Battle of the Ironwoods – Traeger Ironwood XL vs Ironwood 885: Who Wins?

Let’s compare the new Traeger Ironwood Xl vs their Ironwood 885 pellet grill and see who’s the champ? When it comes to outdoor cooking, particularly smoking and grilling, Traeger has established itself as a premium brand, known for its innovative pellet grills and readers of my blog know how much I love my Traeger Ironwood – it’s my #1 go to grill. Among its extensive lineup, the Ironwood series from Traeger stands out for its blend of advanced features and user-friendly design. Two of the most popular models in this series are the Traeger Ironwood XL and the Traeger Ironwood 885. In this article, we provide detailed comparison of these two models, examining their pros and cons, and ultimately determine which one comes out on top.

Overview of the new Traeger Ironwood XL

The Traeger Ironwood XL is one of the newer additions to the Ironwood series, designed to cater to serious grilling enthusiasts and larger gatherings. It boasts a larger cooking area, advanced technology, and enhanced features that promise to elevate the grilling experience.

Key Features of the Traeger Ironwood XL:

  1. Cooking Capacity: The Ironwood XL offers an impressive 924 square inches of cooking space, making it suitable for large parties or big families.
  2. WiFIRE Technology: Like other premium Traeger models, the Ironwood XL comes equipped with WiFIRE technology, allowing users to control the grill remotely via a smartphone app.
  3. D2 Direct Drive: This feature ensures precise temperature control and efficient pellet consumption.
  4. Super Smoke Mode: This mode increases smoke output at lower temperatures, enhancing the smoky flavor of the food.
  5. Double Side-Wall Insulation: This feature helps maintain consistent temperatures, even in colder weather, ensuring efficient cooking year-round.
  6. Pellet Sensor: Alerts users when the pellet level is low, ensuring uninterrupted cooking sessions.
  7. Built-In Meat Probes: Allows for precise monitoring of internal food temperatures without opening the grill.

Overview of the Traeger Ironwood 885

The Traeger Ironwood 885 has been a favorite among pellet grill enthusiasts for its balanced size, advanced features, and reliable performance. It offers a slightly smaller cooking area compared to the Ironwood XL but still packs a punch with its capabilities.

Key Features of the Traeger Ironwood 885:

  1. Cooking Capacity: With 885 square inches of cooking space, it provides ample room for most grilling needs, from family dinners to small gatherings.
  2. WiFIRE Technology: Also equipped with WiFIRE, it allows for remote control and monitoring via a smartphone app.
  3. D2 Direct Drive: Ensures consistent and efficient temperature control and pellet usage.
  4. Super Smoke Mode: Similar to the Ironwood XL, it enhances the smoke flavor at lower temperatures.
  5. Double Side-Wall Insulation: Keeps the cooking temperature stable, even in challenging weather conditions.
  6. Pellet Sensor: Monitors pellet levels to prevent unexpected run-outs.
  7. Built-In Meat Probes: Provides accurate internal temperature readings for perfect results.

Pros and Cons of the Traeger Ironwood XL


  1. Large Cooking Space: The 924 square inches of cooking area is ideal for large gatherings, allowing users to cook multiple dishes simultaneously.
  2. Advanced Technology: Features like WiFIRE, D2 Direct Drive, and Super Smoke Mode make it a technologically advanced grill, enhancing the overall cooking experience.
  3. Durability and Insulation: The double side-wall insulation ensures consistent temperatures, improving cooking efficiency and fuel economy.
  4. User-Friendly Features: The pellet sensor and built-in meat probes add convenience and precision to the cooking process.


  1. Size and Portability: The larger size can be a disadvantage for those with limited outdoor space or who need a portable grill.
  2. Price: The advanced features and larger size come at a higher price point, which may not be justifiable for casual users.
  3. Pellet Consumption: The larger cooking area can lead to higher pellet consumption, increasing the operational cost over time.

Pros and Cons of the Traeger Ironwood 885


  1. Adequate Cooking Space: The 885 square inches of cooking area is sufficient for most users, balancing capacity and efficiency.
  2. Technological Integration: WiFIRE technology and D2 Direct Drive offer advanced control and efficiency, making it a smart choice for tech-savvy users.
  3. Consistent Performance: Double side-wall insulation and Super Smoke Mode ensure reliable and flavorful cooking results.
  4. Value for Money: The Ironwood 885 provides a good balance of features and performance at a slightly lower price point than the Ironwood XL.


  1. Size Limitation: Although adequate, the cooking space might be insufficient for very large gatherings or events.
  2. Price: While cheaper than the Ironwood XL, it is still a significant investment compared to entry-level grills.
  3. Weight and Portability: It is still relatively heavy and not the easiest to move around, which might be a concern for some users.

Comparing Performance and User Experience

Cooking Capacity – Ironwood XL

The Ironwood XL clearly wins in terms of sheer cooking space, making it a better choice for users who frequently host large gatherings. The Ironwood 885, while slightly smaller, is still substantial enough for most needs.

Technological Features – Tie

Both models are on par with each other regarding technological features. The inclusion of WiFIRE, D2 Direct Drive, and Super Smoke Mode in both models ensures that users get a top-tier grilling experience regardless of the choice.

Temperature Control and Consistency – TIE

The double side-wall insulation in both models ensures that they perform reliably in maintaining consistent temperatures. This is crucial for achieving the best results in smoking and grilling, particularly in varying weather conditions. Both grills are the same here too.

Ease of Use – TIE

Features like the pellet sensor and built-in meat probes enhance the user experience by adding convenience and precision. Both models score equally in this regard, making the cooking process straightforward and enjoyable.

Price and Value – Ironwood 885

The Ironwood 885 offers excellent value for its features, making it a more economical choice for users who don’t require the extensive cooking area of the Ironwood XL – you could save $500 or more going with the 885 model.

Final Verdict: Choosing the Overall Winner

Deciding between the Traeger Ironwood XL and the Traeger Ironwood 885 ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. Here’s a breakdown to help you make an informed decision:

For Larger Gatherings and The Newest Glitz – Ironwood XL

If you frequently host large gatherings or need to cook multiple dishes simultaneously, the Traeger Ironwood XL is the winner – but only by a hair. Its larger cooking space of 924 square inches can handle significant food quantities, making it ideal for big families, parties, or events- but keep in mind this is only slightly more than the 885. The advanced features and technological integrations further enhance its appeal – including the addition of the Pop-N-Lock Accessory panel which allows you to more easily store your cooking utensils is cool. Furthermore the overall design of the barrel is different and may appeal to those who like something new. Are these updates enough to justify the added cost? Only you can decide on that one. If budget is not a problem and you want the latest and greatest Traeger, the Ironwood XL sure is an awesome grill and you’re sure to enjoy a top-tier grilling experience on it – and look cool doing it.

For Balanced Performance and Value – Ironwood 885

If you are looking for a grill that offers nearly the same advanced features and proven reliable performance at a much lower price, the Traeger Ironwood 885 is the better choice in my opinion. The Ironwood 885 provides more than enough cooking space for most people, coupled with nearly the same technological advancements found in the Ironwood XL. Moreover, it offers better value for money, making it a more practical option for those who do not require the slightly extra capacity of the Ironwood XL or the ability to stick a few spatulas on the PAL rack. Take that $500 you saved and buy some more useful accessories or spices – you’ll be glad you did.

What’s YOUR preference?

Both the Traeger Ironwood XL and the Traeger Ironwood 885 are exceptional pellet grills, each catering to specific needs. The Ironwood XL stands out for its larger cooking area and advanced features, making it perfect for large gatherings and serious grilling enthusiasts.

On the other hand, the Ironwood 885 offers a more balanced approach with sufficient cooking space and the same advanced features, making it a better value for most users.And while I wouldn’t turn down a free Ironwood XL…

The Ironwood 885 is still MY personal winner in today’s Battle of the Ironwoods!

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