Green Mountain Grills vs Traeger

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GMG Green Mountain Grill vs Traeger

Green Mountain Grills (GMG) is a substantially smaller company when compared to Traeger, but that doesn’t mean they are not competitive and going after Traeger’s massive market share. GMG does things a little differently with their grills which make them an interesting option in the world of pellet grills.

Today we compare their product lines (recently launched Peak and Ledge grills) vs Traeger’s to determine who makes a better pellet grill overall. I like to focus on build quality, grilling/smoking performance, features and overall value. With the recent new models from GMG, we have shifted our stance on who we think comes out on top.

Read on to see where they stack up. First off, a little history on the two grilling companies.

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.

Tailgater Comparison

IMAGE MODEL FEATURES
byb2-table__imageTraeger Tailgater
  • LED digital control board
  • 300 square inches of cooking space
  • Convenient folding legs with wheels
CHECK PRICE
byb2-table__imageTop PickTop PickGMG Davy Crockett
  • Wifi remote temp. monitoring
  • 219 square inches of cooking space
  • Affordable
CHECK PRICE


Mid-Range Comparison

IMAGE MODEL FEATURES
byb2-table__imageTraeger Pro 575
  • Wifi compatibility & D2 controller
  • 575 square inches of cooking space
  • 18 pound hopper
CHECK PRICE
byb2-table__imageTop PickTop PickGMG Ledge Prime Plus
  • Wifi compatibility & reliable controller
  • 458 square inches of cooking space
  • Rotisserie Available
CHECK PRICE


High End Comparison

IMAGE MODEL FEATURES
byb2-table__imageTraeger Ironwood 650
  • Turbo heating system for cold weather
  • 658 square inches of cooking space
  • Programmable controller
CHECK PRICE
byb2-table__imageTop PickTop PickGMG Peak Prime Plus
  • Viewing Windows
  • 650 square inches of cooking space
  • Rotisserie Available
CHECK PRICE


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

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.


Portable Pellet grill Model Comparison


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.

Davy Crockett Prime Wi-Fi Review

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.

What We Like…

  • 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
  • Affordable 

What Makes Us Angry…

  • Very small cooking area
  • Fiddly grease tray
  • No wheels

Traeger Tailgater Review

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.

What We Like…

  • 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

What Makes Us Angry…

  • Does not reach high max temperature
  • No utensil hooks or side shelf
  • The controller can take some time to get used to

Midrange Pellet Grill Models


GMG Ledge Prime Plus 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.

GMG Ledge Prime Plus Wi-fi Review

The Ledge is the mid-size offering from Green Mountain. The smoker offers 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 Ledge replaced the Daniel Boone line of pellet grills. What changed? Several items:

  • New Collapsible Front Shelf
  • Interior Grill Light
  • Rotisserie Enabled Mounting
  • Stronger Grill Grates
GMG Ledge Front Shelf
New Front Shelf
GMG Ledge Interior Grill Light
New Interior Grill Light

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.

GMG continues to power their grills with 12V DC which provides extra flexibility wherever you are. The grill includes an AC adapter to draw power from a 120C AC source, battery cables (12V DC). Wherever you are, you can plug in and operate your grill.

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.

What We Like…

  • High Sear Temps 550F
  • Great list of features including pellet alarm and temperature probe
  • “Fan only” cooldown mode helps extinguish fire post cooking
  • Glass Viewing Area on Lid

What Makes Us Angry…

  • Small Dealer Network for Support

Traeger Pro 575 Review

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.

What We Like…

  • Wi-Fi control and advanced D2 controller
  • Good quality in a budget
  • Color options available

What Makes Us Angry…

  • Lighter Build Construction
  • Competing products come with added features

Premium Pellet Grill Models


GMG Peak Prime Plus 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.

GMG Peak Prime Plus wi-Fi Review

The GMG Peak 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 550F 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 thermometers.

The Peak replaced the Jim Bowie line and includes the following new features (just like the Ledge):

  • Collapsible Front Shelf
  • Interior Grill Light
  • Rotisserie Enabled Mounting
  • Stronger Grill Grates
GMG Peak Prime Plus
Loaded with new shelf and rotisserie mounting.
GMG Interior Grill Light
Helpful Interior Grill Light Kit

We really like the idea of the rotisserie mounting because this has been non-existent in the pellet grill world for some time. Cooking foods with a rotisserie ensures more juicy meat. I would love to use this feature for my smoked donair meat recipe.

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.

What We Like…

  • Large cooking area
  • Reliable temperature control
  • Turbo heating system for cold weather
  • Rotisserie Mounting
  • Interior Lights
  • Price

What Makes Us Angry…

  • Lower Hopper Capacity for Size

Traeger Ironwood 650 Review

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.

Checkout my long term test review of the Ironwood 650.

What We Like…

  • Traeger WiFire App = Absolute Cook Control Wherever You Are
  • Insulated Walls = Better Heat Retention
  • Super Smoke Mode

What Makes Us Angry…

  • Front shelf is an extra accessory
  • Price

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

Now that Green Mountain Grills has updated their pellet grill line with the Peak and Ledge, we have identified a very competitive product line to Traeger. GMG keeps their prices in line, but also provides abundant features. I’ve watched the informative Mad BBQ Scientist do a blind taste test of smoked ribs from several pellet smokers, and the GMG was a winner in flavor.

Overall I think GMG has a great product line that brings more functionality then Traeger and arguably brings a better smoke flavor. They also do it for less money. Only problem is finding their products vs Traeger. Traegers can be found anywhere, while Green Mountain Grills sticks to small dealer networks.

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