While Traeger still dominates talk in the pellet grill world, today there are also many other brands to choose from. Two such brands are Camp Chef and Yoder. Now, these two brands are not really in direct competition for the most part. Camp Chef’s products are focused more on the budget to the mid-range sector of the market. Whereas Yoder is focused more on the premium/higher-priced end of the market. However, I thought we could look at the closest priced/highest specification Camp Chef pellet grill and compare it to the most affordable Yoder grill to explore the differences between these two brands.
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Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 36 with SideKick vs Yoder YS480s
So the first thing to discuss is the price difference between these two pellet grills. You can check the latest price for each grill through the links above, but as of writing this article the Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 36 with Sear Box/Side Kick retails for $1,200, whereas the Yoder YS480s comes in closer to $1,600. There are reasons for the higher price of the Yoder as I’ll discuss below. Part of the reason is the Yoder is a made in the USA pellet grill.
I’ve previously written a summary article on the Camp Chef Woodwind range, so please check that out for full details. For this comparison, I’ve referenced a Woodwind grill with a propane SideKick, though for the same money the propane Sear Box is also available. You can read my article on the Camp Chef Sear Box vs SideKick for the rundown on the differences between them.
Cooking Area & Cooking Functionality
The Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 36 provides a cooking surface that’s 36 inches wide with a total cooking area of 1,235 sq.in. However, that area is divided up between 663 sq.in on the main cooking surface suitable for grilling and smoking and 573 sq.in on an upper smoking rack. The propane SideKick provides another 231 sq.in of high-temperature cooking surface. The Yoder YS480s on the other hand provides a total cooking area of 800 square inches, though the Yoder only offers 480 square inches on the main cooking grate.
Both of these particular Camp Chef and Yoder pellet grills also offer direct-flame grilling from the pellet fire. What that means is high temp grilling over the pellet fire (around 650 degrees) is possible. The Camp Chef propane SideKick can achieve a higher surface temperature up to around 900 degrees. The point being, both of these pellet grills can offer low-temperature smoking and good high-temperature grilling performance, which can not be said of all pellet grills.
Materials/Build Quality & Warranty
While the Yoder maybe a smaller pellet grill compared to the Camp Chef and cost around $400 more, there is a reason. As stated above, Yoder grills are made in the USA which obviously results in higher manufacturing costs. However, Yoder is also using heavier/thicker steel as part of its fabrication process. Where the Camp Chef grill may have a stainless steel lid which will aid in durability, the Yoder cooking chamber is made from very thick 10 gauge steel. Hence, if you choose to leave the grill outside, it would take many years before corrosion/rust could penetrate the cooking chamber.
The heavy-duty construction of the Yoder is why they are willing to offer an impressive warranty of 10 years on the cooking chamber. The pellet grill warranty on the Camp Chef is only 3 years for comparison. However, the thick steel body on the Yoder brings with it potential downsides. First, the Yoder is very heavy (277 lbs) compared to the Camp Chef (177 lbs), hence moving the Yoder around won’t be as easy. Second, while a thick steel cooking chamber can provide some heat retention, it can result in an above-average pellet consumption. Neither the Camp Chef nor the Yoder offers twin-wall construction which is what you really want for lower pellet consumption and better winter cooking performance.
Temperature Control & PID/WiFi Functionality
In terms of temperature range, the control panel on the Camp Chef pellet grill has a lower limit of 160 degrees and an upper limit of 500 degrees. The Yoder provides a temperature range a little wider at 150 to 600 degrees. Now, as previously discussed both of these pellet grills offer direct flame broiling. What that means is when direct flame grilling the temperature at the meat could be around 650-700 degrees on either the Camp Chef or Yoder pellet grill. Also, importantly both of these pellet grills benefit from PID & WiFi functionality.
I have a separate article on PID pellet grills, explaining the feature in more detail. Essentially though a PID control panel offers precise temperature control to with 5 degrees of the set temperature. Both of these pellet grills also benefit from WiFi functionality. Now when purely grilling, WiFi functionality is not going to be useful. However, when either the Camp Chef or Yoder is used as a smoker, that’s where the benefits of WiFi come into play. Using a meat probe plugged into the control panel you can monitor the internal temperature of the meat over a long smoking session. Traeger branded their WiFi pellet grills as WiFire. Yoder has branded their WiFi pellet grills with ‘YFi’, its nice branding touch with that one.
Conclusions On Camp Chef vs Yoder Pellet Grills/Smokers
So as stated above, there is a $400 difference between the two closest priced products from each brand. If you can afford the additional cost you can definitely see where Yoder is spending that money on the 10 gauge steel cooking body which also comes with their impressive 10-year warranty. In terms of temperature range on the control panel, the Yoder also goes a little bit lower and higher than the Camp Chef. The advantage that the Camp Chef pellet grill provides is a larger cooking area and little more cooking functionality with the included propane Sear Box or SideKick. Importantly, both of these pellet grills come with high-quality PID/WiFi control panels. Because at the end of the day, any pellet grill is only as good as its control panel.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope this comparison of Camp Chef vs Yoder was interesting/useful. You may also be interested in my Traeger vs Yoder comparison or maybe my Camp Chef vs Weber article. Or you may want to check out all your options, in that case, please review 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.