While Traeger is still currently the market leader when it comes to wood pellet grill sales, they are facing growing/stiffer competition from other pellet grill brands. Grilla Grills which was founded in 2012 is an example of a pellet grill brand which is producing products that are giving Traeger a true run for their money. Currently, Traeger is focused heavily on promoting their pellet grills under $2,000, namely their Ironwood and Timberline ranges. However, with this article comparing Traeger vs Grilla Grills, I will focus on products priced under $1,000 from both brands for a fair comparison.
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.
All the pellet grills/smokers discussed below from Traeger and from Grilla Grills come under the Practical Class. If you’re not aware of the different pellet grill classes please check out my article on how to choose the best pellet grill for your specific needs and budget.
The pellet grills that are directly comparable are the Traeger Tailgater vs Grilla Grills Chimp and the Traeger Pro 575 vs Grilla Grills Silverbac. These pellet grills retail at almost the same price points, so its a fair comparison.
Introduction To Traeger vs Grilla Grills
As with my previous comparison articles such as Traeger vs Yoder and Traeger vs Z Grills I’m not going to reference every pellet grill made by Traeger and Grilla Grills. The objective here is to compare products that cost the same (or similar) and to review the pros/cons of each grill for that price point against each other.
Therefore, as both Traeger and Grilla Grills produce small portable pellet grills for a similar price point that’s the first fair comparison. The second comparison is a true backyard grill from each brand at a similar price point.
Traeger Tailgater vs Grilla Grills Chimp
The Traeger Tailgater has been around for many years now, and as Traeger is the market leader the Tailgater has always been a yardstick to compete against on features and price for a small/portable pellet grill.
Priced under $500 the Traeger Tailgater for many years was seen to be a good starting point to get into owning a pellet grill and experiencing the great flavour from cooking with BBQ wood pellets. But how well does the Traeger Tailgater compete against other small pellet grills, specifically in this post the Grilla Grills Chimp?
Well, let’s quickly run through the key features. The Traeger Tailgater provides a single cooking rack with 300 square inches of space. At a push, you may be able to fit 12 burgers (according to Traeger) on there, but it would be a stretch.
Over that size of cooking area, 8-10 burgers is more realistic. The pellet hopper is small at 8lbs, then again, this is a very small grill. The maximum temperature range on this pellet grill is 450 degrees. It weighs just 62lbs, therefore most people will be able to pick up this grill on their own to load it into the back of a car/truck/RV.
Now, the Tailgater was previously fitted with Traeger’s dial control panel. However, the latest version of the Tailgater is fitted with Traeger’s Digital Arc controller which provides much more precise temperature control within 5-degrees as opposed to the 25-degree swing with the previous generation controller.
So how do these features compare to the Grilla Grills Chimp? Well, I actually came across a video from Grilla Grills doing their own comparison which is handy (saves my typing fingers!).
What I do need to point out, in the video above the previous generation Traeger Tailgater is shown (without the Digital Arc controller). However, the Grilla Grills Chimp with the Alpha control panel is still superior due to the dual control option and the fact it can reach 500 degrees as opposed to 450 on the Traeger.
As the video above shows, there are also several other areas where the Chimp is superior to the Tailgater, the legs being one of them. The single spring-pin release and fixing mechanism on the Chimp’s legs just make it so much easier and quicker to get the grill ready to use and to pack away.
The Chimp does provide a slightly larger main cooking grate at 340 square inches, and a second small upper rack which the Traeger doesn’t feature. However, I don’t regard that increase in the cooking area as a significant advantage. What I do think is significant though as shown in the video above is the stainless steel internals found in the Chimp and the centrally positioned burn pot.
Furthermore, the Chimp features twin-wall construction around the combustion zone. These are also notable improvements over the Traeger Tailgater which have a direct impact on the performance of the pellet grill and its durability. For instance, a stainless steel grease tray will not only last longer, its a heck of a lot easier to clean.
Other notable improvements are the 15lb pellet hopper on the Chimp compared to the 8lb hopper on the Tailgater. There are other small touches that just make the Chimp a better option as a portable pellet grill. For instance, the clip-latch on the pellet hopper lid and the internal tabs to keep the grates/grease tray in position during transit.
The stainless steel reinforced lid on the Chimp is also a notable step up over the Traeger Tailgater. Then there is the Alpha Control Panel. Please check out my full article on Grilla Grill pellet grills to understand the full benefits of this control panel.
Update: The Grilla Grills Chimp now comes with the Alpha WiFi control panel.
Final Thoughts On The Traeger Tailgater vs Grilla Grills Chimp
I think its pretty clear that the Grilla Grills Chimp is superior to the Traeger Tailgater in almost every aspect. However, while the two grills have a similar price point, they are not currently retailing at the same price. While the Traeger Tailgater retails for under $500 (typically around $470) the Grilla Grills Chimp retails for $529.
Therefore, the Chimp is a more expensive grill. However, for the additional features/benefits, I do believe its worth the price premium. It should be noted free shipping is included with the Chimp, partly offsetting the higher price.
As I stated previously, however, the Traeger Tailgater has been around for many years and the Chimp is a relatively new addition to the Grilla Grills lineup which was designed to directly compete against the Tailgater. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how the next version of the Traeger Tailgater stacks up against the current competition.
Traeger Pro 575 vs Grilla Grills Silverbac
Above was a comparison of Traeger’s and Grilla Grills portable pellet grills. Now we’re going to look at and compare two full-sized backyard grills. The Traeger Pro 575 and the Grilla Grills Silverbac. Both of these grills retail for under $800, with the Pro 575 priced at just under $800 and the Silverbac a little cheaper at $749.
Hence, in this instance, contrasting the above comparison the roles on price have been reversed, with the Traeger being the more expensive grill. Furthermore, unlike the above comparison its not a complete blowout for the Grilla Grill Silverbac.
The Traeger Pro 575 is the entry-level/smallest grill in the second generation Pro Series. I have a detailed post on the Traeger Pro Series that discusses the differences between the first and second generations. Notably, this second-generation Pro 575 benefits from Traeger’s DC (Direct Current) D2 Direct Drive platform.
I believe D2 Direct Drive to be a significant improvement on the AC motors found in the first generation, with more power and variable speeds. Auger blockages on earlier generation Traeger’s were partly due to the relatively weak auger motors. Therefore, with the D2 Drive Drive motors, auger blockages are less likely to happen. However, as with all pellet grills, its still imperative the wood pellets are kept dry.
The Pro 575, as you may have guessed, provides a total of 575 square inches of cooking space. However, its important to note that figure is comprised of the area on the main grate and a second upper rack. The main grate its self is only 418 square inches.
The pellet hopper (rather annoyingly) is 18lbs, so cannot quite take a full 20lb bag of BBQ wood pellets. The D2 control panel on the Pro 575 is a PID controller and can take the grill up to 500 degrees. Also included is WiFire compatibility, which is Traegers WiFi/App setup.
You can monitor the temperature of the grill, adjust the temperature and set timers all from your phone, you can even turn off the grill remotely. If the Pro 575 is upgraded with the Traeger pellet sensor you can even check the remaining pellet percentage from your phone, which is pretty neat!
So what about the Grilla Grills Silverbac, does it have WiFi? Can you control the Silverbac from your phone? Yes, the latest Alpha Connect control panel from Grilla Grills features WiFi functionality. The Alpha Connect control panel fitted to the Silverbac also has a trick up its sleeve that the Traeger Pro 575 does not, its a combined time-based/PID control panel.
A time-based controller is argued by many people to produce more smoke, whereas a PID controller is much more accurate at holding a steady temperature. On the Alpha Connect control panel, you can choose both, and even jump between the two. This is also a pretty neat feature to have along with its latest WiFi/App capabilities. I discuss this much more in my full Grilla Grills article.
Other features which set the Grilla Grills Silverbac apart from the Traeger Pro 575 is its stainless steel internals and insulated twin-wall construction around the cooking chamber. In my post on Grilla Grills vs Z Grills the internals of the Silverbac is discussed in more detail. The main point being, all of the internal components of the Silverbac (just like the Chimp) are made from stainless steel.
Therefore that includes the cooking racks, the grease drip tray, heat deflector and burn pot. Stainless steel is much better at standing up to corrosion, and high temperatures accelerate corrosion (rust). Therefore, having stainless steel internals should provide the Silverbac with a much longer service life compared to the Pro 575. The insulated twin-wall cooking chamber means the Silvebac will be less affected by external temperature changes.
In terms of the cooking area, the Silverbac provides a total of 692 square inches, divided up between 507 square inches on the main grate and 185 square inches on an upper rack. Therefore, on the main cooking grate, the Silverbac is providing an additional 274 square inches over the Pro 575, not an insignificant increase.
Furthermore, the Silverbac (unlike the Pro 575) does actually have a 20lb hopper, so it can take a whole 20lb bag of wood pellets in one go. I should note though, the Silverback AT with the Pro Cart, as shown above, is priced at just under $1,000. Hence, it does cost several hundred dollars more than the Traeger Pro 575.
Final Thoughts On The Traeger Pro 575 vs Grilla Grills Silverbac
In terms of the core fundamentals of what most people are looking for in a pellet grill, the Grilla Grills Silverbac is superior to the Traeger Pro 575 in almost every feature. The Silverbac has a larger cooking area, larger pellet hopper, stainless steel lid and stainless steel internal components.
The only component where there can really be any debate between the two on which is better is the Traeger App. With both pellet grills featuring a PID/WiFi controller for precise temperature control, the Traeger Pro 575 and Grilla Grills Silverbac are very closely matched. WiFi monitoring and control can come in very handy when doing ‘low and slow’ cooks over many hours.
Conclusions On Traeger vs Grilla Grills Pellet Grills
While Traeger still holds a relatively comfortable lead in the pellet grill market they are facing increasing competition. Being the market leader they do have a target on their back for other smaller brands to design a pellet grill that offers more for less.
What Traeger is very good at is building brand loyalty and encouraging their customers to help market the grill on social media (along with several celebrities). And while I do feel Traeger does make good quality products, when it comes down to ‘nut and bolts’ comparisons in many instances several competitors are offering more for the same or similar price point. That’s currently the case with Grilla Grills pellet grills, which appear to offer ‘more bang for your buck’.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found this article on Traeger vs Grilla Grills interesting/useful. Please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide to review all of your pellet grill options on the market today. 🙂
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.