Oklahoma Joe’s vs Expert Grill 2022 – Pellet Grill Comparions


Hi, I’m Chris I started PelHeat.com back in 2007.

The Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ brand has been around since the 1980s. Expert Grill which is a Walmart brand has only been around for a few years. When it comes to pellet grills both of these brands are competing at the budget end of the market. For instance, both brands feature in my best pellet grills under $400 article. For this article, we’re going to look in more detail at how these two brands directly compare. Does the heritage of the Oklahoma Joe branding pay dividends or are the range of Expert Grill pellet grills better value?

Oklahoma Joe's vs Expert Grill
So how do Oklahoma Joe pellet girls (left) compare against the Expert Grill competition (right): Images – HomeDepot.com & Walmart.com

Disclaimer: Hey! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or other sites are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

In a rush? Jump to my conclusion on which Oklahoma Joe’s or Expert Grill pellet grills are providing the best deal considering features such as temperature control technology, cooking area, weight, hopper capacity and price point.

Introduction To Oklahoma Joe’s vs Z Expert Grill Pellet Grills

So below I’m going to cover two comparisons, the first is a pellet grill from each brand under $400 and the second is a comparison of the best pellet grills from each of these brands which both come in just under $600.

As the price points of these pellet grills are so similar it makes for a good/fair comparison. So first off we’re going to look at the Oklahoma Joe Rider 600 and the Expert Grill Atlas.

Oklahoma Joe’s Rider 600 vs Expert Grill Atlas

While the Rider 600 is indeed the smallest/cheapest pellet grill from Oklahoma Joe’s the Atlas from Expert Grill is actually their mid-range grill, as the Expert Grill Commodore can sometimes be found for under $300.

However, the Atlas is priced more typically at $350 to $399 and therefore its more appropriate for this comparison to the Rider 600 which retails at $399.

Oklahoma Joe’s Rider 600

The Rider 600 is the first and smallest pellet grill from the Oklahoma Joe brand. The Rider 600 carries over much of the traditional styling from Oklahoma Joe’s charcoal grills and offset smokers.

Oklahoma Joe Rider 600
The smallest/cheapest pellet grill in the Oklahoma Joe’s range is the Rider 600: Images – HomeDepot.com

The compact size of the Rider 600 obviously means its not intended for cooking for a large family. However, its easily large enough to meet the outdoor cooking needs of a small family or couple.

  • Total Cooking Area = 617 sq.in (380 sq.in at the main grate)
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 20 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 500 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = No
  • PID Temperature Control? = No
  • WiFi/App Control? = No
  • Typical Price = $399
  • Availability = HomeDepot.com

Expert Grill Atlas

It’s clear with the Expert Grill range Walmart is trying to offer the largest pellet grills at this price point. No other brand has previously offered a cooking area over 1,000 sq.in for under $400.

Expert Grill Atlas
For under $400 the Expert Grill Atlas is offering premium features for a budget price point: Images – Walmart.com

The Atlas also comes with a PID/Bluetooth control panel which just a few years ago no one would expect on a pellet grill at the price point. The Altas also features a small area in the centre of the grate for direct-flame access.

  • Total Cooking Area = 1001.5 sq.in (500 sq.in roughly on the main grate)
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 24 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 450 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = Yes
  • PID Temperature Control? = Yes
  • WiFi/App Control? = No (Bluetooth)
  • Typical Price = $350 to $399
  • Availability = Walmart.com

Temperature Control & Cooking Performance

The Oklahoma Joe’s Rider 600 is fitted with timer-based control panel. What that means is that a set temperature is achieved by running the auger and combustion fan at set speeds for set periods of time. Its a technology that’s been fitted to pellet grills for roughly 20 years and can achieve a temperature accuracy within 25 degrees of the set temperature.

The Expert Grill Atlas on the other hand is fitted with a PID control panel. What that means is the computer is constantly making adjustments to the auger/fan speed in relation to the set temperature. Now, the PID control panel on the Atlas is not the most advanced on the market, but it can achieve a stable temperature within 10 degrees of the set temperature.

Furthermore, the Expert Grill Atlas has Bluetooth communication and its own App. While Bluetooth connectivity is not as practical as WiFi connectivity, its still impressive for a pellet grill under $400. The Atlas also benefits from direct-flame access which is not found on the Rider 600.

Hence, despite the fact that the Atlas only has a maximum temperature setting of 450 degrees compared to the Rider 600 at 500 degrees with direct-flame access the Atlas could get up to around 650 degrees at the grate.

However, I will note, the direct-flame access area on the Atlas is very small, at around 6 inches in the centre of the grate. Furthermore, the Rider 600 has much better porcelain-coated cast-iron cooking grates compared to the thin wire racks found on the Atlas.

Cooking Area, Weight & Hopper Capacity

Overall, the cooking area of the Expert Grill Atlas (1,002 sq.in) is far larger than that found on the Oklahoma Joe Rider 600 (617 sq.in). Though it should also be noted the difference at the main grate (for grilling) is not as significant, with the Atlas providing just 120 sq.in more than that of the Rider 600.

Now you would probably think with the Atlas being the physically larger grill it would also weigh more. However, the Atlas comes in at 137 lbs and the smaller Rider 600 weighs 150 lbs. Why is that? Well, the Rider 600 is made from slightly thicker steel.

When it comes to hopper capacity the Atlas can hold more at 24 lbs compared to the Rider 600 at 20 lbs. However, the Rider 600 has the better hopper emptying feature and comes with a plastic bucket/lid to stop the wood pellets from going bad.

Pricing and Value

Both of these pellet grills commonly retail for around the $399 price point. However, every now and again you may find Walmart running a sale where they price the Atlas a bit lower down to $350. Though generally both of these pellet grills cost the same amount, so which is offering the better value?

Well, when it comes to features the Expert Grill Atlas is pretty hard to beat. It not only offers the larger total cooking area but has features such as PID, Bluetooth and direct-flame access which are missing from the Oklahoma Joe Rider 600.

However, I will say as the Rider 600 is made from a thicker grade of steel its likely going to be more durable over time. Furthermore, I prefer the cast-iron cooking grates on the Rider 600. So while I would advise not storing the Expert Grill Atlas outside, I think it provides better value overall.

Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX vs Expert Grill Concord

We’re now going to look at the best pellet grill offering from both brands. The Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX is purely a pellet grill and is typically priced at around $649. However, the Expert Grill Concord is usually a little cheaper at just under $600, furthermore its not just a pellet grill its a pellet/gas combo grill.

Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX

In some ways the Rider DLX is similar to the smaller Rider 600 above, for instance, they both feature the same timer-based control panel. However, besides being larger the Rider DLX offers a feature the smaller Rider 600 doesn’t, direct-flame access.

Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX
The Rider DLX offers nearly double the cooking area of the Rider 600: Images – HomeDepot.com

You may have also noticed another difference between the Rider 600 and the Rider DLX pictured above. The Rider DLX features twin chimneys which should help with better smoke/heat distribution within the cooking chamber.

  • Total Cooking Area = 1,200 sq.in (578 sq.in at the main grate)
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 20lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 500 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = Yes (650 degrees)
  • PID Temperature Control? = No
  • WiFi/App Control? = No
  • Typical Price = $649
  • Availability = HomeDepot.comLowes.com & Walmart.com

Expert Grill Concord

So the Expert Grill Concord is offering something a little different, its a combination pellet grill and gas griddle. The benefit of this setup is you have the flavour side (pellet grill/smoker) and the higher heat side (gas griddle).

Expert Grill Concord
The Expert Grill Concord features a gas griddle on the left and pellet grill/smoker on the right: Images – Walmart.com

If we look at the scenario of cooking dinner midweek perhaps you have limited time, then slap some meat on the gas griddle. However, if its the weekend and you have more time available then cooking on the pellet grill/gas griddle together will give you better flavoured food.

  • Total Cooking Area = 1,001 sq.in (644 sq.in pellet grill/354 sq.in gas griddle)
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 24lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 450 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = Yes (650 degrees) & 900 degree gas griddle
  • PID Temperature Control? = Yes
  • WiFi/App Control? = No (Bluetooth)
  • Typical Price = $599
  • Availability = Walmart.com

Temperature Control & Cooking Performance

In some regards, its a similar situation to the smaller grills, the Expert Grill Concord benefits from a PID control panel whereas the Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX does not, and features a previous generation timer-based control panel.

Though I will note the Rider DLX does have a higher temperature setting of 500 degrees compared to 450 on the Concord. However, the point remains that the Concord will hold its temperature more accurately.

Both the Rider DLX and Concord feature direct flame access for a grate surface temperature of around 650 degrees. However, the Concord can also achieve cooking surface temperatures around 900 degrees on its gas griddle.

In terms of flexibility and cooking performance its an easy win for the Expert Grill Concord providing both pellet and gas cooking functionality into a single unit.

Cooking Area, Weight & Hopper Capacity

The Rider DLX does provide the larger overall cooking area of the two providing a total of 1,200 sq.in compared to just over 1,000 sq.in on the Expert Grill Concord.

When it comes to the main cooking grate for pellet cooking the Rider DLX is also offering roughly double the cooking area of the Expert Grill Concord.

However, when you add in the cooking surface area of the gas griddle on the Expert Grill Concord you have a high heat cooking area of close to 700 sq.in compared to just 587 sq.in on the Rider DLX.

The weight of the Expert Grill Concord comes in at only 170 lbs compared to the Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX at 223 lbs. The Rider DLX is made from thicker steel hence the additional weight.

The pellet hopper capacities are the same as the smaller grills, 20lbs on the Rider DLX and 24 lbs on the Concord. Hence, both can take a full bag of hardwood cooking pellets in one go.

Pricing and Value

While the price point of the Expert Grill Concord shifts between the $550 to $599 price point the typical price point of the Oklahoma Joe Rider DLX has been $649 for a couple of years now. Therefore, which of these two pellets do I think is providing the better value?

Well, in terms of total cooking area the Rider DLX does offer more, and I prefer its cast-iron cooking grates over the thin wire racks on the Concord. Furthermore, the thicker steel construction of the Rider DLX would likely stand up to the elements better over time than the Concord.

However, if the Concord is properly protected from the elements I do think its a better deal overall. It offers a more sophisticated temperature control panel and the additional flexibility of the gas griddle can be very handy indeed.

Conclusions On Oklahoma Joe’s vs Expert Grill

While I do like several features of the Oklahoma Joe’s pellet grills for their budget price point (especially the hopper empty feature) Expert Grill products do give them some very stiff competition.

Up until very recently, I used to write about PID temperature control technology only being present on mid-range and premium products. Well, Expert Grill products are some of the lowest cost products currently on the market so offering PID technology across their range is impressive.

Overall, I would say the Expert Grill Atlas and the Concord are providing better value currently than their competition from Oklahoma Joe’s. However, I will also note, these Expert Grill pellet grills are made from pretty thin steel fabrication. Therefore, if you want them to last you are going to need to look after them and not leave them out in the elements all year round.

That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found the above comparison useful/interesting. I’ve also recently done an Oklahoma Joe’s vs Z Grills comparison where I come to a similar conclusion to the above. Also please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide to learn more 🙂

A to Z List of Pellet Grill/Smoker Brands

A to Z List of Pellet Grill/Smoker Brands

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 to Z List of The Best BBQ Wood Pellets

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.

Chris - PelHeat.com

Hi, I’m Chris. I started PelHeat.com back in 2007. This website is intended to be an educational resource on BBQ pellets, pellet grills & smokers. I hope you find the information useful.

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