GMG (Green Mountain Grills) may have only developed their first pellet grill prototype in 2007 then shortly after bringing their products to market. However, GMG is building a strong reputation in the pellet grill owners community. Whereas Traeger, on the other hand, produced their first prototype in the 1980s. Traeger is still the market leader to this day, which was obviously helped by the fact they held a patent on how a pellet grill works for 20 years. However, Traeger now faces a lot of stiff competition. So let’s look at Traeger vs GMG and how their comparable products stack up against each other on features and price. Specifically the GMG Prime Series and Traeger Pro Series pellet grills.
Unlike in my comparisons articles on Traeger vs Pit Boss or Traeger vs Cuisinart, I do believe that the majority of Traeger and Green Mountain Grills products fit in the same spot in the Practical/Premium Class of pellet grills. You see, as there are now so many different makes and models of pellet grills on the market they now need to be separated into different classes based on their features and price points. If you would like to learn about the different pellet grill classes, please check out this post.
Introduction To Traeger vs GMG Pellet Grills
When I write my pellet grill brand comparison articles I think its appropriate to choose models from each brand which match up as closely as possible on price/features. Hence, this article is not going to discuss every model of pellet grill from each manufacturer. If you want to explore each brand’s offerings in more detail I have separate posts on the Traeger Pro Series, Ironwood and Timberline models, as well as a separate post on the whole range of GMG pellet grills.
As Green Mountain Grills currently offer all their domestic/residential pellet grills/smokers for under $500, and under $1,000 its Traeger pellet grills under those price points which I’ll compare GMG pellet grills against. Hence, below I won’t be discussing the Traeger Ironwood and Timberline range of pellet grills as they fit in the under $2,000 category.
Traeger Tailgater vs GMG Davy Crockett
So the first two pellet grills I’m going to discuss and compare are the Traeger Tailgater and the GMG Davy Crocket. These are both small/portable pellet grills designed for tailgating, but also for camping/RV trips. Hence, they are both of a similar physical size. In terms of price going off the manufactures websites the Traeger currently retails for just under $470 whereas the GMG Davy Crocket currently retails for under just under $330. Therefore, there is more than a $100 difference between these two pellet grills, so how do they compare?
The Tailgater is not Traegers cheapest portable pellet grills, the Scout and Ranger are more affordable units. However, they offer a much smaller cooking area over the Tailgater. With regards to the cooking area, the Tailgater provides 300 square inches. So how does the GMG Davy Crocket Compare? Well, the Davy Crocket provides a smaller area of 219 square inches. What about pellet hopper size? Well, the Traeger Tailgater provides an 8lb hopper, and the GMG Davy Crocket comes with a slightly larger 9lb hopper. At this point, the two pellet grills seem reasonably equal, and the $100 premium on the Traeger may be justified by the additional 81 square inches in cooking area. However, how do the control panels/maximum cooking temperatures compare?
While the Traeger Tailgater does now feature the Digitial Arc Controller which provides more precise temperature control within a 5-degree range compared to the previous generation Traeger Pro Controller, its just not as advanced as the GMG control panel. The Davy Crocket features a PID control panel that also provides temperature control within a 5-degree range. However, the Davy Crocket can reach a maximum temperature of 550 degrees, whereas the Traeger Tailgater is limited to a maximum temperature of 450 degrees. Hence, the Davy Crocket will provide better searing performance on steaks/burgers etc. Furthermore, the Davy Crocket has WiFi, yes, you can control this tiny little grill with your phone.
Now, some people will argue that WiFi functionality on a pellet grill is an unnecessary option that people won’t use and it pushes up the price. Well, the price point in this comparison is null and void because the GMG Davy Crockett is actually cheaper than the Traeger. In terms of its value to the user, well that obviously depends on how you intend to use the grill. If you only ever want to cook burgers and chicken wings, yeah, you’re not going to use the WiFi functionality. However, if you do want to cook a small brisket for example over many hours you may use the WiFi/App feature. Presuming it was safe/secure to leave the grill you could go fishing/hunting or go for a walk etc and monitor and control the grill while the brisket cooks from your phone. Presuming you have a 4G/5G router/hotspot setup and your phone has a signal of course.
The last couple of points I want to make are that the GMG Davy Crockett is also a little lighter than the Traeger Tailgater, at 57lbs and 62lbs respectively. However, what’s more significant is how easy is it to fold the legs up on these two pellet grills. After all, to be regarded as a portable/tailgating grill, how easy it is to fold up and unfold the legs is an important feature. In this regard its a clear win for the Davy Crockett. Its legs quickly fold up above the grill and are used as its handles for transportation. The Traegers legs on the other hand, well their fiddly and time-consuming to get into position.
Final Thoughts On The Traeger Tailgater vs GMG Davy Crockett
Other than the larger cooking area the GMG Davy Crockett has the Traeger Tailgater beat in every other area. Its cheaper, has a higher maximum temperature setting, WiFi and the foldable legs are a much better design. I wouldn’t be surprised if Traeger is working on a redesign of the Tailgater as I write this. As the portable pellet grill market is really ‘heating up’, pardon the pun. I would expect Traeger to launch a Tailgater with better legs, their D2 Direct Drive platform and WiFire integration pretty soon.
Traeger Pro 575 vs GMG Daniel Boone Prime WiFi/Stainless
Now we’ll look at some proper full-sized grills from each brand. The Pro 575 from Traeger and GMG Daniel Boone in Prime WiFi/Stainless steel specification are comparable on price. The Traeger retails for just under $800, whereas the GMG pellet grill retails for just under $750. Therefore, the GMG pellet grill is a little bit cheaper. The GMG Daniel Boone in Prime specification does come with their PID/WiFi control panel with a temperature range of 150 – 550 degrees. The Traeger comes with their D2 Direct Drive platform which is a big step up over the drive system featured on the Tailgater, therefore Traeger WiFire compatibility is included. While I do believe Traegers WiFire to currently be the best WiFi/App solution on the market the Pro 575 can only reach 500 degrees, which is obviously 50 degrees less than the GMG pellet grill.
Let’s discuss cooking areas, the Traeger Pro 575 does provide 575 square inches of cooking space. However, its only 418 square inches on the main cooking rack, hence where you have access to the hottest temperatures for grilling/searing. The GMG Daniel Boone, on the other hand, provides a slightly larger 458 square inches. In terms of the hopper capacity for the BBQ wood pellets, the Traeger Pro 575 provides an 18lb hopper and the GMG Daniel Boone also provides 18lbs. As standard, the GMG Daniel Boone has low pellet alarm. The Traeger Pro 575 as standard does not include a pellet alarm. However, if upgraded with the Traeger pellet sensor that can provide a hopper percentage level to the WiFire app. A more advanced solution to the GMG Daniel Boone. However, it is an additional cost onto a pellet grill which is already $50 more.
There are a couple of other notable features the GMG Daniel Boone has in Prime/WiFi/Stainless Steel Specification which are not found on the Traeger. First, obviously, is the stainless steel lid which increases the durability of the GMG pellet grill and also makes it easier to clean the pellet grill. However, the heat deflector and grease drip tray are also stainless steel. Furthermore, the heat deflector is adjustable, it can be moved with a handle on the outside of the grill. This can be used to adjust the cooking surface temperature on certain areas of the cooking rack. Finally, the GMG pellet grill benefits from an ash vacuum port which you can use to quickly clean the pellet burn pot. Now, from time to time you are going to want to remove all the racks/heat deflector on both grills to give them a proper clean. However, for a quick clean of the firepot, that ash vacuum port is a nice feature to have.
Another feature which is specific to the Prime specification Daniel Boone pellet grill is the viewing window fitted to the side of the hopper and onto the cooking chamber lid. Pellet sensors and WiFi apps have their place. However, when you are actually in the yard/garden near to the grill these are a good feature to have. You can quickly glance at the pellet hopper to see how your pellet consumption is going. More importantly, you can check on your food without having to lift the lid and let out heat and smoke. Granted, for either viewing window to have any use though you have got to keep them clean. That means keeping wood dust off the pellet hopper window and grease/fat off the cooking chamber viewing window.
Final Thoughts On The Traeger Pro 575 vs GMG Daniel Boone Prime Specification
While I do believe the features/functionality of the Traeger WiFire app to be generally superior to those of the GMG Daniel Boone, really the GMG pellet grill wins on the other specifications/features, and for a lower price point. This is a much closer battle though than the Traeger Tailgater vs the GMG Davy Crockett. However, the GMG Daniel Boone provides the same features as the Traeger and more for a lower price point, its just that simple really.
Traeger Pro 780 vs GMG Jim Bowie Prime WiFi/Stainless
The last two pellet grills which we’ll quickly compare is the Traeger Pro 780 and the GMG Jim Bowie in Prime WiFi/Stainless specification. The reason this will be a quick comparison between these two grills is they are just larger grills to their smaller siblings discussed above. The only real difference is the cooking area. Obviously, due to their larger physical size, these two pellet grills weigh more as well.
So the Traeger Pro 780 does indeed provide a total cooking area of 780 square inches of cooking area. However, as before with regards to the Pro 575 that could be seen as a bit misleading. The main cooking rack on the Pro 780 is actually 570 square inches. The cooking area on the GMG Jim Bowie is 658 square inches. Therefore the GMG pellet grill is providing an additional 88 square inches. So what about the price between these two pellet grills? Well, the Traeger Pro 780 retails for just under $1,000, whereas the GMG Jim Bowie is priced at just under $950. Hence, really, the situation and comparison between these two pellet grills are exactly the same as the Pro 575 vs the GMG Daniel Boone.
Conclusions On Traeger vs GMG Pellet Grills
So what are my final thoughts on the current situation with regards to how Traeger vs GMG compare on their current pellet grill ranges? Well, as I’ve stated above, I do still believe that Traegers WiFire app is currently the best in the business, and that does have value. However, you really have to consider does the value of Traeger WiFire really add up to more than the value of the additional cooking area and other features found on the GMG pellet grills which are also a little cheaper? I think the reality for most people is probably no.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found this analysis on the current comparable pellet grills from Traeger and GMG (Green Mountain Grills) interesting/useful. You may be interested in my other comparison posts such as Traeger vs Camp Chef, Traeger vs REC TEC and Traeger vs Weber. However, I would also encourage you to check out my wood pellet grill/smoker guide to get a full picture of all your current options. Enjoy 🙂