Traeger Century 885 at Costco {Big on Size, Low on Smoke}

The Traeger Costco Roadshow is going on right now and people are really interested in the attractive Traeger Century 885.  This is a massive grill that costs a fraction of the equivalently sized Traeger Ironwood 885 and about the same as the smaller Traeger Pro 780.

If you are wondering what is special about the Century 885 and if it is the right grill for you then I hope this post can help you make the best purchasing decision.

Keep reading and we will cover:

  • Key Features of the Grill (Both Obvious and Subtle)
  • Real Customer Reviews of the Century 885 (What they Love, What they Dislike)
  • Other Traeger Grills to Consider and Why

Traeger Century 885 at Costco

Features of the Traeger Century 885

The Century 885 is a handsome, massive grill and there is a lot of stuff going on with this model.

Let’s take a minute to look at the primary features of the grill and then we will explore the subtle details that often get missed.

Primary Grill Features

The two primary features that the sales rep will point you towards are:

  • Size of the Grill
  • Advanced Control Panel

Size of the 885

The most obvious feature of the Century 885 is that it is a very large grill.  You get 885 square inches of cooking area with 646 sq inches on the primary grate and 238 sq in on the elevated grate.  This grill is large enough to handle seven racks of ribs or ten whole chickens which is probably way larger than you are ever going to need!

The downside of having such a large grill is that:

  • It needs more pellets to maintain temperature than if you were working with a smaller Traeger.
  • Temperature gradients will exist inside the grill

Advanced Control Panel

The Century 885 comes with the D2 Direct Drive System coupled with the WiFire controller. This is the second best controller Traeger offers.

This controller is not a PID but it does utilize an advanced algorithm coupled to a precision DC power supply to enable highly precise temperature control (+/- 5F).

What is aggravating about this particular controller is that it has been “throttled back” and does not have all of the available features.  Specifically, the extra features that are NOT available on the controller for the 885 are:

In order to get these advanced controller features you have to spend an extra $400 and buy the Traeger Silverton 810.  All you get on the Century controller are the “Ignite” and “Menu” functions.

Century 885 does not have SuperSmoke Mode

The WiFire functionality of the control panel lets you control your grill through the Traeger app on your phone and is pretty slick.  I have seen nothing but praise for the Traeger app and it looks like the best WiFi system for pellet grills on the market.

Secondary Features of the Century 885

The Century 885 comes with an integrated meat probe, a temperature range of 165-500F, a 20 pound pellet hopper and lower mounted warming oven.  The warming oven has a top mounted slider that allows smoke from the body of the grill to enter the oven if desired.

I have very mixed feelings about the warming oven.

  • On one hand it is a neat feature and it looks cool.
  • On the other hand, I can’t imagine that I would ever use it and it eliminates the storage cabinetry underneath the grill where I like to stash my gear.

Warming oven on Century 885

The top temperature of 500F is also a bit of a problem.  It will take a LOT of fuel to meat a grill of this size up to 500F and even then the searing ability will just be “meh”.

Customer Reviews of the Century 885

I pulled the customer reviews from the Costco website, and did some research over at Reddit, to see what owners thought about this grill.

There were 436 reviews over at Costco and the general breakdown was:

  • 87% of owners love the Century 885 (Combined 5 and 4 Stars Reviews)
  • 10% of owners hate the Century 885 (Combined 1 and 2 Stars Reviews)

Some of the general themes from folks who loved the grill were:

  • Saved a lot of money compared to other Trager models
  • WiFi functionality is really useful.
  • Great for smoking ribs, pork butts and brisket with plenty of room to spare.

When I dug into the negative reviews I saw two clear trends and neither one of them bothered me.

The first negative issue that came up was people were buying this grill online as part of a bundle that included three bags of pellets and a grill cover.  A lot of folks got ripped off as the pellets and cover never showed up.  While it is unfortunate that these folks did not get what they paid for it is not a reflection on the quality of the grill.

The second issue was again from people who bought the grill online.  Sometimes the grill would show up damaged and getting customer support from Traeger was an awful experience.

My big takeaway from the negative reviews was to buy the grill in the warehouse during a Traeger Roadshow and check the box for damage.

Customer Reviews for the Traeger Century 885

When I read the comments on Reddit about the Century 885 the general consensus was that this is a good grill but comes up short on smoke flavor.

The lack of smoke flavor is an issue, as we noted earlier, because this model lacks the SuperSmoke function.  Additionally it has a side mounted smoke stack that lets the smoke easily escape the cooking chamber instead of the rear mounted exhaust found on models like the Silverton 620.

Other Traeger Grills to Consider

The Century 885 costs around $1,100 which is a lot of cash to shell out for a barbecue pit.  That being said, this grill is a bargain compared to a Traeger Ironwood or Timberline.

Cost of Century 885 at Costco

If you really don’t need a pit as large as the Century, and most of us don’t, then take a serious look at the Traeger Silverton 620 or the Traeger Fremont.

If you do need a grill with massive capacity but want to save some bucks then check out the Traeger Texas Elite 34.  The Elite 34 does not have the same control system as the Century but it is a massive Traeger that does have an actual “Smoke” function.

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