Easy to use – just set it up and forget it. Grill has a large surface area and generates a consistent temperature. We love that it is versatile enough to be used for grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, braising, and, of course, barbecuing.
While it can be easily assembled on its side, you may need help getting it upright, as it is very heavy. No way to easily drain or swap out the pellets in the hopper.
Very nice price for a quality smoker. Assembles easily. Offers auto-start electronic ignition. Very simple to use once you get the hang of it.
There is a bit of a learning curve before you'll be able to consistently get excellent results. This option is on the smaller side and quite short.
Well-designed and built. Easy to assemble and use. Works in a consistent manner. Quickly gets up to temperature, even for grilling.
Grill can be difficult to clean in terms of removing the ashes. Some buyers report problems after a few months with the control unit and hopper.
Comes with your choice of blue or bronze grill hoods. Legs fold for easy storage. Easy to assemble and use. Attractive price.
Smaller capacity grill is not ideal for larger families or groups. Some reports of the hopper and auger running poorly.
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Among manufacturers of wood pellet grills, Traeger is one of the best of the best. They’re known for both the quality of their products and the delicious flavor of the food their grills produce.
Traeger makes grills small enough to sit on your tailgate and large enough to feed a crowd. There are also models with luxury features like stainless steel grills and controllers with WiFi connectivity. These heavy-duty grilling machines can represent quite a financial investment.
At BestReviews, we’re here to give you the facts you need to make informed purchasing decisions. We’ve provided a shopping guide to help you wade through the list of features you might find on a Traeger grill. Our top five picks are in the product list at the top of the page.
Traeger grills enable you to grill, braise, smoke, bake, roast, or barbecue in your backyard with one cooking device without the use of charcoal or gas.
The process starts when you load the hopper with wood pellets. There are many types of wood pellets available, such as apple, cherry, and maple, and each imparts a unique flavor to the food.
An auger at the bottom of the hopper moves the pellets to the hot rod, which ignites the pellets.
A draft induction fan circulates air into the grill to cook the food.
Traeger grills come in a number of sizes and with different features to think about before you buy.
Grill sizes range from a tabletop model (173 square inches of grill space) to large models for the patio (1,300 square inches of grill space with three racks). To decide what size you need, consider the number of people you regularly cook for and what kind of food you want to cook. For convenience, Traeger tells you the size of their grills as well as how many whole chickens, racks of ribs, and hamburgers will fit on the grill.
Tabletop pellet grills: These models weigh around 40 pounds, measure about 20 inches x 19 inches, and have a small hopper, but they provide the same barbecuing and grilling capabilities as larger models. If you only cook for two or if you want to smoke and grill while camping or tailgating, a portable tabletop model might be right for you.
Traditional pellet grills: These models look more like a typical backyard charcoal or gas grill than the distinct hopper design. But on the inside they have all the features of a pellet grill, including a hopper and digital controller. These grills can do everything other pellet grills can with the addition of underneath storage with doors. Some have double racks for extra grilling space.
The hopper clean-out feature enables you to empty the hopper while you’re cooking, so you can switch the pellets for different flavors as you grill. Not all Traeger grills have this feature. You’ll probably only need it if you’re cooking different foods for a crowd or you like to use lots of different flavors in a meal.
The bigger the grilling area, the bigger the pellet hopper. Tabletop models hold 5 pounds of pellets, while the largest models hold 24. Keep in mind that larger hoppers won’t need to be filled as often.
Traditionally, Traeger grills have straight legs with two or four wheels. Some of the smaller models have legs that can be folded to make the grills more portable. A few models now feature legs that resemble sawhorse legs, providing a wider, more stable base.
Digital Elite: This good, basic digital controller provides accurate temperature control but doesn’t include meat probe connectors.
Digital Pro: This controller includes either one or two meat probes that display the meat temperature on the controller display and let you easily adjust the temperature.
Expect to pay between $300 and $1,600 and more for a Traeger wood pellet grill.
Inexpensive: For $300 to $500, you’ll find a tabletop Traeger grill or a small grill with around 300 square inches of cooking space. You can smoke and grill enough food for two to four people. These models include the Digital Elite controller.
Mid-range: In the $500 to $1,000 range are larger grills with 520 to 880 square inches. That’s enough room for 40 hamburgers on the largest models in this price range. Many of these grills have the hopper clean-out feature along with a sturdy side handle and all-terrain wheels for moving the grill over rocks and gravel. These models have either the Digital Elite or Digital Pro controller.
Expensive: For $1,000 to $1,600, you’ll find large grills for the serious crowd pleaser. If you want a pellet grill that looks like a traditional barbecue grill, this is where you’ll find it. Most have anywhere from 425 to 800 square inches of space or room for 32 to 40 hamburgers.
Match the temperature range of the grill to your grilling needs. Most Traegers have a maximum temperature of 450°F, but a few top-of-the-line models reach 500°F for quick-cooking skirt steaks or kebabs.
Match the accessories to your needs. There are a number of extra accessories available for Traeger grills, such as a full-length grill cover, a bottom shelf that attaches to the legs, and a power inverter that connects the grill directly to your car battery for the ultimate in portable grilling. If you live in a cold climate, don’t forget the insulated cover that enables you to cook in winter temperatures.
Q. How do you manage grease and drippings with a Traeger grill?
A. An angled drip tray directs grease and drippings into a grease bucket. Every three to six months you’ll need to remove any built-up grease from the drip tray using a non-metal scraper. You can empty the drip bucket as needed.
Q. Do Traeger grills rust?
A. With a powder-coated steel body, there’s plenty of protection, but you still want to be careful because exposed steel will rust. Any kind of scratch or dent could potentially be a problem. Traeger recommends covering your grill if it will be out in inclement weather.
Q. How long does it take a Traeger grill to warm up and cool down?
A. These grills reach cooking temperature fairly quickly. Depending on what you’re cooking and the outside temperature, it can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. When you’re done, the grill needs an hour to cool completely.