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Weber SmokeFire vs Traeger Ironwood (2020): Which Wood Pellet Grill Is Better?

Finally, the Weber SmokeFire grill has arrived, ready to challenge the leading brand and original creator of wood pellet grills, Traeger. With its Wi-Fi enabled controls and features, the Weber SmokeFire EX4 is poised to go head to head with the Traeger Ironwood 650, the brand’s mid-tier pellet grill line. How does the new contender compare? Check out our comparison between the Weber SmokeFire vs Traeger Ironwood below.

Weber SmokeFire vs Traeger Ironwood Wood Pellet Grill Comparison Chart

ModelWeber SmokeFire EX4Traeger Ironwood 650
 Weber 22510001 SmokeFire EX4 Wood Fired Pellet Grill, Black Traeger Grills TFB65BLF Grill Ironwood 650, Black 
PriceCheck Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon 
Dimensions43 x 33 x 62 inches46 x 27 x 47 inches
Top Grate Grilling Space236 sq. in.231 sq. in.
Bottom Grate Grilling Space435 sq. in.418 sq. in.
Dual Grilling Space662 sq. in.649 sq. in.
Fuel TypeWood fired pelletWood fired pellet
Hopper Capacity20 lb.20 lb.
Temperature Range200-600°FUp to 500°F
LCD DisplayYesYes
Wi-Fi and Mobile AppYesYes
Works with AlexaNoYes
Pellet SensorYesYes

Design

The Weber SmokeFire EX4 has slightly more grilling space than the Traeger Ironwood 650.

Weber made several design innovations on the SmokeFire EX4 (left) to compete against the Traeger Ironwood 650 (right).

Aside from its glossy porcelain enamel finish, the Weber SmokeFire EX4 has numerous design differences when compared with the Traeger Ironwood 650. First off, the pellet hopper on the SmokeFire is located behind the grill, whereas the Ironwood has it on its side. The SmokeFire’s hopper is long and narrow, and pellet bridging can sometimes occur since the ramp isn’t steep enough for pellets to consistently slide down into the auger. Meanwhile, the Ironwood has a tall box that feeds pellets pretty well into its D2 Direct Drive drivetrain.

The Weber SmokeFire and Traeger Ironwood also have different ash and grease collection systems. The SmokeFire has a drawer for both right below the grill while the Ironwood comes with a grease bucket. The Ironwood 650 also has a slightly larger side shelf to the left of the grill. In contrast, the SmokeFire places its side table in front of the LCD display and part of the hopper, making it feel slightly cramped. On its left side is a handle you can use to move the SmokeFire more easily, though it loses relevance quickly once you’ve found the best spot for it in your yard.

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Opening their lids will reveal almost similar grilling spaces, though the Weber SmokeFire EX4 has a slightly larger total area than the Traeger Ironwood 650. Instead of the Ironwood’s more typical solid diffuser plate, Weber uses the Flavorizer bars of its gas grills to expose meat to more direct flame across the grilling surface. 

Features

The Weber SmokeFire EX4 can get hotter but the Traeger Ironwood 650 is more consistent.

Enjoy grilling without the usual hassle of outdoor cooking using the smart features of the Traeger Ironwood 650.

Plugging in both SmokeFire and Ironwood lets you use their LCD displays to set how hot their grills should be. This removes much of the constant checking you’d need to do otherwise with traditional grills to keep them burning at the right temperature. Weber designed the SmokeFire EX4 to “sear as well as it smokes” by enabling it to reach 600°F and higher. You can get great-looking sears on steaks this way without using a griddle, just like on gas and charcoal grills.

In comparison, the Traeger Ironwood 650 only reaches up to 500°F. However, it’s much more consistent and reliable in hitting the correct temperature across its cooking surface. The SmokeFire EX4 noticeably cooks cooler on the left and hotter on the right side. Testing with slices of bread showed that those on the right side were browned nicer than those on the left. Moreover, the SmokeFire doesn’t always match the temperature settings you choose. Its interior is usually hotter than what’s shown on the display.

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Both have smart grilling features you can access on their accompanying mobile apps. The Weber Connect app lets you control the SmokeFire EX4 via Wi-Fi, setting its temp, turning on optional features like SmokeBoost, and switching it off. You can also get flip and serve notifications as well as readiness countdowns and doneness alerts. 

Meanwhile, Traeger equipped the Ironwood 650 with its WiFIRE controller, allowing you to do pretty much the same with the Traeger app. In addition, the Ironwood is Amazon Alexa ready, so you can adjust heat settings and set timers using any Alexa-enabled voice control device. Opening a recipe in the app can also send the corresponding settings to the grill, so you can start right away by pressing a button.

Safety and Maintenance

The Weber SmokeFire EX4 requires less maintenance but the Traeger Ironwood 650 has fewer safety issues.

Weber’s innovative design prevents ash from entering the SmokeFire’s interior grilling area.

Weber’s Flavorizer bars required an additional solution to prevent ash from flying into the cooking area and landing on the food. On top of the SmokeFire’s firepot is a flame deflector that directs ash away from the cookbox. Weber also cut slots in the firepot’s bottom so ash would fall down into the ash collection pan underneath. They use a combo ash and grease drawer for easy disposal that’s also protected from bugs and such. However, since grease drips near the same spot, the drain holes can get clogged with ash if not maintained regularly. It’s recommended that you clean the Weber SmokeFire every 20 hours of use. 

The SmokeFire has had a rocky launch due to users reporting grease fires and other mishaps, but many of them can be traced to incorrect assembly and un-updated controllers. Taking the time to properly assemble the grill, preferably using the Weber BILT app, as well as updating its firmware can prevent the trouble that other users had with the new product. To add, though you can use pellets from other brands, the SmokeFire EX4 was designed specifically to use the Weber’s pellets, which are smaller in diameter than most varieties.

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Still, it’s disappointing in comparison with the Traeger Ironwood 650, which didn’t face similar issues. 

Verdict

The Traeger Ironwood 650 is our recommendation over the Weber SmokeFire EX4.

With similar grilling spaces and smart features, the Traeger Ironwood 650 is easier to recommend due to its reliable consistency in temperature and evenly distributed heat. Its tall hopper will pose no problem in feeding fuel into its advanced drivetrain, while its controller hits the correct temperature settings every time. Moreover, its WiFIRE features provide better remote controls and alerts.

The Weber SmokeFire EX4 is priced considerably lower, however, while offering all of the same features. You’ll want to monitor its temperature more, though, as well as note how well each side of its grilling surface heats up. It can sear meats much better and its design should reduce overall maintenance. 

FAQs

📌 Can you leave pellets in the hopper?

Yes, but not indefinitely. Pellets stored in a hopper for a long time can deteriorate as it’s exposed to the elements, even when the pellet grill is covered. It’s recommended that you empty the hopper after cooking and storing the leftover pellets indoors.

📌 Are pellet grills worth the money?

Yes, especially if you want an outdoor cooking equipment that can do everything. Wood pellet grills like the Traeger Ironwood 650 and Weber SmokeFire EX4 can grill, roast, smoke, bake, broil, and more. Moreover, pellets are more cost-efficient than gas, letting you cook longer at lower costs.

📌 Which is better: gas grill or pellet grill?

It depends on what you’ll be using it for. Gas grills are better when set at mid to high temperatures, and they heat up faster than pellet grills. Plus, they’re easier to use and clean, and its fuel is cheaper and more readily available. In comparison, pellet grills make better smokers, as they’re great at maintaining low temperatures. They’re more versatile for roasting, baking, etc., and wood pellets are more fuel efficient.

📌 Is Weber coming out with a pellet grill?

They have just launched their first wood fired pellet grills, the Weber SmokeFire EX4 and EX6, in April 2020. They’re poised to compete directly with the Traeger Ironwood 650 and 885.

Last update on 2020-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Derick Bondoc
Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.