Right off the bat, both Camp Chef and Traeger grills make amazing products. That said, if I were to give it up to one of the two, it would be Camp Chef. This is because I am a stickler for deep smoke flavor which is exactly what I will get with their smoke level settings feature.
I had been using my trustworthy Traeger Pro Series 575 grill for over 5 years when I first got to try out the Camp Chef Apex pellet grill about a year ago. After cooking with it for a few weeks, I found it very easy to use and highly versatile with the added gas kit. Since I only needed one grill, I ended up keeping the Camp Chef. Let me tell you why.
I will look at the deal-breaking differences between Camp chef and Traeger grills so you can pick what’s best for you. Jumping in:
Kicking off this comparison is a look at the most affordable pellet grills manufactured by the two industry titans. They are the Traeger Pro Series 575 WiFi Pellet Grill and Smoker and the Camp Chef's SmokePro 24'' WiFi Pellet Grill and Smoker.
The 575 by Trager features a sturdy, stainless steel body and a logo on the lid of the cooking chamber that adds to the aesthetics of the grill. The 575 bronze model is especially breathtaking and hard to miss. This pellet grill also features double wall construction that boosts insulation.
The Smoke Pro 24″ by Camp Chef is glossy with a polished stainless steel body that features a rustic hooded chimney design and comes in all black.
Both grills are constructed using high quality materials but as far as aesthetics go, Trager was not playing around.
The Pro Series 575 offers a maximum temperature of 500°F that can be controlled in one of two ways: manually on the control panel that includes the digital display and a dial button or through the WiFire App.
This Traeger pellet grill also features turbo temp technology that jumpstarts the temperature of the grill after it has been opened. This is particularly helpful in avoiding hotspots and ensuring that the meat cooks evenly. It also has a keep-warm function which means, you do not have to fire up your grill again when you are ready to eat.
The 575 has a D2 direct drive tasked with keeping the set temperature constant and feeding your hardwood pellets into the fire pot. With WiFi connectivity to facilitate the ‘set-it-to-forget-it’ features, you can grill without breaking a sweat.
It has built-in timer functions much like a stopwatch. You can set the temperature and timer, monitor meat probe readings, receive live notifications on your phone, and shut down the grill remotely. As if that is not enough, it is also integrated with Amazon’s Alexa to support voice control.
The 575 pellet grill does not make a good pellet smoker because it lacks a smoke setting. This is odd considering it runs on the same digital controller as the Timberline and Ironwood models.
The Smoke Pro by Camp Chef offers a temp range of 160°F-500°F kept constant by a digital controller. It is compatible with the Camp Chef App to give you more control over your grill.
The SmokePro has a slide and grill feature that allows you to switch between low and slow cooking to direct flame grilling in under a minute. It also has a smoke level setting 0f between 1-10 so you can tailor how much smoke your meat gets. This makes it a great pellet smoker too.
Winner: Camp Chef
The Smoke Pro has a total of 811 sq. inches of cooking space split between two food racks. The primary rack measures 429 sq. inches and the top rack measures 382 sq. inches. It also has a spacious utility shelf for storage.
This Camp Chef grill has a large hopper capacity of 22 lbs that will sufficiently take you through long cooks without having to add any more fuel.
The Pro Series 575 has a total cooking space of 572 square inches split between two food racks. The main grate measures 418 sq. inches while the top grate measures 154 sq. inches.
It comes with a folding front shelf attachment that is purchased separately and storage hooks for your grilling cutlery. It has a pellet hopper capacity of 18 lbs which is sufficient for long cooks.
Winner: Camp Chef
The Smoke Pro’s cooking grates are enamel-coated stainless steel while the Pro Series 575 features porcelain-coated cooking grates. Both materials are easy to clean with some soap and warm water.
The Traeger 575 features a magnetized hopper clean-out system to easily switch between wood flavors and a grease bucket to catch the drippings from the cooking chamber.
Camp Chef pellet grills feature their patented ash cleanout system that involves a cup fitted underneath the cooking chamber to collect the ash. With the twist of the cup, you can take it off and simply toss out the ash.
It also comes with a pellet purge system involving a trap door that empties to the bottom of the chamber. There is also a stainless steel grease bucket that you can easily clean. This was not a tight race.
Winner: Camp Chef
Like with most Traeger pellet grills, the Pro 575 is highly-priced at around 799 dollars against the SmokePro which goes for around 600 dollars.
Winner: Camp Chef
Both Traeger and Camp Chef models have a 1-year warranty.
Over the years the grilling game has exploded forcing manufacturers to put their best foot forward. This has us looking at the Traeger and Camp Chef grills which promise to be all-in-one appliances for your patio.
They are the Timberline XL and The Apex 36'' grills. Their most notable features are Timberline’s induction cooktop and the Apex’s gas kit.
Timberline merges the ever-popular pellet grill with an induction cooktop while the Apex merges the pellet grill with a gas burner. Here is a look under their hoods:
|Model||Temp Range||Temp Control||Material||Cooking Space||Hopper Capacity||Digital Integration||More Info|
||Upto 500°F||Smart Combustion Technology||Powder-coated steel||1,320 sq. inches||22 lbs||WiFire App||Check Price|
|Camp Chef APEX 36 Pellet Grill
||Upto 500°F||Digital Controller||Stainless Steel||1,236 sq. inches||30 lbs||Camp Chef Connect App||Buy on Amazon|
The Timberline XL has a body made from powder-coated steel that protects it against rust and chipping that comes with regular use. Its cooking grates are made of stainless steel that is easy to clean.
The Apex by Camp Chef features a body made of heavy-gauge stainless steel. This makes it resistant to rust and corrosion. Its grates are made of porcelain-coated steel that are quite easy to clean.
They are both sturdy, durable wood pellet grills that will be with you for a long time because they are built for the long haul.
Camp Chef’s Apex is a pellet and gas grill hybrid. It takes all the functionality of a gas grill and blends it into a pellet grill.
The Apex 36″ pellet grill offers a temperature range of up to 500°F. It comes with 6 propane burners that get to a temp of over 650°F and a sidekick unit attachable to the side of the grill that gets as hot as 700°F.
It features Camp Chef’s advanced smoke technology that lets you set the level anywhere from 1-10. This means it can make a good pellet smoker.
This makes this grill highly versatile because you can cook anything on it. You can grill, braise, stew, reverse sear, and fry pancakes, all on the same grill.
Temperature control is achieved with a digital controller that is easy to operate. This pellet grill is integrated with the Camp Chef App which makes it easier to set and monitor the cooking temperature and take the readings of the four meat probes it comes with.
The star feature of the Timberline grills is the sleek induction cooktop. An induction cooktop makes it very easy to multitask and takes up very little space. On one appliance, you can stew, braise, smoke, stir fry your dishes and even get a scorching hot sear on your steaks through reverse searing.
The grill offers a maximum temperature of 500°F that is controlled by a user-friendly touchscreen display. Smart combustion technology helps prevent temperature fluctuations and relies on several sensors within the system to stabilize temperature. The controller is designed to detect the two MEATER probes that come with the grill and display this information on your phone.
For maximum control of your cooks, you can connect your Timberline grill to the WiFire App for live updates of any changes in your grill.
Winner: Camp Chef
Traeger has had an edge when it comes to insulation simply because they have always used a dual wall design to preserve heat and smoke within the chamber. This is the case even for the Timberline series grills.
Camp Chef grills have had problems with insulation with their previous models which allowed a lot of smoke and heat to be lost to the surrounding. Too much loss of this heat and smoke signs you up for more fuel consumption and longer cooking times.
To remedy this flaw, they have developed a down-and-out ventilation system where a heat diffuser pushes the heat and smoke up the sides of the grill before being expunged through a rear exhaust system. This ensures the smoke and heat are evenly distributed throughout the grill.
The Timberline XL features Traeger’s patented ash cleanout system dubbed ‘Ez clean grease and ash keg’. A cup is positioned at the center of the grill, right below the cooking chamber that traps all the grease and ash making clean-up a breeze.
The Apex on the other hand features a slide-out grease tray accessible at the front of the machine. It is best to clean this before you use the gas burners to avoid flare-ups.
The ash cleanout system involves a little pot that collects the ash. With the twist of a knob located at the front of the grill, you can simply remove the pot, throw away the ashes and pop it right back.
When it comes to the clean-up job after a nice barbecue, less is more.
The Timberline XL has a pellet hopper capacity of 22 lbs while the Apex has a hopper capacity of 30 lbs. These are both large and will take you through long smoking sessions without having to replenish the fuel.
The Apex has 3 food racks that offer a total cooking space of 1,236 sq. inches. It comes with built-in storage space accessible at the front of the grill and a little compartment made specifically for their four meat probes.
For extra storage space, there is an open utility rack at the bottom of the grill where you can store your wood pellets, spices and even grilling cutlery.
The Timberline XL pellet grill offers a total cooking space of 1,320 sq. inches, also split between three food racks. The bottom rack offers 594 sq. inches, while the middle and top racks offer 363 sq. inches. It also comes with two-tier side shelving for storage and a beautiful magnetic cutting board made of bamboo.
The Timberline XL also features a large accessory rail that runs through the sides and the front of the grill. This rail facilitates their Pop And Lock, (P.A.L) rail system and accessories.
The P.A.L attachments include a folding shelf to set down your dishes, a storage bin for your rubs and spices, a rolling rack to hold butcher paper or paper towels, accessory hooks to support your cutlery, and a fish and veggie fish tray. This rail is simple and introduces a ton of storage space that you can never have too much off. For this reason, Trager wins this round.
The Timberline XL and the Apex 36″ are both luxury models for their respective manufacturers and as such, are their highest-priced grills. However, there is a wide price gap between the two.
The Apex 36″ with a gas kit, priced at around 2, 449 dollars is much more affordable than Traeger’s Timberline XL which goes for around 3,499 dollars.
Winner: Camp Chef
The Timberline pellet grills come with a 10-year limited warranty on the cabinet doors, bottom shelf, hopper cover, body, and legs. The rest of the components either fall under a 3 or 1-year warranty.
The Apex by Camp Chef has a 6-year limited warranty that covers the body, hopper, bottom shelf, grates, legs, and lid. All the other components are covered under a 3 0r 1-year warranty.
Having looked at their entry-level and luxury lines, Let’s take it a notch higher and compare the Tailgater Portable Pellet Grill by Traeger and the Pursuit 20 Portable Pellet Grill by Camp Chef.
The Pursuit by Camp Chef features a body made of stainless steel which makes it rust-resistant. The cooking grates are made of nickel-plated steel. Nickel-plated steel makes the grates abrasive resistant even with regular use and also keeps them rust-free.
The Tailgater features heavy gauge steel construction with powder coating to prevent rusting and chipping. It also makes the grates easier to clean.
The Pursuit offers a temperature range of 160°F-500°F. This is great for both slow cooking and grilling your meat. It also comes with a slide and grill feature that gets to 650°F. All you have to do is slide the deflector plate to allow for direct flame cooking.
The cherry on top is the adjustable smoke control feature that yields anywhere from just a hint of smoke flavor to a deep flavor depending on the settings.
This grill is fitted with a PID controller that keeps the temperature within +/-5 of the set temperature.
The Tailgater offers a maximum temperature of 450°F that is kept constant by a digital controller and a ‘keep warm’ setting so that you don’t have to fire up the grill to reheat your food.
The Pursuit takes this round because of its wider temp range, smoke control settings, and direct flame cooking which makes it much more versatile than Traeger’s Tailgater.
Winner: Camp Chef
The Tailgater offers a total cooking space of 300 sq. inches and a pellet hopper capacity of 8 lbs against Pursuit’s total cooking capacity of 501 sq. inches and a hopper capacity of 10 lbs.
Since these pellet grills are meant to be for travel, it is understandable that they do not offer much in the way of storage space.
Winner: Camp Chef
A comparison of portable grills is not complete without reviewing their portability and convenience. The more compact the pellet grill, the better it is for the road.
The Pursuit by Camp Chef features heavy-duty wheels, locking lids, and foldable legs that can be fastened with the push of a button. This means you can securely set up your grill outdoors which is exactly what you need in a to-go grill.
The Tailgater is fitted with all-terrain wheels to support the grill on uneven ground and foldable legs that you can fold and throw in the trunk when it’s time to ride back home.
Again, Trager grills are more expensive than their competitors. The Tailgater retails at 529 dollars against Camp Chef’s Pursuit which retails at around 499 dollars.
Winner: Camp Chef
Both Camp Chef stand by their portable pellet grills with a 3-year limited warranty.
Tech is one of the most significant additional features of premium wood pellet grills. It goes a long way in improving user experience and providing optimum control. This is why all the manufacturers of pellet grills have invested time and capital into developing the best apps for the job.
Trager has its WiFire App while Camp Chef has its Camp Chef Connect App. Let’s see what they bring to the table:
The WiFire App currently offers access to thousands of downloadable recipes complete with images, video, and text while it monitors your grill. Camp Chef App mainly facilitates the setting and monitoring of the internal temperature of the grill.
For a grilling novice who is yet to wrap his head around a brisket rub recipe, WiFire is the way to go.
The Timberline series is fitted with an optical pellet sensor that shows the percentage of pellets left in the hopper. This information is then displayed on the WiFire App.
The Ironwood and Pro Series pellet grills are not fitted with a pellet sensor. That said, since temperature control is achieved through a D2 controller, you can purchase the sensor and fix it in either model.
Camp Chef does not feature an integrated pellet sensor for now.
The smoke level setting on the Traeger grill dubbed Super Smoke relies on the D2 controller to manipulate the speed of the fan to produce more or less smoke.
The downside of this feature is that it only operates within a temperature range of 165°F-225°F. This means that if you are cooking meat at 300, you can forget about the deep, smoky flavor. For me, this is a deal breaker.
This is quite the opposite with Camp Chef WiFi-enabled grills that offer smart smoke technology ranging from 1-10. One will get you a light smoky flavor and a ten will yield a deep penetrating wood flavor.
Winner: Camp Chef
The D2 controllers of the Traeger grill only allow for one meat probe connection yet the Pro Series had room for two meat probes. The Camp Chef Connect App allows the monitoring of four meat probes which means more effective temperature control.
Winner: Camp Chef
Camp Chef was birthed in 1990 by an outdoor enthusiast, Ty Measom with the sole purpose of building the best outdoor cooking appliance. This goal inspired Camp Chef’s first creation, the Pro 60 which was a propane-powered, portable camp stove.
Their headquarters are located in Cache Valley, Utah. It is surrounded by The Bear River Mountain Ridge. This is where they design and test their products.
Today, they have a wide range of products that include BBQ boxes, flat-top griddles, and a pizza oven attachment.
In a bid to keep its competitive prices and remain profitable, Camp Chef moved its manufacturing to China. They source their materials internationally and still maintain tight control over the production process.
Generally, Camp Chef is always striving to up the outdoor cooking game by incorporating innovative technology into their grills. So far, they are crashing it!
Joe Traeger is the brains behind wood pellet grilling. He invented the first wood pellet grill in 1985 and acquired a patent for it in 1986.
The patent allowed Traeger to successfully monopolize the market as the only supplier of pellet grills. Despite this head starts, Traeger remained a small firm that operated with the help of a few stores.
When the pellet grill patent expired in 2006, other manufacturers jumped into the pellet grill market, developing new products and offering competitive prices. This forced Traeger to expand leading it to outsource its manufacturing to China in 2010.
Since then they have upgraded some of their pellet grills and introduced new models into the market. Traeger’s premium grills come with all the bells and whistles to make outdoor cooking as fun and as easy as it can be.
Both Traeger and Camp Chef have redefined the pellet grilling game and here are their top highlights:
Traeger’s strategic acquisition of Meater, which is the most accurate and wireless thermometer keeps them one step ahead in enhancing customer experience. I will also give Traeger kudos for being the first to incorporate an induction cooktop into the wood pellet grill.
As for Camp Chef, I applaud the sear box and sidekick attachments that offer maximum versatility to both their 24″ and 36″ pellet grills including their Woodwind series.
They allow for direct flame cooking and add to the cooking area. The sear box adds 180 sq. inches of cooking space and temperatures of up to around 900°F while the sidekick offers a larger cooking area of 231 sq. inches and can get to temperatures of over 900°F.
Yes. The production of Camp Chef products was outsourced to China.
Yes. Using Traeger pellets in a Camp Chef pellet grill is safe and will not void your warranty.
From the trends set by Camp chef and Traeger, we can be sure there are more innovations and updates to come and I for one can’t wait.
For now, in this Camp Chef vs Traeger grills comparison I pick Camp Chef. They offer unmatched versatility and an impressive smoke level setting feature at an enticing price.