As many grillers know, the Traeger is the gold standard of pellet grills. They are known for their ease of use, amazing quality, and, of course, their large price tags.
If you are thinking of buying a Traeger, then keep reading, as we are going to cover the things to you should know about the best Traeger grills. Hopefully, this article will help you weigh the pros and cons of a Traeger so you can make the decision of whether or not it is the grill for you!
1. Ensure You Buy the Right Size
Traeger grills come in every shape and size, and there is no “one size fits all solution.” So, before you shop, you should have a general idea of how large of a grill you are going to need.
Grilling space is listed in square inches, and we generally recommend planning to have 100 square inches for every mouth you plan to feed on a regular basis. This means a family of 4 will need at least 400 square inches of grill space, while a family of 7 will need at least 700 inches to ensure everyone is well-fed!
Now, this isn’t the only thing you need to consider when it comes to space–as you also have to consider where you will put your Traeger. If you only have a patio to work with, you will need to buy a much smaller grill than if you have an entire acre of land.
Our best advice is to buy the grill, which has 100 sq inches of grill space per family member, PLUS 100 sq inches (for guests!) as long as it can fit where you intend to place it! So, for our family of 4 above, this would mean buying the Traeger Pro Series 22, which has 527 square inches of cooking space.
>>> Related: How To Use A Traeger
2. Have a Grill/Pellet Storage Plan
You might just be planning to buy a Traeger and put it on your porch, but don’t forget that you also need to purchase pellets and have a storage plan for them!
Wood pellets need to be stored indoors somewhere dry. You’ll also probably want to have a few bags on hand at all times to ensure you don’t run out mid-smoke. We recommend having 2-3 types on hand with waterproof bins to store them in–which can take up space you don’t have!
Before shopping for your Traeger, take some time to clean out a spot in the garage or in your closet for the pellets.
Also, if you live somewhere where it snows, it is recommended to store your Traeger inside during the winter. If you don’t quite have the space, that’s okay, just be sure to invest in a nice grill cover.
3. Know What You Want to Cook
Traegers are known for their ability to make almost any type of dinner, whether you want to toss a steak on the grill or slow-cook a brisket. BUT Traegers are better for smoking than they are for searing, so if you plan to sear mostly, a Traeger isn’t for you.
Think of it this way: the best steaks are usually cooked directly in flame–something you won’t be able to do with a Traeger. While steaks grilled without the flame are still good, if you eat steak 3 nights a week, why would you buy a grill without an open flame?
We think Trager grills are best for people who want to grill from time to time but plan to smoke just as often. If you plan to do both equally (or smoke more!), then a Traeger is definitely for you!
4. Know that There Are Other Options
We love Traeger, and we can honestly say it doesn’t get any better! But, if you are short on funds or think you may have unexpected expenses in the next couple of months, it might be better to go with another brand.
Not all brands are created equal, but there are many decent brands that rival Traeger but cost a little less. We recommend looking into PitBoss, ZGrills, and Camp Chef if you’re on a budget.
But if you can afford it, go with the Traeger, you won’t regret it.
5. Buying a Traeger Gets You App Access
Have you ever heard of the Traeger App? The Traeger App is a true diamond in the rough, giving you access to recipes, information, and even tips and tricks for using a Traeger grill.
We thought so too! But this app is only available to owners of a Traeger. This means that if you are just learning to grill and smoke, buying a Traeger could be more educational than buying another pellet grill brand.
6. Know How Often You Will Grill/Smoke
We all know there are two types of grillers, those that roll theirs out on 4th of July and memorial day, and the hardcore grill fanatics. We, here at GrillFrenzy, are clearly from the fanatic crowd.
Which brings us to this: if you are planning to only grill once or twice a year, there's no shame, but know that you won’t get your money's worth from a Traeger. You are probably better off buying a less expensive grill that will work well for your 2 grill sessions per year.
Now, if you are a hardcore grill fanatic, then you should definitely consider a Traeger. Traegers have some of the best warranties in the industry, meaning you will truly get your money's worth as you grill day in and day out. In fact, you would probably lose money on an inexpensive grill because it would wear out more quickly!
7. Keep In Mind You Won’t Become an Instant Pro
Learning to smoke is an art form and it cannot be mastered overnight. Many people purchase a Traeger, only to be frustrated when their first brisket doesn’t come out perfect.
You need to remember that, like anything worth knowing in life, smoking takes time to learn. So when you buy your Traeger, plan to have at least 2-3 practice smoke sessions before you volunteer yourself to smoke a large cut of meat for the neighborhood block party.
Looking for a recipe to get you started? Check out our 21 Best Smoker Recipes.
8. Be Prepared for Temperature Fluctuations
Grillers are always buying Traegers, putting a cut of meat in them, walking away, and then acting surprised when their meat isn’t done when they return! Traegers, while they do amazing work, are not magic machines when it comes to smoking.
When you first get your Traeger, plan to spend a little time getting to know your Traeger. Plan a couple of shorter smoke sessions where you can monitor the meat with frequency. This will help you to learn whether or not the temperature on your Traeger fluctuates.
Even if you have owned a Traeger previously, all models are different and you’ll need to take some time to learn the ins and outs of yours!
Also, just because the Traeger has temperature fluctuations does not mean it's a bad grill. PitBoss, ZGrills, and Camp Chef all suffer similar fluctuations, it is just something you have to be aware of (and prepared to learn about) when buying a pellet grill.
9. Traeger Pellet Hoppers Can Be Small for Serious Smokers
A Traeger is the best of the best when it comes to home smoking, but if you are looking for a commercial smoker, know that the pellet hopper on the Traeger is a bit too small to be effective.
Most Traeger models come with an 18-25 lb pellet hopper (depending on the size of the pellet grill) and we have found that for a 8-10 hour smoke, this is usually sufficient. However, for those looking to do extended 12 and 18 hour smokes, you’ll need to check in and refill the hopper at least once.
While this won’t affect most people, it is something to keep in mind, as the Traeger isn’t quite as set-it-and-leave-it as some other commercial smokers on the market are.
Final Verdict: Is a Traeger Worth It?
Overall, we absolutely find that our Traeger is worth what we paid for it. We use it to grill or smoke at least once a week, and the quality is unparalleled. Not to mention we’ve had it for a couple of years and it is still going strong!
If you can afford it, the Traeger is the best of the household pellet grills. Just make sure you get one that is suited to your family and grilling needs, and you won’t regret it!
>>> Related: Pellet Grills vs. Gas Grills