Traeger Tailgater Review

Traeger is considered among the best wood pellet grill manufacturers in the US. This brand had quickly formed a cult following way before pellet grills were being as widely used as they are nowadays.

Since so many of you have your eyes on Traeger, specifically the Traeger Tailgater, we’re about to dedicate this post to reviewing this bad boy for what it’s worth.

Our Traeger Tailgater Review

Traeger Tailgater is a 20 pellet grill and can be described as a portable grill smoker with a sufficient cooking space of 300 square inches. This smoker comes equipped with convenient folding legs that are easily collapsible so that you can stow it in your truck. Its temperature control helps to maintain the temperature within a 5-degree range of your desired setting.

Traeger Tailgater Review

The Tailgater grill offers BBQ enthusiasts a range from 180 degrees to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and it also features a digital arc control that displays the output temperature on an LCD screen. If you’re wondering, Traegers’ pellet hopper has a capacity of 8-pounds and is designed to move wooden pellets into the firepot easily.


  • Features a ‘Keep Warm’ setting
  • Designed with a porcelain-coating
  • Measures up to 300 square inches
  • Features a grease drip tray


  • May not be suitable for every budget
  • May require an initial burn

Now that we’ve provided our fellow grill masters with a brief overview of what to expect with the Traeger Tailgater, let’s dive a little deeper into its specifications:

Temperature Control

Traeger has designed the Tailgater with a digital panel that can be used to control the Tailgater’s temperature. Once the lid is closed, the grill typically takes about 15-minutes to warm-up. When we tested this grill, it stayed within our desired temperature consistently after the initial warm-up period. After this period passed, we didn’t notice fluctuations above a 5-degree range. The only downside here is that this machine doesn’t have its own dome gauge.

Grilling Space

As mentioned before, this smoker comes packed with a grilling space of 300-square inches. It is worth mentioning here that the Tailgater is among the smaller grills in their range, so this particular model should be perfect for those who are in search of a compact option. You’ll also find that the cooking area is sufficient enough to prepare food for 4 people.

Some would say that the cooking area of the Traeger Tailgater is compact. However, considering the fact that this model is a travel-size grill, the size is pretty much close to perfect. If you’re going to be hosting larger crowds with the Tailgater, you might have some trouble with an overcrowded cooking surface. Still, we found that it can easily fit up to 12 burgers, 3-rows of ribs and 2-chicken BBQs in one go.


Tailgater is a 20-inch grill that is constructed with powder-coated steel to prevent chipping and rusting. Its cooking grates are designed with porcelain-coated steel, so they are easy to polish. Its hopper has been designed with a high-grade polymer induction fan. Put together, we believe these Trager grills easily have an above-average quality in comparison to their competitors’ portable grills.

Convenience and Portability

Traeger has nailed it with the Tailgaters’ EZ foldable legs because they offer supreme portability. These folding legs reduce the grill’s height by at least half, and in our assessment, we thought they were pretty easy to use. You wouldn’t need anyone’s assistance to collapse them, although it would really help if you have someone hold the smoker’s upper chamber in place while you unscrew its knobs.

In addition to the foldable legs, the pellet grill itself has a very small footprint and can be easily stowed into the truck bed. Most grill masters also loved the addition of Traegers’ ‘set it and forget it’ panel.

Efficiency and Safety

This brand’s safety features are unmatched and a great example on the Tailgater is the automatic safety ignition switch which can be operated with a single push. This igniter quickly lights up your first batch of hardwood pellets so the grill can heat-up. The pellets then move through the grill’s auger to reach the desired temperature setting.

The hopper is quite spacious and can hold 8 lbs of wooden pellets, which will, ideally, burn at approximately 1 lb/ hour, depending on your heating preferences. As a result, you should get around 8-hours of uninterrupted smoking with the Tailgater.

Cooking Options

This pellet grill has an ideal cooking space that allows users to smoke a number of cooking options, which naturally includes smoking and grilling. If you’re planning on grilling with the Tailgater, we recommend that you try their copper mats on their grill, especially if you hate having to clean-up.

On the flip side, Traeger’s smoking function allows grill masters to cook briskets with a low burn for up to 6-hours. Of course, you could just as easily adjust the heat setting to sear a juicy steak. On other days, you could cook anything from rib racks to hot dogs and get the best flavors in your meals.

Our Final Thoughts

After weighing down everything we analyzed in this Traeger Tailgater review, we believe this pellet grill is best-suited for those people who are planning a camping trip or a tailgating party. With an overall weight of about 62-lbs, this Traeger model is pretty easy to move around and can be used as a great alternative to gas grills.

Following our careful tests, we were of the opinion that the Tailgater was way above average in terms of construction and quality, mainly because of the aluminum and high-grade steel components. Sure, the price range may seem a little steep at first, but its ‘excellent’ rating is enough of a fair trade to make up for the price tag.

If you have tried the Traeger Tailgater already, don’t shy away from leaving your reviews and suggestions in the comments section below.

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