Our guide to the best Traeger Alternatives in 2023.
Traeger was a pioneer in the pellet grill industry and over the years they have built a reputation for high quality grills. Much like Kleenex did with tissues, the Traeger brand has become synonymous with the pellet grill. While Traeger makes a great grill, they are not the only game in the pellet grill town. There are now many other alternative brands to consider when purchasing a pellet grill.
Don’t get us wrong – Traeger grills are well-built, high quality grills and Traeger stands behind their products. However, you may be looking for a more affordable option or simply want to see what else is out there as an alternative to Traeger.
For this article we choose the Traeger Pro 780 as a baseline to compare versus other pellet grill brands.
Z-Grills Backyard Warrior
Best Value for Money
Packed with Useful Features
Camp Chef Woodwind 24
Tons of Awesome Features
Not the Most Affordable Option
BEST BUDGET ALTERVATIVE
Pit Boss Sportsman 820
Affordable for Large Size
Lacking a Few Features
Check out the full list of Traeger alternatives and a few of the best pellet grills below.
Table of Contents
Z-Grills did right by customers with this grill. The Backyard Warrior 7002C2E is packed with useful features such as hopper viewing and clean-out, temperature probe ports, and many other sought after elements. While other grills on our list may have more features, the price point for the Backyard Warrior 7002C2E gives the best bang-for-the-features. It’s an affordable option for a Traeger alternative without sacrificing usability.
Z-Grills got its start as a manufacturer for other top brands in the pellet grill industry . While their brand is new-ish in the marketplace, their team has significant experience in making a quality pellet grill and it shows!
The Backyard Warrior 7002C2E is a great affordable option given its many useful features. At its price point, it is difficult to find another pellet grill that includes many features grillers love. These include a PID controller with LED screen, 2 temperature probe ports, hopper viewing window, and a hopper clean out door to easily change between pellet flavors. The grill is topped off with a thick gauge stainless steel lid which improves heat retainage and longevity.
The 700 square inch cooking surface makes this grill perfect for medium sized gatherings. We put it firmly in the “everyday grill” category.
We also think Z-Grills does an excellent job with designing a clean looking grill.
Not to mention that Z-Grills stands behind their grills with a 3-Year warranty and a 30-day 100% money back guarantee.
The Pit Boss Sportsman 820 has the largest cooking surface area on this list at 850 square inches. At its price point, the Sportsman 820 offers the most space for your buck. On top of the extra grilling space, this grill comes with a folding front shelf and a stainless steel side shelf. The shelving can come in handy for extra prep space but simply folds away when not needed.
In addition to space, the Sportsman 820 features a large 21 lbs hopper, 2 temperature probe ports, LED PID controller, and cooking temperatures up to 500F. Pit Boss also offers an optional upgrade control board which adds WIFI and Bluetooth capabilities.
Pit Boss is one of the fastest growing brands in the grilling and smoking industry and its parent company Dansons also owns other popular grill and cooking brands such as Louisiana Grills, Country Smokers, and Thiessens . Pit Boss stands behind the workmanship of their grills with a 5-Year warranty; the longest warranty of any grill on this list.
Another alternative to Traeger is Camp Chef with the Woodwind 24 or Woodwind 36. The Woodwind 24 is packed with features such as a WiFi PID controller that can be used with the Camp Chef app, over 800 square inches of cooking surface, 4 temperature probe ports, and an easy ash cleanout.
The Woodwind 24 also comes with Camp Chef’s “smoke number” setting options. You can easily set your desired smoke level from 1 (least smoke) to 10 (most smoke) using the app or right on the LED controller. Other grills often have a method to adjust the smoke setting but not as user-friendly as Camp Chef.
One of our favorite things about Camp Chef is their wide variety of accessories and upgrades. You can swap out the standard side shelf for a propane SideKick burner where you can add the SideKick Sear for quick grilling, the SideKick Flat Top, or use the extra burner for a standard griddle, pot, or an oven option.
Grilla Grills has an interesting background story of two guys asking the question, why do all pellet grills look the same? . From there they set out to build a pellet grill that stood out from the crowd. The result are grills that will definitely get a few (good) second looks. The two Grilla Grills we recommend checking out are the Grilla Alpha Connect and the Silverbac.
The Grilla Alpha Connect is by far the furthest from other pellet grills appearance wise. The Grilla Grills team didn’t just focus on looks when designing the Grilla, its unique shape helps eliminate hot and cool spots and the lid holds more heat in the grill when checking on the food. The Grilla gets a 10 out of 10 from us on design uniqueness while maximizing efficiency.
Beyond its design, the Grilla comes with a WiFi PID controller, nearly 500 square inches of cooking surface, a stacked removable grate layout, and can set temperatures up to 500F.
Another grill to check out is Grilla Grills’ Silverbac. The Silverbac is larger than the Grilla at 700 square inches of cook space and a storage cabinet below the grill which is great for storing pellets. The Silverbac includes most of the same features found on the Grilla making it a good choice for those with a bigger family to cook for.
If you are looking for an unique grill and Traeger alternative, the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800 uses charcoal to grill and smoke. As the name suggests, the hopper uses gravity to feed charcoal to heat the 800 square inch cooking area.
The temperature range for the Gravity Series 800 is impressive as you can set temperatures from low and slow up to 700F. The charcoal hopper can also hold about 10 hours worth of fuel. The grill also features 4 temperature probe ports, WiFi/Bluetooth capabilities, and a clean out tray.
Another cool feature is the ability to add or layer wood chucks to the charcoal system for a wood smoke flavor on top of the charcoal.
From reading many customer reviews, the Gravity Series 800 seems to be a good choice for winter grillers and smokers in colder climates. Many reviews mention the Masterbuilt holding temperature very well in winter conditions.
Other Notable Brands
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the following Traeger alternative brands.
Recteq pellet grills are high quality grills with a barrel made from stainless steel for better longevity. Recteq grills feature WiFi capabilities, compact designs, “real people” customer service, and a 2-Year warranty.
Weber has been a household name in the grilling industry for decades now. Getting their start almost 70 years ago, they have pioneered many of the grill innovations we know today. Weber’s SmokeFire line is feature-packed wood pellet grill with a sleek blacked-out design. While the warranties vary by product line, Weber offers generous warranties on all their products.
Pellet Grill Buyer’s Guide
Price & Use
The first two things that probably come to mind when buying a pellet grill (or anything for that matter) is: Price and Intended Use. We think these two factors need to be carefully considered when purchasing a pellet grill.
There can be some sticker shock when shopping for a quality pellet grill. However, price alone shouldn’t be the only determining factor when shopping for the right grill. Many pellet grills are multi-functional outdoor cooking machines with the number of uses far outpacing those of a traditional propane grill. Most pellet grills can: grill, smoke, bake, sear, griddle, braise, and cold smoke all in one unit.
We recommend thinking about how and how often you intend to use the pellet grill before deciding on a price point. For example, if you intend to use the pellet grill to smoke and grill 3-4 times per week, you want to make sure you are buying a high quality grill that can last through many cookouts. If you grill less regularly and smoke a few times a year, you may want to consider a more budget friendly pellet grill.
The cooking area of pellet grills can vary greatly from product to product. The cooking surface or grate area is measured in square inches. Most brands offer grills of all sizes from compact (400-500 square inches) to oversized (1200 – 1500 square inches).
Larger pellet grills are great for those with big families or that have large cookouts. However, larger grills also burn more fuel. A medium or compact sized grill may be more efficient if you are cooking for a small family and only invite a few friends over for the game.
Nobody wants a grill that rusts out in a year or two! Always check the durability of the grill before purchasing. Good indicators of quality to check are 1) the materials used in construction (metal type, gauge/thickness, etc.) and 2) the manufacturer’s warranty. The good news is many pellet grill brands really stand behind their products with 3, 5, and even 10 year warranties. It’s worth checking the warranty policy briefly to see what is covered.
Grills break from time-to-time! While manufacturers really try their best to build a perfect grill, subjecting the metals and other components to high temperatures, weather, lack of cleaning, and other elements can take a toll on any grill. Most brands offer an arrangement of easy-to-swap replacement parts to get your grill back up and running after a breakdown. We recommend checking to see what replacement parts the brand offers for sale.
Also, as you noticed in our reviews we make mention of customer service. Having helpful customer service can point you in the right direction during breakdowns, start-up troubleshooting, or poor temperature control.
Last but not least, pellet grill brands have been adding some really cool technology to their products. These can include PID controllers, WiFi/App remote controls, better clean-out systems, and add-ons. It’s worth looking through to see if the grill you are looking for has some of the new technologies. We are big on accessories which can add a ton of different uses to your grill – griddle, flat top, oven, and gas attachments.
Traeger grills have a great reputation for a reason – they build great grills! However, they aren’t the only game in town and other brands could offer you better features and/or affordability.
If you are looking for a more affordable, yet feature-packed pellet grill alternative to Traeger, we recommend considering the Z-Grills Backyard Warrior 7002C2E. This grill offers the best features at the best price.
Still unsure on what pellet smoker to get? Check out our review of the best smoker grill combos for 2023.
How do Pellet Grills work?
Pellet grills work by using an auger to feed wood pellets to a “fire pot”, the area where the pellets are burned, directly under the grilling surface. The fire pot has an igniter rod which uses electricity to heat up and light the pellets on fire. The auger continuously feeds pellets into the fire pot to maintain the temperature selected on the grill’s controller.
Are pellet grills worth the money?
Yes, pellet grills are well worth the money as they can function as a grill, smoker, and “outdoor oven” all in one! Pellet grills are a unique and simple way to cook over a wood fire.
What is a PID Controller?
Put plainly, a PID controller is an electric system which regulates temperature in a grill or smoker by controlling the input of the fuel. Grills and smokers equipped with a PID controller do a better job at maintaining consistent temperatures. The “PID” stands for Proportional-Integral-Derivative and this type of control loop system is common in other industrial controllers.
What can I buy instead of a Traeger?
There are plenty of high quality brands as an alternative to Traeger including Z-Grills, Camp Chef, Pit Boss, Grilla Grills, Recteq, and Weber.