Traeger vs Weber Pellet Grills. Smokefire or Ironwood

Last Updated November 4, 2022
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Although Traeger now dominates the market for pellet grills and smokers, they are not the most well-known brand for outdoor grills in general. Compared to more popular alternatives like charcoal and gas grills, pellets still make up a lesser portion of the BBQ market. Weber is the leading manufacturer of premium charcoal and gas grills in the outdoor barbecue market. However, Weber has now also made the decision that they wish to enter the market for pellet grills. So, how do the two businesses’ pellet grill products fare in the Traeger vs. Weber argument?

In this Traeger vs. Weber comparison, we will only be comparing pellet grills. Why? Traeger exclusively manufactures pellet grills, so. Comparing the brands of various grill kinds has little to no value. Traeger doesn’t make gas grills, charcoal grills, or electric grills, meaning Weber prevails in comparisons with these grill kinds. Weber also offer a massive selection of grill accessories that Traeger doesn’t, so no point comparing grill accessories either. So let’s get started and compare the pellet grills from Traeger and Weber.

Traeger vs Weber

Why Should you Buy a Pellet Grill?

Wood pellets, which are supplied to the fire pot by an electric auger, are what fuel the fire within the grill. As a result, the correct temperature may be reached without adjusting dials or vents, giving the grill a set-it-and-forget-it functionality that is lacking in non-pellet grills. Make sure the pellet hopper is full, choose the temperature from the control panel, and then let the grill do the rest of the work.

The pellets smoke and smolder when utilized at low and slow cooking temperatures, producing flavors akin to grilling over wood or charcoal. Although most manufacturers top off at maximum temperatures between 400°F and 500°F, they can potentially be used at greater temperatures. That’s not dissimilar to gas grills (which frequently have a cap of 550°F), but most pellet grills utilize heat deflector plates to avoid direct searing and grill marks.

How I Tested Traeger vs Weber

As we alluded to earlier, these two companies aren’t easy to do a comparison on. Yes, they are both backyard BBQ companies, but they have very little crossover in terms of products. Traeger has a wide range of pellet grills whereas Weber currently only has three different pellet products. Weber has the EX4, EX6, and their new EPX6 Stealth Edition pellet grill.

To do our comparison we will be using Weber’s most popular pellet smoker, the EX4, and doing a head-to-head with a Traeger grill that closely matches it in terms of grill size and specifications. So we decided the best head-to-head was with the Weber EX4 vs the Traeger Ironwood 650.

What’s the Price Range of Weber vs Traeger

Grill prices change fast depending on the time of year and whether a store has a discount running or not. So to compare the prices all I can do to be fair is quote the current price on Traeger’s and Weber’s websites. I’m 100% sure you can shop around and get a better bargain, but for fairness’ sake, I think this is the best option.

Weber wins on price. Currently, the Weber SmokeFire EX4 is $1099 compared to $1399 for the Traeger Ironwood 650. For some people, I’m sure an extra 300 isn’t that much money, but percentage-wise it is a big difference. And that extra $300 can buy a lot of meat to smoke or some nice BBQ gadgets.

Does Traeger or Weber Have Better Pellets

Both Weber and Traeger provide a number of flavor options and advise using their proprietary pellets. In the SmokeFire situation, we unquestionably advise utilizing Weber’s brand. Since their pellets are a little bit smaller than standard pellets, larger pellets may jam the auger and result in problems in the future.

Weber pellets triumph here as well because they cost a bit less, $18.99 for a 20-pound bag. They come in the flavors of apple, cherry, hickory, and mesquite. Additionally, Weber sells a “grillmaster’s blend” that combines hickory, maple, and cherry.

Traeger pellets are available in apple, cherry, hickory, pecan, and mesquite flavors and cost $19.99 for a 20-pound bag. Additionally, they offer a “signature blend” that combines cherry, maple, and hickory.

Again, I’m going by the price listed on each company’s website, although I’ve definitely seen Weber pellets sold for far less in stores.

Design Features of Traeger v Weber

Despite a few minor flaws, the Weber Smokefire EX4 is a fantastic grill that I really enjoy using. This grill, which consumes a lot of pellets, is extremely well made with high-quality components, including a lot of steel that is heavily enameled.

Due to its astoundingly outstanding construction, the Traeger Ironwood 650 is a great contender for the best design award of all pellet grills, not just the two I’m currently comparing. Because of its large, hefty legs that seem strong enough to support a steam engine, I’d even venture to claim that it is a little more durable. It is also much simpler to maneuver than the Weber Smokefire, which is supported by four little casters that can get tangled in the grooves of patio pavers, thanks to the two large soft rubber wheels and steerable casters. Both types are fixed to immovably sturdy, non-flexing steel carts, although the Traeger Ironwood appears a little more durable.

When it comes to grill grate materials, the Weber Smokefire dominates the Traeger Ironwood 650. The Traeger’s grill grate is smaller, black enameled, and less sturdy than its stainless steel counterpart, which also looks much more elegant. Additionally, it works with Weber’s fantastic Gourmet line of grill inserts. Simply take off the center and substitute a griddle, Dutch oven, roaster for poultry, or specialized steak sear grate.

Depending on the food being cooked, both grills offer a sizable amount of grill space for groups of six to ten. And above the main grill grates, both have warmer racks. With a total grilling area of 662 square inches, the Weber wins this competition. The Traeger replies with a slightly lesser capacity of 650 square inches. There is thus not much between them.

The Traeger Ironwood has insulated side walls and an oven-style gasket on the lip of its hefty lid to combat the effect that ambient temperature can have on pellet barbecues. We really enjoy that.

Moving on to the core of the system, both smokers are managed by highly capable onboard computer controllers that control the auger’s speed (the device that resembles a corkscrew and moves pellets from the hopper to the fire pot) and the fan’s regularity, which aids in combustion. Both versions come with top-notch algorithms that keep track of their internal temperatures, allowing you to select a precise temperature and have it maintained until you make a personal adjustment. This method is utilized by all pellet barbecues, which is why they are so simple to operate. The temperature stays within a few degrees of being consistent, much like an indoor oven.

The Weber can reach temperatures as high as 315 C (600 F), whilst the Traeger’s upper-end temperature is 260 C (500 F). This enables the Weber to sear steaks at greater temperatures, resulting in a wonderfully crunchy caramelized crust and moist pink center when they are removed from the grill. But more on that is covered in a later chapter.

Moving on to the hoppers, the Traeger has a 9kg hopper and the Smokefire has a 10kg hopper. Since both models will accept the contents of a 9kg (20lb) bag of pellets, the typical quantity in the UK and US, that extra kilo isn’t really a deal-breaker in any manner. Additionally, both versions come with pellet sensors that alert you when the hopper is getting low on pellets. The Traeger goes one step further, though, by including a light in the hopper so you can see what’s going on at night.

Knowing that both models have meat probe ports is helpful because it’s always safer to use one while grilling or smoking food. The Traeger Ironwood comes with two, while the Weber Smokefire has four. You will need to purchase more meat probes as each model only comes with one.

Traeger Pellet Grill

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Weber Smokefire vs Traeger Connectivity

Both Traeger and Weber have wi-fi access for their individual apps (both iOS and Android). This means that after choosing a recipe, the app will alert the user when it’s time to turn the food, adjust the temperature, and if used with the included meat probe when the meat is properly cooked.

The Traeger does admirably when it comes to the apps. It’s one of the most extensive and beautifully made apps available, it’s a pleasure to use. On board, there are so many excellent recipes that it’s hard to know where to start. The Weber Connect app is considerably simpler in contrast. Yes, it has a good number of recipes built in, but it’s not as easy to use as the Traeger app.

Weber Pellet Grill vs Traeger Searing

The main criticism of pellet barbecues in general is that they have trouble producing enough heat to function as excellent grills. While “Low and Slow” grilling on a pellet barbecue is great, high-heat grilling on one is only passable.

For many years, Traeger claimed that its grills could reach a maximum temperature of 450F. The maximum temperature increased to 500F with the Timberline and Ironwood series. GrillGrate panels are not standard with Traeger purchases and will cost you another $70 or so, however, if you place a set of infrared emitting GrillGrate panels into an Ironwood at maximum heat, you will be able to sear a steak decently.

The Weber Smokefire’s maximum temperature of 600F is more than high enough to give a steak a delicious crust. It appears that the Smokefire is one of the few pellet grills that genuinely functions as a high-heat grilling machine thanks to the increased top temperature. The Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX can sear at temperatures of 700F if you want a pellet grill with considerable searing power.

Grilling Space Of Traeger Grills Vs Weber

The Weber SmokeFire EX4 appears to have the most grilling space at first appearance. 672 square inches of dual grilling space are provided (432 on the bottom grate and 240 on the adjustable top rack). The Traeger provides 572 square inches of dual grilling space in contrast (418 on the bottom grate and 154 on the top rack).

Despite this, there was hardly any temperature variation between the two racks on the Traeger due to the heat deflector plate that covers the entire grill. This gave us more grilling surface area than was initially apparent because we could use the two racks alternately. The Weber’s heat deflector plate only covers a limited area above the fire pot, therefore the temperatures on the two grates differed greatly from one another. To ensure that everything was cooked equally, I had to be a little more deliberate about the dishes I put on each rack.

Who has the Best Auger System. Weber or Traeger

The wood pellets are transported from the storage hopper to the fire pot by a screw device called an auger. The exit point from the auger is directly connected to the fire pot on every other pellet grill that I am aware of. On the Weber, the pellets drop several inches into the fire pot after leaving the auger.

An uncommon but dangerous problem that can occur with pellet grills is what the Weber design is meant to prevent. The pellets in the auger can occasionally catch fire from the firepot’s burning pellets. The complete pile of pellets that are kept in the hopper can be reached by a fire that starts in the auger and then burns backwards. Although this burnback scenario does not occur frequently, when it does, it is absolutely terrifying. Burnbacks should not happen because of the auger’s higher distance from the fire pot.

The Weber auger is additionally engineered to detect any pellet jams and will move back and forth to resolve the issue.

Traeger Ironwood vs Weber Smokefire Pellet use and Efficiency

Both grills have a simple unloading gate that enables you to empty the hopper if you want to switch pellet flavors. Both grills can hold a complete 20-pound bag in the hopper. In comparison to the Traeger’s square container, Weber’s pellet hopper is longer and skinnier since it runs down the rear of the grill. Due to Weber’s narrower focus than a square pellet hopper, it was slightly more difficult to fill the Weber as a result.

In terms of fuel efficiency, they were very comparable. The Weber may have utilized pellets a little bit more quickly than the Traeger, but not significantly.

Grease Management of Weber & Traeger

Grease is managed on a sizable heat deflector/grease tray that is positioned between the cooking grate and the fire pot on Traeger Ironwood and nearly all other pellet barbecues. Due to the slope of the grease tray, the accumulated grease flows into some sort of grease bucket. In general, this kind of grease management system performs admirably.

The Genesis gas grills are the foundation for the Weber grease management technology, which is entirely distinct. Grease drips into the firebox of the Smokefire, is partially vaporized by the Flavorizer bars made of stainless steel, and then is caught in a grease trap at the bottom of the grill.

In other words, while a Weber gathers grease below the flames, Traeger does the opposite. This lessens the likelihood of a grease fire. Although grease fires are uncommon with pellet grills, they can occur when owners get inattentive and don’t clean their grills as frequently as they should.

It doesn’t seem like a smart idea to use Flavorizer bars on the Smokefire. The Smokefire experiences grease fires, and the cooking surface has a very uneven temperature distribution, which are two of the bigger issues mentioned by users. Particularly, the right side of the grill heats up much faster than the left.

Traeger Verses Weber Pellet Hopper

Both the Smokefire and the Ironwood hoppers can handle 20 and 22 pounds of pellets, respectively. Although this element is not essential, I want to draw attention to it as another illustration of Weber’s attention to detail.

A sensor in the Smokefire hopper alerts you when there are just two pounds or so of pellets left in the grill. Wood pellets can be found in a variety of bag sizes, but a 20-pound bag is the most popular. This indicates that there will be space for a complete bag of pellets when the low pellet alert sounds. You can discard the bag after pouring the pellets into the hopper rather than having a small amount of pellets to store.

You will need to store the last couple of pounds of pellets when the Ironwood hopper runs out because there is only room for the majority of the bag.

Weber had some good ideas for the pellet hopper, but they mishandled one crucial element: the slope. The lack of sufficient slope in the hopper prevented the pellets from slipping into the auger. It’s astonishing that Weber missed such a crucial detail in the first place, but they have begun sending out new inserts that correct the issue.

Weber Pellet Grill

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Sawdust Management of Weber & Traeger

Pellet grills have their own specific sawdust management challenges. A fan blows air to help the fire burn and disperse heat around the grill as wood pellets burn in the fire pot. Any wood dust that escapes the auger is likewise blown by the fan, where it ends up all over the grill’s base. The base of the grill will gradually fill up with a lot of sawdust, which needs to be removed because it poses a serious fire risk.

Weber created a new fire pot to solve this issue. Any auger dust that falls through the slots at the bottom of the fire pot on the Smokefire might collect in the grease tray. Because of the large reduction in dust being pushed through the grill operating the Smokefire should be safer.

If you take the effort to regularly clean your grill, the Traeger system for managing grease and sawdust works perfectly fine. However, the majority of consumers detest cleaning their grills and do not do it frequently enough, according to Weber. In response, Weber created a method that requires less frequent cleaning.

Video of a Traeger versus Weber Pellet Grills

Traeger vs Weber – Company Head to Head

Today, Weber and Traeger offer more than just barbecues; they also offer stock. Let’s examine every crucial facet of each business to determine who emerges as the winner.

History

The popularity of pellet grills increased during the 1973 oil crisis. The goal during this time was to heat a house more economically. So people sought alternate fuel sources to heat their homes during the oil crisis.

Joe Traeger and Jerry Whitefield used to work on pellet stoves during this period. Despite looking like conventional stoves, the stoves were powered by electricity (and wood pellets of course). Joe Traeger created the first pellet grill in 1985. It was patented by him in 1986. Convection cooking became more popular as a result of the advent of these stoves.

Weber grills are a result of George Stephen’s invention. He invented a BBQ kettle in 1952. Stephen modified the design of the buoys to create the BBQ kettle using his knowledge in the restaurant industry.

The kettle became popular right away after going on sale. Other companies at the time saw the value of the BBQ kettle and the demand for it. To create what you see on the market today, the companies worked on a variety of concepts.

Business Size

Over the past five years, Traeger has sold 400,000 grills per year while Weber has historically sold 4 million grills annually. Traeger is 10 times smaller than Weber.

Traeger is on track to sell $810 million worth of barbecues this year, compared to Weber’s $880 million in sales in the US in 2020. These businesses will likely have the same size in their home markets by 2022, but Weber is a multinational business that also sells in Australia, Europe, and Asia. While Weber is 60% North America, Traeger is 100%.

Pricing

Prices for Traeger barbecues range from $799 to $1,999. On the other hand, Weber offers grills starting at $50 and going up to $3,000 for outdoor grill stations that are built-in.

However, Weber costs range from $1099 to $1,599 if we solely consider the pellet grill alternatives offered by each company. For the same size cooking area, Traeger pellet grills are typically 20%–30% more expensive than Weber.

Although Traeger is a high-end BBQ, the cooking area comparison metric is too straightforward to be used. According to evaluations, the Traeger app that manages the grill appears to be far more practical and user-friendly. Additionally, Traeger delivers significantly more cooking-related content than Weber and has a more fervent following of users and influencers.

One of Traeger’s main selling points is its community, which some investors contend justifies trading at a significant premium to Weber.

Despite selling ten times as many grills as Traeger, the Weber iGrilling app and Weber app seldom make the top 200 on App Annie’s food and drink charts. In contrast, the Trager app consistently ranks in the top 100.

Competitive Advantage

Traeger is the way to go if you’re looking for ease and adaptability. Their products combine the functionality of kitchen ovens, gas grills, and charcoal smokers. A control panel on each device enables you to bake or grill a range of dishes.

The grills can automatically control the ventilation while supplying wood pellets to the fire. It is a crucial component to keep temperatures stable for diverse cooking requirements.

Wood pellets are little capsules the size of a pencil eraser that is manufactured from compressed sawdust. A hopper is located on the side of the grills. It functions as the firebox as well.

Traeger grills have a three-position switch, just like a pellet stove. The BBQs are simple to use when you desire a particular temperature because it is simple to feed the pellets into the grill. Deflector plates are available to stop grease from touching your food. Additionally, they stop flare-ups.

If you like grilling and desire durability, Weber should be your choice. Their products have primarily been geared at grilling and smoking.

Different heating sources, including electricity, gas, and charcoal, are used by Weber grills. The brand is focused on preparing BBQ food that is both easy and elegant. These grills provide a uniform spread of heat when cooking food.

Final Thoughts

Weber is defiantly closing the gap between themselves and Traeger in the pellet grill marketplace. And with Weber’s ability to sell grills cheaper and their skills in worldwide shipping, I’m sure the day will come when I say Weber is the better choice for pellet grills. But today isn’t that day. Their pellet grills are really good, but as they are new to the pellet grill marketplace I think they are still ironing out a few bugs. So today I’d recommend buying a Traeger grill, but if I was Traeger I’d be worried about how fast Weber is closing the gap.

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About Brian Hamilton

Brian Hamilton is a BBQ grilling enthusiast and has the expertise and knowledge to have created GoShindig.com. Brian specializes in all methods of grilling and bbq equipment and is a self-proclaimed backyard Pitmaster. Qualified at degree level he gained a BEng Degree in Engineering in the United Kingdom. Brian is a well-traveled and cultured individual and has lived and worked in several countries in Europe and has gained quite a reputation amongst peers for his skills and commitment on the grilling circuit.

Traeger vs Weber Pellet Grills. Smokefire or Ironwood

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