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Traeger Smoker: An Expert Reviews the 10 Best Pellet Smoker Options

By Daniel Cdebaca

November 29, 2022

If you’re looking to add a wood pellet grill to your backyard… You’re likely considering a Traeger smoker.

It’s no surprise why!

Traeger is one of the most popular smoker brands available.

Specializing in pellet smokers… They bring unique features and conveniences to the table.

There’s a challenge, though.

How do you decide which Traeger pellet smoker you want?

Well, we’ll be going over each series in the Traeger lineup… And provide you with a guide on how to choose.

Let’s begin!

Quick Links:

rta outdoor kitchen with built in traeger

Traeger Company Overview

traeger grills logo

Believe it or not… Founder Joe Traeger invented the pellet grill back in 1985!

Although many companies have created pellet grills since his patent expired in 2006… Traeger  remains at the forefront of the market.

Recently, Traeger went public in 2021. As a result… Manufacturing moved from Oregon to Asia. This improved the affordability of their pellet grills.

Over the course of three and a half decades… Traeger has built quite a cult following!

This is seen in their concept of the Traegerhood. It’s an online, Traeger-focused community with cooking classes, videos, and even ambassadors!

Traeger has become a mainstay in the outdoor cooking industry. You’re almost guaranteed to find something of interest.

Speaking of…

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Traeger Smoker Lineup

As far as pellet smokers go… Traeger offers a varied lineup!

Whether you want a small or large grill… There’s an option for you.

Traeger Portable Smoker Series

We’ll begin with the more petite offering from Traeger.

There’s two options in this series: the Ranger and Tailgater.

We’ll review the similarities… Then take a closer look at the difference.

Both Traeger pellet grill smokers use a standard 120 volt outlet to function. So it’s easy to grill on-the-go! (Or use with a small outdoor kitchen!)

They’ll also have an auger and 8 lb hopper capacity for pellets… And a 450 degree Fahrenheit max temperature.

Neither grill has WiFi capabilities. They’ll use a push-button control panel for all settings.

Let’s review the differences between these Traeger camping smokers.

Traeger Ranger Portable Grill

Of the two… The Ranger  is far smaller! (It almost looks like a briefcase!)

The Ranger provides 164 square inches of cooking space. That equates to 1 rack of ribs, 6 burgers, or 10 hot dogs.

And it’s only 60 lbs!

This Traeger pellet smoker grill will also come with a griddle attachment. This is an excellent way to increase the versatility of your smoker… And use it almost like an outdoor flat top grill!

For price, this small Traeger smoker rings in at $449.99.

traeger ranger portable grill
What We Like
  • Portable and convenient Traeger tailgater smoker
  • Often approved for small apartments and homeowner’s associations (due to electric ignition)
  • Includes a griddle for extra cooking options
  • Affordable Price
What's Not Ideal
  • Restrictive cooking area
  • Low maximum temperature (You won’t get a good sear)
  • Can’t fit tall proteins (chicken, large pork butt, etc.)

Traeger Tailgater Portable Grill

The Traeger Tailgater  BBQ grill is similar to the Ranger… It’s just larger!

This 62 lb grill provides a 300 square inch cooking surface. This will fit 2 chickens, 3 racks of ribs, or 12 burgers.

Unlike the Ranger… A griddle attachment will not be provided with this portable Traeger smoker.

For cost, you’ll pay $529.99.

Traeger Tailgater portable grill
What WE Like
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Often approved for small apartments and homeowner’s associations
  • Larger Traeger smoker tailgater option
  • Affordable price
What's Not Ideal
  • Low maximum temperature
  • Lower hopper capacity comparative to size (You’ll have to refill more often)

Traeger Pro Series

Traeger Pro 780 on lawn

Next, we have the Pro Series.

There are two options in this line… The Traeger Pro 575 and the Traeger Pro 780.

You’ll notice a few upgrades over the Portable Series. For one, the Traeger Pro Series is WiFi enabled. More specifically… Traeger calls it “WiFire”.

This is the name of Traeger’s app. The Traeger smoker WiFi will allow you to control temperatures, set a timer, and make adjustments right from your smartphone!

The Pro Series also includes a D2 direct drive brushless motor to increase the durability of your outdoor appliance.

Both grills will have a maximum temperature of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. They also have an 18 lb hopper capacity.

The Pro models will also come with a meat probe.

Traeger Pro 575

The Pro 575  is the smaller option of the two.

Interestingly… The 575 in the name comes from the cooking area you’ll get. That’s right, this model has 575 square inches of cooking area!

That equates to 24 burgers, 5 racks of ribs, or 4 whole chickens smoking away.

The total weight of this Traeger smoker pellet grill is 124 lbs.

And for price… You’ll pay $899.99.

traeger pro 575 grill
What We Like
  • Slightly higher maximum temperature
  • Affordable, entry-level price
  • WiFi enabled
What's Not Ideal
  • Maximum temperature still too low for a great sear
  • You may want a bigger capacity for large gatherings

Traeger Pro 780

The Traeger Pro 780  weighs in at 150 lbs… And offers 780 square inches of cooking space.

This adds up to 34 burgers, 6 racks of ribs, or 6 chickens. That’s a whole lot of protein!

And for price?

You’ll pay $999.99 for this model.

What We Like
  • Same pros as the 575
  • Larger capacity for big parties
What's Not Ideal
  • Maximum temperature still too low for a great sear

Ironwood Series

Traeger ironwood 650 pellet grill

Now for the Ironwood series.

Once again, there are two sizes offered… The Ironwood 650 and the Ironwood 885.

Like the Pro Series… The Ironwood Series will have a meat probe, D2 direct drive brushless motor, and WiFire capabilities. (And a maximum temperature of 500 degrees!)

There are a few additional upgrades!

First is the double side-walled interior. This insulation vastly improves the heat retention of your Traeger BBQ smoker.

Interior setup is slightly different. There’s a bottom and top shelf… Rather than a single bottom shelf.

The Ironwood Series also adds a built-in pellet sensor. This feature tells you when you’re running low on wood pellets! Pretty nifty.

Also note the Super Smoke mode. This will add even more of that wood-fired flavor to your food. And while it won’t rival the deep smoke flavor from a kamado smoker… It’s certainly a positive!

Traeger Ironwood 650

Like the Pro Series… The number in Ironwood’s name denotes the cooking area.

So yes, the Ironwood 650  offers 650 sq. in of cooking space!

That’ll get you 8 whole chickens, 5 racks of ribs, or 6 pork butts!

Barbecue is on the menu.

The Ironwood 650 weighs 149 lbs… Which is just shy of the Pro 780.

What’s it cost?

You’ll pay $1,399.99 for this model.

traeger ironwood 650 pellet grill
What We Like
  • Improved insulation and heat retention
  • Built-in pellet sensor
  • Larger size and versatility
What's Not Ideal
  • 500 degree max temperature won’t provide a good sear

Traeger Ironwood 885

No surprise… The Ironwood 885  will give you 885 square inches of cooking area!

That equates to 10 whole chickens, 7 racks of ribs, and 9 pork butts.

That’s a whole lot of protein!

This Traeger smoker BBQ grill will weigh in at 175 lbs… And cost you $1,599.99.

traeger ironwood 885 grill
What We Like
  • Even larger size if you can’t get enough barbecue
  • Same improvements as the Ironwood 650
What's Not Ideal
  • Low maximum temperature
  • May be too large for your needs

Traeger Timberline Series

If you’re looking for a luxurious Traeger wood pellet grill experience… You might like the Timberline series!

It’s important to note that this series has four models available.

There are two cart-style models like the Pro and Ironwood Series. These are considered Generation 1.

In early 2022… Traeger released a brand new version of the Timberline grills.

These grills are more of a modular unit. It’s a complete grill cabinet with storage underneath. It could also be used as a built-in Traeger smoker for an outdoor kitchen.

Although there are some differences between the two generations… A few things remain the same.

As always, the maximum cooking temperature on these units is 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

All grills will come with three tiers of cooking grates, a bamboo cutting board, WiFire temperature control, and a double-walled insulated hood.

The Timberline Series will also come with the Super Smoke feature.

Traeger Timberline 850 (Generation 1)

By now… You can certainly guess that the Timberline 850  comes with 850 square inches of cooking space!

Actually… Not quite! This grill offers 869 square inches of cooking capacity. (Close enough, right?)

While the capacity is just shy of the Ironwood’s 885 square inches… You’ll still fit 9 whole chickens, 8 racks of ribs, or 6 pork butts with this setup.

The Generation 1 Timberlines will feature a 24 lb pellet hopper capacity.

Another unique feature is the adjustable smoke/sear bottom grate. This allows you to move your bottom cooking grate closer to the heat source… That way, there’s a chance a sear will be more successful.

You’ll pay $2,099.99 for this 213 lb Traeger wood pellet smoker.

traeger timberline 850 generation 1
What We Like
  • Larger hopper capacity
  • Fully double-walled interior
  • Smoke/sear grate improvement
What's Not Ideal
  • While the smoke/sear feature is an improvement, it still does not rectify the low maximum temperature
  • Upgrades may not justify the jump in cost compared to the Ironwood

Traeger Timberline 1300 (Generation 1)

It’s a similar story for the Timberline 1300. You’ll actually end up with 1,343 square inches of cooking capacity.

That means 12 chickens, 15 racks of ribs, or 12 pork butts will fit in this grill.

Weighing in at 226 lbs… The Timberline 1300 will also come with the smoke/sear rack functionality.

As for the price tag?

The Timberline 1300 is currently offered at $2,299.99.

What We Like
  • Maximum cooking capacity for dedicated barbecuers
  • Same improvements as the Timberline 850
What's Not Ideal
  • Same downsides as the Timberline 850

New Traeger Timberline 850

Out with the old… And in with the newest Traeger smoker! The Timberline 850

You’ll notice the stark difference in appearance. This is a full-on grill cart that can be incorporated into a summer kitchen.

The new Timberlines also include a side induction cooktop. This will allow you to get a true sear on your smoked food!

It will also come with two temperature probes, two wireless bluetooth probes, and a magnetic charging dock for them.

The control panel is upgraded to be a touchscreen.

You’ll also have access to the EZ-Clean grease and ash keg. This funnels both grease and ash into the same receptacle for easier cleanup.

For specs… The new Timberline 850 has 880 square inches of cooking capacity. This allows you to fit 9 chickens, 8 racks of ribs, or 6 pork butts.

The hopper capacity is 22 lbs… A little smaller than the older Timberlines.

The total weight of this Traeger built in smoker is 238 lbs… And the price rings in at $3,499.99.

Traeger timberline grill
What We Like
  • Induction burner is an effective workaround to the lack of searing potential
  • Touchscreen and bluetooth temperature probes are nice upgrades for the tech-savvy
  • Improved cleanup with the EZ-Clean keg
  • Ability to build into your outdoor kitchen cabinets
  • Higher quality double-walled insulation
What's Not Ideal
  • Price may be prohibitive to some homeowners
  • Price may not provide as much value and quality as other premium outdoor kitchen smokers  (We’ll break this down later!)
  • Slightly smaller hopper capacity compared to the older Timberlines

New Traeger Timberline XL

Now for the larger Timberline XL.

Here, you’ll get 1,320 square inches of cooking area.

This size will allow you to smoke up 12 whole chickens, 16 racks of ribs, or a whopping 12 pork butts! (Madness, we say!)

The weight of the Timberline XL tops out at 289 lbs.

But what’s the cost?

This pseudo built-in grill is listed at $3,799.99.

traeger timberline xl
What We Like
  • You can smoke enough barbecue for the entire neighborhood
  • Same improvements as the new Timberline 850
What's Not Ideal
  • Same downsides as the new Timberline 850

Combine your outdoor kitchen with traeger

Use our free 3D design tool to create a outdoor kitchen to accommodate your Traeger Grill.

Choosing the Right Traeger Smoker

You just read a ton of information about Traeger smoker lines… But we haven’t discussed how to choose the best Traeger smoker for your needs.

Before you rush to click “add to cart”… Here are some general points to consider about Traeger smokers.

Traeger Features

The features you want in your smoker comes down to personal preference.

In general, Traeger leans toward adding tech features to their smokers.

Most of Traeger’s products will include WiFi connectivity to their app and a built-in pellet sensor. The new Timberlines will have bluetooth meat probes and a touchscreen display.

These may be must-have conveniences for you! At the same time, there’s something you must consider.

Technology is finicky. So the more your grill is decked out with tech… The more likely it is that something can go wrong.

And in the case of a pellet smoker… That typically means it’s unusable!

That’s not to say all the added features are bad.

The new Timberline’s EZ-Clean keg and induction burners are great improvements to their system.

The question you have to answer is…

Do you want a decked-out smoker? Or are you happy with the basics?

If you want an analog option… An offering from Weber or Coyote may be preferable.

Another key part of Traeger ownership is taking part in the community.

Traegerhood Community

The Traegerhood is a huge boon to Traeger ownership!

You’ll have access to a wide variety of cooking and ambassador videos to improve your smoking game.

For the studious barbecue aficionados… The Traegerhood even offers online classes!

These classes allow you to fully refine your smoking skills. And it’s specifically oriented toward your Traeger.

We can’t forget the ever-expanding library of Traeger smoker recipes, either.

You can get a Traeger smoker brisket recipe, or tri tip, or Traeger smoker chicken breast, or ribs on a Traeger smoker.

You might be on the hunt for holiday-themed recipes as well. You’re in luck!

There’s recipes for a pre cooked ham on a Traeger smoker… And how to smoke a turkey on a Traeger smoker grill!

The possibilities are endless.

When you’re new to smoking food, being in the Traegerhood is a fantastic head-start.

This might sound great, but… How do you know what size of Traeger you want?

Traeger Size

traeger timberline grill spec graphic
Size Specifications of Traeger Timberline 850

Like many things… It depends!

There’s a variety of Traeger smoker sizes… So there’s definitely an option to suit your needs!

First, determine how you plan to use your smoker.

Will it be used just for yourself, your spouse, or small family?

Or will you be hosting large barbecues or block parties often?

In the case of the former… A smaller Traeger will fit your needs just fine.

But if you’re going to be feeding a ton of people on a regular basis… Then jump for a larger size!

There’s also travel to consider.

If you’re mostly going to be tailgating… Then a portable Trager will be a no-brainer.

Next, we have to consider materials.

Traeger Materials

traeger ironwood 885 series grill

You’ll notice that throughout the article… Materials for Traeger smokers haven’t been discussed.

This is for a couple reasons:

  1. Materials are almost the same across the board
  2. There’s a lot to explain about them!

Traegers smokers universally have a powder coated 430 stainless steel exterior.

There’s a slight problem with this in terms of longevity.

At minimum… We like to see outdoor appliances with full 304 stainless steel construction.

Why?

304 stainless provides superior durability in the outdoor elements. It is most resistant to rust and corrosion.

The new Timberlines have upgraded 304 stainless steel interiors and grill grates.

This won’t protect the exterior, though!

While the powder coated exterior does provide some extra protection… 430 stainless steel will simply not be as durable in the outdoor elements.

Quality materials are key if you are expecting your Traeger smoker to remain flawless for decades. (Same goes for outdoor kitchen materials!)

Traeger’s warranty offering will give you a good sense of their lifespan.

Traeger Warranty

traeger pro 780 in front of wood pile

Purchasing a smoker can be a sizable investment! Therefore, you want a good warranty in case any issues arise.

Recently, Traeger upgraded their warranty offering.

For smokers manufactured prior to October, 2021… They were only covered by a three year warranty.

Lucky for you, you’ll get a better warranty with a new smoker!

Most of Traeger’s smokers fall under their 7 year limited warranty.

You’ll find that depending on the part… You’ll get coverage for 1, 3, or 7 years. Refer to Traeger’s chart  for the full details.

The new Timberlines get a boost in their warranty coverage. Traeger advertises a 10 year limited warranty on these grills.

But like the 7 year… Certain Traeger smoker parts will only be covered for 1 or three years.

Overall, the 10 year warranty on the Timberline isn’t bad!

However… We would prefer to at least see a lifetime warranty on the structure. This will almost guarantee your smoker is built to last.

So, are Traegers worth the price?

Traeger Smoker Cost

portable traeger grill with steak on it

As you’ve seen… There’s a Traeger smoker that will fit in nearly any budget!

Traeger smoker prices range anywhere from $449.99, all the way up to $3,799.99.

Based on the above information about materials and warranty… A Traeger may or may not be worth the price. (Especially for an outdoor kitchen.)

Yes… It depends!

The portable Traegers are inexpensive, functional, and it won’t be a huge loss if something goes wrong.

A Traeger in the Pro or Ironwood series could be a good entry-level, budget-friendly option.

But once you hit Timberline territory… It is a bit questionable.

Yes, there are many upgrades that improve the smoker.

However… There are many other outdoor kitchen smokers with higher quality materials, a better warranty, and sometimes even a better price.

So for that reason… Seriously survey your other options before making a final decision!

Same goes for reviews!

Traeger Smoker Reviews

When purchasing a product… Checking the reviews is standard protocol.

Online retailers like BBQGuys  and Amazon  will have the most Traeger reviews.

Currently, reviews on BBQGuys range from 3-5 stars… And on Amazon, they hover right around 4.5 stars consistently.

If the reviews check out… How do you take your new Traeger smoker to the next level?

Take Your Traeger Smoker to the Next Level 

It’s one thing to have a smoker… It’s another to have one incorporated into a complete outdoor kitchen!

Just think for a moment how much easier it will be to BBQ your favorite proteins.

You’ll have a dedicated outdoor countertop for prep space… That also doubles as a serving area!

And if you have a bar island… You’ll even have a built-in dining area.

Plus, outdoor kitchen storage will keep all your utensils and necessities at the ready.

Meat probes? Check. Pellets? Check. Tongs? Check.

And there’s a grill station solution that’s just as plug-and-play as your new Traeger.

It’s the ready to assemble (RTA) outdoor kitchen.

Our panelized construction allows you to assemble your island in mere hours. (Think SIP panels!)

Quality is no slouch, either. The high performance concrete in our panels is rated for 100 years. So there’s plenty of staying power!

Although our islands don’t come equipped for a Traeger out of the box… You can connect with one of our Design Experts to make it happen.

They’ll work tirelessly with you to make sure your custom outdoor kitchen is perfect… And can accommodate your new Traeger!

It’s the easiest home improvement project you’ll ever complete.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Need Help With Your Plans?

Talk to one of our expert designers and they will guide you from planning to installation. Schedule a call today.

FAQs

There isn’t an alternative to Traeger that is clearly better. Many pellet smoker brands are on even footing. Other brands to consider are Green Mountain Grills, Z Grills, Camp Chef, and ReqTec.

Traeger is well-known for being at the forefront of pellet grill innovations. Traeger offers some more affordable smokers that can be a good entry-level option. Their higher end line, such as the Timberline, is priced at a premium. While there are many upgrades, you may find the longevity lacking due to exterior materials.

While not the same as a smoker… Traeger does provide great smoking capacity. Natural hardwood pellets will not provide as strong of a flavor as charcoal. However, it will be far more convenient to use.

What makes a Traeger special is their versatility. Due to the nature of the pellet grill’s convection… It can be used to smoke, bake, roast, braise, and grill in a single unit!

Traeger actually is the brand! Consider the Portable, Pro, Ironwood or Timberline smoker grill Traeger lines.

For most smoking recipes, you’ll have your Traeger set anywhere from 150-225 degrees Fahrenheit. Baking will most often sit from 250-400 degrees. If you’re looking to grill, the max temp of 450-500 degrees will be your best bet.

The optimal option is to reverse sear. Smoke your steak on the Traeger, then finish the sear on a separate cooktop.

A Traeger will tend to perform better as a smoker than Weber charcoal grills. While a Weber will provide you a stronger, charcoal smoke flavor… A Traeger comes with a more thoughtful design and performance.

A smoker is designed to cook at low temperatures using charcoal and wood chips. A grill cooks food over direct, high heat. The Traeger grill and smoker can do both. Consider it a Traeger grill smoker combo!

The price of a Traeger smoker varies depending on the model you choose. Current prices range from $449.99-$3,799.99. The cost will increase if you add Traeger smoker accessories!

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