In my post on the best portable pellet grills, I briefly reference the Traeger Scout and Ranger. I wanted to discuss them in more detail in a separate post (this post) as its not immediately apparent what the differences are between these two small pellet grills. So in this post, we are going to compare the two and discuss certain scenarios where you might want to consider a tabletop pellet grill such as the Traeger Scout or Ranger. If you own an RV/camping trailer a tiny pellet grill/smoker such as this is going to be your ideal option.
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A typical Traeger such as the Pro Series, Ironwood or Timberline is obviously going to provide you with a lot more cooking space than either the Scout or the Ranger. However, those grills weigh hundred pounds plus and are not designed to quickly and easily fit in the back of your car, pick-up or RV. The only other alternative you may want to consider to the Scout or Ranger but is still ‘portable’ is the Traeger Tailgater.
Introduction To The Traeger Scout and Ranger Pellet Grills
When I first became aware of the idea of a very small/micro-sized pellet grill as someone who has seen so many different designs of pellet combustion systems over the years I thought where do all the components fit?!
First off, you have got to fit a pellet hopper into the grill. You then have to fit in an auger and drive motor feeding to a firepot along with a combustion fan. Well, Traeger has managed to do it with the Scout and Ranger (just), but there are obviously compromises.
First off, let’s discuss the pellet hoppers on the Scout and Ranger. Typically a pellet grill will consume around half a pound of pellets per hour while on a low heat/smoke setting. When doing high-temperature cooking (up to 450 degrees) pellet consumption will increase potentially up to around three pounds per hour.
Well, these small grills only hold between four and eight pounds of pellets in their hoppers. Now that’s still roughly between one and a half hours and three hours of cooking. But the point being, that’s obviously a much shorter period of time than an 18lb pellet hopper found on most full-sized pellet grills. Then again, these small pellet grills due to the smaller internal volume will use fewer pellets than a larger grill.
You will have to top up the pellet hopper on the Traeger Scout/Ranger pellet grill probably every couple of hours: Image – Amazon.com
Secondly, while both of these pellet grills are ‘portable’ they still weigh between 45lbs and 60lbs. So while they are ‘lightweight’ compared to a traditional backyard pellet grill, that’s still quite a bit of weight to be carrying around. Furthermore, don’t forget the 20lbs bag of BBQ wood pellets you need to take with you. You also have to remember these portable pellet grills still need a source of 110V AC power.
Therefore, as discussed in my Traeger accessories post you will need a 12V DC to 110V AC inverter with you as well in most cases to get these grills working. Though as I discuss in my portable power article, there are other options. I’m not trying to put you off the idea of these ‘portable’ pellet grills. I just want you to be fully aware of the limitations of these grills and what else you are going to need to take with you.
Traeger Scout and Ranger Pellet Grill Features/Specifications
One of my main intentions with this post is to clear up the differences between the Scout and Ranger pellet grills. So let’s look through the features and specifications. The first thing I think that’s worth noting is that while these two pellet grills have a different outer body case, they actually have exactly the same dimensions.
Therefore, both units provide the same cooking area of 176 square inches. However, the Scout is lighter (45lbs) than the Ranger (60lbs). Therefore, that’s worth noting.
As previously referenced the Scout has a smaller pellet hopper (4lbs) compared to the more expensive Ranger pellet grill (8lbs). That double capacity pellet hopper will prove handy if you’re away from the grill while its doing a long/slow cook/smoke.
Both grills have a single external meat probe port and can reach the same max cooking temperature of 450 degrees. Therefore, if you want to high temp grill/sear a set of GrillGrates wouldn’t go amiss. However, how each grill gets there is where the key difference lies. The cheaper Scout uses a Gen 1 Pro Series Controller, whereas the Ranger uses the newer (more advanced) Digital Arc Controller.
The key difference is, where the Scout can increase and maintain the set temperature in 25-degree increments the Ranger with the Digital Arc Controller can increase and maintain the temperature at 5-degree increments. In other words, you are getting much better temperature control with the Ranger pellet grill over the Scout.
Not that you cannot cook great food on the Scout, its just going to be a bit trickier to cook the food exactly as you would like it. For instance, I don’t believe you can adjust the P-Setting on the Pro Controller fitted to the Scout.
Traeger Scout and Ranger Pellet Grill Reviews
While out and about in your RV etc is a great use for either the Scout or Ranger pellet grills they could also be used to improve an outdoor experience. For instance, say you enjoy fishing or hunting. Being able to cook freshly caught fish or wild game with the convenience of a full-sized Traeger could really add to the enjoyment of your hobby. Therefore, I’ve included two videos below of the Traeger Ranger being used while out fishing or hunting game.
Conclusions on The Traeger Scout vs Ranger Pellet Grills/Smokers
First, let’s discuss why you would potentially want to choose either the Scout or Range pellet grills. Well, as shown above, either unit could serve as an excellent addition on a fishing/hunting trip to experience great wood-fired flavour without having to spend the time and effort hunting for suitable dry hardwood on your trip to cook on a campfire.
However, I also think its important to note as also discussed above, either of these grills is great for cooking on your own or as a couple. The full-sized Traeger grills are great when your cooking for family/friends, but with fewer people, the heat up/cooking time on a Scout/Ranger pellet grill is going to be considerably shorter. I also believe a Traeger Scout pellet grill is one of the best introductions into the world of wood pellet grills for beginners.
Now let’s discuss the Scout vs the Ranger. While the first generation Pro Series controller used on the Scout is proven/reliable tech it can only control the temperature within a 25-degree window. The Digital Arc Controller on the Ranger is much more advanced with its 5-degree temperature accuracy. Therefore, if you can afford the additional $100 premium over the Scout, the Ranger is the unit to go for.
That’s it! Thanks for reading. I hope this post has clarified the differences between the Traeger Scout and Ranger portable pellet grills. You can order either unit directly from Traegergrills.com. They also offer 0% finance starting at $40 a month. If you would like to learn how Traeger wood pellets are made, or any other wood pellet related topics please browse 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.