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Many people nowadays are converting from gas and charcoal grills to wood pellet grills. They are quickly becoming known as an easier way to grill all the favorite BBQ staples. Not only are they able to provide evenly distributed heat, but they also function very similarly to a convection oven. They can give an incredibly appealing wood-fired taste with less of the acrid smoke usually found with conventional charcoal or wood-fired grills.
Two of the leaders in pellet grills are Traeger and Green Mountain. We are going to take a look at some pellet grills from these two manufacturers, and break down the Traeger vs Green Mountain comparison to their functions, features, and anything that may set them apart from the pack.
Traeger vs Green Mountain – Head To Head
Even in a detailed breakdown of Traeger vs Green Mountain, it can be challenging to keep everything straight. Of course, you can always look at the price point and the feature set, basically what you get for your money, but not everyone is interested in the same features, right? You want what you want, and when you can find those factors quickly, it can help narrow down some choices rather quickly. Here are some of the main differences between the two top brands:
- Traeger Grills offer a premium pellet grilling experience. Their flagship Ironwood 885 is one of the best on the market, period.
- If portability and wifi are important, the Davy Crockett is the choice. It is the only portable grill to come with native wifi.
- If the price is important, know that Green Mountain will be significantly cheaper than a similar model from Traeger.
- Traeger has a much wider range of sizes and configurations for their grills.
- Trager is the clear winner for size, they have larger grills than Green Mountain, some with more than 1000 square inches of cooking area.
- Green Mountain is able to provide a maximum grilling temperature of 50 degrees hotter than Traeger.
- Traeger makes online shopping easier, while Green Mountain prefers you visit a local dealer to provide the most personalized experience.
- Grills from both companies come with a 3-year warranty.
Traeger and Green Mountain Pellet Grill Reviews
Traeger Ironwood 885
When you need a massive amount of cooking space combined with some of the finest electronic control over your cooking, the Traeger Ironwood 885 is going to be one of your prime options. Not only does it give you a staggering 885 square inches of cooking space, that is enough for 7 full racks of ribs or 10 entire chickens. To evenly heat this 175-pound monster, there is a pellet hopper that can hold up to 20 pounds of wood pellets, so you do not have to worry about constantly refilling the hopper during more lengthy cooking projects. The Super Smoke Mode and TurboTemp let you start quicker and smoke colder, giving you the perfect wood-fired taste.
The D2 controller lets you maintain precise control over your cooking temperatures. This means more consistent results and more functional versatility. Whether you are smoking, grilling, or even baking, the Traeger companion app and Wifire technology give you the ability to adjust temperatures remotely, browse a recipe database, and even monitor the temperature of your food live via the meat probe.
Traeger has a phenomenal build quality, and this extends to the cook box insulation. The double-wall insulation boosts the efficiency of the pellets in colder weather, allowing you to extend your grilling season like never before. Don’t worry about running out of pellets mid-cook, the pellet hopper level sensor will alert you if the pellets start running low, and will let you monitor their level when you please.
Green Mountain Davy Crockett
Let’s face it, anything is “portable” if you carry enough tools. But for true portability, you want the Davy Crockett, hands down. Perfect for use by campers, RV boondockers, houseboaters, off-gridders, and tailgaters. It is built to be taken anywhere you want that great wood-fired taste on your grillables.
The legs fold up making the Crockett easy to slip in the trunk or truck bed, and at only 68 pounds, it doesn’t take a team to set up. It comes with everything you need to get your grill going anywhere you need it, like the thermal sensor, wifi module, 12V & 120V power options, meat probe, and tray with tool hooks. If you want to complete the kit, there is a travel bag available separately that gives you an easy way to carry it all at once.
The electronic and wifi control lets you adjust the temperature in five-degree increments, from the comfort of your nearest Android or iPhone. The build quality means you will have this grill for quite some time, and it stands just fine on its own as a home grill.
Traeger Ironwood 650
If the Ironwood 885 is a bit more than you need, but you still need some significant cooking power and area, the Traeger Ironwood 650 is a great option. 650 square inches of useable cooking area gives you the space to spread out and get some work done. Smoke up to 6 full pork butts, or 5 full racks of pork ribs, or grill 8 entire chickens.
The Ironwood 650 still gives you the huge 20-pound pellet hopper, letting you go further than ever before without a top-off, and the pellet sensor will keep you apprised of the fuel level left in your grill. The 149-pound weight means this grill is robust, but still manageable without a team effort. The extra insulation on the sidewalls lets you cook in more conditions, with less heat loss.
Coming with native Wifire technology, you can control and adjust your grill from anywhere using the Traeger companion app. Monitor your food, check your fuel level, browse recipes, and adjust your temperature via the D2 Ironwood controller. Hit the button for Super Smoke Mode and let that flavor soak into the meat while the controller keeps precise control of the environment. The included meat probe gives you an exact measure of your prize’s doneness.
Check out our complete review of this grill right here.
Traeger Pro 575
The number one best-selling pellet grill in the world is the Traeger Pro 575. With a seemingly perfect balance between the cooking area and price, there are very few points of compromise on the 575. You have 575 square inches of cooking area, which is plenty for even the most boisterous of backyard gatherings. Grill up to 24 burgers at once, 5 entire racks of ribs, or 4 whole chickens to satisfy you and your guests’ hunger.
Versatile enough to cook anything you can cook in a conventional oven while adding the most flavorful and savory wood smoke taste to it. The porcelain-coated grill grates help your grillables release effortlessly from the grill when you’re done cooking them. Easily move the grill where you need it, when you need it, then store it again easily with the rugged all-terrain wheels.
The Pro 575 comes with native wifi capability via the Wifire technology. Change the temperature at a whim, monitor your food with the included meat probe, and check the pellet level remaining in the 18-pound pellet hopper, all with the Traeger companion app. The temperature control provides the most consistent cooking environment possible.
From the stadium parking lot to the favorite weekend camping spot, the Traeger Tailgater will help you get that wood-fired flavor anywhere you decide you need it. With a portable design not seen in any other Traeger pellet grill, the features on this tough little traveler make it a worthwhile option for portability.
EZ-Fold legs let the Traeger Tailgater fit in places a full Traeger pellet grill can’t. Your truck bed, patio, apartment balcony, and more. The only limit is your imagination. The Traeger Digital Arc Controller gives you the most precise temperature control possible, with increments of only 5 degrees at a time. The included meat probe helps you monitor your meat’s internal temperature and avoid overcooking or drying out.
Also present on the Tailgater is a Keep Warm Mode that will ramp down cooking to simply keep your food hot until it is time to chow down. Once it’s time to eat, the easy to clean porcelain-coated grill grates let the food release without sticking, and won’t retain rancid flavors like porous metal grates.
Check out our full review of this grill right here.
What’s the Deal with Pellet Grills?
Using compressed hardwood pellets as a heat source is not new, as people have been using wood pellet stoves to heat their homes for some time now. Using the wood pellets in a more measured way in order to utilize them for grilling has only been used since about the 1980s when Traeger pioneered the pellet grill industry. In the early 2000s, pellet grills saw an explosion in popularity, and they haven’t stopped growing since.
How Fast are Pellet Grills?
They are generally faster to preheat than propane, charcoal, and hardwood chunk grilling. The pellet grills are not only precisely controlled and the head convected, but they are also faster to preheat than conventional grills. The fast preheat, along with the convection action and even heat distribution allows things to cook much more efficiently in a pellet grill.
However, they can also cook much slower and with more precision, if you are using them to smoke, since they can feed the pellets quite slowly and control the air to a high degree, they are effective in just about any cooking role you need them to fill, and they can do it just a little better than a traditional grill or oven.
I Know How to Stack Charcoal, How Do I Cook with Pellets?
This is the super easy part. You fill the hopper with the wood pellets. That’s it. Seriously. Sure there are a few other things to consider, but once the hopper is full, and the grill is powered up, you can start the pre-heating and it will not only manage the starting and temperature control, but the grill will also automatically feed their fuel by way of an auger that runs from the pellet hopper to the combustion chamber.
Once the pellets are deposited in the combustion chamber, a small fan stokes the fire and helps provide a more complete combustion process. This heat is allowed to fill the cook box and is convected with the air currents that the grill creates with the combustion fan. All you need to do is prep the food, put in the temperature probe, and fire up that companion app. Control your heat, monitor your meat, and keep an eye on your fuel level all in one place.
Can I Smoke with a Pellet Grill?
Absolutely! You can smoke your favorite cuts of meat low and slow with your choice of hardwood pellets and soaked wood chips or chunks for additional smoke. The temperature control allows you to control the temperature of your smoking down to 150 degrees usually. Not only that, but some manufacturers even have additional equipment to allow for cold smoking. So of course you can smoke your beef, pork, chicken, venison, and so on, but with cold smoking, you can even smoke more delicate things like salmon or other fish, or even cheese.
Can You Use Green Mountain Pellets in a Traeger Grill?
Whilst many people choose to use other brands of pellets inside their Traeger grill, doing so can affect the validity of your warranty.
Some would suggest that Green Mountain Pellets and other branded pellets burn better than those made by Traeger. However, it is worth noting that Traeger states ‘’using other brand wood pellets voids warranty’’.
As such, if you experience any issues with the functionality of your grill, the brand can refuse to repair it, unless you choose not to disclose that you have opted to use different pellets. You may find that they cannot tell if you have used Green Mountain or another brand of pellets inside your grill.
Those who want to err on the side of caution may prefer to stick with Traeger pellets rather than venturing out and using Green Mountain ones.
How Long Will a Green Mountain Grill Last?
Green Mountain grills have been durably made to serve you many years of use. They are typically covered by a 2 year warranty so you are protected should you experience any issues with the quality or operation of the grill within this time.
Although these grills tend to retail within a lower price range, they feature high-quality components that are going to last. When you purchase your grill you will also be provided with an instructional user manual which you will need to consult to ensure that you are properly caring for it.
If you dedicate plenty of time to maintaining your grill after and in between uses, you will likely find that it lasts for a lengthy amount of time. If you do not care for your grill and allow the grease to build and rust to start corroding it, unfortunately, you are going to find yourself replacing it sooner than you would like.
Are Green Mountain Grills Made in China?
Yes, Green Mountain Grills are manufactured in China, much like many other grills as more brands are making this move to reduce their costs, whilst still creating products that are affordable for their customers.
This range of grills was introduced to the market in 2006, following the expiration of the Traeger grills patent. Whilst the headquarters are based in Reno, Nevada, the grills are not made in the same location.
It is worth noting that the Green Mountain brand themselves provide very little information regarding the country in which their range of grills are manufactured. Because of this, you will need to conduct some detailed research if you want to find out more about the routes of the brand.
Can Green Mountain Grills Use Any Pellets?
Whilst it is possible to interchange the pellets that are used inside your Green Mountain Grill, the brand recommends sticking with the GMG pellets and there are many reasons for this.
First of all their pellets retail at an affordable price and provide a great value option for those who are just getting started with their grill. GMG hardwood pellets also deliver a great taste and they are going to enhance the flavors of the food that you are cooking inside your grill.
Aside from this, their high BTU rating means that they will burn for a prolonged period, so you needn’t worry about them losing their heat quickly. If this wasn’t impressive enough, they are also super versatile and produce minimal ash so you won’t find yourself cleaning up a lot of mess after cooking.
Should you decide to use another brand of pellets, you must make sure that they are of a food-grade standard and high quality.
Traeger vs Green Mountain Buyers’ Guide
Some folks try to tell you size doesn’t matter, and that’s true to an extent. It has a lot to do with how you use the faculties you have. When it comes to grill size you can certainly have a grill that is too big. Sure, we all look at a grill like the Traeger Ironwood 885 and need something to wipe up our drool, but the truth is, if you don’t need that much space regularly, you could end up regretting it.
When you shop for a grill, make sure you take into account how much you actually cook, not how much you could cook if you had the room. If you do not regularly have backyard barbeques with dozens of people, there probably isn’t much of a point to buy a grill that can cook ten chickens at once, however awesome that might sound. The plain truth is that you need to fill all that space with heat, even you’re only making a few burgers for the family dinner.
Instead, take a look at your usual cooking load. A dozen burgers? Several steaks, maybe? A couple of meats and a vegetable or two? If you tend to cook meals mostly for your family, or you and several friends, then you may want to consider one of the medium or even smaller grills so that your fuel effiency is maximized. This way you aren’t having to refill that hopper every time you need to roast a few brats and burgers before the big game.
This is going to be a dealbreaker if you need it, while if you don’t need it you generally do not want it. If you are planning on keeping your grill in one location, without needing to reposition or move it for storage at all, then you certainly do not want a grill that is going to compromise on robust construction for mobility features you will never use. Don’t worry about wheels if it won’t be moving, right?
On the other hand, if you are planning on portability with your grill, then you need to make sure your grill will be portable. This means portable without a toolkit or three other people to help you lift and position it. Even if you just need it mobile enough to move several feet from the storage area to the usage area, those mobility features are going to mean the world to you. This is particularly important if you live in an apartment or condo, where you are generally required to move your grill away from the building a set distance before use for safety reasons.
Arguably one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing relatively expensive items like new grills. The grills we looked at here are some of the best in their tier, and so are priced commensurate with that. While Green Mountain has a price point that is considerably lower than Traeger’s, neither are what you would call “cheap”, so if you needed to save a few dollars, sometimes there are options to buy various models without the wifi capability. This can reduce the price a significant amount, at the expense of eliminating one of what could be seen as the most important features of high-level grills like these.
Wrapping Up Traeger vs Green Mountain
Pellet grills are here to stay, that is a fact. So when you decide to join the precision and versatility of the pellet grilling revolution, Traeger and Green Mountain are both amazing options for manufacturers. Both have some great features on their grills, and both give you the ability to control your cooking like never before with their wifi interfaces and companion apps. Remember to consider what you need from the grill first, then consider what you want from your grill, and you will have a pretty good idea of where to start shopping.