Pit Boss Onyx Edition vs Pro Series – Which Is Better?


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

Pit Boss likes to offer retailer-specific models through big box stores like Lowes and Walmart. Well, there is a new range of Pit Boss pellet grills/smokers exclusively for Walmart, called the Onyx Edition. Instead of just describing the features of these new grills, I think it helps to do a comparison, in this case, against the Pit Boss Pro Series exclusive to Lowes. We’ll look at the similarities/differences to try and work out which is the better deal.

Pit Boss Onyx Edition vs Pro Series
So which is the better deal, the Onyx Edition from Walmart or the Pro Series from Lowes?: Images – Walmart.com & Lowes.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 Onyx Edition vs Pro Series

Now, the Onyx Edition, I’m sure, will become an entire range. However, as of this moment, the first and only model to be released as part of that range is the Savannah.

Therefore, for the moment, this will be a relatively short comparison article compared to my Pit Boss Competition Series vs Pro Series article, for instance.

However, I’ll update this comparison once more Onyx Edition models are released. To start though, below is the first promotional video from Pit Boss on the Onyx Edition model, the Savannah.

The Savannah 1500 XL1 is the first model of the new Onyx Edition range exclusive to Walmart: Image – PitBoss-Grills.com

So the Pit Boss Pro Series, if you didn’t know, is a Lowes Exclusive, and its been one of the most popular ranges of Pit Boss pellet grills/smokers for many years now.

For this comparison, we are looking at the second generation of Pro Series models. I have an article on the Pit Boss Pro Series Gen 1 vs Gen 2 if you are not aware of the differences.

The Pit Boss Pro Series is a range of pellet grills/smokers exclusively sold at Lowes: Video – PitBoss-Grills.com

Below I’ll first discuss the similarities in the technology/features between the Pit Boss Onyx Edition and the Pro Series models. We’ll then get into a direct model-to-model comparison.

As there is currently just one Onyx Edition model, the Savannah, we’ll compare it against the Pro Series model which closely matches it on size/grilling area etc, and that would be the Pro Series 1600.

Control Panel Similarities & Differences

So the first thing to point out is both the Onyx Edition and Pro Series models use PID control panels that are also WiFi enabled and can take advantage of the Pit Boss SmokeIT App.

The reason its important to state that is because that’s not currently the case across the entire Pit Boss range. Check out my Mahogany vs Sportsman or Navigator vs Sportsman articles as examples.

The advantage of PID technology is that it enables a pellet grill/smoker to hold its actual internal temperature much closer to the set internal temperature.

Pit Boss Onyx Edition vs Pro Series Control Panels
On the left is the control panel fitted to Onyx Edition models, and on the right is the control panel fitted to Pro Series models: Images – Walmart.com & Lowes.com

In terms of further similarities, both of these control panels offer a temperature range of 180 to 500 degrees. While we’re on the topic of temperature, both ranges also offer direct-flame access.

Therefore, on the face of it, the temperature control and control panel technology between the Onyx Edition and Pro Series models would appear identical.

However, there is a difference and its quite an important difference at that. The Onyx Edition offers a Smoke Setting, whereas the Pro Series models (mostly) currently do not.

There is a Pro Series 1600 Elite which does feature a smoke setting, but that’s not the case on the lower specification/cheaper Pro Series models.

The Return Of The P-Setting

If you currently own or have owned a previous generation Pit Boss or another brand of pellet grill/smoker, you may remember the P-Setting.

On previous generation control panels, the pellet feed auger worked on a timer, so many seconds on and then so many seconds off.

PID temperature control works differently. With a PID control panel, it constantly monitors the internal temperature and compares it to the set temperature to decide when to turn the auger on and off.

However, while PID technology is excellent for tight temperature control, a more efficient pellet fire also means a fire that produces less smoke.

Hence, the trade-off has typically been, with many pellet grill/smoker PID control panels, you may get tighter temperature control, but you also get less smoke production as a result.

However, the control panel fitted to the Pit Boss Onyx Edition models is a PID control panel, but it also has a P-Setting which can be used when the Smoke Setting is activated.

Pit Boss Onyx Edition P-Setting Adjustment
This is an extract from the Savannah Onyx Edition manual on the P-Setting adjustment: Image – PitBoss-Grills.com

So as you can see above, with P-Setting adjustments, the user is altering the ‘Pause Time’ between the auger coming back on again to feed more pellets into the fire.

The point is, in between that gap, with the correct P-Setting to suit the outside ambient temperature, the pellets will begin to smoulder and will create more smoke.

However, if the P-Setting is not suitable for the outside temperature or a strong gust of wind hits the pellet grill/smoker, it can result in a flameout situation.

Therefore, P-Setting adjustment needs to be gradual. Also, when operating in the Smoke mode, wider temperature swings will be present, its the trade-off with producing more smoke.

However, for those who want the ability to produce more smoke, this is where the Pit Boss Onyx Edition models have a clear advantage over most of the Pit Boss Pro Series models.

The Style Of The Porcelain Coated Cast-Iron Grates

A feature that many Pit Boss owners like is their porcelain enamel-coated cast-iron grates, the reason being they provide better grilling/searing performance over thin wire racks.

With the Pit Boss Pro Series, they tried something a little different. Instead of grates designed on straight grill bars, they went for a hatched design, which does have its benefits but also its drawbacks.

Pit Boss Pro Series Cast-Iron Grates
The hatched design of the Pit Boss Pro Series grates has been divisive: Image – PitBoss-Grills.com

The benefit of the hatched grate design is that when cooking long thin pieces of food, think bacon/asparagus, they are less likely to fall through the grates.

The problem is that this hatched design is harder to clean as you cannot just run a grill grate brush along the grates to clean them off.

As a result, with the Pit Boss Onyx Edition models, they have gone back to fitting straight grill bars, but they are still porcelain-coated cast iron which is the important thing.


Pit Boss Onyx Edition

FeaturesSavannah
Total Cooking Area1,507 sq.in
Main Grate633 sq.in
Cooking Surfaces3
Hopper Size28 lbs
Temp Range180-500
Direct Flame Access?Yes
Smoke/P-Setting?Yes
Typical Price$597

Pit Boss Pro Series

Features1600
Total Cooking Area1,598 sq.in
Main Grate711 sq.in
Cooking Surfaces3
Hopper Size32 lbs
Temp Range180-500
Direct Flame Access?Yes
Smoke/P-Setting?No
Typical Price$999

Pit Boss Onyx Savannah vs Pro 1600

As I stated at the start of the article, I’m sure there will be more Onyx Edition models coming, but at this point, its just the Savannah. Therefore, let’s compare it against the Pro 1600.

On the overall cooking area, you should have noticed from the tables above the Pro 1600 is the larger of the two offering a total of 1,598 sq.in compared to 1,507 sq.in on the Onyx Savannah. Both offer three separate cooking surfaces.

The same goes for the main grilling grate, the Pro 1600 offers 711 sq.in, whereas the Onyx Savannah offers less at 633 sq.in, but these are not massive differences.

Pit Boss Onyx Savannah vs Pro 1600
While the Onyx Savannah (left) is smaller than the Pro 1600 (right), the difference is not that significant: Images – Walmart.com & Lowes.com

The Onyx Savannah also has the smaller pellet hopper of the two at 28 lbs compared to the 32 lb hopper on the Pro Series 1600. However, again the difference is not that significant.

While both have the same temperature range of 180 to 500, and both have direct-flame access, as I’ve stated above, only the Onyx Savannah offers a smoke setting/P-setting adjustment.

Therefore, while the Pro 1600 may appear the better smoker at first due to the slight increase in the cooking area, the smoking setting/P-setting adjustment of the Onyx Savannah is a big tick in its favour.

Then we come to the big one, the value proposition…

There Is A Big Price Difference Between Them

Ok, I’m writing this just as the Onyx Savannah has been released, and I’m not sure if the pricing on the Walmart website is intentional or if some sort of error has been made.

However, as of this moment, on Walmart.com the Pit Boss Onyx Savannah is being priced at $597! For a pellet grill/smoker of this size, with PID/WiFi and direct-flame access, that’s unheard of.

To put that in context, the Pit Boss Pro Series 1600 is currently priced at $999, which it has been for many months. Will a price cut for the Pro 1600 be imminent? Who knows, but I’ll keep track of it.

The point is, at the current price of the Onyx Savannah, its a clear/easy win over the Pro 1600, a slam dunk if you will, but that’s why I find the pricing so confusing.

Surely either the Onyx Savannah has been priced incorrectly, or the Pro Series 1600 and its siblings are going to get their price cut to match up with these new Onyx Edition models?

Conclusions On The Pit Boss Onyx Edition vs Pro Series

At this point in time, if the price of the Onyx Savannah remains under $600, unless the Pro Series range gets a price cut, the Onyx Edition range is going to be a big win for Walmart over Lowes.

But that’s why I think that some pricing here has got to change. Either the Onyx Savannah is going to get its price raised, or the Pro Series is going to get its price cut.

For Pit Boss to keep a good relationship with Lowes, surely they don’t want all their customers buying their products from Walmart?

Anyway, only time will tell, and I’ll update this article once more Pit Boss Onyx Edition models come onto the market, or there are price changes.

That’s it! Thanks for reading, as always, please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide to learn more about all your current options in the world of pellet BBQs.

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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