With this comparison article, we’re going to be discussing two of my favourite mid-range pellet grill brands, Camp Chef and Grilla Grills. Both of the pellet grills/smokers below from each brand is an excellent choice for most peoples needs. However, each has its own key strengths. Hence, I’ll highlight those strengths so you can assess if you’re in the market for a new pellet grill which one would best suit your needs and particular circumstances. While neither Camp Chef nor Grilla Grills is currently as well known as Traeger or Pit Boss (here’s proof), these two brands are building a strong and growing following.
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As you will see below both Camp Chef and Grilla Grills are offering compelling products. For instance, both feature PID temperature controllers for a temperature accuracy of 5 degrees from the set temperature. Both also feature some degree of stainless steel. I’m going to pick a model from each brand at a similar price point for this to be a fair comparison. Just a quick note, you may be familiar with Z Grills which are a budget pellet grill brand. Their products serve as a low-cost entry into pellet grills. As I discuss in my Grilla Grills vs Z Grills article while they may appear to be the same pellet grills, Grilla Grills are built to a higher specification.
Introduction To Camp Chef vs Grilla Grills
So as I referenced above, I’m going to compare one pellet grill/smoker from each brand at a similar price point. The standard Silverbac from Grilla Grills which retails for $749 appears to be their most popular model, therefore, that’s what I’ll discuss below. The closest Camp Chef model on price is the Woodwind WiFi 24 at $800. Hence, while it does cost a little bit more than the Grilla Grill, its closest enough for a fair comparison. First off, let’s look at the provided cooking area with both of these pellet grills/smokers.
Cooking Area Provided (Grilling and Smoking)
Its rare you’ll come across any type of BBQ today that has a single cooking surface. As well as the main cooking surface for both grilling and smoking there will usually be one or more upper cooking racks provided. That additional cooking space can be very handy. However, you always need to remember, that additional cooking area over the main cooking grate can only be used for smoking (going low and slow), it cannot be used for grilling. So always check the details on cooking areas provided on any grill to make sure what it refers to. For instance, the Camp Chef WiFi 24 provides a total cooking area of 800 square inches. However, that’s divided up between 418 square inches on the main cooking surface and 382 square inches is provided by an upper rack.
The Grilla Grills Silverbac on the other hand provides a total cooking area of 692 square inches. When you check the detail behind that figure its divided up by 507 square inches on the main cooking surface and 185 square inches on an upper cooking rack. Hence, while the Camp Chef may provide a larger cooking area overall, its actually the Grilla Grills which provides the larger area for grilling. A classic example of why its always important to check the detail on cooking areas. Which would better suit your needs obviously depends on what type of food you spend most of your time cooking. Do you need more space for high heat cooking of steaks and burgers or more space for slow cooking other cuts of meat?
Temperature Controllers and WiFi Functionality
As stated above, both of these pellet grills use a PID temperature controller for accurate temperature control. From this point forward when you are spending over $500 on a pellet grill/smoker you should expect a PID temperature controller. In terms of temperature range, both of these pellet grills are very similar with a maximum temperature setting of 500 degrees. However, there is a bit of a difference on the low end. The Camp Chef can be set as low as 160 degrees, whereas the lowest setting on the Grilla Grills is 180 degrees. So what about WiFi functionality? Well, with the latest Grilla Grills Alpha Connect control panel both brands now offer WiFi functionality.
This Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 24 just like all Woodwind models comes with WiFi integration. You can monitor and adjust the Camp Chef through their Camp Chef Connect smartphone application. The Grilla Grills Alpha Connect control panel is the latest iteration and it features some unique features which I’m going to discuss soon in a dedicated article. WiFi functionality is one of the reasons why pellet grills are so popular.
Direct-Flame For Higher Temperature Grilling
While both control panels on the Camp Chef and Grilla Grill max out at 500 degrees that’s not the highest temperature at the grate the Camp Chef can achieve. The Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 24 is fitted with Slide ‘N Grill which is Camp Chef’s version of direct-flame access. Essentially you can pull a lever on the outside of the grill which opens up vents in the grease tray. This allows the flames from the pellet burn pot below to reach the main cooking grate. With Slide ‘N Grill in use, the surface temperature of the cooking grate can actually achieve higher temperatures up to around 650 degrees, offering superior grilling/searing performance.
Grilla Grills like several other brands (Traeger included) don’t currently include direct-flame access functionality. The reason being as I discuss in my when to clean a pellet grill post is there are some risks for the user when using direct-flame access if they are not keeping their pellet grill clean. Can the Grilla Grills Silverbac still grill? Sure, as standard though it just won’t acheive a main grate surface temperature over 500 degrees. However, you could add in some cast aluminium GrillGrates which will provide improved grilling/searing performance. As the Grilla Grills is $50 cheaper than the Camp Chef with GrillGrates added they probably come in at a very similar price.
Construction and Materials
Above we have established that Camp Chef has the edge over Grilla Grills when it comes to WiFi functionality and also direct-flame access. However, when it comes to construction and materials its Grilla Grills which has the edge over Camp Chef. While the Camp Chef Woodwind range does feature a stainless steel lid, the use of stainless steel is by no means as comprehensive as it is on the Grilla Grills Silverbac. The Silverbac features a superior re-enforced stainless steel lid along with a stainless steel lid on the pellet hopper. However, its the internals of the Silverbac where the use of stainless steel really shines, pardon the pun.
So the Grilla Grills Silverbac features stainless steel cooking racks along with a stainless steel grease tray, heat deflector and burn pot. The Camp Chef currently doesnt use stainless steel as extensively on their internal components. Stainless steel components not only have a much longer service life but due to the lack of corrosion, they are also much easier to clean. I also have a separate post with tips on how to clean a pellet grill.
Another area where the Grilla Grills Silverbac excels over the Camp Chef is it features twin-wall insulated construction around the combustion zone. As shown in this post on cooking during the winter/colder months, twin-wall construction keeps more of the heat in reducing pellet consumption. The Camp Chef would need the assistance of an insulated blanket to try and achieve the same low pellet consumption figures.
Upgrades and Accessories
So we’ve covered the key strengths of each pellet grill, what about potential upgrades/accessories you could consider for either product? Well, on the Camp Chef side you can purchase the Woodwind WiFi 24 on its own (for $800) or you can include either a Sear Box or SideKick. These are bolt-on propane accessories which give the Camp Chef the access to higher temperature grilling/searing (up to 900 degrees). However, the SideKick is actually a bit more flexible, there is a range of accessories for cooking pizza etc which you can also do with the SideKick which make it an interesting option to consider. I have a post on the Sear Box vs SideKick where I discuss the capabilities/strengths of each accessory.
What about Grilla Grills, are there any cool accessories you can consider for the Silverbac? Indeed there is, two main accessories are available which can adapt the Silverbac to suit different needs. First is the All-Terrain kart, which can be purchased separately or can be purchased with the Silverbac, and is branded as the Silverbac AT for just under a thousand dollars. If you wish to participate in BBQ competitions or you simply want to make it much easier to move the pellet grill over rough terrain the AT kart with its much larger wheels and pull handle will make your life a whole lot easier.
I’ve previously written an article on pellet grills for outdoor kitchens where I discussed DIY alternatives apposed to a contractor coming in to build an outdoor kitchen setup. However, Grilla Grills have also developed their own solution, stainless steel modular outdoor kitchen cabinets/modules. I really do like this idea, as it bridges the gap between full DIY and contractors. Another benefit which Grilla Grills state is if you move home, these stainless steel outdoor kitchen cabinets can easily be taken to your new home. They are looking to expand the range of options in the future with sink and fridge units, very cool.
Conclusions On Camp Chef vs Grilla Grills
As I hope you can see from the above, both of these pellet grills can serve as an excellent addition to anyone’s back yard. However, each has its strengths in different areas. The Camp Chef excels when it comes to high-temperature grilling/searing, whether that’s through the direct-flame access of the pellet grill its self or with the addition of a Sear Box/SideKick. Both Camp Chef and Grilla Grills now offer WiFi functionality, so that’s no longer a differentiating factor between the two brands.
Where the Grilla Grills Silverbac excels is with its extensive use of stainless steel in the construction of the pellet grill and its twin-wall insulated construction. Furthermore, either the All-Terrain kart or the stainless steel outdoor kitchen cabinets can serve as excellent accessories to better suit a wide range of lifestyles and needs. Essentially, either one of these pellet grills is a solid option to choose. Which one would best suit you depends on your own specific intentions of what you need the pellet grill to do.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found this Camp Chef vs Grilla Grills comparision interesting/useful. If are looking to spend under $500 on a pellet grill you may also want to check out my Camp Chef vs Z Grills comparison. If you want to review pretty much all of your current options for pellet grills/smokers please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂
Back in 2007 when I first become aware of pellet grills and smokers the only brand I was really aware of was Traeger. Traeger is really where this whole concept of cooking with pellets started in the 1980s. It was a ‘slow burner’ (pardon the pun) but since the 2010s is really when pellet grills and smokers started to get mainstream awareness, discussed alongside gas and charcoal grills. There are now over 30 pellet grill/smoker brands that I’m aware of, and the link above goes to my A to Z list of brands article.
Now, you may already be aware of a few of the other brands such as Pit Boss, Camp Chef, Z Grills and I’m sure you are aware of Weber, though you may not have known they have entered the pellet grill game. However, they are now many, many more brands to look into. Some may be what are commonly referred to as ‘Traeger clones’, but many others are offering their own unique designs and features.
A pellet grill/smoker is only as good as the BBQ pellets you put into it. The type/quality of the BBQ wood pellets you use will impact temperature performance and smoke flavour. There are many pellet flavours including Apple, Hickory, Mapel, Oak and Walnut to name but a few. However, some brands are hardwood blended pellets whereas others are 100% single wood species.
In this article, I provide details on over 20 brands of BBQ wood pellets, their range of flavours, whether they are 100% single wood species or hardwood blended pellets, their typical price and where they are available. I also provide tips on how to get the best deal when buying BBQ wood pellets and how to test pellet quality. Finally, I discuss the new kid on the block, charcoal pellets and their special attributes compared to all other hardwood BBQ pellets.