I write a lot about the many different models of pellet grills/smokers now on the market. While I’m able to provide a thorough, structured breakdown of product specifications and compare one brand/model to another, I often don’t get the chance to get hands-on with them. As part of my research though, I watch a lot of real owner’s reviews on YouTube. Therefore, I thought I would produce a summary article on the best Traeger reviews I’ve come across from owners of the various models covering both pros and cons.
Disclaimer: Hey! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or other sites are affiliate links, and I earn a commission if you make a purchase.
Besides the three core Traeger product ranges shown in the image above of the Pro, Ironwood and Timberline models, there are two other smaller/portable models, the Ranger and Tailgater.
There are also new versions, such as the Gen 2 Ironwood and Gen 2 Timberline, which I’ve included below.
I’ve created a separate heading for each model where I’ve included what I believe to be the best YouTube owners review, along with links to my own articles/thoughts about each specific Traeger model, enjoy! 🙂
Best Traeger Ranger Review
So the Traeger Ranger is a small portable/tabletop grill/smoker. Previously, Traeger did sell a similar and cheaper tabletop unit called the Scout which I’ve previously discussed in my Traeger Scout vs Ranger article.
However, browsing the Traeger website, it now seems the Scout is nowhere to be seen. Only the Ranger is now available.
Therefore, I’ve just included what I believe to be the best owner’s review currently available on the Traeger Ranger from Sandy at Jus’ Piddlin BBQ.
The reason I think Sandy’s is the best Traeger Ranger review currently available is as he states at the start of his video, its not an unboxing, its a review after using the Ranger for several cooks.
As discussed in the review above, the Ranger is fitted with the Traeger Digital Arc controller, which was missing from the discontinued Scout and is also found on the Tailgater discussed below.
While Traeger has not stated the Digital Arc Controller is running a PID algorithm like the D2 control panels found in their larger grills, I believe that to be the case as that would explain the more precise temperature accuracy compared to the previous generation Traeger grills.
The Ranger is obviously small and can only cook around six burgers at a time. While the Tailgater may be larger, which Sandy also owns, its worth noting that he finds it more fuel-efficient than the Tailgater due to the smaller cooking chamber.
Hence, if you want to keep pellet consumption down, not using a grill larger than you really need is a good idea.
Sandy found that the Ranger tops out at 460 degrees, but with a set of Grill Grates, he is able to get a good sear on his steaks.
The Grill Grates will help the cooking surface temperature exceed the 460 degrees the control panel is reading, likely above 500 degrees which is really needed to start to get good searing results.
Best Traeger Tailgater Review
While Jus’ Piddlin BBQ also have a Tailgater review (here), I wanted to feature a different review on the Tailgater which discusses one of the biggest issues with it, the folding legs.
The review from Jaunt Junkies below while they are happy overall with the utility of the Tailgater, they do find (and they’re not the only ones) that the folding legs need to be redesigned.
Compared to other portable tailgating pellet grills/smokers from the likes of GMG, Camp Chef and Grilla Grills, the Traeger Tailgaters folding leg design is the least easy to use.
As discussed in the review above, the Tailgater due to the indirect cooking performance provided by the induction fan, provides them with an oven which their RV doesn’t have.
However, as also discussed it takes time to complete the cook, therefore starting the cook earlier with a pellet smoker is a good idea.
Just note though, the Tailgater in the review above is fitted with a previous generation controller and not the latest Digital Arc Controller.
Something I do think it’s important to note with both the Traeger Ranger and Tailgater is you need to have a source of 110V power available. With an RV, as in the review above, that’s not a problem.
However, besides an RV, you need to explore the options of inverters and power banks. Therefore, I’ve also produced an article on portable power options which you may wish to review.
Best Traeger Pro Series (Gen 2) Review
If you are not aware, Traeger is now producing their second generation of Pro Series grills. I have an article discussing the differences between the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Pro Series.
The key differences between the first and second-generation Pro series are the Gen 2 uses the more advanced D2 Direct Drive system and also features PID temperature control along with WiFi integration, or as Traeger brands the feature WiFire.
While you may find a few outlets still selling the Gen 1 Pro Series, the Gen 2 Pro Series is far superior for the price difference. The Gen 2 Pro Series currently comprises of two models, the Pro 575 and Pro 780.
Both models have the same features, its just the 780 is larger than the 575 and, as such, costs around $200 more, with the Pro 575 typically priced at $800 and the Pro 780 at just under $1,000.
Currently, I think the best review on the Gen 2 Pro Series is by Steve of Smoke Trails BBQ, where he does a good job discussing the pros but also the cons of the Pro 575.
In Steve’s review, he is generally very positive about his Pro 575, discussing the ease of use and general user-friendly experience of the Traeger along with the WiFi app.
Importantly, Steve discusses the size of the cooking area and how he finds the Pro 575 is suitable for cooking for between two to six people, but for more than six people, that’s where the larger Pro 780 may be a better choice.
In terms of the cons, Steve discusses the Pro 575’s likely biggest weakness, and that’s its grilling/searing performance.
As Traeger’s across their entire range lack porcelain-coated grates or direct-flame access, grilling/searing results on a Traeger are not market-leading.
Grill Grates can indeed help, but its also true to say other grills at this same price point from Pit Boss, Camp Chef and Weber will produce better searing/grilling results.
Best Traeger Ironwood (Gen 1) Review
The next step up over the Pro Series is the Ironwood, which my linked article discusses the improvements over the Pro models.
For instance, as the review below from BBQ and Bottles discusses, the Ironwood has additional features such as Super Smoke to add some additional smokey flavour to the food over the standard temperature mode.
Another notable difference between the Pro and Ironwood models is that the Ironwood has a downdraft rear exhaust instead of a side chimney.
This again helps to acheive a bit more of a smokey flavour over the Pro models but also more even cooking temperatures across the cooking chamber.
The two models currently available are the Ironwood 650 at around £1,200 and the Ironwood 885 at around $1,500.
Hence, these pellet grills/smokers are pushing the budgets of most casual backyard grill owners. As with the Pro Series, all Ironwood models feature D2 Direct Drive internals and WiFire app functionality.
The numbers associated with each Traeger model indicate the total cooking area of the particular model. However, that total cooking area includes both the lower and upper racks.
While the Ironwood models, purely based on the numbers, may appear significantly larger than the Pro Series, that is mainly due to larger upper racks and not a larger main cooking grate.
As noted in the review above, with only a 4″ gap between the racks, the utility of the back of the main cooking grate can be compromised by the upper cooking rack. Just something to keep in mind.
While all Traeger models, as previously discussed, are not strong on grilling/searing performance, they are very proficient, as the review notes on doing long ‘low and slow’ cooks, brisket, for instance.
Certain ‘other’ grills (Weber SmokeFire) have had issues with grease management on long cooking sessions of fatty/greasy meats.
The twin-wall insulated sides of the Ironwood models also help to keep the heat in and reduce pellet usage.
Best Traeger Ironwood (Gen 2) Review
There are now updated Ironwood Gen 2 models available. As of writing this article, they are newly released.
Therefore, I do have an owner’s review to reference, just a professional review from Embers Fireplaces & Outdoor Living which does a good overview of the features of these new Ironwood models.
The second generation Ironwood models are available as a small model simply branded as the Ironwood and a larger model, as seen in the video above, the Ironwood XL.
Further down in this article, I reference the Gen 2 Timberline models, which you will notice share a lot in common with the design of these new Ironwood models.
In fact, if you check out my Ironwood Gen 2 vs Timberline Gen 2 article, I note the differences/similarities in more detail.
Best Traeger Timberline (Gen 1) Review
The Timberline is currently Traeger’s highest specification pellet grill/smoker, and as such, they are the most expensive.
The smaller Timberline 850 currently retails for $1,800, whereas the larger Timberline 1300 currently retails for just under $2,000.
Now, in any ‘normal’ person’s opinion, that’s a lot of money to spend on a BBQ. Furthermore, as I discuss in my best pellet grills under $2,000, the Timberline faces some tough competition at this price range.
The best review on the Timberline I think which is currently available, is from David, aka the ‘Old Fat Cooking Guy’.
David has done a review of his Timberline 850 after four months of use and is generally pretty happy with his purchase.
There were some issues with a control panel firmware update, but that appears to have been resolved pretty quickly.
Due to David’s location in Canada and cooking in colder climates, this is where the full twin-wall construction of the Timberline models can pay dividends.
The Timberline models share the same downdraft exhaust design as the Ironwood models.
Therefore, as David notes in his review, stable temperatures across the cooking chamber are achieved, also helped by the PID temperature algorithm within the D2 control panel.
However, as David notes on the Super Smoke mode, temperatures will vary more than normal which is to be expected.
In David’s experience, despite the lack of direct-flame access and a maximum temperature setting of 500 degrees, he was happy with the searing/grilling performance.
However, as also noted, if you are looking for classic grilling marks and a proper crust, you will not achieve that on the Timberline, or any Traeger for that matter, as standard.
Traegers are very much focused on smoking as opposed to being the best at grilling/searing.
The best features of the Timberline models are their stainless steel internals and full twin-wall insulated cooking chamber.
As David notes, on his Timberline 850, he is using half the volume of pellets compared to his previous smoker. And over time, especially if you are using a smoker often, that saving in fuel pellets will add up.
Therefore, while the initial purchase price is quite high on Timberline models, you have to consider the lower running costs.
Best Traeger Timberline XL (Gen 2) Review
There is now the second generation of Traeger Timberline models, a smaller unit simply branded as the Timberline and a larger unit branded as the Timberline XL.
I have an article covering these Traeger Timberline Gen 2 models, so check that article out for a deep dive into their features and benefits.
There are quite a few differences between the first and second-generation models which I cover in my Timberline Gen 1 vs Gen 2 article.
As these grills are new to the market, there aren’t currently any decent owner reviews I can reference. In the meantime, here is a review of the Timberline XL from BBQGuys.
Conclusions On The Best Traeger Reviews
So my objective with this page is to update it over time as Traeger releases new/updated models and to add in new owner reviews with real-world feedback.
As you can see from the above, while Traeger now faces more competition than ever before, the latest D2 control panels and WiFire integration are right up there on ease of use and consistent cooking performance.
Are Traeger’s the best pellet grills for searing? Objectively no, but there are workarounds (GrillGrates/Charcoal pellets).
However, when it comes to smoking, Traeger products are still well worth considering.
That’s it! I hope you found the real owner reviews above interesting/useful.
Otherwise, if you want to review pretty much all your current pellet smoker/grill options, check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂