Traeger Grills TFB88PZBO Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill and Smoker, 884 Sq. In. Cooking Capacity, BronzeView on Amazon
Last update on 2021-05-08 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API
Before comparing the two brands, we should learn about their history and commitment first.
It is not an overestimation to say that Traeger has arguably one of the most interesting rises to fame. Back in the 80s, the concept of pellet grill was non-existent. There were some attempts, but no design can actually satisfy the needs of the users.
That was the case until Joe Traeger, a heating specialist, started to experiment with his wood-burning stoves. The result of this experiment is the first design concept of what will come to be known as the pellet grill. And he quickly patented this design in 1986.
Traeger is the creator of the modern pellet grill.
Thanks to his quick action, Traeger as a company was able to hold a complete monopoly for over 20 years. During this period, there is virtually no other company capable of competing with it, barring one.
Only after the patent had expired could the other competitors start to flourish. However, it is still an undeniable fact that Traeger remains the leader of this industry. It is, after all, capable of selling at least 300 million worth of grills each year.
As we have stated, there was only one brand capable of challenging Traeger back when it was at its prime. That company is Pit Boss, a subsidiary of the cooking behemoth Dansons Inc founded by the legendary Dan Thiessen.
Ever since its conception back in 1999, Pit Boss has proven itself to be a respectable challenger. Knowing that they cannot easily shake up the complete domination that Traeger holds, this company decides to do things differently.
Pit Boss rose to fame thanks to the Louisiana grill line
While other companies were committing to challenging Traeger on all fronts, Pit Boss choose only one. The products that Pit Boss puts out may not be as high-quality as Traegers’, but they are certainly more affordable.
With this smart tactic, Pit Boss was able to make a name for itself while waiting for the expiration of the patent. One more interestingthing, the Traeger’s founder is working at Dansons currently.
True to their well-known competition, both of these brands offer completely unique features. Here are the main differences.
It is simply undeniable that Traeger is the leader of the grill industry when we talk purely about construction quality. The secret of this advantage lies in its stainless steel body.
If you don’t know, stainless steel is the best at resisting all types of damage. No matter if it’s rust or water damage, nothing can make a dent on Traeger grills’ body.
The Traeger Ironwood, famous for its incredible durability.
That’s not all, as there is also a powder coating that Traeger put onto this already highly durable body. With the coating, the risk of heat damage is limited to almost non-existent.
However, since the day Traeger moved their manufacturing plants to China, there has been a noticeable decline in the products’ durability.
Pit Boss, on the other hand, is not too well known for producing durable and long-lasting grills. Of course, this does not mean that the grills’ construction quality is below average. It’s just that they simply cannot compete with what Traeger has to offer in this aspect.
One vital part of the preparation process for a smoking BBQ party is temperature control. After all, it’s never a good idea to open the lid up once the smoke starts to appear. To limit this from happening, we need to be sure that the smoker can reliably stay in a fixed temperature range.
The best way to check for temperature control is through the insulation design. Essentially, you need a stable oxygen supply to keep the wood pellets burning constantly.
The thing keeping Traeger as the industry leader after their patent runs out is their smart insulation design. For instance, the Pro line grills all have at least one layer of steel serving as an insulation wall. This layer is there to increase the heat retention capacity of the grill, especially in colder regions.
On the other hand, Pit Boss grills, while having stable temperature regulation, do not have good wall insulation. This results in them not being as suitable a choice as Traeger grills for cold climates. You do have the opportunity to fix it by buying some insulating blankets, though.
With the rise of technology, a new way to control temperature has appeared, the digital controller. True to their industry leader fame, Traeger and Pit Boss are the first manufacturers to make use of this tech.
The Traeger digital controller lets you increase the temperature inside the grill by increments of 15°F. This increment amount is especially suitable for smoking, as this process cannot handle too strong of a change.
As for the Pit Boss digital controller, it can only change the temperature by 25 F. In other words, you cannot make any precise change to the temperature. This may lead to your meat dehydrating too quickly and tasting bad.
Most pellet grills can only go as high as 400°F, which is simply not enough for many types of meat. Both Pit Boss and Traeger smokers luckily are capable of going much higher than this number.
In this aspect, we must say that Pit Boss holds a clear advantage, thanks to its open sear plate design. While other pellet grills only allow you to make use of indirect heat, Pit Boss grills let you do it over the actual flame.
And thanks to this feature, you can go much higher than 500°F, which is the limit of most Traeger grills.
Pellet Hopper Size
Many people overlook this component, not knowing that it plays a major part in the smoking process. If you get a smoker with high hopper capacity, you will never worry about changing the fuel. This will reduce both the risk of accidents and the loss of smoke.
Traeger provides most of their grills with the same hopper size, which can take up 18 pounds of wood pellet. This kind of capacity is more than enough for most cooking sessions. There is, however, still a need for a refill if you plan to smoke slowly.
Some Pit Boss grills have impressive hoppers.
On the contrary, Pit Boss has some models whose capacity is as high as 55 pounds. You can easily smoke at most 24 hours with these hoppers.
- Huge pellet hopper size with many variants
- High-temperature range
- Open sear plate design
- Quite affordable
- Flimsy build
- Weak temperature control
- Inferior insulation design
- Imprecise digital controller
- Precise temperature control
- Accurate digital controller
- Double-wall insulation design
- High heat retention
- Strong construction
- Low hopper capacity
- Low heat range
- Limited hopper size options
All in all, it is still hard to determine a clear winner for the competition of Pit Boss vs Traeger. Each of them offers a unique set of advantages as well as disadvantages and you should decide based on your specific situations.
For instance, people who are in colder climates and experienced smokers will surely prefer Traeger. This brand’s grill is simply unmatchable in the heat control and heat retention aspects.
If you have a limited budget or are new to BBQ, Pit Boss would always be a better choice. They offer roughly the same performance with a much friendlier price.