swings. The heat may jump up suddenly or drop a lot more than you intend when you try to fix it, meaning that you need to watch how you set your temperature to make sure your meat cooks consistently. While this pellet grill is the type that lets you set the temperature and leave it alone, you’ll want to make sure you’re setting your heat just right before you go.
- Learning Curve: Because Pit Boss is one of the best pellet grill brands out there, you’re working with a starter grill that comes close to professional performance. Consequently, there’s a learning that goes with figuring out how to achieve perfection with the Pit Boss, so you may need to watch videos and read up on how to work the controls adequately. If you’re the experimental type, you could also go the route of trial-and-error on your terms.
Traeger Grills Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill and SmokerView at Amazon
When looking for the best wood pellet grill, the Traeger 34 is one of the products that’ll come out on top. With precise temperature-monitoring features, durable construction, and a helpful assembly took kit, Traeger creates a pellet smoker with a great deal of potential.
While the Traeger 34 may not be the most affordable pellet smoker and has a learning curve of its own, the time spent learning to use it will be worth it in the end.
With durable construction, precise temperature, and 884 square inches of cooking space that still gives you a lot of room to make a feast, you’ll be glad that you put your money toward this pellet smoker.
- Dual Probes: Unlike the Pit Boss XL, which comes with one meat probe to check the temperature, the Traeger 34 comes with two probes for monitoring internal heat. The two meat probes give you a much more precise reading, enabling you to monitor the progress of your cooking with accuracy.
- Temperature Precision: The temperature controller uses Advanced Grilling Logic technology to eliminate temperature swings, which is the unfortunate flaw of the Pit Boss XL. The Traeger 34 ensures the actual temperature is never above or below more than 15 degrees Fahrenheit of what your thermometers read. Consistent heat means consistent cooking and also that you’ll be able to set the temperature right where you want it without worrying that you could be incredibly wrong.
- Sturdy Construction: In our pellet grill comparison, we found that both Pit Boss and Traeger’s pellet smokers are well-constructed, but the Traeger offers a bit more sturdiness, which can make all the difference. Durable steel construction ensures that whether you cook the 40 burger patties this grill can hold, the seven racks of ribs, or eight whole chickens, your machine isn’t going to wobble and shake. With the addition of all-terrain wheels and sturdy porcelain grates, you’re getting a product with a lot of care in the construction.
- Nonstick Grates: The porcelain grates have a nonstick coating to make cleaning up a lot less of a hassle. Cleaning up can be the worst part of grilling, and eliminating the possibility of burnt food sticking to your grill grates can ease your mind — no more grilling with the dread of having to put painful effort into scraping away at your grating.
- Guessing Temperature: The temperature control comes in the form of a dial with ten settings, limiting you more than a digital control panel would. The heat settings also only numerically climb up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit before going up to “high,” offering no specificity. Figuring out what temperature you’re cooking with can become a game of guessing and reading your thermometers, but at least the temperature will always be precise.
- No Searing: The Traeger 34, even with all of its cooking capabilities, unfortunately, doesn’t get hot enough to sear meat properly. If searing is your absolute favorite way to prepare meat, you may have to settle for doing so in your kitchen since it isn’t a technique this pellet smoker can offer.
Pit Boss 700FB Pellet Grill vs Traeger Pro Series 22:
Pit Boss 700FB Pellet GrillView at Amazon
For a quality pellet grill on the smaller side, the Pit Boss 700FB is worthy of ending up in our second comparison – for the best large pellet grill, read our reviews on the Pit Boss Austin XL and Traeger Pro Series 34.
The Pit Boss 700FB is a versatile pellet smoker with durable construction, high heat capabilities, and stress-free control. This pellet smoker gives you the ability to set and forget, locking in the temperature and relaxing until the grilling is over.
The Pit Boss 700FB is one of the best mid-size pellet grills you can get your hands on. With the versatility, durability, and affordability the pellet smoker provides, the downsides are nothing in comparison.
- Versatility: While the Traeger grills often don’t offer the ability to sear or char-grill meat, most Pit Boss products provide a lot more capability. With this pellet grill, in particular, you’ll be able to grill, char-grill, barbecue, sear, braise, roast, and even bake. For a smaller pellet grill with a standard flame broiler, you get a lot of allowances to cook in any way you want.
- More Space: Even with its compact size, you get an even 700 square inches of cooking space with this pellet smoker. You’ll be able to feed a crowd of four to six hungry people and probably still have leftovers. Even though this pellet grill is small enough to tuck out of the way, it always gives you the cooking area you need to serve a crowd.
- Affordable: The Put Boss 700FB may arguably be the best pellet smoker grill for the money. Priced under 500 dollars, the smoker offers more space and cooking capability than the Traeger, while still offering desirable qualities like high heat and accurate temperature. If a cheap yet effective pellet grill is what you need, this product may be your saving grace.
- High Strength: While the Traeger won in the construction category in our first comparison, this Pit Boss pellet grill is outstanding when it comes to strength. Heavy-gauge steel components make this pellet smoker highly durable, and the porcelain-coated cast-iron cooking grates stand up phenomenally over time. This mid-size grill holds up even better than you might expect at first glance.
- False Alarms: A vital fact that the instruction manual doesn’t seem to mention is that the first time you fire up the grill, the pellets will not immediately burn, due to none being in the machine. When the pellet smoker doesn’t get going quickly, it might make you think the product is defective, but we assure you this isn’t the case. All you’ll need to do is insert a handful of wood pellets and let the pellet smoker do one cycle so that every subsequent use will start right up.
- Pellet Restrictions: Using pellets that aren’t exclusively Pit Boss brand can, unfortunately, hinder performance. While you may want to buy wood pellets from other brands because there may be flavors that Pit Boss doesn’t offer, you’ll be disappointed when you find out that it isn’t such a good idea. To ensure that you get the perfect grill every time, you’ll need to stick to Pit Boss brand wood pellets.
Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill and SmokerView at Amazon
The Traeger 22 is one of the more expensive pellet grills out there, especially for a mid-size pellet smoker, but the performance is pleasing and makes grilling enjoyable. With user-friendly features and excellent cooking capabilities, this is a pellet grill you’ll definitely want to consider adding to your cart.
The Traeger 22 is a high-quality pellet grill that makes cooking comfortable, despite its minor setbacks. With construction that retains heat well and cleans up easily, the Traeger 22 is one of the perfect companions to assist you in your grilling endeavors.
- Digital Read-Out: While you cook, the internal temperature of your pellet smoker displays digitally on the outside of the hopper. You’ll be able to easily monitor the temperature at which your meat is cooking and know quicker when you need to adjust your heat to make for a smooth grilling process.
- Tool Hooks: A bonus feature that the Traeger 22 offers are tool hooks on the side of the hopper. This feature lets chefs like you have easy access to the tools that you need to grill perfectly. While it may not seem like a substantial feature, you’ll find it incredibly helpful when you aren’t in the mood to jog back inside to get your tongs or spatula.
- Easy Cleaning: Cleaning up after grilling with this pellet smoker is a cinch. The porcelain cooking grates are nonstick, meaning the leftover food slides right off with a good rinse, and the hopper opens up easily to clean out the component. A simple hand-vacuuming will take care of the ashes at the bottom of your pellet smoker and voila, your grill is clean and ready to go another round.
- Heat Retention: The construction of this pellet smoker, from the grates to the shape of the lid, makes for rather outstanding heat retention. The temperature stays consistent, readings stay relatively accurate, and whatever meat you have on your grill is guaranteed to cook evenly.
- Size: The Traeger 22 is the smallest pellet grill out of all the products in our review, providing a total of only 572 square inches of cooking spaces between two racks. You can cook about four chickens, four racks of ribs, or 24 burger patties. While that’s still a lot of food, it may not be the most suitable for cooking for a bigger crowd than you can handle.
- Weather Restrictions: How well your grilling goes can depend on the weather when it comes to this pellet smoker. The ideal conditions are in temperatures measuring in the low 70s (Fahrenheit) and on a day without any wind. How much the weather affects your grilling will vary, but you’ll always want to keep the weather in mind when you want to bust out your Traeger.
Insights and Takeaways
On the search for good pellet grills, every grill will have qualities you love and qualities that don’t make you so ecstatic. If you’re reading this article, however, you’re probably here for a second opinion.
For the best grill overall, we would recommend you the Pit Boss 700FB, which is a mid-size grill with powerful cooking capabilities and minimal drawbacks.
If a larger pellet grill is something you want, however, you might want to try your luck with the Traeger 34, which provides a lot more space and much more accurate temperature readings than the Pit Boss Austin XL, which was the Traeger 34’s contender.
Both of these brands are trustworthy and high-performance, though, so no matter who you buy from, you’ll be giving yourself a medium to learn how to grill like a pro.