Traeger vs Camp Chef 2021 – Pellet Grill Comparisons


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

In my previous article on Traeger vs Pit Boss, I discussed how the two brands are drifting further apart. With Traeger trying to differentiate its self as purely a premium brand and Pit Boss going for the value segment, trying to provide the largest cooking areas for their price point. With Traeger vs Camp Chef as you will see below, I feel these two brands and their current pellet grill offerings more closely align. Hence, they are trying to produce pellet grills with a similar target in mind, mid-range/premium pellet grills.

Traeger vs Camp Chef
So how do Traeger’s pellet grills (left) compare against the current similarly priced offerings from Camp Chef (right)?

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.

In a rush? Jump to my conclusion on which Traeger or Camp Chef pellet grills are providing the best deal considering features such as temperature control technology, cooking area, weight, hopper capacity and price point.

Introduction To Traeger vs Camp Chef Pellet Grills

Traeger was the first company/brand to bring a pellet grill to market in the 1980s. While Traeger has been successfully producing pellet grills since that point, its only really within the last decade where the concept of a pellet grill has been able to compete with well-established charcoal and gas grill manufacturers.

Apparently, pellet grill sales are set to surpass propane gas grill sales within a couple of years. Camp Chef, founded in 1990 built their name on propane gas grills and as they are now making a serious push with their pellet grill product lines it makes the possibility of pellet grills overtaking gas grills all the more believable.

Traeger Tailgater vs Camp Chef Pursuit

First off, we are comparing two portable pellet grills from Traeger and Camp Chef. Both of these units are designed with folding legs so they can be placed in the back of a car, truck or RV and taken camping or for a day out at the beach. First, I’ll provide some key details/features on each model, and then we’ll get into the comparison.

Traeger Tailgater

The Tailgater has been a staple of the Traeger range for many years now. And while its control panel has been upgraded to the ‘Digital Arc’ controller it is not fitted with the same PID/WiFi control panel technology found in more modern Traeger’s such as the Pro Series Gen 2 below.

Traeger Tailgater
The Traeger Tailgater was one of the original and most widely available portable pellet grills: Images – Traeger.com

Obviously been a portable pellet grill the cooking area and hopper size are pretty small compared to a typical full-sized pellet grill. However, the ability to use the Tailgater in pretty much any location (with a suitable source of power) gives it more utility than a typical backyard grill.

  • Total Cooking Area = 300 sq.in
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 8 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 450 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = No
  • PID Temperature Control? = No
  • WiFi/App Control? = No
  • Typical Price = $470
  • Availability = Traeger.comAmazon.comBBQGuys.comWalmart.com & HomeDepot.com

Camp Chef Pursuit

The Camp Chef Pursuit has also been around for many years now. However, it has been updated with PID technology providing 5-degree temperature control/accuracy. Though, it should be noted the Pursuit doesn’t currently benefit from WiFi connectivity which is found on some versions of the Gen 2 controller.

Camp Chef Pursuit
The Camp Chef Pursuit has one of if not the largest cooking areas of any small/portable pellet grill on the market today: Images – CampChef.com

Other notable features of the Pursuit include the large (and lockable) 10lb pellet hopper. The Camp Chef Pursuit does also have a novel and quick ash cleanout feature and the folding legs with wheels perform reasonably well. While the Pursuit is widely available in terms of price there are significant differences from outlet to outlet, so bear that in mind.

  • Total Cooking Area = 501 sq.in (total), main grate 253 sq.in
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 10 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 160 to 500 degrees (Slide & Grill @ 650 degrees)
  • Direct-Flame Access? = Yes
  • PID Temperature Control? = Yes
  • WiFi/App Control? = No
  • Typical Price = $486 to $684
  • Availability = CampChef.comWalmart.comHomeDepot.comLowes.com & BBQGuys.com

Temperature Control & Cooking Performance

As I’ve stated above the Camp Chef Pursuit is fitted with modern PID control panel technology whereas that’s not currently the case with the Traeger Tailgater. Therefore, only the Camp Chef benefits from temperature control and accuracy within 5 degrees of the set temperature. Furthermore, the Camp Chef has lower and higher temperature settings going as low as 160 degrees and as high as 500 degrees.

The Camp Chef is the only one of these two portable pellet grills to benefit from direct-flame access, therefore the centre of the cooking grate can get up to around 650 degrees for better searing/grilling performance. Neither pellet grill benefits from WiFi/App functionality which is a bit disappointing especially on the Camp Chef as that same control panel is available with WiFi integration on other Camp Chef pellet grills.

Cooking Area, Weight & Hopper Capacity

While the Camp Chef Pursuit offers the larger overall cooking area at 501 sq.in, that is over two racks. The main cooking grate on the Camp Chef is really just 253 sq.in, therefore its the Traeger Tailgater which actually provides the larger main cooking grate at 300 sq.in.

In terms of weight the Traeger comes in at 62lbs and the Camp Chef comes in at a much beefier 82lbs. Therefore, the Traeger will be easier for one person to move around. Then again, the Camp Chef can be rolled along the ground so that will make the job of moving it easier in some cases.

When it comes to hopper capacity there is little between them with the Traeger holding 8lbs and the Camp Chef 10lbs. Pellet consumption on these small pellet grills will typically be around 1lb per hour. Therefore, for most cooks, they can both cope on a full hopper, but neither is obviously designed for long smoke sessions.

Pricing and Value

As I’ve stated above, the Traeger Tailgater seems to hold pretty steady on price over all outlets at around $470. However, the Camp Chef Pursuit depending on where you look can be priced as low as $486 all the way up to $684. That’s obviously quite a large price range.

While the Traeger offers the larger main cooking grate, overall based on temperature range and control panel technology the Camp Chef is the superior product. Therefore, you should expect to pay a premium for the Camp Chef over the Traeger, but several hundred dollars more?

Neither of these products is the best portable pellet grill currently on the market due to their price points. However, in this comparison, if you can find the Camp Chef for under a hundred dollars more than the Traeger is it the better value.

Traeger Pro 780 vs Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 24

Now let’s look at two full-sized pellet grills from Traeger and Camp Chef. Specifically, let’s look at what is the best offering from each brand for under $1,000. As with the smaller pellet grills above, we’ll compare their temperature control and cooking performance, cooking area, hopper capacity and discuss their price to value proposition.

Traeger Pro 780

The Pro 780 is a Gen 2 Pro Series model which has significant improvements over the first generation models with notable features such as the D2 Direct Drive platform and WiFire integration. Traeger’s app is currently one of the most comprehensive in terms of features including video recipes and downloadable cooking settings to the grill.

Traeger Pro 780
The Pro 780 is the larger of the two second-generation Traeger Pro Series models: Image – Traeger.com

The Pro 780 may have solid WiFi/App functionality but it is lacking in other areas. While the cooking area at 780 sq.in is reasonable the hopper size, maximum temperature setting and lack of direct flame access are its weaknesses.

  • Total Cooking Area = 780 sq.in (570 sq.in at the main grate)
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 18 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 500 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = No
  • PID Temperature Control? = Yes
  • WiFi/App Control? = Yes
  • Typical Price = $1,000
  • Availability = Traeger.comBBQGuys.com & HomeDepot.com

Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 24

The Woodwind range from Camp Chef was one of the first to offer the key features of direct-flame access, PID temperature control and WiFi/App functionality. When considering additional features such as easy ash cleanout and the optional Sear Box/SideKick, Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grills have been a staple of premium pellet grills for several years.

Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 24
The Woodwind WiFi 24 has been one of the leading pellet grills under $1,000 for several years: Image – CampChef.com

While the total cooking area of 800 sq.in is reasonably competitive, the size of the main cooking grate at 418 sq.in is not class-leading. However, as an overall package Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grills have been a very compelling option for many years now.

Woodwind WiFi Key Features

  • Total Cooking Area = 800 sq.in (418 sq.in at the main grate)
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 22 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 160 to 500 degrees (650+ with direct flame)
  • Direct-Flame Access? = Yes
  • PID Temperature Control? = Yes
  • WiFi/App Control? = Yes
  • Typical Price = $1,000
  • Availability = CampChef.comBBQGuys.comHomeDepot.com & Lowes.com

Temperature Control & Cooking Performance

Both the Traeger Pro 780 and the Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 24 feature a control panel operating on a PID algorithm, therefore in terms of temperature accuracy both pellet grills are equal. In terms of temperature range while both offer a maximum temperature setting of 500 degrees the Camp Chef can go 20 degrees lower down to 160 degrees.

While both pellet grills are equal on temperature control, the Camp Chef has the advantage in terms of smoke control as at any set temperature the smoke intensity can be adjusted from 1 to 10, a feature not present on the Traeger. However, on the WiFi/App side of things as I’ve previously discussed in my Traeger WiFi vs Camp Chef Connect article I would probably give the edge to Traeger.

An advantage the Camp Chef has over the Traeger is direct-flame access. Therefore, while the indirect internal temperature will max out at 500 degrees, on the Camp Chef the centre of the grate it can get up to 650 degrees plus. Therefore, the Camp Chef has a clear advantage when it comes to grilling/searing.

Cooking Area & Hopper Capacity

When it comes to the cooking area overall the Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 24 is offering more than the Traeger Pro 780 at 800 sq.in and 780 sq.in respectively. However, the positions are actually reversed when it comes to the size of the main cooking grate, with the Traeger providing 570 sq.in and the Camp Chef only 418 sq.in.

Now, the Camp Chef cooking area and cooking functionality can be increased with the addition of their Sear Box or SideKick. However, that would add typically an additional $300 to the investment, and therefore not really a fair direct comparison for these two pellet grills which are closely priced.

When it comes to hopper capacity there is not a lot between them with the Traeger holding 18lbs and the Camp Chef 22lbs. However, what that does mean is the Camp Chef can take a full 20lb bag of grill pellets in one go, which is not possible on the Traeger.

Pricing and Value

The price of both the Traeger Pro 780 and the Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 24 from all suppliers has been pretty stable at just under $1,000. Therefore, as these two pellet grills are direct competitors on price to determine the value it comes down to which features are present/missing on each pellet grill.

The advantages and main value for the Traeger are from the larger cooking area over the main cooking grate of an additional 152 sq.in. Furthermore, I think the Traeger WiFire app currently has more content with interactive video recipes and downloadable cooking settings to the pellet grill.

The advantages and main value for the Camp Chef are from a larger overall cooking area, slightly larger pellet hopper and direct-flame access which is missing on the Traeger. Furthermore, the Camp Chef does have the option of been upgraded in the future with a propane Sear Box or SideKick.

Conclusions On Traeger vs Camp Chef Pellet Grills

From my comparisons above, I think its a win for the Camp Chef Pursuit provided you can find it at a reasonable price as discussed above. Its more advanced PID control panel and direct-flame access give it better value over the Traeger Tailgater.

When it comes to the full-sized pellet grills its a much closer call, though I’d still give the edge to the Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 24 again due to the direct-flame access and future upgrade potential with the Sear Box/SideKick. While the Traeger Pro 780 provides the larger main cooking grate and more comprehensive App features on balance I think the Camp Chef pellet grill just edges it.

That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found this analysis/discussion on Traeger vs Camp Chef pellet grills useful/interesting. There are so many pellet grill brands available now, even I struggle to keep track. To review more of your options please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂

Click above for our suggestion tool to help you find a pellet grill/smoker within your budget

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 how pellets are made and their various uses. I hope you find the information useful.

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