What you may not be aware of is that Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills are actually sibling brands both owned by the parent company Danson LLC. With that being the case, it begs the obvious question ‘Well, what’s the difference between a Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills pellet grill?‘ Unsurprisingly there are many similarities between the features/capabilties of Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills products, but there are some differences. Hence, that’s what I wanted to discuss in this article. Pit Boss pellet grill/smokers are typically priced at a lower price point than Louisiana Grills products for instance.
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.
I have a summary article on the differences between the Pit Boss Pro Series Gen 1 vs Gen 2 and a summary article on the Louisiana Grills range. For this comparison article, I wanted to discuss how the Pit Boss Pro Series models compared against the closest models from Louisiana Grills the Black Label Series. Though we’ll also look at how the vertical pellet smokers from the two brands compare.
Pit Boss Pro Series vs Louisiana Grills Black Label Series
Pit Boss in particular but also Louisiana Grills offer a huge range of pellet grills/smokers. However, for Pit Boss their Pro Series and for Louisiana Grills their latest Black Label series are their most significant models in terms of customer demand, sitting in the middle of their respective product ranges. Therefore, for a comparison between these two brands the Gen 2 Pro Series and the Black Label Series are the most appropriate to compare.
For the Pit Boss Gen 2 Pro Series, the three most important models to know are the PRO SERIES II 850, the PRO SERIES II 1150 and the PRO SERIES ELITE 1600. There is a smaller PRO SERIES II 600, however as I discuss in my Pro Series Gen 1 vs Gen 2 article, I would personally ignore this model as its not fitted with the same PID/WiFi control panel as the other Pit Boss Gen 2 Pro Series models referenced above.
On the Louisiana Grills side of things with their Black Label Series, there are also three models, the Black Label 800, Black Label 1000 and Black Label 1200. As you have probably guessed already, the model numbers indicate their total cooking area (roughly) in square inches. However, as I discuss frequently on this site, there is a big difference between cooking functionality on upper cooking racks compared to the main cooking grate. So what is the size of the main cooking grate on each of these pellet grills?
- Pit Boss Pro Series 850: Main Cooking Grate = 593 sq.in
- Pit Boss Pro Series 1150: Main Cooking Grate = 711 sq.in
- Pit Boss Pro Series 1600: Main Cooking Grate = 711 sq.in
- Louisiana Grills Black Label 800: Main Cooking Grate = 520 sq.in
- Louisiana Grills Black Label 1000: Main Cooking Grate = 661 sq.in
- Louisiana Grills Black Label 1200: Main Cooking Grate = 758 sq.in
So you may find some of the figures on the sizes of the main cooking grates above surprising. First, the Pit Boss Pro Series 1600 has the same sized main cooking grate as the Pro Series 1150. The Pro Series 1600 just has a third upper smoking/warming rack providing the additional cooking area, not a larger main cooking grate. Furthermore, on first impressions, I don’t think most people would guess that a Louisiana Grills Black Label 1200 actually has a larger main cooking grate than a Pit Boss Pro Series 1600.
To fully appreciate the differences between the cooking functionality of the main cooking grate and upper smoking/warming racks please check out my article on indirect vs direct heat cooking and the best pellet grills for searing. What is important to note is all of the Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills above provide porcelain-coated grates and direct-flame access for good searing performance.
Hoppers, Temperature Range and Price Points
All of the Louisiana Grills models above feature the same 18lb hopper capacity, whereas the Pit Boss models feature a 20lb hopper on the Pro Series 850 up to a 32lb hopper on the Pro Series 1600. While the Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills products feature similar PID/WiFi control panels both using the same SmokeIT app, there is some difference on their temperature ranges.
Where the Pit Boss models have a temperature range of 180 to 500 degrees, the Louisiana Grills Black Label Series models have a temperature range of 180 to 600 degrees. This puts the Louisiana Grills Black Label Series in a pretty select group of mid-range pellet grills with a 600-degree temperature setting along with Broil King and Weber pellet grills.
In terms of price points, Pit Boss has got an exclusive deal with Lowes on the Pro Series with the 850 currently at just under $500 up to the Pro Series 1600 for just under $900. With the Louisiana Grills Black Label Series, they are available directly through Louisian-Grills.com. The Black Label 800 is just under $900 up to the Black Label 1200 for $1,099. However, as shown in the images above, you currently have to pay an additional $110 for shipping on the Black Label grills.
Pit Boss vs Louisiana Grills Vertical Pellet Smokers
If you are unsure what exactly is the difference between a horizontal vs vertical pellet smoker, please check out my linked article. Essentially a vertical pellet smoker is just that, hence it can purely smoke and not grill. The trade-off by losing the grilling capabilities of a horizontal pellet grill/smoker is with a vertical smoker you typically get a larger cooking area for a lower price point. Danson sells quite a significant range of vertical pellet smokers under both Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills brands, so are there any differences?
Well, when it comes to the vertical pellet smokers between the two brands, other than a different colour/paint finish, they are in many cases identical, except when it comes to the price. Take the example above of the Pit Boss Pro Series 4-Series vertical pellet smoker and the Louisiana Grills Black Label 4-Series. These are essentially very similar in size/specification but are priced differently.
The Pit Boss Pro Series 4-Series vertical pellet smoker is another Lowes exclusive and is currently priced around $400. Whereas the price stated on the Louisiana Grills website for the Black Label 4-Series vertical pellet smoker is $690. Hence, for essentially the same vertical pellet smoker, with the same cooking area and control panel with PID/WiFi functionality the Pit Boss branded product is a much better deal.
Conclusions On Pit Boss vs Louisiana Grills Pellet Grills/Smokers
What I wanted to draw attention to with the above is that there are some Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills branded products that are very similar in size/specification such as the Pro Series and Black Label Series above where the Pit Boss products are the better value. However, there are certain Louisiana Grills models such as the Founders Series with their twin-wall insulated construction where there is not direct Pit Boss alternative, as Pit Boss don’t currently have any twin-wall insulated products.
Furthermore, Louisiana Grills also offer several stainless steel pellet grills/smokers, which again are not offered under the Pit Boss brand. But the point remains, on the cheaper/lower specification models, you will commonly find better deals from Danson under their Pit Boss brand. Though as a general rule, I also hope the above encourages you to compare the size of the main cooking grate against the overall cooking area on any pellet grill to understand what you’re actually getting.
That’s it! I hope you found this quick comparison of the Pit Boss Gen 2 Pro Series against the Louisiana Grills Black Label products interesting/useful. If you have more general or specific questions you will likely find an answer from my FAQ page or 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.