If you’re looking for a medium to premium range pellet grill/smoker and you’re looking for something other than a Traeger, its highly likely you’ve come across the Camp Chef brand. Well, Camp Chef have two ranges of pellet grills, the more budget-focused SmokePro range and the more premium option of their Woodwind models. However, recently the SmokePro models have received a few upgrades. Therefore, you could reasonably start to question if the price premium for a Woodwind model is really worth it. So let’s look at that.
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Introduction To The Camp Chef SmokePro vs Woodwind Ranges
The SmokePro range of pellet grills were the first Camp Chef pellet grills to hit the market in 2014, the Woodwind range didn’t come onto the market until 2017.
Well, both ranges have seen some updates since then as you would hope.
The most notable upgrade being the SmokePro range now comes with a PID temperature control panel to match the temperature accuracy of the Woodwind models with PID control.
However, while all Camp Chef pellet grills now get PID control, there are still differences in the features of the grills as we’ll discuss below.
First, I’ve created two tables below of certain SmokePro and Woodwind models which offer a similar cooking area to each other for this comparison discussion.
Camp Chef SmokePro Models
|Feature||SE 24||XT 24||DLX 24||SG 24||SG 30||SG 36|
|Total Cooking Area||429 sq.in||570 sq.in||570 sq.in||811 sq.in||1,050 sq.in||1,236 sq.in|
|Main Grate||429 sq.in||429 sq.in||429 sq.in||429 sq.in||550 sq.in||663 sq.in|
|Hopper Size||18 lbs||18 lbs||18 lbs||22 lbs||22 lbs||22 lbs|
|Temp Range (℉)||160 – 500||160 – 500||160 – 500||160 – 500||160 – 500||160 – 500|
Camp Chef Woodwind Models
|Feature||WiFi 24||WiFi 36|
|Total Cooking Area||800 sq.in||1,236 sq.in|
|Main Grate||429 sq.in||663 sq.in|
|Hopper Size||22 lbs||22 lbs|
|Temp Range (℉)||160 – 500||160 – 500|
SmokePro vs Woodwind Similarities and Small Differences
When the Woodwind range was launched by Camp Chef in 2017, there was a clear difference in specifications between those models and the existing SmokePro range.
For instance, the Woodwind models were the only ones to benefit from PID temperature control technology and a WiFi connection to the Camp Chef connect app.
However, now every model in the SmokePro range comes fitted with a version of the Gen 2 PID control panel which is also offered as a retrofit option to existing SmokePro owners.
However, it is important to note that not all versions of the Gen 2 PID control panel come with WiFi/Camp Chef Connect support.
For example, as can be seen in the table above, while the SmokePro SE 24, XT 24 and DLX 24 all come with a Gen 2 PID control panel, those panels do not have WiFi communication built-in, so cannot take advantage of the Camp Chef app.
SideKick or SearBox Upgrade Potential
Its possible to purchase pretty much all Camp Chef SmokePro and Woodwind models with an optional propane attachment in the form of the Camp Chef Side Kick or SearBox.
They can also be purchased at a later date as a retrofit option.
I say ‘pretty much’ all Camp Chef pellet grills, as there are a couple of exceptions. For instance, from the SmokePro models I’ve referenced above, the SE 24 is not compatible with the SideKick or Sear Box.
However, the same is also true of the tiny Woodwind 20 which I’ve not referenced above as there is no comparable SmokePro version.
My point is though when deciding between a Camp Chef SmokePro or Woodwind model of similar size the upgrade potential of the SideKick or Sear Box should not be a deciding factor, as both versions are compatible. I have a separate SideKick vs Sear Box comparison article which you may find useful.
Stainless Steel Lids, Stronger Support Legs and Larger Hopper Capacity
The Woodwind models are fitted with stainless steel grill lids and stainless steel chimney cowls. However, don’t be under the impression that the Woodwind models feature stainless steel internal components, as they currently don’t.
Hence, the use of stainless steel on the Woodwind models is not that extensive. Therefore, while it has its benefits for making it easier to keep the lid clean I wouldn’t place too much emphasis on it to choose a Woodwind model over a SmokePro model.
I will also note, the Woodwind models feature more sturdy legs which again has its benefits but I don’t think its a significant difference. The same goes for the 22lb pellet hopper over the 18lb hoppers on some cheaper SmokePro models.
SmokePro vs Woodwind Direct Flame Access
As all SmokePro and Woodwind models run on the same PID technology, they all have the same maximum temperature setting of 500 degrees.
However, if you want to get the best searing/grilling results, really you need cooking surface temperatures above 500 degrees.
Therefore, that’s where direct-flame access comes it. Essential gaps in the heat deflector/grease tray can be opened up to allow the flames of the pellet fire to reach the cooking grate.
Well, certain SmokePro models the SE 24, XT 24 and DLX 24, don’t come with direct-flame access.
However, its not just the Woodwind models that come with ‘Slide ‘N Grill’, there are a couple of SmokePro models with the feature, namely the SG 24, SG 30 and SG 36.
Do you need the ‘Slide ‘N Grill’ feature to cook great steaks and burgers etc? Well, not necessarily, you could opt for a cheaper SmokePro model and add on the propane Camp Chef SideKick or Sear Box for cooking surface temperatures around 900 degrees.
SmokePro vs Woodwind Control Panel Design & WiFi
When it comes down to it, the biggest difference between SmokePro and Woodwind models is their control panels.
While all panels now feature PID temperature control and some SmokePro models even feature WiFi connectivity, the Woodwind panels are more user friendly.
The reason is that the Woodwind control panel display is significantly larger than that found on the SmokePro models. Furthermore, its a full-colour display that is angled up towards the user.
Therefore, the Woodwind control panel is simply easier to read and adjust the cooking settings.
The other notable difference is the Gen 2 PID control panels fitted to SmokePro models only features two meat probe ports. Whereas the Woodwind control panel features four meat probe ports.
However, the key functionality of the Woodwind control panel is identical to the Gen 2 PID WiFi panel on the SmokePro SG 24, SG 30 and SG 36.
Therefore, the question is, is the screen of the Woodwind control panels worth the price premium?
Conclusions On The Camp Chef SmokePro vs Woodwind Ranges
So what are my final thoughts/recommendations? Well, let’s presume for a second you’re not interested in WiFi connectivity/App control of the grill.
Well, then I would recommend that you choose one of the 24″ SmokePro models such as the XT 24 or DLX 24 and upgrade it with a propane Sear Box or SideKick.
With a SmokePro XT 24 or DLX 24 and a propane Sear Box or SideKick, it would still come in cheaper than a standard Woodwind WiFi 24 model on its own.
Therefore, while those SmokePro models don’t have direct flame access you can finish the meat off on the Sear Box or SideKick at even higher temperatures to get the best sear.
If you do want WiFi/App functionality, I think of the 24″ grills, the SmokePro SG 24, is the better deal. However, when moving up to the larger models I would probably still opt for the Woodwind WiFi 36.
The SmokePro SG 36 is only $100 less, and I think the more user-friendly full-colour screen and additional meat probe ports is worth the premium.
Alternatively, my Wood Pellet Grill Guide should help you out. 🙂
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