Traeger vs Camp Chef in 2022


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. Traeger is trying to differentiate itself 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)?: Images – Traeger.com & CampChef.com

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.

Introduction To Traeger vs Camp Chef Pellet Grills

While Traeger has been successfully producing pellet grills since the 1980s, its only really within the last decade that the concept of a pellet grill has been able to compete with well-established charcoal and gas grill manufacturers.

Camp Chef, founded in 1990, built its name on propane gas grills, and they are now making a serious push with its pellet grill product lines.

However, as you’ll see below, Camp Chef is also producing marketing-leading pellet/gas combo grills, putting its knowledge of gas grills to use.


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.

They can then be 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, being 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 to $529
  • 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 a 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, which will make the job of moving it around 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 one full hopper, but neither is obviously designed for very long smoking sessions.

Pricing and Value

As I’ve stated above, the Traeger Tailgater seems to hold pretty steady on price over all outlets at around $499. 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 Pursuit for under a hundred dollars more than the Traeger Tailgater, I think it is the better value product.


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 Pellet Grill/Smoker
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 all in one grill.

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 24 Pellet Grill/Smoker
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.

  • 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 = $899
  • Availability = CampChef.comBBQGuys.comHomeDepot.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. On the Camp Chef, the indirect internal temperature will max out at 500 degrees.

However, the centre of the grate on the Camp Chef 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 typically add 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 $999 and $899, respectively.

Therefore, as these two pellet grills are direct competitors on price, to determine their 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 for the pellet grill.

The advantages and main value for the Camp Chef are from a larger overall cooking area, a slightly larger pellet hopper and direct-flame access which is missing on the Traeger.

Furthermore, the Camp Chef does have the option of being upgraded in the future with a propane Sear Box or SideKick. Therefore, the Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 24 would be my pick.


Traeger Timberline 1300 vs Camp Chef Apex 24″

For those not aware, there are Gen 1 Timberline and Gen 2 Timberline versions. The Timberline 1300, for this comparison, is a Gen 1 model.

Gen 2 Timberline models are priced significantly higher than anything Camp Chef currently offers, so they are not relevant for this comparison article.

I debated whether to compare a Camp Chef Woodwind Pro (Smoke Box) or Apex (pellet/gas combo). As the Apex 24″ matches more closely to the Timberline 1300 on price, that’s what I went for.

I also have a dedicated article on the Traeger Timberline vs Camp Chef Apex, if you’re interested, where I go into more detail and the strengths and weaknesses of each grill.

Traeger Timberline 1300

While the Timberline 1300 shares the same PID/WiFi control panel as is cheaper Traeger siblings, it does have a few extra tricks up it leaves.

The Timberline 1300 features a twin-wall insulated cooking chamber which is lined with 304-grade stainless steel, and there are also thick stainless steel rod cooking racks.

Traeger Timberline 1300 Pellet Grill/Smoker
The Timberline 1300 is the larger of the two Timberline Gen 1 models: Image – Traeger.com

However, the Timberline 1300 is still limited to a maximum temperature setting of 500 degrees, as is currently the case with all Traeger pellet grills/smokers.

Therefore, grilling/searing performance is where the Timberline 1300 falls short of much of its direct competition, and the Camp Chef Apex in particular.

Total Cooking Area = 1,300 sq.in (561 sq.in at the main grate)
Pellet Hopper Capacity = 24 lbs
Temperature Range = 180 to 500 degrees
Direct-Flame Access? = No
PID Temperature Control? = Yes
WiFi/App Control? = Yes
Typical Price = $2,299
Availability = Traeger.com


Camp Chef Apex 24″

The Camp Chef Apex is a true pellet/gas hybrid grill with full-width propane burners along with a side griddle that can also be fitted with Camp Chef SideKick accessories.

Therefore, the Apex can be seen as a jack of all trades which shakes off the potential limitations of other pellet grills when it comes to grilling/searing.

Camp Chef Apex 24" Pellet/Gas Grill
The Camp Chef Apex 24″ is the smaller of the two Apex pellet grills: Image – CampChef.com

The Apex features the same PID/WiFi control panel technology as the popular Woodwind range, therefore as a pellet smoker, the Apex is still able to perform as well as other Camp Chef pellet smokers.

However, as the Camp Chef Apex also has a full-width row of propane burners, its grilling/searing performance cannot be doubted.

Total Cooking Area = 811 sq.in (429 sq.in at the main grate)
Pellet Hopper Capacity = 22 lbs
Temperature Range = 160 to 500 degrees (650+ Gas)
Direct-Flame Access? = No
PID Temperature Control? = Yes
WiFi/App Control? = Yes
Typical Price = $2,199
Availability = CampChef.com


Temperature Control & Cooking Performance

When it comes to temperature accuracy with the Traeger Timberline 1300 and the Camp Chef Apex, its the same case as the cheaper models above.

Both pellet grills are fitted with a PID temperature controller, and temperatures can be set and maintained at 5-degree increments. However, as before, the Camp Chef Apex can go down a little lower to 160 degrees.

At the top end, both control panels have a 500-degree maximum, and that’s where the Traeger’s capabilities end. However, the Camp Chef Apex 24″, with the aid of its propane burners, it can get the entire cooking grate at temperatures over 650 degrees.

The Apex lacks direct-flame access found on its cheaper Woodwind sibling. Then again, it doesn’t need direct-flame access from the pellet fire for grilling with its propane burners.

While the Traeger Timberline has a respectable smoking performance, it cannot compete with the Camp Chef Apex when it comes to grilling/searing capabilties.

Cooking Area & Hopper Capacity

While the Camp Chef Apex does feature an insulated lid, it does not feature the same extent of insulation as the Traeger Timberline 1300.

Therefore, when it comes to pellet consumption and winter cooking performance, the Traeger Timberline likely has the edge over the Camp Chef Apex.

Likewise, when it comes to the cooking area for smoking/going low and slow, the Traeger Timberline 1300 is offering more, a total of 1,300 sq.in compared to a total of 811 sq.in on the Apex 24″.

With regards to the size of the main grate for grilling/searing, the Timberline 1300 offers a total of 561 sq.in compared to the Apex 24″ at 429 sq.in.

As I’ve stated above though, while the main cooking grate on the Camp Chef Apex 24″ is smaller, its also far more functional, being able to achieve much higher temperatures at the grate.

Pricing and Value

These two pellet grills are matched pretty close in price (hence why I chose them). However, the Traeger Timberline 1300 ($2,299) does cost a little more than the Camp chef Apex 24″ ($2,199).

So the question then becomes, which pellet grill is offering the better value? Well, it comes down to what you’re primarily looking for in a pellet BBQ.

If you are someone who prefers to spend their time with long low and slow smoking sessions, then the Traeger Timberline may be your better option.

Due to the more extensive use of insulation and the larger cooking chamber, and a slightly large pellet hopper, the Traeger Timberline 1300 is well set up for long smoking sessions, even in cold climates.

However, if you primarily spend your time grilling for friends and family but want to do low and slow on the side, then the Camp Chef Apex 24″ may be your better option.


Conclusions On Traeger vs Camp Chef Pellet Grills

From my comparisons above, for the portable option, 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 mid-range 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.

When it comes to the premium pellet grills, it really depends on what you primarily want your pellet grill to do. If you want to focus on low and slow, the Traeger Timberline 1300 may be the one to go for.

However, if you want to primarily focus on grilling, the Camp Chef Apex 24″ easily has the Traeger beat, and the Apex is also still a very capable pellet smoker.

If you want to do a deeper dive, you may be interested in my Traeger Timberline vs Camp Chef Apex article comparing more premium options from both brands.

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. 🙂

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.com

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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