Pit Boss vs RECTEQ 2020 – Pellet Grill Comparisons


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

So first off, RECTEQ is the new brand name for the previously branded REC TEC grills. I’m still getting used to the change my self, and I often still type it wrong. Anyway, with this article, I want to discuss how Pit Boss and RECTEQ compare when it comes to pellet grills. As I’ll discuss in more detail below, they are two brands that are really aiming for two different markets. Pit Boss is primarily aimed at offering the biggest pellet grills they can for as little money as possible. Whereas RECTEQ is more focussed on offering premium features such as stainless steel, PID temperature controllers and WiFi in their wood pellet grills. However, there are a couple of products which we can directly compare.

Pit Boss vs RECTEQ Wood Pellet Grills
Does size matter most when it comes to the Pit Boss (left) and RECTEQ (right) pellet grills?: Images – Pitboss-grills.com and RECTEQ.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.

If you were purely looking for a pellet grill based on the largest cooking area you would find in almost all instances a Pit Boss pellet grill is going to come out on top. However, as I often state in my posts, while the cooking area provided is an important factor, I often don’t think it should be the deciding factor. In many cases, I think most people would be better served by a pellet grill with a smaller cooking area but with better features. So how do Pit Boss and RECTEQ compare in this regard? Well, let’s see shall we?

Introduction To Pit Boss vs RECTEQ Pellet Grills

While Pit Boss has built up a solid reputation and following based on their budget pellet grills with direct-flame access, for this comparison with RECTEQ we really need to discuss the Pit Boss Platinum Series. There are two models in the Platinum Series. The Lockhart which is a combined horizontal pellet with a vertical pellet smoker cabinet on top and the KC Combo which is a pellet/gas combo grill. Both of these grills retail for around $750. With RECTEQ their closest price point pellet grill is the RT-590 which retails for just under $900. Hence, we are looking at a $150 difference, so do bear that mind as we discuss the features of these pellet grills below. The Pit Boss Lockhart and RECTEQ RT-590 are shown in the image above.

Cooking Area Provided By Pit Boss and RECTEQ

As I stated above when comparing pellet grills if a Pit Boss is involved in pretty much all cases it will come out on top on cooking area. And just by comparing the images above with regards to the total cooking area, you’ll get no prize for guessing which pellet grill provides more. However, only the main cooking grate can actually be used for grilling and the upper racks (or upper smoking cabinet) are only suitable for convection cooking/smoking. The Pit Boss Lockhart provides an absolutely massive 2,136 square inches of cooking area in total. However, much of that cooking area is dedicated to the upper smoking cabinet. What about the cooking area of the main grate? I’d love to tell you but as I’m yet to see this grill in person I’ve not measured it and for some reason Pit Boss only state the total cooking area provided.

Pit Boss Platinum Series Lockhart Pellet Grill/Smoker
The Pit Boss Lockhart is quite simply one of the largest domestic pellet grill/smokers on the market today: Image – Pitboss-grills.com

The RECTEQ RT-590, on the other hand, provides 592 square inches on the main cooking grate (suitable for grilling) and in total, with an optional second shelf it can provide 772 square inches. Therefore, that obviously means in terms of total cooking area the Pit Boss Lockhart is providing more than double that of the RECTEQ RT-590. However, while I don’t know what the specific size of the main grate on the Pit Boss is, I don’t believe its significantly larger than the RECTEQ. You should always question whether you would need a grill as large as the Pit Boss, as its size does come with some downsides as I’ll discuss below, such as its weight and having to store the pellet grill outside.

Grilling Performance and Temperature Control

Pit Boss is by no means the only pellet grill manufacture who provides direct-flame access, though their brand is heavily associated with the feature. The Pit Boss Platinum Series Lockhart is no exception to this rule and provides direct flame access via a sliding grease tray. Importantly, the sliding grease tray to enable direct-flame access can be opened and closed from the outside of the grill via a leaver. Older/cheaper Pit Boss grills required you to lift up the cooking grates to slide the grease tray open/closed with a metal tool. As I discuss in my article on when to clean a pellet grill, I state that I believe having a handle on the outside of the grill to open/close the flame access is a much safer option. The Pit Boss also has cast-iron grates, which means that Pit Boss grills often do get to the hottest temperatures.

Pit Boss Direct-Flame Access
High-temperature grilling performance with direct-flame access is a key feature of the Pit Boss Lockhart: Image – Pitboss-grills.com

The RECTEQ, on the other hand, does not provide direct-flame access or cast iron grates (it uses stainless steel grates, more on that below). While the RECTEQ may not be quite as capable at high-temperature grilling as the Pit Boss, its still very capable. The grilling performance of the RECTEQ can also be improved with a set of GrillGrates. When it comes to temperature control, both the Pit Boss and RECTEQ use a PID Controller. However, while the Pit Boss has a maximum temperature setting of 500 degrees, the RECTEQ has a ‘FULL’ setting to acheive over 500 degrees. In terms of remote monitoring/control of the grills, the Pit Boss does have Bluetooth, but it doesnt have WiFi which the RECTEQ RT-590 does. Hence, you can control the RECTEQ while done the shops etc, where that’s not the case with the Pit Boss.

Build Quality, Materials and Pellet Grill Durability

While the Pit Boss Lockhart is a very large grill, especially for its price point, in terms of built quality and materials its not on par with the RECTEQ. First off, the Pit Boss Lockhart is a pellet grill exclusively sold through Walmart. Hence, therefore you know 20-30% of that sale price is going to Walmart. This means the manufacturing costs of the grill have to be kept to the absolute minimum. Especially when you factor in the weight of the Pit Boss Lockhart at over 275lbs!

Pit Boss Lockhart Wood Pellet Grill
Due to its size and weight you are not going to want to be moving the Pit Boss Lockhart in and out of storage: Image – Pitboss-grills.com

Shipping costs will be higher on the Pit Boss Lockhart than any other domestic pellet grill I can think off. Therefore, the Pit Boss is purely made from carbon steel to keep costs down. While Pit Boss provides a long warranty, corrosion is not included under that warranty. Furthermore, due to how heavy the grill is you are not going to be wheeling it out from a shed/garage each time you want to use it. It will sit in the elements, and depending on your climate, rapid corrosion may potentially be a problem once the paint finish starts to fail.

RECTEQ RT-590 Wood Pellet Grill
The stainless steel cooking chamber on the RECTEQ RT-590 is one of its best features: Image – RECTEQ.com

While the RECTEQ RT-590 is not a full stainless steel pellet grill, an extensive amount of stainless steel is used in its construction. The cooking chamber is stainless steel, along with the fire pot, heat deflector and grease tray. It’s also not the cheapest stainless either, its 304 grade. If you read my article on stainless steel pellet grills, you learn why that’s important. There are other components which are stainless steel such as the hopper lid and the famed RECTEQ bull horn handles. The extensive use of stainless steel means a couple of things. First off, it will be easier to clean the pellet grill. Second, its not only to last longer it going to look better at the same time and failing/flacking paint is not going to be an issue.

Conclusions On Pit Boss vs RECTEQ Pellet Grills

So as you can probably see from the comparison above as I stated at the start of this post, Pit Boss and RECTEQ are targeting very different customers. With Pit Boss, they are targeting someone who is looking for the most cooking space available to prepare food for a large group of friends/ family. And if that’s you, then maybe the Pit Boss Lockhart is your best option. However, I don’t really think that applies to most people, and on average you would find the cooking area of the RECTEQ RT-590 would provide sufficient cooking area for most requirements. The advantages of the smaller RECTEQ pellet grill being better materials, better build quality and better features (WiFi).

That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope the above comparison of Pit Boss and RECTEQ pellet grills has helped you to understand which grill would serve you better. I’ve done lots of other comparison articles you may want to check out such as Camp Chef vs Weber and Pit Boss vs Weber. Lots more of my articles can also be found through my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂

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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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