Outside of Traeger and Pit Boss, RECTEQ (formally REC TEC) and Camp Chef are some of the most popular pellet grill/smoker focused brands (here’s proof). RECTEQ and Camp Chef have a couple of pellet grills which retail at similar price points, therefore its worth seeing how the different offerings from these two brands compare. I believe each brand is offering wood pellet grills with different strengths and standout features which I’ll discuss below. However, importantly though I believe that both brands are producing quality pellet based grills and smokers capable of producing top quality BBQ.
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 you will learn below, a particular strength of RECTEQ wood pellets grills is their extensive use of stainless steel which provides a series of benefits.
RECTEQ have also always been on top of the latest technical innovations as well, such as using PID/WiFi control panels. Camp Chef, on the other hand, does not currently feature such extensive use of stainless steel compared to that found in RECTEQ grills.
However, their PID/WiFi control panels are equally if not more impressive than those fitted on RECTEQ grills. There are also a few other differences between these two pellet grill brands.
Introduction To RECTEQ vs Camp Chef Pellet Grills
This article is focused on comparing two specific models from each brand. You can read more detailed articles on all the models produced by each brand in my RECTEQ article and my Camp Chef SmokePro and Woodwind articles.
In this comparison, I wanted to compare a model from each brand which I think best represents the strengths of each brand and is priced comparably.
Therefore, this article will focus on the RECTEQ RT-700 and the Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 36 with either a Sear Box/SideKick. Both of these pellet grills retail for $1,200. If you are interested in a more affordable product from either brand please check out the links to the articles above.
Who’s Pellet Grill Provides The Largest Cooking Area?
I never recommend choosing a pellet grill purely on its provided cooking area, however, it is part of the decision-making process when it comes to choosing a grill which will meet your needs the best.
So how do these two pellet grills from RECTEQ and Camp Chef compare? Well, the RECTEQ RT-700 provides just over 700 square inches on the main grate which they claim is sufficient for six large racks of ribs which sounds about right.
However, an optional upper cooking rack can also be added which will bump the cooking area up to just over 1,000 square inches.
The Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 36, on the other hand, provides 663 square inches on the main cooking grate, so slightly down on the RECTEQ. However, it comes with an upper cooking rack with an area of 573 square inches for a total cooking area of just over 1,230 square inches.
Though this doesnt factor in either the propane Sear Box or SideKick included with the pellet grill for this price point. That will add an additional 231 square inches of high-temperature cooking surface.
Therefore, once that’s factored in, the available cooking area on the Camp Chef for grilling/searing is actually more than that found on the RECTEQ.
Temperature Control and WiFi Functionality
So the good news is that both of these pellet grills feature a PID temperature controller. Which from this point forward really, unless you have a really tight budget I think everyone should look for on their next/first pellet grill purchase.
A PID controller provides tighter temperature control to within 5 degrees of the set temperature and it is also able to adapt to changes in ambient weather conditions, such a fluctuating wind conditions in cold/winter weather.
In terms of temperature settings, the RECTEQ RT-700 can be set between 200 – 500 degrees. However, it does also come with a ‘FULL’ temperature setting which will exceed 500 degrees, closer to 600 degrees.
The Camp Chef Woodwind, on the other hand, has a temperature range of 160 – 500 degrees, so it can be set up to 40 degrees below the lowest setting of the RECTEQ. However, the Camp Chef does not feature a ‘FULL’ temperature setting for over 500 degrees, hence grilling/searing temperatures.
However, the Camp Chef has two tricks up its sleeve for grilling/searing. First, Camp Chef do provide direct-flame access with their Slide ‘N Grill feature which can take the cooking grate up to 650 degrees. However, the propane Sear Box/SideKick fitted to the side of the pellet grill will provide a cooking surface temperature of up to 900 degrees.
Both of these pellet grills are also WiFi-enabled, and while I’m familiar with the feature set of Camp Chef Connect, I’m not really sure on the features of the RECTEQ app. While both control panels on both pellet grills are fairly evenly matched, there is a couple of areas where I feel the Camp Chef is superior.
For instance, the Camp Chef provides four meat probe ports, whereas the RECTEQ provides only two. But more than that, its the screen which I think gives the Camp Chef the edge. Its full-colour where the RECTEQ is monochrome. The Camp Chef screen is also larger, therefore I think it will make it easier to read and therefore adjust settings etc.
What Materials Are These Pellet Grills Made From?
The Camp Chef is predominately manufactured from painted carbon steel. The lid is made from stainless steel and so is the propane Sear Box/SideKick. As is standard with pellet grill warranties, rust/corrosion is not covered under warranty conditions.
Therefore, ideally, you wouldn’t want to leave the pellet grill outside as it will accelerate rust/corrosion. The RECTEQ while not a full stainless steel pellet grill does feature many more stainless steel components over the Camp Chef.
The RECTEQ features a stainless steel cooking chamber and internals. Hence, many areas of the RECTEQ are not going to suffer from rust/corrosion.
Conclusion On RECTEQ vs Camp Chef Pellet Grills
So what are my final thoughts? Well, on the temperature control and WiFi functionality both RECTEQ and Camp Chef are very even, though I give the Camp Chef the edge due to the large full-colour screen.
I also give the Camp Chef the edge with regards to the cooking area and grilling/searing performance due to the direct-flame access and propane Sear Box/SideKick. However, the extensive use of stainless steel on the RECTEQ should not be ignored. As a result, it will likely have a longer useful life because of that stainless steel.
Therefore, personally, I would probably recommend going for the RECTEQ if your grill has got to live outside over the wetter months of the year.
However, if you can store the grill in a shed/garage and out of the wet weather, I would probably go with the Camp Chef for the reasons stated above. Though I come to a different conclusion in favour of the RECTEQ in my Weber vs RECTEQ article.
That’s it! I hope you found this comparison of RECTEQ vs Camp Chef interesting/informative. These are just two brands on the market and I have lots of other comparison articles such as Pit Boss vs Camp Chef and Camp Chef vs Weber. You can also check many of my other articles in 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.