Pros & Cons – Pit Boss Competition Series 850

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The Competition Series is a line of products from Pit Boss that are sold exclusively through Academy Sports, of which the 850 is the smallest/cheapest model. At under $600 (check our database for the latest price), the Competition Series 850 is widely affordable. However, let’s review its Pros & Cons in more detail…

Tap/click above for our video on the Pros & Cons of the Pit Boss Competition Series 850 pellet grill/smoker

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With a price point under 600 dollars, and offering a total overall cooking area of 849 square inches, the Pit Boss Competition Series 850 is one of the best value pellet grills/smokers on the market.

The cooking area of the Pit Boss Competition Series 850 is large for its price point.
For under 600 dollars, there are not many other pellet grills that offer more cooking area

If you check out our database and pre-filter for pellet grills under $600, you will find a couple of other Pit Boss models that offer a larger cooking area for similar money.

However, models such as the Pit Boss Savannah Onyx Edition are missing an important feature found on this Competition Series 850, WiFi connectivity and the SmokeIT App.

Pit Boss products are very affordable (cheap) compared to many other brands of pellet grills/smokers. However, with that, you need to keep your expectations in check.

Don't expect Pit Boss pellet grills and smokers to have the best fit and finish on the market.
Don’t be surprised if the fit and finish of the Pit Boss Competition Series 850 isn’t the best you’ll find on the market

Generally, the fit and finish of Pit Boss products are not going to match that of more expensive products, and that shouldn’t be too surprising.

The Competition Series 850 features one of the latest controllers from Pit Boss, which runs a PID algorithm for accurate temperature control and temperature adjustment in 5-degree intervals.

It also notably features a P-Setting, which lets you adjust the amount of smoke the pellet fire generates. However, with more smoke comes wider temperature swings.

The Pit Boss Competition Series 850 features a PID control panel that also comes with WiFi functionality
The PID/WiFi controller fitted to the Competition Series 850 is one of the best controllers currently fitted to a Pit Boss pellet grill/smoker

Its also notable that this controller features WiFi connectivity and the ability to connect to the Pit Boss SmokeIT App, as this is a feature currently missing from the Onyx Edition models at a similar price point.

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One of my pet peeves is when grill manufacturers fit small caster wheels onto heavy pellet grills/smokers as, in many instances, they are just not practical for how many people store/use their grills.

The small caster wheels on the Pit Boss Competition Series 850 are not ideal.
I’m not a fan of small caster wheels fitted to pellet grills/smokers

Many people will store their grill in the garage/shed, and they have to move the grill across their lawn, which can be soft and muddy sometimes. Hence, not a great surface for caster wheels.

When it comes to grilling and searing, its an area where many pellet grills can struggle to get the grate up to temperatures over 500 degrees for good results.

Therefore, the direct-flame access of the Competition Series 850 means it can easily get the grate up to proper grilling/searing temps.

The direct-flame access found of the Competition Series 850 is great for grilling/searing performance.
Direct-flame access can get the grate surface temperature to over 650 degrees

Pit Boss claims that direct-flame access will provide temperatures up to 1,000 degrees. However, that’s a bit optimistic. But it will get the grate to temperatures around and potentially over 650 degrees.

While direct-flame access is a Pro with regards to grilling/searing performance, it’s a Con when it comes to the risk of a grease fire occurring.

Direct-flame access can increase the risk of a grease fire.
Owners of the Competition Series 850 need to be careful to avoid a grease fire when using direct-flame access

If users clean the grease tray frequently enough, the potential risk of a grease fire can be properly mitigated. However, it needs to be cleaned more frequently than pellet grills that don’t offer the feature.

My Final Thoughts On The Pit Boss Competition Series 850

With a budget of under $600 to spend on a pellet grill/smoker, the Pit Boss Competition Series 850 is well worth considering for its cooking area, direct-flame access, and WiFi connectivity.

However, expectations need to be kept in check with regard to the fit and finish of the grill, and the small caster wheels are by no means ideal.

With our database through the link below, you can review all of your pellet grill/smoker options currently on the market and compare/contrast the features/specs of the Pit Boss Competition Series 850.

PelHeat Pellet Grill/Smoker Database

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