Buying a pellet grill can bring you versatile cooking options for your BBQ parties. Pellet grills can be an astounding way to get into the BBQ game for the uninitiated while offering exciting possibilities for grill masters. You can go low and slow for those tender, succulent smoked meat dishes or fire it up for a quick grill. Pellet grills turn your brisket, tritip’s and pork butts into something really amazing.
If you are interested in bringing a new pellet grill home, you are also possibly interested in the Green Mountain Grill vs Traeger debate. These are two companies that put out exceptional products that can serve you well in your BBQ efforts. Here, we try to help you choose between these brands with a comparison of their best models across different price points. This will help you understand the pros and cons of each product and help you come to a decision.
Green Mountain vs Traeger – Pellet Grill Comparison
From rich, juicy smoked flavors to a great sear with grill marks, there is no end to the possibilities that open up with a pellet grill. These are extremely easy to use and the offerings from Green Mountain Grills and Traeger do an admirable job of bringing excellent features and practicality to the table at attractive price points.
Traeger, of course, has been the pioneer of the pellet grill. The concept is their invention and for a long time, they held a monopoly in the market when it comes to pellet grills. However, since the expiry of their patent in 2006, several new players have come to the market with pellet grill products of their own. This is where Green Mountain has shined, bringing feature-rich, attractively priced pellet grills to the market and creating a loyal fan following.
To settle the Green Mountain Grills vs Traeger debate, let us start by taking a look at the brands and what they offer.
Green Mountain Grills
Green Mountain has been an interesting case study in the realm of pellet grills. The company has been operating since 2008, making inroads into the grill market. However, it was a revision of their pricing strategy in 2014 that truly put them on the map and made their products household names.
The core philosophy of Green Mountain has been to create simple, easy-to-use grills for personal use, pack them with advanced features and tech, and sell them at an extremely attractive price points to gain an edge in this competitive market. So far, this strategy seems to have worked out quite well, as the company has a large base of satisfied users and generally positive reviews everywhere.
They have also been somewhat of a pioneer in introducing Wi-Fi control as a standard feature in pellet grills. All three main grill models coming from Green Mountain have always contained this feature. Apart from the very popular grills named after Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, and Jim Bowie, they also make and sell a variety of grill accessories, pellets, and BBQ rubs.
While they are headquartered in Reno, Nevada, all Green Mountain grills are manufactured and assembled in China. In spite of using the names of historically relevant American icons as their model names, Green Mountain, like a lot of other brands, has taken to outsourcing to gain the economic benefits of manufacturing in China. While this can mean a dip in quality levels in certain cases, this does not seem to be the case with their products.
Traeger is the company that invented the pellet grill and held its patent until 2006. The small, family-run company was bought out by a private equity firm after the expiration of the patent. This resulted in the immediate growth of the brand and started a new wave of popularity.
Today, Traeger is definitely the largest producer of pellet grills having sold in excess of 2 million of them.
After the patent expiry, Traeger also moved its manufacturing process to China. Initially, this led to quality issues and brand perception suffered as a result. Over time, however, they have regained their reputation by correcting these quality issues and bringing to the market grills that are lauded by beginners and enthusiasts alike. Since 2019, they also include Wi-Fi control on their grills to stay on an even footing with the aggressive competition.
Their product line includes the Pro Series, the Ironwood series, and the Timberline series.
The Pro series has basic features and is meant for BBQ enthusiasts who are just starting with pellet grills on a budget. The Ironwood series caters more towards seasoned BBQ veterans with more advanced features and different size options. The Timberline series is their flagship product, preferred by professional chefs and hardcore enthusiasts.
Both companies have a lot to offer to people looking to get their feet in the door with pellet grills. We are trying to compare representative models across three different price points and analyzing their relative strengths and witnesses to provide you with information and insight for an apples-to-apples comparison.
Let us proceed to the head-to-head showdown.
Davy Crockett Prime Wi-Fi vs Traeger Tailgater Pellet Grill
This segment caters to tailgaters who want a small, portable setup at a great price to get started with basic parties and cookouts. Products that are minimalistic, basic, and easy-to-use can provide a great gateway into the world of pellet smokers and these offerings from Traeger and Green Mountain are certainly up to the task.
The Davy Crockett Prime Wi-Fi can definitely excite people who are looking for something truly small and portable while not having to compromise on features and capabilities. This portable pellet smoker tips the scale at a comfortable 57 pounds and has foldable legs that double up as carrying handles. One truly amazing feature is the power supply scheme that allows you to use either a standard wall plug or substitute that with a 12V power supply. This means that you can plug it straight into a generator, the power supply plug of your vehicle, or just straight into batteries using the included alligator clips.
The pellet smoker features 219 sq. inches of cooking area, an excellent pellet feeding system, and precise temperature control using the Wi-Fi feature along with the companion mobile app. This is quite a capable little monster, reaching temperatures up to 550F. The included temperature probe can be directly connected to the digital display on the unit for more convenient monitoring. You also get a weather-proof cover, side shelf, and hooks for utensils.
- Truly portable with small size, foldable legs, and 12V operation
- Remote temperature monitoring using Wi-Fi
- Included easy-to-use thermometer probe
- Excellent build quality
- Very small cooking area
- Fiddly grease tray
- No wheels
The Traeger Tailgater is basic and workmanlike- it does its work and does not bother with frills or extra features. The build quality is solid and the bronze finish on the lid gives it a unique look.
Tipping the scales at 62 pounds, the Tailgater is a capable pellet smoker featuring the always excellent Traeger auger system and a larger 300 sq. inch of total cooking area. The smoker comes with foldable legs with wheels for easy maneuvering. The smoker can reach a maximum temperature of 450F.
One great feature is the updated controller that comes with an LCD display and an array of button controls. The controller is also programmable and you can directly add a meat probe thermometer to it for more granular control of cooking temperatures. The compact design can be a great help if you are looking to bring it outdoors. The model, however, has no Wi-Fi control feature.
- Convenient folding legs with wheels
- Larger cooking area, enough for a family of four
- The upgraded controller is better than the competition
- Drip bucket and pellets included in the pack
- Does not reach high max temperature
- No utensil hooks or side shelf
- The controller can take some time to get used to
Daniel Boone Prime Wi-Fi vs Traeger Pro 575
This is the price point where things get really interesting. In this price range, you move up from the portable smokers and enter the territory of larger, more fully-featured smokers that can stand up well to heavy cooking needs.
The Daniel Boone Prime Wi-Fi is the mid-range offering from Green Mountain. The smoker packs a punch with 458 sq. inches of total cooking area that provides you a lot of headroom thanks to the peaked design of the lid. It is easy to quickly get up to the temperature for some quick searing with temperatures up to 550F. There is a sensor that gauges the ambient temperature and activates the turbo mode in cold weather to get the grill up to temp faster.
The smoker has the usual assortment of convenience features, including a side table, utensil hooks, and sturdy casters for easy travel. One poignant feature is the inclusion of a pellet alarm on the large 18 pound pellet hopper. This way, the alarm can warn you if you are about to run out of pellets in advance. This feature is usually integrated in much more expensive models.
The included digital controller is reliable, and the integrated Wi-Fi functionality can make it a breeze to monitor temperatures without having to stand near your grill.
- Quiet operation
- Great list of features including pellet alarm and temperature probe
- “Fan only” cooldown mode helps extinguish fire post cooking
- Accommodates only one meat probe
- Low maximum temperature for the price
- Thin metal construction does not hold heat efficiently
The Pro 575 is in the Pro line of Traeger that includes basic, entry-level products. However, this does not mean it is short on features. The Pro 575 shares its D2 controller and Wi-Fi capabilities with the more expensive Ironwood and Timberline series. The main grate capacity is 418 sq. inches with a total of 572 sq. inches of cooking area.
One meat probe is included and can be directly connected to the controller or monitored through the companion mobile app using the Wi-Fi capabilities. While the smoker does not come with convenience features like a side table or storage area, you can purchase a folding front shelf as an optional accessory.
The single wall construction does not do as good a job retaining heat as some of the more premium Traeger offerings. However, the all-weather wheels do a good job of maintaining movability. The Pro 575 made our list of great father’s day gifts for the grilling Dad.
- Wi-Fi control and advanced D2 controller
- Good quality in a budget
- Color options available
- Whopper capacity on the lower side
- Competing products come with added features
Jim Bowie Prime Wi-Fi vs Traeger Ironwood 650
In this range, there is usually little to separate the two in terms of features and quality. It all comes down to unique strengths and special ingredients that can make you sway one way or another.
The Jim Bowie Prime Wi-Fi is the largest pellet smoker Green Mountain makes for personal use. It offers a whopping 658 sq. inches of total cooking area that can go up to 500F in a matter of minutes. The stainless steel cooking grates and body use an enameled steel construction. One of the main features in the fully programmable controller which can seamlessly accommodate the included digital meat thermometer. There is also a temperature gauge built into the lid.
The hopper alarm, the turbo mode, the positive pressure fan design, and the Wi-Fi capabilities are all included in the model. At its price point, this can be a bargain with features that are usually found in more expensive models.
- Large cooking area
- Reliable temperature control
- Turbo heating system for cold weather
- Low maximum temp for the price
- Thin metal construction does not hold heat well
The Ironwood 650 is a beast from Traeger that provides 650 sq. inches of cooking area. Integrated in the product is Traeger’s D2 controller with PID, integrated Wi-Fi support, a pellet auger with a brushless DC motor, and a dedicated smoking mode that brings the temperature down and turns the fan off for enhanced smoke production.
The smoker incorporates a larger capacity pellet whopper and excellent all-weather wheels. A side shelf and utensil hooks are included, and you can purchase further accessories as extras. The Ironwood series also brings insulated walls to help reduce temperature fluctuations and withstand cold weather smoking.
- Easy temperature monitoring via phone app
- Superior construction and quality of materials
- Dedicated smoking mode
- Front shelf is an extra accessory
All these smokers come with a 3-year warranty offered by both Traeger and Green Mountain. The accompanying mobile apps offer easy temperature monitoring and control from remote locations. The Traeger app also includes a vast library of recipes that can come in handy.
A Close Call
If you have carefully considered these options, it is clear that it’s not easy to compare Traeger vs Green Mountain. However, due to the large market share Traeger has and all the local/online distributors, we believe the overall ownership experience will be better with Traeger. Give Green Mountain some more time and we may see our thoughts change.
In fact, the Traeger Pro 575 can be a great balanced option for beginners and veterans. Its common-sense features and affordable price point can make it a particularly stellar option if you are looking for something versatile and sensible.