Behind Traeger, Pit Boss is the most well know pellet grill/smoker brand (evidence here). While the Traeger vs Pit Boss debate has been going on for many years, the wider pellet grill market is heating up with more brands and additional competition. One such brand is GMG, or to give them their full name Green Mountain Grills. So how do Pit Boss and GMG pellet grills/smokers compare? Well, for this to be a fair comparison I’ll discuss pellet grills/smokers from each brand at a similar price point.
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.
As stated above, when I do these pellet grill/smoker brand comparisons I like to pick products at similar price points for the comparison to be fair. Now, I need to point out the two slightly different business models with these two brands. With Pit Boss, while they sell a few models through Pitboss-grills.com they also tend to sell certain models through exclusive deals with Walmart/Lowes etc.
Green Mountain Grills (GMG) on the other hand sell through a dealer model in smaller stores, not Walmart etc, and you will find very few websites selling their larger models directly. As such, don’t be surprised if you come across specific deals/sales at different price points to those I reference below.
Introduction To Pit Boss vs GMG Pellet Grill Comparisons
As I’ve commented several times in my articles on Pit Boss, their range of products is huge, the largest in the business in fact. However, several of the models are just cosmetically different to other very similar models to create ‘unique’ products to sell exclusively through Walmart, Lowes etc.
The GMG range is much smaller and appears to be getting even smaller. GMG previously sold three models the Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone and Jim Bowie in Choice (basic) and Prime (WiFi) configurations. However, checking their website now the range has been rebranded as the Trek, Ledge and Peak with Prime specification the only option.
As both brands sell portable pellet grills with the Pit Boss portable and the GMG Trek (previously Davy Crockett) that’s where I’ll start this comparison, then we’ll move on to discuss a comparison on some family-sized grills, the Pit Boss Pro Series Gen 2 850 vs the GMG Ledge in Prime specification.
Pit Boss Portable vs GMG Trek (Davy Crockett)
These are two pellet grills are the smallest/most affordable units from each brand. While they are designed to be portable, really they can also meet the needs of anyone who just needs a small grill/smoker in their backyard. If you are interested in the portable nature of the grills though I would recommend my article on portable power for portable pellet grills. Rights, let’s get into comparing these two tiny pellet grills.
In terms of price point, both of these pellet grills can be found for between $300 to $400 depending on the time of purchase, any running sales etc. Therefore, they are directly comparable being small/portable grills at a similar price point. So which pellet grill is offering you more for the money?
Cooking Area & Functionality
The Pit Boss Portable provides a cooking area of 387 square inches which is quite a bit more than the 219 square inches found on the GMG Trek. Furthermore, while the GMG Trek can be set up for direct-flame access by purchasing a separate louvred grease tray, its by no means as simple as the Pit Boss unit. The Pit Boss Portable like pretty much all of their current model range now features a leaver to quickly/simply open the grease tray to let the flames through. So when it comes to getting the best searing performance out of the box, that would go to the Pit Boss Portable.
When it comes to their pellet hoppers, on the Pit Boss Portable its mounted all the way across the back of the grill giving an impressive 19lb capacity. The GMG Trek by comparison is fitted with the standard side-mounted hopper and can hold just 9lbs of pellets. Hence, you would need to keep a closer eye on the hopper level on the GMG Trek, especially if you are doing a lot of high-temperature grilling where pellet consumption will be quite high.
Temperature Range/Control & WiFi/App Support
In terms of temperature range, the Pit Boss Portable offers 180 to 500 degrees. Though it should be noted, at the centre of the cooking grate when the flame broiler is used the grate surface temperature will be closer to 700 degrees in that specific area. The GMG Trek on the other hand offers a slightly wider temperature range of 150 to 550 degrees. However, the most important difference is the control panel technology used in these two grills.
The Pit Boss Portable is fitted with a time-based algorithm control panel that provides 25-degree temperature increments up to 250 degrees and then jumps in 50-degree increments. The GMG Trek is fitted with a PID control panel which is a much more advanced/modern pellet grill control panel technology. The GMG Trek, therefore, offers temperature control with 5-degree increments, hence is much more accurate when it comes to temperature management.
Furthermore, the GMG Trek is also a WiFi pellet grill, giving users the ability to remotely monitor and control the grill through the GMG app. The Pit Boss Portable at this moment in time is missing WiFi support for the Pit Boss SmokeIT app. This is a bit odd, as Pit Boss is offering SmokeIT retrofit/upgrade options of these older time-based control panels to give owners of older grills WiFi/app functionality.
Conclusions On Pit Boss Portable vs GMG Trek/Davy Crockett
So what have we learnt? Well, when it comes to the cooking area and the functionality/convenience of direct-flame access the Pit Boss Portable offers more. Also when it comes to the pellet hopper, the Pit Boss Portable is able to hold roughly 10 lbs more, which is quite a significant difference.
However, when it comes to temperature range and temperature control, the GMG Trek is the superior pellet grill. Add on top of that the WiFi/App support and when it comes to ease of use the GMG Trek is the better option. So the Pit Boss Portable is the superior direct heat cooking grill, whereas the GMG Trek is the superior indirect heat pellet cooker. I have an article on direct vs indirect heat cooking if you’re interested to learn more.
Pit Boss Pro Series Gen 2 vs the GMG Ledge (Daniel Boone)
Now let’s compare what most people would describe as your typical ‘family-sized’ grill. We have the Pit Boss Gen 2 Pro Series 850 and the GMG Ledge (formally Daniel Boone). Now, I have an article on the differences between the Gen 1 vs Gen 2 Pit Boss Pro Series, as really only the Gen 2 is comparable to the GMG Ledge, I’ll discuss why below.
The Pit Boss Pro Series is only available through Lowes, and depending on if a sale is running the price for the Pro Series 850 ranges from $499 to $599. The GMG Ledge by comparison through their dealer network is priced at $750 to $790 depending on if a stainless steel lid is chosen as is the case in the image above. So the question is, does the GMG Ledge provide a couple of hundred dollars worth of additional value?
Cooking Area & Functionality
The Pit Boss Pro Series 850 provides a total cooking area of, yes you guessed it, 850 square inches. However, that’s from the main cooking grate and an upper smoking/warming rack. The primary cooking area (capable of grilling) on the Pro Series 850 is just under 540 square inches. The GMG Ledge by comparison offers a smaller primary cooking area of 458 square inches.
Furthermore, its the same story again as it was above when it comes to direct-flame access and searing. While it is possible to set the GMG Ledge up for direct flame functionality, that’s not the case out of the box and its not as simple and easy as the Pit Boss Pro Series 850 with the leaver on the side of the grill to allow or block the flames.
When it comes to hopper capacity the Pit Boss Pro Series 850 can hold 20lbs of BBQ wood pellets, hence a full bag. The GMG Trek by comparison can take 18lbs of pellets, hence 2lbs shy of a full bag of pellets. Not a significant difference there on hopper capacity, but again the cheaper pellet grill is offering more.
Temperature Range/Control & WiFi/App Support
The Pit Boss Pro Series 850 provides a temperature range of 180 to 500 degrees, whereas the GMG Ledge provides the slightly wider range of 150 to 550 degrees. However, unlike the small/portable pellet grills mentioned above, both of these pellet grills offer a PID/WiFi control panel. Hence, both pellet grills can offer accurate temperature control to within 5 degrees of the set temperature and App control/monitoring.
The control panel is why I stated above that only the Gen 2 Pro Series from Pit Boss is comparable/competitive against the GMG Ledge. While the Ledge still has a wider temperature range compared to the Pit Boss Pro Series 850, at least on temperature accuracy this Pit Boss grill is now competitive, and at a lower price point.
Conclusions On The Pit Boss Pro Series 850 vs GMG Ledge
I think the Pit Boss Pro Series 850 has the edge over the GMG Ledge when it comes to high-temperature grilling/searing. Furthermore, unlike with the smaller grills as both have PID/WiFi control panels they are much more closely matched on indirect cooking performance, though the GMG Ledge does still have the wider temperature range.
However, the Pro Series 850 can typically be found at Lowes for $150 to $200 less than the GMG Ledge. Now, there are a few cool features that GMG pellet grills have which I haven’t covered in this article, so if you want to learn more about them check out my linked article. But really, if you are seriously considering either of these pellet grills your decision will likely only be settled by judging their build quality differences in person.
Conclusions On Pit Boss vs GMG
While Pit Boss seem to still be focused on offering the widest range of budget/affordable pellet grills possible, GMG seems to be reducing/focusing their range to just a premium offering. GMG used to offer their pellet grills in Choice and Prime specifications. Though their website now for the Trek, Ledge and Peak grills are only available in the highest Prime specification. Therefore, going forward it may be harder to compare these two brands as they will be focused on different ends of the market.
That’s it! Thanks for reading my Pit Boss vs GMG comparison, I hope you found it useful. If you want to learn more about either brand please check out my Pit Boss FAQ and GMG FAQ. Likewise, if you want to learn about pretty much all your options on the market today check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂
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.