Traeger Timberline Gen 1 vs Gen 2 – Worth The Higher Price?


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

There is now a second-generation (Gen 2) version of the range-topping Traeger models, the Timberline range. I’ve previously written about the new features of the Gen 2 Timberline. However, what I wanted to do with this article is to discuss how the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Timberline models compare on features and price. While I definitely feel the Gen 2 Timberline is an improvement in many areas, its also seen a considerable price increase. Therefore, is a Gen 2 Traeger Timberline model worth the higher price?

Traeger Timberline Gen 1 vs Gen 2
So how does the Traeger Timberline Gen 1 (left) compare against the latest Timberline Gen 2 models (right)?: Images – Traeger.com

Introduction On The Traeger Timberline Gen 1 vs Gen 2

My previous articles on the Gen 1 Timberline and the Gen 2 Timberline go into lots of specific detail about the features of each grill. This article is focused on a comparison of those features and of course a discussion on the price point of each.

However, to provide a quick run through and reference point of the features and differences between the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Timberline I’ve provided the table below. I think this table will provide useful as you read my comments below to understand which grill has what features, price etc.

Traeger Timberline Gen 1 vs Gen 2 Comparison Table

FeaturesGen 1 Timberline 850Gen 1 Timberline 1300Gen 2 Timberline Gen 2 Timberline XL
Total Cooking Area869 sq.in1,300 sq.in880 sq.in1320 sq.in
Main Grate363 sq.in561 sq.in396 sq.in594 sq.in
Hopper Size?24 lbs24 lbs22 lbs22 lbs
Temp Range180-500180-500180-500180-500
Induction Hob?NoNoYesYes
PID Control?YesYesYesYes
WiFi/App?YesYesYesYes
Downdraft Exhaust?YesYesYesYes
Twin-Wall?Yes (Full)Yes (Full)Yes (Full)Yes (Full)
Stainless Steel Internals?YesYesYesYes
Built-In Option?NoNoYesYes
Warranty3 Years3 Years10 Years10 Years
Typical Price$2,099$2,299$3,499$3,799

I’ve referenced the typical price figures above from Traeger.com. Now, you may find one of the grills above at a different price point when on sale etc. Also, its not clear how long Traeger is going to keep selling/supplying the Gen 1 Timberline models, so please bear that in mind.

Design and Cooking Area Differences

First off, let’s discuss the design differences between the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Timberline as you can see from the image above, there has been a pretty significant design shift.

Where the Gen 1 Timberline models are based on the traditional cart design with four separate legs, the Gen 2 Timberline models are based on an enclosed cabinet design. Part of this design choice I think is that Traeger is clearly aiming the Gen 2 Timberline models at those looking for a dedicated outdoor kitchen setup.

Traeger Timberline Gen 2 Built-in
Both the smaller Gen 2 Timberline and larger Gen 2 Timberline XL (pictured) can be modified with the ‘Built-in’ kit to fit into a dedicated outdoor kitchen setup: Image – Traeger.com

As such, each of the Gen 2 Timberline models can be spec’d with a built-in optional kit for under $200. This kit provides adjustable feet to replace the standard caster wheels and a front kick plate to finish off the look of a fully integrated grill.

When integrating a Timberline Gen 2 model into a dedicated outdoor kitchen setup the induction hob can be separated from the side self and integrated into the worktop, so no cooking functionality is lost.

The construction and cooking chambers of Gen 1 and Gen 2 Timberline models are very similar, both generations feature fully insulated/dual-wall construction with a stainless steel interior.

With regards to the cooking areas, as you can see from the table above, the Gen 2 Timberline models are indeed larger than their Gen 1 siblings. However, the difference is not that significant, with an additional 20 sq.in provided on Gen 2 models. So what about temperature control?

Temperature Control and Searing Potential Differences

Now, on the face of it, when it comes to temperature control and cooking functionality the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Timberline models would appear very similar if not identical. Both generations have a temperature range of 180 to 500 degrees on all models for instance.

Furthermore, both Gen 1 and Gen 2 Timberline models use a PID temperature algorithm, both are Traeger WiFire compatible and can be controlled and monitored via the Traeger App. So are there really any significant differences between them, yes there are.

Traeger Timberline Gen 1 vs Gen 2 Control Panels
Where the Gen 1 Timberline (left) featured a monochrome control panel display the Gen 2 Timberline (right) now features an easier to read full-color display: Images – Traeger.com

First off, where Gen 1 Timberline models are using a single temperature probe to give information to the control panel, Gen 2 Timberline models are fitted with multiple temperature probes. For instance, Gen 2 models are monitoring ambient air temperature around the grill whereas that’s not the case on Gen 1 models.

The benefit is, that Gen 2 Timberline models can provide an even more consistent temperature during summer or winter conditions. Furthermore, Gen 2 models know when the lid is open and alert the control panel to increase pellet combustion to compensate for the loss of heat.

Another notable difference is the Gen 2 Timberline can support up to two wireless MEATER temperature probes. I would have thought that with a firmware update to Gen 1 Timberline models and other Traeger models they will also get this functionality, but that’s not as yet been confirmed.

The Advantage Of The Timberline Gen 2 Induction Hob

Something that neither the Gen 1 or Gen 2 Timberline has is direct-flame access of the pellet fire to the grill grate. That means, that high temperature grilling/searing has always been a weakness of Traeger pellet grills.

As I have previously discussed in my article on ‘can a Traeger replace a gas grill‘ you can add in a set of GrillGrates to provide higher grate surface temperatures for grilling. However, the Gen 2 Timberline does have an ace up its leave when it comes to high temperature cooking over 500 degrees, its induction hob.

The Induction Cooktop found on Gen 2 Timberline models is a first for a pellet grill, any outdoor BBQ at all really: Video – Traeger.com

The induction hob on Gen 2 Timberline models can get a metal pan/skillet up to 700 degrees twice as fast an even a gas hob. Therefore, Gen 2 Timberline models have one of the fastest heat up searing solutions of any outdoor grill on the market.

Granted, you’re not searing over flames and getting the benefit of wood smoke flavour from the pellets. However, you can start the cook inside the grill using the pellets and then take the steaks/burgers out of the grill and into a hot pan on the induction hob to finish them off at a very high temperature.

Pricing and Warranty Differences

So as we have established above, the Gen 2 Timberline models are now designed to fit into an outdoor kitchen setup. The have a more user-friendly full-colour control panel which is smarter, measuring more variables such as ambient air temperature and it knows when the grill lid is open etc.

Furthermore, the addition of a induction hob on the Gen 2 Timberline models add additional cooking functionality and address a key limitation of Traeger grills of the past, access to cooking temperatures over 500 degrees.

However, induction hob technology and the electro magnets they use is still expensive tech, and as such there has been a step up in price from the Gen 1 to the Gen 2 Timberline range. As you can see from the Table above, the Gen 1 has a price range of $2,099 to $2,299 and the Gen 2 is $3,499 to $3,799.

While a Gen 2 Timberline is objectively a more capable pellet grill/smoker over the Gen 1 the price difference is pretty considerable: Video –Traeger.com

That’s on average across the models a jump of $1,450 going from the Gen 1 to the Gen 2 Timberline models. That’s not an insignificant amount of money, its a considerable amount of money for most people. I’ll discuss more below my thoughts on that.

However, I will also say a notable difference between the Gen 1 and Gen 2 which I actually only noticed as I was doing my final checks/research before writing this article is the warranty.

Gen 1 Timberline models come with the standard 3 year Traeger warranty which as I’ve previously discussed in my article on the best pellet grill warranty’s is pretty average. However, Gen 2 Timberline models now get an industry leading 10 year limited-warranty.

That warranty will cover ‘any defects in material or workmanship under normal use and maintenance‘. However, it won’t cover the paint finish and any surface rust which may appear on the steel outerbody work should the powerder coated paint finish fail.

My Thoughts On The Traeger Timberline Gen 1 vs Gen 2…

So what are my final thoughts on this comparison and the merrits of choosing the latest generation of Traeger Timberline over the previous versions. Well, there are definitely notable improvements on Gen 2 models such as the more advanced temperature control and obviously the induction hob.

There are also improvements to making clean up easier on the Gen 2 models which I didn’t touch on above with the new EZ Clean ash and grease keg. Furthermore, how Gen 2 Timberline models can be integrated into a dedicated outdoor kitchen I know is going to appeal to quite a few people.

However, I always felt paying over $2K for a Traeger as is the case with a Gen 1 Timberline as its not a full-stainless steel grill is a tough sell. Now, we have the Gen 2 Timberline pushing close to $4K and its still not a full-stainless steel grill, its an even tougher sell.

In terms of cooking area and pellet cooking temperature range the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Timberline are almost identical. If you’re not looking for a built-in solution and you can live without the induction hob then a Gen 1 Timberline is probably going to give you better value.

If you’re all about team Traeger and you’re after the latest and greatest then there are definite improvements on the Gen 2 Timberline. However, I would seriously question the value of the smaller Gen 2 Timberline over the much larger Gen 2 Timberline XL.

While the XL is more expensive than its smaller Gen 2 Timberline sibling by around $300 that’s not a significant difference when your spending at least $3,499 on a Gen 2 Timberline. Therefore if you’re still up for a Gen 2 Timberline, the XL makes the most sense really.

That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found the above comparison interesting useful. If you would like to learn more about you’re wider pellet grill options I would encourage you to check out my Wood Pellet Grill Guide. 🙂

A to Z List of Pellet Grill/Smoker Brands

A to Z List of Pellet Grill/Smoker Brands

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 to Z List of The Best BBQ Wood Pellets

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.

Chris - PelHeat

Hi, I’m Chris. I started PelHeat.com back in 2007. This website is intended to be an educational resource on BBQ pellets, pellet grills & smokers. I hope you find the information useful.

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