Traeger vs Z Grills 2022 – Pellet Grill Comparisons


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

When most people start to search for their first pellet grill online the brand they are most familiar with is Traeger. While the Traeger brand is where this whole idea of pellet grills originally started, there are many, many more pellet grill brands on the market today. For those looking to purchase their first pellet grill on a tight budget another brand that may have come up is Z Grills. Where Traeger started to make pellet grills in the 1980s, Z Grills is a much more recent entry into the world of wood pellets grills, founded in 2016. So how do Traeger vs Z Grills compare? Well, that’s what we’re going to explore below!

Traeger vs Z Grills
At a similar price point, how do the offerings from Traeger (left) and Z Grills (right) compare? Images: Traeger.com & ZGrills.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.

In a rush? Jump to my conclusion on which Traeger or Z Grills 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 Z Grills Pellet Grills

In this article, I’m going to pick a few grills from Traeger and Z Grills which most closely align on price and compare their features. Z Grills is an economy brand, whereas Traeger is now more focused on its premium offerings.

However, Z Grills is now offering pellet grills with premium features (PID/WiFi), so with some of their products they are trying to compete directly with Traeger.

Please note, the ‘Typical Price’ figures I quote below are from the manufacturer’s website. However, one of the other stores I list below for availability may actually get you a better price.

Traeger Gen 1 Pro Series 22 vs Z Grills 7002C2E

Here we have two pellet grills of your typical average size for a backyard grill and of an average price point around $500$600. Hence, these are your typical family pellet grill/smoker.

Traeger Gen 1 Pro Series 22

The first thing I need to make you aware of is there are two versions of the Traeger Pro Series on sale, and I’ve previously done a Traeger Gen 1 vs Gen 2 comparison. The Gen 1 Pro Series 22 for this comparison is missing PID/WiFi features found on the Gen 2 models.

Traeger Pro Series 22
The Pro Series 22 is the smallest model of the first generation of Traeger Pro Series models: Images – Traeger.com

However, the Gen 2 versions are significantly more expensive than the Z Grills 7002C2E hence not a fair or relevant comparison. The Pro Series 22 has been a very popular seller for Traeger for many years now, the question is though, is it still competitive on price/features?

  • Total Cooking Area = 572 sq.in
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 18 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 450 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = No
  • PID Temperature Control? = No
  • WiFi/App Control? = No
  • Typical Price = $649
  • Availability = Traeger.comAmazon.comBBQGuys.comWalmart.com & HomeDepot.com

Z Grills 7002C2E

Not exactly the catchiest or easily remembered model name but the 7002C2E is one of Z Grills latest PID pellet grills. There is a huge range of similar Z Grills models, however, the 7002C2E lines up the closest to the Traeger Pro Series 22 on size, features and price.

Z Grills 7002C2E
The 7002C2E is one of Z Grills latest models fitted with a PID control panel: Images – ZGrills.com

When it comes to the availability of this particular Z Grills model its not as widely available as other models, though I did also find it at Walmart. As you can see its standard retail price point is slightly above the Traeger, therefore the question is does it beat the Traeger with its features?

  • Total Cooking Area = 697 sq.in
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 24 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 450 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = No
  • PID Temperature Control? = Yes
  • WiFi/App Control? = No
  • Typical Price = $699
  • Availability = ZGrills.comWalmart.com

Temperature Control & Cooking Performance

First, let’s discuss where these two pellet grills/smokers are similar, they both provide a temperature range of 180 to 450 degrees. Also, neither of these pellet grills offers direct-flame access, therefore neither is going to be ideal for getting browning (Maillard reaction) on steaks/burgers where higher cooking surface temperatures are required.

However, where the Traeger Pro Series 22 and Z Grills 7002C2E differ is how they control temperature, the Z Grills features a PID control panel whereas the Traeger does not. In the simplest terms, a PID control offers more precise temperature control.

Though I will note, the particular PID control panel found on the Z Grills 7002C2E is not the most advanced currently found on the market. However, the important point for this comparison is this Z Grills pellet grill will provide tighter temperature control than this particular Traeger pellet grill being a first-generation Pro Series.

Cooking Area, Weight & Hopper Capacity

While the Traeger Pro Series 22 and Z Grills 7002C2E are of a similar size, the Z Grills does have the edge on cooking area offering a total of 697 sq.in compared to just 572 sq.in in the Traeger. But what about the size of the main cooking grate? Well, the Z Grills is larger there too offering 504 sq.in compared to 418 sq.in on the Traeger.

When it comes to weight, the Traeger comes in at 103 lbs, the Z Grills on the other hand comes in slightly heavier at 113 lbs which is to be expected as its a slightly larger pellet grill. The point is though that a single person will have no problem rolling around either of these pellet grills on their kart wheels.

The Traeger has a hopper capacity of 18 lbs whereas the Z Grills offers several pounds more with a 24 lb hopper capacity. The main difference being, where the Z Grills can take a full 20 lb bag of pellets, the Traeger cannot. To learn how much longer that 6 lbs of pellets will run in the Z Grill check out my post on pellet usage calculations.

Pricing and Value

Now it comes to concluding which is these two pellet grills offer the best value for their price point. Well, going off their standard retail prices the Z Grills typically costs around $50 more than the Traeger.

However, the Z Grills has the superior control panel, larger pellet hopper and not only offers the larger total cooking area but also the larger main cooking grate. Therefore, that additional $50 can be justified as good value.

Though its also worth pointing out that on ZGrills.com they love to run promotions, and you will often find many of their models including the 7002C2E with a discount. Therefore, add that into the equation, and the Z Grills 7002C2E beats the Traeger Pro Series 22 in this comparison.

Traeger Ironwood 650 vs Z Grills Multitasker 11002B

For this comparison, we’re going to step it up a bit and look at some more premium options. The latest Z Grills model is the Multitasker 11002B, their first WiFi pellet grill.

I’ve chosen the Traeger Ironwood 650 for this comparison as it compares closest to the Z Grills Multitasker11002B on cost, so let’s see how these two compare and if the Z Grills can compete with Traeger at this premium price point.

Traeger Ironwood 650

The Ironwood range of Traeger pellet grills is currently their mid-range specification. Its a step up over the Gen 2 Pro Series in a couple of key areas. First, the Ironwood range offers sidewall insulation to help keep more of the heat inside the grill, second the Ironwood 650 is the cheapest Traeger with their downdraught exhaust.

Traeger Ironwood 650
The Traeger Ironwood 650 features their excellent downdraught rear exhaust design for better heat/smoke circulation: Image – Traeger.com

The Traeger downdraught exhaust design is unlike any other vent design found on other pellet grills on the market. It essentially forces the smoke and heat up, over and under the cooking grates before exiting at the back. The benefit is improved heat and smoke circulation within the pellet grill.

  • Total Cooking Area = 650 sq.in
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 20 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 500 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = No
  • PID Temperature Control? = Yes
  • WiFi/App Control? = Yes
  • Typical Price = $1,399
  • Availability = Traeger.comBBQGuys.comHomeDepot.com

Z Grills Multitasker 11002B

The Multitasker 11002B bears more than a striking resemblance to a Traeger Timberline with its bamboo chopping board on top of the pellet hopper. However, Timberline models are far more expensive than this Z Grill so I’ve not used them for this comparison.

Z Grills Multitasker 11002B
The Multitasker 11002B is the first Z Grills to some with WiFi integration: Images – ZGrills.com

What the Multitasker also has in common with the Traeger Timberline is a fully insulated twin-wall cooking chamber. This type of construction helps a pellet grill reduce pellet consumption and be much more practical when using a pellet grill in winter.

  • Total Cooking Area = 1,068 sq.in
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity = 28 lbs
  • Temperature Range = 180 to 500 degrees
  • Direct-Flame Access? = No
  • PID Temperature Control? = Yes
  • WiFi/App Control? = Yes
  • Typical Price = $1,199
  • Availability = ZGrills.com

Temperature Control & Cooking Performance

These pellet grills have the same maximum temperature setting of 500 degrees and neither offers direct-flame access. Furthermore, neither offers cast-iron cooking grates. Therefore, to get proficient searing performance from either of these pellet grills will require a set of GrillGrates.

Both the Traeger Ironwood 650 and Z Grills Multitasker 11002B feature PID control panels that make constant adjustments to the auger/fan speeds to regulate temperature. On both pellet grills, the temperature can be adjusted in 5-degree increments and the temperature will hold to within 10 degrees of the set temperature.

While both of these pellet grills offer WiFi connectivity to monitor and adjust the cook from anywhere with a WiFi connection, the reliability/feature set of the Z Grills is unproven. For many years now Traeger WiFire has been proven to be pretty reliable and includes advanced features such as video recipes and downloadable grill settings.

Cooking Area, Weight & Hopper Capacity

One of the most notable differences to these pellet grills is cooking area. While the Traeger Ironwood 650 provides a perfectly usable 650 sq.in of cooking area its not competitive against the Z Grills Multitasker offering a total cooking area of 1,068 sq.in.

Furthermore, when it comes to the main cooking grate for grilling the Z Grills offers 693 sq.in compared to just 418 sq.in on the Traeger. On top of that, the Z Grill features a fully insulated cooking chamber whereas the Traeger just has insulated sidewalls.

When it comes to the weight the Traeger is the lighter of the two grills which should not come as a surprise due to the size difference. The Ironwood 650 weighs 149 lbs and the Multitasker 11002B comes in at 192 lbs. With the size/weight of both of these grills, a two-person assembly is recommended.

The pellet hopper on the Z Grills is the larger of the two offering a capacity of 28 lbs compared to just 20 lbs on the Traeger. That 8 lb difference would on most grills typically result in around 5 hours additional time when going ‘low and slow’ around 250 degrees. However, as the Z Grill is fully insulated it would likely result in even more additional cooking time.

Pricing and Value

As things currently stand, there is a $200 difference between the Traeger Ironwood 650 and Z Grills Multitasker 11002B with the Traeger being the more expensive of the two. So when it comes to value how do these two stack up?

Well, on WiFi/App functionality I believe Traeger to currently be the market leader. As the Multitasker is the first Z Grill with WiFi/App integration its going to take some time before we have enough user feedback to know how reliable it is etc.

However, when it comes to the core features of these two pellet grills its the Z Grill which is offering better value. The Multitasker not only offers a substantially larger cooking area compared to the Traeger is fully insulated which the Traeger is not.

Furthermore, the larger pellet hopper on the Z Grill along with its PID control panel to match the Traeger on temperature accuracy means the Z Grill at its lower price point is the better overall option between these two.

Conclusions On Traeger vs Z Grills

In previous years there has been a clear divide between the Traeger and Z Grills product ranges. Traeger has been positioning its self as the premium brand with premium features such as PID and WiFi integration and Z Grills has been a budget option without these features.

However, the Z Grills product range has expanded, and those premium features of PID and WiFi integration have found themselves into some of the Z Grills products.

Therefore, in the comparisons above for products around a similar price point the Z Grills 7002C2E and the Z Grills Multitasker 11002B are the better value options overall.

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 BBQ pellets, pellet grills & smokers. I hope you find the information useful.

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