When I’ve written some of my previous comparison articles such as Traeger vs Pit Boss or Traeger vs Cuisinart I’ve discussed how they aren’t really targeting the same type of customers with their pellet grill features/price-point. However, with this Pit Boss vs Cuisinart comparison that’s not the case. These two brands are in direct competition with their current product offerings. Therefore I think it actually makes for a much more interesting comparison between these two brands. Both brands are trying to offer the largest pellet grills/smokers they can for the lowest price point and both are offering their products through the big box stores (Walmart, Lowes etc).
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If you have been doing any previous research into pellet grills you should be familiar with Pit Boss. When it comes to brand popularity they are the most widely known brand outside of Traeger (here’s proof). Cuisinart, on the other hand, have only relatively recently entered the pellet grill market. The first grills that started to sell were essentially the same models which are also sold under the Z Grills brand. However, the two Cuisinart pellet grills/smokers I want to discuss in this article in a comparison against Pit Boss are exclusive to the Cuisinart brand.
Introduction To Pit Boss vs Cuisinart Pellet Grills/Smokers
For this comparison, we are going to look at the Pit Boss Platinum Series which contains two models the Lockhart and KC Combo. From Cuisinart, we are going to look at the Woodcreek and Twin Oaks. I’ve previously written detailed articles on both these Pit Boss and Cuisinart pellet grill ranges, so please check out those links for those articles. This article will focus on the highlights of each of the pellet grills and how they compare against each other. Now, I’m going to split this up and compare the Pit Boss Lockhart against the Cuisinart Woodcreek and then compare the Pit Boss KC Combo against the Cuisinart Twin Oaks, you’ll appreciate why below.
Pit Boss Lockhart vs Cuisinart Woodcreek
So the Lockhart is a very unique horizontal pellet grill with a vertical smoking cabinet on top. There is really nothing quite like this pellet grill/smoker on the market from any other brand currently, and I often refer to it as a bit of a ‘beast’. I have an article discussing the pros and cons of horizontal vs vertical pellet smokers, but the Lockhart is really in its own category. The Cuisinart Woodcreek, by comparison, looks like your fairly standard horizontal pellet grill. However, importantly for this comparison, they both purely use pellets as their source of fuel.
Which Provides The Largest Cooking Area?
Ok, unsurprisingly the Lockhart wins this one with a huge total cooking area of 2,136 square inches of cooking area. The Woodcreek, on the other hand, seems pretty tiny in comparison with just 862 square inches. However, its important to note most of the cooking area in the Pit Boss Lockhart is provided by the upper smoking cabinet, hence purely for going ‘low and slow’. However, on the Woodcreek, while there is a small second upper rack the majority of that 862 square inches is the main cooking grate. Unfortunately Pit Boss does not state what the size of the main cooking grate is on the Lockhart. However, by purely looking at the images of both grills I’d put on a reasonable bet that the main cooking grate on the Cuisinart Woodcreek is actually larger than that of the Pit boss Lockhart.
Grilling/Searing Performance, Which Is Better?
First off, both the Lockhart and Woodcreek feature cast-iron grates. Cast-iron grates hold onto their heat much better than thin wire racks found on many other pellet grills around this price point (which we’ll get to). However, there are some important differences between these two pellet grills. First off, only the Pit Boss provides direct-flame access from the pellet fire, the Woodcreek has a solid grease tray which does not let flames through. Hence, when it comes to heat from the pellet fire, the Pit Boss is able to access more of that heat. So while both of these pellet grills have a maximum temperature setting of 500 degrees, the Pit Boss will get to around 650 degrees at the cooking grate with direct flame access.
However, the Cuisinart Woodcreek does also come with a charcoal tray. Which technically means when the charcoal tray is in use it could provide a high-temperature cooking surface. Furthermore, as I discuss in my pellet vs kamado charcoal smokers article, if you are looking for a more intense smokey flavour, charcoal can provide that, but it lacks the subtlety of different smoky flavours from pellets. Now the problem here is, while the Woodcreek has the ability to grill over charcoal its by no means as convenient/quick as grilling over the pellet fire of the Pit Boss Lockhart.
Which Has The Better Control Panel?
I have a separate article on how wood pellet grills work, but essentially the control panel is at the heart of how every pellet grill works to start/stop the fire and control the temperature. There is a pretty significant difference between the Pit Boss Lockhart and Cuisinart Woodcreek, the Pit Boss features a PID temperature controller where the Cuisinart does not. What that means is the Pit Boss can control its temperature to within 5 degrees of the set temperature. Whereas the Cuisinart is only able to hold its temperature within 25 degrees of the set temperature. Quite simply, the Pit Boss has a superior/more accurate control panel over the Cuisinart.
However, both the Pit Boss and Cuisinart control panels do feature Bluetooth connectivity. Its important to not confuse Bluetooth capabilities with WiFi though, and I would preferably like to see both pellet grills with WiFi. However, both of these pellet grills are built to be as affordable as possible, and some people will never actually use WiFi to its true potential anyway. The point being though, Bluetooth is only capable of short-distance remote communication with the pellet grill. With a true WiFi setup with something like Traeger WiFire, you can be controlling the pellet grill while your down the shops etc. However, a Traeger Pro Series is quite a bit more expensive than either of these two wood pellet grills.
Materials Used and Construction
The Pit Boss Lockhart is made pretty much exclusively from powered coated steel. While the Pit Boss warranty is one the longest at 5 years, just like all the other pellet grill brands, it doesnt cover the durability of the paint finish or rust/corrosion. Therefore, ideally, you wouldn’t want to leave the pellet grill outside. Then again, as stated above, this Pit Boss is a bit of a ‘beast’. Therefore, even if you have space inside a garage or shed to store this pellet grill, getting in there when it weighs 275lbs is not going to be easy.
I’m pretty sure the Cuisinart weighs quite a bit less than the Pit Boss, though I don’t actually know that for a fact because Cuisinart doesn’t state its weight. Its construction is predominantly painted steel. However, it does feature quite a bit of stainless steel on the lid and around the control panel. Hence, corrosion resistance on those parts will be better than the Pit Boss once the paint starts to fail. Though as most of the Cuisinart is still painted carbon steel, ideally you would want to store it out to the elements. The insulated lid of the Cuisinart is a particularly good feature. It probably means the Cuisinart will outperform the Pit Boss during winter cooking and it may even result in the Cuisinart achieving reduced pellet consumption.
How Do They Compare On Price?
So both Pit Boss and Cuisinart appear to have an exclusive deal in place with Walmart on these particular pellet grills. Though I should note, Cuisinart is also selling the Woodcreek directly through their own website. The Pit Boss Lockhart retails for $747 at Walmart, whereas the Cuisinart Woodcreek is currently priced at $497 at Walmart and $599 when purchased directly through Cuisinart.com. Hence, after reviewing the above if you thought the Cuisinart Woodcreek would suit your needs the best, its cheaper to purchase it from Walmart currently.
Pit Boss KC Combo vs Cuisinart Twin Oaks
So the other two models from each brand that I want to compare in this article are the Pit Boss KC Combo and the Cuisinart Twin Oaks. These are what’s called pellet/gas combo pellet grills. Why would you ever want to consider such a grill? Well, as I discuss in my article on pellet grill disadvantages, each type of grill has its strengths and weaknesses. Hence, depending on your circumstances, sometimes a hybrid solution such as a pellet/gas combo grill could suit your needs best. So let’s look at how these two grills compare.
So the important to thing to note with both of these pellet/gas combo grills is they carry over the same features from their pure pellet based siblings above the Pit Boss Lockhart and Cuisinart Woodcreek. Hence, the Pit Boss benefits from a PID control panel whereas the Cuisinart benefits from stainless steel and insulated lids with viewing windows.
Which Offers The Larger Cooking Area?
I refer to these type of pellet/gas combo gills as ’50/50 split’ grills. You also have other solutions such as the Camp Chef Sear Box/SideKick which is a propane bolt-on product to the side of an existing pellet grill/smoker. The Pit Boss KC Combo provides a total of just over 1,000 square inches split pretty much evenly over the pellet grill and gas grill sections. The Cuisinart Twin Oaks is a little smaller at 900 square inches in total. However, as you can see from the images above, the Cuisinart Twin Oaks does provide more height under the lids. Also, the Cuisinart features a handy little side propane burner as well which the Pit Boss KC Combo doesn’t.
How Do They Compare On Price?
This is where it gets a bit tricky. So the Pit Boss KC Combo is retailing at Walmart for $747, the same as the Lockhart. The Cuisinart Twin Oaks is available through Cuisinart.com for $597, but currently its not available through Walmart for some reason even though Cuisinart state on their own website ‘Exclusively sold at Walmart‘. It may be sold in Walmart stores even though its not currently available through Walmart.com. If that’s the case I would expect it to cost less than $597.
Conclusions On Pit Boss vs Cuisinart Pellet Grills
When it comes to the Pit Boss Lockhart and Cuisinart Woodcreek I think each grill has its ideal customer. First off, the Woodcreek is quite a bit cheaper, and is probably larger enough for most peoples needs. However, if you do have a large group of family and friends, that large smoking cabinet on the Lockhart could come in handy. Also, the Pit Boss does have the more advanced PID control panel which the Cuisinart is lacking. Then again I like the stainless steel insulated lids on the Woodcreek. So really I think each grill has its appealing features.
When it comes to the Pit Boss KC Combo vs the Cuisinart Twin Oaks, if you can find it in a Walmart store for under $500, hence a similar price to the Woodcreek I think the Twin Oaks is the one I would go for. Yes, it lacks the PID controller of the Pit Boss KC Combo. However, I much prefer the tall insulated lids on the Twin Oaks with those viewing windows so you can see what’s going on without having to open the lids and let the heat/smoke out. Granted, you would have to keep those windows pretty clean though if you want to be able to see through them.
Update: The Cuisinart Clermont is now available which more closely competes with the Pit Boss Lockhart.
That’s it! I hope this quick run through comparing Pit Boss vs Cuisinart has been interesting/informative. I have many more comparison articles such as Pit Boss vs Camp Chef or Pit Boss vs Weber. There really has never been a better time to purchase a pellet grill/smoker, the range of options is huge. However, that’s part of the problem, as understanding the differences between all the options can be daunting. Therefore please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide, I think it will really help you out. 🙂
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.