recteq (formerly Rec Tec) vs Traeger

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Rec Teq vs Traeger cover

Recteq (recently rebranded recteq) is the perfect contender to Traeger. Their grill model lines match up very well, especially since the release of the RT-1250 which competes directly with the Traeger Timberline 1300. Both grill companies take slightly different approaches to pellet grill design, while still focusing on quality and features.

Today we will do our best to take a deep dive into these brands, examine their histories and unique characteristics, and put three representative wood pellet grills to the test to resolve the Traeger vs Rec Tec (recteq) debate once and for all.

Introductory Line

byb2-table__imageRecteq RT-590
  • 590 square inches of cooking space
  • PID enabled controller =precise temp. control
  • Stainless steel construction
byb2-table__imageTraeger Pro 575
  • 575 square inches of cooking space
  • PID controlled paired with WiFIRE for remote use
  • 4 year warranty

Mid-Range Line

byb2-table__imageRecteq RT-700
  • 700 square inches of cooking space
  • Smart grill technology = precise temp. control
  • Stainless steel construction
byb2-table__imageTraeger Ironwood 650
  • 650 square inches of cooking space
  • Downdraft exhaust
  • Upgraded controller

Luxury Line

byb2-table__imageRecteq RT-1250
  • 1250 square inches of cooking space
  • Ceramic ignition system
  • PID enabled controller
byb2-table__imageTraeger Timberline 1300
  • 1300 square inches of cooking space
  • D2 controller
  • Stainless steel construction

Rectec (recteq) Overview

After the expiry of Traeger’s patent of pellet grills, quite a few brands came forward and tried to capitalize on the demand for pellet grills, owing to their ease of use and delicious results. Among the few that did manage to make a strong foothold and earn loyal followers by bringing excellent products to the market is recteq. A relative newcomer to the pellet grill market compared with Traeger, recteq has already become a household name thanks to their no-compromise attitude, excellent quality, and premium features.

Recteq is known for producing quality pellet grills. The grills are made from heavy-duty metal parts and are known to stand the test of time. They are also among the manufacturers that understand the importance of infusing their products with the latest and greatest in terms of tech features. The focus is on convenience and ease of use but not at the cost of cooking quality and versatility.

Heat retention and temperature control remain key strong points of recteq pellet grills. The company is also known for exemplary customer service. The grills come with long warranties, serving as proof that the manufacturer has faith in their product offerings.

Where are Rec Tec (recteq) Grills Made?

While recteq is among the companies that manufacture and source their parts from China, the central computer and controller are manufactured in-house in the USA. The final assembly, quality check, and the finishing touch of powder-coated steel are all done locally at their main factory in Augusta, Georgia. This allows them to stay on top of quality concerns and consistently put out products that are tough, durable, and high-quality. Jack Bauer would be impressed!

Recteq recently went through a complete rebranding process and changed its name to recteq from Rec Tec. With the rebrand, the company is set to expand its range of outdoor products and venture into other markets. Recteq decided to change the name and remove “grills” because they are moving the company into lifestyle products. Expect more than just grills from recteq. They also decided to use all lowercase letters and will now be “recteq.”

Traeger Overview 

The whole concept of pellet grills as we know it today comes courtesy of Traeger, the company that started it all. The core idea of using manufactured wood pellets that are fed automatically into the fuel burning area proved to be genius and was a game-changer for BBQ enthusiasts. Over the years, Traeger has gone through some changes, both positive and negative. They remain, however, the largest manufacturers of pellet grills in the country with over two million pellet grills sold.

Currently, Traeger has one of the widest and most varied ranges of grills on the market, ranging from small, portable offerings to massive, professional-grade products. Their Pro series of grills is a crowd favorite, combining basic features, great functionality, and attractive prices. A step up is the Ironwood series, bringing more innovative features to the table while still being priced sensibly. The flagship Timberline series brings out all the bells and whistles in spades, being a favorite choice for pro chefs and hardcore BBQ enthusiasts.

Where are Traeger Grills Made?

It has been several years since Traeger moved its entire production chain to China. While this was initially a cause for concern with many users reporting quality issues, they seem to have listened to the critics and pulled things back. The sheer popularity of Traeger products and the heritage associated with the Traeger tag are proof that the brand still resonates with BBQ enthusiasts. Of late, Traeger has also understood the requirements of customers in an extremely competitive market and started offering products that embrace the latest in tech features. 

Any of the pellet grills we discuss here can be a great addition to your home. However, it definitely makes sense to arrive at a decision with the most information and insight possible before you invest your hard-earned money. We will now take a look at representative pellet grills from both brands across three different price points, discuss their unique features, lay out their pros and cons, and provide you with enough information so that you can get the grill that suits your needs the best.

Introductory Line: Recteq RT – 590 vs Traeger Pro 575 Comparison

Recteq RT-590 Review

What We Like…

  • Sturdy construction
  • Reliable and precise temperature control
  • Large cooking area with room for expansion
  • Stainless steel material

What Makes Us Angry…

  • The Wi-Fi companion app is relatively basic
  • Expensive when compared to the competition
Rec Tec 590

The recteq RT590 pellet smoker is an amazingly put-together product that combines the right balance of solid construction, special features, reliable operation, and versatile cooking options. Right out of the gate, the grill provides a large cooking area that spans 590 sq. inches. You can also invest in a second upper cooking rack (an optional extra) and increase your total cooking area to 772 sq. inches.

One of the standout features of this recteq grill is the precise temperature control that is made possible by the PID style controller. This means that the grill can maintain a temperature within a range of 5 degrees and can easily reach 500F in no time. 

The hopper capacity is a whopping 30 lbs, much larger than most other grills in the same price range. This can become a great advantage if you are a fan of low and slow cooking and smoking. In such cases, you can complete your cooking, even a marathon brisket smoking session, without having to run to restock the pellets.

The RT590 not only can smoke low-and-slow, it can also reach 700°F. So you can smoke ribs and chickens, but you can also grill burgers hot and fast on the same grill. 

The recteq features solid built quality, using 304-grade stainless steel for its construction. The benefits of using stainless steel as the material of choice are many. It is one of the best material options for durability. Cleaning the grill can be accomplished with more ease and effectiveness as stainless steel surfaces are easier to clean thoroughly than painted metal surfaces. This construction and material choice can also come in handy if you are planning to store your grill in an outdoor area.

Recteq App
Recteq Pellet Grill App

The octagon-shaped cooking chamber made from stainless steel is one of the most unique characteristics of recteq grills. This model also comes with support for Wi-Fi monitoring—a remarkable convenience feature that can let you monitor temperatures using a companion phone app provided by recteq. The product also comes with two meat probes, both of which can be monitored through Wi-Fi. The sturdy legs and four all-weather wheels make moving around quite easy. There is a six-year warranty associated with the grill.

Traeger Pro 575 Review

What We Like…

  • Class-leading D2 Direct Drive system
  • PID enabled controller
  • Stovepipe chimney
  • Powder-coated construction inspires confidence

What Makes Us Angry…

  • Shorter warranty
  • Lacks additional insulation
  • Smaller cooking area
Traeger Pro 575
Pro 575

The Traeger Pro 575 has several great features that can make life easier for you. The Traeger brand has remained focused on usability and convenience and that really shows in the product design and feature set. The Pro 575 offers a total of 575 sq. inches of cooking area, spread between 418 sq. inches on the main grate with an additional 157 sq. inches on the upper rack. Unlike the Rec Teq offering, however, you do not have to purchase anything extra to take advantage of the space.

While the Traeger Pro Series is the basic line of products from Traeger, there is not much compromise in terms of features and performance if you consider the price. The D2 Direct Drive system takes advantage of a brushless DC motor in the auger. This can give the auger more speed and torque and virtually negates the possibility of auger blockage.

The grill features a powerful variable-speed fan that is used to circulate the hot smoke inside the cooking area. Depending on your setting, this fan can control its speed to achieve the best results. This facilitates better heat transfer and heat retention while also making the product more efficient.

The PID-enabled central controller can be paired up with one meat probe which can be monitored through the gauge on the unit and also remotely using the proprietary WiFire system that Traeger is known for. The hopper capacity is 18 pounds, giving it just enough mileage for those long and slow overnight cooks. A side table and utensil hooks are excellent convenience features.

You can also extend the functionality of the grill by purchasing additional accessories that include a foldable front shelf for extra storage and work area and a pellet sensor that alerts you when you are running low. The four-year warranty is only applicable if you use pellets that are designed for Traeger grills.

Considering all the pros and cons, we give this round to the Traeger, thanks to its ease of use and feature-rich mobile app experience.

Mid-range Line : Recteq RT-700 vs Traeger Ironwood 650 Comparison

Recteq RT-700 Review

What We Like…

  • Very large cooking area
  • Very large capacity pellet hopper
  • Quality steel construction
  • Automatic cooking area lighting

What Makes Us Angry…

  • The mobile app lacks important functionality
  • Can be difficult to move around
  • Expensive 
RT 700

The Recteq RT-700 is a workhorse that features a large cooking area of 700 sq. inches right on the main cooking rack made of stainless steel. In fact, the entire grill sports sturdy stainless steel construction that can last you a long time. You also have the option of making your cooking area more massive by adding the 350 sq. inch secondary cooking rack, available as an optional extra. 

The stainless steel construction also implements convenience features that can really make your workflow easier. These include tool hooks, a towel ring, a spill-proof bucket hook, and a pull bar handle. The grill uses the same Smart Grill feature that lets you dial in a specific temperature and maintain it precisely with a tolerance of only 5 degrees either way. This is made possible via a modern PID-enabled controller.

Two useful features included in the product are a dual-probe meat thermometer that integrates directly into the controller and can also be monitored using Wi-Fi and an automatic grill lighting feature that automatically illuminates the grilling area, making usage a breeze. 

You can also enjoy using the included grill cover, two grill mats, and a whopping 200 pounds of wood pellets free of cost. The amount can also seem quite appropriate, given the absolutely huge 40 pounds of pellets the grill hopper can hold at one time. You would spend less time feeding the grill with new pellets and much more time cooking contentedly.

Traeger Ironwood 650 Review

What We Like…

  • Upgraded D2 controller with convenient new modes
  • Downdraft exhaust for better heat and smoke distribution
  • Pellet sensor for low pellet alerts

What Makes Us Angry…

  • Less cooking area for the price
  • Material does not retain heat well
Traeger Ironwood 650
Ironwood 650

The Traeger Ironwood 650 is a tried and tested classic that a lot of people love to use. While the main cooking area is still the same 418 sq. inches, the secondary cooking area is larger here to give you a total cooking area of 650 sq. inches. 

The D2 Direct Drive auger works seamlessly with the 20-pound capacity pellet hopper that already comes preinstalled with a pellet sensor, thereby precluding the need to buy it separately. The D2 control panel in the Ironwood series of grills is also upgraded with new features like “Keep Warm” and “Super Smoke Mode”, excellent options if you need them. 

Arguably the best feature on the Ironwood 650 is something that is straight out of their more premium Timberline series of grills—a downdraft exhaust system. This does a much better job of circulating heat and smoke inside the cooking chamber than a standard chimney-style exhaust. This can facilitate even better control of consistent temperature and more smoke absorption. One meat probe is included.

The Ironwood also comes with insulated sides which will allow for better temperature control and less heat loss in cold/windy weather.

Considering the downdraft exhaust and the upgraded controller, this round goes to Traeger.

Luxury Line: Recteq RT-1250 vs Traeger Timberline 1300 Comparison

Recteq RT-1250 Review

What We Like…

  • Front Grease Diverter (Stops Front Grease Leaks)
  • 180F-700F Temps
  • Ceramic ignition system
  • Foldable Front Shelf Standard
  • 6-Year Warranty

What Makes Us Angry…

Cook Box Walls are not insulated

Recteq RT-1250

The RT-1250 is the brand new pellet grill from Recteq. They now have a grill that is more evenly matches the size of the Traeger Timberline 1300. They made a lot of improvements on this grill over the existing line which we will go over in detail.

Built from stunning stainless steel, this behemoth features a 40-pound hopper, piano-hinged hopper lid, dual stainless steel handles, dual-band WIFI (2.4/5.0GHZ), top grill rack, and a standard foldable front shelf.

The grill gives you a staggering 1,250 sq. inches of cooking area in total, with a top rack area of 548 sq. inches, being removable for convenient operation. It features a ceramic ignition system rated for prolonged operation (100,000 ignitions), full stainless steel cooking grates, and an automatic shutdown system. 

Recteq RT-1250 Front Dimensions
Recteq RT-1250 Rear Dimensions

This grill can do it all with ease, from low and slow cooking to a burning sear. The low setting can allow for great buildup of smoke over time while the full setting can allow you to reach temperatures in excess of 700F. The PID controller provides precision temperature control and the Wi-Fi-enabled dual meat probes can ensure even cooking.

Traeger Timberline 1300 Review

What We Like…

  • Stainless steel construction
  • Intuitive controls 
  • Great convenience features

What Makes us Angry…

  • Has less cooking area than competing products
  • Limited maximum temperature
Timberline 1300

The Traeger Timberline 1300 is a flagship product with specs and features to match. This is the range where Traeger also features an all stainless steel construction with a total of 1300 sq. inches of cooking area. The 24-pound pellet hopper is fitted with a pellet sensor that can be monitored over Wi-Fi.

The cooking space is divided in three levels of adjustable cooking grates made of stainless steel. The D2 controller featured in the Timberline models has an intuitive control mechanism, making use of a navigation dial and dedicated buttons for specific functions. The grill comes with a range of ready scenarios that you can access directly, including settings for “Keep Warm” and “Super Smoke”.

The convenience features are also worth talking about. These include a side shelf with tool hooks, a full-length front shelf, and a magnetic bamboo chopping board. The included meat probe connects directly to the control panel and the stainless steel construction, along with the all-weather wheels and locking casters, give this a rock-solid presence that even Rambo would be proud of.

While the Traeger Timberline is a great pellet grill, the true flagship experience in this category comes from the recteq offering.

Across the board, recteq uses stainless steel construction, which is only found in the Timberline range of Traeger products. Recteq also provides a longer warranty for all its grills across all price points. 

In terms of the Wi-Fi experience, however, Traeger is miles ahead. While both companies boast Wi-Fi connectivity and the recteq mobile app does the basics well, the Traeger WiFire app is a repository of settings and recipes; while also being compatible with modern smart home platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

Weighing the Factors

Well, there you have it. When doing a Rec Tec Grills vs Traeger comparison, no matter what your budget is, you can surely have a pleasurable BBQ experience. Both recteq and Traeger bring exceptional value to the table and their products can get you started with pellet grills. Depending on the budget you have at hand, you can choose from these comparisons to find the perfect pellet grill for your needs. Stay tuned for future recteq vs Traeger reviews.


Question: Are Pellet Grills High Maintenance?

Answer: If you’re thinking about purchasing a pellet grill for the first time, you’ve likely asked yourself ‘are pellet grills easy to maintain?’ If all you’ve used before a gas or charcoal grills, it’s a valid question. While I wouldn’t say pellet grills are high maintenance, they do require more regular cleaning than my charcoal or gas grills do. 

Depending on what pellet grill you have, you may need to vacuum out the firepot area regularly, more so after doing long cooking sessions. I also found a lot of pellet grills do require the removal of internal components for regular cleaning. Now, grills like the Camp Chef Apex have ash cleanout systems that extend the amount of time between heavy-duty cleaning and maintenance sessions.

One other feature most pellet grills have that does help with maintenance and ease of use is a pellet purge system. This can help with switching flavors of pellets depending on what you’re smoking or clearing issues with pellets that have absorbed moisture that can lead to jams.

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14 thoughts on “recteq (formerly Rec Tec) vs Traeger”

  1. I might be bias, but recteq is hands down the best. Yes, the app could be better, but the quality and customer service are awesome. How many businesses do you know that when you call, you get a person answering the phone to help you, instead of 5 minutes of voice prompts. The PID controller for recteq is spot on for holding temperatures.

    1. Hi Jeff, I agree that Recteq is a great product as well, but I have been through various customer service experiences with Traeger and they have been outstanding. I purchased a new Ironwood 650 a couple years back and after a couple months of ownership I noticed the paint finishing was flaking off on the exterior, in a very small area. I called customer service, I spoke to a live operator in a matter of 1-2 minutes, they had me take a photo during the call. In 10 minutes they decided warranty was valid and they shipped out a brand new Traeger within a week.
      They are both great products and these two brands are very even in quality.

      1. Did they let you keep the old one too? If so, that is outstanding customer service! If not, ehh It’s just what any good company should do if you purchase a new product from them.

  2. While I don’t have firsthand experience cooking on a Traeger, I have had my hands on enough of them at Ace Hardware to describe the difference in build quality.

    Two years ago on my lunch break I’d typically run to Ace Hardware near the office for various things related to home improvement, and take the opportunity to really look over and get my hands on each of the Traeger options on display.
    I spoke with a buddy that I didn’t know what really into BBQ and told him I was looking at Traeger and he couldn’t more strongly advice me against getting one since he just replaced his for a recteq.
    About a year went by before I actually pulled the trigger but I bought an RT700 after coming back from Ace Hardware and looking over the Traeger’s once again after needing a few sanding blocks.
    Having never actually seen a recteq in person I felt I was rolling the dice based on a friend who I didn’t even know what into BBQing, but trusting his opinion in other subject matters I figured I’d give it a try.
    It took about a week since I ordered on a holiday weekend but the RT700 arrived on a pallet, along with some other accessories that either came with the package deal, or that I added onto the order.
    As soon as I started assembling the bull I was amazed by how well built it was and how the materials used were heavier duty and better quality metals than the Traeger grills I had considered.
    I did have a problem with the bull after the first couple weeks of cooks…..the cast iron heat deflector developed a crack, and one of the temp probes wasn’t working. I took pics, emailed customer service and within a couple days Fedex dropped off the replacement heat deflector and they sent two new probes rather than just the one I needed.
    I noticed that these reviews seemed to heavily focus on the app, and I’m not sure what the recteq app is missing, but whatever it’s missing, I’m definitely not missing it because the app does what I need and provides the data that’s important. They do update it regularly but I’m not one of those people who wants all kinds of unnecessary features in an app. Give me the temp of the grill, the temp of the probes, ability to control the temp, and a graph so that I can monitor grill temps and see when a brisket is getting close to leveling off and going into the stall. They include recipes but honestly if they didn’t I wouldn’t really care because the other functions I actually need are already there in the app.
    The things that are more important to me are the materials used to construct the grill, how well fit they are, how long the grill will last me, and ultimately how quickly customer service responds.
    If I were to improve one thing on the recteq grills, at least on the RT700 it would be the auger. It works, but seems like it’s just sized powerful enough for the RT700. Usually you really want to use something that has plenty of power in reserve, but not so much that you ruin something with the auger. For example if a screw ends up in the hopper, you really don’t want a motor so powerful that it bends that wayward screw and gets the auger really jammed up so that it’s extremely difficult to clear the jam.
    Aside from that, whenever friends or family are looking for a new pellet grill or to get into them, I always recommend recteq. Had I been able to get my hands onto a recteq two years ago I likely would have a two year old recteq, rather than two years of fondling the Traeger grills at Ace Hardware. I would have immediately seen the difference in quality over the two brands and made my choice.

    1. Thanks for the thorough overview Dom and I think your points are valid and will help show our readers where recteq is strong. Glad you enjoy your RT700. If you read further down about the RT-1250 vs the Timberline, you’ll note that I chose the recteq over Traeger. I do believe Traeger makes a good product as well since I’ve owned several through the years. I now run a Yoder YS640s, which is something worth checking out.

  3. After doing my homework on pellet smokers I decided to go with the recteq. Having stick burner smoker, I had to learn the ins and outs of a pellet smoker. After placing my order from the factory, the much-anticipated delivery was a short wait. During that time, I researched the break in method I would use. The kit arrived and was well packaged. Two people during assembly was a plus. The quality of the smoker was amazing. Took a couple of min. to figure out the Wi-Fi setup. The amount of smoke is less but the ease of use a game changer. I use my smoker for about everything now. My BBQ grill is lonely now. I use my smoker 2-3 times a week. My brother-in-law has a Treger and hardly used it due to the long time to make it to temperature. His recovery after basting or temp check is ridiculously long. He just had to check recteq out. I took the temp to 250 then opened the lid and let it drop to 180. I started my stopwatch and within 1 min 30 seconds it was back up to temp. Stuffed chicken breast is amazing and moist. Working on the taste I like when smoking is the fun part about it. I have found when doing short smokes like pizza I don’t need to switch out the pellets to a mild one. Customer service is top notch. I had a plug issue which was in my cord not in the smoker end. I called Customer Service, and it was after hours on a weekend. I just hung up not leaving a message. Monday morning, I received a call making sure everything was ok. Sharing my cooks with family and coworkers is a blast. My coworkers now constantly ask what I smoked last night. The 590 is the perfect size for me and my family. The semi sharp corners on the hopper could use some improvement. Going to look for some clear silicone guards to help prevent a serious accident for the grand kiddies. The pellet smoker makes a great compromise between my wife and me. I like the bold smoke flavor and the wife complains about it. I have zero complaints now and the food comes out with a flavor I can live with. Recteq hands down the best investment for the money. Grilling and smoking is a 12-month thing. Cold weather or snow the cook continues on.

    1. Thanks for your comments on the Recteq Rich. I agree that pellet smokers make smoking so easy, that I’ll sacrifice true smokey flavors for ease a lot of the time. Still can’t beat an offset but these pellet smokers do the trick for the weekday cook.

  4. Michael Schuyler

    I am a professional chef (retired) who also taught BBQ school for a couple years. In that teaching role I had the opportunity to extensively use at least 6 different brands of pellet smokers. Most are very, very similar. One area that does separate the individual models is the electronic controls and how the basic functions produce different result. The “bark” is the dark outer layer that accumulates after a looong smoke (12- 14 hours for a brisket) and contributes a great deal to the flavor of the finished product. That “bark” is very different based on the air/fuel mix programed into the auger fuel delivery system. One model I used actually left a bark most reminiscent of cigarette ash (!), others were ok, but the Traeger consistently provided the best “bark” in flavor and appearance (as well as the best “smoke ring”) using the same rub/injections and same pellets.
    As far as I am concerned, Traeger produces the best product.

    1. Hi Michael, Thanks for leaving your thoughts. Bark is a challenge for pellet grills and I’m still waiting for one that can create the bark like an offset. We will be testing the new Camp Chef Woodwind Pro in the near future that seems to have the best chance at creating a great bark. Stay tuned.


  5. I bought a recteq rt590 after 4 years of Jr elite Traeger. No comparison recteq is super well built
    Holds temp flawlessly and great customer service.
    On delivery my temp control knob broke. Called on a Friday night , was told don’t worry use Wi-Fi
    Worked fine and sent me a new controller anyway . Great support you cannot go wrong with them

  6. scott bennett woods

    Hi my name is Scott. I’ve used my traeger 075 for about 8 years and I absolutely love it. However, I recently bought a rec teq and I feel I have taken this grilling/smoking thing to the next level. Thank you for developing such a superior product. The wi-fi is very cool, the temp control is spot on and it is a very good looking piece of equipment. I have yet to utilize the customer service but I’m sure it will be a satisfying experence

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