Outside of why pellet smokers are so popular if you are new to the concept of pellet grills, or maybe even if you are familiar with a couple of different brands of pellet grills who do you think are the most popular brands? Now, I’m not going to surprise a lot of people with this statement, but Traeger is currently the most popular pellet grill brand. How do I know this? Is this just a guess or is there some means for me to prove it? Well, Traeger for many years now has been heavily branding their products over social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc) and they have several celebrity endorsements. But Facebook Likes is not exactly the best/most scientific metric to measure brand popularity, is there a better/more accurate means? Well yes, there is, its called Google Trends.
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Traeger vs Pit Boss Interest/Popularity
Google Trends is a very handy tool which I don’t believe is widely known about. If you are researching a topic and you want to research what people are actually searching for on Google in different countries, even specific regions of the country you can use Google Trends. When you enter a search term you do not get a specific number of searches, the popularity of a particular search query is illustrated between 0 to 100, with 100 being the most popular/searched term at a specific period of time. Or as Google refers to it as ‘interest over time’. I’m sure you have heard the phrase a ‘picture speaks a thousand words’. Hence below is a screenshot of a Google Trends chart of Traeger vs Pit Boss over the last 5 years. Pit Boss is currently the second most popular pellet grill brand.
So starting with the bar chart in the lower-left corner of the graphic above you can see for the average of interest/popularity over the last 5 years Traeger shows quite a healthy lead over Pit Boss. However, the line graph to the right shows a more interesting story. The interest/popularity in Traeger does show a consistent increase over the last 5 years. With Pit Boss in 2018, there was a marked increase in interest/popularity, and it also shows that Pit Boss appears to be closing in on Traeger with the gap in popularity between the two brands reducing. So what happened in 2018 which would have created a spark of increased interest for Pit Boss pellet grills? Well, I believe an educated guess would be Pit Boss becoming the official grill of NASCAR.
The Popularity Of Other Pellet Grill Brands
So you may be wondering how other pellet grill brands compare to Traeger and Pit Boss, well this is where it gets a bit more tricky. For instance, Traeger and Pit Boss are pretty much exclusively pellet grill/smoker brands. I’m aware Pit Boss also sell some electric smokers and some combined pellet/gas grills. However, predominantly, Pit Boss is a pellet grill brand. Well, there are also big brands such as Camp Chef with their Woodwind and SmokePro pellet grills which are very popular. However, Camp Chef is not exclusively a pellet grill brand, they sell a lot of gas grills. Furthermore, take Weber who have now entered the pellet grill game with their SmokerFire pellet grills. Well, Weber is by far the biggest name in BBQ’s producing a huge number of gas/charcoal grills. Therefore, the interest/popularity in these brand searches as shown by the graph below is in many cases not specifically people looking to purchase a pellet grill/smoker.
As you can see from the chart above, Weber is technically a bigger (more popular) brand than Traeger, however much of that interest is in their gas/charcoal grills, not currently in their pellet grills. Now, many have predicted that Weber has the ‘brand strength’ to take over Traeger’s spot as the most popular pellet grill brand. However, the launch of the Weber SmokerFire pellet grill range has not gone too smoothly. Therefore, I’m not convinced you will see Weber over take Traeger as the most popular pellet grill brands for many years, if ever. I believe its more likely you will see Pit Boss challenge Traeger as the most popular pellet grill brand as Pit Boss is focussing on affordability and Traeger is focusing more on premium pellet grills with their Pro Series, Ironwood and Timberline models.
What About Smaller Pellet Grill Brands?
Unfortunately, I cannot put more than four pellet grill brands into the Google Trends graphs without it becoming very difficult to see what is actually going on. There are other very popular brands such as REC TEC, Green Mountain Grills and Grilla Grills. So I’ve produced another graph below also including Camp Chef as a datum as you see in the graph above how Camp Chef compares in popularity/interest to the ‘big boys’ of the pellet grill game.
So as you can see, REC TEC is consistently growing in popularity and is approaching a similar market position to Camp Chef. Then there is currently quite a big divide between Green Mountain Grills (GMG) and Grilla Grills. However, it needs to be noted these are much newer brands which have not been producing pellet grills for the same amount of time as Camp Chef and REC TEC.
Conclusions On The Most Popular Pellet Grills
There are also many other brands of pellet grills which I haven’t mentioned and included in the charts above. These include brands such as Broil King, Oklahoma Joe’s, Z Grills, Yoder, Cuisinart and several premium/luxury pellet grill brands. If you are interested to compare different pellet grill brands against each other to view the interest over time, in different countries, heck even different states I encourage you to go and have a play with Google Trends.
What I do want to point out is that the data above on popularity/interest over time is not a true indication on the quality/value for money of the pellet grills produced by those brands. While good word of mouth from customers is a contributing factor, so obviously is the size of a brands marketing budget to develop an awareness of a brand/product. Hence, you shouldn’t make your next pellet grill purchase purely on the popularity/interest in a brand, though it could be a contributing factor. You really need to base your choice on the features you need/want your pellet grill/smoker to have. So its obviously handy then I’ve produced a Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide to help then isn’t it! 🙂
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.