If you’re thinking about getting a griller but you’re not quite sure which kind to get, you should definitely consider the pellet griller. Not only are they super easy to use but they also leave your food with that distinct wood-fired flavor that will have everyone’s mouths watering. There are several pellet griller brands out there but two that you should really look into are Z Grills and Traeger, both of which are trusted makers. So how do choose between the two? That’s the tricky part because they each have their own pros and cons when it comes to design, cooking performance, price, and warranty. To make the decision process a little less confusing for you, here an in-depth comparison of Z Grills and Traeger.
Z Grills vs Traeger Comparison Chart
|Price||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon|
|Cooking Surface Area||450 to 1,000 square inches||300 to 780 square inches|
|Temperature Control||25-degree increments||15-degree increments|
|Temperature Range||180 to 450 degrees||180 to 400 degrees|
|Hopper Capacity||Depends on size of griller||18 lbs|
|Warranty||3 years||3 years|
Cooking Surface Area
Both Z Grills and Traeger offer a good range of pellet griller sizes.
Before purchasing a pellet griller, you should first ask yourself how many people you’re normally going to be cooking for. This way, you can get an idea of how big of a cooking surface your pellet griller should have. Fortunately, both Z Grills and Traeger have a wide catalog of pellet grillers, allowing you to choose the right size for you and your family.
Z Grills has more standard-size pellet grillers, ones that come with 450, 550, 600, 700, and 1,000 square inches of primary cooking area. These are designed with a warming rack and so you get some additional space to work with. As for Traeger, their sizes are a bit more unconventional. Their flagship Traeger Pro griller, for example, comes in two sizes: one that has 575 square inches of cooking area and another that has 780 square inches. They do, however, also have smaller pellet grillers like the Renegade Pro Grill that has 380 square inches of primary cooking area and their portable pellet grillers that have around 300 square inches.
If you want a mid to large-size pellet griller, you can choose from either Z Grills or Traeger as they both offer ones that have 400 to 700 square inches of cooking space. If you do, however, have plenty of mouths to feed and need an extra large pellet griller, it would be better to purchase from Z Grills as they offer one that has 1,000 square inches of cooking space. As for those who need a small pellet griller that you can easily bring around, go with Traeger because they offer sizes that are in the 300-square inch range.
Temperature Control and Range
Traeger offers better temperature control while Z Grills has better temperature range.
One of the most important things you should look into when you’re buying a pellet griller is its temperature control. It’s important that you’re able to set very precise temperatures on its dial because the slightest changes in temperature can make a huge difference in the way your food cooks. For Z Grills, they don’t score that high when it comes to heat precision because their pellet grillers only have 25-degree increments. As for Traeger, you can be a lot more precise with them because their pellet grillers have 15-degree increments. While 10 degrees might not seem like much, you’d be surprised by how much it can change the grilling experience. When it comes to heat retention, both brands do a good job with this because they use stainless steel to make their pellet grillers.
Another thing you need to consider when you’re choosing a pellet griller is its temperature range. The great thing about pellet grillers is that they’re versatile, able to not only grill but smoke as well. To be able to perform these two cooking styles well, however, a pellet griller needs to have a temperature range of around 200 to 400 degrees. It’s a good thing that both Z Grills and Traeger are able to meet this requirement although the former has the upper hand. Traeger has a temperature range of 180 to 400 degrees and while this is impressive enough, Z Grills goes a bit further with a maximum temperature of 450 degrees. If you want your meat to have that nice sear, that added 50 degrees on the Z Grills will definitely come in handy.
Traeger has larger hopper capacities than Z Grills.
While hopper capacity is a feature that many forget to take into consideration, it’s actually very important to do so. After all, you wouldn’t want to keep on refilling your hopper with pellets, especially when you’re smoking meat for several hours at a time. As a guide, pellet grillers burn up to 1 to 2 pounds of pellets per hour and this rate could be faster or slower depending on your temperature setting.
What Z Grills does is that they match their hopper capacities to the size of their pellet grillers. Their smaller units, for example, are equipped with 10-pound hoppers while their bigger ones have 20-pound hoppers. Traeger, on the other hand, equips their pellet grillers with an 18-pound hopper regardless of their size. Their smaller, portable ones, however, have 8-pound hoppers.
That said, it would be a lot more convenient to go with Traeger because their hopper sizes are generally larger compared to that of Z Grills (with the exception of their 1,000-square inch pellet griller). With their standard 18-pound hoppers, there’s no need for you to keep getting out of your comfortable chair to refill them as you’re grilling or smoking.
Price & Warranty
Z Grills is much more affordable than Traeger.
Ever since Z Grills entered the market in 2017, they’ve always been about selling quality grillers at affordable prices. This makes them a whole lot cheaper than many pellet griller brands out there, including Traeger. So if you’re looking for good value-for-money, it looks like Z Grills is the better option. That doesn’t mean, however, that Traeger pellet grillers aren’t fairly priced. While they are more expensive than Z Grills, their price tags are actually quite reasonable if you were to compare them to that of other offerings in the market. As for warranty, both brands back their pellet grillers up with 3 years of coverage which is pretty standard in the industry.
Go with Traeger if you want a reputable brand but choose Z Grills if you want affordability.
If you’re looking for the most reputable pellet griller brand out there and you don’t mind spending a bit more, Traeger is the clear choice for you. Not only have they been around for a long time but they’re actually the ones who invented the original pellet griller, an assurance that they know exactly what they’re doing. Their pellet grillers will give you plenty of cooking surface area, great temperature control, and large hopper capacities, making the grilling experience an efficient and enjoyable one. As for Z Grills, they’re definitely the better option if it’s your priority to save because they’re able to keep their prices low without forgoing quality. With their pellet grillers, you can expect plenty of cooking space and a wide temperature range.
If you want a pellet griller from one of the most reputable brands in the market, definitely go for Traeger. But if you’d rather save, Z Grills is the more value-for-money option.
When it comes to control, Traeger has the upper hand as it allows users to set very precise temperatures. Z Grills, on the other hand, has a wider range, able to produce higher temperatures.
Traeger equips their pellet grillers with 18-pound hoppers regardless of their size. This means that Traeger hoppers are generally larger than Z Grills’.
Ever since Z Grills entered the market, they’ve always made sure to keep their prices low. This makes them a lot more affordable than the other brands out there, including Traeger.
Last update on 2020-08-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API