Pit Boss Competition vs Platinum Series – Which Is Better?


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

The Pit Boss Competition Series is a retailer-exclusive product line, only available at Academy Sports. However, its not the first retailer-exclusive product line from Pit Boss, far from it. For instance, there is the Pit Boss Platinum Series which is a Walmart exclusive. Therefore, the obvious questions that come to mind are what are the differences (pros and cons) between these two product ranges? Furthermore, which pellet grills/smokers provide the better value?

Pit Boss Competition vs Platinum Series
For instance, we’ll look at how a Pit Boss Competition 850 (left) compares against a Pit Boss Platinum Laredo (right): Images – Acadmey.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.

Introduction To The Pit Boss Competition vs Platinum Series

So as stated in the intro above, you’re only able to pick up a Pit Boss Competition model from Academy Sports, and the Platinum Series models are exclusive to Walmart.

The promotional video for the new Competition Series: Video – PitBoss-Grills.com

While the Competition Series is relatively new, the Platinum Series has been available at Walmart for several years now, and additional models have been added since they were first introduced.

A promotional video for the updated Platinum Series line-up: Video – PitBoss-Grills.com

First, I’ll do a general overview of the similarities and differences between the Competition Series and the Platinum Series and then we’ll get into a more detailed one-on-one comparison to work out which model is offering the better value.

Control Panel Similarities & Differences

I’ve previously written comparison articles on other Pit Boss ranges, such as the Navigator vs Sportsman or the Navigator vs Mahogany ranges.

With those examples, all the control panels are based on previous-generation technology, no PID and no WiFi/App support.

PID stands for Proportional, Integral, Derivative, I have an article on PID pellet grills if you would like to learn more.

But to put it simply, a PID control panel is a much smarter control panel, and it can maintain a much tighter control of temperature.

Both the Competition Series and Platinum Series feature PID/WiFi control panels with a temperature range of 180 to 500 degrees.

Pit Boss Competition vs Platinum Series
Both control panels on the Competition Series (left) and the Platinum Series (right) feature PID temperature control and WiFi (SmokeIT) functionality: Images – PitBoss-Grills.com

Furthermore, both the Competition Series and Platinum Series feature direct-flame access for improved grilling/searing results.

Therefore, is there any significant difference between the control panels of these two different product ranges? Well, there is one difference that might sway your decision.

The Return Of The P-Setting

What the Competition Series control panels have, which the Platinum Series control panels don’t have, is a Smoke Setting with P-Setting adjustment.

P-Setting stands for Pause Setting, and what it means is by adjusting the P-Setting, its possible to change the pellet fuel feed rate, and the result can be increased smoke production.

While PID temperature control is great at burning pellets very efficiently to maintain a set temperature (fewer temperature swings), the result can be less smoke production.

Hence, the Smoke Setting/P-Setting adjusting on Pit Boss Competition models gives the user the choice of tight temperature control (standard PID) or the Smoke Setting with P-Setting adjustment.

Pit Boss Competition Series P-Setting Adjustment
An extract from the manual of the Pit Boss Competition Series 850 discussing the P-Setting adjustment: Image – PitBoss-Grills.com

Therefore, while both the Competition Series and Platinum Series models are good at holding stable temperatures, the Competition Series models are more able to produce more smoke when requested to do so.

Does this mean a Competition Series model is always the better option? Not necessarily, for instance, if you grill more than smoke over long, low and slow sessions, it might not matter to you that much.

You may be more interested in which model provides the largest main grate. Well, its these sorts of questions we’ll look into now, starting with the tables below.


Pit Boss Competition Series

Features8501600V5CS11230CS1
TypeHorizontalHorizontalVertical SmokerPellet/Gas Combo
Total Cooking Area849 sq.in1,578 sq.in849 sq.in1,261 sq.in
Main Grate593 sq.in648 sq.in631 sq.in x 2
Cooking Surfaces2354
Hopper Size21 lbs26 lbs55 lbs21 lbs
Temp Range180-500180-500150-420180-500 (900 Gas)
Direct Flame Access?YesYesYes
PID Control?YesYesNoYes
WiFi/App?YesYesYesYes
Typical Price$549$799$549$699

Pit Boss Platinum Series

FeaturesLaredoLockhartBrunswickKC Combo
TypeHorizontalHorizontal Vertical SmokerPellet/Gas Combo
Total Cooking Area1,006 sq.in2,136 sq.in1,164 sq.in1,001 sq.in
Main Grate527 sq.in513 sq.in439 sq.in x 2
Cooking Surfaces2543
Hopper Size26 lbs40 lbs98 lbs26 lbs
Temp Range (℉)180 – 500180 – 500150 – 420180 – 500 (900 Gas)
Direct-Flame?YesYesYes
PID Control? YesYesYesYes
WiFi/App?YesYesYesYes
Typical Price$547$847$597$797

Pit Boss Competition 850 vs Platinum Laredo

Here we have two horizontal pellet grills/smokers from each range at almost an identical price point of around $550, so how do they compare?

Well, on the overall cooking area, the Platinum Laredo provides more at 1,006 sq.in compared to 849 sq.in on the Competition 850, but what about the main grates?

With the main grates, its actually the Competition 850 which offers more surface area at 563 sq.in compared to just 527 sq.in on the Platinum Laredo.

Pit Boss Competition 850 vs Platinum Laredo
Despite the Platinum Laredo (right) offering more cooking area overall, the Competition 850 (left) actually has the larger main grate: Images – Academy.com and Walmart.com

When it comes to hopper capacity, its a win for the Platinum Laredo at 26 lbs compared to 21 lbs on the Competition 850, but both can still take a full bag of grill pellets.

Now, if all other factors were equal, normally I’d probably state the Platinum Laredo is better value for those who primarily smoke (due to the larger cooking area), and the Competition 850 is better value for those who primarily grill due to the larger main grate.

However, as I’ve noted above, the Competition 850 benefits from a Smoke Setting/P-Setting that’s currently missing from the Platinum Laredo. Therefore, its the Competition model which has more smoking functionality.


Pit Boss Competition 1600 vs Platinum Lockhart

As you can see from the images of these two grills below, their overall design is very different. The Competition 1600 is your typical horizontal barrel grill, but the Platinum Lockhart is a very unique design with an upper smoking cabinet.

As a result, the total cooking area on the Platinum Lockhart is a massive 2,136 sq.in, mainly due to that upper smoking cabinet. The Competition 1600 offers a total of 1,578 sq.in.

However, the main grate sizes tell a different story. The main grate on the Competition 1600 is 648 sq.in, whereas its only 513 sq,in on the Platinum Lockhart.

Pit Boss Competition 1600 vs Platinum Lockhart
The Pit Boss Competition 1600 (left) is a roll top horizontal grill, whereas the Platinum Lockhart (right) is a horizontal/vertical hybrid: Images – Academy.com & Walmart.com

When it comes to hopper sizes, the Competition 1600 has a 26 lb hopper, but the hopper on the Platinum Lockhart is significantly larger at 40 lbs.

Pricing-wise, the Competition 1600 comes in at $799, and the Platinum Lockhart comes in a little higher at $849, so the question is, does the Platinum Lockhart justify the additional cash?

Well, it is indeed the larger pellet grill/smoker, on the overall cooking area (not the main grate). Therefore, the Platinum Lockhart is really more focused towards smoking than grilling.

Therefore, it could be the case of going for the Competition 1600 if you primarily grill, and the Platinum Lockhart if you primarily like to cook your food over long low and slow sessions.


Pit Boss Competition vs Platinum Vertical Smokers

With this comparison, we have a vertical pellet smoker from each range, the Competition V5CS1 and the Platinum Brunswick, so let’s compare them.

In terms of overall cooking area, the Platinum Brunswick is quite a bit larger, providing 1,164 sq.in compared to 849 sq.in on the Competition V5CS1.

Likewise, when it comes to the pellet hoppers, with the Platinum Brunswick holding 98 lbs compared to 55 lbs on the Competition V5CS1.

Pit Boss Competition vs Platinum Vertical Smokers
The Pit Boss Competition vertical pellet smoker is a single-door design, whereas the Platinum Brunswick has two doors: Images – Academy.com & Walmart.com

Personally, I also prefer the split door design on the Platinum Brunswick. Furthermore, the Brunswick is actually the only one to have a PID control panel.

I noticed on closer inspection the Competition V5CS1 is not fitted with the same control panel as its other Competition Series siblings.

The Competition V5CS1 is fitted with a SmokeIT upgrade panel used on previous generation products, so the question is, does that take away from the value of Competition V5CS1?

Well, as the Competition V5CS1 is typically priced at $549 and the Platinum Brunswick is only a little bit more at $597, yes, I do think the Platinum Brunswick is the better value of the two.


Pit Boss Competition vs Platinum Pellet/Gas Combos

I’ve been watching the popularity of pellet/gas combo grills develop considerably over the last couple of years, and Pit Boss has been keen to offer several products in this category.

When it comes to the overall cooking area, the Pit Boss Competiton 1230CS1 offers more at 1,261 sq.in compared to just 1,001 sq.in on the Platinum KC Combo.

However, the Pit Boss Competiton 1230CS1 also offers the larger main grate sizes at 631 sq.in each, compared to 439 sq.in each on the Platinum KC Combo.

Pit Boss Competition vs Platinum Pellet/Gas Combos
The Pro Boss Competition pellet/gas combo (left) offers the larger cooking area over the Pit Boss Platinum KC Combo (right): Images – Academy.com & Walmart.com

The Pit Boss Competition 1230CS1 does provide the smaller hopper though at 21 lbs compared to 26 lbs on the Platinum KC Combo, but I don’t think its a significant benefit.

As referenced above, while both of these pellet/gas grills get a PID/WiFi control panel, the Pit Boss Competition 1230CS1 also benefits from a Smoke Setting with P-Setting adjustment.

With regards to pricing, the Pit Boss Competition 1230CS1 comes in at $699, and the Platinum KC Combo is priced higher at $797.

As a result, due to the larger overall cooking area, larger main grates and the Smoke Setting, I think the Pit Boss Competition 1230CS1 is the better value.


Conclusions On The Pit Boss Competition vs Platinum Series

For quite a few years now in the budget segment, the Pit Boss Platinum Series models have offered some of the best value products on the market for their size/features.

As you can see from the Competition Series table and Platinum Series table, there are several models from each range that compete directly on size and price point.

I’ve previously done a comparison on the Pit Boss Platinum Series vs Pro Series as well as the Pro Series vs Competition Series, and I think the Competition Series, in general, is offering better value.

I like the roll-top lid designs of the larger Competition Series models, and as discussed above, the additional Smoke Setting only currently found on Competition Series models is a big plus point for me.

That’s it! Thanks for reading, if you have been considering either of these Pit Boss product ranges, I hope the above has helped you to come to a decision.

For more articles on the latest and greatest developments, please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂

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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