Pit Boss vs Grilla Grills 2021 – Pellet Grill Comparisons


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

Behind Traeger, Pit Boss is the second most well know pellet focused brand (here’s proof). Grilla Grills when it comes to brand awareness are by no means as well known to the general public. However, that doesn’t mean Grilla Grills cannot compete with Pit Boss, far from it. In many areas, Grilla Grills pellet grills are superior to the current range produced by Pit Boss at a comparable price point. Therefore that’s what I want to discuss in this article. We’ll look at the strengths and weakness of both Pit Boss and Grilla Grills pellet cookers. You can then decided which brand best suits your needs for a pellet grill/smoker.

Pit Boss vs Grilla Grills
So how does the Pit Boss Lockhart (left) compare against the Grilla Grills Silverbac (right)?: Images – Pitboss-grill.com and GrillaGrills.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.

With this Pit Boss vs Grilla Grills comparison while both brands produce quite a lot of different models (Pit Boss in particular) I want to focus it down. We’ll look at the portable pellet grill offerings from both brands, then their largest grills for backyard cooking. As I’ll discuss below, there is a price difference on their portable pellet grills. However, the two larger pellet grills/smokers we’ll look at have exactly the same price point.

Introduction To Pit Boss vs Grilla Grills

So the on the portable side of things from Pit Boss they currently produce two portable models, the long-established Tailgater and their latest the Sportsman Portable. I’m going to discuss the features of the Sportsman Portable in this comparison as I believe its superior to the Tailgater with a key feature as I’ll discuss below. From Grilla Grills, their portable unit is called the Chimp. When it comes to full-sized grills I’ll compare the Pit Boss Platinum Series Lockhart against the Grilla Grills Silverbac which both retail for just under $750.

Pit Boss Sportsman Portable vs Grilla Grills Chimp

I think its important to note straight off, there is a price difference between these two portable pellet grill. The Pit Boss Sportsman Portable retails for between $399 and $349 whereas the Grilla Grills Chimp does cost more at $529. Now, there are reasons for that as the Chimp is superior to the Sportsman in several areas. However, it is important to note the cost difference.

Grilla Grills Chimp vs Pit Boss Sportsman Portable
On the left is the Grilla Grills Chimp and on the right is the Pit Boss Sportsman Portable: Images – GrillaGrills.com and Pitboss-grills.com

Cooking Area Provided (Grilling and Smoking)

As you would imagine with these portable pellet grills, space is at a premium. The Pit Boss Sportsman Portable provides a total of 387 square inches cooking area which is divided up between 260 square inches on the main cooking grate with an additional 127 square inches provide by a small upper rack as you can see in the image above. The Grilla Grills Chimp on the other hand provides a total of 460 square inches, with 340 on the main cooking surface and 120 square inches on an upper rack. Hence, while the Chimp is more expensive than the Sportsman it is actually a larger pellet grill while still being portable.

Temperature Range & Control Panel Technology

The Pit Boss Sportsman and the Grilla Grills Chimp both offer the same temperature range of 180 to 500 degrees. However, only the Chimp features a PID control panel. Hence, while the temperature accuracy on the Sportsman will be within 25 degrees of the set temperature, the temperature accuracy on the Chimp will be much closer at just 5 degrees from the set temperature. The Grilla Grills Chimp has also now been updated to feature the Alpha Connect panel, providing WiFi functionality to the Grilla Grills pellet grill.

The Grilla Grills Chimp now features their latest Alpha Connect WiFi/PID control panel: Video – GrillaGrills.com

Direct-Flame Access For High-Temperature Grilling

While the Pit Boss Sportsman Portable is not as large as the Chimp and it doesn’t feature a PID control panel, it does feature direct-flame access which the Chimp does not. With direct-flame access, the Sportsman at the grate will be able to achieve closer to 650 degrees at the cooking surface. It also features cast-iron grates where the Chimp features stainless steel wire racks (more on that below). Hence, the Sportsman out of the box is more capable of high-temperature grilling. For the Chimp, I would recommend a set of GrillGrates to offer comparable grilling/searing performance.

Pit Boss Direct-Flame Access
The Sportsman Portable has a better system for direct-flame access over the Pit Boss Tailgater: Image – Pitboss-grills.com

The main reason I believe the Sportsman Portable is superior to the Tailgater which is Pit Bosses other portable pellet grills is because of how direct-flame access is operated. On the Tailgater you have to lift up the grates and slide the grease tray open/closed with a metal tool. On the Sportsman, it features a pull/push lever on the front. Hence, on the Sportsman, you can turn on and off the direct-flame function without having to remove the cooking grates.

Pellet Hopper Capacities

With these being small/compact pellet grills/smokers you should not expect a hopper of the same capacity as grills designs for backyard cooking. However, as pellet consumption is lower than many people think, to be honest, I feel many pellet grill hoppers are oversized as you generally don’t want to leave pellets in the hopper over a long period of time. The Chimp features a respectable 15lb pellet hopper but the Sportsman Portable features (apparently) a 19lb pellet hopper. That’s as big or bigger than some full-sized pellet grills (Traeger Pro Series). The rear hopper design on the Sportsman Portable appears to hold much more pellets than I think most people would expect.

Construction Materials and Weight

The Pit Boss Sportsman Portable is made from painted carbon steel and as stated above features cast-iron cooking racks. However, the Chimp features quite a lot of stainless steel. The lid, cooking racks, grease tray, heat deflector and burn pot are all made from stainless steel. Along with the PID control panel, the extensive use of stainless steel is the key reason for the price premium over the Pit Boss Sportsman Portable.

The extensive use of stainless steel on the Grilla Grills Chimp is one of its key selling points: Video – GrillaGrills.com

As these are portable pellet grills weight is a factor to consider. The Pit Boss Sportsman weighs in at just under 80 lbs. Whereas the Grilla Grills Chimp weighs in at 90 lbs, with those stainless steel internal likely been a factor. Generally, the weight of a pellet grill is an indicator of the materials used and can indicate the potential durability of the product. However, when a pellet grill is designed to portable you do also have to consider weight a bit more than you would with a backyard pellet grill/smoker.

Pit Boss Lockhart vs Grilla Grills Silverbac

So let’s move onto the full-sized offerings from both brands in the form of the Pit Boss Lockhart and Grilla Grills Silverbac. I have separate articles on the Pit Boss Platinum Series and Grilla Grills which go into more detail. Below I’ll just compare the highlights of each pellet grill/smoker. The Silverbac is offered with an All-Terrain cart or as part of an outdoor kitchen setup. However, in this instance, we are purely discussing the standard Silverbac with the lower cabinet as it retails for the same price at the Pit Boss Lockhart at $749.

Pit Boss vs Grilla Grills
On the left is the frankly massive Pit Boss Lockhart and on the right the Grilla Grills Silverbac: Images – Pitboss-grill.com and GrillaGrills.com

Cooking Area Provided (Grilling and Smoking)

So you’ll get no prize for guessing which of these two pellet grills provides the largest total cooking area, the image above is a bit of a giveaway. There is no better word to describe the Pit Boss Lockhart other than ‘massive’. Its pretty much the largest domestic pellet grill/smoker on the market right now. Is it too big for most peoples needs? Well, I generally think so, but I’m sure there are some people who do cook for a large group of friends and family and when they see that cooking volume their eyes widen.

Pit Boss Lockhart Large Cooking Area
The upper smoking cabinet on the Lockhart is a key factor to its large total cooking area: Image – Pitboss-grills.com

Get ready for this, the total cooking area on the Lockhart is 2,136 square inches. Granted, most of that is provided by the upper smoking cabinet, but for a pellet grill at this price point its still quite shocking. I’ve previously written about the pros and cons of horizontal vs vertical pellet smokers but the Lockhart is currently really in a category of its own. The main cooking grate (suitable for grilling and searing) is only 546 square inches though. The Grilla Grills Silverbac on the other hand provides a total cooking area of 692 square inches. However, notably, the main cooking grate is 507 square inches, hence only slightly down on the Lockhart.

The Silverbac is actually very comparable to the Lockhart on the size of the main grate for grilling/searing: Video – GrillaGrills.com

So the key takeaway here is yes, for doing a lot of ‘low and slow’ smoking the Lockhart provides considerable more cooking area. However, if you primarily do steaks/burgers etc there is actually very little difference in the cooking area on both of these pellet grills. Therefore, whenever you are comparing pellet grills, always check the area of the main grate. Marketing will always display the total cooking area, which many people often misinterpret as the grilling area. Marketing departments are obviously aware of this, that’s why they will usually not promote the area of the main cooking area as prominently.

Temperature Range & Control Panel Technology

In terms of temperature range its a similar situation as discussed above with the portable pellet grills with both the Lockhart and Silverbac offering between 180 and 500 degrees. However, the key difference this time is both of these pellet grills do feature a PID control panel, the first on a Pit Boss pellet grill/smoker. The Pit Boss also features Bluetooth and has been updated with WiFi functionality. All Grilla Grills pellet grills including the Silverbac feature their Alpha Connect control panel which also has WiFi functionality.

Pit Boss Lockhart Control Panel
The Pit Boss Lockhart control panel with SmokeIT Bluetooth/WiFi functionality: Image – Pitboss-grills.com

Direct-Flame Access For High-Temperature Grilling

Again, its a similar situation to the portable pellet grills. The Pit Boss Lockhart offers direct-flame access where the Grilla Grills Silverbac does not. Personally I don’t generally regard direct-flame access as the be-all and end-all of what makes a better pellet grill. However, for some I know its a feature they definitely look for. Therefore, in that instance, you may be more interested in my Pit Boss vs Camp Chef article. What I do want to bring to your attention as I discuss in my when to clean a pellet grill post, on a pellet grill with direct-flame access to keep things safe you really should clean it more frequently.

Construction Materials and Weight

As with the portable pellet grills, the Silverbac features quite a few external and internal stainless steel components where that’s not the case with the Pit Boss Lockhart. Furthermore, the Silverback is a twin-wall insulated pellet grill which makes it more suited to winter/cold-weather cooking. Now, neither of these pellet grills are obviously portable but their weight is still a consideration. As neither is a full-stainless steel pellet grill, ideally you wouldn’t want to store them outside all year round. The Silverbac weighs a pretty typical 170lbs for a backyard grill. Whereas the Lockhart weighs a very hefty 275lbs. Therefore, moving the Lockhart in and out of storage is not going to be easy, and that’s presuming the surface is flat/even.

Conclusions On Pit Boss vs Grilla Grills Pellet Grills/Smokers

So there are compelling reasons to choose any of the Pit Boss or Grilla Grills products referenced above. Pit Boss products excel with their direct-flame access, whereas the Grilla Grills excel in their extensive use of stainless steel and universal use of PID temperature controllers. On the portable side of things its Grilla Grills who is offering the larger cooking area. However, on the full-sized pellet grills that honour goes to the Pit Boss Lockhart. Though as I’ve stated above, its important to note that when it comes to the main grilling area both Pit Boss and Grilla Grills are actually very comparable. The best choice for you when looking at the above options really depends on what you’re looking for first and foremost. The functionality of direct-flame access or the durability/longevity of stainless steel?

That’s it! I hope you found the above Pit Boss vs Grilla Grills comparison interesting/informative. Now, these two brands are by no means your only options. For instance, you may also want to check out my Camp Chef vs Grilla Grills article. There is an extensive range of small and large pellet cookers now on the market. Therefore, please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide to get a more complete picture of all your current options. 🙂

Click above for our suggestion tool to help you find a pellet grill/smoker within your budget

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

Hi, I’m Chris. I started PelHeat.com back in 2007. This website is intended to be an educational resource on how pellets are made and their various uses. I hope you find the information useful.

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