A Tale of Champions: Traeger vs Green Egg

In the case of Traeger vs. Green Egg, there differences include grilling mechanisms, capacity, construction, temperature modulation, and more!

When it comes to charcoal, pellet, or propane gas grills - the answer is clear. This is why many people who know about my grilling experience ask me if Traeger or Big Green Egg is the better choice.

In the post I will break down the differences, similarities, and more. Let's begin!

A Note About Comparing Traeger and Big Green Egg

The first thing that I wanted to address before starting on this comparison was that unlike Big Green Egg grills, Traeger pellet grills have different models that you can choose from. With the BGE, the only real variations are size.

You can find the Traeger pellet grill as the Traeger Pro series, Traeger Ironwood series, and Timberline series. I will be talking about the features of each line so that you can get a clearer understanding of the main differences between Traeger and the Big Green Egg.

A Quick Comparison

Let's first get started with a brief overview of the two brands.

traeger bbq grill

The first thing that you need to know about the Traeger grill is that is a pellet grill - as the name suggests, it uses wood pellets as fuel.

The pellets are stored in a pellet hopper and are moved to a fire pot via an auger system. Once in the fire pot, the wood chips are able to heat the entire grill. This is done with the help of a fan system. It causes heat and smoke to disperse throughout the grill.

One of the main benefits of a wood pellet grill is the smoky wood flavors that are imparted to the meat and food.

Then, there is the Big Green Egg, which is a Japanese kamado style grill. The kamado grills utilize lump charcoal as a fuel source.

These machines have thick, insulated sides that help with heat retention - far more than the average grill. The earlier designs were made from clay, the modern ones boast a ceramic construction.

They are also equipped with vents that circulate air inside the grill. This causes the food to cook quickly and more evenly.

A Side by Side Comparison of Traeger and Green Egg Grills

Here is a breakdown of the Traeger grill and the Big Green Egg grill:

The Price

Although we would like to pretend that price doesn't matter, we know that it this isn't true. So, how much will each of these grills cost you?

Well, the prices are as following for the Big Green Eggs:

  • Mini: $429
  • MiniMax: $659
  • Small: $599
  • Medium: $749
  • Large: $999
  • XL: $1,399
  • 2XL: $2,199

For Traeger grills:

  • Ranger: $450
  • Tailgater: $530
  • Pro 22 - Gen 1: $650
  • Pro 34 - Gen 1: $650
  • Pro 575: $900
  • Pro 780: $1000
  • Ironwood 650: $1400
  • Ironwood 885: $1,600
  • Timberline 850: $2,100
  • Timberline 1300: $2,300

On the surfac, the prices may appear to even out and both grills appear to be priced more or less the same. It is only once you take a closer look, though, that you will see this isn't the case.

The thing is the Big Green Egg grills come just with the grill, nothing else. If you want any other accessorie, there will be an additional cost.

Now, while you can purchase other accessories for the Traeger as well, you don't have to take on this extra cost if you don't want to. The grill is loaded with various features.

In this case, the Traeger has an edge over the competition.

Construction Quality

The first thing that you should know is that both of these grills are high quality options. They are well-built and have been designed to last for many, many years.

The Traeger grill is made from stainless steel and even boasts steel cooking grates with a porcelain coating. For the most part, you are unlikely to see rust or a dent in the grill as long as you maintain it.

The only downside is that some of the models have a painted finish. This is prone to peeling over time. Now, it doesn't have any impact on the performance of the grill, but isn't great to look at.

As a kamado grill, the Big Green Egg is made from ceramic. Although this can sound as though grill is delicate, it isn't the case at all. The walls are incredibly thick and it is unlikely the Big Egg will crack, unless it is banged very hard against a tough surface.

I would say that these two probably are equal in terms of quality but if you don't want your grill showing any signs of wear and tear, you have to go with the Big Green Egg.

Grilling Temperature

While low and slow cooking isn't something that you can use both grills for, it is just as important to analyze the higher temperatures that each grill can reach.

Now, both of the grills can get to very high temperatures. The max temperature remains the same across grill sizes, lines, and models.

In the instance of cooking temperature, though, the Big Green Egg is the clear winner. This is because it is capabl of getting up to temperatures of 750 degrees Fahrenheit. The Traeger, on the other hand, can only get up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature Control

Just as important as the concept o high heat, though, is temperature control. Which grill allows you to control the temperature more readily and which one offers you more a consistent temperature throughout the cook?

In general, it should be aware that managing precise temperature control is often a lot easier with pellet grills. While kamado grills can be quite efficient, you do have to manage the temperature manually. This is a skill that can take a while to master.

Here, you have to learn how to adjust the upper and lower vents. Opening the vents makes the fire burn hotter while closing them lowers the temperature.

With the Traeger, though, maintaining your desired temperature is easier thanks to features such as the TurboTemp. This allows you to get to higher temperatures more easily, it also works to regulate temperature more readily once the lid is opened and throws the equilibrium off.

Particularly with the newer models, setting the temperature is as easy as turning a dial until you are shown a certain number. It is just like using an oven. And, you can make adjustments in 5 degree increments. This takes all of the guesswork out of the cooking process.

In case you couldn't tell, the Traeger certainly wins when it comes to temp control.

The Fuel Source

These are two amazing grills and as such, their function is often tied to the type of fuel that you use. This is why both Traeger and Big Green Egg urge their customers to only use the finest brands available.

Traeger actually asks you to use its namebrand wood pellets but this isn't necessary. Just use good quality, natural hardwood pellets and you should be fine. Of course, for that extra flavor, look into using fruit woods.

As for the Big Green Egg, only use natural lump charcoal. This is not your typical charcoal grill and it can't withstand briquettes or poor quality coal. Not to mention, you would be doing the grill a great disservice if you used anything other than natural charcoal.

Grilling Capacity

There is no denying that cooking space can matter quite a bit when it comes to your grill. In some cases you may be looking for a smaller size, one that you can easily cart to tailgating parties.

In other cases, you want to maximize on space and want the biggest grill in the shop. Let's take a look at what each of these brands have to offer you...

big green egg bbq grill

The Mini Big Green Egg has a grid diameter of 10 inches and 79 square inches of cooking area. It weighs 39lbs. This miniature grill can, at one time, cook two chicken breasts, two pork chops, or one steak.

The 2XL has a grid diameter of 29 inches and cooking area of 672 square inches. It weighs 375lbs. At one time it can grill 35 to 40 burgers, 14 to 16 whole chickens, 18 to 20 steaks, 20 racks or ribs (vertically), or one suckling pig.

The smallest Traeger - the Ranger - has 184 square inches of cooking area, a pellet hopper capacity of 8lbs, and weighs 60lbs. It can cook 6 burgers, one rack of ribs, or 10 hot dogs.

The Traeger Ironwood 1300 boasts a cooking area of 1300 square inches and has a pellet hopper capacity of 60lbs.It weighs 226lbs. It can cook 12 chickens, 15 racks of ribs, or 12 hunks of pork butt.

Just from the numbers alone, it is clear that the the Big Green Egg is great if you want a smaller grill but Traeger wins when it comes to sheer square footage.

That being said, I wouldn't count the Big Green Egg out, though. You will be surprised at just how much food you can pack into this grill if you want to.

Heat Retention

It has already been established that kamado style grills have specifically been designed to retain heat for longer periods of time. And, the thick, impenetrable walls of the Big Green Egg ensure just this.

The Traeger isn't out of the running, however. Depending on the model, you get partially or fully insulated grill construction. This helps to lock in the temperature in even during cooler weather.

Still, I would certainly give this round to the Big Green Egg.

The Warranty

The warranty is pretty important, particularly when you are investing in expensive grills such as these ones. You want to make sure that you are covered in case something goes wrong.

Well, there is no denying that the Big Green Egg comes out on top here. This is because it has a limited lifetime warranty. This, of course, is unless you use the grill for commercial purposes. In this case, the warranty is just a year long.

The Traeger warranty is a bit of a disappointment. It only lasts 3 years. And, it conveniently doesn't cover issues such as peeling paint. Thus, this is an issue that you will need to tackle by yourself.

On the upside, these are two high quality grills and barring any misfortune, should work well for many years to come.

Assembly Process

If you have ever spent an exhausting afternoon trying to put a complicated grill together, then you know important it is to have one that is simple to assemble.

Bevoth grills do come with exhaustive instructions. You can also find lots of videos to show you how to put everything together. There is plenty of troubleshooting help as well.

Nevertheless, when it comes to design, a kamado style grill has a far simpler one. The Traegr grill is far more sophisticated and has many different electrical components as well. Thus, it is going to take you longer to put together.

You should also note that the larger sizes may require more than one person to assemble.

Portability

In terms of size, some of the Traeger models are heavier. That being said, they are still more portable than the Big Green Egg. This is because the Traeger grills all come equipped with wheels that can be locked into place. As such, it is easy to wheel it about, as needed. You can even manage this by yourself.

In contrast, the Big Green Egg is big, bulky, and doesn't have wheels. As such, you may want to find the perfect spot for it and leave it there.

Cleaning

Many of the newer Traeger grills are equipped with features such as the grease management system. Not only does this trap the grease, it also makes it easier to dispose off. The grates have also been coated which makes it simpler to wipe down.

The Big Green Egg is a little fussier as you will have to start cleaning ash from the fire pit once it has cooled down. Also, unless you spring for the cast iron grates, then you are going to have to use elbow grease to get rid of food and fat caked on them.

Modern Features

This isn't much of a competition, really, as the pellet grills from Traeger wins hands down. Remember, the Big Green Egg is all about sticking to the original kamado style cooker as closely as possible. They have found something that works and don't want to fix what isn't broken.

The Traeger pellet grills, on the other hand, are all about modernizing the barbecue experience as much as possible. This is something that you can see both inside and outside their pellet grills.

Inside, there is lots of tech at work to make it easier to control the temperatur, refill the pellets as needed, and a whole lot more. The newer versions are so sensitive that they can even troubleshoot any problems that they encounter.

Many of them are even equipped with a built-in meat probe. This cuts down on the need for you to keep opening and closing the lid. Instead, you can tell when the meat is close to being done with simply a glance.

What the Traeger grills are ecoming increasingly known for, though, is their Wifire technology. This is where you can download an app onto your smartphone and sync up to your grill. This gives you the opportunity to monitor and change a variety of settings without having to approach your grill.

Traeger vs. Big Green Egg: Which One Offers the Better Grilling Experience?

As I mentioned, I have used both of these grills extensively and as such would be loathe to recommend one over the other. And, in reality, it would be futile to do so because they are each really great grills in their own way.

This is why it is all a question of requirement and preference.

Are you someone who is looking for an old school grilling and cooking experience? Do you enjoy being hands-on with your barbecuing and want to be a part of the process every step of the way? Would you like a grill that is going to last you a lifetime?

If your answer is yes on all accounts, then the Big Green Egg is the clear option for you.

Do you enjoy precise cooking and want to monitor the temperature to the exact degree? Do you enjoy a hands off approach to your barbeque? Are you someone who loves the lastest bells and whistles?

If you answered in the affirmative then you should certainly go with the Traeger.

Is GMG Better Than Traeger?

Even though I am largely asked about Big Green Egg vs. traeger grill, I am also questioned about Green Mountain Grill and how it holds up to Traeger. I would choose Traeger in this instance. Not only does it have various models that can cater to different needs, it offers some of the best quality around.

So, there you have it - a full and complete comparison. Now that you have all your questions answered, you may find it easier to decide which grill is for you!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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