If you’re a pitmaster on the lookout for 360 degree versatility, pellet grills are the way to go. These grills are super uncomplicated and easily add a scrumptious wood-fired tang to any food you smoke or grill over them.
That said, there are quite a few pellet grill options available to choose from. Hence, for this post, we thought it would be best to compare the two most popular grills: Z Grills vs Traeger.
When comparing pellet grill brands, there are a few things you should consider. Therefore, we have compiled our research and will present a head-to-head comparison of Z grills vs Traeger. Towards the end of the article, you will have a better idea of which brand is the best fit for your preferences.
Z grills vs Traeger: Head-to-Head Comparison
One of the most important features for a pellet grill is temperature control. Precise and consistent temperature aids superior cooking, and your smoker should be manufactured in a way that you can count on its temperature control.
While comparing the quality of temperature control for both brands, we analyzed them from two aspects. Firstly, we determined how well each grill was constructed and what kind of materials were used in their components. This is an important consideration because it directly affects how well a grill can retain and distribute heat consistently.
Z Grills’ models consist of stainless steel body and cooking chambers, which means you will be working with an anti rusting smoker. If you browse through online reviews of the brand, you will rarely find any complaints about their heat retention. Each of their products do a great job of retaining heat and the output temperatures are generally around 5 degrees Fahrenheit of the selected setting.
In comparison, Traeger Grills also do an excellent job of retaining heat since they are also fortified with 2 stainless steel layers that provide insulation inside the cooking chamber. You will find it hard to find Traeger customers who’ve had complaints about retaining heat inside these grills. In terms of precision, Traeger grills provide a larger temperature variance of 15 degree Faherenheit. Although this may not seem like a lot, 10 degrees can make a huge difference for some cooking projects.
If you know your stuff, you’ll also know that a wider temperature range is crucial for pellet grills to perform better in all cooking styles. Commonly, most meats are cooked at a temperature range of 200 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas their searing temperatures can reach up to 400 degrees. For this reason, a good pellet grill should have a temperature range of 200 to 400 degrees.
Z Grills’ temperature ranges stand at 180 to 450 degrees, which goes above and beyond the standard offered by most grills in the market. On the other hand, Traeger grills have a slightly limited temperature range as compared to Z Grills at 180 degree to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cooking Surface Area
Before deciding on the right grill, you need to ask yourself how many people on average you will be cooking for. The answer to this question will help decide which of the two grills should you settle for.
Z Grills have standard grill sizes that include 450, 550, 600, 700 and 1000 sq. inches of primary surface area. Of course, all of these grills also include some additional space on their warming racks.
One of Traeger’s best grillsThe Traeger Pro Grill is sold in 2 sizes of cooking surface- 575 sq inches and 780 sq. inches. However, you will also find other grills that have better sizes, such as their Renegade Pro Grill, which offers 380 sq inches or the portable range of Ranger grills that have 300 sq. inches.
People often overlook the hopper capacity of grills. However, we believe size really matters here. You see, it isn’t easy to refill a hopper, especially if you’re working with something that takes about 12+ hours to smoke.
Keeping that in mind, the hopper capacity of Z Grills varies with each model. Some of the brand’s smaller units have a 10-pound hopper, whereas their larger grills have hoppers that can hold up to 20-pounds.
In comparison, most of Traeger’s grills have 18-pound hopper capacities. However, their line of portable grills features 8-pound capacities. Thus, it’s pretty obvious that Z Grills have significantly larger hopper capacities.
No one in their right minds ignore price in their purchase decision. If you agree, you will find that in this department, Z Grills not only set themselves apart from Traeger but also from a majority of the other grill manufacturers in the industry.
The best thing about Z Grills is that they manufacture quality pellet grills at an affordable price. However, this doesn’t mean that Traeger grills aren’t priced well. On the contrary, Traeger grills are very reasonably priced as opposed to other brands and offer excellent value in exchange for their price tag.
When comparing pellet grills, we have also found that it helps to pay attention to warranty coverage terms. Not only do warranties protect your investment but they often also indicate how well made a product is.
That said, the warranties of Z Grills and Traegers are pretty identical. Both of them offer a 3-years warranty after purchase.
Our Final Thoughts
As frustrating as it may seem, there is no clear winner when it comes to Z Grills vs Traeger grills. Your choice largely depends on your personal preference and needs. For instance, if you prefer a portable grill or have a bit more to spare from your budget, then Traeger is the way to go.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for the best value grill and the best bang for your buck without all the extra features, then Z Grills are, hands down, exactly what you were looking for.