Are you searching for a great but affordable wood pellet grill currently in the market? You have lots of options, but Traeger and Z Grills are the most common brands.
Most people are already familiar with Traeger since it’s been around for almost four decades. However, Z Grills has quickly become their greatest competitor due to its affordability.
Here is an in-depth comparison of Traeger vs. Z Grills to help you decide on the best wood pellet grill for your home. But first, an overview of the two brands.Table could not be displayed.
A Brief History About Traeger
Traeger pellet grills have been there long enough since the 80s. Joe Traeger developed the idea in 1985 and, seeing how great it was, patented it the following year. Before the end of this patent period, Traeger thoroughly established itself as the original manufacturer of wood pellet grills.
While marketing the brand, Joe promised nothing but quality, reliability, and consistent results, which the grill did achieve. Traeger pellet grills started selling in 1988, and they quickly became prevalent across the globe thanks to their innovative technology.
Traeger was a family-owned business until 2006 when Joe sold it for $12 million. However, their popularity as a brand never diminished, even with the introduction of other wood pellet grills using the same LMH controller.
Traeger’s headquarters is in the USA, but the production happens in China.
A Brief History About Z Grills
Z Grills are still new in the market, but they have quickly become a recognized brand in pellet grills.
Although officially launched in 2016, Z Grills has been around for quite some time, helping other leading companies to build pellet grills. After obtaining the necessary skills and experience to deliver quality pellet grills, it entered the market.
Their selling point is producing value-for-money products, selling directly to their customers at an affordable price. Their products are stable and durable, offering 8 in 1 cooking options, and (best of all) you don’t have to break a bank to get one.
Z Grills are cheap spin-offs of older Traeger models but offer more value. Like Traeger, they manufacture their pellet grills in China but are headquartered in the US. Their warehouse is in California.
Features To Look at When Comparing Traeger Vs. Z Grills
Several features put these two pellet grill brands apart, construction, temperature range, cooking space, price, temperature control, warranty, pellet hopper size, Wi-Fi, and extra features. Looking at each of them will give you a clear picture of how Traeger vs. Z Grills compare to each other.
Differences in Price
Price is what makes these two pellet grill brands completely different. While Traeger produces the most expensive pellet grills, Z Grills offer much more affordable products.
For as little as $400, you can get a Z Grills pellet grill, while the larger models go up to $900.
On the other hand, Traeger sells at $800 for the smaller models and up to $2,000 for the larger, more refined models.
Z Grills is the perfect brand to pick when buying a wood pellet grill on a budget.
Quality of Construction is About the Same Between the Brands
Z Grills have two different constructions in every model they produce. Some models only have powder coating on the outside without the stainless steel, while others have the powder coating with added stainless steel for longevity. For an extra cost, other Z Grills models have their lids made of stainless steel, giving you a variety to choose from.
The cooking grates inside these grills have a rust-resistant porcelain coating, easy to clean and maintain, and are durable. The only downside is that their grills don’t have insulation, which can be a problem in cold areas. Fortunately, you can solve this issue by purchasing a cheap insulation blanket.
On the other hand, Traeger pellet grills have powder coatings, stainless steel on the outside, and porcelain-coated cooking grates inside. With this, you get both sturdiness and longevity.
Some of Traeger’s construction features depend on the model you’re buying. For instance, their pro series models, the cheapest, only have the construction described above. But moving upwards, you’ll get models with sidewall insulation, while their most expensive models are fully-insulated, with stainless steel cooking grates, not porcelain-coated.
Overall, these two brands don’t have too much difference in the construction of their pellet grills.
Traeger Has a Wider Temperature Range than Z Grills
Since both brands produce versatile pellet grills, you expect a wide temperature range to achieve various cooking methods, like smoking, roasting, grilling, and baking.
The temperature range in Z Grills is between 180-450 degrees Fahrenheit, while Traeger offers a range of 150-500 degrees Fahrenheit.
There’s not much difference in maximum heat between the two brands, but Z Grills come at a lower cost.
Not Much Difference in Temperature Control
What’s better in grilling than having the ability to control temperature? Both brands did their part here well enough, offering an easy and automated temperature control.
Some Z Grills come with a highly precise PID controller (+/- 5 degrees) while other models come with a standard controller (+/- 15 degrees).
Most Traegers come with a DC powered direct drive system, either WiFire or Digital Arc, that will consistently be at around +/- 5 degrees.
Overall there is not a lot of meaningful difference in the temperature control systems.
Looking at the cooking surfaces, these two brands offer a good range to pick from, depending on your choice and preference.
The smallest cooking space you can get for the Z Grills is 450 square inches, while their largest pellet grill comes at 1056 square inches.
The cooking space for Traeger pellet grills ranges from 500 square inches large to 1300 square inches.
Overall, while Traeger grills offer more space, the difference is relatively negligible.
Variation in Pellet Hopper Size
Pellet hopper size goes hand in hand with the size of pellet grill you’re buying, which applies to both Traeger and Z Grills. These brands have three options to pick from.
Z Grills starts from 8 pounds, then 16, and ends at 20. On the other hand, Traeger has a hopper size range beginning at 18, then 20, and ending at 22 pounds.
Overall, Traeger and Z Grills offer similar pellet hopper sizes.
Imagine having the ability to control your pellet grill remotely. That’s now possible with most of Traeger’s models. Unfortunately, none of the Z Grills models has this feature.
The exclusion of Wi-Fi is to be expected given the low price you pay for Z Grills.
Both Traeger and Z Grills offer a three-year warranty on all their pellet grills. Their customers have peace of mind during this warranty period since the companies cover all the repair costs should they arise.
Do They Have Any Additional Features?
You don’t expect any more features from Z Grills for such a price range, but that’s not the case. Z Grills products come with a waterproof cover that is UV-resistant to protect your grill.
Looking at Traeger, you get a few more features, depending on your chosen model. These features include turbo temperature, super smoke mode, meat probes, low pellet sensor, and a grease management system.
These extra features in Traeger Grills bump up the price, however, and make them so much more expensive than Z Grills.
That’s the complete comparison of the two brands, Traeger vs. Z Grills. What now follows is an in-depth comparison between the products, budget, average prices, and the topmost prices from Traeger and Z Grills.
The Best Wood Pellet Grill on a Budget
The clear winner here is Z Grills. While Traeger may have more features and a bit more space and temperature control, those features are pretty unnecessary for cooking, grilling, smoking, and baking good food. Here’s a look at the most affordable models from the two brands.
Traeger- Pro 575
Traeger Pro 575 wood pellet grill is the best you can get on a budget from Traeger. This low-range model is almost the same price as a top-end Z Grills model.
- It uses WiFIRE technology to enable you to control everything on the pellet grill via your phone’s Wi-Fi connectivity.
- It has all-terrain wheels for easy moving.
- Its turbo temperature feature helps it regain its temperature after you lift its lid.
- It comes with a hopper cleanout for easy pellet flavor swapping.
- This pellet grill will give you 575 square inches of cooking space and an 18-pound pellet hopper.
- It has a temperature range of 150 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The grates have a porcelain coating, and the body is heavy-duty stainless steel.
Z Grills- 450A Pro
If you’re looking for the best Z Grills on a budget for your small family, Z Grills 450A Pro is the best.
- This pellet grill is equipped with a PID controller to maintain your cooking temperature for unmatched consistency.
- It has a unique firebox to give you a perfect burn with minimal waste.
- It comes with an in-built front shelf that is foldable.
- The wheels are an all-terrain type for easy moving.
- You get a 15-pound pellet hopper and 459 square inches of cooking space.
- It has a high-temperature powder coating cover with a heavy-duty steel body.
- Its temperature range is between 180 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Best on Mid-Range Prices
Mid-range Grills from Z Grills are more affordable than those from Traeger.
Traeger Ironwood 885
The Ironwood 885 is Traeger’s mid-range model but comes at a price where you can easily get two mid-range Z Grills.
- It uses WiFIRE technology to enable you to control cooking through your phone’s Wi-Fi connectivity. You also get over 1,500 recipes to try via the Traeger App.
- It comes with a D2 grill controller to allow you to adjust your grill temperature easily on the digital display. The temperatures come in 5 degrees increments.
- With its pellet sensor feature, you can never run out of pellets unknowingly.
- The downdraft exhaust system ensures you get the best wood-fired flavor in every meal you’re cooking.
- The super smoke mode feature enhances the wood-fired flavor.
- It has a meat probe for food temperature monitoring.
- The wheels are rugged and of all-terrain type for easy moving.
- With its full/partial insulation feature, you can cook well in any weather.
- Its maximum temperature is 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You get 20 pounds of hopper pellets and 885 square inches of cooking surface.
- The cooking grates have a porcelain coating, while the body is heavy stainless steel powder coating.
Z Grills 700E
Z Grills’s mid-range model is the 700E and it is far cheaper than the Traeger Ironwood 885.
I personally own a Z Grills 700E and I love it.
- It has a stainless steel lid for durability, corrosion-resistant, and heat retention.
- You get a digital control temperature feature ranging between 180-450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- It offers the best temperature consistency with its automatic Auger system.
- Its unique firebox offers perfect fire distribution.
- It has a storage cabinet to store all you need for your cooking.
- It comes in-built with heavy-duty caster wheels for easy rolling.
- It allows a 20 pounds pellet hopper.
- This pellet grill provides 697 square inches of cooking surface.
The Best on Top-range Prices
When it comes to top-range models, Traeger grills are more pricey. Here’s a look at what you’ll pay for these models.
Traeger Timberline 850
The Traeger Timberline 850 costs about the same as a used car and boasts three tiers of stainless cooking grates and a fully-insulated body.
- D2 controller with digital display.
- A low Pellet sensor for pellet monitoring.
- Downdraft Exhaust® System for the best wood-fired flavor.
- It has a super smoke mode for maximum wood-fired flavor.
- It has an in-built meat probe.
- The rugged wheels allow easy movement on any outdoor terrain.
- It comes equipped with TurboTemp®.
- It has a TRU Convection® System to direct the smoke to the various designed channels.
- Has adjustable sear bottom grate and excellent hopper cleanout features.
- It has a brushless motor that is not only powerful and durable but also offers improved consistency.
- Its full insulation feature gives you perfect results regardless of the weather.
- The cooking space is 850 square inches and 24-pound hopper pellets.
- It has a temperature range of between 150 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Z Grills 1000E
The 1000E wood pellet grill is ZGrills’s top product and offers the following features.
- It comes with a unique firebox of the Venturi-style design for excellent heat distribution.
- 20-pound hopper pellets capacity.
- A large shelf cabinet for additional storage.
- Big heavy-duty caster wheels for easy mobility.
- It has a 2mm thick stainless lid to retain heat, resist corrosion, and provide maximum durability.
- It comes with a digital temperature control display, ranging from 180 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The cooking space is 1056 square inches.
From this comparison between Traeger vs. Z Grills, it’s clear that Z Grills will give you the needed pellet grill experience but at a lower price. If you seek an affordable grill, go for the Z Grills brand.