So you’ve decided you want to buy a wood-fired pellet grill and more specifically you want that pellet grill to be a TRAEGER Grill, but you’re still not sure which model is the best for you? If that sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll help you learn more about the various Traeger Grill models and narrow down your choice to which model is the Best Traeger Grill for YOU.
Why Buy a Traeger?
If you’re reading this article, I probably don’t need to ‘sell’ you on why the Traeger Brand is the best choice when it comes to a wood-fired pellet grill. After all Traeger was the ‘original’ pellet grill and their history dates back to 1986.
As you probably know by now Traeger makes it easy to grill however you like best – no matter which grill you go with, Traeger’s 6-in-1 ability means you can grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise and BBQ your way to pure, hardwood flavor. A fast learning curve, simple to use grilling technology, the ability to get consistent temperature control, AND great value for the money has made the Traeger Grill brand one of the most popular in the US today.
BTW – If you want to know more about Traeger’s history and why Traegers are so popular be sure to read this article: “What is a Traeger Grill and Why are Traeger Grills so popular.” For now though, let’s get to finding the best Traeger Grill for you.
Understanding the Different Models of Traeger Grill
Because there are so many Traeger Models with different names, it can be intimidating to shop for a Traeger Grill in the beginning. But have no fear, we can help you understand the differences between the Traeger Grill models.
At the time of this article, Traeger currently make 4 models of pellet grills. They are:
- Traeger Portables – the most portable options of Traegers – including the Scout, Ranger, and Tailgator models. The Scout and Ranger are super mini versions, while the Tailgator looks more like a traditional Traeger but has folding legs.
- Traeger Pro – The most popular options for Traeger Grills. With a mid-range price points, the Pro Series are what most people will start their Traeger journey with. What’s great about the Pro line is that you can still enjoy Traeger’s WiFire technology (wifi connectivity) so you can control your Traeger Grill with the Traeger app on your mobile device – that means you can have a beer and watch the ball game inside while your Traeger is cooking outside!
- Traeger Ironwood Series – If you want to enjoy more features than the Pro offers, the Ironwood Traegers may be for you. Here you’ll find larger cooking space and more technology (TRU convection, Super Smoke Mode, DownDraft Exhaust, and more).
- Traeger Timberline series – Looking for a top-of-the-line Traeger? Then The Timberline is for you – these are the biggest, macked-out Traeger’s you can buy, with up to 1300 sq inches to grill on and all the tech Traeger has to offer.
- Other Models: Traeger also has models & model combinations under the names Bronson, Renegade, Texas & Lil’ Tex, Junior Elite, XL, and Commercial. Some are sold at Big Box Stores like Costco or online.
What do the NUMBERS mean on the Traeger Grill Models?
As of 2019, the number that you see on the Traeger Grill Models means how large the COOKING SURFACE is. So, for example, the Traeger Pro Series 780 Pellet Grill will have 780 square inches of cooking space. And just like that the mystery is gone!
Best Traeger Grills
It’s now time to look at the best Traeger Grills, we’re going to give you one model from each of the four model lines. That means the best Portable Traeger Grill, the best Traeger Pro Series Grill, the Best Traeger Ironwood Grill, and the Best Traeger Timberline Grill. Knowing what’s the best from each line should help you narrow down your choice and make the best buying decision for your family. Let’s get to it…
Best Traeger Portable Grill
Winner: Traeger Tailgator 20
Unless space is severely limited and/or you just must have a tabletop unit, if you want a true Traeger Grill experience in a portable model, do yourself a favor and choose the Traeger Tailgater 20 Grill. There’s nothing wrong with the Traeger Scout and Ranger models, but they don’t compare to the experience of the Traeger Tailgater 20.
Traeger Tailgator 20
Why is the Traeger Tailgater 20 the best Traeger Portable Grill?
From game days to getaways, bring wood-fired flavor everywhere with the new Tailgater 20. Featuring a compact, portable design, it’s prime for balconies, tailgating or anywhere else you want to take 6-in-1 versatility and superior taste. And now it comes armed with Traeger’s Digital Arc controller for more precise, consistent temperatures and a Keep Warm Mode that keeps food fresh until chow time.
That means that with the Traeger Tailgater 20 you can enjoy all the benefits of that true wood-pellet grilling experience AND take it with you! With foldable legs and a total weight around 60 lbs, the Traeger Tailgator 20 is easy to transport. But don’t let it’s light weight fool you, this is a real Traeger grill that uses a hopper for wood pellets and the hopper is big enough to hold 8 lbs of wood pellets so you can still cook for 5-6 hours without refilling.
Traeger Tailgator 20 Features
The Traeger Tailgator 20 is also big enough to cook a nice meal on. The grilling space is 20 x 15 inches which is 300 square inches. That’s the right size to cook multiple rib racks, a couple chickens, a boat load of burgers, and more.
Other features of the Traeger Tailgater 20 include:
- Digital Arc Controller allows you to set the temperature in 5-degree increments
- Keep Warm Mode ensures food is “hot-off-the-grill” no matter when you eat
- Advanced Grilling Logic for precise temperature performance
- Meat Probe to check temps without lifting the lid
- 300 sq. in. (20″ x 15″) Grilling Area
- EZ-Fold Legs
Traeger Tailgater 20 Grilling Capacity
Here’s what you can fit on a Traeger Tailgator 20…
Traeger Tailgator 20 Video Review
Here’s a very thorough video review of the Traeger Tailgator 20 from Jus’ Piddlin BBQ…
Traeger Tailgater 20 – Current Prices
Ready to buy a Traeger Tailgater 20? Check the latest price here…
Best Traeger Pro Series Grill
Winner: Traeger Pro 780 Grill
The Pro Series line of Traeger Grills is the most popular and it offers you the most model choices – by far. Check out this chart and see just SOME of the models in the Traeger Pro series lineup.
Which Traeger Grill Pro Series Model is right for you?
From the list I showed you in the pic above, you’re best bets are going to be either the Traeger Pro 780 or the Pro 575.
The other Pro Series models you see only have the basic digital controller, but the Traeger Pro 780 and Pro 575 both have Traeger’s new WiFire Controller (which will give you the option of controlling temps from your mobile device) along with other newer features not always available in older Pro models.
How do you decide between the Traeger Pro 780 vs 575?
We recommend the Traeger Pro 780 over the Traeger Pro 575?
The most popular Traeger Grill Pro Series model (especially for newbies) is the Traeger Pro 575 however we are recommending you strongly consider the Traeger Pro 780.
Check Current Prices of the Traeger 575 & 780
You really can’t go wrong with either model, but you can go RIGHTER (if that’s a word?) with the Traeger Pro 780 because time and again on forums and Facebook groups you’ll hear people who have the 575 say “I wished they would have bought the 780 instead.”
Why do people like the Traeger 780 vs the 575? It really comes down to grilling SPACE. Remember, the Traeger Pro 575 has 575 square inches of grilling space, while the Traeger Pro 780 has 780 square inches. That’s a pretty big difference.
The fact is that you will LOVE whichever Traeger model you get and you will WANT to cook on it all the time. That means you’ll be cooking for more and more people and trying new and different things – the Traeger Pro 780 will give you the space you need to experiment on it to your heart’s delight.
If you want a Traeger Pro Series Grilll and you have the budget, then get the Traeger Pro 780 over the Pro 575.
Traeger Pro 780 Features
The Traeger Pro Series is the best-selling pellet grill in the world and the all-new Traeger Pro 780 grill just got better with an enhanced controller that uses WiFIRE® technology. WiFIRE® allows you to monitor and adjust your grill anytime, anywhere from the Traeger app on your smartphone. Here’s a quick intro to WiFire tech on a Traeger…
The Traeger Pro 780 has a LOT more than just WiFire. It also includes all the following features too…
- Pro D2 controller – as easy as using an oven. Just turn the dial to the desired temp, hit Ignite, and you’re Trailering.
- Wifire technology – allows you to monitor and adjust your grill anywhere.
- Pro D2 direct drive – Improves searing and let’s you cook Low and slow or hot and fast.
- Turbotemp – Lightning fast start Up times and quicker recovery.
Check out all these great features of the Traeger Pro 780 Grill in this picture essay…
What’s all this add up to?
The Traeger Pro 780 Series wifi pellet grills now starts quicker, heats up faster, and puts out better smoke quality giving you consistent results infused with wood-fired flavor every time!
How much can you cook on a Traeger Pro 780 at one time?
The Traeger Pro 780 has enough capacity to cook the following at the same time: 6 rib racks, or 6 full chickens, or even 34 burgers!
What about the Traeger Pro Series 34 vs Traeger Pro 780?
The Traeger Pro Series 34 is an awesome “1st Generation” Traeger and it’s actually BIGGER than the Traeger pro 780 that I’m recommending. The Traeger Pro Series 34 has 884 square inches of grilling space vs 780 square inches on the Traeger Pro 780. The additional grilling space on the Traeger Pro Series 34 will let you cook another rack of ribs (7 vs 6), 2 more chickens (8 vs 6), or 6 more burgers (40 vs 34).
The Traeger Pro Series 34 is consistently highly rated on Amazon and other sites and if you need the biggest Pro series grill, then the Traeger Pro Series 34 could be for you, BUT you’ll be giving up all the new tech that comes standard on the Traeger Pro 780 – that includes the WiFire technology and more. If the tech doesn’t matter and you just want SPACE, then the Traeger Pro Series 34 is a great buy, just know what you’re giving up so you can make an informed decision.
Traeger Pro 780 Grill – Current Prices
Ready to buy the Traeger Pro 780 Grill? Check the latest price here…
Best Traeger Ironwood Grill
Winner: Traeger Ironwood 885
The Traeger Ironwood Series Grills currently come in two sizes The Ironwood 650 and Ironwood 885. As with the Pro 575 and 780 the only difference is grilling space. As with the Pro recommendation, (if you have the budget) we’re suggesting you go with the Ironwood 885 so you don’t regret the lack of space later.
Traeger Ironwood 885
Traeger Ironwood vs Traeger Pro Series
The Traeger Ironwood series is a newer line than the Traeger Pro line and the Ironwood models offer a couple more features that may or may not be important to you. Here’s a video comparison of the Traeger Ironwood 650 and Ironwood 885 vs Traeger Pro 575 and Pro 780…
The quick summary is the Traeger Ironwood has all the best features of the Treager Pro AND also includes double side-walled insulation, a free side-shelf, an adjustable lower grill grate, a slightly larger hopper, Traeger’s Downdraft Exhaust System, and the Tru Convection option.
Traeger threads on Reddit and other forums about the Ironwood vs the Pro are somewhat mixed, however the majority of people who have actually purchased the Traeger Ironwood seem to be really happy with it – especially as the Downdraft Exhaust and Tru Convection seem to provide more smoke in the chamber longer for more smoke flavor.
Traeger Ironwood Video
Ironwood 650 vs Ironwood 885 Cooking Capacity
Here’s what you can cook on the Traeger Ironwood 650 vs 885 models…
Traeger Ironwood 650 & 885 Current Prices
Best Traeger Timberline Grill
Winner: Traeger Timberline 1300 “The Beast”
The Traeger Timberline Series Grills is not for the faint of heart – these are the mack daddy Traeger Grills for home cooks with only the Commercial Line offering larger sizes. There are currently two Timberline sizes: Traeger Timberline 850 and Traeger Timberline 1300. Again the only difference is the grilling space: 850 square inches or 1300 square inches. You’re going to be approaching $2000 for the Timberline but if you’re reading this and considering a Timberline, I’m assuming budget is not really an issue for you and therefore I’m assuming you’ll want the best of the best – that’s the Timberline 1300.
Traeger Timberline Video
Traeger Timberline Features
The Traeger Timberline grills are Traeger’s premier outdoor cooking solution. You’ll get all the best features of the Pro Series AND all of the following too…
- Timberline D2® Controller
- WiFIRE® Technology
- Timberline D2® Direct Drive
- Three tiers of stainless steel grates
- Double-wall stainless steel interior
- Pellet Sensor
- Magnetic Bamboo Cutting Board
- Concealed Grease Management System
Traeger Ironwood vs Timberline Grills
Here’s a great video review by Embers Outdoor Living on the differences between the Traeger Ironwood vs Timberline Grills…
Here’s a quick summary of the differences between the Traeger Ironwood vs Timberline grills…
- Cooking Space: Timberline offer 885 or 1300 square inches of grilling space vs the 650 or 885 square inches on the Ironwood
- # of Racks: Timberline has 3 vertical cooking racks vs Ironwood single rack + warming shelf
- Grill Grate Materials: Timberline features solid 304 stainless steel cooking grates vs the Ironwood ironwood porcelain coated grates.
- Grill Hood: Timberline has a full doubled lined hood (not just side walls) and a gasket all the way around the grill that is commercial grade (which could help with keeping cooking temps consistent in colder weather).
- Hopper Sensor – Timberline’s hopper sensor alerts you when your wood pellets are getting low.
- Bamboo Cutting Board – standard with the Timberline.
Traeger Timberline 850 and 1300 Grilling Capacity
Here’s a look at what you can cook on the Traeger Timberline grills.
Traeger Timberline 850 & 1300 Current Prices
The Traeger Timberline series is harder to find online and are often sold out even on Traeger’s site.
If you want a Traeger Timberline, you’re best best is to use Traeger’s Find a Dealer Tool.
You’ll likely see prices for the Traeger Timberline 850 around $1800 and the Traeger Timberline 1300 around $2000.
What’s the Best Traeger Grill? Final Verdict
Like I said early on, the Best Traeger Grill is the one that’s right for YOU. We’ve given you four great options to choose from and hopefully helped you narrow down your choice to 1 or 2 best Traeger models that you’ll be happy with. That said, we’re not going to totally cop out on you without giving you are Best “Overall” Traeger Grill choice – or in this case choices…
Best Traeger Grill At/Under $1000
Best Traeger Grill Overall
While the Traeger Timberline is very cool (if you can find it), we’re not completely sure that the extra features are worth it compared to the Ironwood Series.
Personally we believe the Ironwood Series is the sweet spot of Traegerhood.
In the case of the Ironwood, we DO believe the value for the money is there with the extra features you’ll enjoy with the Ironwood over the pro line: for a bit more money you’re getting a lot, including double side-walled insulation, a free side-shelf, an adjustable lower grill grate, a slightly larger hopper, Traeger’s Downdraft Exhaust System, and the Tru Convection option – as I noted earlier, actual Traeger Ironwood users in online forums say time and again they are happy with their purchase decision.
Best Traeger Grill Combo Buy for Under $1500
But wait, there’s more. If you find yourself traveling a lot and wishing you had a Traeger Grill with you, you may want to consider going with the COMBO of the Traeger Pro 780 and the Traeger Tailgeter 20. You should be able to get both for under $1500 (which is the likely price you’ll pay for the Ironwood 885 and less than either of the Timberline models). You would only do this if you cook often away from the house and in this case you’ll be sacrificing some technology in favor of portability but it’s a great way to stretch your dollar farther.
Best Traeger Grill – Conclusion
Well there you have it, our choice for the Best Traeger Grill. Do you agree with these recommendations? Do you have a different opinion. Are you a Traeger owner? If so, what model do you have and what tips do you have to share?