If you have ever purchased a gas/charcoal BBQ you will be aware of Weber, essentially the biggest name in the BBQ business (here’s proof). Well, Weber has now entered the pellet grill game with their SmokeFire range. You may not be aware of Grilla Grills, however, they are gaining a solid reputation for offering good quality mid-range pellet grills. We’ll compare two pellet grills, one from each brand at the same price point and look at the differences with their provided features. To discuss where each pellet grill has advantages over the other and potential issues with the current Weber pellet grills.
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Grilla Grills Silverbac AT vs Weber SmokeFire EX4
Now, I’ve chosen to pick the Grilla Grills Silverbac AT (All-Terrain) for this comparison as it comes in at the same price point as the Weber SmokeFire EX4 at $999. Though as you can see in my summary article on the Grilla Grills pellet grill range, the Silverbac is available with a standard cabinet for $750, or as a built-in unit for the Grilla Grills outdoor kitchen setup. The Weber SmokeFire EX4 is currently one of two pellet grills that Weber produce, there is also a larger EX6. As the SmokeFire EX4 is commonly found for $999, that’s the grill we’ll use for this comparison.
I’ve also previously written a summary article on the Weber SmokeFire range. Since I wrote that article, Weber is now selling Gen 2 versions of SmokeFire pellet grills that do appear to have addressed issues with the hopper and firmware/software. However, I do still believe that Weber needs to look again at their design of the grease collector to avoid potential issues and I’ll discuss this more below.
Cooking Area & Functionality
In terms of total cooking area, the Grilla Grills Silverbac provides just under 700 square inches (692 sq.in). The main cooking grate provides 507 sq.in, with an additional 185 sq.in provided by an upper smoking rack. The Weber SmokeFire, on the other hand, provides a slightly smaller total cooking area of 672 sq.in, with 432 sq.in at the main cooking grate and 240 sq.in provided by an upper smoking rack. Therefore, while these two grills are relatively close on total cooking area, there is a more notable 75 sq.in difference when it comes to the main cooking grate which can be used for grilling.
While the Grilla Grills Silverbac has the edge on grilling area, its the Weber SmokeFire EX4 which has the edge on grilling functionality. For instance, the maximum temperature setting on the Silverbac is 500 degrees, whereas the EX4 can be set to 600 degrees. Though the Weber pellet grill can also achieve higher temperatures at the cooking grate as it does provide a form of direct-flame access. However, while the Weber pellet grill can excel when it comes to grilling/searing, the current design of the EX4/EX6 is not ideal when it comes to smoking (going low and slow).
The problem some users have experienced is the grease trap on the Weber pellet grills getting blocked with solidified grease/ash. This can potentially result in a grease fire. Now, while this problem can be managed with more frequent cleaning of the pellet grill (see here), it does make the Weber less suited to smoking compared to the Grilla Grills Silverbac, especially for fatty meats. There is now a Gen 2 version of the Weber SmokeFire. However, in my Weber SmokeFire Gen 1 vs Gen 2 article, I discuss how the ahs/grease problem still exists. Hence, as a quick summary, I would give the Weber the edge on grilling performance, and the Grilla Grills the edge with regards to smoking.
Materials & Construction
How a pellet grill is made and the materials used not only impact the likely lifespan of the product but also its cooking performance and how easy it is to clean. Now, I personally would not advise leaving either of these pellet grills outside if possible, as they are not full-stainless steel grills. However, the Grilla Grills Silverbac does feature many external and internal stainless steel components. Namely the lid of the grill/pellet hopper, but also the internal cooking grates and grease tray. Using stainless steel will not only make these components last longer, they will also be easier to clean.
The Weber SmokeFire in comparison does not use as much stainless steel in its construction (though there is some) there is the use of galvanised and porcelain-coated metal. Again, the use of these materials will help the grill to have a longer lifespan over pellet grills which are purely constructed from painted steel panels. What is also worth noting is that both of these pellet grills feature some form of twin-wall construction. The Weber features twin-wall construction on the sides of the grill. The Grilla Grills Silverbac has a twin-wall cooking chamber. This will help both pellet grills to achieve above-average winter cooking performance and reduced pellet consumption.
Control Panels & WiFi Functionality
For the best temperature accuracy available, both of these pellet grills are fitted with a PID (Proportional, Integral, Derivative) control panel. I have a separate article discussing the benefits of PID pellet grills. Essentially, a PID controller is constantly checking the internal temperature of the grill against the set temperature to adjust the pellet feed rate/fan speed. Therefore, with a PID control panel its possible to achieve a temperature accuracy within 5 degrees of the set temperature. However, it is possible for a PID control panel to produce less smoke as a result of the finely tuned combustion process. So what’s the solution to temperature accuracy and smoke production?
Grilla Grills solution is their Alpha Connect control panel as shown in the video above where you can choose temperature accuracy (PID) or Pro mode for a more smokey flavour. Weber has included the SmokeBoost feature into their control panels. SmokeBoost will drop the temperature inside the grill to 165 – 200 degrees and add an additional 20 minutes to the cooking time. While I’m sure that Weber’s SmokeBoost mode will provide additional smokey flavour into the food I just don’t think its a flexible as the AlphaSmoke panel from Grilla Grills.
As I discuss in my article on WiFi pellet grills, it can be a great feature to have especially for particularly long smoking sessions overnight etc. I would personally put PID functionality before WiFi, though WiFi is definitely a feature many people look for. You even have the likes of Traeger using their own separate branding for the feature (WiFire). Many people like to control the lights in their home and other peripherals with their phone, and now pellet grills have been added to that list.
Portability/Moving The Grill Around
Now, neither of these grills are a portable pellet grill in the typical sense. However, both of these pellet grills come with wheels to make moving the grill around easier. While the Weber SmokeFire range uses some pretty small caster wheels which will be fine over a very smooth/hard surface, the Grilla Grills Silverbac AT comes with some much larger wheels and a pull handle. The Silverbac AT is described as ‘competition style’ for those who want to put their grill in the back of the trailer to take to meets/competitions. However, really, it just makes it easier to move the grill in and out of storage in anyone’s backyard which is a good thing.
Conclusions On Grilla Grills vs Weber
Ok, so what are my final thoughts on the current offerings from both brands at the same price point? Well, Weber has the advantage when it comes to high temperature grilling out of the box. However, a set of GrillGrates on the Grilla Grills Silverbac would definitely aid grilling performance. Now the Silverbac comes with Grilla Grills latest Alpha Connect with WiFi functionality it means both Grilla Grills and Weber are equal on that feature. The advantages for the Grilla Grills Silverbac over the Weber SmokeFire are a larger cooking area and more extensive use of stainless steel. Furthermore, until Weber redesigns their grease collector to avoid potential grease fires, I’d personally feel more comfortable doing long low and slow smoking sessions on the Silverbac.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope the comparison above on Grilla Grills vs Weber was interesting useful. You may also want to check our other comparisons I’ve done such as Weber vs Traeger and Grilla Grills vs Camp Chef. To review all your options within your budget 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.