Pros & Cons – Traeger Tailgater

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When you’re out and about, either camping, a day at the beach, or at the game, its nice to be able to cook on your own BBQ. Hence, that’s where a portable pellet grill can come in handy, such as the Traeger Tailgater. Below, I’ll review the Pros & Cons of this particularly small pellet grill/smoker.

Tap/Click above to review the Pros & Cons of the Traeger Tailgater

To make a truly portable pellet grill, as well as the BBQ being reasonably small, its weight is also important, and the Traeger Tailgater comes in at a reasonable 62 lbs.

With a weight of just 62 lbs the Traeger Tailgater is suitably lightweight as a portable pellet grill.
A portable pellet grill needs to be small, and it also needs to be a reasonable weight for one person to lift

With a weight of 62 lbs, that is within the capabilities of most adults to lift comfortably on their own. With two people, the job is obviously easier.

However, one person should be able to lift the Traeger Tailgater in and out of a car/truck without too much effort.

While the Traeger Tailgater is indeed a portable pellet grill, it cannot be used as such out of the box. The reason is that it does not come with a 110V AC to 12 DC inverter to run from a vehicle’s battery.

The Traeger Tailgater does not come with a 110V AC to 12V DC inverter.
To run the Traeger Tailgater from a vehicle’s battery, you will need to purchase a separate power inverter

Having to purchase a separate power inverter is obviously not the end of the world. However, the Traeger Tailgater is currently already one of the most expensive portable pellet grills on the market (check our database).

While a portable pellet grill needs to be not too heavy and not too large, its still got to perform as a BBQ. Therefore, the cooking area provided is obviously still important.

The cooking area of the Traeger Tailgater at 300 square inches is practical.
The cooking area of the Traeger Tailgater is 300 sq.in

As such, with the Traeger Tailgater offering a cooking area of 300 square inches, it means its possible to cook around twelve burgers at the same and a larger number of hot dogs.

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A general weakness of Traeger’s is their grilling/searing performance, and the Tailgater is no exception, with a low maximum temperature setting of 450 degrees.

The maximum temperature setting on the Traeger Tailgater of 450 degree is disapointing.
With a max temperature setting of 450 degrees, you’ll struggle to get a good sear on steaks and burgers etc

It is possible to improve the grilling/searing performance of any Traeger by putting in a set of GrillGrates and burning 100% charcoal pellets to increase the heat output of the pellet grill.

However, the point is, that there are other portable pellet grills on the market (see our database) that offer a much higher maximum temperature setting, and some also offer direct-flame access.

While the maximum temperature setting of the Traeger Tailgater is not very impressive, the technology within the controller is above that of the average portable pellet grill.

The Digital Arc Controller fitted to the Traeger Tailgater is one of the better control panels fitted to portable pellet grills.
The Traeger Digital Arc controller is pretty good when it comes to temperature accuracy

The Digital Arc controller fitted to the Tailgater is able to hold the temperature within the pellet grill to within 10 degrees of the set temperature.

This is better than the 25-degree swing on temps you’ll find on many other portable pellet grills.

The Traeger Tailgater typically retails for around $530 (check our database). At that price, the Tailgater is easily one of the most expensive portable pellet grills currently on the market.

There are better alternatives to the Traeger Tailgater, especially at its relatively high price point.
With such a high price point, there are better alternatives to the Traeger Tailgater for the price

Better alternatives to the Traeger Tailgater include the recteq Road Warrior 340P pictured above. Don’t just take my word for it. Compare their specs in our database.

My Final Thoughts On The Traeger Tailgater

While not a bad portable pellet grill/smoker, the Traeger Tailgater is definitely showing its age compared to the recent competition, which offer more for a similar or lower price point.

You may be interested in a Traeger because you have heard good things about their App and the functionality it provides. Well, its important to note, that the Tailgater is currently not fitted with WiFi connectivity to use the WiFire app.

Therefore, on balance, I think there are several better options today when it comes to purchasing a portable pellet grill, which you can see for yourself by reviewing all of the portable pellet grills in our database through the link below.

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