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No matter which types of foods you like to eat, owning a pellet grill is one of the best investments you can ever make. The wood pellets used in pellet grills add incredible flavor, complexity, and character to your beef, BBQ, seafood or any other type of smoked dish.
If you’ve made it to this page, you’re definitely on the right track and probably already know that Rec Tec and Traeger are two of the best pellet grill brands on the market.
We’re going to go on a deep dive and compare the Rec Tec vs Traeger brands from a high level first. From there, we’ll do specific Rec Tec vs Traeger grill reviews to compare various price points.
Before we go any further, I just want to point out that both of these brands have very strong reputations in the grilling space. You really can’t go wrong with either brand, and people have been making delicious food with both types of grills for a long time. Without any further ado, let’s compare Rec Tec vs Traeger!
Here’s Our Top Recommendations From Both Brands:
- Ironwood Series 885 – Best Overall
- Traeger Pro Series 575 – Most Popular
- Traeger Tailgater
- Ranger Portable Pellet Grill
Rec Tec vs Traeger Comparison
We stress this quite a bit at Own the Grill, but temperature control is one of the most important aspects for any grill master to perfect. The equipment you use, i.e. your grill, if made properly will help tremendously in your ability to create and maintain consistent temperatures.
Both Traeger and Rec Tec are very much ahead of the technology curve when it comes to temperature control. Each brand has some nice features in place to make temperature control and monitoring as easy as possible while you cook.
Traeger puts a digital temperature screen and management system on each of their grills. The digital interface is intuitive, extremely easy to read, and ideal for grilling at dusk or any time the lighting isn’t great. Many of their units are also kitted with their trademarked WiFIRE technology, which allows you to monitor and adjust your grill from anywhere via the Traeger app.
You can change the grill temperature, monitor internal food temperature, and add smoke all from your smartphone or tablet. Pretty impressive – and it takes away a lot of the guesswork and pain points typically associated with maintaining temperature.
Rec Tec has very similar capabilities as Traeger in this regard. Their grills also have a built in digital temperature display and WiFi capabilities. You simply have to download their app, and you can fire up your grill remotely. You can also monitor your food and adjust temperatures as needed from the convenience of your phone.
Rec Tec vs Traeger Verdict (Temperature Control): Tie
You really can’t give the nod to one brand over the other here, both feature impressive technology and capabilities when it comes to temperature management.
Traeger grills’ “High” temperature setting caps out at a hair over 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Searing happens at temperatures above 300 degrees Fahrenheit so they can still definitely get the job done for searing.
Rec Tec actually has a better temperature range though, with their units able to work between 180 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rec Tec vs Traeger Verdict (Temperature Range): Rec Tec
Rec Tec gets the nod here with a slightly larger temperature range. If you are looking at Traeger vs Rec Tec for the purposes of smoking, slow cooking, or traditional grilling, this likely won’t matter much as Traeger temperatures are more than sufficient to get the job done. But if you are going to do heavy duty searing frequently, like on a tomahawk steak for example, a Rec Tec might be more ideal.
Cooking Surface Area
It’s important to think about the setting you typically cook in – and for how many people. There are a wide variety of grill sizes across these two brands, so you’re sure to find one to suit your needs.
That being said, Traeger does offer a wider variety of options when it comes to cooking space. In particular, their portable tailgating series offer an impressive 300 square inches of cooking space. Rec Tec doesn’t really have a comparable product to this.
Rec Tec vs Traeger Verdict (Cooking Surface Area): Tie
Each brand’s larger units have comparable grilling areas. Traeger offers a wider range of grills to suit your needs, but Rec Tec has plenty of options offering lots of cooking area, including the monster Chuckwagon.
Many people leave their grill in one spot and never have the need to move it around. But if you’re the type who likes to bring the good food along tailgating, camping, or on the go, grill mobility is super important.
Rec Tec’s smaller units come with built in folding legs that can minimize the profile of the grill pretty quickly. As far as portability goes, it’s about as pain free as it’s going to get.
Traeger, on the other hand, has a more robust selection when it comes to grilling on the go. They actually have a line of grills specifically designed for portability. We already touched on their portable tailgating series, and they also have a ranger pellet grill which works on a table top and has dimensions of 13″ H x 21″ W x 20″ L.
Rec Tec vs Traeger Verdict (Mobility): Traeger
Simply due to their portable grills line, we have to choose Traeger here. If you grill on the go a lot, nothing is easier than picking up one of their grills specifically designed with mobility in mind.
Hopper capacity is one of those things that might not sound like a huge deal, but it’s certainly a hassle to have to constantly refill. That can definitely happen if you grill multiple times per week and have a small hopper on your pellet grill.
Rec Tec Grill hopper sizes vary based on how large the grill is – which makes intuitive sense. More grill means more fuel requirement. The bigger Rec Tec grills have a hopper capacity of up to 40 pounds which is huge!
Traeger grills on the other hand, pretty much all feature an 18 pound hopper. It’s a solid size, but you’ll definitely be refilling more compared to a Rec Tec.
Rec Tec vs Traeger Verdict (Hopper Capacity): Rec Tec
When it comes to advanced and custom features, both brands are pretty comparable in that they get a lot of things right. We’ve already gone over each brand’s WiFi capabilities and connectivity with each’s respective app. This is something that separates both Traeger and Rec Tec from the competition. The ability to so easily control and monitor your grill from your phone.
Recently, Traeger has really upped their game when it comes to extra features. For a while there, they weren’t innovating a ton with their grills and some competitors kind of surpassed them. Thankfully though, Traeger’s new grills now come with all of the extra features you love to see – like WiFi connectivity, great clean up systems, and much more.
Rec Tec offers a similar suite of extras, with everything from additional shelves to searing kits to high end covers, and built in meat probe thermometers. At Own the Grill, we think their app is a little more intuitive and robust than Traeger’s.
Rec Tec vs Traeger Verdict (Custom Features): Tie
Ask me a year ago, I would have given this category to Rec Tec. But Traeger has really been stepping up their game lately in this department. Their premium line, the Ironwood Series in particular, showcases some pretty fantastic extra features.
One of the most important reasons to buy from a reputable brand is because of the manufacturer’s warranty. The presence of a warranty is a strong signal to the customer that the brand stands behind the quality of their product. As counterintuitive as it might seem, the brands with the best warranties are often the ones with the least amount of problems with their products.
When it comes to warranties, Rec Tec and Traeger are very similar. Each have warranties covering all of their products. The length of the warranty varies by product, but the more expensive Rec Tec units are covered by a whopping 6 year warranty. Traeger grills are generally covered by a 3 year warranty.
Rec Tec vs Traeger Verdict (Warranties): Rec Tec
Overall Rec Tec vs Traeger Winner: Traeger
This is honestly a really close call, and the comparison feels a little bit like splitting hairs because both brands make extremely high quality pellet grills. The thing that tips the scales in favor of Traeger to us is the bang for your buck factor. We feel like the Traeger Ironwood series compares really well to Rec Tec Grills for a slightly better price. Plus Traeger offers a robust line of more price friendly grills too.
Not a single stone is left unturned with either brand though – their grills offer literally everything you could ever need in a pellet grill, all the way down to built in meat probe thermometers.
Rec Tec vs Traeger – Individual Grill Reviews
I thought it would be helpful to go through some of the features of individual grills to help you in your analysis of Rec Tec vs Traeger.
Traeger Ironwood 885
The critique I have heard from those who are not huge fans of Traeger is that they haven’t kept up with the times. Over the 2010’s, some say that they got complacent with their brand positioning and failed to innovate and truly make a better product each year.
The Traeger Ironwood Series is the answer to that criticism. It’s a bona fide premium pellet grill that undeniably gets the job done, no matter whether you are a believer or a doubter.
Most notably, the Ironwood series of grills all have built in WiFi capabilities and a ton of cooking space. You can manage all aspects of your cook from the convenience of your phone, not limited to monitoring your grill’s ambient temperature and your food’s internal temperature via probe thermometer connectivitiy.
The downside of this grill is that it is not in the bargain bin. It costs a decent amount of coin, but if you are looking for a long term investment that will perform spectacularly, this grill is our favorite out of any on this list.
REC TEC Grills RT-700 Wood Pellet Grill
With the Rec Tec RT-700 Wood Pellet Grill, precision is the name of the game. The cooking chamber is made entirely of stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about peeling paint or inferior materials falling apart.
This grill also features Rec Tec’s WiFi technology, so you can manage and monitor your grill from afar. It’s something that really comes in handy if you are BBQing or smoking something that’s an all day affair. Instead of constantly having to go outside and check temperature, you can see the grill and internal food temperature right from your app.
You can also set your grill to 5 degree increments, offering maximum precision and control when you’re lighting up the fire. It really is incredible how far technology has come in the grilling space, and the Rec Tec RT-700 is a prime showcase.
The RT-700 comes with a grill cover and a 6 year warranty included, so while the price is somewhat expensive, you can buy with the confidence that this grill will last you a lifetime.
Traeger Grills Pro Series 575 Pellet Grill
I mean, how does one not fall in love with this grill? The Traeger Pro Series is Traeger’s flagship series and the 575 specifically has been a best selling pellet grill on the market for years.
Traeger markets this grill as the ultimate way to achieve wood fired taste, and they’re not wrong. As the pitmaster, you have access to a digital pro controller and precise, consistent temperatures. All of this makes life incredibly easy when you are low and slow cooking your BBQ.
Powerful steel construction and a durable powder coat finish means you won’t have to worry about how long your grill will last. It’s built to be a staple on your patio or outdoor kitchen for years to come.
This grill is also extremely versatile. Due to the level of precision you have with temperature control, you can roast, smoke, grill, braise, bake, and BBQ food all on this single unit.
On top of all of that, the TFB57GZEO Pro Series 575 features 575 square inches of cooking space. That’s more than enough space for 30 burgers, 6 chickens, or 5 racks of ribs.
REC TEC Grills RT-590 Wood Pellet Grill
The Rec Tec Grills RT-590 Pellet Grill is simply a slightly more compact version of the RT-590. It comes with a premium grill cover included and 200 pounds of pellets ready to put to use!
Rec Tec’s signature WiFi technology is included in this grill, so you can light up and monitor from anywhere within signal of your grill from the convenience of your phone. The temperature remains precise and consistent with a RT-590, which is a crucial factor in the equation of grilling delicious food.
The RT-590 has a unique octagon-shaped cooking chamber made of stainless steel. The design sets it apart from other grills on the market while providing incredible amounts of durability.
All of this is backed up by a 4 year manufacturer’s warranty. It’s hard to argue with that!
Traeger Grills Junior Elite Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
What I love most about the Traeger Junior Elite is that it packs a punch despite being a little smaller in size than many of the other grills on this list.
At 49″ L x 42″ W x 22″, the profile is small enough that you can fit it into really any space on your patio or balcony. With that size comes 300 square inches of cooking space, which is more than enough to cover the needs of any family or small gathering of friends. In fact, that’s enough space to fit 12 burgers, 3 whole chickens, or 3 racks of ribs simultaneously.
Using the grill is as simple as turning a dial. From there, you can control temperature and maintain steady heat to handle all of your grilling, smoking, and BBQing duties.
REC TEC Grills RT-340 Portable Wood Pellet Grill
If Rec Tec wins in your version of Rec Tec vs Traeger, and you don’t have enough patio space for the RT-700 or RT-590, the Rec Tec Grills RT-340 Portable Pellet Grill is a great alternative.
At 341 square inches of grilling area, you have plenty of space to grill multiple burgers or other items at once. It also comes with the same smart grill technology that the RT-700 does, so you have complete control over the temperature as you cook your food.
Additionally, the legs fold for maximum portability and to make things easier for travel. The hopper has a 20 pound pellet capacity, and the impressive temperature range goes anywhere from 200 t0 500 degrees Fahrenheit in 5 degree increments.
The unit also comes with 80 pounds of pellets and is backed by a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty.
Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill and Smoker
If you’re looking for similar horsepower but maybe a little bit smaller of a unit, the Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill is also a fan favorite.
Similar to the Pro Series 34, this grill has the ability to roast, smoke, grill, braise, bake, and BBQ food all in one place. There’s also the quality that you’d expect from a Traeger grill. It’s well made with sturdy materials, and has an elite temperature control system built in.
At 49″ L x 41″ W x 27″ H, it’s a very manageable size and has a smaller profile than the Pro Series 34. Despite the smaller size, it still has 572 square inches of primary cooking. That’s enough space to fit 24 burgers, 4 chickens, or 5 racks of ribs on the primary cooking area.
We talked a little bit about the Traeger Tailgater earlier in this post, but it’s worth a revisit here. What makes the Tailgater so great is how portable it is. It makes deliciously flavored foods achievable in outdoors settings like camping and tailgating.
With 300 square inches of cooking surface, there’s more than enough room to feed multiple people at once. It also comes kitted with a thermometer, fully automatic auger, auto start system, digital control panel & 10 LB Pellet Hopper. The legs also fold for easier storage and transport.
Another nice little feature is that a pack of 20 pounds of wood pellets so that you can get to grilling right away.
Traeger Ranger Portable Pellet Grill
If you want to go even more portable, the Traeger Ranger Portable Pellet Grill can get the job done on just about all of your grilling needs.
It’s important to note here that this unit is an electric grill made by Traeger that plugs into any standard 110v outlet. There is however a hopper for wood pellets, so you can still add that smoky flavor you’d want or expect from a pellet grill.
That being said, it is a heavy duty grill considering the size, and can handle lots of different types of foods. The 173 square inches of grilling area is enough space to handle up to 8 burgers at once.
All in all, it’s a great way to make delicious food in an on the go setting!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Traeger Grills Ever Go on Sale?
Traeger grills rarely go on sale. Their promotions typically cover add-on accessories or the offering of free pellets once you have made your purchase. However, the grills tend to retail at a discounted price twice a year; black Friday and May/June as father’s day and memorial day approaches.
If you are on the lookout for a new, hardy grill, you should check Traeger out during these times, as you discover that some of their high-end models retail at a lower price.
Although Traeger grills rarely go on sale, particularly the high-end models, the brand does tend to offer occasional discounts that shoppers can benefit from when using a discount code.
To keep up with any current discounts, promotions, and sales, it is worth visiting the Traeger website as all of the relevant information will be detailed there.
Is Traeger Made in China?
Whilst Traeger grills were originally manufactured in Oregon and produced in the USA, they are now manufactured in China.
In 2006 the family sold the company and in the same year, the patent that Traeger had on the design of their grill ran out meaning that competitors could now introduce their models to the market that shared similar features.
Although the grills were still made in Oregon up until 2010, it was decided that the company would be moved to China. This move was pursued to ensure that the company could continue creating high-quality products that they were renowned for, retailing at reasonable prices which their customers would be willing to pay.
This is a step that is taken by many companies that are looking to reduce their manufacturing costs.
Is Rec-Tec Worth the Money?
Rec-Tec is a manufacturer of a well-known range of grills. Upon initial inspection, you may be deterred by the seemingly high prices in which these models retail, however, many would suggest that this is a worthy expense and one that you won’t be left regretting.
The brand is recognized for creating grills that feature high-quality components that are heavy-duty and durable. They can also hold temperature effectively and are praised for their versatility and useability.
If this wasn’t impressive enough, they also have variable temperature controls so you can alter the intensity of heat according to the food that you are cooking.
The majority can also connect to an app on your phone so you can control it without having to be right next to it. A great thing about Rec-Tec grills is that they cater to a range of individuals. Whether you are a regular griller or using one for the first time, you are bound to find one that caters to your needs.
When it comes to grilling food at higher temperatures, some of the Rec-Tec grills could benefit from slight improvements.
Rec Tec vs Traeger – Final Verdict and Wrap Up
In case you couldn’t tell from the content in this post, choosing a winner between Rec Tec vs Traeger is no easy task.
What makes the decision so difficult is that each brand is extremely competitive with one another in every single important aspect of their grills. That’s really what you should expect out of two of the best pellet grill brands though.
All of that being said, from an overall brand comparison we give the nod to Rec Tec. While some think they are the newer kids on the block, they are just a little ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and value add features. When it comes to the actual performance of the grills and quality of the units, it’s extremely close though.
At the end of the day, the best grill for you might not be the best grill for the next person. Rec Tec is a fantastic brand, and they make some spectacular grills. Same goes for Traeger. If you see a Traeger you want to buy, go for it – you won’t be disappointed.
Looking for more grill reviews and brand comparisons? Check out our article on Pit Boss vs Traeger next, or our comparison of Rec Tec vs Camp Chef here. You can also check out our reviews on the best pellets for smoking right here if you are looking for some guidance on which pellets to use with your new grill!
Which grill did you end up going with between the two brands? Let us know in the comments section below!