While Traeger is where this whole idea of pellet grills started in the 1980s, Cuisinart is a cooking appliance brand that started in the 1970s. While Traeger is a brand solely focused on pellet grills, Cuisinart produces pretty much every type of appliance you can think of to cook on and to cook with. However, its only recently that Cuisinart has entered the pellet grill game, so how do their pellet grills/smokers compare to Traeger? Well, Traeger is now purely a premium pellet grill brand. Whereas Cuisinart has always been a value brand, trying to offer the most affordable products. So well do these two brands compare?
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So as I’ve referenced above, Traeger is focusing on marketing its self as a premium brand. Therefore, the main Traeger models in the Pro, Ironwood and Timberline ranges are not priced to compete against budget/economy pellet grills. However, Cuisinart is a value proposition brand and that’s where their pellet grills are priced.
If you’re not aware of the Economy, Practical, Premium and Luxury pellet grill classes and where different brands have positioned themselves please check out my post on how to choose the best pellet grill for your needs and budget.
Introduction To Traeger vs Cuisinart Pellet Grills
The comparison between Traeger and Cuisinart is a little difficult, its a similar situation to my comments made in my Traeger vs Pit Boss post. In that post, I discussed how with Pit Boss for the same budget you will get a pellet grill with a much larger cooking area.
However, I generally feel the Traeger pellet grills for the same price are put together better, use better quality materials and use a more advanced control panel with more features. Its actually a similar situation in this instance with Traeger vs Cuisinart which I’ll discuss below.
The two specific pellet grills which are directly comparable on price and general size/features are the Traeger Pro 575 and the Cuisinart Woodcreek. Both of these pellets are designed as a backyard grill for under $1,000. Now, Traeger does produce small pellet grills under $500, such as their portable pellet grill the Traeger Tailgater and their ultraportable Scout and Ranger pellet grills. However, Cuisinart doesn’t currently produce pellet grills of a similar size, therefore they are not applicable in this Traeger vs Cuisinart comparison.
Cuisinart also produces a couple of other pellet grills, such as the Twin Oaks which is a pellet/gas combination grill built off the general design of the Woodcreek pellet grill shown below. However, as yet Traeger doesn’t produce a pellet/gas grill, and I doubt they ever will. Hence, the Twin Oaks is not directly relevant for a fair comparison. Cuisinart does also offer a few other pellet grills, namely the CPG-6000 and CPG-4000 but these grills are the same pellet grills sold by Z Grills, so I’ll save that for another article.
Traeger Pro 575 vs Cuisinart Woodcreek
Currently, the most directly comparable pellet grills from Traeger and Cuisinart are the Pro 575 and Woodcreek. I have detailed separate articles on the Traeger Pro Series and the Cuisinart Woodcreek pellet grill, so please check out those articles. Below I’ll just discuss the best respective features for each grill and what they both offer for a similar price point.
Now, on the subject of price, I’m going off the price on the manufacturers’ websites. The Traeger Pro 575 is retailing for just under $800, and that’s pretty much the price you will pay on other websites such as BBQGuys.com. However, while the Cuisinart Woodcreek is priced at just under $600 on Cuisinart.com, its also sold through Walmart. At some points, I’ve seen the price for the Woodcreek under $500 on the Walmart website. First, let’s look at the features of the Traeger Pro 575.
The first generation Pro Series was a big seller for Traeger and has been their most popular range of pellet grills. The Pro 575 is the entry-level pellet grill in the second generation of Traeger Pro Series pellet grills. There are a couple of differences between the first and second generation Traeger Pro Series pellet grill. Specifically the introduction of the new more powerful/more precise D2 Direct Drive auger and combustion fan motors.
They go hand in hand with the latest D2 control panel with a 500-degree max temperature setting which also features Traeger’s WiFi/App system branded as WiFire. In my article on Traeger WiFire, I discuss how its features and built-in video recipes I currently regard it as the best in the business. The Pro 575 can also be upgraded with the Traeger pellet sensor, to monitor pellet consumption during a ‘low and slow’ cook.
In terms of cooking area, the Pro 575 provides 575 square inches. However, its important to note that’s the total cooking area. In other words, the lower cooking rack is 418 square inches and the upper rack is 154 square inches. The hopper on the Traeger is 18lbs. Since Traeger supplies BBQ wood pellets in 20lb bags I have no idea why its 18lbs, but there you go.
So now let’s look at and compare the Cuisinart Woodcreek. On the subject of pellet hoppers, the Woodcreek has a massive 30lb pellet hopper. Now, really it can be reasonably argued that’s overkill. As on low and slow cooks at around 220-degrees pellet consumption will be around 1lb per hour. Hence, no one will be leaving their grill unattended to fill the hopper for 30 hours!
In terms of the cooking area on the Cuisinart Woodcreek its another area where the figures give it a clear win over the Traeger Pro 575. The Woodcreek offers 648 square inches on the main cooking grate and an additional 214 square inches on the upper rack. Therefore, that’s 862 square inches in total.
That’s an additional 287 square inches over the total cooking area found on the Traeger Pro 575, and that’s quite a bit of space. What I do also like on the Woodcreek is while its maximum temperature is 500 degrees (same as the Traeger) it comes with cast iron cooking grates.
Therefore, out of the box, you will likely get better searing performance on steaks/burgers from the Cuisinart. Though you can easily add a set of GrillGrates onto the Traeger for equal or better searing performance. However, that is another cost to add to the pellet grill which is already at least $200 more than the Cuisinart Woodcreek.
The other main feature I do really like on the Cuisinart Woodcreek is the large insulated lid with viewing window and a light within the main grill. Obviously when your cooking you want to keep in as much heat/smoke as possible, but you also want to keep checking on the food.
Therefore, the viewing window (when kept clean) can be a very useful feature to have. Furthermore, with the lid being insulated it will keep in more of the heat. So its looking really good for the Woodcreek in this Cuisinart vs Traeger pellet grill comparison. However, there are few areas where the Woodcreek is not equal to the Traeger, namely with its control panel and build quality/internal components.
I’m not stating the Woodcreek has a ‘bad’ control panel, its just not equal to the precision and features of the Traeger D2 control panel. First, the Woodcreek control panel is based on time/pauses to turn the pellet feed auger on and off to maintain a set temperature.
This is how the older Traeger Pro control panel worked, and how the control panels work on most budget pellet grills today. The latest Traeger D2 control uses a PID (Proportional, Integral, Derivative) algorithm which is constantly adjusting the fan and pellet feed auger speed to maintain a set temperature.
Furthermore, while you can control the Cuisinart pellet grill from your phone via an app, that’s only possible via a Bluetooth connection. Bluetooth is only capable of short-distance communication with the grill, so from within your yard/garden and maybe from within your home if you’re lucky. WiFi on the other hand which the Traeger uses for its WiFire platform once properly setup with your homes internet router means you can connect to your grill from any location with a WiFi, 4G or 5G signal.
The final thing I want to reference between these two pellet grills is the Traeger is generally made from thicker welded steel whereas the Cuisinart is made from thinner folded and bolted steel panels. This is part of the reason why Cuisinart is able to produce a pellet grill of this size for a cheaper price point.
I also believe the paint finish on the Traeger to be more durable, hence more resilient to scratches. Through it should be noted there is quite a lot of stainless steel panelling on the Woodcreek, which while thin and potentially prone to dents is a nice feature.
Conclusions on Traeger vs Cuisinart Pellet Grills
Unlike my previous comparison articles such as Traeger vs Camp Chef, in this instance, there is only one pellet grill from each manufacturer which can be really be compared. So what have we learnt? Well, in terms of the cooking area you are getting a much better deal with the Cuisinart. Furthermore, I really like the cast-iron grates on the Cuisinart Woodcreek pellet grill which the Traeger doesnt have. Finally, I think the insulated lid with viewing window (and interior light) are excellent features to have, especially if you are able to pick up this grill from Walmart on sale for under $500.
Where the Cuisinart Woodcreek cannot compete with the Traeger is on the quality/power of the internal components (D2 Direct Drive) and the D2 control panel with WiFire. The fact the latest Traeger control panel is a PID is significant. Where the temperature on the Cuisinart could vary 25 degrees from its actual set temperature, the PID controller on the Traeger should be able to hold the temperature to within 5 degrees of its set temperature.
So what are my final thoughts? Well, if you only intend to do a bit of ‘low and slow’ cooking where you are by the grill most of the time and you mainly want to use the grill for cooking steaks/burgers etc then I think the Cuisinart Woodcreek could serve you well. However, if you want to do a lot of low and slow cooking to get the most benefit from cooking with wood pellets then the benefits of the Traegers WiFi/PID control panel will start to show.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this article on the current comparable offerings from Traeger and Cuisinart. In my Pit Boss vs Cuisinart, I discuss how I think those pellet grills are much more comparable on features/price. You may also want to review other options such as Traeger vs Weber, please check out 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.