For those who want to replace their classic charcoal or gas grill, maybe it’s time to consider getting a pellet grill. And among the recommended names, Pit Boss and Traeger might have at least popped up once or twice. After all, those are two of the strongest pellet grill makers on the market with plenty to offer.
If you’re still unsure which brand to choose, well, that’s the objective of this entry. Let’s settle the Pit Boss vs. Traeger rivalry once and for all. We’ll compare the two brands head-on to highlight their strengths and appeals. And by the end, you should be able to make the call for yourself.
Named after its founder Joe Traeger, the Oregon-based company was founded in 1985 as the first of its kind. And as the trailblazer in the field of making pellet-fueled cooking appliances, Traeger took off unopposed with no direct competitor. That’s the perk of being the pioneer who started it all.
But when the design patent license finally expired in 2006, other companies took the opportunity to catch up. Although Traeger lost its hard-earned exclusivity, it remains a well-trusted brand name for aspiring grillers. And to stay relevant, Traeger constantly ups its game to improve the entire cooking experience for everyone.
Pit Boss Overview
One of the first direct competitors who gave Traeger a run for its money is Pit Boss. The company was founded by Dan Thiessen and his sons in Phoenix back in 1999, where it remains to date.
Pit Boss is also one of many grill subsidiaries like Louisiana Grills and Country Smoker, all of which are part of the Danson group. Besides pellet grills, Pit Boss also provides all sorts of gas and charcoal grills to further diversify its options.
Pit Boss vs. Traeger Head-to-Head Matchup
Instead of drawing an all-out conclusion, it would be better to split things into small categories and evaluate the brands point by point. That way, you can set your priorities straight.
Heating Prowess & Adjustments
Back in the day, pellet grills were programmed to reach a predetermined temperature point by using a certain amount of pellets. Those repeating cycles included rudimental options like low, mid, high, and shutdown without any further fine-tuning mechanism. And as if that wasn’t bad enough already, the temperature wasn’t as pinpoint as it is now.
Using the Advanced Grilling Logic system, Traeger pellet grills can maintain the heat around 180°F to 450°F with a 25°F increment. Similarly, Pit Boss uses a dial-in digital control board with an LED-lit panel, yielding a wide temperature range from 200°F to 500°F with 50°F increments.
Like an oven, the secret to evenly distributed heating within a pellet grill lies in the convection process. A built-in fan helps disperse and circulate the air, resulting in the same temperature at every spot inside the cooking chamber. Plus, both brands offer low-heat smoking options at around 160°F, the very sweet spot for pork shoulder and briskets.
It’s easy to lose your patience when you have to constantly monitor the grill while missing out on the fun. Thus, the set-and-forget feature will keep the fire in check while you tend to other things. Whether it’s just a few hours or an entire day of slow-roasting, rest assured that the heat stays unchanged.
Craftsmanship & Quality
Both brands do a good job weatherproofing their grills against the daily wear-and-tear and extreme heat. While nowhere near stainless steel in terms of durability, the powder-coated steel exterior should hold up well against the elements. It could be years before the paint job starts chipping or flaking.
Meanwhile, the porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grates boast virtually the same heating efficiency and retention properties as stainless steel ones. Although there will be certain rules to follow when cleaning time comes, grillers find the hassles worthy of the effort.
As far as the overall quality and craftsmanship are concerned, we have little to nothing to complain about both brands. Although the liberal use of stainless steel for the components would be preferable, it would drive up the cost. Besides, as long as the grills’ integrity remains uncompromised (at least for some years), that’s okay for most people.
To prevent heat loss to the surrounding environment, the double-walled construction creates an effective layer of insulation. Thanks to that, your food will always remain sizzling hot even if you live in colder regions of the country. You’ll find this design even more handy during nighttime smoking sessions or winters when it snows.
Cooking & Smoking Area
The cooking area varies drastically depending on what’s on the menu and how many people you’re planning to serve. But when you consider the catalog from both brands, Traeger does have a bit of an edge over Pit Boss. Traeger always has something in store for everyone, so whatever your need may be, you can definitely find it here.
Since pellet grills are designed for large parties, it’s not uncommon to find double- or triple-decked grates. It goes to show that even a mid-tier pellet grill can serve as many as 15 hungry people all at once. Certain models can handle an absurd amount of food with plenty of room to spare for side dishes as well.
Exterior Dimensions & Portability
If you happen to go camping or hosting tailgate parties frequently, going small is your option. Luckily, both brands offer travel-size models that can whip up a decent meal on the road. Providing there is access to a reliable power outlet from a portable generator, your RV, or the campsite, you’re all set.
Mobile App & User Experience
Moving on to the software department, both Traeger and Pit Boss have their in-house developed mobile apps for controlling these grills. And with frequent firmware updates, you can expect a smooth user interface and a diverse menu with adjustable options.
On the other hand, connection issues may include lagging and time-out sessions due to distance and other obstructions like walls. While both brands use Wi-Fi connection, Pit Boss grills are also controllable via Bluetooth pairing.
It doesn’t take a well-versed pitmaster with years of experience to use pellet grills. Anyone with a passion for barbecuing should get the hang of it with ease in a few tries. Just set the temperature, and the grill will take care of the rest. Meanwhile, you can prepare other side dishes or take a quick break without worrying about the food going cold.
Warranty Terms & Customer Service
When it comes to after-sales support, hardly anything speaks as much volume as a generous warranty policy. More often than not, the longer and the more specific the warranty, the better the overall quality. It goes to show that companies have great faith and stand behind their products by vouching for their validation.
If we’re judging by length of terms, Pit Boss is the clear-cut winner here with its generous five-year warranty. Meanwhile, Traeger follows the common standard of three-year warranty period. Additionally, both brands have strong social media presence with several platforms to reach out to customers.
Pit Boss PB440D2 vs. Traeger Pro Series 575
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s examine two units in particular: the Pit Boss PB440D2 and Traeger Pro Series 575.
Pit Boss PB440D2 Mahogany
The Pit Boss PB440D2 should suffice for a family of four or five with some friends coming over on weekends. Its double-decked cooking area is as ample as 518 square inches, including the primary grate and warming rack.
Although searing steaks on open flames is not exactly a pellet grill’s strongest suit, Pit Boss begs to differ. Its Flame Broiler lever can toggle direct/indirect cooking options to diversify your cooking options. With that, the fire can be as intense as 500°F or more, though very few dishes need that much heating.
However, the hopper is a slight letdown since its five-pound capacity translates to roughly two or three hours of cooking. And if you dial the heat to max settings, the grill will go through more pellets at a much faster rate. So either get a hopper extension or keep a spare fuel bag nearby when you plan to cook overnight.
From the mobile phone app, you can monitor and control this grill through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection. That said, using Wi-Fi means you’re less likely to encounter time-out sessions and lagging. But either way, you want to keep the grill within distance and as unobstructed as possible, preferably away from walls.
In addition, you can also find the extra features that come with the package. Those include a thermometer, a side tray with tool hooks and bottle opener, and a bottom shelf resting on a cart. And given the price, this is as good as it gets.
On the whole, the Pit Boss PB440D2 gives better value for its price if you don’t want to overcomplicate things. And until you’re ready to commit to something more serious, this model is your safest bet for the time being.
Traeger Pro Series 575 Bronze
Straight off the bat: the Traeger Pro Series 575 will set you back twice as much as the Pit Boss PB440D2. In terms of features and specifications, the two models somewhat resemble each other. But it’s an entirely different story when it comes to performance.
Per Traeger, the double-decked 575-square inches cooking area can accommodate as many as 24 burgers, four chickens, or five racks of ribs. For the price, you’d expect it to be more ample, but that’s not the case here.
Thanks to the double-walled construction, the grill provides much-needed heat retention properties that make all the difference during colder months. And as a result, the improved burn rate doesn’t need to compensate for the escaping moisture. But even if that’s the case, it’s highly unlikely you can empty the 18-pound hopper all in one cooking session.
Instead of focusing on the bells and whistles, this model instead emphasizes control. Utilizing Wi-Fire technology, the D2 Direct Drive controller extracts just the right amount of pellet to match the set temperature. When you cook during winters, the Turbo Temp provides a quick heat boost to make up for the lost heat.
Thanks to frequent firmware updates, you can control the grill even when you aren’t connected to Wi-Fi through the offline mode. And when cleaning hour comes, the quick-draining door makes it easy to drain the hopper in seconds. Or if you want to play around with different pellets to create unique flavors, that’s fine too.
Granted that the Traeger Pro Series 575 has room for improvement in the accessory department, its heating prowess and control are unrivaled.
|Temperature Range & Adjustments||
|Craftsmanship & Quality||
|Mobile Control||Wi-Fi & Bluetooth||Wi-Fi only|
|Warranty Terms||5 years||3 years|
|Noteable Model||Pit Boss PB440D2||Traeger Pro Series 575|
Which brand should you choose, Pit Boss or Traeger? Pit Boss is likely to offer more value for your money with its budget-friendly models and longer warranty deal. Meanwhile, Traeger seems to be a wise investment for serious grillers who want to commit in the long run.Even though the clear-cut winner of the Pit Boss vs. Traeger rivalry remains undetermined, you can’t go wrong with either.